The Royal Palace of Bangkok
The Royal Palace of Bangkok consists of over 100 buildings. The temple complex Wat Phra Khaeo with the Emerald Buddha is the most impressive sight and is noticeable from afar due to the high white palace walls. Guardian figures flank the entrance to the vast compound formerly occupied by the royal family. The golden temple decorated with tesserae, the Buddha relics and the library, which glitters with silver and mother-of-pearl and is framed by a large pond, are captivating. In order to escape the usual rush of visitors during the day, one should take advantage of the early morning hours and their freshness. A visit is only permitted with covered shoulders and knees and in closed shoes.
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A round trip through the west of the country is definitely worthwhile, because Kanchanaburi is one of the most beautiful areas of Thailand. The most famous sight west of Bangkok is the Bridge over the River Kwai. The area around Kanchanaburi offers harsh natural beauty, magnificent waterfalls and stalactite caves. A highlight of any trip through the country should be an overnight stay in one of the simple and original living rafts made of reeds, which bobble on sparkling rivers and are occasionally pulled back to their original place by elephants.
River Kwai Bridge
Since the film adaptation of the novel The Bridge on the River Kwai in 1957, the eponymous historic bridge spanning the River Khwae Yai in the city of Kanchanaburi has become world famous. The bridge was built by prisoners of war and forced laborers during World War II, and many of the sights, museums and monuments near the bridge tell that story. The River Kwai Bridge attracts many tourists, everyone wants to balance on the historic and restored bridge, which trains still pass several times a day.
Surin, the elephant city
In the southeast near the Cambodian border lies the city of Surin, also known as the Elephant City. The best elephant drivers in the country, the mahouts, come from Surin. Many elephants are bred here to help people work in rough terrain. The Elephant Festival takes place every year in October and the locals decorate the animals magnificently for the parades. As a visitor you can ride on elephants and learn about the common life of humans with the gray giants.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets
A notable attraction 80km from Bangkok is the floating markets of the town of Damnoen Saduak on the Chao Phraya River. The river’s canals stretched for hundreds of kilometers and were once the main trade route for the locals. In Damnoen Saduak the old means of transport has been preserved and today it is an opportunity for tourists to discover the original Thai life. The hustle and bustle begins as early as six in the morning. Fully loaded boats bob along the canals offering all kinds of goods to locals and visitors alike. A highlight are the floating food stalls that offer Thai cuisine.
The ancient royal city of Ayutthaya is located 80 km from Bangkok and was once the capital of the Kingdom of Siam. Today, the city of ruins and temples with its magnificent palaces is a magnet for all travelers to Thailand and radiates its majestic dignity from afar. Important relics of their reign can be seen in the National Museum. Ayutthaya Historical Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991. The very own architectural style is fascinating, which is reflected in the Khmer temples, magnificent ruins and the royal palace buildings. The most beautiful temple complex is the Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, which is located on the southern palace grounds.
Thai culinary delights
The unique Thai cuisine combines culinary arts from China, Indonesia, Malaysia and India. In addition to plenty of vegetables and freshly caught fish, many exotic herbs and spices are used. Curry pastes, lemongrass, ginger and Thai basil are also popular ingredients. The fruity, hot and aromatic ingredients are usually combined with coconut milk rice or nuts. All dishes are eaten together and these combinations offer real culinary delights. For dessert there is often fruit such as durian or stinky fruit. Once you’ve removed the off-putting-smelling peel, you’ll be rewarded with a sweet and slightly vanilla-tasting fruit.
Khao Sok National Park
The Khao Sok National Park in the southwest is one of the oldest jungles in the world. The rainiest area on earth, which has untouched nature and hundreds of animal and plant species, lies in the middle of a central massif. Canoe tours and elephant rides are popular here. A special experience are the guided night hikes in an area where researchers are constantly discovering new creatures. Visitors can observe the nocturnal animals up close. More information about accommodation and the park can be found at www.khaosok-nationalpark.com.