With the traditional East coupled with the modern West, Bangkok is not for the uptight. The buzzing, sweaty, exotic, chaotic city lives for the heat, traffic and sporadic pace to life. Serenity can be found here throughout the temples, gardens, and palaces scattered about town. Officially declared the capital of Thailand in 1782, Bangkok hasn’t looked back. It’s too busy whipping past you.
A wall protected complex encases not one but several palace. The Royal Grand Palace in Bangkok was constructed in 1782. Dressed with tiles and ceramics, the Palace complex glistens under the Thai sun. The Royal Grand Palace holds the holiest of all Thai temples, Wat Phra Kaeo. Within visitors will find the strangely named Emerald Buddha despite the fact that he is all jade.
Bangkok isn’t finished showing you its royalty. The Vimanmek Palace remains one of the world’s largest buildings, composed of golden teak. What was once used as a royal summer house, is now open for tours. The 81-room mansion rests on perfectly tended lawns. The Palace contains a number of originals for Thailand. The country’s first indoor bathroom and the oldest typewriter with Thai characters can be found within.
The Royal Barge National Museum of Bangkok seems a bit like the monarch’s storage shed. Eight long and narrow boats are set on display for Bangkok’s royals don’t use the barges much. The displays show off the boat’s intricacy and design. However, these are no light loads. Fifty to sixty rowers are needed to send these boats sailing. Perhaps the most talked about in the museum is the Suphannahong, the boat used exclusively by the king.
If Bangkok’s palaces impressed you, you can bet its temples will do that same. Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining, serves as the oldest and biggest temple in the entire city. It hordes away the famed Reclining Buddha. The Reclining Buddha reclines so to speak in gold, measuring 46 meters long and 15 meters high. Explore the west bank of the Chao Phraya River and you may stumble upon Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn. The landmark on the river shines in its 17th century look and 79-meter tower. It is easily recognizable for its kaleidoscope of ceramic tiles.
You can’t come to Bangkok without strolling through a market or two. Chatuchak Weekend Market occurs predictably on the weekend. The market is the beast of Thai markets where everything under the sun, moon and stars is for sale. Chickens and vintage fans can all be purchased here. For more of a spiritual purchase, travelers can head to the Amulet Market. Amulets are what Thai people wear for protection, protection from bad fortune and evil spits. Travelers can ward of the evil by buying one of these amulets that usually consist of a Buddha image.
Amidst the commotion of Bangkok, there are still those venues to get away from it all. Lumphini Park, named for Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal, holds an artificial lake, untouchably manicured lawns, wooded areas and walking paths. It remains the city’s biggest and most popular park.
If you are looking for order and a predictable itinerary, Bangkok probably shouldn’t be high on your list. The city is any thing but orderly. A modern world gasps for breathe from a traditional core as the rest of the world whirls on by. If you don’t welcome chaos, Bangkok will just smile. It’s having fun and frankly won’t notice.