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Exploring the Wat Arun Temples in Bangkok

If there is one place to which I always enjoy returning, it is Bangkok, Thailand! This jampacked metropolis has over 14 Million residents making it a dynamic, bustling and exciting place 24-hours per day!

Originally founded as a trading post from the mid 15th Century, King Taksin established Bangkok as his capital in 1767. None the less, the city’s founding is dated from 21 April 1782 when the City Pillar was erected.

Bangkok has many beautiful temples

Bangkok was a melting pot of cultures during the 19th Century when the King of Siam was pressured by Western powers to modernise,  but it gained population and prominence during the Vietnam War because it was a R&R station (“Rest and Relaxation”) for allied soldiers. Today, Bangkok is a modern city wrapped around an ancient city and offers awe-inspiring sights to visitors.

Bangkok is also on the forefront of Climate Change. The average height of the city above sea-level is only 1.5 meters (5 feet). Due to subsidence and variable tides, the city is regularly flooded and has invested heavily to alleviate the worst of these unwanted waters. The city has extensive canals to channel the waters and gates to control rising sea-levels.

Bangkok is crowded, traffic-packed and totally fun! This vibrant hot pot of melting cultures has something to offer everyone that visits. The markets are lively and crammed with gifts you will want to buy! From floating markets to night markets to gem markets, If you love shopping for bargains, Bangkok is definitely for you!  I am a fan of the Patpong Night Market in Silom, the Amphawa Floating Market on the outskirts of Bangkok and Chatuchak Weekend Market.  Take an empty suitcase because you will fill it with lots of goodies.

Don’t let bargains float right past you at Amphawa!

I’d recline too, if I were made of gold!

A trip to the area is simply not complete without visiting the many Bangkok temples in the old city.  You must see the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Temple of Dawn and the largest Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho Temple.  The many pagodas of the Wat Arun complex are great for taking that perfect Instagram photo!

Here’s a pro-tip: If you are interested in the religion and culture of Thailand, then I highly recommend you hire the very knowledgeable guides to whizz you around the temple sites where they will regale you with all of the information you can digest along the way.

Reaching Bangkok is easy from about any major airport. Suvarnabhumi Airport is modern and convenient even though, at 66 million passengers per year, it is beyond its original designed capacity. There is constant expansion going on at the airport and more and more services are being added each year. Once you arrive at the airport and collect your bags, you are offered a myriad of alternatives for reaching the nearby city.

Taxis and hire cars are everywhere and the streets of the city are packed with traffic. So, why not take the train from the elevated Airport Link to and from the airport? This modern transport link is fast and convenient. If you have a flight to catch, the Airport Link is the best bet. Throughout the city, there is the BTS Skytrain, an elevated transport system that whizzes you around the major neighbourhoods. There is also the MRT Underground serving much of the area. Being surrounded by water and filled with canals, there are excellent water taxis and even water buses serving the entire area.

Finally, the phonetically named “Tuk-Tuk” is ubiquitous. This modified motorcycle has a two or four-person cabin mounted on its chassis and provides the most iconic manner of transport in Bangkok!

Here’s another pro-tip: a night-time Tuk-Tuk Tour is a super way to see the highlights and lowlights of this exciting city! You can take short stops for food and drinks at street stalls and bars. This mode of touring is “cheap as chips” and great fun for partaking in the colourful local culture.

Tuk-Tuks are the traditional way to travel in Bangkok

Being one of the fastest growing cities in the world, Bangkok has an abundance of hotels and accommodation for all budgets.  On the inexpensive-end of travel, you can find hostels and small hotels on Khaosan Road. I prefer a bit of luxury, however, and Bangkok offers great value for money. Fantastic local brands include The Dusit Thani which has many comfortable properties in the city. I have a real penchant for The Banyan Tree in Silom and I love the stunning Peninsula Hotel on the Chao Pharaya River. All of the luxury hotels offer an unsurpassed level of comfort and style.

Thai food is spicy and so is the nightlife of Bangkok. Being open 24 hours a day, the rooftop bars, local eateries and markets are always bustling when the sun goes down.  My favourite area for nightlife and food is Sukhumvit and I love the restaurants and shopping in Siam.  I’d highly recommend doing a Bangkok Street Food Tour and, if you have time, a Thai Cooking Class! For the ultimate view and a great dining experience, I recommend the Sky Bar at the Lebua Hotel. Fans of the movie Hangover 3 will instantly recognise this cool venue. Beware, that the walk across the bridge to reach the bar is not for the faint of heart!

You might get a kick out of Muay Thai Boxing!

Here’s a final pro-tip: If sports is your interest, check out a Muay Thai Boxing match at the Lumpini Stadium.  Take note that the fights can be very rough and bloody but they offer great local atmosphere which always draw a huge and boisterous crowd.

Take your time, enjoy the city and know that you will be back again and again. Bangkok will always hold a piece of my heart!

 

Love,

 

Isabella

Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: The temples and the markets! (https://www.tourismthailand.org, https://www.bangkoktuktuktour.com/ )

Where to stay: The Banyan Tree or The Peninsula (https://www.banyantree.com/en/thailand/bangkok, https://www.peninsula.com/en/bangkok)

Where to party: The Sky Bar, Muay Thai Boxing  (https://lebua.com/restaurants/sky-bar/, https://www.lumpineemuaythai.com/)

Where to eat: Bangkok street food is spicy and great! (https://www.bangkokfoodtours.com/, https://www.secretfoodtours.com/bangkok)

What to buy: Gems, Silks and Souvenirs

Bangkok will always drag you back!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: The temples and the markets! (https://www.tourismthailand.org, https://www.bangkoktuktuktour.com/ )

Where to stay: The Banyan Tree or The Peninsula (https://www.banyantree.com/en/thailand/bangkok, https://www.peninsula.com/en/bangkok)

Where to party: The Sky Bar, Muay Thai Boxing  (https://lebua.com/restaurants/sky-bar/, https://www.lumpineemuaythai.com/)

Where to eat: Bangkok street food is spicy and great! (https://www.bangkokfoodtours.com/, https://www.secretfoodtours.com/bangkok)

What to buy: Gems, Silks and Souvenirs

Bangkok will always drag you back!

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