For those new to the Thai capital and not yet with a full agenda, here are our own must-do recommendations ‘Top 10 Things to Do in Bangkok’.
See the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Many would say no trip to Bangkok is complete without a visit to the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Indeed, you’ll witness inspiring architecture and stunningly detailed art work. Try to arrive by early morning to avoid the crowds and heat.
Tour Wat Arun
On the east bank of the Chao Phraya River (opposite downtown) rises the ancient spire of Wat Arun or Temple of Dawn. The site’s Khmer-style structures signify establishment of Rattanakosin Island as Siam’s new capital after the fall of Ayuddhya. Combine with a visit to the Grand Palace for a truly majestic day trip.
Shop at Siam Paragon
Perhaps a modern temple in its own right, Siam Paragon is indeed a shopping mecca. The mall features a vast department store in addition to many international-brand shops. Also a huge selection of dining as well as entertainment options.
Experience a Floating Market
Get ready for photo ops as well as delicious local food and fresh produce. However, keep in mind not all floating markets are the same when it comes to genuine charm. Our list-within-a-list of recommended markets includes Klong Lat Mayom, Ampawa and Damnoen Saduak.
Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the world’s oldest and largest, outside China of course. The neighbourhood around Yaowarat Road bursts with colour and abounds with gold shops, herbal medicine sellers and all manner of market stalls. Go in daytime to witness business bustle at full tilt or at night to savour one of Bangkok’s best street-food scenes.
Cruise the Chao Phraya River and Bangkok’s Canals
There’s maybe no better way to see Bangkok, day or night, than from the city’s waterways. Board a Chao Phraya Express Boat to see the pace of local life unfold and to discover the cultural heritage of Rattanakosin Island. Most tour boats are inexpensive and are available at Sathorn Pier just under BTS SkyTrain Saphan Taksin Station.
Navigate Jatujak Weekend Market
Shop till you drop, or until you can’t find your way out, at one of the world’s largest outdoor markets. Jatujak (also frequently spelt Chatuchak) offers a seemingly endless array of goods and wares, from clothes and furniture to plants and pets. Also many second-hand items. Numerous restaurants and drink stands as well. Best to dress lightly. Get there by BTS SkyTrain to Mo Chit Station.
Take a Bangkok Bike Tour
See Bangkok from a different angle – atop a bike. Cycle into the small alleys of Chinatown and through the urban green space of Bang Krachao. Then, stop for Thai food at a local restaurant. We highly recommend booking with a professional tour operator to guarantee a safe and well-guided trip.
Hang out in Sukhumvit Road
It’s the longest road in Thailand, and in fact begins just a few steps from the hotel at end of Ploenchit Road. From there, straight away you’ll find a tremendous number of bars, bistros and nightclubs. Sois 4 to 11 offer a heavy concentration of pubs, lounges and sports bars, while some of the city’s most stylish dance clubs and other night-time hangouts are farther east in the Thong Lor and Ekkamai areas.
Visit Jim Thompson House
Discover the life and legend of Jim Thompson, an American who dedicated himself to reviving Thailand’s silk industry. His legacy endures not just in silk and textiles but also through his own vast collection of Thai art and antiques, which is carefully curated and displayed at Jim Thompson House. The compound of six Thai-style teakwood houses is surrounded by a lovely tropical garden.