A trip down the Chao Phraya River is a great way to get to know Bangkok. Getting there is easy, starting at the Taskin Bridge and the Sathorn Road Pier. Take the BTS (sky train) to the Safon Taskin Station, which is located just before the pier. Boats for tourists that have guides explaining the sites along the river. If you are the adventurous type, there are many commuter boats that are very affordable. Here is a great website for information on the boats available.
Getting on and off the boats takes only a little bit of nerve, the boats come in and leave the pier quickly. Once on the boat try to find a seat, which may be difficult. You can stand in the back area of the boat, just keep in mind that if you are one the opposite side of the boat from the sun you will get better pictures because you will have the sun behind you.
On both sides of the Chao Phraya River, there are many temples and interesting buildings to see including the historic First Presbyterian Church, the Royal Thai Navy Dockyard, the Thai Maritime Navigation Company, the Old Customs House, Wat Prayunwong, Wat Arun, the Grand Palace, Wat Rakhang Kositaram, and the Royal Boat House.
I enjoy going to Bangkok's Chinatown some weekend evenings to enjoy the nightlife and good food. A casual walk along Yaowarat Road, Chinatown's main commercial road, and you'll see many vendors selling delicious food. The food is mostly Chinese but many have a Thai twist and very delicious. I rarely go into one of the many restaurants but enjoy the more simple delicacies found on the street.
Many of the vendors are selling many varieties of fruits, I suspect because Chinatown holds many importing companies. Some of the imported fruits include cherries from the US, many varieties of grapes, pomegranate. All are fresh and tasty and sold late into the evening. There also many vendors freshly roasting chestnuts.
Two of my favorite areas in the market include the Art and Pet areas. In the art area you can see some amazing pieces of Thai artwork for sale. The pet area has some strange creatures from around the world.
Vimanmek Palace, purported to be the largest Golden Teak Structures in the world, was originally built in 1868 on Koh Si Chang, a small island off the coast of Si Racha just north of Pattaya and originally called Munthatu Rattanaroj Residence. Koh Si Chang Island was first made popular in the mid 19th Century by King Rama IV (King Mongkut) who attributed the remarkable health and long-life of the island's inhabitants to delightful ocean air found on the island. The at the turn of the centry, King Rama V (King Chulalongkorn) had the Teak Residence dismantled and reassembled in Dusit Garden as the first permanent residence in the garden, located in the Dusit Palace complex, nearby Dusit Zoo in Dusit district. The palace was renovated in 1982 and now serves as a fantastic museum that has much of Thai History for the people of the world.
Thailand's famous "Grand Palace" is a building complex at the heart of oldtown Bangkok. This palace was used as the official residence of the Thai Kings from 1782 to 1925 and housed the King, his court and the royal government. Adjacent to the Palace is Wat Phra Kaew or the "Temple of the Emerald Buddha" and often the names get confused with the Grand Palace by tourist. The is probably due to Wat Phra Kaew being the primary attraction within the palace grounds. While the grounds are still used for an occasional royal ceremony, the primary function of the Grand Palace is as a museum to present to the public the Royal History of Thailand.
The Rama 8 Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge crossing the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand at the upper reaches of Bangkok’s main area frequented by tourists. In fact, the bridge is used as the turning point for the large tourist dining boats as they tour the Chao Praya River for dinner time. The bridge offers a large safe walking area which is great for viewing the passing boats or catching a great Bangkok Sunset. The best views of the bridge are either from the river by boat or the Rama 8 Park on the bridges south western bank or the Santichai Prakan Public Park located down river and on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River.
The bridge has an asymmetrical design, with a single pylon in an inverted Y shape located on the western bank of the river. The Bridge opened in 2002 and was one of the world's largest asymmetrical cable-stayed bridges at the time of its opening.
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Bangkok opened in March of 2012 and houses the works of art collected over 3 decades by Mr. Boonchai Bencharongkul. The architecture of the MOCA building is quite amazing in itself, appearing to be carved from a single piece of granite – 5 stories high. MOCA’s paramount mission statement is “To preserve and protect Thai art and culture so they remain forever in the nation as an archetype that reflects the foundation of Thai culture”, therefore, the majority of the works of art on display have been created by Thai Artists. Each of the 5 Floor, focus either on specific artists or types of art, with the 5th displaying works of art from other countries.
MOCA is located outside the main part of Bangkok and is about a 30 minute taxi drive north from the Mochit BTS Station.
Information, photos and videos of great destinations in Bangkok. Click here to view a list of Articles about Bangkok Destinations.
Bangkok's 9 Royal Temples
Bangkok Must Sees
Exploring Thailand's Nature
Islands of the Thai Gulf
Thailand's Royal Palaces
Thailand and World War 2
Explore Chiang Rai
Explore Chiang Mai