THINGS TO DO IN BANGKOK

Bangkok is one of those places that attracts a lot of travelers from all around. This city has literally everything for everyone, from the luxury hotels with infinity roof pools to the beautiful bamboo cottages surrounded by palm trees, from cute and peaceful cafes to the Red-Light district and Skybars to parties all night, from big shopping malls to little pushcarts. Bangkok is big, busy, hot, colorful, and literally one of the best places to visit in Thailand.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into some of my personal recommendations for the things you can do in Bangkok:

Visit Cultural Sites

The Grand Palace

Located at the heart of Bangkok The Grand Palace is an architectural symbol of The Thai Royal family and was a former residence of King Rama I to King Rama V. Although the Royal family doesn’t live there anymore, The Grand Palace is still used for ceremonial purposes. You can spend hours walking around every building in the complex and admiring every part of the site. I would say that this place is a must-visit if it’s your first time in Thailand. It gives a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with Thai history, culture, architecture, and religion at once.

Entrance fee: 500 baht. 

Opening Hours: Daily from 8:30 AM – 3.30 PM.

How to get there: a 15-minute walk from MRT Blue Line Sanam Chai Station.

Wat Phra Chetuphon (Wat Pho), the Temple of Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho is a Buddhist temple complex built by King Rama I back in the 16th century. Here you will find a huge golden Reclining Buddha that is 46 meters long, and 15 meters tall. Have a look at his 5-meter-long feet which are beautifully decorated with illustrations that symbolize different characteristics of Buddha. Wat Pho is also known to be the first public university in Thailand to specialize in religion, science, and literature. And it is known as the center or the beginning of traditional Thai massage.

Little note here: you need to take off your shoes before entering the temple (they will give you a bag to put them into). And you can buy a bowl of coins at the entrance that you can drop in 108 bronze bowls to make your wish come through. This is also like the donation help monks to take care of the place. 

Entrance fee: 200 baht. 

Opening hours: daily from 8.30 AM to 6.30 PM.

How to get there: a 5-minute walk from MRT Blue Line Sanam Chai Station.

Wat Arun

Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn, is 70 meters high uniquely decorated temple complex dating back to the 18th century. It proudly sits on the western banks of the Chao Phraya River (opposite The Gran Palace). You will see a lot of Chinese stone sculptures of lions, dragons, warriors, mystical figures, and many Buddha statues along the way. And I’m sure those beautiful mosaics of porcelain and shells of the main tower Tower Phra Prang will leave a great impression of the place.

Tip for visiting this place – Wat Arun looks stunning during the sunset and at night so some travelers are taking the opportunity to enjoy their evening on the opposite side of the river. There are many restaurants and bars that have gorgeous views of the temple. One of the best ones is Eagle Nest Bar.

Entrance fee: 100 baht (plus ferry fee which is 4 baht on each side). 

Opening hours: daily between 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM.

How to get there:

Wat Traimit, The Golden Buddha

Located in Chinatown, Wat Traimit is popular amongst travelers for its largest solid Gold Buddha in the world. The 3-meter-high Buddha image is made of approximately 83% pure gold and weighs five and a half tons. The interesting part is that from the 13th century until 1955 this Buddha image was covered in plaster to prevent it from being stolen. It is a really great place to visit! Don’t miss out on it when you’re exploring Chinatown.

Entrance fee: 100 baht for the museum + 40 baht to see the Buddha. 

Opening hours: daily between 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM. A proper dress code is required.

Wat Saket, The Temple of the Golden Mount

One of my favorite places in Bangkok is the Temple of the Golden Mount. You have to climb more than 300 steps to reach it. On the way to the top, you will find a line of large prayer bells. Once you’re there you will find a large gilded stupa that dates back to the reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). And you will be welcomed by beautiful views of the city of Bangkok. It’s a place where you can run away from the bustling city and find some peace during your day.

Entrance fee: 50 baht. 

Opening hours: daily between 7.30 AM to 5.30 PM.

Things to note while visiting Temples (or any other tourist attractions):

  • Dress code for templesboth men and women should cover the shoulders and legs above the knees. That means, no hot pants and bikini tops are allowed in temples, unfortunately. It might get hot in Bangkok during the day, so it’s a good idea to grab a large scarf or sarong so that you could cover during your visit to the temples.
  • Also, if you have a Buddha tattoo, to show respect for the religion, you should cover that too.
  • Watch your for scams – some tuk-tuk or taxi drivers (or any other random person out there) might take advantage of you as a traveler in a foreign land. People want to earn money and sometimes they earn it in dishonest ways. They might be very creative and say that the place is closed due to all kinds of reasons (public or some kind of cultural or religion-based holiday, floods, electricity shortages, and so on) or even that they know a better place than this and they are very kind and generous and will take you there. Public places usually work as it works anywhere in the world, but it’s a good idea to check out the opening hours and public holidays before you go. And ALWAYS agree on the price before you sit in a taxi or tuk-tuk.

Activities

Visit King Power Mahanakhon Skywalk

A magical experience with 360-view of Bangkok from one of the tallest buildings in the city. King Power Mahakhon is a 314 meters high skyscraper that has a glass tray where you can literally walk above the city. It might be challenging even for the ones who are not afraid of heights but it will be a memorable experience! There is the observatory deck point where you can sit down and enjoy the views of the magnificent Bangkok. On my travels, I always look for tall buildings or some kind of viewpoint where I could see the skyline and all that was built by mankind, and that was the perfect spot for it.

They also have Skyride where you can virtually glide through your chosen scenery (250 baht).  And of course, the high-end restaurant where you can enjoy a few drinks or grab some lunch.

Entrance fee: 836 baht only for Observatory and Skywalk, check their official website for all kinds of package deals. Also, check here for discounts.

Opening hours: daily from 10 AM to 7 PM.

How to get there: a few minutes walk from BTS Silom Line Chong Nonsi station. Or a 20-minute walk from MRT Blue Line Lumpini station.

Have a walk in one of many parks

There are loads of parks in Bangkok where locals and travelers go to unwind and relax. My favorites are Benchakitti Park and Lumpini Park. They are very clean and tidy, with a few man-made ponds that give that refreshing feeling I long for during the hot day and a lot of benches to sit down under the shade of trees, and just a few people walking or working out around. Usually, by the entrance, they sell cold soft drinks and snacks, so it makes it a perfect short break from the busy streets and all activities. Oh, just watch out for monitor lizards, there are quite a few of them in the parks (they do not attack people unless extremely provoked)!

Bangkok Art & Culture Centre

Located in one of the busiest areas and surrounded by many shopping malls stands a perfect place of art. It’s a 9-floor building filled with different styles of paintings, from classics to abstracts. Everyone will find something interesting to admire in this gallery. I found this place to be my magical escape from the neverending bustling and heat of Bangkok. 

Entrance fee: FREE.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday from 10 AM to 8 PM. Closed on Mondays.

How to get there: BTS Silom line Bangkok Culture And Art Centre station. 10-minute walk from BTS Sukhumvit line Siam station. 

Visit Chinatown

Chinatown is one of the most interesting area in Bangkok where you can find different culture and architecture than the rest of the city. Chinatown has its own unique craziness. It’s one of the oldest neighborhoods in Bangkok with Chinese temples, markets filled with many street food vendors and shops, narrow alleys busy with pedestrians flowing from one side to another, and cars, scooters, and trucks fighting for every space in clogged streets. I always find it fascinating to walk around this area as I always discover something new. It is actually a good idea to take a walking tour so that you wouldn’t miss anything, but you can easily walk around on your own. Some spots to look for are Chinatown Gate, Wat Traimit, The Crocodile Temple, Sampeng Lane Market, Guanyin Shrine, and the main Yaowarat Road.

How to get there: a 4-min walk from MRT Blue Line Wat Mangkon Station.

Wat Samphran

A unique place to visit if you’re in Bangkok. It is a 17-story Buddhist temple with a dragon wrapped around it. Yes, the full-sized dragon wrapped around the temple. But not only this temple is worth visiting, but the whole complex also has a lot of things to see – statues of tigers, rabbits, a huge turtle that you can walk through, a big golden Buddha image, and a coin well. It is a bit far from the city center and probably you will need to hire a scooter or grab a taxi for this trip, but it is one of the things I would definitely recommend doing.

Entrance fee: FREE, but donations to the monks are very welcome.

Opening hours: daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.

SPA day or Massage

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to try Thai massage. Thai massage has been crafted for longer than 2000 years. It has many benefits for the body and mind as it uses special techniques to relax the muscles and move the energy. Compared to the western countries prices here are very affordable ranging from 5-10 Eur per session. There are thousands, if not millions, spots throughout the city where you can get a traditional Thai massage. I’m sure you will find a few shops near your hotel. Don’t miss out on this perfect relaxation at the end of the day.

Shopping in Bangkok

Shopping Malls 

Bangkok has numerous shopping malls that suit all kinds of tastes and budgets. With one metro ride, you can go from high-end luxury style to the funkiest cheap shop in the world. Many shopping malls have food courts, cinemas, games arcades, and supermarkets so it’s easy to spend the whole day just exploring one shopping mall. 

Here is the list of shopping malls that travelers love the most:

CentralWorld – one of the largest shopping malls in Thailand, hosting more than 500 different stores, 100 restaurants and cafes, 15 cinemas, and the Kid’s zone. It also has a food court, a huge supermarket, and an outdoor square for large-scale events like Bangkok’s official New Year countdown party. What not to like?

MBK Shopping Centre – is popular not only amongst travelers but also the locals. Opened in 1986 shopping center has 8 floors packed with 2,000 shops that sell everything from clothing, fashion accessories, handbags, leather products, and luggage to furniture, mobile phones, electrical appliances, cameras, stationery, and literally everything you need for your daily life. Not to mention the restaurant and cafe choices that you will find there too. It’s a great place to visit for a bit more budget-friendly shopping experience.

Siam Center – is one of the city’s trendiest fashion malls, with plenty of well-known international brands as well as dozens of boutiques owned by Thai designers. You will also find a lot of restaurants to bring your energy back after a day of walking around.

Siam Discovery – not so far from the previously mentioned Siam Centre, is a 7-floor shopping mall with a different theme on each floor. You will find everything from homeware, and clothing, to digital appliances. You will see that this shopping mall has a very unique design in general, but that just makes it more interesting and attractive.

All of these shopping malls mentioned above are well connected by the BTS Skytrain line. 

The Old Siam Shopping Plaza – is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a more local and authentic shopping experience. The 3-floor mall is filled with little shops, vendors, boutiques of clothes, shoes, and jewelry, and of course many stalls of delicious food to keep your energy running. The vegetarian spring rolls here are to die for!

Mega Plaza Saphan Lek – a 6-floor mall where you can find little stores for cameras, electronics, gadgets, video games, toys, and manga. It wasn’t what I was looking for but I bought a Songoku from Dragon Ball Z for my partner. Mostly known to locals, but an interesting shopping mall to visit during your stay in Bangkok. 

Both of these malls are in the same area like a 5-7 mins walk apart. And if in the area, don’t miss out on Phahurat Market, also known as a Little India. Lovely food, and many shops that sell gorgeous fabrics, decorations, and so on.

Chatuchak Weekend Market

My absolute favorite place to get all the souvenirs for my family, clothes, shoes, underwear, swimsuit, and accessories for myself, and share delicious Thai food with my partner. You can literally spend the whole day in this market as it is HUGE. It has more than 8000 stalls that sell everyday items, medicine, souvenirs, homeware and furniture, arts, pets, pet accessories, food, antiques, books, and so much more. It is one of the biggest markets in Bangkok attracting thousands of tourists and locals every weekend, so be sure to visit this chaotic place to experience the greatest shopping experience there is. And don’t forget to bargain the price!

Opening hours: Friday from 6 PM till midnight and Saturday–Sunday from 9 AM to 6 PM. 

How to get there: you can reach it easily by using BTS Skytrain and hop off at Mo Chit station, or take the subway (MRT) to Chatuchak Park station and follow the crowd to reach the market. 

Pratunam Market

Although the Pratunam area is known for being one of the best areas to shop till you drop, I would recommend you to skip the malls and visit Pratunam Market first for a more authentic experience. Here you will find small alleys and small jam-packed streets filled with many little shops and stalls where you can get dressed from head to toe for cheap and sometimes even wholesale prices. This outdoor area is very big and if it’s too hot you can visit any mall next door to cool down. 

How to get there: You can reach the Pratunam area within a 10-minute walk from Ratchathewi or Chit Lom BTS Skytrain Station. 

Sampeng Lane in Chinatown

Visiting this area requires some mental preparation as it will be the most epic shopping place to be. Small lanes filled with never stopping flow of people, pushcarts, and scooters, and when you think you can’t move in any direction you see a truck coming your way. It gets very busy during the day, but it’s definitely worth a visit. You can buy shoes, jewelry, home appliances and decor, toys, and handicrafts for a very very good price. And when you get hungry don’t forget to visit the main road of Chinatown named Yaowarat Road for some delicious and authentic food.

Opening hours: daily from 8am to 6pm (hours vary).

How to get there: a 10-minute walk from MRT Blue Line Wat Mangkon Station.

Pak Khlong Talad Flower Market

That’s one of the biggest flower markets in Bangkok (yes, there are a few of them) that is open 24 hours a day. It is sleepy during the early hours but super bustling during the night. Locals and tourists visit this place to buy local flowers like jasmines, chrysanthemums, gerberas, orchids, lilies, roses, and also imported species such as tulips, snapdragons, irises, lisianthuses, delphiniums and more. It is definitely worth a visit even if you’re not planning to buy any flowers. Just to feel that fresh flower smell in the air!

Opening hours: 24 hours a day.

How to get there: the market is located just a few minutes walk from Wat Pho (or BTS Skytrain stop Sanam Chai) 

Visit Night Markets

Night markets are a part of the culture in Thailand, you will see them everywhere you go. Every evening the corners of the streets transform into a food court. Locals have their dinner sitting on small plastic chairs, and others stand and wait for their food prepared on a small wheeled cart. Some night markets are bigger than others, but all of them attract a lot of locals and travelers every night. Besides the little night market that you will find somewhere in your hotel area, here are a few bigger ones that are worth visiting while you’re in Bangkok:

The One Ratchada

The One Ratchada is a cute modern night market, with palm trees and lights all around, lots of food options to try, lots of tables and chairs to sit down, and a few lanes of souvenirs to buy. It is a pretty new night market, focused more on travelers, so sometimes the prices are a bit higher than in the other markets. But it’s definitely worth a visit.

Opening Hours: Daily between 5 PM and 12 AM.

How to get there: MRT Thailand Cultural Centre station (Exit 3). 

Jodd Fairs

Jodd Fairs is a big night market with over 600 food and fashion stalls attracting many locals and foreigners every day. I heard that this market was moved from another location and had a different name back in the day, I can’t compare the two, but I loved the way it is now. Huge, busy, beautiful. You can try all the street food that Thailand has to offer and wash it down with fresh fruit smoothies. That’s a perfect way to end up your day, don’t you think?

Opening hours: Daily between 11 AM and 12 AM.

How to get there: located behind Central Plaza Grand Rama 9 Shopping Mall, it is easily accessible via a 5-minute walk from MRT Phra Rama 9.

Talad Rot Fai 1 (Srinakarin)

Talad Rot Fai is one of the most interesting night markets to visit when you’re in Bangkok. Talad Rot Fai is special for having a retro and vintage character that no other market has. Of course, you will find plenty of food and drink stalls and eateries, along with plenty of shops to buy clothes or accessories like in any other night market. But here you will find some interesting things to buy (or look at) too! 

Opening hours: Thursday to Sunday between 5 PM to 1 AM.

How to get there: take BTS to Udom Suk and then transfer via taxi/Grab. 

Asiatique

Asiatique is a bit further from the city center by the river stands a beautiful night market with a sky wheel on the side. It is like an open-air shopping mall with everything that you might need – plenty of food options and little shops to walk around. It might not be the busiest night market, but it certainly, is a place that’s worth a visit.

Opening hours: Daily between 5 PM to 12 AM.

How to get there: take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and jump on the free shuttle at the end of the pier. It only takes 10 minutes, and the boat runs until 11pm. 

Nightlife and Party Scene

NIGHT LIFE STREETS
Khao San Road

Khao San Road is one of the favorite places among backpackers. Khao San Road was the first place I went to when I arrived in Bangkok and I always dream to come back there ever since. Khao San is filled with busy streets, millions of people, loud music from all the bars and restaurants around, street food carts, market stalls selling accessories and clothes, and sellers offering scorpions and cockroaches… The party vibe doesn’t end with one street, there is a whole area where around where the action happens. So if you’re in Bangkok, don’t miss out on Khao San Road. Find a place to sit down and enjoy a few beers here.

Opening hours: the road is open throughout the day, but most lively after 8 PM.

Nana Plaza

Nana is also one of the crazy places to visit at night and it has a bit different vibe than Khao San Road. The party scene happens in a three-floor building that is full of go-go bars and clubs. The place gets very loud and busy every single day. Even if partying isn’t your scene, Nana Plaza is definitely something everyone should see at least once when experiencing the nightlife in Bangkok.

Opening hours: daily between 7 PM to 2 AM.

How to get there: a 10-minute walk from the BTS Skytrain’s Nana Station

Soi Cowboy

Soi Cowboy is another red-light district in the city known for being a bit crazy. Soi Cowboy is the smallest street of the three, but it makes up for it! There are about 40 bars lined up and ready for you to enjoy a drink or two. But I would advise being cautious in this area as there are a few scams going around related to free entrance fees to the shows and mandatory overpriced drinks.

Opening hours: daily between 7 PM to 2 AM. 

How to get there: a 10-minute walk from BTS Skytrain Asok Station, or Blue Metro Line Sukhumvit station. 

If you’re looking for some popular nightlife in Bangkok, give these streets a try, even if it is just for a cheap drink and some people-watching.

SKYBARS

Another way to spend your night that shouldn’t be missed is to visit one of the many sky bars in Bangkok. The food and drinks are top notches and the views of the city are breathtaking. Here are a few to consider:

Lebua Skybar is located on the 63rd floor of The Dome at State Tower. This bar is one of the most popular spots in Bangkok with beautiful views over the whole city and the Chao Phraya River, mouthwatering food, and classy drinks. 

Opening hours: Daily from 6 PM to 1 AM. 

How to get there: a 10-minute walk from the Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain Station.

Three Sixty Lounge is located on the 32nd floor at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok Hotel. The bar has a large rectangular and open-air space area to enjoy your evening. It is a truly incredible sky bar that offers a laundry list of drinks suitable for any taste buds. The prices are on the higher side but the drinks are strong and the views are spectacular so it’s really worth a visit while you’re in Bangkok.

Opening hours: Daily from 5 PM to 1 AM. 

How to get there: take BTS Skytrain to Saphan Taksin BTS station, walk down to Sathorn Pier, and hop aboard the free Hilton shuttle boat from Sathorn Pier.

Above Eleven is another great rooftop bar and restaurant that takes up the top 2 floors at the Fraser Suites in the Sukhumvit area. Above Eleven offers Persian Japanese cuisine and delicious cocktails from every part of the world. Magical views together with good music playing all night long create a great nightlife experience in Bangkok. 

Opening hours: every day from 6 pm to 2 am

How to get there: a 10-minute walk of the Nana BTS Skytrain Station. The elevator to the bar is around the back of Fraser Suites Hotel Bangkok. 

Day trips from Bangkok

Even though there’s a lot to do in Bangkok (even more than I wrote in this blog) I want to recommend a few day trips to visit beautiful areas around. You can find a lot of tours on the internet, I like GetYourGuide and Klook. Or you can hire a car or rent a scooter to travel around.

Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya is an old city that is now an archeological site located 80 km north of Bangkok. Ayutthaya once was the capital and an international trading port of the Siam Kingdom. If you take the tour then everything will be sorted for you. If you go on your own there are some highlights that shouldn’t be missed. In the central district of the Ayutthaya Historical Park, is Wat Phra Sri Sanphet with its three towering chedis. A short distance away stands Wat Phra Ram and Wat Ratchaburana. Also, Wat Mahathat, that is famous for Buddha’s head in tree roots.  Wat Yai Chaimongkhon features dozens of stone Buddhas set around the main temple. And massive reclining Buddha at Wat Lokkayasutha measures almost 40 meters long and 8 meters high. 

By the end of the 17th century, there were as many as 400 temples around the area. Most of them along with other buildings were destroyed when the Burmese invaded the land back in 1767. Although it is really sad to see a lot of ruins around, it is also wonderful to be able to explore the place and imagine what it was like in the past.

Entrance fee: some sites are free, and some sites take a small 50-100 baht fee.

Samut Prakan Ancient City

Samut Prakan Ancient City is a magical place that gives you a chance to travel throughout the whole of Thailand in one day! It is an open-air museum that has full-sized or mini replicas of all the most popular castles, temples, palaces, and sculptures in Thailand scattered across a 1.28 sq. km. area. You can rent a bike, golf cart, or a tuk-tuk to explore the area on your own or with a guide. It is truly an amazing site to visit if you have any spare time while you’re in Bangkok. And great for a family day trip!

Entrance fee: 700 baht booking on the official website, or check for discounts here

Opening hours: daily from 9 AM to 6 PM.

How to get there: 45 minutes from BTS Siam – BTS Kheha, and then take a Grab, taxi, or tuk-tuk from BTS Kheha – Ancient City.

So there you have, things to do in Bangkok! This list is perfect if you spend 3-5 days in the city.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Happy travels!

Dovile xx


Posted

in

,

by

Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.