Bangkok is everything you would anticipate from the Thai capital: busy, crowded, colorful, exciting, frustrating, and just plain magical. Bangkok is a miniature representation of what makes Thailand unique. Ancient ruins and centuries-old temples coexist with kitschy, high-end malls from the twenty-first century. Bangkok is a fascinating city that exemplifies Southeast Asia’s conflict between the developed and developing worlds, even though it can be overwhelming at times.
Bangkok is a major entry point into many other regions of Thailand. From here, you can take a quick flight to Koh Samui, Phuket, Chiang Mai, and other well-known locations. You can also travel around the country on a train or bus for a reasonable price, stay in the best hotels in Bangkok, visiting national treasures like Ayutthaya, Lopburi, and many other gems.
Places To Visit In Bangkok
1. The Grand Palace
This should be the top historical tourist destination you visit while in Bangkok. The royal compound lives up to its name, with magnificent buildings that would embarrass even the most opulent contemporary monarchs. The grand palace, which was constructed in 1782 and continues to be used for significant ceremonies and hosting heads of state, served as the royal residence for several generations. When visiting the Grand Palace, you should wear modest clothing, which essentially entails covering your arms and legs and avoiding any sloppy attire.
2. Wat Pho
If your feet are up for more walking, adding a visit to Wat Pho, which is situated just south of the Grand Palace area, to your palace tour is a great idea. The temple is the oldest in Bangkok and was constructed by King Rama I. You can get a Thai or foot massage at the traditional medical school on the premises, but the prices are significantly higher than what you will find at massage parlors elsewhere in the city. It has long been regarded as a place of healing, and was famous centuries ago for its pharmacy and as Thailand’s first “university”—both established by King Rama III.
3. Wat Arun
Wat Arun, which dates back to the time of the historic battles between the former Siam and Burma, is sort of a triumphant complex. Ayutthaya was reduced to ruins and ashes after it was conquered by the Burmese, but General Taksin and the survivors vowed to march “until the sun rose again” and to erect a temple here. That temple was called Wat Arun, or the Temple of the Dawn. The new king later constructed a private chapel and his royal palace there.
4. Wat Traimat, Temple of the Golden Buddha
The unique quality of this attraction is pure luck (or lack thereof). The East Asiatic Company bought the land surrounding the temple in the 1950s. A Buddha statue made of plaster was supposed to be removed as part of the sale, but the crane couldn’t lift the statue because it was too heavy. The figure was dropped and left where it fell overnight after the cable split. Since it was during the rainy season, some monks who were passing by the following morning noticed a glint of gold shining through the plaster. After the covering was removed, a 3.5-meter Buddha made of 5.5 tons of solid gold could be seen.
5. Wat Suthat
One of Bangkok’s oldest and most stunning Buddhist temples is Wat Suthat, which is close to the Great Swing. The temple’s construction was overseen by three kings: Rama I, the Chakri dynasty’s founder, started it shortly after his coronation in 1782; Rama II continued it; and Rama III finished it ten years later. In addition to its lovely architecture, the temple is home to some incredibly fascinating wall paintings. Due to Wat Suthat’s lower level of popularity compared to some of the other temple complexes in the city, you can expect a more tranquil and personal visit.
6. Giant Swing
One of Bangkok’s most striking sights, the 27-meter-high teak frame of the so-called Giant Swing, is located in the middle of the busy square in front of Wat Suthat. The swing was originally constructed in the 1700s to be used in traditional Brahmin (Hinduist) ceremonies, but it was later struck by lightning and reduced to mere ornamentation. A religious ceremony that was held annually in December following the rice harvest used to center on this. Teams of three took turns being swung 25 meters or more off the ground or “up to Heaven,” where they would try to catch a bag of silver coins in their teeth while balancing on an extremely narrow board. In 1932, King Rama VII outlawed the competition after a number of fatal accidents.
7. National Museum & Wang Na Palace
History lovers should plan to spend at least half a day exploring the national museum. This museum was the only one in Thailand up until the middle of the 1970s, which accounts for the size and variety of its collection. Fortunately, almost every exhibit has English and Thai labels, and guided tours are also available, so you won’t miss out on any of the fascinating ancient and modern histories of the country. The Wang Na Palace of King Rama I, which is situated on the museum’s grounds, is essentially still there today and serves as a reminder of Thai history. The Viceroy’s throne, regalia, religious and ceremonial artifacts, ceramics, games, weapons, musical instruments, and an impressive collection of Buddha figures arranged by time period are all on display for visitors to see.
8. Stock Up on Authentic Souvenirs at Chatuchak Market
The largest weekend market in the world and one of the top things to do in Bangkok is this enormous semi-outdoor market. From jewelry and religious icons to pet supplies, paper lamps, and delectable street food, shoppers can find it all here. More than 15,000 stalls in Chatuchak Market sell just about anything you can imagine, and even better, any souvenir you might want is probably available here for much less money than it would cost elsewhere in Bangkok. If you want to do this place justice, arrive early and clear your schedule for the rest of the day. This is a great place to interact with locals and immerse yourself in everyday Thai life
9. Shop By Boat at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
You can plan a trip to Damnoen Saduak, a well-known floating market in Ratchaburi, for an even more fascinating market experience (about 1.5 hours outside Bangkok). Remember that floating markets are now highly touristic businesses, so don’t expect an exclusive morning of shopping by boat – but you will be able to buy fresh and delicious foods and interact with locals in an authentic way. Floating markets once gave Bangkok the moniker “Venice of the East” due to their popularity.
10. Discover Khao San Road
This area of Bangkok is known as the “backpacker district,” and it is teeming with hostels, food stands, clothing shops, and tourists from all over the world. When you’re here, you’ll need to exercise some patience because even though it’s vibrant and exciting in its own right, the crowds, smells, and loud music can overwhelm even the most composed spirit. In addition, the famous Khao San Road is a great place to browse the treasures in a used bookstore, tuck into some delectable Indian food from a nearby restaurant, and buy a few pairs of baggy fisherman pants, a constant staple of every traveler’s wardrobe when trekking through Thailand.
11. Jim Thompson House
A historic residence in Bangkok once belonged to a “self-made American entrepreneur” who vanished while on the road in Malaysia. After serving there near the end of World War II, Jim Thompson made Thailand his permanent home and quickly rose to prominence in the country’s silk industry. The Order of the White Elephant, a prestigious award given to foreigners who have significantly benefited Thailand, was given to Thompson. Thompson’s house has been transformed into a museum that provides details about his life and career as well as information about the city’s and the Thai silk industry’s history.
12. Walk Around Lumpini Park
Visitors can find a green haven in Lumpini Park amidst the chaos and traffic of Bangkok. Spend some time on one of the many lawn areas, take in the Chinese pagoda’s shade, or go boating on the lake. A pleasant afternoon can be spent in Lumpini Park admiring the contrast between the serene park and the surrounding skyscrapers. It should be noted that the park has previously hosted anti-government demonstrations that occasionally turned violent, so be sure to research the current political climate before visiting. Watch out for the enormous Asian water monitors as well; they are frequently spotted strolling around the lake.
13. Shop At Terminal 21
Even by Thailand’s shopping standards, Terminal 21 is exceptional in a number of ways. A different international city has been chosen as the theme for each floor of the mall. If you enter at the BTS station level, you will be in Paris; if you go up a floor, you will be in Tokyo; if you go up another floor, you will be staring at the recognizable red phone booths of London. The design theme incorporates the Caribbean, San Francisco, and Istanbul as well.
14. Experience Street Food Stalls
Surprisingly, Khao San Road is home to some of Bangkok’s best street food, including pad Thai, pad see ew, and mango sticky rice, both in the small stalls that line the street and in the restaurants and shacks off the main drag.
15. Take A River Cruise
Bangkok’s main artery is the Chao Phraya River. This significant waterway, also referred to as the “river of kings,” will enable you to view some of the city’s most stunning temples and monuments from an entirely new perspective. Take a dinner cruise in the evening to see the city’s skyline lit up as you pass by the Grand Palace, Wat Arun, and the Rama VIII Bridge.
16. Temple of The Emerald Buddha
On the grounds of Bangkok’s Grand Palace is where you’ll find the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, also known as Wat Phra Kaew. One of Thailand’s most revered Buddhist temples, it is regarded as such. Both the temple and the Buddha statue, which is made of vivid green jade, are absolutely magnificent.
17. Wat Mahathat
Wat Mahathat, one of Thailand’s most significant temples, is not far from the Grand Palace. The temple was built before the city of Bangkok was founded, and is not to be confused with the temple of the same name in the historic city of Ayutthaya. In fact, it is the final resting place of King Rama IX. Wat Mahathat in Bangkok is deeply significant to the culture and history of Thailand. It was constructed in 1782 and now houses one of Buddhism’s largest schools, the Mahanikai school, which is Thailand’s largest monastic order.
ThYaowarat Road serves as Chinatown’s main thoroughfare. There are a ton of eateries, food carts, jewelry shops, cafés, herb stores, fruit stands, and other businesses along this bustling thoroughfare and its side streets. If you’ve come to Chinatown to eat, you should hold off until after sunset when the neighborhood comes alive with food stalls selling delectable treats.
Unfortunately, traffic is one of the many things that make Bangkok famous. Sometimes it can take more than 30 minutes to travel a short distance. The Bangkok Skytrain is a very simple, practical, and quick option for visitors to Bangkok. Although it does not travel through all of the city, the Skytrain does pass through the two most significant neighborhoods, Sukhumvit and Silom. You can take Silom from the National Stadium out to Bang Wa in the suburbs via Silom and Sathorn. The Sukhumvit line will connect Mo Chit in the north with Samut Prakan in the east.
20. Shop at ICONSIAM
Although Bangkok has many upscale shopping malls, none are as well-known or as big as the riverfront ICONSIAM. The 750,000 square meter mega-mall, which is perched on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, is a popular tourist attraction in and of itself. ICONLUXE, Siam Takashimaya, and ICONSIAM make up the mall’s three main divisions. Additional zones that have been designated to highlight specific aspects of Thai culture and design can be found inside each section. For instance, SookSiam has merged the cuisine, tradition, culture, and art of its many distinct provinces. More than 3,000 local companies from all over Thailand are housed there.