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An eclectic city with everything from Buddhist temples to sophisticated rooftop bars, Bangkok has plenty for expats to see and do. While its seedier side sometimes gets the most attention, the whole city is filled with a variety of attractions to suit almost anyone’s tastes.
As a popular tourist destination, Bangkok welcomes millions of foreigners every year. The city's character is a unique mixture of glitz and grit, and expats will be able to enjoy a wide variety of cultural and historical attractions.
Attractions in Bangkok
Damnoen Saduk Market
Dating back to ancient times where water transport was an important part of daily life in Thailand, the city’s various floating markets are a reminder of a time gone by and a major tourist attraction. Chief among these is the Damnoen Saduk market, about an hour outside the city centre. Shoppers can explore the market with a guided boat tour, loading up on all kinds of cargo bought from floating stalls and even kitchens along the way.
The Bangkok National Museum
As one of the largest museums in Southeast Asia, the Bangkok National Museum is sure to have something to interest everyone. Founded in 1874, the museum has a rich history itself, and today it's housed in a former palace. With exhibited items dating back up to thousands of years, this is an excellent way to learn more about Thai history and culture.
The Grand Palace
The official residence of the King of Thailand since the 18th century, it is now only used for official ceremonies and is one of the most famous attractions in Bangkok. Located in the heart of the city on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, it showcases two centuries of construction and history in a variety of beautiful structures. It also houses the Museum of the Emerald Buddha Temple, housing artefacts from both the palace and the temple.
Siam Ocean World Bangkok
An underground aquarium set two floors beneath the glamorous Siam Paragon Shopping Centre, Ocean World houses thousands of aquatic creatures from a variety of habitats. It also has a popular tunnel exhibit, which gives visitors of all ages a peek into the wonders of the open ocean.
Museum of Counterfeit Goods
Bangkok is famous as a hub of copyright infringement where a close copy of just about anything can be bought at a fraction of the price of the real thing. The Museum of Counterfeit Goods challenges the common perception that selling and buying such goods is a victimless crime. Run by a high-profile law firm specialising in intellectual property law, the museum showcases thousands of confiscated fakes to the public. There are also genuine items on display alongside some copies so that visitors to the museum can be taught to spot counterfeit goods.
Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
One of the best-known sights of Southeast Asia, the Temple of Dawn is famous for its colourful spires and the beauty of its unique architecture. Climbing to the top of the central spire is challenging but those up to the task are rewarded with stunning views. Visitors should be sure to dress modestly, however, as it is an active site of worship for Buddhists.
Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
Known for being the birthplace of Thai massage, Wat Pho has a history that goes back to the 18th century. Its centrepiece, the reclining Buddha, is 43m long and 15m high with feet that are inlaid with symbols made from mother of pearl. This remarkable sight is matched by an impressive temple complex that contains everything from the ashes of kings to a Bodhi tree which is said to have grown from the tree that Buddha sat under when he attained enlightenment.
►For more on entertainment in the Thai capital, see Lifestyle in Bangkok
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