Just one hour by bus from Bangkok (76 km north) is Ayutthaya, the former capital of the Kingdom of Siam (now Thailand). In the 18th century it was one of the most important metropolises in Southeast Asia, but was largely destroyed in the Burmese-Siamese war; today it is only the capital of the province of the same name. Visitors almost exclusively come to Ayutthaya to visit the various temple and palace ruins and the Ayutthaya Historical Park, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. It is advisable to borrow a bike. See Abbreviationfinder for more information about Bangkok.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
This floating market hints at Bangkok’s traditional past, but is located approximately 80 kilometers to the west and outside of the city. It can be reached from Bangkok’s southern bus station. You can also take one of the many tours organized by the hotels. There is something original about the market because it has not become as touristy as the one in Bangkok. Boats en masse frolic on the many small canals, Thai women offer their goods (fruit, vegetables, etc.). Unfortunately, the market ends at 11 a.m.
Kanchanaburi – Bridge on the River Kwai
Kanchanaburi is easily accessible by bus or train and is approximately 122 kilometers from Bangkok. The place is home to the infamous bridge on the River Kwai, which was built by Allied prisoners of war during the Second World War. The landscape around the bridge is extremely worth seeing.
Mini Thailand – Samut Prakan
The ancient city of Samut Prakan, located at the mouth of the Chao Phraya, is about an hour’s drive away. There is the 0.9 km2 mini Thailand with scaled-down replicas of historical buildings.
This park is located in Pattaya and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The main attractions of this water park are the water slides and the man-made waterfalls. There are of course plenty of bathing opportunities.
This landscaped rose garden is located about 32 kilometers west of Bangkok. Around 3 p.m., all kinds of cultural and sporting demonstrations take place here, including traditional Thai boxing and cockfighting, elephant shows and dance performances. There are also two swimming pools and a hotel.
A specialty of Bangkok even gave the city two of its nicknames: “City of Canals” and “Venice of East Asia”. What is meant are the khlongs, i.e. the canals that have been used in the city for centuries as important water transport arteries. Unfortunately, during the 19th and 20th centuries, many khlongs were filled in for road construction. Therefore, they are no longer so dominant in today’s cityscape. A positive result was the considerable improvement in hygiene, a negative but increasing traffic load on the streets of Bangkok, since the khlongs were no longer used as traffic routes.
Unfortunately, today it has become more difficult to find khlongs. For this you should especially visit the district of Thonburi, where you can still find some spacious khlongs. There are many potteries to visit along the khlongs and the atmosphere exudes something peaceful and original.
The “Floating Markets” (Thalad Nam; “Floating Markets”)
Another very rare feature of the city are the “floating markets”. These are numerous boats that lined up on the city’s khlongs during sales times to offer their goods. They, too, have all but disappeared. If you still want to see an original “floating market” because it is very touristy in Bangkok, you have to drive to Damnoen Saduak, which is about 80 kilometers from Bangkok. There is still a large atmospheric “floating market” there, which is a very good example of the original atmosphere. (See also under “Recommended excursions in the area”).
Waters and canals (khlongs)
The Chao Phraya, also called Maenam Chao Phraya (“River of Kings”), rises from the confluence of the Yom and Ping and finally flows to Bangkok. There it pours into the Gulf of Thailand (Pacific). With its length of 370 kilometers and a width of up to 400 meters, it is the largest river in all of Thailand. It is crossed over the “Memorial Bridge” and the “Rama VIII Bridge”. Already for the old capital Ayutthaya it represented an important water transport artery. To this day, its water has not lost its functions as a transport route and as an irrigation for the many rice-growing areas of Thailand. Anyone visiting this mighty river will get a good insight into how life has been going on on the water for centuries.
Gulf of Thailand
The marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean is also called the “Gulf of Siam” after the old name of the country and borders the 2,600 kilometer long coastline of Thailand. Bangkok Bay is located in the north of the gulf. At this point the Chao Phraya and the Mae Klong flow into the bay. It is used economically by fishing and for oil and natural gas production. However, it is also a tourist point with Pattaya and the islands of Kho Samui and Kho Tao as probably the most famous tourist strongholds.
The Khlongs gave Bangkok two of their nicknames: “City of Canals” and ” Venice of East Asia”. They were used as important water transport arteries for centuries. During the 19th and 20th centuries, many khlongs were filled in for road construction. As a result, they are no longer so dominant in the urban area today. A positive result was the improvement in hygiene, a negative one was the increasing traffic load on the streets of Bangkok. To find some sprawling khlongs, head to the Thonburi district in particular. There are many pottery shops along the khlongs. The atmosphere exudes something peaceful and original.
Khlong Toei Port
Khlong Toei Port
Also known as Bangkok Port, this port of Bangkok is located on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River. With its 3.6 square kilometers it is one of the largest seaports in Southeast Asia and for a very long time it was also the only cargo seaport in Thailand. Because the port, which was built from 1938 to around 1945, had only a limited capacity and caused massive traffic jams in the area, almost all freight transport to the Laem Chabang Port in the Chonburi province was outsourced from 1991.