While there are so much more things to do in Bangkok than just sightseeing, Charlie House Pinklao Hotel would like to provide our guests with a basic information on what you should not miss while you enjoy your holiday in Bangkok. Afterall, we are a small hotel situated in Pinklao area, where it's so easy to get around. Despite the traffic problems in Bangkok, we are just minutes away from Grand Palace Bangkok, the famous Khao San Road, and the Bangkok Floating Market!
(By courtesy of www.thaiwaysmagazine.com)
1. Grand Palace Bangkok & Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
The Grand Palace is the most popular tourist place in Bangkok. To be in Bangkok without visitting the palace is like you have not been in the city. Located in the old town or the Rattanakosin Island in the heart of Bangkok, the exquisite craftsmanship and grandeur of its architecture proclaim the true meaning of Bangkok as a "city of angels".
These two places, situated in the same compound, are among the top must-visit destinations in Bangkok. The Grand Palace Bangkok is famous for its impressive buildings. Wat Phra Kaeo is renowned as the most beautiful and important Buddhist temple in Thailand. It houses Phra Kaeo Morakot, the most highly revered Buddha image carved from a single block of fine jade. Grand Palace Bangkok is the landmark of this city.
Both Grand Palace Bangkok and Wat Phra Kaeo are located near Sanam Luang in the very heart of Bangkok, an area which is very close to Pinklao. The Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha were built after King Rama I ascended the throne as the founder of the Chakri Dynasty on 6 April 1782 and have undergone several repairs and renovations.
The Grand Palace Bangkok consists of several buildings with different styles of architecture. Wat Phra Kaeo is renowned as the most beautiful and important Buddhist temple in Thailand. It houses Phra Kaeo Morakot (the Emerald Buddha), the most highly revered Buddha image carved from a single block of fine jade.
Scattered in the temple grounds are numerous interesting sculptures of artistic value, including the fanciful animals in mythology, the fierce-looking giants standing guard at the gates, the six pairs of Cambodian-style bronze lions and the stone figures from China.
On the inside walls of the temple's compound, there are extensive mural paintings depicting scenes from the famous epic "Ramayana". It is the longest wall painting in the world as well as one of the Unseen Bangkoks. A distinctive characteristic of this temple is that there are no monks living in it like other temples.
Among the four groups of palaces, the Chakri Maha Prasat is the largest and most famous. Erected by King Rama V in 1882 as his own residence, the 3-storey building is a mixture of Thai and Western architecture. The top part is pure Thai with tapering spires and tiered sloping roofs, and the lower parts, designed by a British architect, are in the Imperial Victorian style. Boromphiman Hall, a French-inspired structure was built by King Rama V for Crown Prince Vajiravudh as his residence. It is now used to accommodate visiting foreign heads of state.
Grand Palace Bangkok and Wat Phra Kaew open daily from 08.30 - 15.30.
Note: Proper dress is required. Women visitors must wear long pants or long skirts. Men in short pants are not allowed to enter the temple. Photography inside the main temple is forbidden.
2. Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
Located next to the Grand Palace on the south side, this is the oldest and biggest temple with the largest number of pagodas (99 in all) in the city. It is well known for its huge Reclining Buddha and its Thai Traditional Medical Science School and Body Massage.
3. Khao San Road
Khao San Road is a short street located in the Banglamphu area about 1 km. north of the Grand Palace. It is a world renowned backpacker hub in Thailand. Backpackers and budget travellers are drawn here by cheap guesthouses and budget hotels. There are also a great number of tour agencies offering cheap travel deals.
Packed into a neighbourhood of a little less than 1 sq.km. are countless budget guesthouses and mid-range hotels, internet cafes, travel agents, swanky bars and clubs, restaurants, massage parlours, market stalls, tattoo shops and shops selling clothes, shoes and bags, souvenirs and handicrafts.
Thai and ethnic restaurants can be easily found on Khao San Road. You will also find large numbers of street carts selling economic menus such as Phat Thai (fried noodles), rice with Thai style omelets, various kinds of edible bugs and cocktails.
As the area is full of pubs and bars, it is one of the best locations for those who want to enjoy nightlife entertainment. At night lots of backpackers chill out in cafés or bars, meet people and exchange travel experiences.
The Banglamphu Market nearby is a great place for shopping. The area is lined with stalls selling all kinds of goods, such as clothes, shoes, bags, fashion accessories, toys, etc.
From Pinklao, you can easily get there by taking a cross-river ferry from Pinklao pier to Phra Athit pier, then walk about 10 minutes to Khao San Road. If you come from the city centre, take the Skytrain to Saphan Taksin station, where you can transfer onto an express boat at Sathorn pier. Then ride the boat to Phra Arthit pier, which takes about 35 minutes.
Below are some places of interest near Khao San Road.
Wat Chana Songkram
The temple ground connects Khao San Rd. and Phra Athit Rd. It is nice to take a break from the crowded lane and pay homage to the Buddha and appreciate the beautiful murals.
Situated near Phra Athit pier, the park features a great river view with the Rama VII Bridge. In the evening, some activities like Thai classical music and aerobic exercises are held in the park.
Phra Sumeru Fort
Built in 1783, this old hexagonal-shaped fort situated next to Santichaiprakan Park is one of the two remaining forts on Rattanakosin Island. Its old cannons are still in place.
Phra Athit Road
Here is another place to enjoy nightlife, as there are many pubs and bars on this road. Most are usually packed with local young people and travellers who love live music. Many bars and pubs open from the early evening until around midnight.
4. Bangkok Floating Markets
There are two popular floating markets in Bangkok -- Taling Chan Floating Market and Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market. Both are open on weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Both markets are located on the canal in lush natural surroundings of Taling Chan District. They are nice places to spend a good half day. Visiting floating market is also a great way to experience the genuine local market and way of life.
As the main product of floating market is ready-to-eat food, the highlight of a floating market visit is eating. If you go there, you’ll see Thai people flocking to the markets to enjoy a delicious lunch, as eating out is a Thai way of life in Bangkok. There are rows of stalls selling a wide variety of food – Thai food, seafood, and Thai desserts. Apart from food and fruits, there are many handicrafts and local products for sale too.
Talingchan Floating Market
Taling Chan Floating Market is located on the Chak Phra Canal, about 10 km. from the Pinklao area. Here you can enjoy a variety of seafood and Thai food. Besides numerous food stalls on the ground, there are boat vendors selling local food, fruits and desserts along the canal bank too. Some popular menus are grilled seafood, somtam (Thai papaya salad), grilled chicken, Phat Thai (Thai style fried noodle) and noodles. Local people love to sit on small plastic chairs by the canal bank to eat these tasty dishes while enjoying the scenery.
Apart from food, there are a lot of stalls selling orchard products such as fresh fruits, vegetables, orchid flowers and various kinds of local products.
Boat tours are available here too. The long tail boat trip takes you along the canals passing orchards, traditional wooden houses, and visiting old temples, an orchid farm and a snake farm.
Khlong Lad Mayom Floating Market
It is located on Lad Mayom Canal, about 9 km. from Taling Chan Floating Market and about 15 km. from Pinklao area. This authentic floating market is a favourite place with the locals, but less known to the tourists. It is situated in a pleasant and shady atmosphere, has a large number of shop stalls, and a variety of foods and merchandise for sale. It is famous for organic vegetables as well as freshly-cooked food and Thai desserts.
Like Talingchan Floating Market, you will find vendors selling food both on the land and on boats along the canal. The stalls sell mainly local products and souvenirs under the OTOP banner. The most popular food of this market that visitors should not miss is salt-crusted grilled fish. In fact, this market specializes in grilled seafood. It is not only fresh and delicious, but it is cheap too. That’s why local people love to come here to enjoy seafood lunch.
5. Cruising Along Chao Phraya River
A cruise along the Chao Phraya River, the main river in Bangkok, and some canals on the Thon Buri side is the most enjoyable way to explore the city once dubbed "Venice of the East". On both sides of the Chao Phraya River, you can see many magnificent temples, historic buildings as well as luxury high-rise hotels, while enjoying the cool breeze. Chao Praya River Express operates a regular boat service up and down the river, providing an easy river trip. For a private tour, you can hire a long-tail boat at Tha Chang Pier near the Grand Palace or Tha Si Phraya Pier near the River City Shopping Complex.
6. Thai Food
Thai food is one of many things that you should not miss when you come to Thailand. It is well known for the diversity of ingredients, tastiness and ample medicinal properties. Some most popular Thai dishes are Thai style fried noodles (pad thai), Thai hot and sour soup with shrimp (tom yam kung), green chicken curry (kaeng kiaw wan kai), fried rice (khao pad), and spicy green papaya salad (som tum) which is usually eaten with sticky rice and grilled chicken.
Besides, Bangkok is a real paradise for food lovers, as there are innumerable restaurants, food shops and street food stalls here. Food in Bangkok is diverse and cheap too, especially street food. That’s why you should not miss eating Thai food while in Bangkok.
7. Shopping in Bangkok
Bangkok is a shopping paradise for foreign visitors and offers the greatest opportunities for shopping. Apart from large department stores and shopping malls, there are numerous markets, shops, and street stalls spreading out all over the city. Some major shopping areas are Siam Square, Ratchaprasong, Silom, and Sukhumvit. All these areas can be easily reached by either BTS Skytrain or MRT Subway. Some worth buying items are clothes, shoes, bags, fashion accessories, jewelry, handicrafts, and souvenirs.