Bangkokis one of Asia’s most
cosmopolitan cities. Created as the Thai capital in 1782 by the first monarch
of the present Chakri dynasty, Bangkok is a national treasure house and
Thailand’s spiritual, cultural, political, commercial, educational and
Bangkok exceeds 1,500 square kilometres in area
and is home to one-tenth of the country's population. Major tourist attractions
include glittering Buddhist temples, palaces, timeless “Venice of the East”
canal and river scenes, classical dance extravaganzas, and numerous shopping
called the Castle in the Clouds,
Vimanmek Palace is the summer palace built entirely out of
teakwood commissioned by King Rama V. The 3-story, 81-room mansion houses
impressive furniture and royal jewelry and objects of interest that were
actually used by the king.
The most important landmarks in the City of
Angels are the Grand Palace and
Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The Palace is a large walled complex comprising
several buildings dating back 200 years that are used for specific occasions.
The royal temple houses the most revered Buddha image in Thailand, exquisitely
carved from a block of jade.
Close by is the Wat Pho
, one of Bangkok's oldest and largest temples, made popular by housing the gigantic, gold-plated
reclining Buddha. The temple has the largest collection of Buddha images and is
the center for the teaching and preservation of traditional Thai medicine. You
can study massaging techniques or get one here.
Across the Chao Phraya River is the Temple of Dawn
(Wat Arun). The temple predates the city's founding and is beautifully
adorned with glass and ceramic mosaics.
Jim Thompson's House retains the
remarkable Thai style architecture and contains a valuable South East Asian art
collection. Jim Thompson was an American who revived the Thai silk industry
after WWII and later disappeared mysteriously into the Malaysian jungles. The
house has been left the same since his disappearance.
Muay Thai is Thailand's
indigineous sport where contestants' every body parts can be used as weapons.
Fights are regularly held at two venues - Lumpini Stadium and Ratchadamnoen
Rent a long-tail boat and tour the Floating Market
off of Bangkok's numerous canals. The market is open daily in the mornings and
interesting wats and daily life can be seen off the banks of the canals.
Dine on the 77th floor of the Baiyoke
Sky Hotel, the world's tallest hotel, at the Observation Deck.
Spectacular view of the city that can't be topped.
The Royal Barge Museum houses the elaborate
barges that are used for royal and governmental functions. The most beautiful
and famous one is the Suphanahongse, a golden swan barge used solely by the
Amidst high-rises, Bangkok has ample space for
parks, with Lumphini Park being one of the largest one. A large,
artificial lake with row boats, well manicured gardens and walking path makes
it a great escape. Get there early in the morning and join in the T'ai chi
Traditional Massage This therapeutic and highly soothing form of
massage purportedly evolved from rishis (forest-dwelling Brahmin hermit
asetics) who relieved the physical stress of extended periods of meditation by
adopting certain postures. Wat Pho is the best known centre for massages and
massage tuition. Major hotels also offer Thai massage services. Modern Spas
Spas, traditionally, were towns where public baths, hospitals or hotels were
built on top of mineral springs so that people could come and make use of the
healing properties found in the water and its mud for medical purposes.
These days, a spa doesn’t have to be a town built on natural thermal springs. It
can be a place anywhere that anyone can go to, to relax in tranquil
surroundings with a variety of treatments administered to recontour and
rejuvenate the body and mind.