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Culture in Bangkok – iconic temples, colorful markets and Muay Thai

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A shining example of oriental culture in the Far East, Bangkok is full of historical sights and modern festivities that tell the ever-developing story of the Thai capital. From sporting spectacles to edgy architecture, Bangkok showcases one of the planet’s most unmistakable cultures.

Andy Flynn

My Destination local expert on


The Emerald Buddha Temple


This is home to the most sacred image of Buddha in the country, the Emerald Buddha. The temple is typical of Thai design, with impressive golden arches and pointed roofs. It’s on the grounds of the Grand Palace, where the royal family has resided for over 200 years and where you’ll also find pavilions and courtyards.


Bangkok Art and Culture Centre


A perfect way to see the best of Thai art and creativity. The center’s aim is to promote the Thai culture and to inspire the next generation to use their imagination. The People’s Gallery is a particular highlight as it shows modern art and culture.


Loi Krathong


When Bangkok’s night sky is dotted with gently-floating lanterns, you know it’s time for Loi Krathong. This festival begins on the first full moon of November and is believed to have originated from Thai Buddhists that wanted to honor Buddha. These lanterns are like small hot air balloons and they are released in their hundreds; all representing a release of negative thoughts and anger.



Songkran Festival


The Songkran Festival occurs during the New Year period in Bangkok (April 14-16). In Sanam Luang, the revered image of Phra Phuttra Sihing is bathed while Khao San Road becomes the scene of a huge water fight as locals douse each other in scents and water, which is meant to convey love and friendship as the city moves into the New Year. A Miss Songkran beauty contest is also held in the Wisut Kasat area.





Khon is an elaborate show of dancing and acting. The dancers do not speak as the story is told by the stage-side chorus. Performers all wear masks to distinguish between the good and evil characters and all wear the same kind of brightly coloured and patterned costumes as performances in the past.



Muay Thai


Muay Thai is a martial art that was first used by the Thai people to defend themselves from invading forces in Thailand’s early years. Nowadays, it is an international sport and an example of extreme mental and physical strength. You can watch some of these fights at Ratchadamnoen Stadium in Rattanakosin. The biggest matchups are saved until the end of the night so make sure you stay until the end.