The Emblem of Bangkok

Introduction

     In the midst of dynamic modern growth, Bangkok miraculously manages to preserve its cultural heritage  to  a  marked  degree.  The soaring roofs and gleaming spires of the Grand Palace and the  city's  many  historic  temples -  Temple  of  the  Emerald  Buddha, Temple of Dawn and other evocative  shrines  -  present the visitor with a picture of medieval Oriental wonder; the very stuff of Eastern  fairytales.  And  contained  within  Bangkok's  monuments and sights are treasures of the nation's artistic and cultural endeavour that typify the land and the people.

     The  influence  of  the  past and the enduring threads of the social fabric are not  limited  to  the  static.  They  continue to pervade daily life. Files of saffron-robed  monks making their early morning alms round, for example, present an image  unaltered  in  essentials  by  the  passing of time. Today's backdrop of highrise  buildings  serve  only  to  emphasize  the  exotic and timeless scene, while the city draws definition from it.

     Indeed,  there is much to discover, and in addition to the city's most famous monuments  there  are  umerous  lesser  known  sights  of  great  interest.  The Chapel   of   the   Emerald  Buddha,  which  enshrines  the  national  palladium, rightly  tops the sightseeing list, but Bangkok numbers more than 400 temples, many of which have their own fascination.

     A   similar   selection  can  be  made  with  museums.  The  National  Museum  is  excellent  and comprehensive  but  as  impressive  in  their  own  way  are the Jim Thompson House, Vimanmek Mansion   and  Suan  Pakkad  Palace,  all  of  which  house  fine  art  collections  within  noteworthy settings.

     Not least,  cruising the Chao Phraya river and the remaining canals which once made Bangkok the  "Venice of the East" offers a glimpse of traditional riverine lifestyles, affording insights into the history and character of this wondrous city

How to get there
Airport to the city
     Bangkok International Airport (Don Muang Airport) lies 25 kilometers north of   the  city.  To  get  to  the  city  there  are  a  number  of  alternatives  as  the followings:

     Thai Limousine  Baht 550-680 (Pratunam, Sukhumvit, Sathorn: Baht 550, Thonburi:  Baht 680)  Terminal1,  counter  No.7,  Tel:  535-2801, 3/Terminal 2, counter No.5, Tel: 535-5155-6

     Airport Limousine  Baht  500-650  (to  the  city:  Baht 650,  Thonburi: Baht 100   surcharge)   Terminal 1,   counter   No.2,   Tel:   535-5951-2 / Terminal 2, counter No.4, Tel: 535-5953-4

     Public Taxi  Metered-taxi  is available in front of terminal 1,2. Passengers are required to pay the  fare  plus  a  surcharge  of  50  Baht  and  toll  fee.  Note : Metered taxis has to obtain a coupon designed  for  preventing  problems  which  may  occur,  and  helping passengers in the case that they  fall  into  trouble  and  need  to  contact  the  taxi drivers. The driver's name will appear on the coupon   which   is   separated   into  three  parts.  Each  of  the  coupon  parts  will  be  held  by  the passenger  (s), the driver and the Airports Authority of Thailand. The coupon service is at the sole expense of the Airports Authority of Thailand.

     Airport Bus  Baht  70,  Operate  from  05.00  A.M. -  12.00  P.M.  Contact  Airport  Bus  in  front  of terminal 1, 2. Tel.9951252-4 (in town)

     ComputerTrain  From  Don  Muang Railway Station (opposite the Airport Terminal 1) at Baht 5-10  (ordinary train) Baht 30 (rapid train) Ticket is available at the Station Tel: 566-2957, 523-6151. Trains  run  averagely  every  30  minutes  between  6  a.m.  to  8  p.m..  It  takes  about  45  minutes to reach Hualamphong Station which is Bangkok's main railway station.

Getting around Bangkok
Buses
     Public  buses  are  plentiful  and  cheap,  with  a  minimum  fare of 3.50 baht to most destinations within  metropolitan  Bangkok. Air-conditioned blue buses have minimum and maximum fares of 6 and   16   baht   respectively.   Orange  air-conditioned  buses  charge  8-18  baht.  Air-conditioned microbuses  charge  a  flat  fare  of  20 baht all routes. A bus route map is available at bookshops. TAT office also provides a city map with bus route for free of charge.

Taxis
     Hotel  and  airport taxis have fixed rates. Taxis cruising city streets are metered. They charge a minimum of 35 baht, for the first 3 kilometers, and approximately 5 baht per kilometer thereafter.

Tuks-Tuks
     These  three-wheeled  'open-air'  motorised taxis are popular for short journeys. Fares must be bargained  in  advance.  Minimum  fares,  for  journeys of up to 3 kilometers, are approximately 30 baht.

Boats

     An   express   boat  service  on  the  Chao  Phraya  River  connects  Bangkok  with  the  northern neighbouring  province  of  Nonthaburi,  starting  from  the  Wat Ratsingkhon Pier near Krung Thep Bridge.  Boats  run daily from 6.00 a.m.- 6.40 p.m.. The fares range from 4 to 8 baht. There are also express  boats  which  stops  only  at  main  piers.  These boats can be recognised by the yellow, green or red flag attached to the boats and the fares are a bit higher.