The Grand Palace, April 2015. No visit to the Thai capital would be complete without a trip to The Grand Palace, Bangkok’s most famous landmark. Built in 1782 and home to a succession of Thai kings for almost 150 years, this stunning palace complex has come to symbolize the very heart of the Thai kingdom. This shot takes in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, known locally as Wat Phra Kaew. Located in a corner of the outer court, the temple houses a greatly revered emerald Buddha dating back to the 14th century. Interior photos are not permitted.
The Golden Mount, April 2015. There are more temples in Thailand than you can shake a stick at. With over a thousand structures peppered around Bangkok alone, it can be tricky deciding which ones are particularly worthy of your time. One temple that should definitely make the cut is Wat Saket. Dating back to the Ayutthaya era, this is one of the city’s most ancient temples and is best known for its 80-meter hill The Golden Mount.
The Ghost Tower, April 2015. I was having breakfast in the hostel one morning when I overheard an American guy telling a mousey South African about his top picks in Bangkok. “Dude, you haven’t done the ghost Tower?” he exclaimed, a forkful of egg suspended at the entrance to his mouth. “Dude… The Ghost Tower!!!” So I listened in and learned about this abandoned skyscraper near Saphan Thaksin BTS metro station. It was supposed to have become a five-star hotel, but the company had run out of funds mid-construction. “You can’t miss it”, said America, giving South Africa the street address, “big-ass Coca Cola poster!”
Lumpini Park, April 2015. Anyone looking for a break from Bangkok’s unrelenting urban buzz need look no further than the peaceful Lumpini Park in Silom district. Named after the birthplace of the Buddha in Nepal, this 142-acre city oasis is the perfect place for jogging, Tai Chi, or simply sleeping under the giant palm trees.
Jim Thompson, April 2015. Virtually every traveller I met on my wanderings around Thailand hated Bangkok. “It’s not REAL Thailand!” they’d repeat, again and again. I was told to use the capital merely as a transport hub; that I should get out at the earliest opportunity. Unless of course I was a total scumbag visiting specifically as a sex tourist! When quizzed, most of these experts had never heard of the city’s most fascinating attractions. Take the Jim Thompson house for example, the former home of James H.W. Thompson, an American businessman who became The Silk King of Thailand.
Chatuchak Market, April 2015. I do love myself a big old Asian market: The smell of sizzling street food, the unpredictability of the haggling, the vast array of stuff on offer! God only knows I’ve been to my fair share of markets throughout Asia, but I’m not sure I’ve seen a bigger one than Bangkok’s Chatuchak.
Bangkok Snake Farm, April 2015. Bangkok’s fascinating Snake Farm is one of the city’s most underrated attractions! Tucked away in the gated Red Cross Institute compound at the intersection of Rama IV and Henry Dunant Roads, it’s also a tricky place to find! So get maps going on your phone and be prepared to wander into a couple of hospitals before you find it!