Float through Thailand’s past and present by hopping on a boat and shopping in the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Sample the fruits and vegetables that farmers sell to locals every day. It will be a nice change from Bangkok’s Western-style malls and gives you a glimpse of how many of the Thai people have lived for centuries. Thailand has many river villages, where people live on stilt-raised houses.
Transport: Board buses at the Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal. Exit at Damnoen Saduak Bus Terminal.
Hours of Operation: Daily 6am to 11am
Visit this 18th-century palace, which opened at the end of the Burmese invasion of Thailand. Several smaller buildings make up the palace grounds, such as the Wat Mahatat (the Palace Temple). At the Wat Phra Keow (the Royal Chapel) you can see the famous Emerald Buddha, which is sculpted out of one single piece of jade. It is considered one of the most revered artifacts in the whole kingdom.
Address: Na Phra Lan Road, Phra Nakhon.
Telephone: (0)2 623 5500.
Hours of Operation: Daily, 8:30am – 4:30pm
Admission: 350 baht.
This museum houses several royal barges, which are decorated with intricate designs from Thailand’s history and culture. Many of the barges were originally war vessels, but converted for royal occasions on the Chao Praya River. The earliest barge dates back to 1357, so they are rarely used anymore, but the museum is worth a visit for the barges’ decorative artwork, which represents an important aspect of the country’s heritage.
Address: Arun Amarin Road, Bangkok Noi.
Telephone: (0)2 2424 0004.
Hours of Operation: Daily, 9am – 5pm Closed 31 December-1 January and 12-14 April.
Admission: 30 baht.
Wat Pho houses one of Thailand’s most famous attractions, the Reclining Buddha. The temple itself is the oldest, largest and most famous temple in Bangkok. The grounds have more than 1,000 statues of Buddha. It has been a learning centre since the 19th century, and visitors can still learn about the ancient art of Thai medicine while getting a massage.
Address: 2 Sanamchai Road.
Telephone: (0)2 226 0335.
Getting There: Take Bus 6, 8, 12 (air conditioning) or Public Buses 1, 25, 44, 47 or 91. You can also take an express boat to Tha Tien Pier.
Hours of Operation: Daily, 8am – 5pm
Admission: 50 baht.
The former resident of this home, American entrepreneur Jim Thompson, helped to popularise Thai silk around the world. He became even more famous when he disappeared mysteriously in Malaysia in 1967. The house is a great example of Thai architecture and is filled with displays of Thompson’s personal collection of Oriental art and antiques, as well as the personal effects he left behind.
Address: 6 Soi Kasemsan 2 Song at Rama 1 Road.
Telephone: (662) 216-7368.
Hours of Operation: Daily, 9am – 5pm
Admission: Adults: 100 baht, Students 50 baht.
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The town of Kanchanaburi, located 129km (80 miles) west of Bangkok, was made infamous by the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai. Japanese captors used Allied prisoners of war to construct the Death Railway during World War II. Thousands of prisoners died during construction of the bridge that is still in use. The town is now very modern, and is the site of the JEATH (Japan, England, Australia/America, Thailand and Holland) War Museum, which recounts the tales from Japanese POW camps. For a change of scenery, the Sai Yok Yai Waterfall in nearby Sai Yok National Park has been widely proclaimed in Thai music and poetry.
Hours of Operation: JEATH War Museum – Daily, 8:30am – 4:30pm
Admission: JEATH War Museum – 30 baht.