Bangkok attractions and tours

The best attractions in Bangkok

bangkok skyline at night

Bangkok is consistently in the top visited destinations on the planet, in an average year 15 million people flock to the Thai capital. What could make this South East Asian metropolis so popular, well lots of things. The city is amazing full of great things to do.

If you are a westerner and haven’t travelled much through Asia, then you are in for a great surprise. Big Asian cities are renowned for their mixture of tall modern glass skyscrapers and the charms of ancient Asian architecture. This clash of cultures makes for a great trip.

Along with it’s awesome mix of architectural styles Bangkok also offers a mix of western and Asian cultures living side by side in perfect harmony.

Visitors head to there for many reasons, the food, the culture, the people and of course the many tours and attractions Bangkok has to offer.

We have used Bangkok as a sort of base for many years when travelling around Asia and also on a few occasions as a stop over to Australia and New Zealand. Below are our pick of the highlights of Bangkok.

1 – Grand Palace

Grand Palace Bangkok attraction

Built in 1782 the Grand Palace or Wat Prakaew has been the highlight of Bangkok ever since. The palace was originally designed and built to be the official home of the Thai King and Royal courts, and it performed this purpose until the early 1900’s.

Inside the Palace is actually constructed of several different buildings all as beautiful as the next. The whole site is truly magical and is without a doubt the must see sight in the city. Whether you are a cultural enthusiast or not you will not be disappointed with a visit here.

An important note to anyone visiting the Grand Palace, this is a site of huge cultural and religious importance. A very strict dress code is operated and must be followed by all times, by all visitors no exceptions. This means men must be in long trousers, long sleeve shirts and no bare feet. For the ladies the dress is similar, modest with no bare shoulders or knees. If you arrive at the palace under-dressed don’t despair there are the ever entrepreneurial Thais outside who will gladly sell you the appropriate attire.

2) – Street Food

Bangkok street food

No trip to any Asian city would be complete without a trip to eat at a food stall on the side of the road, and Bangkok does not disappoint either. Asian’s love their food and so they should it is full of diverse flavours, exotic ingredients and great dishes. It is easily our favourite cuisine.

Street food can be found all over the city, in fact it is hard to turn a corner without walking past a stall. Most of the stalls will specialise in a certain type of dish, and the pitches will change throughout the day, breakfast favourites in the morning, quick bites during the day and larger dishes with drinks for the evening.

There are so many great dishes available it would not be fair to say which is the best, but the most popular seem to be Pad Thai, Noodle soup and Kho Man Gai (chicken and rice).

The best place in the city to get street food is the old town, many famous chefs and travel writers from across the planet have ventured here to try the delights, especially the Pad Thai.

3) – Shop at Market

Shopping is another favourite past time of the Thai’s and again opportunities will present themselves all across Bangkok for a little retail therapy.

Like any major city it is has it’s fair share of large shopping malls, packed with the usual style shops and high end boutiques. But once inside any of the malls you could quite easily be anywhere on the planet.

When we say shop in Bangkok we mean at one of its unique markets such as Patpong (tourist), the flower market, and our favourite and the cities largest Chaturak (everything and anything).

A visit to one of these will leave you bewildered by the hustle and bustle of the goings on. They are cram packed with all kinds if goods on offer wonderful smells and colours. Bargaining is a must here and if you approach it it a friendly manner is great fun.

4) – Nightlife

Bangkok is famous for nightlife and the rightly so it has some of the best in all of Asia. And no it is not all about the seedy things portrayed in the movies, it has a very chic and happening club scene, world class restaurants and awesome bars.

Head along Sukhumvit road and almost every Soi that spreads of it will have its own spot of night time fun. Try Soi Nana, Soi 12 and Soi 13.

Final thoughts

Obviously one of the top visited destinations in the world has a lot more to offer than the above, but these are our must see sights. If you are visiting for longer then you will can find loads more to do, but if you are only her for 24hrs then you must do the above, Palace in the morning, street food for lunch, shop in the afternoon and party the night away.

 

Top Sights in Istanbul

Istanbuls best attractions

Istanbul and Turkey like so many other wonderful places have been plagued in bad news recently. The rise in Terrorism that is spreading like a plague through the world has hit Turkey particularly badly.

In times like these many of you will not feel like travelling to far from your perceived safe havens. However the attacks in Paris, Orlando and other major cities around the world should serve as a reminder that everywhere can be a target.

One of the main functions of an attack but is to disrupt our way of life, and restrict the movement of people through fear. We should not give into these peoples demands and we should show solidarity with those cities which have suffered by travelling, exploring and gaining a better understanding of the difference that make the world great.

Istanbul is still the great city it has always been, a place where Europe meets Asia. With such a geographical advantage and centuries of trading history, it is after all the end of the Silk Road, Istanbul is a truly unique city. A diverse melting pot of cultures and a city every serious traveller must visit.

There are literally hundreds of things to do and see there, it would be impossible to list them all below, but here are few picks for must see sights.

Blue Mosque

blue mosque istanbul

The blue Mosque is probably Istanbul’s most famous sight. Built in the early 17th Century the mosque was a gift to the city by the Sultan Ahmet.

The blue mosque is not only of great religious importance to the cities mainly Muslim population, it is also the cities most visited tourist sites.

Its name is derived from the blue tint of the Iznik tiles which adorn its structure.

Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern is the second most visited attraction in Istanbul. Originally constructed to house the city’s water supply, this huge underground structure is a true engineering marvel. Wandering around the this underground marvel it is hard to believe that such a feat of engineering could be not only be conceived but completed in the 6th century.

If you are in Istanbul then you will not want to miss the.

Hippodrome

Another of the city’s ancient sites the Hippodrome was once the centre Byzantine life. Everyone is familiar with the Colloseum in Rome and the games and the important role it played in public life. Well the hippodrome is Istanbul’s version.

Construction started in 200AD and took over 100 years to complete (And we complain how long infrastructure projects take nowadays).

Any history buffs will want to visit here.

Grand Bazaar

grand bazaar Istanbul

Everyone loves to shop, and where better to indulge than in the greatest market, in the greatest trading city in the world? The Grand Bazaar is not only Istanbul’s greatest shopping experiences but it is one of the best shopping experiences in the world.

The colours, smells and sights here are well with the visit alone, even if you are not an avid shopper. But if you do love a bargain then you will surely find some great ones in the Grand Bazaar.

It is a monumental place filled with every conceivable item you can think off, and getting lost in here is not only an almost certainty but also part of its charm. Make sure you have water with you and comfortable shoes you are in for a long slog.

Haggling is a must and the Turks are great at it.

Spice Bazaar

Spice bazaar Istanbul

For any food lover and for those who just love a bit of the exotic then the Spice Bazaar is another must see sight in Istanbul.

Any type of spice can be bought here, and is a great example if the cities great trading heritage, the Silk Road was once the world’s main trading routes and Spices were one of the main commodities traded. Here you can also find herbs, nuts and fruits from around Asia and the Middle East.

The market is extremely popular among both tourist and locals and can become extremely crowded at times, so we recommend visiting early morning or late afternoon. This not only helps with the crowds, but it is also a much more comfortable time to visit as the heat is much more bearable.

Final thoughts

Istanbul is a city filled with heritage and culture and is a mix of sights, smells and history. Anyone who visits there are in for a treat and the above is only a small example of the delights on offer. If you have time here then you can also wander around and find your own little gems all across the city.