TEMPLES & CANALS
The Grand Palace and its glittering Temple of the Emerald Buddha is the heart of the modern-day Thai kingdom and an overwhelming experience for visitors.
Travel Bangkok by river, visiting the Temple of Dawn and the enormous reclining Buddha at Wat Po, past the modern metropolis and into small canals that reveal another age and way of life. Stop at a small wooden school and a rural monastery.
CITY MARKETS & CHINATOWN
Bangkok houses the ultimate oriental bazaar, offering delicate orchids, seasonings, and spices; rare Buddhist amulets and pigeon's-blood rubies; mangoes and durians piled high in baskets; chicken feet and flopping fish. Chinatown's narrow alleys are lined with a mind-boggling array of wares and interesting temples, including one with a solid gold Buddha weighing in at 5.5 tons.
For a unique Thailand travel experience, learn the secrets of great Thai cooking from a professional chef at one of our two favorite places: the Blue Elephant Cooking School or the Thai House Cooking School. Try tom yam kung and gaeng kiow wan, pad thai and som tam. Lessons include visits to local markets to buy the freshest ingredients. Half-day or full-day classes are available.
Not only stylish, teak is one of the most sought after types of wood for withstanding extreme heat related elements and is resistant to termites. Teak homes and mansions are a sought after commodity in Thailand. Here are several of our favorite Teakwood Mansions in the greater Bangkok area:
Explore the world's largest teakwood structure. There is an excellent exhibit on the Thai monarchy inside the complex as well.
This private museum has an exceptional array of antiques and crafts from across Asia. It is set in lovely grounds dotted with rare trees and shrubs, several crumbling shrines and lotus ponds, making for a tranquil, reflective stop on your tour of Thailand. (Visits by appointment only. Please allow one-hour transfer to/from museum.)
JIM THOMPSON HOUSE
Visit the former residence of the American silk entrepreneur, Jim Thompson, who deserves most of the credit for the current popularity of Thai silk. As a tireless promoter of traditional Thai arts and culture, Jim Thompson collected teak homes from central Thailand and had them reassembled on a small lot on the backwaters of Bangkok.
SUAN PAKKARD PALACE
For the art aficionado on vacation in Thailand, explore this former royal palace that now houses a wonderful collection of Thai and Khmer art. Of special interest is the Ban Chiang pottery, from a Bronze Age civilization discovered 20 years ago in northeastern Thailand.
BANGKOK DAY TOURS
Tour Bangkok and see what else this bustling city has to offer. For example visit a tailor and have custom clothes made at a fraction of the cost at home. Or travel to the floating market of Damneon Saduak. Take a bicycle tour out into the countryside to see a peaceful side of Bangkok far from the frenetic pace of the main city. Try a traditional massage.