A Weekend in Bangkok – A Cityseeker Guide

(Original photo: Public Domain @ Pixabay)

By Advaita Raut

An ever-evolving city, Bangkok’s dynamism is infectious. While skytrains zip through the city’s
vivid cityscape and giant flashing screens hold you in rapture, small Buddhist shrines, miniature
temples and idols of the warrior Ganesha instantly warm the heart. Despite its frenzied pace, this beaming metropolis ensures that your time here is fruitfully divided between culture,
entertainment, history and leisure. Here’s a list of things you can do if you find yourself in
Bangkok over the weekend.

Cargo boats cruise up the Chao Phraya River. (Source WPPilot @ Wikicommons)

Cruise the River
On your first day in the city, match the city’s upbeat vibe with an early morning. Jump aboard
the Skytrain that will take you to the Saphan Taksin pier. Some of the city’s most enchanting
landmarks line the historic banks of the Chao Phraya River, a rewarding jaunt that
may leave you with sore feet, but is entirely worth the while. A fleet of hop-on, hop-off riverboats bob the riverfront, ready to begin their daily sojourn. Skip the tourist dinner cruises with mediocre dining packages and lukewarm entertainment, and instead buy yourself a day pass that lets you see Bangkok’s most timeless gems.

The Grand Palace is a resplendent blend of Western and Thai architecture. (Source: Andy Marchand @ Wikicommons)

The Grand Palace and the Temples
Trace the Kingdom’s captivating grandeur at the Grand Palace, where one architectural edifice
instantly tops the next. An arsenal of Siamese chedis vie for attention, even as you adjust your
senses to the collective regal aura. Once you recover from this royal reverie, visit the temples of Wat Pho and Wat Arun. Watch Lord Buddha’s gilded form unfurl languidly in the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, and then again at Wat Phra Kaew, where his jade form sits in blissful composure. Offer yourself short-lived nirvana at the Watpo Thai Traditional Massage School located within the temple premises, the very foundation of Thai massage. What better place to rest your tired feet and soothe sightseeing nerves?

Afterward, ferry across the river to Wat Arun, its stately spire beckoning you from afar. But first,
give in to the swarm of local vendors at the pier, who peddle everything from minced meat on a
stick, to fresh coconut ice-cream topped off with salted peanuts. Forego eating at a formal
restaurant , and enjoy the simple pleasures of an improv lunch. Visit the temple and hop-on to the riverboat to end your day with some retail therapy at the Asiatique night market.

A couple shops at the Chatuchak Weekend Market. (Source: edwin.11 @ Flickr)

Visit The Malls
As unappealing as this may sound to culture buffs, shop till you drop in Bangkok’s fashion
malls to avoid that ever-too- familiar wave of regret later. Terminal 21, a quirky mall in Asoke demands a visit simply for its themed floors, ranging from glittering Parisian bylanes and Istanbul’s lanterned bazaars, to Japanese alleys and London’s bonny streets. For
high-end shopping, visit the uncluttered hallways of the very chic Amarin Plaza in Ploenchit.
Hunt the dizzying aisles at Platinum Fashion Mall and MBK Center for cheap deals and
wholesale benefits, or visit the Pratunam Market nearby for an exciting street market feel. If you love markets, then visit the colorful array of shops at the Chatuchak Weekend Market. Bagging a souvenir or a piece of jewelry after a good minute of successful haggling is bound to leave you feeling both exhilarated and accomplished.

The luxurious Jim Thompson House. (Source: Twang_Dunga  @ Flickr)

The Jim Thompson House
After an afternoon of shopping at Platinum, visit this underrated house museum that is located
nearby. Tucked away at the end of a quiet alley in Phetchaburi, this stunning wood-hewn
complex was the short-lived abode of Jim Thompson, an American entrepreneur known for
reviving the Thai silk industry. After his mysterious disappearance in Malaysian highlands, this
silk shrine of sorts has been treating curious visitors to a slice of his life and work here in
Thailand. Undertake the guided tour that introduces you to his private art collections, his
splendid teakwood home, and the unflinching passion behind it all.

Skip the humdrum itinerary and give this smiling city a much-deserved whirl, and see for yourself how it rewards you.

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