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It's difficult to believe Bangkok was a tiny trading post when it first became Thailand's national capital in 1768. Today, this bustling metropolis contains over eight million people and a never ending stream of modern skyscrapers alongside its sacred temples, Ko Rattanakosin Old City district, and other historic landmarks. A Mae Nam Chao Phraya River cruise through the heart of Bangkok comes with the best views of the city's modern and ancient sides.Don't Miss
It would take weeks to see all of Bangkok's worthwhile sights, but the Grand Palace ranks among the best places to start for anyone with less time to explore the city. More than a century and a half after the Grand Palace was first built, this magnificent Bangkok complex is still the Thai royal family's spiritual home. The public is free to enter two of the palace's exquisite throne halls as long as they follow the proper dress code.
Wat Phra Kaew, a stunning attraction in its own right, is also located within the Grand Palace. The small, yet revered, 14th century emerald Buddha after which this temple was named was actually once displayed in another famous Bangkok temple, the riverside Wat Arun.
King Rama V first established Dusit Zoo as a royal botanical garden in 1938. Today, the zoo has become one of Bangkok's most family attractions as well as a home to more than 1,000 birds and 300 mammals.Restaurants and Bars
Bangkok has more than its fair share of highly ranked Thai and international restaurants. However, finding a good bite to eat in Thailand's capital is as easy and cheap as sampling one of the snacks offered by any of the city's countless street vendors. Bangkok's notorious nightlife is centred around the Khao San Road backpacker district, Sukhumvit Road, the more refined Phra Athit Road, and the infamous Soi Cowboy red-light district.Shopping
Bangkok's modern side is on display in the city's countless shopping centres, many of which contain water parks, amusement parks, and other child friendly activities. The CentralWorld shopping centre even includes an ice skating rink, while Terminal 21 combines the best of several world class cities under a single roof. Those who prefer outdoor shopping can browse the wares at the open-air Asiatique, The Riverfront or the over 15,000 stalls at the more traditional Chatuchak Weekend Market.