Top Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Bangkok (Thailand)
A bustling city that also has many beautiful Buddhist temples, Bangkok is one of the most popular destinations in Thailand. As you slowly discover the things to do in Bangkok, you will realize that it is a fascinating city. Splendid temple (also called wat) complexes with traditional Thai architecture are among the top Bangkok tourist attractions. Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun are striking examples. The Grand Palace –a fabulous complex of royal buildings – is an integral part of Bangkok sightseeing.
That said, Bangkok is also among the best street food destinations in the world. The delicious dishes will tempt even those who are not foodies. Once the sun sets, Bangkok turns on its nightlife mode at its numerous clubs and bars.
There are other places too that will make it to any list of what to see in Bangkok – from the Jim Thompson House to the floating markets around the city.
Travel around Bangkok on the BTS Skytrain, by cabs, by boat, or on a tuk-tuk. You can also explore two other remarkable destinations – Ayutthaya and Kanchanaburi – on day trips from Bangkok.
This list will give you an idea of what to do in Bangkok for a wonderful travel experience.
Table of Contents
- 1 Experiences and top things to do in Bangkok
- 2 Top Landmarks and attractions in Bangkok
- 3 Practical information and Bangkok travel tips
- 4 Where to stay in Bangkok?
- 5 Short on time? Go sightseeing in Bangkok on a tour!
- 6 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Experiences and top things to do in Bangkok
Savor Street Food
Do you know what to do in Bangkok when you are hungry? Take a walk along the streets, and let your nose guide you to some of the best eats in the city! With a wide range of dishes at low prices, the scrumptious food will have you coming back for more. Besides the favorite rice noodle dish Pad Thai, there are countless other dishes including seafood. Try the noodles with shrimp as well as dishes with scallops, squid and more. Chicken and rice preparations, pork dishes or salads such as Som Tam are popular too. Down it all with Singha beer. Head to Chinatown at night for some delicious bites or make your way to Khao San road, and Soi Rambuttri.
Shopping and Nightlife
While you can easily go to the superb malls in the city, the streets of Bangkok have great buys at low prices and a varied range of goods. Visit the Chatuchak Market that is open mainly on the weekends. It has thousands of stalls over an extensive area selling every possible thing, both common and quirky. Other interesting places in Bangkok for street shopping include Chinatown and Pratunam. Enjoy the vibrant nightlife of the city at various clubs and bars including rooftop ones. Khao San Road where you can eat, drink and dance attracts the backpacker crowd. Sukhumvit too is a popular area for clubbers. Another nightlife hub is Royal City Avenue. Asiatique also offers fabulous nightlife experiences. You now know where to go in Bangkok for a fun time at night.
Day trip to Ayutthaya Historical Park
Take a trip back in time when you see the well-preserved ruins at the Ayutthaya Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can see the ruins of temples and other structures that shed light on the glory of this Siamese kingdom. At Wat Mahathat, you can see the striking sight of a Buddha’s head enveloped in the branches of a banyan tree. Other stunning temples include the Wat Ratchaburana and Wat Chaiwatthanaram. The landscape is superb as are all the fabulous structures. Make a day trip to Ayutthaya to see one of the top Bangkok tourist attractions located near the city.
Trip to Kanchanaburi
Bangkok attractions also include other sites that you can visit on a day trip or an overnight stay. One such place is Kanchanaburi famous for the Bridge On the River Kwai. Built as part of the Burma railway during World War II, it is infamously known as the Death Railway. You can also travel by train along the railway. During your trip, visit the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery and the fascinating JEATH War Museum. Hellfire Pass is another place of interest near Kanchanaburi. There are so many interesting things to do in Bangkok for people visiting the city. Now that you know what to see in Bangkok, you can start making your travel plans. Good luck!
Top Landmarks and attractions in Bangkok
Bangkok National Museum
The Bangkok National Museum is one of the most interesting places to go in Bangkok for museum lovers. Its collection includes a diverse range of exhibits from different periods of Thailand’s history. You can also see wonderful items at the Prehistoric and Art History gallery. Besides this, there are fascinating displays of textiles, musical instruments, ceramics, masks, weapons, and precious stones. The royal chariots and Buddha images too are major attractions here. Go for a guided tour if you wish to have a deeper understanding of the exhibits.
Bangkok activities also include visiting the floating markets around the city. This activity enables you to do two things – explore the narrow canals and enjoy a unique shopping experience on a boat. As your boatman takes you along the canals, you can see several boats laden with fresh produce such as vegetables and fruits as well as handicrafts and souvenirs. It’s best to visit the floating markets early in the morning to avoid crowds and get the best produce. You can also eat a variety of snacks here. Two floating markets close to the city are Khlong Lat Mayom and Taling Chan. You can also make a 90 minute trip to the outskirts to visit the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.
A vast complex with beautiful structures, the Grand Palace is an official royal residence that continues to host important functions of the royalty. Located along the Chao Phraya River, the site contains several structures in stunning Thai classic architecture with European influences. A major attraction here is the Wat Phra Kaew known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Make sure you reach the palace complex when it opens at around 8.30 a.m. if you wish to avoid crowds that build up during the day. After all, the Grand Palace is one of the most visited Bangkok attractions. Do remember there is a strict dress code to enter. Both men and women should be covered till their ankles, and shoulders should not be exposed.
Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
Situated within the Grand Palace grounds, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is a lovely building with marvelous design and decorations both on the façade and inside. You can also see murals, pagodas, statues, and towers around the temple complex. When you go inside, you will notice the statue of the Emerald Buddha made of jade. It is small in size but impactful due to its color, and the different cloaks that cover it in each season. Before entering, you have to remove your shoes as it is a sacred site. This temple is on everyone’s list of amazing places to visit in Bangkok.
Chao Phraya River
A boat ride along the Chao Phraya River and its connected canals (khlongs) give you a different view of the things to see in Bangkok. As you ride along, you can see the magnificent sights on the banks of the river. There are different kinds of rides including long-tail boats, river taxis, and cruise boats. You can enjoy a relaxing ride or use the boats to visit the attractions along the banks including temples such as the Wat Arun. Get on and off at various stops to discover the city. A dinner cruise is a fantastic way to see the glittering sights of Bangkok at night while enjoying a good meal.
An exquisite temple that stands tall along the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the Wat Arun is among the best places to see in Bangkok. Take a ferry across the river to access the temple. Its fabulous main spire (prang) with a trident on top as well as the four smaller spires surrounding it look very impressive against the landscape. Notice the stunning architecture and intricate design. Unlike other temples that you can enter, here you can climb the temple that has a series of steep steps on its side. Also, visit the ordination hall that houses the main Buddha image of the temple.
Jim Thompson House
An American businessman who co-founded the Thai Silk Company, Jim Thompson’s love for Bangkok resulted in the creation of a house here. A calm haven in the midst of the bustling city, visiting the Jim Thompson House is one of the top things to do in Bangkok. Surrounded by tropical greenery along a canal, the property consists of traditional Thai houses joined together to create the Jim Thompson house. You need to take a guided tour to see the interiors that also contain a collection of art and sculpture that Thompson acquired during his travels. Take a walk in the beautiful garden with a pond, and relish some food at the on-site restaurant. You can also see and buy the famous silk at this site.
Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
Famous for its spectacular gigantic statue of the Reclining Buddha, the Wat Pho is always included in every tourist’s list of what to see in Bangkok. Take a look at the huge feet of the Reclining Buddha statue where you can see different symbols related to the Buddha. Besides this, there are a huge number of Buddha statues in the temple. The Wat Pho also offers courses in Thai medicine and massage as the temple is believed to be the place where traditional Thai massage originated. In fact, you can head to the pavilions on the site to get a relaxing massage. It is the best way to unwind after your temple tour.
Practical information and Bangkok travel tips
Why should you visit Bangkok?
Bangkok has been a popular destination in Southeast Asia for many years now and has been a hub for tons of backpackers who enjoy exploring culture and history while paving and filling their stomachs along the way with some of the best street food in the world. Not only it is cheap to travel around Bangkok, but there are also tons of amazing things to do and to see that will certainly keep you entertained!
When is the best time to visit Bangkok?
- Summer season (March to June)
- Dry, humid, and hot weather with temperature going between 32°C to 40°C
- Avoid visiting in April as this is the hottest month in Thailand
- Be mindful that the burning season starts at the end of February until the beginning of April in Northern Thailand so if you have health problems, it is best to check before you go
- Monsoon in Thailand – Low season (June to October)
- The temperature can be between 29°C to 32°C with almost 90% humidity
- Expect heavy rainfalls and flooding in the street almost every day
- There are typically fewer crowds around this time
- Cool weather in Thailand – High season (November to February)
- Pleasant weather with the temperature going between 18°C to 32°C
- Highest season in Thailand
- Calmer waters and refreshing
- Expect larger crowds in popular areas around this time
Do you need a visa for Bangkok?
It requires a visa for Thailand under visa exemption rule. You can also get a Visa on Arrival (VOA) at the airport. The citizens of the Republic of Korea, UK, USA, UAE, Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Brazil can enter Thailand without a visa and stay for 90 days. If unsure, this website talks more about applying for Thailand visa online.
Where to book your flights to Bangkok?
Check our handy-dandy guide on how to find the cheapest flights around the world – read it here.
Do you need an insurance?
Remember this: anything can happen! Read our take on why you need a travel insurance and how it can save you money when things go unplanned – read it here.
Where to stay in Bangkok?
The Peninsula Bangkok is a 5-star luxury family hotel to enjoy your summer vacation in Bangkok. This hotel is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and offers the best river and city views. All rooms and suites elegantly designed and well equipped with all modern facilities. There are also restaurants, bars, outdoor pools, and a spa & wellness center for the comfort and relaxation of their guests. The popular Wat Pho Buddhist temple is 4 km away from the hotel.
Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok is a 5-star luxury hotel and located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. This hotel offers all luxury and comfort with the best river and city views. All rooms and suites are well furnished and decorated and come with balconies. There are also restaurants, bars, an outdoor pool, and a chic spa & gym at this hotel. The popular Wat Arun temple is 5 km and Grand Palace is 4 km away from the hotel.
The Sukhothai Bangkok is a 5-star design hotel and offers all luxury and comfort to their guests. Every hotel room nicely decorated and well furnished. All rooms have terraces or balconies overlooking beautiful lotus ponds or poolside. There are also restaurants, an outdoor pool, and a spa & fitness center at this hotel. The popular Wat Pho Buddhist temple is 9 km away from the hotel.
Short on time? Go sightseeing in Bangkok on a tour!
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