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Destination: Bangkok

Total Page Views for Bangkok: 10,817 - Views this week: 10,817
Bangkok was the »village of olives« until April 1782, a rather insignificant trading post at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River where mainly Chinese merchants pursued their business. Then, the newly elected King Rama I decided to move the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok to the opposite bank of the river. He ambitiously planned to realize a cultural and architectural renaissance of the destroyed capital Ayutthaya and this location was very suitable to him. He named the city Krungthep, »City of Angels«, and until today it remains the name of the capital city.
Even nowadays Bangkok seems to be a disaster regarding urban planning, it is one of the most dazzling Asian metropolises and at the same time a political, religious, cultural and economic hotspot as well as the transportation hub of Thailand: an accumulated concentration of all features comprising a capital city that is noticeable at every step. And Bangkok is still growing, especially in heights: more and more and even higher skyscrapers shape the city into a new image.
There are about 6 million vehicles in Bangkok, besides the daily chaos on the road they also produce a lot of exhaust fumes and they cause a high level of noise pollution. Bangkok also means people, people and more people. One out of eight Thais lives in the rambling capital city, altogether about 9 million people. There is no city center. In the same way as Chinese, Indians and tourists are concentrated in certain districts, the cultural and administration centers are located in other areas of the city.
Numerous markets, shops and shopping malls are contributing to develop Bangkok into a first class shopping paradise. The choice of tourist accommodation is extremely large, however, seasonal shortages may occur. Furthermore, the culinary variety of Bangkok's restaurants is almost indescribable. Last but not least, the name Bangkok is still the synonym of exotic and erotic night life.
Bangkok is a vibrant and also surprising metropolis - just a few steps away from the city's hustle and bustle, the noise and dirt - you can find the peaceful atmosphere of a hidden temple or the quiet countryside-like atmosphere of a small side street. For many visitors it is very fascinating to discover these enormous opposites,  the traditional and the modern life in close proximity. Tourists often keep coming back to this extraordinary city – and then, exactly in the same way as previous times, after a few days in the city, they curse it again and being relieved when leaving the place.
Bangkok has a lot of sightseeing places to offer. About 400 temples are located in the city, however, most of them are quite unimportant regarding their cultural-historical aspect and can be missed out during a visit of the city. A few temples show an extraordinary significance that evokes an outstanding interest for tourists from all over the world. On certain days they can be very crowded.
There are generally two options for your sightseeing program:

In areas providing tourist accommodation many travel agencies usually are found. They offer organized sightseeing tours with a certain theme, for example a »temple tour« in four hours.
The advantage of an organized tour: in a short time and without much physical effort the participants of the tour can see a lot. The most important accompanying information are provided by a local tourist guide, mostly in English language, sometimes also in other languages.
Disadvantage: At least 20 people or more are pushed through the tour at the same time.
Or, you can go sightseeing on your own.
Advantage: You do not have to cope with any time limit and you do not have to rush from one museum to the next temple. It is advisable when visiting the main attractions such as »Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo« to go there early in the morning, before the arrival of tour buses.
Disadvantage: You have to organize your own transportation, how to get there and from there to the next place. It usually requires a lot of time as you have to move through Bangkok's traffic chaos.
Reminder: For both organized tours and sightseeing tours on your own be aware of an appropriate dress when visiting a temple: short trousers and sleeveless or low-cut blouses or T-shirts are considered improper dress for both men and women. This can be a reason for being refused admission!
Most places of interest described in the following are located on Ratanakosin Island, in the historical and old part of Bangkok. For a sightseeing tour on your own you can easily combine these attractions, as well as other interesting sites of the city.
Clean Bangkok
Bangkok shall become cleaner! In order to reach this lofty goal, many waste bins were installed in the city. Furthermore, the city council set up a special unit in uniforms to fine people who litter. To throw a cigarette bud or a chewing gum can cost a couple of thousand Baht! However, most officers are open to reason and they usually reduce the fine.
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