Many people come here just for a stopover on their way to Chiang Mai or the islands, but believe me, even few days aren’t enough to see the beautiful Buddhist temples, colorful markets, parks, rooftops, museums or experience delicious food, boat ride on the canals and the river, or the city by night. This is why I listed the top 10 things to see and do in Bangkok.
I visited Bangkok in March 2014, as a part of our birthday trip (as we both celebrate birthdays in March). Similarly to other tourists heading there, Bangkok was our first and last stop in Thailand. We did a deep research on what is worth visiting and seeing before out trip. And although at the end we didn’t make it all, we had a great time in Bangkok. I still hope though to come back one day and see much more of this city.
10 Things to See and Do In Bangkok
1. Visit the Grand Palace
Visitors come here to admire beautiful architecture with rich details. Together with Wat Phra Kaew, the Grand Palace is probably the greatest monument in Bangkok. The Palace was built in the second half of the 18th century and used to serve as a Royal residence for about 150 years. The Royal Chapel Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of Emerald Buddha) hosts the most sacred image of Buddha in the whole country. It is good to reserve a whole day for the visit – there is so much to see! Read more about visiting the Grand Palace here.
2. Take a boat tour on Chao Phraya River
Take a boat tour on Chao Phraya River and see the city from another perspective – you will pass by quarters that add contrast to the city. Starting from a place surrounded by skyscrapers, you will pass by small houses of locals, temples, but also luxury villas or banana gardens. You can read more about a boat tour on Chao Phraya River here.
3. Discover few Buddhist temples
There are hundreds of temples in Bangkok and some of them are really splendid. Just pick few that you like, and if you are hesitating, just check my top 5 temples in Bangkok worth visiting.
4. Visit the Chinatown
Chinatown is another colorful and exotic part of Bangkok. Streets are filled with market stalls selling typical Chinese goods, restaurants, and thousands of colorful Chinese banners attracting your attention. During the day, you can also visit some Chinese temples or the Chinese gate, during the night you can come here to grab some street food on the Yaowarat Road which is one of the greatest street food places in the world.
5. Have a drink under the stars
Bangkok is full of high buildings with rooftop bars offering an unforgettable view from the above. These places are usually accessible in a dress code, although we managed to enter in some cheap Thai clothes bought the first day while still waiting for our luggage to arrive. I strongly recommend you to have a drink under stars in Vertigo and Moon Bar situated on the 61st floor of Banyan Tree hotel. Unforgettable place! If you have time, don’t forget to check out the bar in the tallest building of Thailand, the Bayoke Tower (304 m). They have a nice bar on the 83rd floor, although covered, the view was spectacular. The entry fee includes free cocktails and small buffet within the first hour upon your arrival.
6. Experience the floating market
Photo by brett marlow (via Flickr)
This is something that was on our list although we missed it at the end as it was raining so much one of our last days! The floating market is definitely another experience with markets all over the world! Vendors sell fresh fruit, vegetables or coconut juice directly from their boats here. You can choose from several floating markets but probably the best one to visit is Damnoen Saduak market.
7. Learn about silk in Jim Thompson House
Jim Thompson was an American veteran, businessman, architect and savior of Thai silk production. Today his beautiful house situated in jungle style garden is open for public and serves as a museum. The tour starts with a demonstration of silk production and continues through his collection of antic objects, old paintings, Cambodian statuettes, Chinese porcelain, or Belgian glass.
8. Live Bangkok by night
For the best experience of night Bangkok, head to the red-light district in Sukumwit (Soi Cowboy) or Khao San Road in Rattanakosin. The red-light district is something that defines the city as much the cultural heritage. While you can see lady boys in the streets during the day too, have you ever heard of “ping-pong” show? 😀 Khao San Road, on the other hand, is less sex-tourist although it offers many places to go for a drink or hang out.
9. Ride a tuk-tuk
This is an experience that you need to have no matter on how are you used to travel usually. Sometimes it might be a bit of adrenalin, although you will probably breathe more pollution during one ride than during the whole year in your home country. Well, you will not miss an opportunity as there are more tuk-tuk vehicles than tourists and so the drivers almost beg you for a ride. Just be sure to negotiate a good price and pay attention to your belongings, place them on the ground or in the middle, as some motorbikes like to steal from tourists in the open tuk-tuk not paying attention.
10. Eat Thai food!
(photo by Frank Faber – via Flickr)
And last but not least, the most important part of every trip (at least for me). Food! Thailand is an excellent destination for all food lovers. Thai cuisine is very popular all over the world, particularly because of its exotic flavors, colors and lot of meals being plant-based. And so except some picky people, everybody will be happy here, vegetarians included. Not only the food in Thailand is delicious, but it is relatively cheap. If you have a strong stomach, then you need to try the typical street food which is very popular among the locals.
So these are my 10 recommendations for things to see and do in Bangkok. If you would like to get beyond the city, check out also the Day Trip to Ayutthaya.
Have you been to Bangkok? What was your best experience there? Do you think I missed something? Let me know in the below comments!
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