The Emerald Buddha or Grand Palace
Probably the most visited and remembered landmark of Thailand, The Grand Palace in Bangkok is where every visitor must pay a visit at least once in their lifetime. The construction of the Grand Palace began in 1782 during the reign of King Rama I, the founder of Chakri Dynasty, to become a royal residence, and it has been the utmost architectural symbol of Thailand ever since. The Grand Palace served as a significant royal residence until 1925 and is now used for ceremonial purposes only. Getting there: One of the easiest, and most pleasurable, ways is taking the BTS skytrain to Saphan Taksin station, located atop Sathorn “Central” Pier. From here, take a Chao Phraya River Express boat to Chang Pier, and then it’s a short walk to the Grand Palace’s main entrance.
Entrance fee: 500 Baht, inclusive of access to Wat Phra Kaeo, The Royal Thai Decorations & Coins Pavilion and Queen Sirikit Museum of Textile, which are located within the Grand Palace compound, and to Vimanmek Mansion Museum on Ratchawithi Road.
Additional 100 Baht for a rental personal audio guide in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese or Mandarin.
Dress code: Visitors are required to dress appropriately. These following clothes are strictly not allowed as outer garments for both ladies and gentlemen:
- Shorts, mini-skirts, short skirts, tight fitting trousers, and tights
- See-through shirts and blouses, as well as culottes or quarter length trousers
- Sleeveless shirts or vests
- Sandals (without ankle or heel straps)
- Rolled-up-sleeved shirts
- Sweatshirts and sweatpants, wind-cheaters, pajamas and fisherman trousers
Opening Hours: Daily 08:30 - 15:30
Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Old City (Rattanakosin)
Price Range: Tickets sold from 8:30 - 15:30 and cost 500 baht! One ticket includes entry to Vimanmek Palace and Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall.
Bangkok’s Chinatown, Thailand’s largest Chinese community, is commonly known among Thais as Yaowarat, according to the name of the road where it is located. The Chinese community dominated trades between Siam (ancient Thailand) and China since the reign of King Rama I, centered around Ratchawong Pier, while the construction of Yaowarat Road hadn’t begun until 1891 during the reign of King Rama V. Today, Yaowarat is widely known as the kingdom’s largest center of gold trade and a great foodie destination. Yaowarat simply has two faces: If you visit Yaowarat during the day, what you see along both sides of this one and a half kilometer road are shops selling gold, Chinese herbs, fruits and Chinese restaurants serving authentic cuisine. But if you visit Yaowarat after sunset, the road turns into a street food heaven where a number of food trucks prepare you marvelous food, from Chinese fried noodles to iced Chinese dessert, you hardly find elsewhere.
Chatuchak weekend market
This world’s largest market is commonly known among Thais as JJ (jay jay). With more than 15,000 retailers in 27 sections, occupying some 27 acre space, what makes Chatuchak busy every weekend is not only the fun of bargaining prices but an incredible variety of merchandise it has to offer, from latest fashion items and vintage decor finds to Thai crafts and teak wood tables. Section 1 gets you books and magazines, while Sections 2-4 see shops of young fashion designers. Vintage clothing items are in Sections 5-6 while art pieces are in Sections 7-9. Sections 10-24 gets you a mix of miscellaneous stuff, and you will find tables, chairs, lamps and decor items in Sections 25-27.
Though the market officially opens at 7am in the morning, shoppers usually go in the afternoon when the weather is not too hot and they will hang around till 7 or 8pm.
How to Get to Chatuchak
Hop on the skytrain (BTS) to Mo Chit station, take exit no. 1 and follow the crowd until you see rows of canvas stalls selling clothes. Turn right while continuing to follow the crowd and you will see a small entrance that leads into the market (clothing section).
Another option is to take the subway (MRT) to Chatuchak Park station (exit no.1), then follow the crowd until you arrive at the small entrance that leads into the market (clothing section). For the plant and flower section, get off at Kampheng Phet MRT station (exit no. 1).
The weekend market is open on Saturdays and Sundays, 09:00 - 18:00, and Fridays 18:00 - 24:00. Plant sections are also open on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 07:00 - 18:00.
Siam Paragon Department Store
Siam Paragon is one of the biggest shopping complexes in Asia and includes a wide range of specialty stores and restaurants as well as a multiplex movie theater, the Siam Ocean World Aquarium (the largest aquarium in South East Asia), Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum Bangkok, an exhibition hall, the Thai Art Gallery, an opera concert hall, a large bowling alley and karaoke center. The gourmet supermarket is an 8,000 square meter foodies’ heaven grocery store on the ground floor where the domestically-produced items carried often have different enticing flavours or are specialty brands not usually stocked elsewhere in Thailand.
Opening hours: Open daily from 10:00am to 10:00pm
Asiatique Night Market
Asiatique has successfully combined two of the most popular shopping experiences in the city: a night bazaar and a mall. Ten minutes downriver from Saphan Taksin BTS station this once-bustling international trade port has been transformed, with over 1,500 boutiques and 40 restaurants housed under a huge replica warehouse complex. Open from 17:00, spending an evening here is no problem: you’ll have good fun browsing the boutiques, picking up gifts or something for yourself; you are guaranteed to find something you would like to eat and if this isn’t enough entertainment, shows are performed nightly: Calypso ladyboy cabaret and soon, a classic Thai puppets performance.
The selection of shops is interesting, with a good range of unusual brands rather than row upon row of tourist trinkets. This bazaar is busy but isn’t overrun by tourists; crowds of locals enjoy coming here too. Asiatique is definitely worth dedicating an evening to.
- Opening Hours: 17:00-midnight
- Location: Chareonkrung Soi 74-76
- How to get there: The easiest and fastest way to get there is via boat. Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and jump on the free shuttle at the end of the pier. It only takes ten minutes, and the boat runs until 23:00. Taxis are not recommended as the traffic can be terrible in this area.
Located between Sathorn and Suriwongse Road, Silom Road runs from the riverside (Charoenkrung Road) eastwards to Rama IV Road. During the day Silom is the city’s banking and business centre, often dubbed the Wall Street of Thailand, whereas after sunset it becomes a very famous nightlife area. Silom offers a broad range of night-time activities ranging from food stalls, restaurants, pubs, bars, night clubs, pavement shopping, massages and strip shows at both the Patpong and Thanon Thaniya (Little Tokyo) areas. Silom Soi 2 and Soi 4 are very popular among the gay crowd of revelers.
How to get there: Take the BTS Skytrain to Sala Daeng Station
MBK Fashion Mall
MBK Center, also known as Mahboonkrong is a large and popular shopping mall for the bargain hunter. It's not as upmarket and stylish as its neighbours, Siam Discovery, Siam Centre and the glitzy Siam Paragon, but it’s a big market for non-brand names and local fashions, gadgets and consumer goods at give-away prices. At eight stories high, the center hosts around 2,000 stores and services, including the 4-story Tokyu department store, restaurants and entertainment.
Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
From the hotel: Take the BTS Skytrain to National Stadium Station
U Sathorn Bangkok
U Sathorn Bangkok, 105 Ngam Duphli Alley, Thung Maha Mek, Sathon, Bangkok 10120