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Unlike a number of other cities that you’ll visit on your cruise, Bangkok isn’t easily accessible. You don’t step from your cruise ship right into the heart of the city and the journey to Bangkok can take up to two hours. Cruise ships usually dock in Laem Chabang, though smaller ships can get much closer by travelling along the Chao Phraya River. If that’s the case, you can expect to dock at Klong Toey. Whether on their first visit, or a subsequent cruise to Bangkok, most would agree that the city is more than worth the effort it takes to get there.
From golden temples to bustling markets and from grand palaces to some of the largest shopping centres in Asia, you’ll find that there’s plenty to see and do in Bangkok. Once you’re in the city, it’s easy to get around as you travel by taxi, bus, metro or train. You can also try more unusual transport options including tuk-tuks, the futuristic Skytrain and taxi boats that take you up and down the rivers and canals. Bicycle tours are a great way to travel off the beaten track, seeing sights that most tourists miss completely, though you’ll also want to see some of the city’s biggest and most popular attractions:
Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm Bangkok is perhaps best known for its animal attractions. There are so many that you’ll have trouble choosing which to visit and will want to return to see the ones that you’ve missed. The Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm is home to some of the world’s largest reptiles, with crocodile wrestling being a particularly amazing sight.
Siam Park City A water park and theme park for all ages, this attraction is a favourite for first-time shore excursions and is a venue that many return to on subsequent cruises. If you’re travelling with family, then you’ll find few other attractions which will keep kids occupied as easily.
The Grand Palace
Bangkok’s Grand Palace is just one of many intricate and elaborately detailed buildings and truly is an impressive sight to behold. It’s an official residence of the King and is instantly recognisable thanks to its tall golden towers.
If you’re looking to spend your time shopping, then you’ll want to make your way to Siam Square. You’ll find independent retail outlets, as well as large shopping centres where designer brands are sold at incredibly low prices. As well as clothes from all of your favourite designers, you’ll be able to buy Thai silk clothes and accessories off the shelf. Local tailors, which you’ll also find in and around Siam Square, will be happy to make custom Thai silk clothing for a higher price.
As it’s such a popular tourist destination, Bangkok is full of typical souvenir shops and cheap replica goods, though if you want a bargain and are visiting at the weekend, then you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Chatuchak Weekend Market. It has more than 8,000 stalls, selling absolutely everything from electronics to plants. Seek out River City for antiques and gold if you’re looking to make a luxury purchase, or enjoy an authentic experience by searching for bargains at the Taling Chan Floating Market situated on the river.
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it’s time to decide where to eat. You can choose from authentic Thai restaurants, or order a meal at any of more than 50,000 eateries serving international cuisine. You’ll find an abundance of vegetarian restaurants serving flavourful dishes without meat and seafood, which are popular in the city, or you can try one of the many street vendors for snacks, light meals and ice creams in exotic and interesting flavours.
Pad thai and somtham are Thailand’s most widespread dishes, with the latter consisting of fish sauce, chilli pepper and stir-fried noodles with eggs. Somtham is usually served with chicken or shrimp, and you’ll want to visit a proper restaurant for the authentic Thai taste. Street vendors often make a different variety, particularly to appeal to tourists. Tom yam kung is an extremely spicy prawn soup that you’ll find sold on the streets and included on many menus, though if you’re feeling particularly adventurous then you can make your way to Khao San Road where there are carts selling deep-fried insects. The bugs are prepared with a coating of soy sauce, and options include mealworms, crickets, water beetles and scorpions. Whatever you choose to enjoy as your main course, be sure not to return to your cruise ship without trying a kanom roti dessert. It’s a sweet crepe, and can be served with toppings or fillings and accompanied by ice cream.
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