the Tourist Authority of Thailand. It is organized by region:
On the right hand side, before entering the palace's inner gate is the Royal Thai Decorations and Coin Pavilion which displays coins and other monetary exchange units used in Thailand since the early 11th century AD, as well as Royal regalia, decorations and medals used in the former royal courts.
The complex is open daily from 8.30 a.m.-3.30 p.m. Admission fee is 125 baht. (including a ticket to Vimanmek Royal Mansion). Proper attire is essential.
SANAM LUANGThis huge public ground surrounded by old tamarind trees is in front of the Grand Palace. It is the place where royal cremation ceremonies and some annual events such as the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, King's and Queen's birthdays, and the New Year Festival are held. At the northern part of Sanam Luang is the Statue of the Earth Goddess. It was built in the reign of King Rama IV to provide public drinking water. On the southeast corner is the City Pillar Shrine or San Lak Muang. The graceful, temple-like structure houses a stone pillar placed there by King Rama I as the foundation stone for the new capital of Bangkok.
NATIONAL MUSEUMWithin the walking distance of the Grand Palace is one of the largest and most comprehensive museums in Southeast Asia. Bangkok's National Museum houses a vast collection of artefacts found in all parts of the country ranging from neolithic times, Sukhothai, Ayutthaya to the Bangkok period. The complex, also begun in 1782, consists of several old but beautiful buildings of colourful Thai architectural design. The museum is open everyday, except Mondays, Tuesdays, and annual holidays, from 9.00 a.m.- 4.00 p.m. Admission fee is 40 baht per person. Guided tours in English, French, German, and Japanese are provided to visitors on certain days of the week.
NATIONAL GALLERY MUSEUMThis museum, located on Chao Fa Road opposite the National Museum, exhibits traditional and contemporary works of art created by Thai artists. It is open to the public everyday except Mondays, Tuesdays, and public holidays from 9.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. Admission fee is 30 baht.
WAT MAHATHATThis old temple was built in the reign of King Rama 1. It is located on Na Phrathat Road near Thammasat University. The temple houses Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist University, one of the two highest seats of Buddhist learning in Thailand and also offers meditation classes for foreigners. The temple complex is open daily from 9.00 a.m.- 5.00 p.m.
WAT PHOThis world famous temple is located on Thai Wang Road next to the Grand Palace. It is one of Bangkok's oldest and largest temples housing the gigantic gold plated reclining Buddha with beautifully inlaid mother-of-pearl soles. Wat Pho is also regarded as the first centre of public education and is sometimes called "Thailand's first university". Mural paintings, inscriptions, and statues found in the temple educated people on varied subjects; for example, literature, warfare, archaeology, astronomy, geology, meditation, treatment, and Thai traditional massage. It is open to the public daily from 9.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m. Admission fee is 20 baht.
WAT ARUNLocated on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, the temple can be reached either by Arun Amarin Road or by boat from Tha Tien Pier, near Wat Pho. The most attractive structure in this temple is the 79-metre-high pagoda or "Phra Prang", which is decorated with ceramic tiles and fragments of multi-coloured porcelain. Wat Arun was restored during the brief Thonburi period to be the Royal Chapel of King Taksin. It is called the "Temple of the Dawn", and the most beautiful view of it is from the east side of the river at sunset.
WAT RATCHABOPHITThe temple is located on Fuang Nakhon Road near Wat Pho. Built by King Rama V in 1869, it was in keeping with tradition that each monarch constructed a temple to mark his reign. The temple is a mixture of local and western styles, showing an awakening interest in new ideas and a desire to experiment with them. The exterior of the chapel is in Thai style but the interior is decorated in European style.
PAK KHLONGTALATThis is a wholesale market for all kinds of cut flowers and vegetables. It is located on Maharat Road near the Memorial Bridge. The colourful flowers and the bustling atmosphere is the charm of this market, especially when the market is crowded in the early morning and in the evening.
WAT SUTHATThe temple is located on Bamrung Muang Road. It took 27 years, during the reigns of the first three kings of the Chakri Dynasty, to complete the construction. This temple is famous for the excellent murals created in the reign of King Rama 111. The viharn (preaching hall) should be seen for its collection of gilded Buddha images. The temple used to house a huge door with intricate carving, which is the masterpiece of King Rama 11 and is now kept in the National Museum. The temple complex is open daily from 9.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m.
In front of the temple is the Giant Swing or Sao Ching Cha where a Brahmanic ceremony had taken place until the early 20th century. Many shops near the Giant Swing stock a very comprehensive range of Buddhist religious supplies.
WAT THEPTHIDARAMLocated on Mahachai Road, the temple was built in the reign of King Rama 111 with a mixture of Chinese architectural styles. Sunthon Phu, one of Thailand's greatest poets, had resided in this temple during his monkhood from 1840-1842. His residence is now open to the public.
DEMOCRACY MONUMENTThis monument, located in the middle of Ratchadamnoen Avenue, was conceived and constructed to commemorate the peaceful changeover from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy on 24 June, 1932.
WAT RATCHANATDARAMLocated on Mahachai Road, the temple was built in the reign of King Rama 111 in 1846. Loha Prasat, the temple's main attraction, standing 36 metres high with 37 surrounding spires, is the only one of its kind left in the world. Next to the temple is the area for welcoming an important foreign guest and a memorial statue of King Rama 111.
THE GOLDEN MOUNTLocated in the the compound of Wat Sa Ket with the entrance on Boriphat Road, this is an artificial hill topped by a gilded pagoda which is 260 feet in height from its base. Begun by King Rama 111 and completed in the reign of King Rama IV, the golden mount is one of the most celebrated landmarks in Bangkok's old area and offers a panoramic city view from the top.
WAT INDRAVIHANLocated in Bang Khun Phrom area on Wisutkasat Road, this temple is well known for a huge standing Buddha image called Luang Pho To. The image, built in the reign of King Rama IV, is 32 metres tall and 10 metres wide. The topknot of the Buddha image contains a relic of Lord Buddha brought from Sri Lanka.
WAT BOWON NIWETThis temple is located on Phra Sumen Road in the Bang Lamphu area. Built in 1829, it is the shrine-hall of Phra Phutthachinnasi, a very beautiful Buddha image which was moulded in about 1357. Wat Bowon Niwet is one of the most important temples of Bangkok, whose one-time chief abbot was King Rama IV before he ascended the throne. Other Chakri Kings who had resided here during their monkhood include King Rama IV and King Rama VII, as well as His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
VOLANMEK ROYAL MANSIONLocated on Ratchawithi Road behind the National Assembly, it is the world's largest building made entirely of golden teak. Removed from Ko Sichang in Chonburi province, it was rebuilt here in 1900 by the command of King Rama V. The mansion has 31 exhibition rooms, some of which maintain the atmosphere of the past. A guided tour inside the building is provided to visitors. Many other buildings in the same compound are also used as museums, and display various items and art objects; for example, H.M. King Bhumibol's photography, H.M. Queen Sirikit's collection of handicraft masterpieces created by rural people, paraphernalia of rank and portraits, old clocks, ancient cloth, and royal carriages. The compound is open daily from 9.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. Admission fee is 50 baht. Proper attire is required. There are also traditional Thai dancing shows at 10.30 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. Call 282-7111, 281-6880 for more information.
DUSIT ZOODusit Zoo, managed by the Zoological Park Organisation, is where visitors can inspect various species of tropical animals. In the middle of the area is a large pond with boat and paddleboat services. It is open everyday from 8.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m. Admission fee is 20 baht.
CHINA TOWNBangkok's China Town is an old business centre covering a large area around Yaowarat and Charoen Krung Roads. There are many small streets and alleys full of shops selling all types of goods. The area is always lively and market stalls abound. It has been the main centre for trading by the Chinese since they were moved from their old site some 200 years ago. Nearby is Phahurat Market, one of the city's renowned cloth centres.
WAT TRAI MITLocated at the end of Yaowarat Road near the Bangkok Railway Station (Hue Lam Phong), this temple is known for its famous Golden Buddha, constructed during the Sukhothai Period. The beautiful image of solid gold, is three metres high and weighs five and a half tons. The temple is open everyday from 9.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.
Located on Si Ayutthaya Road near the Phayathai intersection, this used to be the residence of Princess Chumphot, one of Thailand's leading art collectors. Five traditional Thai houses overlooking a beautifully kept garden display a large collection of Thai arts and antiques. It is open everyday except Sundays from 9.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m. Admission fee is 80 baht.
MUSEUM OF IMAGERY TECHNOLOGYThe first camera and photograph museum established in Thailand and Asia, is located at the same building as the Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University. Historic photographs and imaging equipment, as well as its technological evolution are collected and displayed. Modern photographic arts, techniques and printing technology are also exhibited. The museum is open only on Thursdays from 10.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. Admission fee is 100 baht each.
PASTEUR INSTITUTE OR SNAKE FARMThis interesting spot is located at the comer of Henri Dunant and Rama IV Roads west of Chulalongkorn Hospital. It is a section of the Thai Red Cross, where one can have cholera, smallpox, and typhoid inoculations, as well as rabies treatment. The institute has become a popular tourist attraction because of its large collection of live poisonous snakes. It is open from 8.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. on weekdays and 8.30 a.m.-12.00 p.m. on holidays. The extraction of venom from the snakes is demonstrated at 10.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. on weekdays, and at 10.30 a.m. on holidays. Admission fee is 70 baht per person.
ERAWAN SHRINELocated on Ratchadamri Road, the shrine devoted to Phra Phrom, a Hindu god, is greatly revered by people. Laced flowers and small wooden elephants as well as Thai dancing performances are always offered to the statue by grateful devotees.
BAN KHAM THIENGBan Kham Thieng is a classic northern-style teak house, originally constructed in Chiang Mai more than 200 years ago and donated to the Siam Society by its owners and reconstructed in Bangkok. It is located at 131 Soi Asoke (So 21) Sukhumvit Road. A very large variety of Thai flora can be seen in its garden. Also on display are items used daily by Thai farmers and fishermen. It is open daily except Sundays and Mondays from 9.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m. Admission fee is 70 baht. Call 661-6470-7 for more information.
SCIENCE MUSEUMSituated next to the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai) on Sukhumvit Road, the Science Museum is an exhibition center on a variety of scientific knowledge including astronomy, communication technology, and biology. Visitors can also enjoy seeing an interesting aquarium, a computer world, a planetarium, as well other devices created for fun and education. The museum is open daily except Mondays and public holidays from 9.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. Admission fee is 40 baht for adults and 20 baht for children.
ROYAL BARGE NATIONAL MUSEUMThis shed, where several royal barges are displayed, is located on Khlong (canal) Bangkok Noi off the Chao Phraya River not far from Phra Pin Klao Bridge. The barges were used on royal occasions and formerly served as war vessels. The most beautiful barge is "Suphannahong" used by the king only when he made his royal river procession for the Kathin Ceremony, a Buddhist tradition of offering robes to monks, usually during October or November. The unique design and decorative details of each barge should be of great interest to all visitors. The shed is open everyday except annual holidays from 8.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. Admission fee is 30 baht. Visitors can rent a boat at Tha Chang Pier near the Grand Palace to visit the museum and way of life along the khlong.
PRINCESS MOTHER MEMORIAL PARKThis beautiful park is located on Soi 3 Somdet Chao Phraya Road, Khlong San District. It was built near Wet Anongkharam community where Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother had resided during her childhood. The park comprises a full scale model of the Princess Mother's house and the old buildings renovated as exhibition halls displaying the story of Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother as well as the history of the Wat Anongkharam community. The exhibition halls are open daily except Mondays and Tuesdays from 9.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. Admission is free.
PHILATELIC MUSEUMThe museum is on the 1st floor of the Metropolitan Postal Bureau behind Sam Sen Nai Post Office, Saphan Khwai area. It is open daily from Tuesdays to Sundays during 9.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m. There is no admission fee. Thai and foreign stamps of the past are on display. The collections of post books in both Thai and foreign languages are available at the library. Stamps and accessories for stamp collection are on sale.
HALL OF RAILWAY HERITAGEThis is a train museum where steam engines, train models, and miniature trains are exhibited along with the story of world railway systems. It is located on the western side of Chatuchak Park adjacent to Kamphaeng Phet Road. It is open to the public only on Sundays from 5.00-12.00 a.m.
PRASART MUSEUMThis museum is location is 9 Soi 4, Krungthep Kritha Road off Si Nakharin Road, Bang Kapi, Bangkok. It houses a vast collection of artifacts from prehistoric to Bangkok periods. The imitation of some beautiful Thai architecture is scattered within the museum complex. Prasart Museum is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10.00 a.m.-3.00 p.m. Admission fee is 300 baht each. It is also open on weekdays for groups. For advance reservation call 379-3601, 379-3607.
KING RAMA IX ROYAL PARKThe 200-acre park on Si Nakharin Road commemorates His Majesty King Rama IX is 60th birthday in 1987. It comprises extensive botanical gardens, and a building displaying the works and life of King Rama IX. Admission fee is 10 baht.
SAFARI WORLDThis is located at Km.9 Ram Indra Road, Minburi. The area of 170 acres is divided into 2 parts: the Safari Park and the Marine Park. The Safari Park has a large variety of wildlife in natural habitat. Visitors can drive their own car, or have a look from Safari World's coach. In the Marine Park, visitors can enjoy performances of well-trained animals like dolphins, birds, seals, and monkeys. Safari World is open daily from 9.00 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. Admission fee is 400 baht for adults and 300 baht for children.
CROCODILE FARMThis large farm with over 30,000 fresh and saltwater crocodiles is some 30 kilometres from Bangkok in Samut Prakan Province. Other creatures including trained elephants, gibbons, lions, and snakes are also found here. The exciting crocodile wrestling show is performed every hour. There is also a Dinosaur Museum where various species of life-size creatures of dinosaurs and their skeletons are on display. The compound is open daily from 7.00 a.m.-6.00 p.m. Admission fee is 300 baht.
ANCIENT CITYThis is the world's largest outdoor museum which consists of gigantic sized replicas of famous buildings, monuments, and temples found in all parts of Thailand. Visitors can travel around by private car in the area of 280 acres, which is approximately the geographic shape of Thailand. The Ancient City is located at Km. 33 on Sukhumvit Road, Samut Prakan Province. The compound is open daily from 8.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m. Admission fee is 50 baht per person.
THAI HUMAN IMAGERY MUSEUMLocated at Km.31 Borom Ratchonnani Road on the way to Nakhon Pathom, the museum houses life-like sculptures, created by a group of Thai artists after 10 years of their intensive study and hard work. These breathtaking human figures with various characteristics and the replicas of important people are displayed in many sections such as the Great Buddhist Monks, Former Kings of the Chakri Dynasty , and One Side of Thai Life. The museum is open to the public from 9.00 a.m.-5.30 p.m. Admission fee is 200 baht.
ROSE GARDENThis popular tourist attraction is 32 kilometres west of Bangkok on Phetkasem Road. Situated by the Tha Chin River, it boasts large, beautiful, and well-maintained gardens. In the resort, there is a Thai Cultural Village where an attractive show commences daily at 2.45 p.m. There is for instance, Thai folk dancing, Thai boxing, sword fighting demonstrations, and an elephant show. Admission to the show is 220 baht per person. The resort is open daily from 8.00 a.m.-6.00 p.m.
SAMPHRAN ELEPHANT GROUND & ZOOJust only 1 kilometre before the Rose Garden, this 60-acre farm is another interesting attraction housing many different wild animals and thousands of crocodiles. Fascinating performances such as Crocodile Wrestling, Magic Show, and Elephant Theme Show commence everyday at 12.45 p.m. and 2.20 p.m. with additional shows on holidays at 10.30 a.m. This farm is open daily from 8.00 a.m.-5.30 p.m. Admission fee is 220 baht.
DAMNOEN SADUAK FLOATING MARKETThis popular attraction is some 80 kilometres west of Bangkok via Samut Songkhram province, accessible by regular bus from the Southern Bus Terminal. Everyday hundreds of vendor boats crowd the market area in the early morning till noon. Visitors can also travel around by boat to see local villages, and the way of life of the people in the countryside. Some 10 kilometres beyond Damnoen Saduak is Tha Kha Floating Market where small boats laden with fruits and vegetables assemble for business every Saturday and Sunday morning.
BANG PA-IN SUMMER PALACEThis is some 30 kilometres south of Ayutthaya, or a 1-hour drive from Bangkok. Built in the reign of King Rama V, the palace~consists of various styled buildings. Thai, Chinese, Italian, and Victorian styles predominate. A Thai pavilion in the centre of a small lake is regarded as one of the finest examples of Thai architecture. The palace complex can be reached by bus from Bangkok. The ground is open everyday from 8.30 a.m.-4.00 p.m. Admission fee is 50 baht.
BANG SAI'S ROYAL FOLK ARTS AND CRAFTS CENTRECovering an area of 114 acres, the Centre is located 40 kilometres south of Ayutthaya. Farmers from Ayutthaya as well as from other rural areas undergo training in folk arts and crafts here. Visitors can have a glimpse of how farmers in different regions of Thailand live and work, and how their products of art and craft are produced. These handicrafts including weaving, basketry, carving wood, artificial flowers, hand-woven silk and cotton, and miniature Thai dolls are on display and on sale. The compound is open daily (except Mondays) from 8:30 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. Admission fee is 20 baht.
THAI BOXINGThai boxing is both a sport and a means of self defence. Contestants are allowed to use almost any part of their body: feet, elbows, legs, knees, and shoulders, are all weapons. The playing of traditional music during bouts makes for even greater excitement. There are two venues in Bangkok for this type of sport.
SHOPPINGShopping in Bangkok is not limited to one or two major streets. There are many areas throughout Bangkok affording ample choices and easy access. The principal shopping areas in downtown Bangkok which boasts many specialist shops, shopping plazas, and department stores include Silom, Siam Square, Ratchadamri, Pratunam, Ploenchit and Bang Lamphu. The following places for shopping are also recommended:
AMUSEMENT PARKSBesides the amusement parks in major department stores, the following are extensive fun lands with beautiful landscaping and many kinds of toys:
THAI CULTURAL SHOW
MEDITATION CENTRESMeditation is one of the most popular aspects of Buddhism, practiced regularly by numerous Thais, and laymen as a means. of promoting inner peace and happiness. The following are meditation centres which offer a class in English for foreign visitors who wish to find out more about Buddhism and Buddhist meditation.
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