It takes several days to explore a city as vast as Bangkok to its fullest, but visitors with only a day or two to spare can still manage to see most major landmarks as long as they plan carefully. Fortunately, several Bangkok landmarks are situated relatively close to each other on Rattanakosin, an island frequently described as the old city of Thailand's capital. Historic Bangkok is believed to begin at Sanam Luang Square, the location of several of the city's major festivals.
The Grand Palace Bangkok alone takes a day or two to fully explore. No other Buddha image in Thailand is as revered as the Emerald Buddha located within Wat Phra Kaew, which is both one of the city's most majestic temples and one of the Grand Palace's most impressive structures. Thailand's royal family lived in the Grand Palace Bangkok from the 1780s, the time this Mae Nam Chao Phraya River temple was first built, to the mid-20th century.
The planet's biggest reclining Buddha is the main attraction at another noteworthy Bangkok riverside temple, Wat Pho, which is also home to an ancient Thai massage school. Other legendary Bangkok temples which can be explored during a single day trip include the climbable Wat Arun, which boasts an older history than Bangkok itself, and Wat Kalayanamit, which contains Thailand's most impressive bell and belfry.
Another one of Thailand's biggest Buddha statue, Phra Sri Sakyamuni, is one of Wat Suthat's most important landmarks along with the giant swing situated in front of this particular temple. A giant bell representing Thailand's ancient architecture is located in the middle of the Wat Rakhang temple. One of Bangkok's best known symbols is Wat Sraket's artificial hill, otherwise known as Phu Khao Thong or the Golden Mount.
Of course, Bangkok has plenty of other worthwhile sights beyond its temples, including the leafy Dusit Palace which King Rama V constructed to escape the Grand Palace's hotter temperatures. The Dusit Palace contains numerous museums as well as the Vimanmek Mansion, the planet's biggest golden teakwood home.
Another Bangkok attraction history buffs may want to explore is Jim Thompson's house. Six traditional Thai homes were combined to create the house of this former OSS operative and silk businessman. Today, the Jim Thompson House contains Thompson's extensive Southeast Asian art collection. The Queen's Gallery and National Gallery are Bangkok's leading art galleries, while the National Museum is the biggest museum in the whole of Southeast Asia.
No other Bangkok green space is older or more spacious than Lumpini Park. This 'green lung' offers an outdoor gym as well as paddle boating and rowing in serene lakes in the heart of this chaotic city. Another Bangkok park, Santichaiprakarn, stands on the Chao Phraya River's banks near the famous Khao San Road backpacker district.
The breezy Santichaiprakarn Park was constructed around an 18th century fort called Phra Sumen and overlooks the Rama VIII bridge. Animal lovers may be interested in seeing the exotic wildlife species at Safari World Bangkok, Siam Ocean World, and Silom's Queen Saovabha Institute Snake Farm.