Brasov, Romania Travel Guide

Gothic towers, medieval sidewalks, Soviet blocks and a large Hollywood-style sign – the Braşov skyline is immediately fascinating. Several medieval watchtowers still shine above the city. Baroque buildings and churches sparkle between them, while casual cafes line Piaţa Sfatului’s main square. The forested Mount Tâmpa has “Braşov” in huge white letters. Here are the top must-see attractions in Brasov, Romania.

Black Church

The largest Gothic church in Romania triumphs over the old town of Braşov. This German Lutheran church, built between 1385 and 1477, takes its name from its charred appearance after the great city fire in 1689. The restoration of the church took close to a century. Today it measures 65 meter high at the highest point of its bell tower. Organ concerts are held three times a week in July and August, usually Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 6 p.m.

St. Nicholas Cathedral

 With wooded hills behind the thorny Gothic towers, St. Nicholas Cathedral is one of the most spectacular sights in Braşov. It was built of wood in 1392 and in 1495 was replaced by a Gothic stone church and later adorned in the Byzantine style. Once it was surrounded by fortified walls; the site now has a small cemetery. There are murals of the last queen and king of Romania inside, covered with plaster to guard them from the rampaging communist leaders, and were discovered in 2004.

Old Town Fortifications

Old Braşov was once surrounded by powerful fortified walls, 12 meter high and over 3 kilometer long. These defensive walls and towers were built in stages and completed in 1650 and were constructed in anticipation of Turkish attacks. Along the western section is the fort’s most popular viewing area – it runs along a stream as well as the pedestrianized street Dupa Ziduri. 

Ethnographic Museum

If you have ever wondered how goat hair and hemp was transformed into traditional scarlet and white Transylvanian clothing, you’ll find the answers in this exhibition room next to the Art Museum. Beyond the looms, local folk customs are shown, including village dances videos. The audio-visual language is only available in Romanian, but there is a laminated document in several languages to take away.

Mt Tampa

Mount Tâmpa, 940 meter high and visible around Braşov, is adorned with its own Hollywood-style panel. Difficult to imagine, it was the site of a massive impalation of 40 nobles by Vlad Țepeș. Get rid of those scary images from your head by getting on the cable car or walking (about an hour) to reach a small observation deck that offers breathtaking views of the city. There is a cafeteria upstairs.…

How to Plan a Perfect Getaway to Bangkok

Bangkok appears on many bucket lists. Its cultural sites, cuisine, architecture, and shopping are legendary. Here is a guide on the sights to include, if you are planning a getaway to Bangkok.

Start with the markets

One of the attractions that Bangkok is famous for is its vibrant, colorful markets that abound in street food, drinks, and everything from antiques to pets. Two well-known markets are:

Chatuchak Weekend Market

This weekend market is the most famous one of them all and possibly the biggest outdoor market in the world. The Chatuchak market is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and it has 15,000 stalls that attract visitors from all over the world. Goods you will find here include wood carvings, ceramic items, trendy fashions, jewelry, shoes, and many others. The prices are low, and bartering is encouraged.

There are also good food options such as authentic Thai food, and exotic desserts like coconut ice cream, and chocolate-dipped bananas.

Asiatic The Riverfront

A genuinely unique large open-air mall that features souvenirs, home decoration, and accessories shops, the Asiatic riverfront faces the Chao Phraya River. It is both a mall and night bazaar and you can enjoy beautiful river views as you sample street food and while the hours away.

The Grand Palace

Gaze in wonder at the craftsmanship in the architecture of the Grand Palace. This is one of the most famous landmarks in Bangkok. The palace was built in 1782 and it offers a superb example of the creativity of the Thai people.

The Emerald Buddha is within the palace complex. Although Thai kings no longer reside here, this is still the venue of ceremonial occasions.

Wat Pho

This is the temple of the reclining Buddha and one of the largest temple complexes in Bangkok. The highlight is the 15m tall Reclining Buddha covered in gold leaf and mother of pearl ornaments. Also of note are the 4 chapels containing 394 gilded Buddha images.

Wat Arun

The riverside location of this stunning temple makes it truly unique as it towers over the water with its steep piers. Known as the temple of Dawn, this is an important place of worship for Buddhists.

Jim Thompson House

This is a museum located near Siam Square. Jim Thompson was the man who revitalized the Thai Silk industry. He established the Thai Silk Company Limited in 1948. Mr. Thompson had a passion for art, hence, over the years he accumulated a collection of southeastern Asian art, Buddhist statues, and Thai paintings.

The Thompson house was meant to showcase his art and silk collection, however, he mysteriously disappeared in 1967.

Six traditional Thai teakwood houses lie in this garden enclosed compound. The highlights of the collection within include decorative wall hangings, Benjarong porcelain, and wooden sculptures of nats.

Bang Krachao Gardens

For an escape away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok city, make your way to this peaceful retreat. The best part of this gem is the Sri Nakhon Khuean Khan Park and botanical garden. Cycle as you savor the lush greens and fresh air. You can rent bikes nearby. Other possible activities are roller skating, jogging, or feeding the fish. If you are aiming for a full day out, take a picnic lunch.

Bangkok has been the place to go for decades, hence perhaps it is time for you to experience the culture, hospitality, and discover its many attractions for yourself.…