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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 7 Best Things to Do in Bangkok Riverside – Can I get a 'Wat, Wat!' over by the Riverside
Joanna James Joanna James
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7 Best Things to Do in Bangkok Riverside – Can I get a 'Wat, Wat!' over by the Riverside

The banks of Bangkok's Chao Phraya River is packed with magnificent attractions that simply cannot be missed. Here's a list of the seven best things to do down by the river!


Wat Phra Keaw and the Grand Palace

Wat Phra Keaw, 'The Temple of the Emerald Buddha', is one of the most important Buddhist temples in Thailand. The temple is home to the world-famous 'Emerald Buddha', a revered statue carved entirely out of a single block of Jade. Wat Phra Keaw is located within the grounds of the Grand Palace, Bangkok's most famous landmark. The palace was built in 1782 and was the home of Thailand's King, the administrative seat of government and Royal court for a century and a half. The palace is an architectural masterpiece with brilliantly coloured roofs and exquisitely detailed facades.


Thonburi Khlongs

Traversing the Thonburi Canals or Khlongs is the best way to experience how the people of Bangkok used to live. Thonburi, the old Bangkok capital, has yet to be touched by the fast-paced modern development extending over the rest of the city, and thus, still holds much of its dilapidated, ruinous charms. Extravagantly coloured long-tail boats are available for hire on major tourist piers such as Chang, Rivercity and Taksin. Many of Bangkok's hotels, like AVANI Riverside Bangkok Hotel, offer canal tours to guests.


Wat Arun

The Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun, is just as beautiful as the Dawn – although it's sometimes said to be most striking at sunset and at night when it's vivaciously decorated spires are illuminated by lights. The temple rises over the western bank of Chao Phraya River and is located directly opposite Wat Pho. Wat Arun's ordination hall is filled with elaborate murals and a grand, golden Buddha statue; its 70m high central spire is intricately patterned with tiny pieces of Chinese porcelain and coloured glass. You can actually climb to the top of the spire, which opens to a breathtaking view of the river, the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.


Asiatique The Riverside

Of the many wonderful things to do around Bangkok, visiting Asiatique, the night bazaar and mall located by the riverside, is one that simply cannot be missed! It is an explosive shopping adventure and a fantastic way to experience the Bangkokian culture. Open from 5:00pm till midnight, Asiatique holds over 1500 boutiques and 40 restaurants and provides fantastic live entertainment in the form of the Calypso Bangkok Cabaret, Muay Thai Live Performance and a puppet show.


Wat Pho

Wat Pho is one of the largest temple complexes in Bangkok and is home to the Reclining Buddha statue – a spectacular image covered in Gold Leaf and measuring 46m long and 15m high. The rest of the complex is often unexplored by tourists but is definitely worth a visit as well. Main points of interest include the four chapels that collectively hold 394 gilded Buddha statues, the elaborate murals that cover the walkways, the 91 stupas decorated with rich tiles and ceramic pottery flowers and, the eccentric Chinese statues that were once ship ballasts.


Royal Barges Museum

The museum holds the Royal Barges of Thailand. The fascinating teak barges are gilded in gold and decorated with glittering glass pieces with mythical creatures carved into the prows. The barges and other boats within the museum are usually only taken out on special or auspicious occasions – they've only been seen 16 times in the last 65 years! – so the museum provides a great way to see the impressive vessels up close and learn about their long, great history.


Wat Kalayanamit

Wat Kalayanamit is a place of tranquillity and is often overlooked by tourists due to its proximity to Wat Arun. The temple is home to a truly enormous, golden, Seated Buddha statue. Wat Kalayanamit was built in the late 1820s and is located on land once owned by a nobleman who donated the land to King Rama III. The temple is named after this noblemen and his relics are said to rest within the large chedi (or stupa) situated to the south of temple grounds.