Grand Palace is just as grand as the name. As one of Bangkok’s most famous attractions, this palace was the official resident of Thailand’s kings until 1925. These royal grounds are not made up of just a single structure. Instead the complex is composed of several buildings, halls, gardens, courtyards, temples, and more. While no longer in use by the royal family, the palace is partially open to the public as a museum.
One of the most famous sites within the palace grounds is the temple of Emerald Buddha (or Wat Phra Keaw), which features the statue of the traditional Thai giants that guard the temple gate and the small emerald Buddha that dates back to the 14th century. For anyone visiting the kingdom of Thailand, The Grand Palace is a must-see attraction for its grandeur and historic place in Thai culture.
Situated next to the Chao Phraya river, the Grand Palace can be accessed by taking the BTS to Saphan Taksin station, and then a ferry boat from the Saphan Taksin pier to Tha Chang pier. This route offers a scenic journey for tourists interested in seeing Thai architecture, temples and culture along the riverside. The palace can also be accessed by taxi.
It is highly recommended to visit the Grand Palace early in the morning as it closes around 3PM.
*Important note about the Grand Palace. Because this is a very sacred and royal place, a strict dress code applies. Men must wear a shirt with sleeves (no tank top), long pants, and shoes (no flip flops). Women must also dress appropriately, with no see-through clothes. However, if you do arrive in an outfit deemed inappropriate, there is a booth that offers proper dress clothes in exchange for a deposit.
Chinatown offers tourists the chance to experience Thailand’s long, storied history with China. From traditional Chinese temples to the glowing street signs adorned with Chinese characters that light up the night, Bangkok’s Chinatown immerses visitors in a scenic atmosphere.
What many visitors new to Bangkok may be unaware of is that Chinatown is an incredibly popular destination for food lovers. In addition to the local Thai fare available, the neighborhood offers a wide range of traditional Chinese food such as dumplings and shark fin soup. At night, the food becomes even more abundant as numerous street food stalls open up shop. How do you know what is the best cuisine? Look at the queue. The longer it is, the better chance you’ll have of scoring a delicious meal.
During the day, visitors can explore the Chinese temples, the nearby Wat Traimet (home to the Golden Buddha), or check out some of the many gold shops the neighborhood is home to. As Chinatown is far away from the BTS or MRT lines, the best way to reach the neighborhood is via taxi.
The famous MOCA, or Museum of contemporary art, is one of the newest galleries and museums in Bangkok. As one of the biggest art galleries in Thailand, MOCA houses a large collection of sculptures and modern paintings any art lover is sure to enjoy. As you slowly wander the sophisticated, white hallways of this five story building, you can marvel at the wide variety of Thai and international art on display. You will get to experience a side of Thailand that is often hidden from the public eye. In MOCA artists are allowed to explore themes such as corruption, prostitution and religion, all of which are not openly talked about in public. The honest art portrayals often open visitors up to a side of Thailand most travelers miss.
MOCA opens from 10am to 5pm on Tuesday to Friday and 11am to 6pm on weekends. It is closed on Monday. There is an entrance fee to the museum of 250 baht for adults and 100 baht for students. Children under 13 years of age and people over 60 are allowed free entrance. Because MOCA is quite far away from Solitaire, the best way to reach it is via taxi.
Wat Arun, also known as the so called Temple of Dawn, is one of the most famous and important Buddhist temples in Bangkok. Located across the Chao Phraya River from The Grand Palace, the temple is praised for its architectural landmarks. From the giant guards made from stucco and adorned with Chinese porcelain pieces welcoming you at the entrance gate, to the surrounding buildings and garden which are preserved to be just like the old days, here you can observe examples of some of the finest Thai traditional art decorations.
The highlight is the world renowned central Prang, an 81.5 metre high khmer-style pagoda, encrusted with exquisite details of painted porcelain portrayed in Thai traditional art patterns. After a tour of the temple, we recommend you cross the river and relax in a cafe facing the breathtaking Wat Arun. This gorgeous scene is one of the many reasons travelers cross the globe to visit Bangkok.
Wat Arun can be easily accessed by boat. Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin station and hop on an express boat to Tha Tien pier. Then, either catch a ferry from Tha Tien pier to Wat Arun, or you can book an exclusive river tour in the famous long-tail boat which includes a stop at Wat Arun upon your request.
Wat Pho is a popular temple in Thailand, located to the south of the Grand Palace. For those who visit the famous attraction, they will notice that almost every corner of the temple complex is decorated with a collection of Thai fine arts, which are from the early Rattanakosin era.
Within the temple grounds is one of the most photographed spots in Bangkok: The Reclining Buddha. This 15 meter high and 46 meter long golden Buddha statue is the biggest reclining Buddha image in Bangkok. The statue’s footprints were inlaid with mother-of-pearl, which are divided into 108 auspicious symbols that tell the story of Buddha’s life. Outside, you will find four grand pagodas built in remembrance of the first four kings of Bangkok. Each is decorated with different styles of Chinese painted porcelain.
Wat Pho is also famous for its Thai medical wisdom, and Thai medical and massage inscriptions can be found around the complex. The temple offers world-renowned Thai massage courses which are available to both locals and foreigners.
Wat Pho is accessible by taxi and boat. From the Solitaire, you can take the BTS to Tha Tien pier and then walk to the temple, which is located across the street. As it neighbors The Grand Palace, Wat Pho is often included in a day trip around Bangkok’s old quarter.
Jim Thompson House
Jim Thompson House is the once residential home of Jim H.W. Thompson, the man who pioneered the Thai silk industry. Located in downtown Bangkok, the museum is now a must visit attraction for many tourists and locals. Unlike most residential houses in Bangkok, The Jim Thompson House preserves the atmosphere of a unique Thai traditional home and lifestyle—the house itself remains in the same condition as when it was completed in 1959.
On a half an acre plot of land, Jim Thompson House is a complex of six buildings constructed by teak wood. The house is surrounded by green tropical gardens which were inspired from Thompson’s visits to lush Tropical jungles. The green, isolated, and peaceful environment makes the museum a perfect attraction for visitors looking for a brief escape from Bangkok’s chaos.
The museum is also home to one of Asia’s finest art collections, which includes rare Buddhist art sculptures, Thai traditional paintings, collections of Chinese porcelain, and other historic artifacts.
The Jim Thompson House is located on Soi Kasemsan 2 and is a 6 minute walk from BTS National stadium. Solitaire guests can access the attraction by taking the BTS from Nana station or a taxi from the hotel.
Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (BACC)
The Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (BACC) is the city-owned center for contemporary arts. Located at the corner of Bangkok’s busy Pathumwan intersection, the center hopes to bring attention to the city’s artistic and creative side.
The unique interior design of BACC features a white circular main hall with a sky roof. From this main hall, there is a single elevated pathway that connects each floor. The pathway is decorated with art and leads visitors to the multiple art galleries the center has to offer. In addition to the BACC’s 3 main galleries, it also is equipped with an auditorium, studio, meeting rooms, people’s gallery, and open space to host a variety of activities.
Following its mission to ignite and inspire Bangkok’s art scene, the center frequently hosts exhibitions from well-known local and international artists, including some rarely-seen Thai art collections under royal patronages. Within the center are also design centric shops with creative products, plus a cafe and restaurant.
The BACC is located at the corner of Pathumwan intersection near MBK shopping center. To get there from the Solitaire, take the BTS to National Stadium and then walk 5 minutes along the skywalk towards MBK. The BACC is located across from the famous shopping center.