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Bangkok Departures

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Eclectic, hectic, playful – Bangkok is a city where no-one ever gets bored, and where you never quite know what’s going to happen. Life here is lived on the street, and there are always new places to explore, from hidden markets to the tiny lanes of Chinatown.

Bangkok is a city of contradictions: beautifully decorated Buddhist temples, village homes two centuries old and street stalls rub shoulders with air-conditioned shopping malls and expensive restaurants. The food is amazing, a celebration of spicy, sour, sweet and salty tastes that is unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere.

Top 5 things to do

  1. Khao Yai National Park - You’ll sample exotic fruits, ride through rice fields on an ox-drawn cart, and spot tigers, bears and leopards in the park. The trip ends with an elephant ride through the jungle
  2. Chao Phraya Express Boat - Take a trip down the river on one of these boats and see the sights from a different angle
  3. Museum of Siam - A museum full of fun, interactive exhibits on the history of the Thai people and their culture. There’s a room full of traditional Thai toys for the kids, and a street vending cart where you can be photographed whipping up a pan of pàt tai
  4. Chatuchak Weekend Market - You could spend a whole day here browsing everything from secondhand vintage trainers to baby squirrels
  5. Thanon Maharat - This street is full of ancient Thai industries, from herbal apothecaries to amulet dealers; there’s also a flower market

Top 5 Bangkok temples

  1. Wat Phra Kaew - This glittering, gleaming temple is the spiritual centre of Thai Buddhism and houses the country’s most holy image, the Emerald Buddha. Also in the complex is the former residence of the Thai monarch, the Grand Palace
  2. Wat Pho - Home to Thailand’s largest reclining Buddha and largest collection of Buddha images. It also has eight hectares of grounds to explore
  3. Wat Arun - Admire the 82-metre-high tower, the ornate floral mosaics made from broken Chinese porcelain, and the murals
  4. Wat Benchamabophit - One of Thailand’s most unusual and extravagant temples. The bòht (chapel) is made of Italian white marble, and the inside is reminiscent of a European palace, with red carpets, walls painted like stained-glass windows and a royal blue wall behind the central Buddha image
  5. Sri Mariamman Temple - A brightly-coloured Hindu temple that dates from the 1860s