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The Grand Palace

Every visitor to Bangkok should see the magnificent buildings within the Grand Palace compound to get a feeling of the grandeur architectural style.

Since the founding of Bangkok as the Nations capital by King Rama I, The Grand Palace has been the major architectural symbol of The Thai Royal Family. In the present time, The Royal Family resides at Chitralada Palace while The Grand Palace is used for ceremonial purposes.

The main buildings within the Grand Palace compound were built for King Rama V, who was the first Thai King to travel to Europe. Phra Thinang Chakri Maha Prasat, built in 1877 by King Rama V as his Royal Residence, is the most highly recognized architectural landmark of the Nation. The central Throne Hall, which was formerly used for the reception of foreign envoys, is flanked by reception areas decorated with galleries of portraiture.

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The National Museum

A visit to the National Museum reveals the history of Thailand and how people lived during the different periods. It gives you a view through the windows of the past.

The National Museum, located on the opposite side of Sanam Luang to The Grand Palace, was established in 1887 by King Rama V. The foundation collection was previously stored at The Grand Palace. The original building was formerly the palace of a vice‐ruler.

King Rama VII placed it under the administration of the Royal Institute of Literature, Archeology and Fine Arts which has evolved to be the Fine Arts Department. New buildings were constructed in 1967 and other historical buildings relocated to the museum grounds.

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Wat Pho

This is possibly the most interesting temple in Thailand as it combines history, medical science and is a center for meditaion and traditional massage training.

Its official name is Wat Phrachetuphon Vimon Mangkararam Ratchaworamahawihan, although it is commonly called Wat Po. Founded during the 16th century, Wat Pho is most famous for the golden reclining Buddha that measues 46 metres and has feet inlaid with mother‐of pearl. This is the main attraction that draws visitors to the temple.

In more modern times, Wat Pho has gained international recognition as a meditation centre and for the traditional Thai massage that is both practiced and taught here.

Traditionally, temples were the schools as there was no formal education system, with monks providing basic lesson in both spiritual and secular subjects. King Rama III turned Wat Po into a major centre for learning in botany, geography and history.

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Wat Arun

Make sure you set aside one late afternoon to see and photograph this imposing sight at sunset with the Chao Phraya River in the foreground. These photographs will bring back beautiful memories of Bangkok.

The temple was built during the Ayutthaya period and was originally called Wat Makok after the name of the local village Tambol Bangmakok. It means "Village of Olives".

Wat Arun gets its name from Aruna, the Indian god of the dawn, hence its common name The Temple of Dawn.

The location of the temple is in the area that used to be occupied by the palace of King Taksin who reestablished the Siamese Kingdom after the fall of Ayuttaya more than two hundred years ago. The main Buddha image is believed to have been designed by King Rama II.

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Vimanmek Palace

An outstanding example of 19th century architecture. While admiring the craftsmanship of the carpenters, you will travel back through time to gain a rare insight into the lifestyle of royalty.

Vimanmek Mansion, the principal building in the palace compound, was built for King Rama V on land he named The Dusit Garden located between Padung Krungkasem and Samsen canals. The completion was celebrated on March 27, 1901 and King Rama V took up residence until 1906. The mansion was originally his Summer Palace, the

Munthaturaltanaroj Residence, on Sri Chang Island. It was dismantled and re‐built at the present location under the supervision of HRH Prince Narissaranuwaddhiwongse.

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Suan Pakkad Palace

A visit to this exquisite collection of traditional Thai homes, set in beautiful gardens, gives you an insight into the appreciation of art and gardening by members of the Royal Family.

Named after the cabbage patch (Suan Pakkad) which used to occupy this land, it was built as a weekend resort by HRH Prince Chombhotpong Paripatra of Nagor Svarga and his consort, Mom Ratchawong Pantip. They took up permanent residence there after World War II.

The compound contains seven traditional houses that display the diverse art collection assembled by these connoisseurs. Images of the Thai Royal Family, model boats, drums and religious artifacts are displayed in House 1.

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Wat Benchamabophit

To stand at the main gateway and look upon the Monastery of Five Kings is a sight to behold. The perfect symmetry and proportions must inspire admiration of this architectural masterpiece.

Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram is known to foreigners as The Marble Temple as its exterior is clad in Carrara marble. Very talented The Prince Naris, a son of King Rama IV , designed the main building which was completed during the reign of King Rama V.

The interior crossbeams are decorated with lacquer and gold. The walls of the spacious inner courtyard are lined with a large collection of bronze Buddha images. The canal in front and to the left hand side has ornate bridges.

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Siam Ocean World

A new attraction in downtown Bangkok. Open in December 2005, Siam Ocean World will be the largest aquarium in Southeast Asia. With worldstandard exhibits and features, the aqaruim comprises a 270‐degree acrylic under ocean tunnel, a panoramic oceanarium with a 360‐degree view through a 10.5 metre diametre fishbowl, an 8‐metre deep reef tank and a rainforest display. More than 400 species or 30,000 marine animals including Penguins, Blue Ring Octopus, Gray Nurse Sharks, Elephant Nose Sharks, Leafy Sea Dragons and Giant Spider Crab can be seen.

Open: daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission: 450 baht for adults and 280 baht fro children (80‐120 cm.height).

How to get there: taking sky train to Siam BTS Station or taking bus 73,16, 15, 79, 40, 54, 204

Contact: 662 687 2000

Website: www.siamoceanworld.com