Fact number 1 – The number of visitors coming into Bangkok is more than any other city in the entire world! Reason enough to plan a trip to this fantastic city? What awaits you in Bangkok is the best of all worlds. From some of the most luxurious shopping places to open air shopping malls which offer the latest fashion trends at dirt cheap prices; from historical temples to swanky rooftop bars, and much more, Bangkok never fails to amaze. Bangkok is not a tourist place, Bangkok is an experience! And while you are planning your trip, let us help you with the 20 best things to do in Bangkok!
Best markets to explore in Bangkok
1. Terminal 21
The Terminal 21 shopping mall has everything you dreamt about before planning a trip to Bangkok – shopping, fun, excitement and unparalleled experience. With some of the most famous cities of the world, including London, Tokyo, San Francisco and Istanbul, designed under one single roof, a tour of Terminal 21 would not feel any less than a cosmopolitan carnival. With glass making up most parts of the building and the information desk receptionists wearing air hostess uniforms, Terminal 21 gives you a feel which is strikingly similar to an International airport terminal (one of the best ones!)
2. Khao San Road
Situated just a block away from the Chao Phraya River, the Khao San Road is famously called ‘the centre of the backpacking Universe’! Travelers from across the world converge at the Khao San Road and share their experiences with each other. Home to a handful of internet cafes, backpackers’ guesthouses, massage parlors, tattoo shops and more, this Road is brimming with tourists 24x7. If you wish to come close to the carefree side of Bangkok, there is no better place to experience it!
3. Central World Plaza
In the mood for some exciting shopping and maybe a movie later on? Central World Plaza is the place where you ought to be! One of the biggest and most luxurious shopping locations in the entire world, the Central World Plaza also houses a number of food joints, beauty salons, banks and an ice-skating ring!
4. Chinatown market
A food haven for all those who don’t mind street side cuisines, Chinatown is easily one of the most crowded places in the city at any time of the day. Famous for housing a large number of gold shops, the Chinatown market also hosts many festivals throughout the year, including the Chinese New Year. The never ending row of wooden shop houses lends an authentic feel to the market and leaves you asking for more.
5. Siam Square
A handful of shopping bags without any dent in your pocket; if this is what you are looking for, the Siam Square is your place! This open air shopping complex offers some of the most stylish clothes and other accessories at unbeatable prices. This place is meant for those who prefer exploring small lanes rather than taking elevators inside the swanky shopping malls. Get down to the Siam Square to see what’s ‘in’ in the world of fashion!
6. Floating Markets
One of the biggest attractions in the city, the floating markets witness more tourists than locals. Offering fresh tropical fruits and vegetables and locally cooked food, the floating markets offer an experience to savor. Some of these markets also offer boat tours, so if you are in a mood to relax, this place gives you ample options. Some of the most famous floating markets include Damnoen Floating market, Khlong Lat Mayom Floating market and Amphawa Floating market.
P.S. Don’t forget to try the fresh ready to drink coconut water they offer!
Fun things to do in Bangkok
7. River boats
Bangkok’s famous riverside area is filled with many tourist attractions, including historical temples that reflect the city’s rich history. The best way to get around them is by taking the river boats or ferries down the Chao Phraya River. Light on pocket, these boats or river taxis charge according to the length of your journey, with fares starting at 3 baht (close to $0.09). The Chao Phraya Express Boat Company also offers a number of tourist boats which halt whenever requested, making it the best option for the visitors. The boat services usually begin at 6 in the morning.
8. Ride the Sky train
If you are averse to traffic jams and waiting for hours on the roads, Sky train is just the perfect way for you to get around in Bangkok. All the major shopping destinations are well connected with the Bangkok BTS. Operating from 6 am till midnight, the sky train is easy on the pocket, fast, clean and cool. A day long unlimited travel pass costs just 120 baht (close to $3.41). For someone visiting the city for the first, the Sky train is bliss!
9. Get a Thai massage / foot massage
No tour to Thailand can be complete without a Thai massage! At the top of your to-do list in Thailand must be the Thai massage! With thousands of great massage options available in the city, you can’t possibly miss out on the billboards trying to draw your attention to a massage parlor. Thai massage is remedial in nature and focuses on pressure points in the body to treat aches or stress. An hour of high-quality Thai massage could cost you around 200 baht (around $5.69). Some of the best-known massage parlors in the city include the Asia Herb Association, Massage by the Blind and Health Land.
10. Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute
One of the unique places in Bangkok, the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute is a centre for extraction, research and husbandry and vaccination of venomous snakes. In 1912, after Prince Damrong’s daughter died due to a rabies infection, he sought permission from King Rama VI to establish a government institute to work towards the manufacture and distribution of rabies vaccines. The Institute offers guided tours of snake farms to the visitors. The major attraction of this tour is their snake handling show.
11. A visit to the Chao Phraya River
‘The River of Kings’, as the Chao Phraya River is fondly called in the city, has become the commercial centre of Bangkok. Close to 50,000 people use the ferry services each day for various reasons. Giving a view of most of the city’s high rise buildings and the bustling coastline markets, the Chao Phraya River also offers dinner cruises. One of the special attractions along the river is the Pak Khlong Flower Market whose fresh flower scents make for an amazing early morning visit. To reach this market, Rajinee would be the nearest river pier.
12. A visit to Soi Cowboy
Soi Cowboy sets the bar when it comes to nightlife in Bangkok. A free entry and vibrant crowd make this place a favorite among the tourists. Located right next to Terminal 21, Soi Cowboy is bright, loud and sexy at the same time! If you are looking to just sit back, order a drink and enjoy the girls dancing on the stage, this is your place! P.S. The drinks prices are decent as compared to other similar places in the city. Make sure your tour to Bangkok doesn’t end without a visit to the Soi Cowboy. Enough said!
Best places to enjoy a meal in Bangkok
13. Dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya River
Bangkok becomes an entirely different city at night. The Chao Phraya River is a spectacular sight at night. And to behold the best view, there is no better option than the highly romantic dinner cruises. The views of glistening temples on the coastline and shimmering skyscrapers across the city would make it an evening to remember. Most of these dinner cruises are well renowned for wholesome hospitality and delectable local food. Some of the best known dinner cruises include Wanfah dinner cruise, Apsara dinner cruise, White Orchid dinner cruise and River star princess cruise.
14. Vertigo Rooftop Bar
First things first. This may not be the place for you if you are scared of heights! Situated at the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel, the Vertigo Rooftop Bar is the high point (quite literally!) of Bangkok’s nightlife. The space has been deliberately designed to give a feel of being in a spaceship floating in the sky. The last word – Don’t expect a light bill here! But what you can expect is an experience to savor for a lifetime!
15. Sky Bar Rooftop at Lebua
If you are looking to catch the best view of Bangkok, the Sky Bar rooftop is your place. Housing a cushioned sofa area, this is the perfect for a laid back whiskey. The place can get a bit crowded at times, especially on the weekends, so don’t expect it to be the place to find solace! The view of the Chao Phraya River from the rooftop is nothing short of majestic.
Places to soak in Art & Culture in Bangkok
16. Wat Suthat
Well known for the mighty imposing red giant swing placed right at the entrance, the Wat Suthat is one of Bangkok’s most revered and oldest temples. The wall murals are breathtaking; the hand-carved teakwood door panels are exquisite, and the sweeping roof tops it all with a perfect finishing. The temple came up in the 13th century with an aim to preserved Buddha’s bronze image brought from Sukhothai on a boat. The 21.15 meters high red swing is one of the most identifiable spots in the city. Don’t forget your camera when you visit this place!
17. Jim Thompson House
At the first sight, the name ‘Jim Thompson’ seems out of place when attached with a city like Bangkok. But over the years, the Jim Thompson House has become one of the city’s most famous landmarks. A trained architect and a passionate collector of objects related to Asian Art, Jim Thompson settled in Thailand post 1946 and gave his entire life to saving the fast declining dying cottage industry, responsible for the production of Thai silk. Some of the most exquisite pieces of Asian art can be found at the Jim Thompson house. The House is open for visitors from 9 am to 5 pm.
18. Dusit Palace
Most of the royal residences in the city are located in the compound of Dusit Palace. After its construction in 1901, this became the primary residence of the country’s King. A number of diverse museums are housed inside different buildings in the palace complex, most of which are open to the visitors. Visit this place to get some royal goosebumps!
19. Wat Saket
Among the glittering skyscrapers in the city is a small Golden hill, better called the Wat Saket or Golden Mount. Home to a Buddha relic, the Wat Saket is the venue of a grand annual temple fair held in the month of November. Constructed on top of a man made hill, the temple top can be reached by climbing close to 300 steps of stairs, encircling the chedi. Unless you choose an overtly hot day to visit the place, the climb shouldn’t be too cumbersome.
20. Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall
This marble masterpiece stands tall as the hallmark of Thailand’s royalty. Some of the most pompous royal celebrations are held at this venue. Made in neo-classical Renaissance architecture, this building once housed the Thai parliament. The building is usually open to public in the form of a museum. Don’t miss it for the breathtaking central dome! The ticket costs 50 baht (close to $1.42).
Let Bangkok take over
The city has earned the tag of ‘party capital’ of the world due to obvious reasons. Be it a family trip, a backpackers’ tour or a guys’ time out, Bangkok fits the bill perfectly. From budget accommodations to some of the most luxurious hotels you would ever come across, Bangkok offers a chance to soak in its vibes to everyone, irrespective of his or her budget. Beneath the tag of the party capital lies a relative undiscovered cultural heritage that can leave you amazed. Welcome yourself to the ‘Sin City of Asia’.
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