Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, is a sprawling metropolis known for its ornate shrines and vibrant street life. The boat-filled Chao Phraya River feeds its network of canals, flowing past the Rattanakosin royal district, home to the opulent Grand Palace and its sacred Emerald Buddha temple. Nearby is Wat Pho with its enormous reclining Buddha and, on the opposite shore, Wat Arun with its steep steps and Khmer-style spire.
The neverending parade of commotion in the streets, the bountiful colors of nearby museums, shrines and temples, and vivacious entertainment and cuisine, make for an exciting introduction to Thailand. This buzzing hub of Southeast Asia is positioned over the Chao Phraya River, dotted with klongs (canals). A float down this river is a great way to see the city before really digging into its culture and idiosyncrasies – homes, temples, and frenetically moving commerce overwhelm your senses and take you in with every glance. A centerpiece in the city, the Temple of the Dawn, features a 260-foot spire rising up over the waters and coloring the river bank. This ancient architectural wonder is decked out in ornate colors, intricate detailing, and surrounded by statues of Buddha – a classic enshrinement of the Thai civilization. Other sites you won’t want to miss are the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, perhaps the most sacred and esteemed temple in Thailand containing a Buddhist statue carved entirely of a single block of jade. Experience the reverence of this ancient religion that dwells in the city and is practiced by 95 percent of the population. Check out a performance of classic Thai literature as you savor local fare and the performer’s elaborate costumes. As night falls on this lively metropolis, a sense of fun bubbles to the surface as the nightlife here is world renowned and there is no shortage of things to do and see.