My first trip of the year for 2015 was Bangkok, Thailand. It was my first time visiting Bangkok and as usual I was very excited to visit a new destination. I was not able to make it to any of the islands but I will be planning a trip where I will dedicate my time strictly to the islands and plan an adventure that will involved Island hopping, on this trip I wanted to focus on visiting the top attractions for tourist in Bangkok and I was able to accomplish that mission. On Todays installment I will share with you my thoughts about the attractions and how I went about booking each in order for me to maximize my time at each location.
Before I begin the coverage – Be sure to follow the recent blogs where I have shared some information on the hotel I stayed and the carrier I flew to Bangkok.
- Hong Kong To Bangkok – Cathay Pacific (Trip Report).
- Bangkok To Hong Kong – Cathay Pacific (Trip Report).
- W Bangkok Hotel – Wonderful Room overview
- W Bangkok Hotel – Kitchen Table Experience
- W Bangkok Hotel – Extreme Wow Suite
- W Bangkok Hotel – Fitness Center
- W Bangkok Hotel – Away Spa
Being that it was my first time in Bangkok, I didn’t want to rush through my visit and since it was also a business trip I was not able to visit the Islands – Bangkok has three major tourist attractions that I believe are worth visiting to, once you have covered those three, It is the perfect timing to move on and visit some of the islands such as Phuket, Phi Phi Islands, etc. So I would recommend a visit to Bangkok of maximum 4 days, not counting the day you arrive. I will be covering some of those attractions and how I went about booking them so I was able to maximize my time and avoid any hassle throughout my adventures in Bangkok.
- My first day of adventures started by visiting some of the famous temples in Bangkok. I didn’t want to use a taxi in Bangkok or those tuks tuks as my sort of transportation since I wanted to have an easy journey from temple to temple. My best bet was to visit the concierge at the W Bangkok and see what they offer as far as tours. They had a wide selection on tours to select from and by recommendation they mentioned to visit the most popular temples by tourist and also where the locals in Bangkok spent most of their time at. We started at the Golden Buddha, followed by Wat Pho and finishing it off at the Marble Temple. The transportation aspect was the most important factor to me and the time spent at each temple was also critical as I didn’t want to be rushed. After doing my research they offered a private tour with a driver and tour guide for a minimal fee of $50 which seemed reasonable since I am getting picked up, dropped off at the hotel and being driven to each temple making it hassle free on the hunt of taxis and it was also cost efficient. I booked the tour at 1 in the afternoon to spend most of the day touring and exploring. (FYI: You don’t pay at the hotel, you pay the fee tour directly to the guide, at the end of the tour).
- The tour guide will come to the hotel and it is an official guide with her employee permit as guide. She was friendly, spoke very good english and made herself available to take photos and even offered me water. She also bought the tickets for each temple we visited which was included on the fee I paid for the tour. She will guide you around, teach you about the history and give you insight about Bangkok as we drive around. The driver was also friendly and attentive as well.
- Tipping is not mandatory but you should certainly tip the guide, there is also not a percentage of how much you should tip so it is up to you on how you would like to tip.
- Arriving at the Golden Buddha location felt overwhelming as the amount of people and locals around was a bit too much though the location where the temple is located speaks for itself as thats where the majority of the locals work. Though the area felt safe and secure but as always, keep an eye on your belongings.
- Within the grounds of the temple you will be able to find different areas to visit though the main one is where the Golden Buddha statue is at. You will also find a souvenir shops where you can get items that represent where you are. It is very well kept and clean.
- Throughout your walk around the temple you will be able to soak in the culture as the monks are walking around and some of them are just sitting around.
- Before entering where the Golden Buddha is, you will find a local who stands on the main entrance which will ask you if you want a photo, keep in mind theres a fee for that so make sure to say no as thats a way for them to make money from the visitors.
- Prior to entering where the Golden Buddha is you are require to remove your shoes and hats out of respect to this sacred statue.
- You are allowed to take photos and wonder around to see everything inside, which in my opinion its truly fascinating. Lots of Gold to be seen and the decorations are flawless.
- There is no admission to enter
- This is a great place to start in Bangkok as you will be able to soak in the culture. Talking isn’t much allowed here as the locals are praying and practicing their religion.
- The Sukhothai Traimit: You’re looking at the largest Golden Buddha in The World. Made of pure Gold. Measuring at 12 feet 5 inches in diameter and has a height of 15 feet 9 inches from the base to the crown and it weights 5.5 tons with a price value of 28.5 million pounds and ages of 700 years till now.
- Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram is a Buddhist temple in the Dusit district of Bangkok, Thailand. Also known as the marble temple, it is one of Bangkok’s most beautiful temples and a major tourist attraction.
- There is an admission fee of 20 Baht if you are interesting in visiting, which is very cheap. Though if you would like a mire exclusive experience, you can book a private tour at the Marble Temple it starts at $32 which I would recommend to skip and explore the temple on your own as you will be able to take some photos and learn about it on your own as it offers signs of what you’re seeing. My tour guide covered the admission fee for the entrance since what I paid for the tour includes admission for the entrance of the temple.
- It is another major popular attraction in Bangkok so I would recommend visiting early in the morning or mid afternoon to avoid the big crowds and group tours visiting.
- Within the courtyard of the Marble Temple you will be able to find a large variety of temples and each of them symbolizes a meaning for the monks. They are over 50 Buddha status within the courtyard.
- This is another temple in which you will be able to see the monks which some of them happen to live at the Marble Temple.
- Like every Temple in Bangkok, there is a sacred area where the visitors and locals can go pray. As per usual, it is a requirement to stay quite during your visit and remove your shoes. Once you have removed your shoes you are required to use your knees to get around as its part of the culture, rarely you will see visitors walking within the area of prayer – that is to show respect.
Wat Pho Temple
- The Wat Pho Temple is yet another popular temple in Bangkok where visitors from all over the World visit daily. The Temple is massive and showcases special facts about Bangkok.
- The admission fee to enter into the Wat Pho Temple is 100 baht – which the guide took care of it and we got our free bottled of waters along with our admission fee.
- Wat Pho is one of Bangkok’s oldest temple and it existed before Bangkok was established as the capital by King Rama.
- It is extremely safe to walk round the Temple and there is nothing to be concerned about. As you walk around the temple you will find a lot of the locals painting the walls of the temple fixing the designs on the wall. It was fascinating to see the process it takes and the development of each design being made, all by hand.
- One unique aspect of the Wat Pho Temple is that this is the birthplace of the famous Thai Massage, where also a massage school took place.
- If you are a massage fanatic, you will be able to book your personal Thai massage at the Wat Pho temple, though according to my guide you will have to call well in advanced to make an appointment since it has a tendency to have a high demand of people booking the service.
- Last but not least, the highlight of my visit at the Wat Pho Temple was seeing the Golden Buddha which represents the restoration of King Rama III.It is also the largest Buddha in Thailand which is decorated with gold leaf and his eyes and foot soles are inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
The Grand Palace
- The Grand Palace is Bangkok most visited landmark – Thousands of people around the world just come to Bangkok to see the palace and see what it offers. I was truly overwhelmed when I arrived as I wasn’t sure where to begin. Thanks to my guide who was guiding us the time spent at the Palace was enjoyable.
- The Grand Palace is massive and there is one main entrance where all the tourist and locals come in and out of the Palace. A place for you to be extremely aware of your belongings and specially for the ladies who are carrying purses, keep them tight and close to you.
- The admission fee for adults its 400 baht. They have a dedicated entrance line for foreign and a line for the locals. Your tour guide will buy the tickets for you which was included on the group tour I did and I highly recommend it as you will be able to learn a lot about the Palace and bypass the long lines.
Grounds of The Grand Palace
Within the grounds of the Grand Palace you will be able to find easy public transportation to get where you want to be, ranging from taxi’s to busses and tuk tuk. Be aware of scams and always get on a metered taxi. No wonder The Grand Palace is so popular because you will also be able to experience the local merchants selling some of their souvenirs. Furthermore, if you are up to trying some of Bangkok local food you will find a variety of mini street food vendors on the sidewalk of the palace. I didn’t find it to be sanitation friendly so you are at own risk on this. Personally, I didn’t feel like trying anything I saw.
Local souveniors – The Grand Palace
Street food vendors at The Grand Palace
Being that the Grand Palace is such a massive place, I will not spoil all the beautiful sights you will get to see during the tour, however I will share with you some of my favorites. While in the Palace you will also be able to experience the change of guard who frequently happens during morning and afternoon. It is a great experience to see the local arm forces perform that and pay their respect. You are able to take photos with the guards once they are settled where they need to be but refrain from touching them and speaking to them. The palace is busy at all hours of the day so avoiding the high flow of tourist is almost impossible.
Grand Palace Entrance
Having a tour guide at the Palace is the best idea and I would highly recommend it. It was extremely helpful to me because I was able to see the palace at a good pace, understand a lot of the culture by the guide teaching me what I am seeing and most important, not getting lost as they are a lot of areas within the palace to turn right and left to. Having a tour also maximizes the experience because you are able to skip a lot of the lines and have priority over those just going on their own. The security at the park is also highly enforced and the local authority takes great pride on protecting the locals and visitors, which was great to see. They are also staff on duty within the palace that will guide you and answer any questions if you happen to get lost or would like to visit a particular area of the palace, this comes in handy for those solo explorers.
Inside The Grand Palace
This is considered the Upper Terrance of the Palace.
Grounds of The Grand Palace
Proper Dress in The Grand Palace for Visitors
Visitors are requested to be dressed properly and appropriately upon entering the ground of the Bhubing Palace. Thus the following dress – code (applicable to both ladies and gentlemen) will be strictly enforced:
- Shorts, mini-skirts, short skirts, tight fitting trousers, as well as tights can not be worn as outer garments.
- See-through shirts and blouses, as well as culotters or quarter length trousers can not be worn.
- Sleeveless shirts or vests can not be worn as outer garments.
- Sandles (without ankle or heel straps) can not be worn.
- All shirt sleeves, whether long or short, can not be rolled up.
- Sweat shirts and sweat pants, wind-cheaters, pajamas and fisherman trousers can not be worn.
Exploring Bangkok Bottom line
As I mentioned on my previous blogs, connecting with the culture and lifestyle of each destination I visit it’s one of my main priorities. Visiting the temples in Bangkok gave me the opportunity to soak in the culture, religion and connecting with the locals. The locals in Bangkok are extremely friendly and the experience was one of a kind. You will be able to cover Bangkok in at least 3 days max because besides from the temples there isn’t much that called my attention to do. From Bangkok you can venture out to the Islands and be able to explore more of what Thailand is known for, though I would highly recommend visiting Bangkok at least once, it is a special destination with a lot of culture to showcase.