My trip to the discovery of Thailand starts from Bangkok: the City of Angels.
Modern metropolis but from the soul ancient, Bangkok is a crossroads of peoples and cultures as well as a must for travelers wishing to begin to discover this fascinating country. It is a city that is growing rapidly, where the modernity of skyscrapers coexist with temples from ancient history. You don’t discover it in a few days, but you can appreciate it with its lights and its shadows.
My stay in Bangkok, away from the skyscrapers and worldly splendor, has allowed me to meet a quieter side of town made of low houses, small shops, canals where swimming komodo dragons, temples and simplicity.
I stayed at the Tara Place, hotel which is located along Samsen Road, ten minutes walk from the famous Khao San Road and a half hour from famous tourist attractions like the Grand Palace and the Wat Pho.
The hotel, whose rooms are clean and spacious, provides a tuk tuk service to reach the monuments. Furthermore in the lobby there is a corner where you can taste free snacks and drinks at any time of day or night.
Every experience in the city is very personal, but there are some places and monuments to be seen once in a lifetime and which I quoted in this map that follows my itinerary in the old part of the city:
1) Khao San Road: it was among the first streets inhabited after the founding of the city in 1782 and here you can still admire an authentic Bangkok, made of low houses, attached to each other, whose first floor is occupied by restaurants and shops . Khao San Road is famous because it welcomed the first hippies came to explore the Siam, in fact keeps the bohemian atmosphere that gives a period charm appreciated by bacpackers from around the world. But do not be fooled, if during the day Khao San Road is a street like many others, after 17 turns into one of the beating hearts of the nightlife of Bangkok. Stalls, street performers and food vendors populate it in a swirl of music and colors that takes visitors up to the sunrise. What can you do to Khao San Road? Try eating insects! Here they serve cooked and spiced and I must say that their taste is not so terrible.
2) The Grand Palace: the splendid complex of the Grand Palace, the official residence of the kings of Thailand since 1785, contains many temples and buildings decorated with different architectural styles. You can admire anywhere gold foils, shiny roofs and images of Buddha. The Grand Palace is open daily from 8.30 am to 15.30 and the ticket costs 200 baht which includes entry to Vimanmek Mansion and the Pavilion of the coins. To enter you need to dress in a manner appropriate: no shorts, no tank tops and nothing necklines. You can rent a lab coat and adequate skirts at the entrance and pay a 500 baht deposit which will be returned at the end of the visit. Inside you can admire not only the temple Wat Phra Kaeo, thai art treasure which houses the Emerald Buddha, the most revered statue of the whole country, but also the Vimanmek palace the largest building in the world in golden teak. Arm yourself with patience because from the early hours of the morning is crowded with tourists. Inside the Gran Palace, have fun looking for mythological creatures such as Yaksha, the giant ogres, or the lovely Kinaree, half swan, half women, who for centuries guard the secrets and the treasures of the kings of Thailand.
3) Wat Pho: the largest temple of the city houses the famous Reclining Buddha. Built in 1832, the statue of Buddha is 46 meters long and 15 high and has the eyes and the soles of the feet inlaid mother of pearl. The complex is open to the public from 8 to 17, and there is always accessed with appropriate clothing. Inside there are schools for children. It ‘was one of the places where I was able to breathe an atmosphere of peace and serenity.
4) Wat Arun: is the temple of dawn, the most photographed of the city.Bangkok’s symbol, is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in the opposite position with respect to the royal palace and is reached by boat. The temple dates back to the Ayutthaya period and was expanded by the kings Rama II and Rama III. The point of reference of the temple is the central pagoda, “Pra Prang”, 79 meters high and covered with porcelain fragments glistening in the sun.
5) Pom Pra Sumen: ends an itinerary to discover of ancient Bangkok this fortress built during the reign of Rama I. It has an octagonal shape and is divided over three floors.Nearby you can take a walk with a river view.
In the next article I’ll talk about some tourist attractions in the modern part of the city.