The 7 best places to visit in Bangkok

 

Built in the 18th century at the edge of what is today the China Town district of Bangkok, is the Wat Traimit, a wonderfully ornate building that is more commonly known as the Temple Of The Golden Buddha, so called due to its biggest attraction. The Buddha is believed to have been built around 700 years ago, having been moved around during the periods of the Kingdom Of Sukhotai and the Kingdom Of Ayutthaya. During ancient times Buddha statues were cast in gold, then disguised from would be invaders by covering them in plaster. Having been accidentally dropped during a move 1950's, the plaster broke to reveal a magnificent solid gold Sukhotai style Buddha. Sitting at nearly 5 metres (16.5 ft) high and weighing five and a half tons it is the largest solid gold statue in the world.

7. Wat Traimit

Dating to the time of the Kingdom Of Ayutthaya, massively restored during the early 20th century, is the Buddhist Temple of Wat Saket. Within its walls on the remains of an enormous collapsed stupa is a steep artificial hill known as the Golden Mountain, at its peak a smaller, more modern stupa. Towering above the nearby buildings the stupa offers visitors fantastic views over the surrounding neighbourhood. Though fairly modern, it has become a major attraction of the city, and a symbol of Bangkok.

6. Wat Saket

 

Completed at the beginning of the 21st century, to the south of the city centre on the road leading to Samut Prakan is the Erawan Museum, famed for the giant three headed elephant statue depicting the mythological white elephant that carries the Hindu God, Indra. Made of bronze, it weighs approximately 250 tons, stands 29 metres (95 ft) high on a 15 metre (49 ft) pedestal. The inside of the museum displays priceless collections of art and antiquities, the decor modeled on the Hindu representation of the universe, the ground floor depicting the underworld, the Earth on the first floor with heaven at the top, inside the belly of the elephant.

5. Erawan Museum

 

Dating from around the 17th century, built on the banks of the Chao Phraya River is the Buddhist temple of Wat Arun, meaning Temple Of Dawn, a name derived from the Hindu God, Aruna. The main and most distinctive feature of the temple is its central prang, built in the early 19th century it is a Khmer style tower encrusted with colourful porcelain. Standing approximately 80 metres (262 ft) high it is among the most well known landmarks in Thailand.

4. Wat Arun

 

Dating from the 16th century, directly south of the Grand Palace is the temple of Wat Pho, also known as the Temple Of The Reclining Buddha, one of Bangkok's oldest and largest temple complexes. Classed as the highest grade of the first class royal temples, the site houses many ancient buildings within its pavilions, and is home to the largest collection of Buddha images in the country, including the famous 46 metre (150 ft) Reclining Buddha. Built in 1832 AD the Reclining Buddha is one of the countries largest statues.

3. Wat Pho

 

Within the precinct of the Grand Palace, with special mention, is the Wat Phra Kaew, commonly known as the Temple Of The Emerald Buddha, regarded to be the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. Within the main building, the Phra Ubosot, is housed the statue of the Emerald Buddha, one of the most protected images in the country. Dating from the mid 15th century, the statue stands a mere 66 centimetres high, carved from a single piece of jade stone. According to legend, the Emerald Buddha will bring prosperity and pre-eminence to whichever country it resides, and as such is revered and venerated as the protector of Thailand. But for the king or the crown prince, no other person is allowed to touch the statue.

2. Wat Phra Kaew

 

The official residence ​of the Kings Of Siam since 1782 AD, the Grand Palace is a complex of buildings and temples at the heart of the capital, today being one of the most visited locations in the country. Surrounded by an outer wall, covering a vast 218,000 square metres, the palace grounds are made up of halls, pavilions and temple structures set around open lawns, gardens and courtyards. With buildings such as the majestic Chakri Maha Prasa, and the historic Wat Phra Kaew that houses the Emerald Buddha, its rich history, magnificent and opulent architecture make the Grand Palace one of the most beautiful sights in all of Thailand.

1. The Grand Palace

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