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Bangkok attractions

Author Anne Plau

Thailand, the former Siam, was never colonized. The country's culture and traditions are therefore preserved in their very original form. Bangkok offers its visitors both: A dynamic metropolis and fascinating insights into Thailand's culture and tradition. Visitors will find over 400 magnificent Buddhist temples, important palaces and, last but not least, numerous markets and shopping centers.

Wat Arun temple

Wat Arun temple

Many of the sights are on the Chao Phraya River, the city's lifeline.

Grand palace and temple Wat Phra Khaeo

The main attraction and landmark of Bangkok is the Grand Palace, the former residence of the kings. It is located on the east bank of the Chao Phraya and is now used for ceremonial purposes. The main entrance is flanked by huge guardian figures. More than 100 buildings are located on an area of ​​over 200.000 square meters, surrounded by a wall almost two kilometers long. 

Tuk Tuks in front of the Grand Palace
In the great palace
Grand Palace - Wat Phra Khaeo
In the great palace


Among them is Wat Phra Khaeo, the Temple of the Emerald Budddha. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand, and the Buddha statue is widely worshiped. Other attractions are the Amarin-Winichai and Dusit-Maha-Prasat throne halls and the great Chakri Palace.

Open from 8:30am to 15:30pm, entrance fee around 13 EUR. There are strict clothing regulations.

Across from the Grand Palace is the Sanam Luang, a spacious parade ground, surrounded by representative magnificent buildings.

Important temple complexes

There are more than 400 magnificent temples in Bangkok. Appropriate clothing must be worn when viewing. We looked at these five.

Wat Pho

Wat Pho - the temple of the resting Buddha - is located in the immediate vicinity of the Grand Palace. It is the oldest temple in Bangkok. He became famous for the 46 meter long and 15 meter high gold-plated Buddha.

Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho

Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho

But the other temples in the extensive complex are also worth seeing. Wat Pho was the first public educational institution in Thailand. Even today the monks run a school for traditional Thai massages.

Open from 8:00am to 18:30pm, entrance fee around 3 EUR.

Wat Arun

Wat Arun - the Temple of Dawn - is opposite the Grand Palace on the other bank of the Chao Praya. The 79 meter high pagoda, which is covered with porcelain tiles, is characteristic. Four steep stairs lead up. You can go around the pagoda about halfway up and have a good view, especially of the Chao Praya.

Wat Arun temple
Gardens of Wat Arun
Wat Arun
Wat Arun ferry dock

Open from 8:00am to 17:30pm, entrance fee approximately 2 EUR. From Pier 8 there is a small ferry that goes to the pier at Wat Arun. The trip costs less than 50 euro cents. 

Wat suthat

This temple is famous for its beautiful 19th century wall paintings. Whole stories were drawn here on a dark background. A great golden Buddha guards everything.

Open from 8:30am to 21:00pm, entrance fee around 3 EUR.

Directly in front of the temple is the more than 200 year old giant red swing Sao Ching Cha. Long ago it was used for rituals in honor of the god Shiva.

Wat Traimit

Wat Traimit - the Temple of the Golden Buddha - is located in Chinatown at the end of Yaowarat Road. A remarkable feature of this temple is a 700 year old, three meter high Buddha statue made of solid gold.

Wat Traimit Temple in Chinatown

Wat Traimit Temple in Chinatown

Open from 8:00am to 17:00pm, entrance fee around 2 EUR.

Chinatown is one of the lively centers of Bangkok. Yaowarat Road, the Chinatown Gate and all the hustle and bustle of the streets should not be missed by any visitor to Bangkok.

Wat Saket

Wat Saket - the Temple of the Golden Mountain - is nothing special in itself. Its location on an artificial hill in the middle of Bangkok is exceptional. 344 easy steps lead through gardens around the hill to the golden chedi. From above you have a wonderful all-round view of Bangkok.

Wat Saket

Wat Saket

Especially in the late afternoon, when the sun goes down, there is a very special atmosphere here. A good place to end an eventful day in Bangkok in peace

Open from 8:00am to 19:00pm, entrance fee around 3 EUR.

See and experience Bangkok from the water

The Chao Praya is the city's lifeline. Express boats travel up and down the river between Nonthaburi and Ratsingkhon, connecting the piers on either side. The fare is minimal and depends on the color of the flag on the boat. From the water you have an excellent view of the sights of Bangkok, such as the Grand Palace or the temple complex Wat Arun.

On the Chao Phraya River
Chao Phraya River and the Wat Arun Temple
Boats on the Chao Phraya River
Bangkok's lifeline - the Chao Phraya River

In the 19th century, Bangkok was crisscrossed by a network of canals called khlongs. They were the city's most important transport links, but also served as trading centers - floating markets - and for the disposal of faeces. Many khlongs have been filled in over time. However, there are still Khlongs today, especially many in the Thonburi district. They are one of the sights of Bangkok because you get a particularly intense view of this lively city from the water. Some of the larger khlongs are plied by scheduled boats. The fare is low. Private providers arrange trips with the typical long boats.

Bangkok - a shopping paradise

If you want to have little or nothing to do with culture and tradition, you can go shopping for one or more days without any problems. Bangkok is one of the shoppers' paradises in the world. There are two very different types of shopping: the traditional street markets and the shopping malls.

Street market
Crowds in Bangkok
Chinatown in Bangkok
Devotional items shops in Bangkok

You can find good goods everywhere. The offerings in the markets should be assessed more critically, but the large shopping centers can withstand any comparison with Western shops. The most popular goods include silk and cotton, modern and traditional jewelry, some with valuable gemstones, and Thai handicrafts.

Our shore excursion to Bangkok

During a cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore, our cruise ship Celebrity Millennium docks in the port of Laem Chabang. We use the overnight stay to see the state capital Bangkok. You can find the detailed report in our article Self-guided shore excursion to Bangkok.

Update March 2024