Bangkok has made it onto numerous best city lists around the world. Thailand’s capital is a buzzing metropolis and there are plenty of things to do in Bangkok all day long. From temples to skyscrapers, shopping malls and street food, this hub of Thai culture is fun to explore. The temples in Bangkok are also impressive. With so many temples, malls and other attractions in Bangkok, where do you start? Our handy list of what to do in Bangkok will help you find your way around this buzzing city.
By the way, Bangkok (the capital of Thailand) was established by the river in the 18th century after three other settlements were destroyed by wars with the Burmese. So the good news is many of Bangkok’s top sites are accessible along the Chao Phraya River. And the City of Angels is also home to several famous Thailand landmarks, which means you can tick some amazing sights off your bucket list.
- 30 Things To Do In Bangkok
- 22 Famous Landmarks In Thailand
- 22 Things To Do In Isaan
- Bangkok To Ayutthaya Day Tour
- Bangkok Shopping Guide
- Where To Buy Thai Silk
- Thailand Itinerary (2 weeks)
- When is The Best Time To Visit Thailand?
- 20 Thailand Drinks To Try
- Bangkok At Night
- 30 Things To Do In Bangkok
- Top Things To Do In Bangkok For Your First Visit
- 1- Explore The Grand Palace
- How to visit Bangkok’s Grand Palace:
- 2- Explore Wat Pho
- How to visit Wat Pho:
- 3- Have a Traditional Thai Massage at Wat Arun
- 4- Cruise around the Floating Markets
- 5- Go shopping in Bangkok
- 6- Visit Chatuchak Weekend Market
- 7- Visit Thon Buri Palace
- 8- Explore the Royal Barge Museum
- 9- Learn about Thai Silk at Jim Thompson House
- 10- See the Bangkok Flower Market
- 11- Visit the Museum of Floral Culture
- 12- Watch a Muay Thai Boxing Show
- 13- Go on a Bangkok Tuk Tuk Tour
- 14- Visit the Mahanakhon SkyWalk
- 15- Have fun at Bangkok Dreamworld
- 16- Spend the day at Siam Park City
- 17- Visit SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World
- 18- Ride the train to Maeklong Railway Market
- 19- Relax at the Prasart Museum
- 20- Take a Thai Cooking Class
- Things To Do In Bangkok at Night
- 21- Party on Khao San Road
- 22- Have fun at Soi Cowboy
- 23- Visit Patravadi Theatre
- 24- Go on a rooftop bar crawl
- 25- Dine in an Aircraft Restaurant
- 26- Take A Night Cruise On the Chao Phraya River
- 27- Be Dazzled At The Siam Niramit Show
- 28- Go on a Tuk Tuk Supper Tour
- 29- Cycle Around Bangkok
- 30- Go on a Bangkok Pub Crawl
- 31- Dine in a Michelin-star Restaurant
- Scams in Bangkok
- Where to stay in Bangkok
- Top Things To Do In Bangkok For Your First Visit
30 Things To Do In Bangkok
If it’s your first time in Bangkok make sure to put these classic Bangkok attractions on your to-visit list. This collection of things to do in Bangkok will give you a taste of what the City of Angels has to offer.
Top Things To Do In Bangkok For Your First Visit
1- Explore The Grand Palace
Bangkok’s Grand Palace is a must-see tourist icon and a stunning architectural landmark in Asia.
Built in 1782, the magnificent palace is not just a museum, as it has been home to Thai royalty for 150 years.
Significantly, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian nation that wasn’t colonised by the French or the British so keep this in mind when you visit the Grand Palace.
You’ll be awed by the beauty and grandeur of the design of the building as well as the ornate decorations in its halls and rooms.
To the Thai people, the Grand Palace is the spiritual heart of Thailand.
As the Grand Palace is Bangkok’s most famous landmark, be prepared to be visiting with hordes of other tourists, but even if you’re not keen on crowds don’t skip this attraction as it is well worth it.
The Palace complex consists of a collection of buildings, including Wat Phra Kaew or Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
The Emerald Buddha is made of green jasper (the emerald part refers to its colour) and sits in the centre of the temple on a large gold altar.
It is covered in a robe that is changed three times a year by the Thai King himself in an important Buddhist ritual in summer, winter and the rainy season.
You’ll need to spend at least a couple of hours and it’s a good idea to try and get there before the large tour groups arrive at 9 am.
How to visit Bangkok’s Grand Palace:
- Take a Tuk Tuk or taxi to the Grand Palace and wander around on your own. The entrance fee is 500 Baht (USD16). Free English-speaking tours are offered throughout the day and you can also get an audio guide for 100 Baht.
- If you don’t want to queue for tickets, skip the line and buy your entry ticket to the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha here.
- Take a tour that combines the Grand Palace, Wat Arun and Wat Pho and see all three with an experienced guide who can answer your questions.
- The Grand Palace is one of the photogenic places in Bangkok and if you’re interested in getting some fantastic photos for your Instagram feed, this tour of Bangkok’s Instagram spots is a great way to do it.
2- Explore Wat Pho
Buddhism is at the heart of Thai culture, so a visit to Wat Pho (also known as Old City) should definitely be on your list.
Wat Pho, or the temple of the Reclining Buddha, is a peaceful place no matter how many visitors there are, due to its huge proportions.
This is not just another temple. It’s the largest temple complexes in Thailand.
You’ll be awed by the golden Buddha status.
Its main drawcard, the giant reclining Buddha statue built in 1832, is the second-largest Buddha in the world.
The gold plated 46m-long Buddha is as long as a train carriage.
The exquisitely painted walls that surround the reclining Buddha are worth a second look.
The soles of the Buddha’s feet are 4.5m long and carved with symbols.
Wat Pho is also a great place to get a traditional Thai massage or an alternative traditional medical treatment.
The temple complex has Bangkok’s original Thai Massage School and a herbal medicine centre.
The grounds are littered with gigantic stone figures from China representing snarling temple guardians and intriguing depictions of westerners (the first ones the Chinese encountered) wearing top hats.
These giant figures came to the temple as ship ballast.
How to visit Wat Pho:
- As Wat Pho is a 10-minute walk from the Grand Palace, it makes sense to visit the two places on the same day.
Travelling around Thailand? Some of the most amazing Buddhas are in the northern province of Isaan. Here are some things to do in Isaan.
3- Have a Traditional Thai Massage at Wat Arun
Temples in Bangkok are not just places of worship – they are also architectural marvels.
Wat Arun is a beautifully designed temple that rises majestically next to the Chao Phraya River.
You’ll quickly realise that Bangkok is a city that has developed along the Chao Phraya River and cruising the river is the best way to explore to avoid traffic jams.
The Express boats combined with the Sky trains will take you far and fast in comfort while you enjoy lovely views of the riverside scenes in Bangkok.
Also known as the Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun is one of the best places to visit at sunrise when the sun’s first rays light up the towering structure.
It’s also pretty amazing to visit the temple at night when the spires are bathed by the light of the moon.
Wat Arun is a peaceful and tranquil sight.
4- Cruise around the Floating Markets
It’s easy to see why Bangkok is called the Venice of the East.
There are canals right through the city which you can explore by ferry and taxi boat. Or you can also take a gentle stroll towards the canal paths and see how far these canals extend.
Near Bangkok, discover Khlong Lat Mayon for a charming off-the-beaten-track floating market away from the tourists.
Enjoy fresh fruit and food at Thailand’s famous floating markets.
The sight of a traffic jam of boats on the river is quintessentially Thai.
Vendors paddle past selling all sorts of fresh produce, such as tropical fruit, vegetables, coconut juice and an array of street food cooked on their boats.
This is the most popular floating market tour in Bangkok
5- Go shopping in Bangkok
Bangkok’s shopping malls are destinations on their own and there are so many shopping malls in Bangkok you’ll have to live there to get around to them all.
Most of the massive malls, like MBK, Siam Central and Siam Paragon, are located around Siam Square but if you’re after a smaller more boutique mall try The Maharaj.
Originally a group of unremarkable local shops, across the waters from Wat Pho, this site has been developed as a venue to commemorate river life.
Attractive architecture connects eateries, trendy shops and a river-viewing promenade from where visitors can admire the river.
Enjoy a drink at sunset when the buildings across the waters start to twinkle as the last rays of sun hit them or just sit and watch the action on the water.
Tha Maharaj can be accessed by land, Chao Phraya Express Boat, Chao Phraya Tourist Boat, Ferry Crossing Boat, Long-Tail Boats and Private Boats.
A particularly good selection of juices is available and they come in jam-jar.
6- Visit Chatuchak Weekend Market
Practice your haggling skills at one of the world’s largest markets, where anything and everything is negotiable.
15,000 stalls in Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market means you’ll take days to see everything in the 30 sections.
For souvenirs, head to the crafts or antique section and the clothing and accessories area is the place to pick up some great bargains too.
There’s nothing you can’t find at Chatuchak Market.
7- Visit Thon Buri Palace
Take a boat ride on the Chao Phraya River to Phra Racha Wang Derm (Thon Buri Palace).
Crossing the river by boat is a treat in itself as it offers a different perspective and view of the cityscape.
Phra Racha Wang Derm is the former royal palace of King Taksin.
In 1767, King Taksin reasserted his rule over most of Siam after the Burmese had attacked Ayuthaya.
The King established Thon Buri Palace on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River.
These days, the grounds are the headquarters of the Royal Thai Navy.
8- Explore the Royal Barge Museum
Next on the list of what to see in Bangkok is the Royal Barge Museum.
Here you will find eight historical royal barges on display, some of which are more than 200 years old.
The impressive barges are made from large pieces of teak, beautifully and intricately decorated and engraved with mythical creatures.
If you love the Royal Barge Museum, you’ll also love Ayutthaya and it’s worth travelling from Bangkok to Ayutthaya for a day tour that will impress history buffs.
9- Learn about Thai Silk at Jim Thompson House
Jim Thompson is an icon who revived the Thai silk industry, making this luxurious product famous worldwide.
A lover of Southeast Asian culture and arts, Jim Thompson decorated and designed his house with art and antiquities that revolved around the East-meets-West theme.
Jim Thompson House is now a museum that consists of six traditional Thai-style houses and a shop where you can stock up on the highest quality Thai silk products in the country.
10- See the Bangkok Flower Market
The Bangkok flower market is a massive wholesale fresh flower market in Bangkok, and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It doesn’t matter what time of the day you’re there, you will be delighted with beautiful orchids, roses and marigolds.
This is the place to photograph any flower you can think of and to watch the local flower sellers in action.
11- Visit the Museum of Floral Culture
Carrying on with the flower theme, the Museum of Floral Culture is a delightful place to visit in Bangkok.
It’s the brainchild of internationally-renowned Thai floral artist Sakul Intakul.
It has been created especially for lovers of flowers and those with an interest in Thai art and culture.
Located in the quiet residential area of the Dusit District, it offers a lovely retreat away from the busy city.
You are able to do an exclusive tour conducted by Sakul Intakul himself, in which he will lead you through the exquisite collection of floral art throughout the museum, explaining the history behind it all.
Afterwards, you are treated to a fragrant speciality tea such as Love Pekoe Rose Tea, or Fujian Jasmine Green Tea.
12- Watch a Muay Thai Boxing Show
A Muay Tha boxing show is an exciting thing to see in Bangkok.
With high kicks and fast movements, the Thai martial art is an ancient art form that continues to dazzle spectators today.
A showcase of Muay Thai boxing is inspiring to watch and if you can fit in a Muay Thai lesson, it’s a great way to get a taste of one of the icons of Thai culture.
Here’s Muay Thai boxing show you might like.
13- Go on a Bangkok Tuk Tuk Tour
Riding a Tuk Tuk is a fun thing to do in Bangkok with kids, especially.
Tuk Tuks are everywhere and you can just hail one in the street but be aware that some tuk-tuk drivers might try to convince you to visit jewellery stores where they receive a commission on purchases.
Tuk Tuks are a cost-effective way to zip around the city and to get to Bangkok’s attractions without spending a lot of money.
There’s a Hop on Hop off on pass that allows you unlimited access to explore Bangkok’s old town on a Tuk Tuk, hopping on and off whenever you wish.
14- Visit the Mahanakhon SkyWalk
The Mahanakhon SkyWalk at the top of King Power Mahanakhon Building is home to the country’s highest rooftop bar and has fantastic views.
Bangkok’s highest observation deck is 314 meters above the ground and has both indoor and outdoor areas to soak up the view.
The Interactive Augmented Reality experience is a great way to get your bearings as you can access touch screens to learn about the landmarks in Bangkok.
Head to level 78 and walk on one of the world’s largest glass floors.
At 310 m high, it’s an experience in Bangkok you won’t forget.
15- Have fun at Bangkok Dreamworld
Bangkok Dreamworld is a theme park with roller coasters, shows, animal experiences and a fun day out in Bangkok for kids.
Younger kids will love petting the animals at Uncle Tom’s Farm and the colours of the World Parade is sure to please.
Bangkok Dreamworld’s 25 rides range from rushing down whitewater rapids to traditional fairground attractions and street performs roam around and entertain with magic tricks.
16- Spend the day at Siam Park City
Another fun thing to do in Bangkok with kids is to spend some time in Siam Park City, which is home to the biggest wave pool in the world (according to the Guinness World Records) and an impressive seven-storey rainbow slide.
Kids of all ages will have hours of fun in the Water Park, X-Zone, Family World, Fantasy World and Small World.
Older kids may want to have a go on the hair-raising roller coaster that twists and turns upside down three times.
17- Visit SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World
With over 400 aquatic species and 30,000 fish, Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World is another fun attraction in Bangkok for kids.
Penguins, water rats and otters call this aquarium home and there’s a daily animal feeding programme including otter, penguin and shark feeding shows.
Besides learning about marine animals, this aquatic theme park offers glass-bottom boat rides through the main tank.
18- Ride the train to Maeklong Railway Market
You can combine a visit to one of the floating markets with a trip to Maeklong Railway Market.
The market is the place to see all kinds of interesting Thai foods, from live chickens to frogs, crabs and a variety of local vegetables.
A 1,000mm gauge railway line runs through the market for 67 km between Bangkok and right up to central Thailand.
It’s an unusual sight to watch the vendors wheel back and pack up the stalls when the train comes through, then everything goes back to normal and market activities resume after the train has passed. Check out this tour to Maeklong here.
19- Relax at the Prasart Museum
Next time you’re looking for a unique thing to do in Bangkok, head to the Prasart Museum.
Sprawled across 2.4 hectares, in one of Asia’s most crowded cities, the antique collection is artistically displayed among the tropical gardens and housed in specially built structures such as a Buddhist chapel, a chedi, a Guanyin shrine and Lopburi-style chapel.
Some of the treasures hidden away in Bangkok’s Prasart Museum are low carved teak tables, an old manuscript cabinet, gilded screens and tea sets from the Ayutthaya and early Rattanakosin periods.
These treasures are artfully arranged within the rooms of a Thai-style teak house known as the Red Palace, modelled after the original palace built by Bangkok’s founder King Rama I.
A winding path leads to a teakwood library which houses a collection of ancient books and manuscripts.
Surrounded by a trickling pond, libraries such as these were traditionally built over water to protect religious manuscripts from white ants.
A Chinese stone figure guards its entrance.
The Prasart Museum collection also reflects King Rama V’s fondness for fine European art pieces.
Among the museum’s collection are King Chulalongkorn’s personal items which include photographs, a set of Faberge objects from Chulalongkorn’s 1897 visit to Russia, hand-painted portraits, Sevres porcelain bearing the royal crest, chandeliers, lamps, gold coins and medals.
20- Take a Thai Cooking Class
Learning how to cook a traditional Thai meal is one of the fun things to do in Bangkok.
Thai food is well-known around the world but the Thai dishes you’ll eat in Bangkok’s local eateries is authentic and often different from the Thai cuisine you’ll taste back home.
There are various cooking classes around different themes, including cooking classes that focus on buying fresh produce from one fo the Bangkok markets, learning how to prepare Royal Thai Cuisine and street food cooking classes and
Things To Do In Bangkok at Night
Bangkok is one of those cities that never sleeps and it doesn’t matter what time it is, you’ll find something fun and exciting to do.
21- Party on Khao San Road
Khao San Road is where Thai heritage collides with western influences and a hub for backpackers and budget travellers immortalised in The Beach.
Along this wide road, there’s a mixture of shops and stores.
From traditional food, tropical fruit and other local products to department stores and sleek shops selling international luxury brands, Khao San is Bangkok in the movies and a cool spot to shop, eat and soak up the Bangkok vibe.
22- Have fun at Soi Cowboy
Looking for fun after dark? Soi Cowboy is a vibrant red light district worth a look.
The short street is packed with flashing neon lights, gogo bars and adult entertainment.
Several movies were filmed here and Hugh Grant visited Soi Cowboy in 2003 while filming Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.
A Bangkok Hangover tour is a great way to visit the bars featured in The Hangover 2.
23- Visit Patravadi Theatre
Founded by a well-known Thai actress, Patravadi, the riverside complex is a hub for performing arts.
At Patravadi Theatre, there are also gift shops and restaurants.
Entertainment includes acrobats, Avante-garde performances and festivals. And on weekends there’s a dinner theatre.
24- Go on a rooftop bar crawl
Being a skyscraper city means that one of the iconic things to do in Bangkok at night is to hit the city’s rooftop bars.
Sip on a Mai Tai or down a cold beer while you watch the sun setting over the city.
Bangkok’s best rooftop bars are often associated with the city’s luxury hotels but even if you’re not staying at the hotel, having a drink in the sky is something you should put on your to-do list. Here are 10 amazing rooftop bars in Bangkok:
- Vertigo at Banyan Tree Bangkok
- Sky Bar at Lebua at State Tower
- Park Society at Sofitel So
- Sirocco at Lebua Bangkok
- Octave at Marriot Hotel Sukhumvit
- Three Sixty at Millenium Hilton
- Cru Rooftop Bar at Centara Grand Centralworld
- Red Sky at Centara Grand Centralworld
- Red Square Rooftop Bar at Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit
- 1826 Mixology Rooftop Bar at Rembrandt Hotel & Suites Bangkok
25- Dine in an Aircraft Restaurant
A unique thing to do in Bangkok at night is to dine at Na-Oh Bangkok, which is unusual because it’s a restaurant inside an abandoned aircraft.
Located in the Chang Chui Plane Night Market, the decor is uber contemporary and the menu is international and innovative.
So book your five or eight-course meal here for a night to remember.
26- Take A Night Cruise On the Chao Phraya River
Cruise past temples and skyscrapers as you savour a delicious Thai meal on board a river cruise along the Chao Phraya.
It’s another way to get a different perspective of Bangkok’s sights and seeing this vibrant city while on a Bangkok river cruise at night is a romantic way to experience the buzz.
27- Be Dazzled At The Siam Niramit Show
Prepare to be dazzled by the performers at the Siam Niramit Show, which is an entertaining peek into seven centuries of Thai history.
While the show is the highlight, you can also wander around before the performance to feed elephants as roving entertainers keep you amused.
The show is in the Ratchada Theatre, which is in a showground that also has a restaurant, souvenir shop and mini Thai village.
28- Go on a Tuk Tuk Supper Tour
One of the best ways to sample a range of food in Bangkok’s markets is to go on a supper tour by tuk-tuk.
Find out where the locals go for Phai Thai and Som Tam as well as taste new dishes you’ve never tried before.
Bangkok’s street food is the best. Book this fun tour here.
29- Cycle Around Bangkok
Cycling around Bangkok after dark is a great way to explore back lanes, visit temples and night markets.
If you’re unsure of your way around, it’s best to join an organised tour with a local who can also show you the city’s hidden spots.
The flower market is in full swing and the night markets are fantastic.
Bangkok is spectacular at night when many of the temples and the Grand Palace are lit up like a fairyland.
30- Go on a Bangkok Pub Crawl
One of the fun things to do in Bangkok is to go on a pub crawl.
Put on your dancing shoes and join the party crowd.
Start your evening by checking out a few bars before hitting the clubs and dancing the night away.
31- Dine in a Michelin-star Restaurant
Bangkok is famous for street food and you might be surprised to learn that there are lots of Michelin-starred restaurants in this city.
The current two Michelin Star restaurants on the list in Bangkok are:
- Le Normandie – sophisticated French cuisine in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
- Mezzaluna – European cuisine served to fantastic views from the 65th floor of the lebua Hotel.
- R-Haan – beautifully presented Thai cuisine served with an ethos influenced by a traditional poem and travel quote that roughly translates to “There are fish in the river and rice in the paddy fields”.
- Sorn – Southern Thai cuisine based on ancient recipes.
- Suhring – modern German cuisine dished up in a converted townhouse.
Scams in Bangkok
While Bangkok is a fun and exciting city to visit, one of the things you need to be aware of is the scams in Bangkok.
Unsuspecting tourists can easily get caught in a scam so be vigilant and read this to avoid falling for typical Bangkok scams.
Tuk Tuks and Taxis
Make sure you agree on the price of the trip before you board a tuk tuk.
Tuk tuk drivers don’t operate on meters and tuk tuk drivers can be rather enterprising if they sense you’re unsure about how to deal with the fare.
Another tip to remember is not to allow the tuk tuk driver to take you to souvenir or jewellery shops as they make a commission on anything you buy and you’re likely to be charged higher prices in the shops.
Grand Palace Scam
Don’t pay attention to anyone who approaches you outside or near the Grand Palace.
A popular ruse is to tell you that the Grand Palace is closed and the scammer will offer to take you to another attraction.
Where to stay in Bangkok
If you want to be in the midst of the city action that Bangkok is famous for, choose the Siam Square area.
It’s close to Bangkok’s malls and a central place to catch public transport.
If a shopping trip to Bangkok is your aim, there are plenty of malls in this area to choose from, including MBK, Siam Paragon, Siam Center, Siam Discovery and Central World.
Silom is the best area to stay in Bangkok for easy access to the Chao Phraya River.
It’s also close to Bangkok’s Chinatown, where you can immerse yourself in Bangkok’s street life and eat in local food places till your heart’s content.
While Silom is a business area with tall skyscrapers, even if you aren’t staying in Silom, paying a visit to the Patpong red-light area is one of the famous things to do in Bangkok at night.
If you’re on a budget, the Khao San area has loads of cheaper hotels and hostels.
Khao San is close to many of the attractions in Bangkok you’ll want to see, such as the Grand Palace.
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