Bangkok is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. It’s loud, noisy, modern and fast-moving, and quiet, slow and old-fashioned. It’s a fusion city, a city where tradition and modernity meet, but mix and create something new. It’s a fascinating place. Many people who stopover in Bangkok for a couple of days before heading to one of the many beautiful beaches Thailand has to offer dislike it at all. All they see are decadent red-light districts, annoying traffic jams and nosy tuktuk drivers.
But that’s really just the most outer layer - that’s what tourists can find easiest here. If you peel that first layer away, you will find many other faces of Bangkok: the gentle, the kind, the cultural, the culinary, the religious and more. There are so many temples in Bangkok. If you like Buddhism or religious architecture, you will love it here. Temples are built in a variety of architectural styles. The “must see” temples are Wat Pho which features the 46 meter long reclining Buddha image and Wat Arun, which is just across the river.
Wat Trai Mit is another impressive place to see, as it houses the golden Buddha. It’s the largest Buddha statue in the world made of solid gold. It has a mysterious history as well. Nobody knows how old this Buddha statue is. And in fact, nobody even knew it existed until a couple of decades ago. It was once covered in plaster, probably to hide it from invading armies who were known to melt down Buddha statue gold. As a result of a piece of plaster chipping off, a monk discovered that there was a golden Buddha underneath. If you want to know more about Thailand’s history and gain a better understanding of Thai culture, the National Museum is the ideal place to visit.
Many people also like to visit the Grand Palace, which is a huge compound that mixes architectural influences from different regions of the world. Seasoned shoppers love Bangkok. It’s a true shoppers’ paradise. Do you have cash to spend? Modern shopping palaces like the Siam Paragon or Central World offer ample opportunity to buy all the material things one craves. Almost every luxury brand has a flagship store at Siam Paragon, and if you want to buy an Lamborghini, head to the second floor.
If you want cheap clothes and fashion accessories, you probably want to check out Pratunam, especially Platinum Mall. But Pahurat also has a lot to offer, just like Bobae. And then there is the Chatuchak Weekend Market, also known as JJ or Jatujak Market. It’s the world’s largest weekend market and has a diverse merchandise mix. If you love markets, this is the one to check out. Bangkok has so much more to offer. But it can be overwhelming.