There are so many things to see and do in Bangkok that you will need to be selective in what you do in your stay, especially as most people will only be there for a few days. Here is our guide for the best things to do. The number 1 thing to do is visit the Grand Palace and Wat Pakeaw – see our full guide for more.
Forgive me if I get a little preachy but we also have a handy guide of things not to do in Bangkok and Thailand.
Get a Massage
I am not talking about a happy ending massage here. I am talking about the superb range of massages that you can get in hotels, spas and massage houses. A Thai Massage is a wonderful thing, yes if done properly it can be a little painful at times but it is worth it afterwards. They will have a range of other massages on offer too.
Wat Pho – Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Next door to the Grand Palace and includes gardens, murals, images of the Buddha, sculptures and is a world renowned centre for Thai massage. Open daily 8.00am – 6.30pm
Wat Arun – The Temple of Dawn
Towering spires, lit up at night and visible from the river make this one of the most recognisable sites in the city. Dating from the early 19th century and built in the ancient Khmer style Wat Arun is located on the opposite bank of the river to Wat Pho and can be easily reached via a shuttle boat from Pier 8.
Colourful, bustling, exotic and well worth a visit. Chinatown has an array of market stalls, many down tiny soi’s (side streets) and alleyways selling anything from clothing, hand made jewellery and food (including deep fried insects if that’s your thing). Also has more gold shops than you know what to do with. Location Yaowarat Road
The ancient capital of Siam is an easy day trip from Bangkok, either book a tour or jump on a train and hire a tuk-tuk or bicycle at the Ayutthaya station. The four temples founded around 1350 and destroted by the Burmese in the 1767 are reminiscent of Ankor Wat in Cambodia and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Popular with locals this is a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy the open spaces. watch, or join in, the Tai Chi sessions, take a jog or walk around the trails, hire a paddle boat. Location on Rama IV Road in Lumpini open daily 4.30am to 9.00pm
Chao Phraya River
Get a completely different view of the city, and a more relaxed view, from one of the river taxis plying their trade up and down the Chao Phraya river which cuts through Bangkok. You can buy a ticket that allows you to hop on and off at your leisure. Take the BTS to Saphan Takin which gives easy access to Central Pier (Ta Sathorn Pier)
Chatuchak Weekend Market
There are plenty of markets to choose from in Bangkok, many are excellent. This is the big one though. Taking place every Saturday and Sunday from 9.00am to 6.00pm, over 15,000 stalls attract more than 200,000 every weekend so expect crowds. Their official website has details on the best ways to get to the market.
Asiatique – The Riverfront
If you are looking for traditional culture then give this one a miss. Take a river boat trip from Central Pier near Saphan Taksin BTS station and 10 minutes later you arrive at a modern mixture of shopping malls and markets (1,500 shops) plus 40 restaurants, Ladyboy, Muay Thai and puppet shows. Open every day 4.00pm – midnight.
Jim Thompson’s House
Open every day from 9.00am to 6.00pm this museum dedicated to the life of Jim Thompson includes Thai art and antiques alongside a collection of Thai silk that made him famous. The museum is contained in 6 Thai style teakwood houses
Learn to Cook Thai Food
There are Thai cooking classes almost everywhere you go in Thailand from hotels to restaurants and cafes to cooking schools. As an added bonus you get to eat what you cook.
Take a Food Tour
Want to sample the best authentic Thai food. Arrange a tour of local market food with a local guide. A good guide will get to know your likes and dislikes before starting the tour and will take you around a number of locations in the city, explaining to you the food and letting you sample some of the best food in the world.
A shoppers delights with major luxury brands sitting side by side with a Sea Life centre, cinema complex and restaurants and food outlets. Open 10.00am – 10.00pm every day with it’s own BTS station.
Khao San Road
It’s chaotic, rowdy, full of backpackers and dodgy street sellers. It is also home to excellent shops and market stalls, restaurants and cafes, bars, nightlife and every kind of traveller you can think of. Don’t expect culture but it’s certainly fun even if it’s just for a short visit.
Thai boxing is massive in Thailand. You can find world class training facilities, tourist inspired matches (Asiatique has a 600 person stadium) and fights aimed at locals but with plenty of tourists thrown in at the New Lumpinee Boxing Stadium every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday night.
Visit a Floating Market
The best floating markets aren’t strictly in Bangkok. Damnoen Saduak for example is 100 km away but is certainly worth the trip for an authentic but tourist friendly floating market and some superb food
Visit a Ladyboy Show
You will see Ladyboys throughout Bangkok especially around Soi Cowboy, Patpong and Nana adult areas. To visit a more family friendly show though you need to go to one of the shows. The most famous show in Bangkok is Calypso Caberet at Aisiatique.
Many people stay in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok without ever knowing that Soi Cowboy is there. This adult side street is fairly laid back compared to Patpong and it’s rare to have it’s wares thrust in your face.
Patpong Night Market
More than just a market selling a mixture of food, genuine and fake goods and souvenirs Patpong is also home to go-go bars, adult shows and more. Remember to bargain in the market. Located in Silom close to Sala Daeng BTS station it’s open 5.00pm to midnight every day.
- ตลาดกลางคืนพัฒน์พงษ์ (Patpong Night Market)
- Asiatique The Riverfront (เอเชียทีค เดอะ ริเวอร์ฟร้อนท์)
- Khaosan Night Market
- Siam Paragon (สยามพารากอน)
- Jim Thompson House & Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์บ้านไทย จิม ทอมป์สัน)
- ตลาดนัดจตุจักร (Chatuchak Weekend Market)
- ศูนย์ประวัติศาสตร์เยาวราช (Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Center) 耀华力唐人街历史中心
- วัดอรุณราชวรารามฯ (Wat Arun Rajwararam)
- Wat Pho Thai Traditional Medical and Massage School
- พระบรมมหาราชวัง (The Grand Palace)
- สวนลุมพินี (Lumphini Park)
- Chao Praya Tourist Boat
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