BANGKOK, THAILAND (Podcast and show notes)
To see my photos of Bangkok: click here
GENERAL LINKS ABOUT THAILAND AND BANGKOK
Overview of things to do:
TIPS FOR TRAVELLERS:
1: The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace has an area of 218,400 sq. metres and is surrounded by walls built in 1782. The length of the four walls is 1,900 metres. Within these walls are situated government offices and the Chapel Royal of the Emerald Buddha besides the royal residences.
Just north of the Royal Residence of the Maha Monthian from which there is a connecting gate lies The Chapel Royal of The Emerald Buddha. The Emerald Buddha is carved from a block of jade. It is an object of national veneration and crowds come to pay respect to the memory of the Buddha and His Teachings on certain days of the weeks when it is open to the public.
Within the complex are many buildings for diverse purposes and in differing styles reflecting the architecture of the various reigns. However, despite their differences the most of the structures adhere strictly to traditional Thai style, their diversity lying rather in certain details or construction materials. There are 12 smalls pavilions surrounding the Ubosot (Chapel).
2. Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho)
One of the oldest and largest temples in Bangkok features the famous Reclining Buddha, which is the largest in Thailand measuring more than 150 feet in length.
Just behind the opulent extravagance of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha stands Wat Phra Chetuphon, which is more commonly known by its old name of Wat Po. Most western tourists don’t get past the temple’s huge reclining Buddha, but there is actually much more to see than the one colossal statue.
The temple is actually much older than the city of Bangkok itself. It was founded in the 17th century, making it the oldest temple in Bangkok. The name Wat Po comes from its original name of Wat Potaram. King Rama I, the founder of Bangkok, enlarged the temple, installed many statues and other artefacts recovered from Ayuthaya, and renamed the temple Wat Phra Chetuphon in 1801.
3. Wat Arun, The Temple of Dawn
This temple is considered to be the most famous and photographed temple in Bangkok, which features a soaring 70-meter-high spire decorated with tiny pieces of colored glass and Chinese porcelain.
Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, is one of Bangkok’s best know landmark. It stands on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in Thon Buri. Wat Arun is best seen from the opposite bank of the river; it glistens in the sunlight during the day and stands dark and noble at dawn or dusk. A visit to the beautiful, peaceful monastery complex surrounding the familiar towers is very worth-while. These towers, the “Phra Prang,” although best known, the only part of Wat Arun. It also contains narrow lanes; elegant, old white buildings; shrines, pools of turtles and two fine giants, ” Yuk Wat Jaeng,” mortal enemies of the ” Yuk Wat Po” across the river.
Wat Arun figures in one of Thailand’s most colorful festival, the Royal Tod Kathin. Then His Majesty the King travels down the river in a procession of Royal barges to present new robes to the monks after their three-month lent period
4. Vimanek Mansion/ Palace
Built by King Rama V, this palace is the largest teak structure in the world featuring a unique blend of Victorian and delicate Thai architecture.
|Bangkoks skytrain has revolutionized travel within the congested Thai capital. Opened by HM King on his birthday (05 December 1999) the mass transport system changed life overnight for millions of city commuters. The system is spotlessly clean, fast, efficient, and relatively cheap. Previously a trip between two busy commercial centers of Silom and Suriwongse would have taken at least an hour by taxi. Route map|
Now, in a matter of minutes, commuters can fly over Bangkoks rooftops to arrive at their choice of destination. Stations have a range of kiosk shops with products ranging from coffee to cell phones. Computerized ticketing save busy travelers time if they have the right change! Views from the train offer an interesting contrast from that of the street level; from the train you can actually get the impression that Bangkok is a vertical city not far detached from the media projections of New York
The northern part of the line goes to Mawchit (northern bus station) and a simple hop to Chatuchuk market opens a new and exotic world for western visitors. This sprawling bazaar is one of the most celebrated in Bangkok with offering that range from plastic kitchenware to snake oil.
10. Shopping: Avoid the home made tailors…..visit a night market… and the very glitzy malls 9though these are expensive