Royal and religious culture in Bangkok, Thailand

Grand Palace, Bangkok
Grand Palace, Bangkok

Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is a thriving metropolis in the heart of one of Asia's most lively and exotic nations. You can experience all that this cultural paradise has to offer when you go on a Bangkok shore excursion during an Asian cruise.

The first destination for anyone visiting the Thai capital is the Grand Palace, the city's most famous landmark. This amazing royal complex was once home to the King of Thailand and his family, and even today, its opulence is truly regal. Perched on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, this attraction is perfect if you want to see a great example of traditional local architecture.

Another royal attraction is the Vimanmek Mansion Museum. This resorted palace is the largest teakwood building in the world and serves to commemorate King Rama V, one of Thailand's most esteemed monarchs. Here, you will be able to learn more about Thai culture thanks to displays of ancient artifacts as well as photographs and art collected by the king himself.

Although it doesn't have the same royal heritage, the Jim Thompson House is still a great attraction. This complex of six traditional buildings was once home to its namesake resident, who earned fame as "The Legendary American of Thailand." When you visit these structures, you can see his collection of Southeast Asian art and relics.

Thailand is an important center for Buddhism in Southeast Asia, and this religious heritage is embodied in the city's bevy of temples. One of the most famous is Wat Phra Kaeo, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This 300-foot tower soars above the Bangkok skyline, making it one of the metropolis' best-known sights.

The largest and oldest Buddhist temple in Bangkok is Wat Po. Here, you will see more than 1,000 images of the religious icon, including a massive statue in a reclining position. Perhaps the most resplendent Buddha in the area is at Wat Traimit. This structure is also known as the Temple of the Golden Buddha, named for its large carved icon made from 5.5 tons of solid gold.

To put a cap on your trip to the Thai capital, why not take a leisurely cruise down the Chao Phraya River? This scenic waterway has led to Bangkok being called the "Venice of the East," and a cruise is a great way to take in the city's sights in a relaxing way.