There are, of course, some “must-see” sights of Bangkok, what I call the Big Three: the Grand Palace, which contains the Temple of the Emerald Buddha; the Temple of the Reclining Buddha; and Wat Arun. But there's a lot more to Bangkok than just these three sights, and some very interesting places aren't on the main tourist trail. You can often visit these sights without competing with bus-loads of package tourists.
The golden spire which tops the Golden Mount
- Golden Mount and Loha Prasat
- These two sights are located in different temples, but within a short walk of each other. The entire Golden Mount area can be an interesting place to spend some time. In addition to the two unique temple structures, there's one of Bangkok's newest museums - the Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall, another museum dedicated to King Rama VII and an amulet market.
- Suan Pakkad Palace
- Of the various places around Bangkok where you can see traditional Thai houses on display, the Suan Pakkad Palace is my favorite. It collects together several different old houses, as well as one small wooden chapel rescued from a temple, around a lovely garden. It's also one of the easiest places to get to, even though it doesn't seem to get many visitors.
- Arts of the Kingdom Exhibit
- The stunning Italianate building may seem like an unlikely venue for a display of Thailand's highest arts, but grand interiors show off the fabulous works of silk, gold, lacquer and bettle wing quite nicely. The building is right next to the Vimanmek Mansion and can be combined with a visit there.
- Day trip: Koh Kred
- Of all the various day trip destinations outside of Bangkok, Koh Kred is probably the most overlooked. It's also perhaps the most unique, with an ethnic population that is still largely Mon - the people that lived in Thailand long before the Tai arrived.