Among the best ways to explore Bangkok is by boat. A cruise along the Chao Phraya River-the city's lifeblood - and the canals of Thonburi reveal scenes at odds with the bustling, modern inner city. Visitors get a glimpse of the serene and simple lifestyle of riverbank dwellers. This picturesque view is what earned Bangkok the title of "Venice of the East." En route, stop at the Royal Barges Museum and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn, one of the most attractive temples in Thailand).
The Grand Palace is one of the most beautiful samples of an ancient Siamese court. It used to be the residence of the Kings of Bangkok. Here you will see palaces which were used for different occasions: the Funeral Palace, the Reception Palace, the Throne Hall, the Coronation Hall, the Royal Guest House, and Wat Phra Keo, the beautiful Emerald Buddha Temple
Note: The entire Grand Palace is closed during special royal ceremonies and during visiting heads of state, while other buildings are always closed on SAT/SUN and public holidays, during special ceremonies and on Buddhist Holidays. A calendar for visiting the Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha can be viewed on the web-site of the Bureau of the Royal Household at:
A Thai set lunch will be served at Supatra River Restaurant. In the afternoon, visit Vimanmek Mansion. Vimanmek Mansion was the first permanent residence in Dusit Garden, built in 1900 by the royal command of King Rama V. The mansion was in fact his former Summer Palace. The celebration for the completion of Vimanmek Mansion was held on March 27, 1901. King Rama V moved from the Grand Palace to reside in Vimanmek Mansion for 5 years. After his death, the Vimanmek Mansion has not been used as a royal residence and has been used as a place of storage by the Bureau of the Royal Household for the past 50 years.
King Rama VII ordered a few renovations to the Mansion. For example, he ordered the installation of electrical wiring and repairs to the main pier at the man-made lake in the garden. In 1982, Her Majesty the Queen asked for His Majesty's permission to renovate the Mansion to be used as a museum to honour King Rama V by displaying his photographs, art and artefacts to commemorate royal visits to Europe as well as to exhibit Thai handicrafts to serve as a showcase of the national heritage for future generations.