General Information of Bangkok

Bangkok has dominated Thailand's urban hierarchy as well as its political, commercial and cultural life since the late 18th century. Distinctly modern and Westernised, Bangkok is still a sleepy Thai village with a louder soundtrack of traffic and nightlife.

Bangkok proper seethes on the east side of the Mae Nam Chao Phraya (Chao Phraya River), drawing rural Thai folk into its cluttered fold daily. The city is reportedly sinking at a rate of 5cm (2in) every year, but there's too much sànùk (a Thai sense of fun) going on for that to get anyone down.

In addition to the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, a number of less well know attractions are in Rattanakosin.

Sanam Luang, on the north side of Wat Phra Kaew, is transformed each year around February from a sedate little patch of greenery in the midst of a concrete jungle into an ongoing kite festival as locals come to the park to practice the art of flying kites. You should understand that kites are a big thing in Asia. And you may actually get to witness a kite fight -- where flyers attempt to cut the strings of their opponents' kites.

The "official" center of Bangkok is located in Rattanakosin: Saan Lak Meuang. Thai culture is such that cities almost always have a foundation stone; the Thai think that a city's guardian spirit lives within the stone, and that the spirit is responsible for prosperity of the city. You can watch as residents of Bangkok come to ask the spirit for favors.

Wat Mahathat is one of Rattanakosin's more significant attractions. The wat is not particularly impressive to look at, but it is the seat of Thailand's largest Buddhist sect. King Mongkut (Rama IV) was a monk here. And weekly seminars on Buddhism -- in English -- are held at the facility.

Rattanakosin is also the home of the National Museum, the National Theater, the National Art Gallery, Silpakorn Fine Arts University, and Thammasat University.

If you're healthy, Golden Mount in Rattanakosin is worth the climb. The mount is an 80 metter tall artifical hill that was created with when a temple collapsed during construction during the reign of Rama III. There are 318 steps to the top. The climb provides an outstanding view of the city.

How To Go to Bangkok

Bus

Public buses are plentiful and cheap, with a minimumfare of 6 baht to most destinations within metropolitan Bangkok.Air-conditioned buses have minimum and maximum fares of 10 and 22 baht,respectively. Air-conditioned micro-buses charge a flat fare of 25 bahtall routes. A Bus Route Map is available at bookshops and the TAToffice. Visit www.bmta.co.th for more information on Bangkok's publicbuses.

TAXI

Taxis cruising city streets are metred. Theycharge a minimum of 35 baht for the first 3 kilometres, andapproximately 5 baht per kilometre thereafter. Make sure you havechange, as taxi drivers often dont! Passengers must pay tolls in thecase of using an expressway.

BTS Sky Trains

BTS skytrains ply along Sukhumvit, Silom and Phahonyothin roads. The routesconnect Bangkoks leading hotels and major shopping areas such as SiamSquare, Silom, Ratchaprasong and Chatuchak Weekend Market. The fareranges from 10-40 baht according to the distance. For more information,contact the Bangkok Mass Transit System at tel: 0 2617 7300 or visitwww.bts.co.th

Subway (Metro)

The city's subway system, or MRT, connects many of the top tourist attractions with the accommodation areas, markets, and the business district.  Fares range from 14 to 36 baht.  The trains run from 6 a.m. to midnight, daily. For more information, visit www.bangkokmetro.co.th

TUK-TUKS

These three-wheeled open-air motorised taxis are popular for shortjourneys. Fares must be bargained in advance. Minimum fares, forjourneys of up to 3 kilometres, are approximately 30 baht.

Boat

Taxis that are even more unusual, though equally convenient, are the river taxis that ply the Chao Phraya River. Some are just cross river ferries, but others serve the many landing stages on both banks and cover a route that goes up as far as the northern suburb of Nonthaburi.

Activities in Bangkok

More Attractions in Bangkok

Interesting Festival in Bangkok

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