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The Grand Palace
Built in 1782 by King Rama I, the Grand Palace is where you can see an interesting mix of European and Thai architecture in the one compound. Together with the royal chapel or Wat Phra Kaeo, the Palace is one of the must see places in Bangkok. Remember to take a hat and dress appropriately for one of Thailand's most revered and sacred location. The complex is open daily from 8.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m, except for ceremonial days.

 

Vimanmek Palace
Located on Si Ayuthaya Road, this complex of five Thai style houses occupies a beautiful garden and houses an important collection of Asian antiques. A lacquer pavilion is decorated with sumptuous late Ayutthayan period (1350-1767) gold-leaf murals. It is open Monday through Saturday from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Admission is 50 baht.

 

Wat Phra Kaeo (Golden Palace)
Located in the Grand Palace compound, this temple is home to Thailand's most revered Buddha image - the Emerald Buddha. Overwhelming in its rich display of colour, images and architecture, the buildings inside the temple grounds comprise of a Golden Stupa, containing relics of the Buddha, a Library where Buddhist scriptures are kept, and the Royal Pantheon which is a pavilion used for keeping statues of deceased kings of the Chakri dynasty. The entire area is surrounded by a wall containing mural paintings depicting the story of the Ramayana. Open daily from 8.30 to 3.30 except for auspicious and ceremonious occassions, visitors must dress appropriately.
 

Wat Arun
Opposite the Grand Palace on the Chao Phraya River, the temple is easily spotted on Bangkok's skyline by it's tall thin pagodas decorated with ceramic tiles and fragments of multi-coloured porcelain. Easy access is by boat from Tha Tien Pier, near Wat Pho.

 

Wat Pho
The largest temple in Bangkok, it is also famous for its 46 meter long, 15 meter high gold-plated reclining Buddha which rests in a large hall built in the reign of Rama III in 1832. Wat Po is also known as a place of learning, and is the centre for traditional medicine and massage - all of which can be practiced or sampled by locals and tourists who flock to this temple for relief from the tensions of modern life. Getting there - by riverboat stop at Tha Thien. By bus - head for the Grand Palace and and walk down to Chetupon Road. Entrance is on the south side of the monestry..

Wat Mahathat
Located on Na Phrathat Road near Thammasat University and in the vicinity of the Grand Palace, 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 is open daily from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

Wat Saket
Another prominent landmark on Bangkok's skyline, Wat Saket features an artificial hill topped by a gilded pagoda which is 260 feet in height from its base. Begun by King Rama III 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.

National Museum
Within walking distance of the Grand Palace, the National Museum houses a collection of artifacts found in all parts of the country ranging from Neolithic times, Sukhothai, Ayuttthaya to Bangkok period. Open everyday, except Mondays, Tuesdays, and annual holidays, from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Admission fee is 40 baht.

National Gallery Museum
Located on Chao Fa Road opposite the National Museum, you can find traditional and contemporary works of art created by Thai artists. Open everyday except Mondays, Tuesdays, and public holidays from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.

Royal Barge National Museum
Located near Phra Pin Klao Bridge, the museum houses barges used on royal occasions and formerly at war. 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 to November. Open everyday from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Getting there - by long tail boat from any pier along the river.

Banglamphu
The riverine section of Bangkok is favoured by back-packers for its budget accommodation. The area offers inexpensive items, especially readymade clothing, leather foods, footwear, cosmetics and curios. Bargaining is recommended.

 

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