If you are wondering what to do in Bangkok if you are here, I will show you some interesting activities and exotic places you can visit while you stay in Bangkok.
Many people told me they hate staying in Bangkok and don’t know what to do. When I arrived in the City of Angel in 1995, I despised the city that seemed to be crazy and packed with people and horrible traffic and I couldn’t wait to go out from Bangkok.
After spending 25 years in Thailand, I began to fall in love with Bangkok and travel internationally in between. I have been on short term visits to many cities like Tokyo, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul and Saigon, I think Bangkok has become my real home.
You have probably wondered who I am, I was born in Bangkok with a dual nationality and raised overseas, after I graduated I decided to get a job in Thailand so I moved here after I sold all my properties and left the world behind to start a new life in a totally exotic place. I can’t speak the language at first and slowly learned to master it that is supposed to be my native language.
Bangkok may be one of the best cities on earth, it just takes time and some years to get to know the custom and lifestyle, then you may fall in love with it.
There aren’t many tourist attractions like New York, Paris and Tokyo. Bangkok isn’t like that, it is a city that is lived with interesting culture and religion. The local norms and laws are strongly influenced from religious etiquette that stayed with the country for centuries.
Beside beautiful and gorgeous temples, there are many delicious and unique street foods which are what attracted a lot of tourists into the city. There are many interesting places to eat at least give a try to eat on the street and imbibe into the local dishes.
Everything is so cheap as long as you won’t get ripped off by any street vendors and taxi drivers. You will see the beauty of Bangkok in non touristy areas and outskirt of the city. You can check out our recent “Scammer in Thailand” article.
There are a lot of flea markets during the day, night and weekend you can visit to grab some items to add to your hobby collections or gifts to someone for cheap. A lot of things can be less or expensive and it depends where you visit them.
During your travel in Bangkok, there may be unexpected things that are fun, annoying or romantic moments happen to you. This is what made me fall in love with Bangkok.
Table of Contents
So What are the best things to do in Bangkok?
If you are an expat who just arrived here or a short time tourist and no idea where you should go, below is a brief itinerary that can come in handy for you to plan out your things to do in Bangkok on any day.
Table of contents:
Day 4: Weekend Chatuchak Market
Bangkok: What To Do on Day 1
Grand Palace (Royal Palace) should be the primary tourist spot you should want to visit in Bangkok, this royal temple is located in the neighborhood near Wat Pho, known as ‘Reclining Buddha’ and a century old traditional Thai massage school. The king, queen and their family don’t live in the royal residence (it’s just utilized for royal state capacities) and you can’t go inside any of the structures, yet meandering the grounds and open sanctuaries which make the visit worthwhile. The craftsmanship of the buildings are fascinating and astonishing when you see them for the first time. Advice to go there in the early morning or one hour before it closes to avoid a large crowd of tourists
Next, try to meander down the road to Wat Pho and see the popular reclining Buddha (just as the well known Golden Buddha). The Wat Pho territory is filled with hundreds of stupas which make the temple look unique and you could be spending a long hour meandering the labyrinth on a sanctuary floor.
Next, take a boat and cross the Chao Phraya river to Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) to get a great view of the city from the giant chedi. This temple is my favorite place for being ancient and charming.
Information on operating hours of predominate temples: Admission fee for the Grand Palace is 500 Baht (Open 8:30AM - 3:30PM) Admission fee for the Wat Pho is 200 Baht (8AM - 6:30PM) Admission fee for the Wat Arun is 100 Baht (8AM - 5:30PM) Note: There is a dress code for accessing temples in Thailand. Please wear a shirt, cover up your shoulder and long pants. It is considered impolite to wear revealing clothes when entering the temples.
Catch a River Cruise
Ride a cruise through a voyage on the Chao Phraya River, a chill out and delightful experience that shouldn’t be skipped. Check the price first and try not to take an expensive cruise. You can get a water taxi along the pier for around 20 Baht (under $1 USD). Start at the central Saphan Taksin Pier (Saphan Taksin BTS Station), go as far as possible, and return for a round trip. Voila! Quick river tour (There are tourist cruises which are more expensive, which makes less stops, is that they have somebody that gives brief depictions about interesting spots as you go.)
Visit Temples Nearby
Bangkok has a great area filled with wonderful Temples. Look for an honest Tuk-Tuk driver to take you on a ride around for the day to see the Temples. Simply ensure he doesn’t take you to gem shops en route — drivers get payoffs in the event that they bring clients into specific shops. This can be annoying and not all drivers are scam! This is the least expensive and most proficient approach to sightseeing several sacred places around Bangkok. If you are interested in a Tuk Tuk tour, please check out our Tuk Tuk Food Tour page.
My preferred temples are:
Wat Saket – Known as the Golden Mount has a huge, 330fts-high, 1640fts wide Stupa or Chedi (It is a hummock-like structure containing Buddhist artifacts). This is one of my preferred places to visit in the city on account of its brilliant Golden temple and awesome view of the town from the top. Open daily from 9AM – 5PM. Admission fee is 10 Baht
Wat Benchamabophit Dusitwanaram – Flip to the back of the 5-Baht coin, this temple is depicted on it. Imported directly from Italy is the white marble used to design and decorate the structure, and this is a combination of both Thai and European architecture. There are 53 Buddha portraits In the patio symbolizing each Mudra (Gesture) and style from the Thai history. This makes it a decent place to perceive how Buddha has been epitomized in Thailand after some time. Admission fee is 20 Baht.
Visiting Khao San Road
A popular place packed with hostels, backpackers and bars for nightlife. If you have no idea where to go at night, this should be the best place to visit. It is located 10 minutes walks from all the famous temples mentioned above.
Khao San Road (along with Soi Rambuttri) in Rattanakosin area is a must visit place for foreign travelers
Here you’ll discover a street packed with bars, shops, street food, Pad Thai vendors, merchants, and backpackers throughout the day and night. It isn’t a popular place for Thais to go but for backpackers. If you prefer a quiet place, go to Soi Rambuttri, yet Khao San is a wonderful spot to sit outside and meet different tourists from around the world. There is a popular Thai bar called Brick Bar, and the hidden Thai Ska Bar.
Bangkok: What To Do on Day 2
Join a walking tour with Bangkok Chinatown Food Tour, to see the unseen neighborhood of Chinatown hidden in a residence corner surrounded by century old buildings. Bangkok is quite a large city and packed with traffic and people. It is a place that never sleeps. It can be full of surprises like you are stepping into a different world just a few blocks away.
You can explore Bangkok in any different way so how about getting someone who knows better to show you around by walking into a deep area and seeking local lifestyle in an unforgettable moment.
The Walking Tour is open daily. Check out our website for more info: https://foodadventurefoodtours.com/
Bangkok Chinatown (Yaowarat Road)
Chinatown in Bangkok is an exceptional place in the world because it is a culinary dining street. The place is also packed with tourists and locals, really bad traffic and useless souvenirs, yet what I love about this territory is the street foods. You’ll discover a huge number of food vendors cooking foods with an open kitchen that you barely see anywhere else in the world. This is a packed and occupied area of the city yet one of my top picks. Best time to go to Chinatown is around evening time, they have really good seafood like giant lobsters and crawfish but not cheap. Chinatown is closed for business on Monday.
We have a tour run on Chinatown in the evening, it is called Bangkok Chinatown Food Tour, check it out for more info.
Best way to get to Chinatown is by MRT Metro train at Wat Mangkon Station
Watch a Real Muay-Thai Boxing Matching
Muay Thai is a traditional culturally fighting sport which is a part of Thailand culture. It took a decade of training to become a fighting warrior. Try not to see any of those Thai fighting features on any of the islands in the south, they are more like a show than a real fight. Go to a late evening to see a real match with world-class warriors in Bangkok at Rajadamnern Stadium. Book your ticket here!
Open: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. Ticket price is 1000 Baht
Bangkok: What To Do on Day 3
Visit a Floating Market near Bangkok
Going to a floating market that is near Bangkok outbound can be accessible by public transportation. The nearest and very uniquely floating marketing I can recommend is Khlong Lat Mayom which is 6.2 miles to the east of Bangkok. Get off at BTS Bangwa Station (Skytrain) or MRT Lak Song Station (Metro), then you can hire a grab taxi to get there. This market has a charm which mostly is the local favorite place to spend their weekend and holiday.
There are a lot of authentic Thai foods and a chill out environment which is not so crowded. The market is fun, cheap and enjoyable to stay out of tourist attractions and get more with Thais. Klong Lat Mayom is actually a canal with vendors cooking on boats and some in little wooden stools. You can order food on the side of the river bank and see them cooking with a frying pan laid on their boats. It has a variety of dishes you can try out from fresh veggie, snacks, papayas and herbal beverages.
If you are interested to visit floating markets near Bangkok for a day, please check out our floating market food tour.
Klong Lat Mayom is only open on Saturday and Sunday, including Public Holidays from 8AM – 5PM.
Visit Jim Thompson Museum
James H.W. Thompson is an American businessman and former CIA who owns Jim Thompson House and who devoted more than 30 years of his life to resuscitating Thai silk during the 1950s. James mysteriously vanished in Malaysia in 1963 and not a trace has been discovered. The beautiful Thai-style wooden house sits on the bank of the Saen Saeb Canal and the teakwood that built up the houses were shipped from Ayutthaya and Ban Krua Silk Village. It’s a historical center and craftsmanship focus displaying Thompson’s assortment of Asian collectibles and Thai silk.
There is a restaurant in the museum with a delicious Thai menu but prices aren’t cheap. You should take the opportunity to visit this place if you have a chance to visit Bangkok.
You can get there from BTS National Stadium Station (Skytrain) and take a motorcycle taxi to go there.
Open daily from 9AM to 6PM
Bangkok: What To Do on Day 4
Visit Chatuchak Weekend Market
This market is well known for being a weekend flea market, it is open only on Saturday and Sunday. It is about the size of a football field with endless vendors selling clothes, handmade goods, collectible souvenirs, books, retro deco and pets. Cheap place to shop for goods and foods. A popular place for the local and tourists to visit. You probably may need to get there before noon with the huge size of the market you are going to spend the whole day there. Don’t miss going there, the market can be reached with MRT Kampangpetch Station or BTS Mo Chit Station.
Open only on Saturday and Sunday from 8AM to 6PM
Finally, there is no shortage of attractions in Bangkok. However, as previously stated, its food, culture, and nightlife are all superb. Dining in Bangkok is always an adventure, and both locals and visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to good restaurants and cafés. You can check out our “5 Best Thai Foodies in Bangkok” The vibrant street markets and bustling night markets are alive and well. So there you have it, this give a few of the best things to do and see in Bangkok.