Bangkok’s Grand Palace is Asean’s most visited tourist attraction, ranking eighth in Asia and 40th in the world in 2013, according to leading travel magazine Travel+Leisure.
With eight million visitors a year, according to gate count, Bangkok’s Grand Palace tied with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC and Pier 39 in San Francisco in the publications ‘World’s Most-Visited Tourist Attractions’.
Heading the list is the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, with 91.25 million annual visitors followed by The Zócalo, the common name of the main square in central Mexico City, with 85 million annual visitors and New York’s Times Square with 50 million. Washington DC’s Union Station was the fourth most popular with 40 million visitors, a position shared with New York City’s Central Park, followed by the Las Vegas Strip (30.5 million), the Meiji Jingu Shrine in Japan (30 million), and the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo (30 million). Canada’s Niagara Falls, New York, and Ontario were in ninth place with 22 million visitors, while Grand Central Terminal, New York filled out the top ten with 21.6 million .
Built in 1782 and one of Thailand’s most revered heritage sites, the iconic riverfront palace was the official residence and seat of government for monarchs of the Chakri Dynasty for over 150 years. Comprising a combined area of 218,400sq.ms (2.351 million sq.ft) the palace complex is situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River at the heart of the Rattanakosin Island. Rectangular in shape, the Grand Palace is made up of numerous buildings, halls, pavilions set around open lawns, gardens and courtyards.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn said: “A listing among the World’s 50 Most Visited Tourist Attractions illustrates how Bangkok’s iconic Grand Palace continues to inspire and appeal to international visitors.”
To compile its list the magazine collected data based on either visitor ticket sales, or visit estimates sourced from attraction management, government agencies, industry reports and media. The study was mostly based on data collected in 2013.
Tourist attractions were defined as cultural and historical sites, natural landmarks, and officially designated spaces; beaches, bridges, and sites that draw almost exclusively religious pilgrims were not included. Although Travel+Leisure appear to have a list for almost everything, a specific list for Asean’s most visited tourist attraction is not one of them.
Click here to see the full Travel+Leisure magazine World’s Most Visited Tourist Attractions
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