Bangkok, Thailand




There is not particularly much to see in Pratunam, unless you happen to be interested in generic-looking concrete buildings. Pratunam's popularity as destination is mainly shopping, especially for clothes and fashion at bargain or wholesale prices. However, the Phaya Thai Palace does make a nice visit if you happen to be free on a Saturday and going to the top of Baiyoke Tower II gives breathtaking views of Bangkok's city skyline.

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Baiyoke Tower II
77-84F, 222 Ratchaprarop Rd (Airport Rail Link Ratchaprarop Station). Opens: Monday-Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m and Saturday-Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The Baiyoke Tower II is the tallest in Thailand (until 2014 when construction of a taller building in Pattaya is completed). The tower stands at 304 metres and there is an observatory behind a huge window on the 77th floor and a revolving roof-deck on the 84th floor. The revolving roof-deck is practical for viewing different parts of the city. Best to visit right before dusk and watch the sun go down from the tower.

Baiyoke Tower II by Paolobon140

Phaya Thai Palace
315 Ratchawithi Rd (BTS Victory Monument). Opens: Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Monday-Friday by appointment only.
The Phaya Thai Palace was built by King Rama VI, who lived here from 1919 until the last years of his reign. After his death, the palace turned into one of the most luxurious hotels in Southeast Asia, a radio station and a military hospital. The most important building is the Phiman Chakri Hall, designed in the Art Nouveau style with silk wallpapers and ornate murals. Every Saturday, volunteers give two free guided tours through the palace that take about two hours.

Suan Pakkad Palace
352-354 Si Ayutthaya Rd (BTS Phaya Thai). Opens: daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
This complex of five Thai-style houses was once the residence of one of Thailand's leading art collectors, Prince Chumbhot of Nagara Svarga. It houses an extensive collection of Asian art and antiques including items from the prehistoric Ban Chiang civilization and an impressive collection of sea-shells. The Khon Museum (about the traditional Thai masked dance) and the Traditional Thai Music Museum are housed here.

Victory Monument
(BTS Victory Monument).
This monument was constructed in 1941 by military dictator Plaek Pibulsongkhram to commemorate the 59 Thais who lost their lives in the short and inconclusive French Indochina War. However, Pibulsongkhram was ousted in 1944 and patch of land gained by Thailand was returned to Laos and Cambodia in 1945, making the "victory" a little hollow. These days this spiky Bangkok landmark is better known as the city's largest local bus hub. If traveling north by Skytrain, you'll be treated to a 180-degree curving view of the monument - this is the best view.

Victory Monument by Marisa DeMeglio

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