Is Bangkok on your travel bucket list? It wouldn’t be surprising, considering Thailand’s capital city was recently named the most visited city in the world according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. The city’s historic temples, famed street food, expansive shopping options and vibrant nightlife districts have long attracted flocks of travelers, though it can be hard to experience everything Bangkok has to offer on a single trip.
If you’re planning a trip to Bangkok, here are five local sites you won’t want to miss.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
This massive market is not only the largest market in Thailand – it’s also the largest weekend market in the world. Considering there are more than 8,000 stalls at this 35-acre center, you’ll literally find anything and everything you could possibly need at Chatuchak Weekend Market. The market vendors are grouped by categories, such as clothing, crafts, ceramics and home decor, but don’t worry about getting lost in the endless rows of goodies – it’s just part of the Chatuchak experience.
You could easily spend a few hours wandering through Bangkok’s lively Chinatown district. The neighborhood is only a kilometer long, but it’s packed with gold shops, herbal remedies and a seemingly random mishmash of goods like costume jewelry and used car parts, all with the ever-present aroma of fresh dim sum and duck wafting from the local restaurants. Nearby temples add to the deep sense of East Asian culture you’ll feel in Chinatown.
Otherwise known as the Temple of the Dawn, the golden Wat Arun on the Chao Phraya River is one of the most notable temples in a city filled with historic Buddhist structures. Mosaics handcrafted from Chinese porcelain adorn the 260-foot temple, and you can even climb up the central spire through a steep stairway. Plan your photo ops around sunrise or sunset for magnificent shots of the waterfront temple.
Jim Thompson House
While Jim Thompson is synonymous with Thai silk, the architect’s former home along the Saen Saeb Canal is a sight to behold. Six teakwood structures embody traditional Thai architectural designs, separated by features like koi ponds and lush gardens. Inside, you can tour Thompson’s extensive art collection, watch the silk worms produce threads or pick up a new silk scarf for your collection.
Lumphini Park offers a 142-acre natural retreat with green spaces you wouldn’t expect to find in a city like Bangkok. Lakes, exercise areas and walking paths line the park, and it’s all to easy too easy to spend an afternoon soaking up the lush scenery and seeking out the pagodas, outdoor aerobics classes and wildlife found throughout the park.
(Main image: Mark Fischer used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)