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Bangkok is a city that attracts millions of tourists annually because of its tropical climate, exotic feeling, affordability and friendly reputation. The city certainly holds enough for one to explore for a lifetime, yet many make it an only stop or one of several when exploring the Kingdom of Thailand. These are the top sights we recommend to anyone visiting Bangkok for the first time or a revisit.
1. The Grand Palace
This is a phenomenal complex that is unmissable in the city. The grand gardens, labyrinths, temples, collections and ornate houses show one of the largest royal complexes in the world. If there is one monument that surmises the Thai culture and enduring legacy this is it. Hours are 8:30am-3:30pm daily and cost is 500 baht for admission.
2. Wat Pho (The Reclining Buddah)
This is an important city temple and it is conveniently located near the Grand Palace complex. It such a spread out city, one will appreciate these big monuments being near each other. Cost is 100 baht and the temple has many religious ceremonies and traditional medicine being practices in its porticoes.
3. Chatuchak Market
This is the largest weekend market in the world. Jewelry, food, animals and religious artifacts can all be found amidst 15,000 stalls. It is quite crowded and the best way to get here is by the MRT at Kamphaengpecth Station or a short walk from the Mochit Skytrain (BTS).
The river is the lifeblood of the city and it is wide and scenic. Some travelers may rent out a smaller traditional boat or go for some guided tours. However if one is simply wishing to get two things done at once, like visit the Grand Palace complex from the BTS stop at Sathorn pier. The river boats can be used in lieu of land public transportation and may be a quicker journey overall depending where one is commuting from.
5. Lumphini Park
This oasis of relative calm is a large stretch of lakes, lawns and forests which is set within the limits of the busy city. Here one can escape much of the noise and pollution of the city, especially in morning hours when it is most pleasant and uncrowded. It is an excellent escape from the crowds and the unrelenting sun.
6. Thai Massage
Massages come in all styles and strengths, but the common denominator here in Bangkok is that most are a fair price, safe and professional. It really depends where you choose to get one, but the better the district with hotels and embassies, the greater chance it is reputable. The roads near the U.S. Embassy and some of the surrounding upscale hotels (Ton Son Alley, Witthayu Road) are filled with small spas which have good availability and service.
7. Mega Shopping
Bangkok is home to all the major retail and luxury brands one can imagine from across the globe. Luckily this is spread out over a large business district to handle the heavy crowd flow. Malls along the BTS Skytrain route include Siam Paragon, Central World, Gaysorn Shopping Center and Central Chidlom.
8. Erawan street shrine
The Bangkok population are quite active including expressions of prayer in their lives. One of the neatest street shrines to watch hundreds come and offer prayers at a busy intersection is the Erawan Shrine. Here tourists and locals alike blend in with the traffic, incense, singing and gestures which simply amaze.