If you only do Bangkok once
Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of Thailand, known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon

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Bangkok's multi-faceted sights, attractions and city life appeal to diverse groups of tourists. Royal palaces and temples as well as several museums constitute its major historical and cultural tourist attractions. Shopping and dining experiences offer a wide range of choices and prices. The city is also famous for its dynamic nightlife.
Deep within the Grand Palace grounds you'll find Thailand's most sacred sight - the Emerald Buddha Phra Kaew Morakot contained within the Temple of the Emerald Buddha Wat Phra Kaew or Wat Phra Keow. This temple is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in the country and is an essential palladium of Thai society. Within its walls is the highly revered Buddha sculpture, carved from a single block of jade and dates from the 14th century AD. Believed to have been crafted in Sri Lanka, the Emerald Buddha was transported and revered throughout Southeast Asia before being brought back to Thailand from Laos in 1552. It has sat in its present shrine within the Grand Palace walls since 1784 and remains an important symbol of the Thai nation.
The main branch of the National Museums in Thailand, Bangkok's main public museum is also the largest museum in all of South East Asia. Spread out over acres of green grounds and multiple buildings, the museum is a showcase for Thai art and history. Although it used to be considered unorganized, dusty and forgotten, it's recently been renovated and updated and now features a vibrant collection of artifacts with clear English-language descriptions. Inside you will find a truly enormous collection of treasures including paintings, sculptures, bronzes and prehistoric art from Thailand and other Asian countries. You will want to give yourself plenty of time to thoroughly cover the exhibits and may want to consider hiring a guide for a more targeted tour. Highlights include a replica funeral chariot hall, the Buddhaisawan chapel and the weapon galleries.
A visit to Bangkok's Grand Palace is at the top of every visitors 'must-see' list. Built in 1782 by King Rama I who established Bangkok as Thailand's new capital, the Grand Palace became the Royal seat for 150 years. The striking buildings within the palace complex reflect the spirit of each successive monarch and the era in which they ruled. While Thailand's current and longest-reigning monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej has never lived in the Grand Palace, the complex is still used to mark ceremonial and auspicious happenings.Deep within the Palace grounds you'll find Thailand's most sacred sight - Phra Kaew Morakot the Emerald Buddha contained within a beautiful temple Wat Phra Kaeo. This highly revered Buddha sculpture is carved from a single block of jade and dates from the 15th century AD. To make the most of your visit it is worthwhile hiring a guide who will help broaden your understanding of the Grand Palace and its colorful history.
Next door to the Grand Palace you'll find the Temple of the Reclining Buddha Wat Pho. It's the largest and oldest wat temple in Bangkok and, as the name suggests, is home to the enormous reclining Buddha. You'll also find many more Buddha images at Wat Pho, which is said to have more statues of the Buddha than any other Bangkok temple. The Reclining Buddha was crafted to celebrate King Rama III's restoration 1824 - 51. At 150 ft 46 m long and 49 ft 15 m high it is the largest Buddha image in Thailand. The reclining Buddha is decorated with gold leaf and his eyes and foot soles are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Wat Pho is the birthplace of traditional Thai massage and in 1962 a traditional medicine and massage school was established here. The school is still going strong and you can book massage appointments or apply to study at the school. Its reputation precedes it, so you'll need to book well ahead to get a massage.
The Temple of the Dawn - or Wat Arun - towers 260 ft 79 m above the Chao Phraya river. With fabulous views of the rising and setting sun and of the city's main attractions, the temple is one of Bangkok's most visited sights after the Grand Palace. Named by Bangkok's founder King Thaksin to signify the rise of the new kingdom after Ayutthaya was destroyed, the Temple of the Dawn was originally much shorter until its expansion during King Rama III's rule 1824 - 1851. Local people donated the ceramic pieces that make up the temple's unique exterior decoration. It is possible to climb the temple for views across the river to the Grand Palace and beyond but its narrow steps are not for the faint hearted.
Visiting Dusit Palace Phra Ratcha Wang Dusit is a very different experience from visiting the nearby Grand Palace. Built by King Rama V in 1903, it was meant to be a direct contrast to the traditional yet cramped Grand Palace. As the first Thai king to visit Europe, Rama modeled his palace after the spacious leafy royal residences he observed there, which comes through in the western architecture and layout. Over 100 years later the complex is still the seat of power today, and there are many residences, organizations and political buildings spread around the grounds. The main highlight for visitors is the Vimanmek Mansion King Rama V's former home and the largest teakwood residence in the world.There are also over a dozen museums on the grounds including several photography museums, a pottery-salvaged-from-shipwrecks museum and an ancient clock museum.
A weekend visit to Chatuchak Market is an absolute must-do. The snack stalls at the market's entrance selling deep fried insects give you a taste quite literally if you are game of the unique Thai treats that await you within. Only open on the weekend, Chatuchak is Bangkok's largest and most fun weekend market. You'll need a full day here to navigate the entire place, which bursts with stalls selling everything from reptiles, puppies, exotic food and souvenirs, to fake designer clothes and real designer furniture.Browsing at the market is a fantastic cultural experience but can be hot and exhausting. Start your day early and take advantage of the many bars and cafes within the market that are perfectly set up for people watching over a cold beverage.Western food is available but it pays to be adventurous and try a bargain local lunch at one of the many food stalls.
A top destination for visitors in Bangkok, the Jim Thompson House is a museum dedicate to the 20th century American businessman Jim Thompson, who almost single handedly reinvented the Thai silk trade. Housed in the former home of Mr. Thompson, the museum contains art he obtained while traveling in the region as well as very informative demonstrations showing the entire process of making silk, from how the silkworms are raised through to the production process. The house is made up of six traditional Thai-style homes that were purchased one by one and formed into an elaborate mansion-like complex that includes a drawing room, painting pavilion, library, study and silk pavilion. Certainly a fan-favorite, the gift shop contains loads of great silk products as well as books and paintings showcasing the life of Jim Thompson.
Having now been replaced by supermarkets and shopping malls, Thailand's remaining floating markets are an enduring symbol of what life was like in days gone by. The popular floating market in Ratchaburi, known as Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, is one of Thailand's largest. Sellers arrive early in their boats laden with tropical fruits, flowers and other fresh produce, creating an exuberant and vividly colorful scene that has been captured by photographers the world over. It's a touristy scene but worth the crowds in order to experience this unique and infectiously chaotic market. Hire a long-tail boat and make sure you bring your camera to capture this quintessential image of Thailand. It is also worthwhile exploring the nearby canals klongs to gain an appreciation of how the locals live.
Prior to Bangkok becoming Thailand's capital, Ayutthaya was the center of the Siamese Kingdom, from 1351 to 1787. Known throughout the world for its riches and open attitude towards foreign traders, the kingdom prospered for over 400 years before falling at the hands of the Burmese after a 15-month siege. Once a majestic city with three palaces, 400 temples, a succession of 33 kings and numerous dynasties, Ayutthaya and most of its heritage art, literature and historical records was destroyed in the battle with the Burmese. Visitors can still get a good sense of Ayutthaya's former glory, however, in the ruins of the old city and what remains of the imperial palace. Architecture and history buffs will enjoy the intriguing mix of architectural styles that clearly show a strong Khmer Cambodian influence. Such is the significance of this historic city and its surrounds, that it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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