Things to see in Bangkok

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Bangkok is perhaps Thailand’s number one attraction with its gaudy palaces, exotic pagodas and many regal sights.

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Wat Arun
Located across from the Grand Palace on the Chao Phraya, this temple is known for its porcelain-encrusted central pagoda which sparkles in the sun. The temple can be reached either by Arun Amarin Road or by boat from Tha Tian Pier near Wat Pho. Open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission: 20 baht. Tel. 02-465-5640

Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo
The Royal capital since 1782, the Grand Palace is a must-see for every Bangkok visitor.  Its big compound houses a number of historical landmarks, especially Wat Phra Kaeo or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The temple is a treasure house of Thai arts. But most importantly, it is home to the Emerald Buddha, the most revered Buddha image in Thailand. Open daily from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. (except during special royal ceremonies) Admission: 350 baht. Proper attire is essential. Tel. 02-623-5500, 02-222-0094, 02-222-6889

The Marble Temple
Many temples in Thailand have a complex appearance, or would seem to have been hurriedly constructed. But Wat Benchamabophit, often called the Marble Temple, is different. It looks like it was planned meticulously: Its brown roof is ornately decorated, with its red and gold color contrasting magnificently with the blue Bangkok sky. The courtyard is dominated by polished stone and surrounded by trees, giving the whole place an air of calmness. One of the most visited areas in the wat is the bot, or the main building, made of white marble and facing east. Behind it is the marble courtyard enclosed by a cloister. Further down the courtyard are 53 standing bronze images of the Lord Buddha, reproductions of originals found in the country

Bangkok Dolls and Museum
The museum, which has won international awards for its miniature creations, attracts tourists and locals alike. It is located in the Chandavimol family compound at 85 Soi Ratchataphan (Soi Mo Leng) in Bangkok’s Makkasan district. Open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: Free. Tel. 02-245-3008

Jim ThompsonJim Thompson Museum
This collection of traditional Thai-style houses, fashioned into one dwelling unit, belonged to the man who helped restore the Thai silk industry after World War II.  It has been preserved as a museum housing a priceless collection of Asian objets d’art. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: 100 baht. Tel. 02-216-7368, 02-612-3744, 02-215-0122

Kamthieng House
Located on131 Soi Asok, Sukhumvit 63 (about 10 minutes’ walk from Asoke BTS station). A former 19th century rice farmer’s teak house transplanted from the banks of Chiang Mai’s Ping River to Bangkok in 1964. Inside is a collection of agricultural and domestic items, including woven fish baskets and terra-cotta pots, which show the everyday lives of ordinary people in the past. Open 9 a.m – 5 p.m., Tue-Sat; Admission 100 baht (adults), 50 baht children

Vimanmek MansionVimanmek Mansion
The world’s largest golden teak building. The three-story royal mansion contains 81 rooms, halls and ante-chambers containing fin de siecle royal memorabilia. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thai dancing shows: Daily at 10:30 a.m. and  2 p.m. Admission: 50 baht. Proper attire is required. Tel. 02-811-569, 02-811-518, 0281-6880

Royal Barges Museum
Khlong Bangkok Noi, near Thonburi side, not far from Phra Pin Klao Bridge. Uniquely Thai, it houses old royal barges hand-carved from huge pieces of teak with prows carved into mythical creatures, gilded in gold and intricately decorated with tiny shimmering pieces of glass. Used for ceremonial and state occasions and rowed by up to 50 specially trained oarsmen, the boats leave their dry dock annually at festival times, for a procession along the Chao Phraya River. Open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission: 30 baht (adults), children free. Photography charge: 100 baht for ordinary camera, 200 bath for video.

National Museum
Na Phrathat Road, Phra Nakhon, near the Grand Palace. An 18th-century palace housing a larget collection of Thai artifacts, including some interesting collections of Chinese weapons, ceramics, clothing and textiles, wood-carvings, etc. Open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Wed-Sun). Admission: 40 baht

Royal Thai Air Museum
Located on Phaholyathin Road, near Wing 6 of the airport. For lovers of old planes. Collection includes a Spitfire, several Nieuports and Breguets, and the only Japanese Tachikawa apparently still in existence. Open 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Mon – Fri. Free admission

Rare Stone Museum
Located on Charoenkrung Road, between Soi 26 and Soi 28 in Bang Rak area, the museum features thousands of queer stones. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: 100 baht. Tel. 02-236-5666, 0236-5655, 02-236-5712.

The Kamthieng House
Back to the past! So they say that the spirits of the northern ladies, Mae Thao Kamdaeng, Nang Saed and Nang Kamthieng still live in the Kamthieng House... [read on]

The Erawan Museum
The world’s largest elephant sculpture on the left side of the main highway towards Samut Prakarn. It is an awe-striking image of a three-headed elephant almost the size of a football field... [read on]

The Erawan Shrine
One thing first-time visitors to Thailand find intriguing is the spirit house, ubiquitously found in the yard of almost every Thai home or building... [read on]

The Floating Market
Thailand’s famous floating market is exactly what it sounds like: vendors sell food and goods from small boats that drift along the crowded waterways of klongs, or canals... [read on]

The Kret Island
The pottery island – made it all the more mind-boggling.