Bangkok’s historic centre remains the Rattanakosin Island in Phra Nakhon District (map). It is the site of the Grand Palace (map) and the City Pillar Shrine (map), primary symbols of the city’s founding, as well as important Buddhist temples. Phra Nakhon, along with the neighbouring Pom Prap Sattru Phai (map) and Samphanthawong Districts (map), formed what was the city proper in the late 19th century. Many traditional neighbourhoods and markets are found here, including the Chinese settlement of Sampheng (map).
Major Buddhist temples >> *Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha, map), *Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha, map), and *Wat Arun (map). The *Giant Swing and *Erawan Shrine demonstrate Hinduism’s deep-rooted influence in Thai culture.
*Vimanmek Mansion (map) in Dusit Palace (map) is famous as the world’s largest teak building, while the *Jim Thompson House (map) provides an example of traditional Thai architecture. Other major museums include the Bangkok National Museum (wiki, map) and the *Royal Barge National Museum (map).
In contrast with the low-rise historic areas, the business district on *Si Lom (map) and Sathon Roads in Bang Rak and Sathon Districts teems with skyscrapers. It is the site of many of the country’s major corporate headquarters, but also of some of the city’s red-light districts. The *Siam (map) and *Ratchaprasong areas in Pathum Wan (map) are home to some of the largest shopping malls in Southeast Asia.
Chatuchak Weekend Market (map) is the largest market in Thailand (chatuchakmarket.org). Taling Chan Floating Market (map) is on the canal Khlong Chak Phra (คลองชักพระ) Canal in front of the district office. It is open only on weekends from about 08:30 to 16:00. Orchard produce such as fruits, and vegetables, as well as fish are sold from boats.
Bangkok is still nevertheless home to a large Chinese community, with the greatest concentration in Yaowarat, Bangkok’s Chinatown (map). Apart from Yaowarat, Bangkok also has several other distinct ethnic neighbourhoods. The Indian community is centred in Phahurat, where the Gurdwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha (map), founded in 1933, is located.
Khao San Road (ถนนข้าวสาร, map) has long been famous as a destination for backpacker tourism, with its budget accommodation, shops and bars attracting visitors from all over the world.
Flower Market Thailand (map) is a new center flower trade of Thailand apart from Pak Khlong Talat in Phra Nakhon.
The most pleasant time to visit is the cool season that lasts from Nov-Feb.
Bangkok has a reputation overseas as a major destination in the sex industry. Although prostitution is technically illegal and is rarely openly discussed in Thailand, it commonly takes place among massage parlours, saunas and hourly hotels, serving foreign tourists as well as locals. Bangkok has acquired the nickname “Sin City of Asia” for its level of sex tourism. >> Soi Patpong (map), Soi Thaniya (map), Soi Cowboy (map)