One of the most impressive and colorful sites to explore when you visit Bangkok is the Grand Palace.
The Grand Palace complex was built in 1782, right after the ascension of King Rama I.
The new King wanted to move the capital of Siam from Thonburi to Bangkok and build a palace that would not only serve as his main residence, but also be the site for government offices
Due to its magnificence and rich history, the Grand Palace is one of the most touristic spots in Bangkok, so be patient as you walk-tour the site because, chances are, there will be crowds.
Also, get your camera ready and plan to spend at least a few hours to fully appreciate the architecture, the symbols, and the overall structures that make up the Grand Palace complex.
What to look for in the Grand Palace
The Upper Terrace is one of the most beautiful and representative areas of the Grand Palace and where you can find four main monuments:
Across from the Upper Terrace you can find the Hor Montien Dharma, which is the Scripture Library and one of the finest buildings in the complex.
As you walk through the palace, look for some of the most representative statues in the palace (besides the Buddhas), which are the Golden Kinnaras and the colorful Temple Guardians.
Also, look for the beautiful art galleries with detailed paintings made during the reign of King Rama I.
The gorgeous Buddha figure at this important temple is enshrined on a golden throne and clad with one of three seasonal costumes.
In front of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha you can find a pavilion used by many people to make offerings to Buddha.
This royal building is multi-purpose, but mainly used to welcome foreign ambassadors and for state banquets in honor of Heads of State.
One of the last buildings to see in the Grand Palace complex is the Dusit Prasat Hall, used for the annual Coronation Day ceremony.
One thing for sure is that if you love history, architecture, and photography, you will find the Grand Palace to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Have you been to the Grand Palace in Bangkok? Please comment and share your experiences.
TravelPlusWine always loves to seek out excellent wine bars at the world’s best travel destinations.
Clearly, Bangkok is no exception. As my ex-patriot friend who lived in Bangkok put it, “wine is hip, cool, and spendy in BKK” which means it can be found at just about any big, fancy hotel. So when in Thailand, remember to kick back, relax, and enjoy the Thai hospitality!
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
This extravagant Bangkok hotel is the epitome of world-class. Lucky for non- hotel guests, anyone dressed like a jet setter can stop by to casually enjoy the swanky scene.
With so many restaurants and lounges to choose from, I personally recommend you take a seat at The Verandah Restaurant to enjoy views of the always-active Chao Phraya River.
The Mandarin Oriental only hires crème de la crème chefs who serve the best Thai food in Bangkok and the international wine menu won’t disappoint, I promise!
Pier 59 at the Banyan Tree Hotel has an exclusive wine tasting room. Ask your waiter for a wine recommendation as you dine on sumptuous seafood.
Is there more to life than this? Apparently there’s a lot more on the rooftop Vertigo & Moon Bar including canapés, wines-by-the-glass, and a breathtaking 360° view of Bangkok.
Lake House Wine Garden
If you’re looking for a different kind of wine bar, set far away from the swanky Bangkok hotels, the luscious surroundings of Lake House might be the place for you.
Once home to many well-known artists and writers, this place has been transformed into a secret concrete jungle getaway where great wine comes first and foremost.
Do you have a favorite wine spot in Bangkok?
Looking for paradise? Tropical bliss?
Want to really experience being a beach bum to the fullest? Rest assured, you won’t be needing a map, unlike Leo, to find this piece of heaven on earth.
Koh Phi Phi, Thailand eagerly awaits your arrival.
Why Koh Phi Phi is the ultimate island destination
Let’s set this straight: The perfect island getaway is not an urban myth, it actually exists. A place with water so blue and so calm, you seem to keep swimming away from shore and still see the ocean floor.
Best of all, whatever your currency, you’ll be able to relax knowing that once you’re there, Thailand affords you the opportunity to live like a king. Think: fabulous food and unforgettable beachside massages. Dirt cheap.
To say Koh Phi Phi is located just beyond the white pearly gates of heaven would be so cliché, although it really does feel that way. In reality, the islands are located in the Andaman Sea just off the coast of Phuket and Krabi in the Southwestern part of Thailand.
Wait, did I just say islands (plural)? Yes, I did. Koh Phi Phi actually consists of two islands: Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley. Koh, just so you know (translation: don’t behave like a dumb tourist), means island.
Cheap flights from Bangkok International Airport to Phuket are readily available. Thailand has a number of discount airlines such as Nok Air or One-Two-Go. When the plane lands on the island of Phuket, it’s necessary to take a shuttle or taxi to the town of Phuket to catch your ferry to Koh Phi Phi.
Koh Phi Phi Don, the civilized island, is just a quick ferry ride from the town of Phuket (2 hours) or Krabi (90 minutes).
Where to Stay
The local travel agencies trying to book your hotel will tell you accommodations are same same, but different. Unfortunately, this thoughtfully detailed description that leaves you eagerly hanging edge-of-your-seat in anticipation… isn’t very helpful. If you travel during the busy season, book well before you leave for Thailand. On the other hand, if you’re traveling in the off-season or a backpacker with a lot of time on your hands, you might luck out booking a room the day before or even a few minutes before you catch the ferry.
One thing is for sure: Book before you get to Koh Phi Phi Don. Once you’re already there, they know you’re stuck for the night and can charge whatever they want.
If you have a choice as to where you stay on the island, we think Long Beach wins the Best Phi Phi Don Beach contest.
We always check TripAdvisor before booking our hotels.
What to do
A visit the other island, Phi Phi Ley, located 15 minutes by boat from Phi Phi Don, is a must see for its luscious National Park as well as the world-famous Maya Bay. Come and see for yourself if this really is the paradise depicted in Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Beach.
Other activities include rock climbing, snorkeling, diving, boating, boat tours, and kayaking. But be warned, beach laziness has a tendency to run its course while on Koh Phi Phi, so just relax and let it be! Soak up the sun, splash in the water, and enjoy! No stress, no worries.
When in Rome…
The same saying goes for Koh Phi Phi: When on the Koh, do as the locals and other tourists and drink beer.
Sorry fellow wine lovers, but while you might find wine on a few restaurant and bar menus, it doesn’t appear to be ordered very much. I typically take this as a sign to drink what everyone else is drinking. There’s nothing worse than a glass of wine from a bottle opened last month or a bottle that has been sitting on top of a restaurant refrigerator for the past year. Not that I’m claiming this is the case… I’m just recommending the fantastic Thai beer as an amenable alternative.
Despite the alarming lack of elegant wine (or even Two Buck Chuck), Koh Phi Phi is comes with a high recommendation from Travel Plus Wine.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions about travel in Thailand or Koh Phi Phi in particular. We spent a month backpacking around the country and will happily try to answer your questions via email. Sometimes the travel guides are not entirely accurate or up to date, so it really helps to ask around.
Also, send us your pictures, blog link, or YouTube video of Koh Phi Phi if you’ve already been there. We’d love to feature it on Travel Plus Wine!
Also blogging about Thailand:
- Thailand Dialogue- Thailand is a perfect stop on a RTW Trip
- Matt & Debz: The Continued Adventures of Two Energetic Travellers- Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
One of the most beautiful and colorful sites in all of Thailand is the floating market in Damnoen Saduak. It is a very charming place packed with lots of fresh produce and many smiles.