This art and culture tour will reveal the authentic side of this extraordinary Southeast Asian capital. Embrace local traditions by offering alms to the monks and watch artisans at work in an ancient community. Discover the wealth of Thai culture and history at the exquisite Grand Palace and take a long-tailed boat to a quirky contemporary waterside art gallery.
On arrival at Bangkok airport our guide and driver will be waiting to bring you to your hotel.
Overnight in Bangkok.
After breakfast we’ll head out to see the most famous sight in Bangkok. Located on the bank of the Chao Phraya River is the dazzling Grand Palace – a perfect example of an ancient Siamese court. Within the compound is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew). Inside this sacred and incredibly ornate temple is the Emerald Buddha itself, a highly revered image of the Lord Buddha believed to have supernatural powers. It is dressed in robes according to the season, and only the King of Thailand himself can change these robes.
After lunch in a local restaurant, we’ll board a longtail-boat to explore the colorful life on the klongs (canals). An exhilarating ride brings us to the canal-side artist village of Klong Bang Luang. We can browse the eclectic selection of artworks in the charming stilted teakwood houses that line the waterside. Feeding the fish in the klongs is said to bring good fortune! On weekends, if lucky, we may even get to see a traditional shadow puppet show, although it is not guaranteed. We’ll then return by boat to the pier, and by road to the hotel.
Overnight in Bangkok.
Note: Please wear proper attire for visiting temples: no bare shoulders, bare knees or strapless-heel shoes. Shoes must be removed before entering.
Early morning at dawn, we’ll venture out into the quiet streets and make our way to Wat Suthat. Here we will wait for the long lines of saffron-clad monks to pass by as they collect alms. Along with the local devotees, we have the unique opportunity to ‘make merit’ by placing food and flower offerings into the monks’ alms bowls. In return we will receive a blessing and a Buddhist prayer. The ritual chanting is a moving and enlightening experience – and one not to be missed.
It is also possible to make merit by offering an alms bucket to the monks. The buckets contain many items such as washing powder, toothpaste, medicine, monks’ clothes, candles, soap, sandals and food items.
By now we’ll be feeling hungry! After a local breakfast we’ll continue to the Ban Baat community where locals have crafted handmade monks’ alms bowls since the 1700s. The community continues today in much the same way as it would have generations ago. The skilled artisans use an age-old method of crafting the bowls from slabs of raw steel using only their hands and a hammer. They are excited to share their craft with tourists, and a bowl purchase is often rewarded with a bowl-making demonstration!
It’s then time to hop into a Tuk Tuk for a visit to Talad Kao (Old Market) in Chinatown.
Talad Kao is a 200-year-old market and was the original trading area for the first Chinese settlers to this area. These days, it is a lively, bustling market with a walking street vibe.
Return to the hotel and in the late afternoon, transfer to Bangkok Airport for your onwards flight.