The Top Things to Do in Bangkok:
Visit the Grand Palace: This former royal residence is today used for hosting royal ceremonies and welcoming the king’s guests, State guests, and other foreign dignitaries. The Grand Palace is also home of Wat Pra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha). It’s recommended to visit in the early morning to avoid the big crowds – it opens at 8:30AM.
Important – Visitors must be properly dressed before being allowed entry to the Grand Palace grounds. Men must wear long pants and shirts with sleeves (no tank tops). If you’re wearing sandals or flip-flops you must wear socks – no bare feet allowed. Women must be similarly modestly dressed. No see-through clothes, bare shoulders, etc.
Admire the Buddhist Temples: “Wat” means temple in Thai. There are over 400 Buddhist temples in Bangkok. Be sure to see the three most famous ones: Wat Pra Kaew (at the Grand Palace), Wat Arun and Wat Pho.
Take a River Cruise: There are many companies that offer various types of river rides and cruises on many types of boats, including the classic Thai long tail boat. You can book various boat tours at the Shangri-La Hotel, as they have their own dock. Or, enjoy a dinner cruise aboard the Shangri-La Hotel’s Horizon Cruise.
Explore the Many Markets: The markets offer fascinating shopping experiences. They are mazes with aisle after aisle of stalls selling everything from fashion accessories to arts and crafts to freshly cooked food for dining on the spot. Along with excellent bargains, the markets also offer a slice of local life. From the massive Chatuchak Weekend Market with over 8,000 stalls to the traditional floating markets and night markets, there is so much to explore. Near the Shangri-La Hotel you will find the Asiatique Night Market, open every night from 5:00PM-midnight. Its ferris wheel is within view from the Shangri-La Hotel. The best way to get there is via the free ferry boat from the public dock near the Saphan Taksin SkyTrain station, which is next door to the hotel. This boat runs until 11:00PM.
Shopping Malls: Bangkok has many massive shopping malls which are retail palaces, geared towards all lifestyles and budgets. Just across the river from the Shangri-La Hotel is the new Icon Siam. A free ferry boat to the mall departs every 10-15 minutes from the public dock near the Saphan Taksin SkyTrain station, which is next door to the hotel. River City Arts & Antiques Shopping Center is also very close to our hotel.
Museums: Take some time to explore Bangkok’s many museums. The best place to start is the National Museum. Its collections span all periods of Thai history and offer a great introduction to the country’s art and architecture. Some other notable museums are the Museum of Siam, a surprising high tech journey through everything Thai, set in a neo-classical building, Jim Thompson House, featuring the teak home and the art collections of this American architect who revived the Thai silk industry, and MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art).
Chinatown: As about 30% of Bangkok’s population is ethnic Chinese, it has a bustling Chinatown. Locals and tourists alike flock here after sunset to explore the vibrant street-side cuisine. During the day visitors explore the Chinese temples and the plentiful gold shops.
The Amazing Food: Feast on the exciting Thai cuisine with its colorful blend of spicy, sour, sweet and salty flavors. Apart from Thai food, the array of options includes every other type of cuisine found in the world. Eating options are limitless, night or day, and amazing food can be found in inexpensive food courts, riverside eateries, Thai-style dining in antique teak houses, dinner cruises, trendy restaurants and food markets. You might want to try your hand at a Thai cooking class at the Go Thai Cooking School, nestled in a fresh market that is located a short walk from the Shangri-La Hotel.
Take in the View from a Roof Top Bar: There are numerous stylish roof top bars where you can enjoy a cocktail while taking in the amazing birds-eye view of Bangkok. The closest to the Shangri-La Hotel is the Sky Bar at LeBua State Tower.
Traditional Thai Puppet Shows: Folk tales are told through the classic art of puppetry. The visible puppeteers, generally dressed in black, are very much part of the show. They merge with the characters of the puppets, blending into the background while the colorful puppets come to life. A well-known puppet theatre is the Joe Lewis Theatre.
Lumpini Park: This is Bangkok’s central park, an inner-city haven of tranquility offering the perfect connection to nature. It features a large lake brimming with monitor lizards.
Thonburi: Just across the river from the Shangri-La Bangkok is Thonburi, a former Thai capital that was merged into Bangkok in 1972. While most visitors on this side of the river come to stay in one of the stunning riverside hotels or to see Thonburi’s star-attraction, the iconic Wat Arun Temple, this ever-developing area has much more to offer. With untouched local villages hugging the narrow water-ways and quaint local markets, there’s plenty of interesting, off-the-beaten-path things to do and see. One of the most popular is to take a boat ride through Thonburi Khlongs (canals) where only small, narrow boats like flat-bottom boats and long-tail speedboat can fit. You can hire a colorful painted long-tail boat (hang yao) or explore the khlongs on an organized canal tour.
Don’t Miss the Floating Lanterns – Loy Krathong Festival on November 13!
Thailand celebrates the beautiful Loy Krathong festival on the day prior to the opening of the ISHRS 2019 World Congress. The festival is celebrated nationwide by releasing krathongs, lotus shaped baskets decorated with candles and flowers, onto the rivers. This lantern festival occurs on the full moon day of the twelfth lunar month, the high-water season when water overflows the banks of rivers and canals. On this day respect is paid to the river spirits, and specifically Phra Mae Khongkha, the Goddess of Water.
Many riverfront venues in Bangkok hold Gala events on the evening of Loy Krathong, including the Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok. Watch the hotel’s website for further information and to book your Loy Krathong celebration tickets: http://www.shangri-la.com/bangkok/shangrila/
Some Day Trips Outside Bangkok:
Ayutthaya: Located just an hour drive (79 km) from Bangkok, the historic City of Ayutthaya, founded c. 1350, became the second Siamese capital. It was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century but fascinating ruins remain to be explored.
Pattaya: Enjoy the beach! Just under a 2 hour drive (149 km) from Bangkok, Pattaya is a city on Thailand’s eastern Gulf coast known for its beaches. From sunrise to sunset, Pattaya’s beaches are constantly brimming with life, as water sports lovers and sun worshippers take to the waters. After dark, the action shifts to Pattaya’s electrified nightlife scene.
Khao Yai National Park: Located a 1 hour and 45 minutes drive (122 km) from Bangkok, Khao Yai National Park covers more than 2,000 square kilometers of forest and grassland in central Thailand. More than 50 km of hiking and biking trails wind through the long-standing nature preserve. It also has many waterfalls. The park also shelters diverse wildlife such as bears, gibbons, elephants and hornbills.
Waterfalls at Erawan National Park: Located about a 3 hour drive (200 km) to the northwest of Bangkok, Erawan National Park is home to Erawan Waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand with seven separate tiers. This thickly rainforested park also has limestone caves to explore.
Bridge on the River Kwai: Located about 2 hours (128 km) to the west of Bangkok in Kanchanaburi is the historic “Bridge on the River Kwai.” During World War II POWs and Asian slave laborers were forced to build this bridge for the Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway, as so many perished in the process. Besides the bridge there is a war museum and POW cemetery. Many tour companies offer tours to this destination.
Some Pre-Post Meeting Trips:
Elephant Sanctuaries: The chance to interact with elephants is one of the biggest draws to Thailand. Unfortunately, because these majestic animals are such big business, there is a lot of animal abuse to give the tourists what they want: the perfect elephant riding picture. After the ban on logging in 1989, most of the logging elephants ended up being used within the tourist industry or have been used to make a living by begging on the streets of big cities. Walking day and night on these dirty and traffic-congested streets is detrimental to the elephant’s health, and unnatural. Street begging elephants often end up being involved in road traffic accidents, with fatalities commonly occurring for both the elephant and the mahout (owner/trainer). Therefore, there is an urgent need to help these animals and fortunately there is a movement to correct this wrong. It is said some the ethical sanctuaries where visitors can observe and interact with the properly cared for elephants in their natural surroundings are Karen Tribe Native Elephants, Elephant Haven and Elephant Nature Park, all in Chiang Mai, Phuket Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket, and Phanga Nga Elephant Park in Phanga Nga.
Chiang Mai: Located about 690 km north of Bangkok, the city of Chiang Mai is in the mountainous rainforests of Chiang Mai Province in northern Thailand. Here the weather is cooler than the rest of the country with a mean temperature of 25°C/77°F throughout the year. The city has plenty of things to see and things to do, but the beauty of the mountains, hill tribe villages, and elephant sanctuaries are the main draw.
Phuket: Located 845 km from Bangkok, the island of Phuket is a world class beach destination with more than 30 beaches to choose from. Along with the beaches you will find lively towns with a vast array of dining and entertainment options. Here you can explore sea caves by kayak or take speedboat rides out to other islands such as the famous Phi Phi Islands or Phang Nga Bay, with its landmark James Bond Island, thus named as it was featured in the James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun.”
Krabi: Located 783 km from Bangkok is Krabi, located on the west coast of southern Thailand. It is a province characterized by craggy, towering limestone cliffs, famous for its scenic views and breathtaking beaches and islands. This is a great spot for coral reef scuba diving. Krabi Town is the gateway to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (India).
For tours, check:
For more information on Bangkok and all that is has to offer, check these websites: