Bangkok: One of the Top Vacation Destinations in the World
In Southeast Asia, many people may think of Vietnam or even portions of China as well worth a vacation. However, with more affordable prices for flights to Thailand, it has become one of the best options for travelers who want to take in a country with centuries of history. More than an appreciation for times past, the country has moved forward and the markets in and around Bangkok offer a stunning change of pace to shrines and sites with great options for those looking to bring souvenirs home. Here are some of the worthwhile additions to any itinerary for travel to Thailand.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
What started as an effort to build national pride amongst Thais in the 1940s has now become one of the world’s largest weekend markets in the world, as people who travel to Thailand can visit more than ten thousand stalls at Chatuchak.
It now spans more than 27 acres, or more than one million square feet and while it has services for tourists, many Bangkok residents also take the time to look for household items, clothing and food as necessary. People who are looking for something to bring home after their trip should know that there are shipping companies at the market, and a local mall at one corner has restaurants worth checking out.
The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace, still used for ceremonial occasions by the Thai royal family, is one of the key sites for people who are planning to travel to Thailand. There are rings of buildings and each one offers a different environment for those who are interested in the country’s history and classical architecture.
The outer ring is what is most often used for occasions and includes a temple, for the Emerald Buddha, as well as royal offices and other public buildings that can be used for heads of states and related needs. The temple includes the most sacred spiritual structure, made of green jade and surrounded by some of the most intricate metalwork and art in the entire country.
Beyond that are the Chakri Mahaprasat Throen Hall which includes elements of Western architecture while still maintaining the appearance of Thai style from the 1800s and is where some of the most powerful men and women of the world met with the leader of what was then the Kingdom of Siam. While there, one can look but not enter the Borom Phiman Mnasion which was used by the crown princes, the equivalent of the second men in line to the Thai crown.
Since the site is supposed to honor both the reigns of kings and has the significant Buddha statue, visitors should avoid see-through clothing, tank-tops, short skirts, sandals and other casual wear.
For those who are able to find flights to Thailand and are adding the Grand Palace to their itinerary, adding the Bangkok city pillar shrine or Ang Thong is easy enough as it is located right nearby the complex.
The first pillar was made of local wood, covered in gold and measures about one foot in diameter and roughly 15 feet high. Way back in the 18th century, rulers of Thailand believed that when a city was built, it needed an anchor to the spirit world, especially an homage to the municipal spirt of Chao Pho Lak Mueang.
While the original city pillar is impressive in its own right and has centuries of history behind it, there is a second pillar that was created and both are now housed in a shrine with images of divine Thai figures. It is free to visit, but travelers should be aware that it is a relatively quick visit. If you add an hour or two to a day trip to the nearby Grand Palace, you’ll set yourself up for a nice change of pace.
Pak Khlong Talat Flower Market
Travelers are learning that some of the best attractions are those where they can just see the goings on of native workers. Of course, that would be a lot less fun at a factory, but the splashes of color that peek out at night at Pak Khlong Talat have entrhalled botany enthusiasts and just those who can appreciate nature as art.
Flowering plants of all varieties are on offer, from marigolds to roses, jasmin and orchids. Gardeners of all stripes who decide to visit Thailand can take an hour or more to take in all the different kinds of rare plants that will be sold around the city. Keep in mind that while the market is open throughout the day near the Memorial Bridge stop on the ferry, the best time, with seemingly endless activity, is at night. In addition, as the people there are at work, don’t expect more than the beautiful sight of myriad flowers.
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