There was an authenticity to the type of experience set up for us that made every city we visited special and gave us countless moments we will never forget.
Known as Krung Thep, which translates to "City of Angels," Bangkok was established in the 15th century as a small trading post at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River. After facing the turmoil of Japanese occupation during World War II, Bangkok boomed in the 1960s and 1970s, as the United States came to rely on Thailand as a staging area for the Vietnam War effort.
Today, Bangkok has blossomed into Thailand's most populated city, with 12 million residents as of 2012. The city is rich with cultural heritage and plays a leading role politically, socially, and economically in the country as well as southeast Asia. The city offers a wide range of attractions to satisfy varied tastes, including temples, nightlife, shopping, museum, palaces, and much more.
Must-see activities and sites in Bangkok include the poetically-named Wat Arun, or Temple of the Dawn, a beautiful, ornate structure overlooking the Chao Phraya; Wat Pho, home to a giant Buddha and perhaps one of the most renowned temples in Thailand; the Grand Palace, which once housed Thailand's kings; and the famous floating markets, where merchants in canoes sell fresh, natural produce.
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Visit Wat Suthat, one of Bangkok’s most important Buddhist temples, which was founded in 1807 by King Rama I. Afterwards, continue around the large temple complex as your guide explains the history behind the 25-foot tall bronze Buddha statue, the temple’s remarkable series of wall paintings, the landmark giant red swing, and more.
Chao Phraya River & National Museum
Take a boat trip up the Chao Phraya River, the city’s main artery, to meet a curator at the National Museum, which houses three permanent galleries: the Thai History Gallery, the Archaeological and Art History Collections, and the Decorative Arts and Ethnological Collection. Tour the museum with the curator, who will share the highlights of the collection with you.
Pak Klong Talaat
Visit Pak Klong Talaat, a popular fruit and vegetable market. Boats on the Chao Phraya River and trucks from nearby provinces arrive with immense quantities of fresh cut flowers, vegetables, spices, and fruits, all piled high inside the market and along nearby streets. All the flowers, particularly the orchids, are sold under fluorescent lighting – making for bright, polychrome photos.
Thai Cooking Class
Discover the secrets of homestyle Thai cuisine with a private cooking class at a renowned cooking school located beside the Chao Phraya River. You will have a chance to explore the school’s traditional herb and spice garden, and select from its organic ingredients for your hands-on lesson, for which you will have your own cooking station and utensils.
Drive to Bangkok’s Noi District where you can see how the locals live in greater Bangkok’s authentic canal-side neighborhoods, with homes and gardens dotted along the waterfront of the klongs, or canals. Board a local “rocket boat” – long, canoe-like traditional vessels with outboard motors on the back – to zip up and down the canals.
Suanlum Night Market
Try your bargaining skills at Suanlum Night Market, which has over 3,000 stalls of everything from local crafts to antiques. Browse food stalls hawking delicious satays, all the manner of skewers, and fresh fruit juices.
Jim Thompson House
Have a private tour of the Jim Thompson House, a living history of traditional Thai architecture assembled by the silk magnate and former American OSS officer who mysteriously disappeared in Malaysia in 1967.
Suan Pakkad Palace Museum
Continue your discovery of traditional Thai architecture with a private tour of Suan Pakkad Palace Museum. This is a collection of homes bequeathed by Thai royalty, and features a vast collection of art and antiquities belonging to the Prince and Princess.
Floating Markets of Damnoen Saduak
Visit the floating markets of Damnoen Saduak, one of the iconic sights and activities of the Thai capital. The market operates each day between 06:00 and 11:00, though it is best to arrive as early as possible to avoid the tourist crowds. Traditional Thai homes built on stilts line canals that are packed with canoe-like boats selling local vegetables, fruits and flowers; many such boats are operated by women vendors, who dress distinctively in blue shirts and high straw hats, the classic attire of Thai farmers.
Built in the 16th-century, Wat Pho is the oldest and among the most active Buddhist temples in Bangkok. Wat Pho’s giant reclining Buddha is one of Bangkok’s iconic sights; behind the statue are 108 bronze bowls, into which people drop coins for good luck. In addition to being a religious center, Wat Pho is also regarded as Thailand’s first public university and the founding place of Thai massage. Arrive in time for the resident monks’ morning chanting at 08:30.
Wat Phra Kaew & the Grand Palace
Explore the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, or The Temple of the Emerald Buddha. While the Buddha itself is small, the vast temple complex of gilded shrines is an impressive sight – with tiled roofs of bright orange and green, and mosaic-covered pillars. The Gallery of Murals features a vast, incredibly detailed depiction of the Ramayana, one of Asia’s most famous epic tales. While Thailand’s Kings stopped living in the palace around the turn of the 20th century, the palace complex is still used to mark all the manner of ceremonial events and auspicious occurences.
Directly across the Chao Phraya River from Wat Pho is the landmark Wat Arun, the “Temple of the Dawn.” Wat Arun’s central “prang,” or tower, is a representation of Mount Meru, the center of the universe in Hindu cosmology; surrounding the central tower are four shorter, satellite prangs, decorated with with seashells and bits of porcelain previously used as ballast by trading ships arriving from China. Visitors may wish to climb the steps of the central prang for an excellent view of the city.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
With over 10,000 stalls, Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market is perhaps the largest weekend market of its kind. A rambling maze of crowded alleys, Chatuchak’s stalls sell a wide variety of trinkets, souvenirs, clothing, food, and even live animals. Additionally, the food is first-rate – ranging from skewers of grilled pork, sliced vegetables, and squid eggs to plates of pad kee mao, or wide, flat rice noodles stir-fried in a wok with vegetables, meat, and scallions.
Thailand has it all – from towering mountains, vibrant corals, ancient ruins and powdery white-sand beaches. Enjoy a 10-day luxurious adventure through the diverse landscape of what’s known as the Land of Smiles. The hospitality along with the mouthwatering cuisine make this country a traveler’s favorite.
Embark upon an unforgettable 14-day journey of discovery across Asia’s finest art-hubs; meet the pioneering artists, collectors and scene’s stalwarts in five fabulous cities, and explore their galleries and art spaces. Experience the hot spots and sights by day, and relax in luxury by night in Peninsula’s world-class hotels.
See the contrast of two cultures as they’re juxtaposed before your eyes on this 16-day luxury journey through Thailand’s Bangkok and Bhutan. You’ll compare the glimmering Grand Palace and Wat Arun to the ancient architecture of Bhutan’s monasteries, raft the Mo Chu river, and spend nights at the luxurious Amankora.
Spend 4 luxurious days getting acquainted with Thailand’s busy capital and surrounding quieter areas. Kanchanaburi is only a 2-hour trip from the bustling city but feels a world away. The well-preserved ancient ruins of Ayutthaya are a must-see in addition to Bangkok’s fantastic cultural and historical sites.
Experience Indochina in style and comfort, aboard a luxury private jet. Starting off in Bangkok, you’ll take in some of the city’s most ancient temples, before taking off for the ever-charming Lao city, Luang Prabang. From here, you’ll head to Vietnam, where you’ll take in some of the country’s most...
From the bustling city of Bangkok to the cultural center of Chiang Mai, the rustic Chiang Rai to the luxurious Koh Samui - all while staying at luxurious Four Seasons hotels - this 10-day adventure-by-private-jet packages the best Thailand has to offer into a vacation that fits the bill.
Set off on a private jet to discover a few of the best destinations the region has to offer. Stroll the streets of emperors in Vietnam, visit old-word temples scattered across Southeast Asia, and try your hand at bargaining with the locals at different fresh markets. This trip hits all of Southeast Asia’s must-see destinations,...
Sip local wine in Thailand as you bike through Khao Yai’s stunning vineyards on this 4-day luxury escape. No stop in the country is complete without a tour of the lively capital – Bangkok. Stay in the most extravagant hotels and learn about Thailand’s famous friendliness firsthand.
Discover the differences between Thailand and Myanmar as the two countries are juxtaposed on this unique 11-day luxury voyage from Northern Thailand to Kengtung, Myanmar. You’ll go from petting tigers in Chiang Mai, to trekking through a Chiang Rai tea plantation, to meeting members of the Loi tribe in Kengtung.
Travel from the bustling streets of Bangkok to the quiet heights of Vietnam’s Sapa by private aircraft, experiencing history and adventure with VIP access.
Capella Bangkok, Capella’s newest destination, will be an ultra-luxury hotel situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. The Capella Bangkok hotel will be comprised of 100 guest rooms and a series of waterfront villas, all offering exceptional views of the river. Guest rooms and suites have magnificent sky gardens and spacious outdoor salas. Amenities at Capella Bangkok will include a bar, two gourmet restaurants and a 9,000 sq. ft. Auriga Spa and outdoor pool, secluded in a lush tropical landscape.
Eastern & Oriental Express
Passengers aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express by Belmond get the opportunity to travel in style and luxury on magical journeys throughout Southeast Asia with a range of trips; destinations include the buzzing cities of Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the breath-taking temples of Angkor Wat and the UNESCO world Heritage town of Luang Prabang. Aboard the train, guests enjoy every comfort, with three options of comfortable private cabins, each with its own en-suite facilities, not to mention the train’s rear carriage where travelers can enjoy views of the passing scenery by day and socializing with cocktails and entertainment come nightfall. Dining is a pleasure with breakfast in bed and a range of international cuisine served in the dining cars. The train’s bar car is open all hours for guests to relax, chat and enjoy a drink or two as the landscape slides by.
For almost 140 years, royalty, celebrities, dignitaries and distinguished travelers from Graham Greene to Rudyard Kipling have stayed in the legendary Oriental on the Chao Phraya River. The 368 rooms and suites, with views over the river and the city, are sumptuous. The 10 restaurants and bars, serving all types of Asian and Western cuisine, are in a class of their own: Le Normandie is one of the best French restaurants in all of Asia - with an opulent setting and a superb menu - and is frequented by members of the Thai Royal Family. The Oriental Spa and fitness center are fabulous, with world-class treatments, equipment and facilities. This richly historical hotel has been consistently ranked by top publications as one of the world's finest hotels. The Oriental is a one-hour drive from Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK).
Located in Bangkok’s Sathorn area, the Sukhothai is well-known amongst frequent visitors to the city as one of Bangkok’s best, most stunning hotels. The hotel has gone to great lengths to preserve its historical charm and grandeur, with opulence dripping from its walls in the form of luxurious ancient Thai art and crafts. A fine array of restaurants are some of the city’s best, offering fine and authentic Thai cuisine and one of Bangkok’s best Sunday brunches. Amongst the facilities guests can enjoy are an expansive infinity-edge pool, a well-appointed spa, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.
The Peninsula Bangkok
Overlooking the Chao Phraya river, the iconic Peninsula’s commanding views of the city’s skyline make it one of the most elegant choices in Bangkok. Designed with a blend of modern and traditional Thai decor, the hotel provides all of the comforts of home with an exotic flair, all with the level of quality service and amenities that define the Peninsula. The hotel boasts three restaurants: Mei Jiang for Cantonese cuisine; Thiptara for Thai home-style cooking on an open-air pavilion; and the River Cafe and Bar, located on the banks of the river. The excellent spa, ESPA, offers state-of-the-art treatments, and an extensive fitness center includes a pool set in a garden complex. The Peninsula is located approximately 45 minutes by car from Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK).
The Siam Hotel
The Siam Hotel is set on 3 acres of verdant lawn along the city side of Bangkok’s main river, the Chao Praya. The Siam is a private 39-room luxury retreat with its own unique historical background located in Bangkok’s royal Dusit district. Designed by internationally acclaimed architect Bill Bensley, the property is Art Deco inspired with infusions of Thai antiques and traditional architecture. Guests have an array of amenities at their fingertips: restaurants, a cooking school, bar, café, spa, gym, yoga terrace, Muay Thai boxing ring, beauty salon, library/cinema, infinity pool, gift/antiques gallery, conservatory and traditional Thai houses. The Siam’s 39 suites and pool villas are noticeably spacious and well equipped with modern conveniences. All rooms are outfitted with plush furnishings, super-sized king beds and lofty ceilings. Each suite is individually designed with original turn-of-the-century Oriental artwork and antiquities and is catered for by a personal butler. Complimentary WiFi is available property-wide. Onsite dining options include a Thai restaurant, international cuisine bistro, bar and coffee and cakes shop. The Siam Hotel is approximately 50 minutes from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK).
Anantara Siam Bangkok
The Anantara Siam Bangkok is a five-star luxury hotel situated in the heart of the city's shopping and business districts. The hotel has 327 enormous rooms ranging from 430 to 775 square feet; 19 suites, which offer unobstructed views of The Royal Bangkok Sports Club; and seven garden cabanas, which have private entrances and outdoor dining patios overlooking the pool and lotus pond. High-speed Internet access is available in all rooms. There are a variety of dining options including Spice Market, voted by locals as the most delicious Thai restaurant in Bangkok, and Biscotti's, an Italian restaurant with an open kitchen. Facilities at the hotel include a business center with wi-fi access, 24-hour fitness center with all the latest cardio and strength training equipment, personal trainers, aerobics and yoga classes and a pool surrounded by waterfalls and lotus ponds. The Spa has state of the art treatment facilities and a range of beauty and massage treatments including traditional Thai massage, wild mint foot massage and aromatic massage. The hotel is 45 minutes from Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK).
Sofitel So Bangkok
Sofitel So Bangkok is a chic and contemporary urban hotel situated in Bangkok’s hip business district on Sathorn Road. The hotel’s interior design is the result of a collaboration of French fashion designer Christian Lacroix and five of Thailand’s leading designers. There are 238 rooms and suites featuring modern amenities and modern décor with panoramic views over Lumpini Park and the Bangkok skyline. All of the 238 rooms and suites are equipped with 40” flatscreen LCD televisions. Broadband internet and free wi-fi are available throughout the hotel and in all rooms. There are five stylish bars and restaurants to chose from. The hotel’s Mixo is a stylish social lounge bar, unique for its innovative cocktails styled by the expert mixologist. The Water Club is situated on the 10th floor and is a playful and fun poolside retreat. The nearby Solarium Oasis Lawn is the place to enjoy sunset picnics with refreshing beverages complemented by a range of savory snacks. The hotel has two concept gift stores, a spa, a fitness center, 24-hour babysitting services, a 33-meter infinity pool and fitness classes including Muay Thai boxing, pilates, stretching, Taekwondo and yoga.