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From Wat Pho to the Chao Phraya River, we give you a rundown (with loads of tips) on how to make the most of your trip so that you can see the best that Bangkok has to offer as borders reopen

Thailand is finally resuming its quarantine-free visa programme for vaccinated visitors after it was forced to suspend it last month to curb a new wave of Covid-19 infections. 

International travellers can begin applying for visas under Thailand’s Test & Go entry programme from February 1, according to Rachada Dhnadirek, a government spokesman, on Twitter after a meeting of the nation’s main Covid-19 task force on January 20. 

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This quarantine-free entry will apply to applicants of all nationalities and tourists need only undergo two Covid-19 tests to be eligible. One will be done on arrival and the other on the fifth day, according to Dhnadirek.

Of course, it’s no secret that Singaporeans enjoy visiting Bangkok, which is best known for being a bustling city with good food, shopping and endless sights.

If you are planning to enter Bangkok come February,  here are eight places around the city that you absolutely cannot miss when you visit The Land of Smiles. 

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1. Chao Phraya River

Chao Phraya River is a crucial waterway for the people in Bangkok and is actually the way many citizens get to work and other areas in Bangkok. 

If you are headed to Bangkok, this river is something that you likely won’t be able to miss. In fact, some of Bangkok’s most iconic attractions such as Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, Wat Arun and more are located on the banks of this river. 

Additionally, many new hotels have opened up along the river such as the Four Seasons, Capella and more so it is worth your while to check out this gorgeous waterway. 

If you are not staying nearby, the easiest way to get to the river is by taking the Skytrain to Saphan Taskin on the Silom line. If you take exit two and start moving towards Central Pier or the Sathorn Bridge Pier, you will end up at the Chao Phraya River easily. 

Tatler Tip: One of the best ways to explore the Chao Phraya River and all that it has to offer is to go by boat. Keep an eye out for the Chao Phraya express boats which will take you along the river for a minimal charge.

You can opt to buy your tickets at the pier or when you are onboard. Don’t forget to check the timetables so you know when the boats are leaving. Some of them leave in five-minute intervals while some leave every 25 minutes. 

2. Grand Palace

The Grand Palace is another must-visit Bangkok attraction. Located in the heart of the city, you have to see it to understand why the grand architectural style continues to be marvelled at even today. 

Since the founding of Bangkok by King Rama I, the grand palace has stood as a major architectural symbol of the Thai royal family. 

While the Royal family now resides at Chitralada Palace, the Grand Palace is still used for ceremonies as well as to welcome the king’s guests, state guests and other foreign dignitaries. 

The building is divided into three areas which are the outer court, middle court and inner court.

The outer court is home to several state officers while the middle court is where royal ceremonies such as the Royal Coronation is held. You will find the Chakri Maha Prasat buildings, the Phra Maha Prasat buildings, and the Siwalai Gardens quarters here. The inner court used to be a residence but today, that is no longer so. 

Of course, as with visiting any building of religious or national importance, it is important to dress the part. Ensure that you dress properly in black or white and that you do not wear shorts, skirts, tight-fitting trousers, sleeveless shirts or sandals without ankle or heel straps. Simply dress respectfully and behave appropriately during your visit and you are ensured a smooth and lovely time. 

Tatler Tip: The Grand Palace has actually been closed for a period of time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it opened up to the public from November 1, according to the Royal Household Bureau. 

Be prepared that you will need to wear a face mask throughout your visit. You will also need to get your temperature checked and abide by all contact tracing regulations. 

3. Wat Pho

Wat Pho is a Buddhist temple complex located in Bangkok and is one of six temples in Thailand that have been classified as the highest grade of first-class royal temples. It is also one of the most visited temples in Bangkok. 

Wat Pho was believed to have been founded during the 16th century and features a sacred 46-meter Reclining Buddha in the main ordination hall. This incredible religious figure has feet that are inlaid with mother-of-pearl and that are carved with holy signs.

Wat Pho also used to be known in Thailand as the nation’s first public university because of the 1,360 marble inscriptions it has all over the temple about medicine, history and liberal sciences. 

Today, Wat Pho is listed as a Unesco’s Memory of the World (MOW) as a documentary heritage for the Asia and Pacific regions. 

Tatler Tip: Try to visit the temple early in the morning to avoid the heat as well as the crowds which tend to build up considering how popular the place is. 

You’ll also want to ensure that you bring coins on your trip because there are many offering boxes around the reclining Buddha. Dropping coins into them is said to bring good luck.

4. Lumphini Park

If you’ve been to Bangkok before, you would know that it tends to be a city that is jam-packed with buildings and roads. In fact, you’ll be lucky to find wide-open spaces here.

However, Lumphini Park offers just that. The park is a massive and gorgeous one in Bangkok that offers huge open spaces, trees, playgrounds and an artificial lake. 

With paths that can go up 2.5km in length, this tends to be a place where you can see many locals cycling and jogging. 

The park is also home to over 30 species of birds so if you are into bird watching, make sure you bring your gear.

Considering that this is the first public park in Bangkok and Thailand though, you can expect that it will be well protected. In fact, there is a smoking ban throughout the park and a rule that disallows all dogs except certified guide dogs. 

Tatler Tip: Try to go down to the park around the time that the sun sets for some gorgeous views of the sun reflecting off the clear waters in the lake.

If you have a little more time, you can actually rent boats from vendors at the side of the lake and paddle out to get an even more glorious view of the park and the skies. 

5. Chatuchak Market

Chatuchak Market is probably one of the most famous and largest markets in Bangkok and is a must when visiting the city. 

At its peak, the market was home to over 8,000 market stalls spread over 14 hectares and saw about 200,000 visitors daily who would come to sift through merchandise and enjoy delicious food. 

Of course, with the pandemic and various border closures, the market is no longer as populated with many shops closing down due to the lack of tourists. 

However, there are still many food stalls that have managed to stay open and just as many shop owners are slowly reopening their stores there so you can still pay them a visit.

6. The Four-Faced Buddha

Phra Phrom, or the Four-Faced Buddha, is a deity that is a must to visit when you are in Bangkok even if you are not Buddist or Hindu. 

The deity is the Thai representation of the Hindu creator god Brahma and is regarded as the god of good fortune and protection.

You will typically see worshippers offering incense, candles, jasmine flowers or garlands and coconut milk to the god to gain the blessings promised by the god. 

The deity is located at the Erawan Shrine and is typically visited by tourists for good luck and blessings.

Tatler Tip: The deity was initially created to ward off the curses and spirits that used to plague the grounds of the Erawan Hotel next door. Today, this hotel no longer exists and it has been replaced by the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel which is a beautiful place to stay if you are in the area. 

7. Chinatown

Bangkok’s version of Chinatown is one of the largest in the world and is a must-see when you are in Bangkok.

The area was founded in 1782 and used to serve as the home for Teochew immigrant Chinese individuals for a very long time. 

Today, Chinatown lies along the busy streets of Yaowarat Road and is one of Bangkok’s main commercial hubs. 

There are many things to do and see in Chinatown such as enjoying the freshest seafood, checking out temples such as Wat Traimit and Wat Mangkon Kamalawat and checking out their many museums and exhibitions so make sure you plan your visit well before going. 

Tatler Tip: Considering how big Chinatown is, plan well so you don’t end up walking for ages unnecessarily.

The best way to get to the heart of Chinatown is to take the subway and get off at the Hua Lamphong stop. Take exit one and you will find yourself a short distance from Wat Traimit. From there, you can explore the rest of Chinatown.

8. Erawan Museum

Erawan Museum is a beautiful museum in Bangkok that is most notable for its massive 3-headed elephant statue that stands on a large pedestal. 

Cast in pure copper, this incredible statue weighs about 250-tonnes and goes up to 29 metres in height. It is certainly a wonderful Instagram moment. 

The museum itself covers three main themes. These are the underworld, human earth, and heaven. In each section, the museum has rare eastern antiques, religious iconography, and psychedelic decor all on display for guests to admire.

You can look out for hand-beaten copperwork, Benjarong inlays, tin-embossed tableaus, mural paintings and even a gorgeous stained-glass ceiling that is meant to represent the Zodiac and the Milky Way. 

Don’t forget to also explore the gardens at the museum which features mythological statues and rare plants along with stone paths and peaceful streams. 

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Tatler Tip: Erawan Museum is certainly one of the more unique attractions you might visit in Bangkok simply because it is actually located just outside Bangkok and is truly off the beaten track. 

However, it is easily accessible as long as you know where to go. Simply take the BTS Skytrain to Pu Chao Station and alight there. The museum is a short walk from this station. 

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