If you want to learn a thing or two about history or culture, then Bangkok is the place to do it. Laden with magnificent temples, intriguing museums, and ancient attractions, Bangkok is the hub of enlightenment. This city is more than just seedy discos and neon lights; it is the cultural apex of Thailand, where modernity meets the traditional, making for something truly out of the ordinary. So, bring your camera along and be prepared to capture some imagery that will last a lifetime.

Exotic Market • Taling Chan

Instead of the retail commotion of a shopping mall, it might be fun to symbolically paddle back in time. The Taling Chan Floating Market, held every Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting) in front of the Taling Chan Municipal Office, is where vendors bring all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables grown in local orchards and gardens. You should also try the khao lam (glutinous rice roasted in bamboo joints) and kluey khaek (deep fried sliced banana). Time permitting, take a boat ride through and see modest residences along the canal that will take you back to simpler, unhurried days. Taling Chan

Exotic Market • Bangkok Noi

Bangkok Noi Up to the 19th century, Bangkok Noi was known as Amphoe Amarin, or the District of Indra. The area took its name from the canal running through it, Klong Bangkok Noi. Most visitors start at the former Bangkok Noi Railway Station, now the district’s tourist center. From here, take a long-tail boat ride to the Museum of the Royal Barges as well as two beautiful temples dating back to the Ayutthaya era, Wat Suwannaram Ratchaworawihan and Wat Rakhang Kositaram Woramahawihan, both reconstructed by King Rama I. Locals flock to Bangkok Noi to streets named for the famed Thai sweets, Trok Matoom (bael fruit) and Trok Khao Mao (shredded rice) as well as Ban Chang Lor, where artisans cast beautiful Buddha images.

Pak Klong Talat • Flower Market

Pak Klong Talat • Flower Market Thailand is blessed with inexpensive, yet gorgeous
flowers that would cost a pretty penny anywhere else in the world. In Bangkok, the best place for flowers is Pak Klong Talat flower market, a riot of colors and aromas, with not only multi-hued fresh-cut flowers available, but also fresh vegetables, fruits, and spices. Stay up late or get up early, because the best time to visit is between 2:00 AM and 4:00 AM, when new deliveries arrive and buyers from restaurants, hotels, and market vendors all over Bangkok come to refresh their floral wares. Peruse jasmine, water lilies, orchids, and roses, along with handcrafted garlands, and then snack on a traditional breakfast of fried dough and hot soy milk.

Pak Klong Talat Flower Market
Along Maharat Road, near Memorial Bridge
Open every day from around 02:00 AM to 10:00 AM

Respectful Gods • Hindu Shrines

Respectful Gods • Hindu Shrines A visit to the busy Ratchaprasong intersection is a must for any visitor to Bangkok. Day or night, rain or shine, tourists and locals flock to the Erawan Shrine, believed by many to be one of the most auspicious in Thailand. The shrine holds the Hindu god Brahma, known in Thai as Phra Phrom. There are many who claim their wishes have been granted here, but even if you do not believe in such things, it is still a spectacle worth visiting; the overhead sky bridge connecting Chidlom BTS Station and CentralWorld shopping center makes an excellent vantage point.

A shrine to Indra, the supreme ruler of all the Hindu Gods is just down the road from Erawan Shrine to the east. Housed in the Indra Shrine, and made of dark jade, the statue is located in front of Amarin Plaza. Indra is regarded as the god of thunder and rain, the god of war, and the deity that looks after mankind. Visitors often notice the abundance of wooden elephants offered to this god, as Lord Erawan, the god of elephants, was his celestial vehicle.

Across the road from the Indra Shrine in front of the Intercontinental Hotel is the Vishnu Shrine, a remarkable memorial to the Hindu God Vishnu. The protector and preserver of creation, Vishnu is perched on the shoulders of a garuda, the half-man half-bird creature found on the official crest of Thailand. Princess Sita, his reincarnated consort Lakshmi, is depicted close by on the fourth floor of Gaysorn Plaza.This Lakshmi Shrine is for the goddess of good fortune, wealth and prosperity, which is fitting, as Gaysorn is home to very high-end brands.

From that vantage point, you can see the Ganesha Shrine in front of CentralWorld shopping center, honoring the elephant-
head Hindu god (known in Thai as Phra Bikanes) who holds a special place in the hearts of many Thais. The god of accomplishment, wisdom and wealth, Ganesha is the preferred deity to visit when seeking success. The worship of Ganesha is another indication of the fusion of Hindu deities in Thai customs and rituals, along with the shrine immediately adjacent to it, the Trimutri Shrine, which has its own special aura. While this classical golden Indian sculpture was also built for those seeking prosperity and happiness, it is popularly known as The Lover’s Shrine, for its apparent effectiveness in helping worshippers find romance.

The proximity of all six Hindu gods means you can easily visit each one in less than a day, covering all your bases for success, wealth, luck, and love, with plenty of time for shopping and dining in the lively Ratchaprasong area.

Kuan Yin

Kuan Yin, is an ancient Chinese goddess with legend going back to 300 BC. Known in Thai as Jao Mae Kuan Im, she embodies the virtues of love, kindness, compassion and forgiveness. Built by Chinese immigrants in the reign of King Rama III, the riverside temple houses a one-meter tall gold image of Kuan Yin, facing the Chao Phraya River. Photographs are not allowed within the shrine itself, but visitors can snap away at the antique ambience of Chinese architecture outside.

A newer temple was built in 1983 in the residential area of Chokchai 4, off busy Lad Prao Road. It is somewhat off the beaten path, but the beautiful representations of Chinese deities, prominently including the goddess Kuan Yin (along with assorted Buddha images) are worth checking out.Thais who eschew meat-eating often pay respect to this goddess of compassion, so a vegetarian hall and a meditation center are also located here.

Kuan Yin Shrine
Location: walking distance from Saphan Bhut pier
Open 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily

Kuan Yin Shrine
Location: Chokchai 4 Soi 39, Lad Prao, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 2225 7612

Kuan Yin

Kuan Yu • Tiger God Shrine

Kuan Yu • Tiger God Shrine Known to Thais as Jao Por Suea, or the Tiger God, Kuan Yu was an ancient Chinese general in the 2nd and 3rd centuries that played a central role in the civil wars among the warring kingdoms of China, immortalized in the Chinese epic narrative,Three Kingdoms. Located on the Thonburi bank of the Chao Phraya, this recently renovated shrine is just behind the Princess Mother Memorial Park. While he is sometimes called the God of War, his loyalty, integrity and sense of justice for the common man earned him the title of God of Righteousness, while his financial acumen inspires merchants and traders to worship him as the God of Commerce and Wealth. The shrine is a popular site for worship among Bangkok’s ethnic Chinese.

Kuan Yu Shrine
44 Samsen Road, Phra Nakhon District, Bangkok

Siam Ocean World

Siam Ocean World Within the depths of Bangkok’s premier shopping mall is Siam Ocean World, a world-class aquarium full of amazing animals and simulated ocean habitats. Boasting a reputation as the largest aquarium in Southeast Asia, Siam Ocean World includes penguins, grey nurse sharks and giant spider crabs in addition to a variety of native reef fauna found along Thailand’s coast. The aquarium offers a ‘Dive with the Sharks program’ where visitors can scuba dive in the Open Ocean side by side with the scary-looking sharks and rays. The aquarium also features ‘Sanyo 4D X-venture’, a state of the art interactive theatre experience. For trinkets, there is the Shark Shop, with furry fish friends, or a T-shirt designed especially for Siam Ocean World. Entry is 850THB for adults and 650THB for children.

Siam Ocean World
B1-B2 Floor, Siam Paragon, 991 Rama 1 Road,
Tel: +66 (0) 2687 2000 Fax: +66 (0) 2687 2001
www.siamoceanworld.co.th

Temple • Emarald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew)

Emarald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew)
Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew)
Na Phra Lan Road, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon District, Bangkok
Open daily from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Actually made of jade instead of emerald, and at 66 cm high not very large, but the Emerald Buddha is inarguably the most sacred relic in all of Buddhism. The image is considered a talisman and holds tremendous significance for Thailand and its people. It is thought to have been made in the 15th century and was the cause of several wars before finally ending up in Bangkok in 1782. The Buddha image is elevated high on a golden pedestal, representing an arial chariot, and wears a ‘robe’ that is changed three times each year by the King or Crown Prince to mark the changing of the seasons. Admission for foreigners to the Grand Palace is 200THB.

Tips: You cannot take photographs within the chapel itself, but from outside in front you can zoom in for snapshots through the open window.

Temple • Wat Pho & Massage

The large grounds of Wat Pho contain more than 1,000 Buddha images in total, most from the ruins of the former capitals Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, but its highlight is definitely the 46 meters long, 15 meters high, gold-plated reclining Buddha. Representing the Buddha’s passing into Nirvana, the feet are engraved in mother-of-pearl with the characteristics of the Buddha. Wat Pho is also famous as Thailand’s first university, and is center for traditional Thai massage. If you want to experience traditional Thai massage, this is highly recommended, though be warned that some find it quite agonizing. A more gentle foot reflexology massage is also available here. Admission is 50THB.

Wat Pho & Massage

Wat Pho (Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm)
2 Sanamchai Road, Phra Nakhon District, Bangkok
Open every day from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
www.watpho.com

Tips: If seeing the Grand Palace on the same day, it is best to save Wat Pho for last, as it is open later, and you can end a long day of walking around with a relaxing massage!

 

Temple • Wat Arun

On the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River, one temple stands out as one of the icons of Bangkok’s skyline. Wat Arun, named after the Indian god of Dawn, consists of 80-meter-high Khmer-style prangs, ingeniously decorated with bits of porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China, a hallmark of the reign of King Rama III. The temple ground itself is peaceful, with beautiful murals.Wat Arun is one of the most photographed landmarks of Bangkok, and the highlight of every river cruise

Wat Arunratchawararam Ratchaworamahawihan
(opposite Tha Tien pier)
Tel: +66 (0) 2465 5640
Open every day from 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM

Tips: While it is called the Temple of Dawn, the best views
are in the evening, with the sun setting behind it.

Wat Arun

Temple • Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple)

Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful temples in Bangkok, the glistening Wat Benchamabophit (or simply The Marble Temple), is constructed of imported Italian marble and houses a breathtaking collection of Royal relics. Within the temple is a grand Ordination Hall that plays home to a Sukhothai-style Buddha statue known as Phra Buddhajinaraja that was cast in 1920 after the original located in Wat Mahathat in Phitsanulok. The ashes of King Chulalongkorn are buried beneath the statue, making this temple a sacred place where great respect should be shown at all times. In the gallery surrounding the Ordination Hall are 52 Buddha statues, and the adjacent Benchamabophit National Museum. Admission is only 20THB.

Wat Benchamabophit
69 Rama V Road (on the corner of Sri Ayutthaya and Rama V Road,
opposite Chitralada Palace)
Tel: +66 (0) 2281 2501, +66 (0) 2628 7947
Open 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily
www.watbencha.com/index-e.html

Temple • Wat Mangkornkamalawas

Hidden away in Bangkok’s lively Chinatown on Yaowarat Road, Wat Mangkorn (or Wat Leng Nui Yee as the locals know it), was built during the reign of King Rama V following the principles of Feng Shui. Today, it combines aspects of Chinese and Thai Buddhism with flecks of Taoism and Confucianism. Many visitors seek to cleanse or avoid bad luck during inauspicious years by paying respects to the 58 gods placed around the compound. Poised prominently in the temple are ‘Tai Sui Ye’ or the God of Fate, ‘Cai Shen Ye’ or the God of Fortune as well as the Heng Jia God, Mettraiyabhodisat God, and the Guan Yin Goddess. Often obscured by thick smoke from countless incense sticks, visitors are welcomed to participate in ceremonies, such as obtaining a hardcopy of their Chinese fortune.

Leng Nui Yee
New Charoen Krung Road, (near Plaeng Nam intersection)
Yaowarat, Bangkok
Open daily from early to very late

Wat Mangkornkamalawas

Palace • Grand Palace

A centerpiece of Bangkok’s Royal heritage and a major tourist attraction, The Grand Palace was constructed in 1792 when King Rama 1 moved the capital from Thonburi. Today, the palace has an area of 218,400 square meters and is surrounded by walls spanning some 1,900 meters, which encapsulate government offices, the Royal Chapel, and residences. The plan of the Grand Palace closely mimics that of the old palace in Ayutthaya, with a rectangular shape, divided into three quarters: the outer quarters, the middle quarters and the inner quarters. Each quarter is a photographer’s dream, housing lavishly decorated temples, stunning murals, relics of yesteryear and traditional Thai mythical creatures and architecture. The photogenic palace is still used for Royal functions, including coronations, funerals, marriages and state banquets. Guests should pay close attention to the strict attire requirements and take special care to be respectful at all times. Admission is 350THB for adults, and includes entry to the palace, the Vimanmek Mansion Museum, and The Royal Thai Decoration and Coin Pavilion.
Grand Palace The Grand Palace
Tel: +66 (0) 2623 5500 ext. 1124, 3100
Open every day from 08:30 AM to 04:30 PM
www.palaces.thai.net/night/index_gp.htm

Palace • Vimanmek Palace

The world’s largest golden teakwood mansion, Vimanmek Palace was built in 1900 by the Royal command of King Rama V. Under the auspicious Her Majesty the Queen, the mansion was renovated in 1982 to be used as a museum to honor King Rama V displaying his photographs, artifacts, art, and commemorating Royal visits to Europe as well as to exhibit Thai handicrafts as a showcase of national heritage. Altogether there are 31 exhibition rooms, some of which maintain the atmosphere of the past, with exhibitions of silverware, ceramics, glassware and ivory. Admission is 100THB for foreigners, though cost of admission is included on a same day visit to the Grand Palace.

Vimanmek Palace
Ratchawithi Road, Dusit District, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 2228-6300 - 9, +66 (0) 2628 6300-9
Open 09:30 AM to 03:15 PM every day
www.vimanmek.com

Museum • Loha Prasart (Ratchanadda Temple)

Also known as the ‘Metal Castle’ for its distinct façade, Loha Prasart is reminiscent of the exterior of a ‘European’ style palace. Renowned as the only metal roofed Buddhist temple remaining in the world, this intriguing cultural attraction is ornately decorated in Thai style. The central roof rises 36 meters above the ground and has a total of 37 spires, with 37 being the number of chapters of Dharma in Buddhism. Loha Prasart itself has five concentric square towers, each being taller than the other. The outer, middle and center towers are capped by cast iron spires, from which the temple got its name. Visitors are requested to make a 20THB donation in the box near the entrance gate at the base of the structure. Within a close distance to this attraction is the amulet market and numerous other temples and intriguing structures. Loha Prasart

Museum • Jim Thompson House

American silk mogul Jim Thompson, known for revolutionizing the Thai silk industry, also collected Southeast Asian art and constructed an ornate home in central Bangkok. The house is now one of Thailand’s most popular tourist attractions, due to its beautiful architecture and intriguing heritage, along with a boutique selling Jim Thompson’s world famous wares. Within the complex is a magnificent compilation of cultural artifacts, including teak wood carved Buddha images, intricate murals, and elaborate silk appointments, and the House is a popular venue for arts and crafts exhibitions throughout the year. Admissions to the house are 100THB for adults and 50THB for students.
Jim Thompson House
6 Soi Kasemsant 2, Rama 1 Road, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 2216 7368 Fax: +66 (0) 2612 3744
www.jimthompsonhouse.com

Open 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM every day

Museum • Baan Kamthieng

Just steps away from one of Bangkok’s busiest intersections, the Kamthieng House is an intricate structure that was originally situated on the Ping River in Chiang Mai, and then relocated to central Bangkok in the 1960s. Standing as a prime example of Northern Thai architecture, this antique home is now more than 160 years old and has been preserved in excellent condition. Visitors can learn about Thailand’s ethnological history through the display of arts, crafts and everyday working tools of Thailand’s Northern ethnic groups. The Kamthieng House is stocked with artifacts that represent the traditional rural way of life, with beautiful hand-woven fabrics, elaborate woodcarvings, traditional musical instruments and religious items. Admission is 100THB for adults and 50THB for children.

Baan Kamthieng

The house is located directly adjacent to the BTS Skytrain Asoke Station. Take the BTS Skytrain to Asoke Station or the subway to Sukhumvit Station. Open Tuesday to Saturday (except public holidays) 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM closed Sunday, Monday & Public Holidays.

Siam Society
131 Soi Asoke 21,
Off Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 2661 6470-7

Museum • Museum of Siam

Located in a grand 19th century building once home to the Ministry of Finance, the Museum of Siam present a omprehensive history of Thailand in interactive, bilingual exhibits that endeavor to answer questions like “Who are the people of Siam?” and “How did Siam become Thailand?” Using modern technology to present fascinating information, Museum of Siam delights both children and adults, foreigners as well as Thais, as the wealth of brilliantly presented information appeals to anyone interested in Thailand. Admission is free for children under 15, Thai adults 100THB, Foreign adults 300THB. Special group rates are available; groups of 20 or more should make reservations.

4 Sanam Chai Road,
Phra Nakhon District, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 2225 2777
Open Tuesday-Sunday
10:00 AM to 6:00 AM

Museum of Siam

The Museum of the Royal Throne Hall

Originally built in 1907 during the reign of King Rama V, the Royal Throne Hall is the former reception area of the Dusit Palace and has now been converted into a beautiful museum showcasing Thai history through ornate artwork. The hall itself was designed under the supervision of an Italian architect, engineer, and painter. Guests will stand in awe of the magnificent Italian Renaissance and neoclassical architecture, adorned with marble imported from Carrara, Italy that forms the structures of a large central dome surrounded by six smaller domes. After the passing of King Rama V in 1910, King Rama VI continued construction and the hall was completed in 1915 after eight years of work. Within each of the domes are six monumental alfresco paintings depicting import milestones in Royal Thai history, with the largest dome bearing the Royal initials of King Rama V. The throne hall is presently used as a venue for Royal ceremonies and official functions, such as the welcoming of high-ranking diplomats. Currently, it displays the exhibition ‘Arts of the Kingdom’ which consists of Masterpieces of Thai craftsmen created with unmatched skill by the Support Training Center, Chitralada Villa. All masterpieces were constructed for auspicious occasions of the present reign. The museum is open 10:00 AM to 08:00 PM Tuesdays through Sundays, and closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is 150THB and proper attire is essential (no shorts, no sleeveless tops, and women must wear skirts or Thai Sarong which are available at the hall).

The Museum of the Royal Throne Hall
Tel: +66 (0) 2283 9411, +66 (0) 2283 9185
www.artsofthekingdom.com

Museum • The Old Thon Buri Palace

The Old Thon Buri Palace Phra Ratcha Wang Derm, or The Old Palace, was built in 1768 after Phraya Tak drove out the invading Burmese army and founded a new capital, from where he ruled as King Taksin. After his execution in 1782, it continued to be used by King Rama I of the new Chakri Dynasty until the Grand Palace was constructed across the Chao Phraya River. The architectural style of the palace is an impressive mixture of Thai and Chinese arts, and these buildings now serve as a museum holding traditional weapons of the period and information concerning Taksin’s war achievements. Additionally there are exhibits of the Taksin period, paintings and antiques. The museum is open for groups only, so permission should be obtained in advance.

Wang Derm Road (Near Wat Arun)
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday
08:30 AM to 04:00 PM

 

The Giant Swing

This interesting 27-meter tall religious structure, located in front of Wat Suthat, was formerly used in an old Brahmin ceremony after its construction in 1784. The ceremony of Tri-yampawai or the Swing Ceremony was one of 12 royal ceremonies held in each of the months of the Thai lunar calendar in the Sukhothai kingdom. The Swing Ceremony is a re-enactment of an ancient Hindu epic, with the pillars of the Giant Swing representing the mountains, and the circular base representing the earth and the seas. Arguably Thailand’s first foray into extreme sports, it is said spirits of those who died on the swing still haunt the area. The swing has been rebuilt many times over the years, and the latest was presided over by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej in September 2007. While you cannot swing on it anymore, the Giant Swing is free to visit and open to the general public.

The Giant Swing
Hindu Sao Chingcha Square near the intersection of Bamrung Muang Road and Ti Thong Road

Tel: +66 (0) 2222 0280
Open daily from 09:00 AM
to 09:00 PM

Museum • Bangkok Arts and Culture Center (BACC)

Reminiscent of the Guggenheim in New York, the minimalist modern exterior of the new Bangkok Arts and Culture Center holds the beating heart of Bangkok’s burgeoning art scene. The eleven-storey structure is home to galleries, performance spaces, a library and meeting rooms, as well as shops and cafes on the lower floors. Walking through the gallery, there are thought-provoking installation pieces by Thai and international artists all the way to the top floor. Conveniently located at Siam BTS Station across from MBK Center, the BACC represents the shining hope of Thailand’s contemporary arts scene. Admission is free.

Bangkok Arts and Culture Center (BACC)
939 Rama 1 Road, Wangmai,
Pathumwan District, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 2214 6630-8
Open from Tuesday to Sunday,
from 10:00 AM to 09:00 PM

 

TCDC

Artists and innovators go gaga over Thailand Creative & Design Center, one of the finest art and design resource centers in the world. This modern space holds over 25,000 books about art history, interior design, architecture, fashion, textiles, graphic design, photography, film, etc., over 450 magazines and periodicals, and innovative materials sourced from around the world at Material ConneXion Bangkok. Permanent and temporary exhibitions bring to life the importance of design in society, while the attached café and bistro provide a perfect spot for brainstorming. TCDC operates on yearly membership, but a one day visit is free (bring your passport), while a ten-day pass costs 200THB.

Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC)
6th Floor, The Emporium Shopping Complex
622 Sukhumvit 24, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 2664 8448
www.tcdc.or.th
Open Tuesday-Sunday 10:30 AM to 09:00 AM

 

100 Tonson Gallery

Known for its prime location along leafy Tonson Road, the well-designed 100 Tonson Gallery is housed within a private residence, with an interior that enjoys a friendly and uninterrupted natural atmosphere. The gallery organizes 4-6 exhibitions annually, such as solo exhibitions by established and emerging Thai artists, as well as ones by foreign artists. This is the spot to get a feel for authentic Thai artists and learn a little bit more about the national sentiment of Thailand. Open Thursday through Sunday from 11:00 AM to 07:00 PM.

100 Tonson Gallery
100 Soi Tonson, Ploenchit Road,
Lumphini, Pathumwan District, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 2684 1527
Fax: +66 (0) 2254 7227

 

H Gallery

H Gallery was established in 2002 by American, H. Ernest Lee with the primary purpose of representing a selected group of emerging Asian artists. The Gallery is located in a late 19th century colonial building in downtown Bangkok, where a program of exhibitions as well as an ongoing, rotating installation of works by gallery artists may be seen. For those who appreciate creativity and passion for the artistic world of Asia (and perhaps to pick up some really beautiful pieces), be sure to check out this venue.

H Gallery
201 Sathorn Soi 12, Sathorn District, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 8 1310 4428
Email: H@hgallerybkk.com
www.hgallerybkk.com

 

Ardel Gallery of Modern Art

This chic bastion of modern artwork exhibits the skilled creations of Thai and international artists in a refined atmosphere. The gallery features rotating exhibitions, art for collections, workshops, and a cool café. On display are all styles of mixed
media art, installations, original drawings, paintings, photos, prints, and ornate sculptures. A unique aspect about this gallery is that it does not shy away from displaying controversial and thought provoking pieces, which other galleries might shy away from. If you’re looking to pick up some artistic skills, you can do that here by enrolling in one of their printmaking workshops, taught by seasoned professionals for a reasonable price. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday
from 10:30 AM to 07:00 PM, and Sunday from 10:30 AM to 05:30 PM.
Ardel Gallery of Modern Art
99/45 Moo 18, Km 10.5 Boromratchonanee Road,
Salathammasob,
Taveewattana, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 2422 2092, Fax: +66 (0) 2422 2091
Email: ardelgallery@gmail.com, ardelworkshop@gmail.com
www.ardelgallery.com

The Queen’s Gallery

Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s initiative to create a permanent public space to exhibit and promote the works of both established and up-and-coming Thai artists resulted in the opening of this gallery in 2003. Set in a five-storey building, the gallery covers 3,700 square meters of minimalist
space to showcase permanent as well as changing exhibitions. All manner of creative works can be seen here, from fantastic realism to thought provoking abstract creations. The gallery is open from 10:00 AM to 07:00 PM, and is closed on Wednesdays. Admission is only 20THB.

The Queen’s Gallery
101 Ratchadamnoen Klang Road
(near Phan Fah Bridge), Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 2281 5360-1

 

Museum • Bangkok Doll

For little girls and kids at heart, welcome to the Doll House, where Khunying Thongkorn Chanthawimol started a collection in 1956 that has grown into some 400 dolls. Some represent life in Thailand, Khon dance, Thai hill tribes of northern Thailand, and Thai traditional costumes spanning the various eras of Siam and Thailand, while a sizable proportion include traditional costumes from all over the world, including Austria, China, Egypt, France, Greece, India, Japan, Laos, the Netherlands, Oman, Russia, and the USA. Many of the dolls are for display only, though there is a selection of finely crafted dolls that you can also purchase to add to your own menagerie. Admission is free.


Bangkok Dolls
85 Soi Ratchataphan, Makkasan, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 2245 3008
www.bangkokdoll.com
Open Monday to Saturday
from 08:00 AM to 05:00 PM.

Museum of Counterfeit Goods



As with many major cities in Asia and around the world, Bangkok has gained a reputation for cheap, knock-off products. In order to show people how this illicit industry is harming society, the Museum of Counterfeit Goods was opened at the law offices of Tilleke & Gibbins. This fool’s gold treasure trove of thousands of illicit products covers more than 20 categories of goods including not just perfumes, watches, and handbags, but also household appliances and equipment, car and machine parts, decorative ornaments, foods, drugs, alcohol, and even stationery. The story behind these bogus items is an eye-opener, and may steer you away from fake Louis Vuitton bags and pirated DVD’s forever. Call ahead of time to make an appointment.
Museum of Counterfeit Goods
Supalai Grand Tower, 26th Floor, 1011 Rama 3 Road,
Chongnonsee, Yannawa District, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 2653 5555
www.tillekeandgibbins.com/museum/museum.htm
 

Sothorn Temple, Chachoengsao

The revered temple Wat Sothorn Wararam, as it is known locally has a fascinating backstory from the Ayutthaya period. Legend has it that there were three bronze cast Buddha images floating down from Prachin Buri, and they appeared at the temple grounds. After seeing this spectacle, the villagers tied the three images with ropes and tried to pull them out of the water. However, they failed and the three images continued their course downstream. Then a wise man built a small ceremonial shrine, and captured one of the images, enshrining it at the current temple location. Many believe the statue will cure terminal illnesses after drinking the temple’s herbal medicine that is prepared from flower petals collected around the statue. Others come to seek favors, including financial wealth and fertility from the Lanna-style Buddha image. Appropriate attire is required due to the religious significance of this temple.

Ban Mai Exotic Market • Chachoengsao

While Ban Mai means new village, this Sino-Thai settlement of wooden homes has remained pretty much the same since King Chulalongkorn visited the town in January 1907. Located where the Ban Mai Canal meets the once bustling Bang Pakong River in Chachoengsao province, about an hour and a half drive from Bangkok, the revived market facing the river operates on weekends and holidays offering rare specialties like Paed Riew (Eight Stripes), a popular local fish dish, from which the province gets its colloquial name. Visitors also enjoy watching the noodles vendors as they toss their pasta and prepare such famous dishes as mee kati (rice noodles with fermented tofu in coconut milk). Restaurants overlooking river life also offer local cuisine, while most visitors order ‘old-style’ coffee or tea strained through sock filters. For Thais, a wide variety of candies recalled from their childhood are available at this quaint exotic market.

 

Samut Prakan, Chang Erawan, The Erawan Museum • Samut Prakan

You can’t miss this enormous three-headed elephant sculpture towering over Samut Prakan. Standing 43-meters tall and constructed of pure bronze with a pastel pink base, the sculpture is the final product of a decade of dedication by Khun Lek Viriyapant, the museum’s owner. Inside the elephant’s massive body is a three-storey museum that houses a variety of ancient religious objects, decorative pieces and contemporary works of art. The creative design of German artist Jacob Schwarzkopf’s splendid stained glass ceiling on which a world map and zodiac are illustrated, is just one highlights of this attraction. This pleasant cornucopia of Thai cultural heritage is well worth a visit, especially for aficionados of fine art and history, and makes a stunning photo backdrop. Admission is 150THB for adults, and 50THB for children.

The Erawan Museum
Sukhumvit Road as you enter Samut Prakan
Open 08:00 AM to 06:00 P

Muang Boran • Samut Prakan

Exploring the whole of Thailand in a single day is not impossible, thanks to Muang Boran. Formerly known as Ancient Siam, this 200-acre park was constructed by Lek Viriyaphant to preserve some of Thailand’s most notable attractions. Claiming to be the world’s largest outdoor museum, the park is home to 116 of Thailand’s monumental and architectural masterpieces, with the grounds shaped to reflect the borders of the Kingdom, and each of the monuments lying at their geographically
correct location. Many of the buildings are life-size replicas of existing or former attractions, with the most outstanding works being the former Grand Palace of Ayutthaya and Wat Khao Phra Viharn on the Cambodian border. The entrance fee is 300THB for foreigners, and golf cars or bicycles can be hired to explore these vast grounds.

Muang Boran
Located on the old Sukhumvit Highway,
33 kilometers east of central Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 2709 1644
Fax: +66 (0) 2323 9253
Open everyday from 08:00 AM to 05:00 PM

Crocodile Farm • Samut Prakan

There are over 100,000 crocodiles at world’s largest crocodile farm and zoo just outside of Bangkok, where a wide variety of animals can also be seen. Other creatures that call this place home include elephants, lions, tigers, monkeys, horses, and hippos, but the main attractions are the regular crocodile performances in which skilled trainers perform death defying acts, such as placing their hands and heads between the powerful jaws of these reptiles. Besides the crocs, there are also elephant shows that highlight mental and physical skills of these pleasant pachyderms. Visitors can take short elephant ride, ride a train, enjoy a paddleboat ride, or explore the dinosaur museum. Admission for adults is 300THB and 200THB for children.

Crocodile Farm
555 Moo 7 Taiban Road, Samut Prakan
Tel: +66 (0) 2703 4891 to 5
Fax: +66 (0) 2387 0060 to 1
Open daily from 07:00 AM to 06:00 PM

Bang Nampueng Floating Market • Samut Prakan

The best time to visit this vibrant floating market in Samut Prakan province is in the morning when boats full of flowers and vegetables sail side by side. Along the banks, vendors sell a variety of food and snacks like hoi thot (fried mussel pancake) and khanom khrok, while there are also stalls selling plants, handicrafts, clothes and home decoration, many of which are part of the One Tambon, One Product (OTOP) scheme. For exploring Bang Nampueng Floating Market, rent a paddle boat for 20THB, or a bicycle for 30THB. If you come early enough you may even spot monks sailing for alms. Admission is free.

Bang Nampueng Floating Market
Wat Bang Nampueng,
Bang Nampueng Sub-district,
Phra Pradaeng District, Samut Prakan
Open on Saturdays and Sundays
from 08:00 AM to 02:00 PM

Bangnoi Floating Market • Samut Songkhram

Located just five kilometers from the famous Amphawa Floating Market, this floating market is unique because it still retains an original atmosphere. Here, you can get a sense of how the lives of Thai people were lived in the olden days. A nice selection of fresh fruits, traditional cuisine, and tasty treats are on offer from numerous food stalls and vendors. Thai crafts also grace the product lineup, with all kinds of Buddhist carvings, trinkets, textiles, and other souvenirs for sale. The best aspect of this quaint market is that it is relatively unknown by the tourist masses, so you won’t have to traverse throngs of camera wielding gawkers.

Amphawa Floating Market • Samut Songkhram

This remarkable little floating market is open in the afternoon and located near Wat Amphawan Chetiyaram. The best time to visit is on the weekends when the canal is filled with vendors that crowd their boats with tasty treats, including fried sea mussels, noodles, coffee, and traditional Thai desserts. The cool part about this market is that it doesn’t get going until the afternoon, so you can sleep in and still enjoy all the festivities. The highlights here are the live music broadcasts by community members, exploring the market on a boat, eating a lot of great food, and seeing fireflies at night. River trips can be arranged, for about 50THB per person if the boat has 8 passengers, or about 400-500THB if privately chartered. The market gets going on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, during 12:00 AM to 08:00 PM

www.amphawafloatingmarket.com

 

The Don Wai Riverside Market • Nakhon Pathom

This floating market near Wat Rai Khing is especially popular for Thai and foreign tourists who want to sample authentic goodies not available elsewhere. The market is located on the Nakhon Chai Si River, is the Nakhon Pathom Province, and about 30 km from Bangkok. Here you will find many shops selling home decoration, toys, plants, clothes and venues serving food, drinks, and traditional desserts that are rare in Bangkok. The market offers a fun boat trip along the river, which is very beautiful, while enjoying an authentic Thai lunch on the boat. This is a great place to escape the bustle of central Bangkok and to find a little scenic relaxation in the midst of a gastronomic utopia. Getting there should take about 45 minutes via the Din Daeng Expressway, traffic permitting of course. The market is open daily from 07:00 AM to 06:00 PM, and it is wise to dress according to the weather.

The Rose Garden • Nakhon Pathom

The Rose Garden
KM 32 Phetkasem Road,
Sampran District, Nakhon Pathom
Tel: +66 (0) 3432 2544-7, +66 (0) 3432 2588-93
Email: hotel@rose-garden.com
www.rose-garden.com
This lush parkland is located 30 kilometers outside of Bangkok,
and offers some of the best-maintained gardens you’ll see in Thailand. Resting upon 75 acres of carefully manicured grounds with a lake as the central feature, the Rose Garden boasts a pleasurable atmosphere and a great retreat from the chaos of Bangkok. Enjoy scenic strolls and quiet picnics, and dine at a wide array of excellent restaurants. Additionally, you can savor cultural shows that demonstrate Thai handicraft skills, Thai boxing, and sword fighting. If you bring your kids along, there’s also an elephant show, and for adults, the site has a golf course and relaxing spa. Trips to the Rose Garden are likely to be an all day affair, so pack accordingly. The Rose Garden is open daily and travelers often combine the trip with a visit to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

 

Bueng Chawak • Suphan Buri

This important wetland, lake, and wildlife sanctuary covers a huge area of over 1,080 acres, and features a beautiful setting with shady trees and colorful flowers. From November to March, during the winter, a large flock of migratory lesser whistling duck can be observed in their naturally habitat. Additionally, there is a rest area, and appropriate camping facilities, where visitors can enjoy picnicking and outdoor recreation. There’s also a recently opened aquarium under management of the Department of Fisheries, which exhibits various fresh-water fish. Admission to the aquarium is 30THB for adults and 10THB for children. The aquarium opens 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM on weekdays and 9:00 AM to 06:00 PM on weekends. The Bueng Chawak Wildlife Management Development Center is a great place for nature enthusiast to learn about wildlife breeding through exhibitions, videos and slide shows, and outside the building, there is an enormous aviary where over 30 bird species are fed.

Tel: +66 (0) 3543 9208-9

 

The Dragon Descendants Museum • Suphan Buri

The Dragon Descendants Museum
TAT Suphan Buri Office
TAT Call Center 1672
Tel: +66 (0) 3553 6030
Situated in Suphan Buri province, about 200 km northwest of Bangkok, this museum is the latest attraction in the area. The museum was constructed to resemble a huge cloud dragon, spraying water that measures 135 meters long, 35 meters high, and 18 meters wide. The dragon looks realistic with a beautifully and elegantly constructed exterior that is brightly colored, giving it the appearance that it has just descended from heaven to usher in the New Year. The museum
itself utilizes the latest interactive computer technology to educate about 5,000 years of Chinese history and the migration of Chinese clans to neighboring countries like Thailand. Within the Dragon’s body are 20 multimedia rooms, each telling the exciting story of Chinese civilization. The exhibit traces history all the way to the creation of the planet earth to the Chinese emperors of various different dynasties. Guided tour starts every hour between 10:00 AM and 04:00 PM. The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday and on public holidays.

 

Temple Ruins • Ayutthaya

The former capitol of Thailand, Ayutthaya, is just 80 kilometers north of Bangkok and offers a profound glimpse into the past. The UNESCO World Heritage site features the ancient ruins of numerous Buddhist temples that are remarkably well preserved. The city of Ayutthaya remained the capitol until the late 18th century, when the Burmese attacked, destroying many temples in the process. The remaining temples display a distinct alteration of architecture, with transitions from the Khmer style to the bell shaped Thai style chedi. The main historical sights are in the northwest corner of the island. These majestic ruins are best explored on foot or bicycle. A variety of other fascinating sights can be found on the banks of the river, although you may need to rent a motorcycle to explore these areas, as they are relatively spread out.

Bangsai Support Foundation • Ayutthaya

For decades, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit has accompanied His Majesty the King during visits to all parts of the kingdom. After encountering instances of substandard living conditions, Her Majesty graciously extended her assistance towards the relief of poverty by encouraging new types of employment. Through an interest in locally produced Thai handicrafts, Her Majesty arranged for instructors to help villagers improve the quality of their products. At the Bangsai Support Foundation, you can find an assortment of handicrafts, textiles, and souvenirs ingeniously made by skilled Thai artisans. Best of all, the proceeds go to helping the villagers maintain a high standard of living.

Bangsai Support Foundation
59 Moo 4 Changyai,
Bangsai, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
Tel: +66 (0) 3536 6252-4
Fax: +66 (0) 3536 6092
www.bangsaiarts.com 

Bang Pa-In Palace • Ayutthaya

Constructed during the reign of King Prasart Thong in the 17th century, this palace, also known as the Summer Palace was revived by King Rama IV of the Chakri dynasty and was a favorite destination of King Rama V, who built an elegant Thai-style pavilion in the middle of a pond, poetically named “the divine seat of personal freedom.” European in design, the palace also features a Khmer style prang and a Chinese pavilion. Located along the Chao Phraya River, you can take a cruise up to visit during the day, or catch a train from Hua Lamphong Station.

Open every day from 08:30 AM to 03:30 PM.
www.palaces.thai.net/bp/index.ht