10 Best Things to Do in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok in Thailand is one of the most visited cities in the world. Whether you travel to Bangkok for the food, shopping, cultural and historical temples, colorful nightlife, or friendly locals, this bright and bustling metropolis is a haven for all kinds of travelers.

Bangkok is a chaotic, colourful city that will put your senses on overload and challenge your photography skills. The variety of things to see and do is impressive and range from intricate golden temples and other cultural destinations to street markets or culinary excellence, and so much more. Here comes, the ULTIMATE BANGKOK, the city of angels. Some visitors consider it a waste of time to sleep, while others don't sleep.

Most people know Bangkok from Hollywood movies, you name it, how many of those movies depict Bangkok in a love story or a comedy, maybe one or two. Although animal lovers may sometime find the wholesome story in movies about Bangkok’s elephants. What else do you know about Bangkok? Start in Bangkok. In every part of the city, something different is happening, whether it’s a street full of Middle Eastern restaurants or upscale shopping.

There is no better place to have fun than in Bangkok, a city that many will regard that sleeping is a waste of time as you can get what you need from countless 7-Eleven in Bangkok. Here you can have a glimpse of the 200-year-Old City, The Grand Palace, National Museum, Rajadamnern Boulevard, the Royal Plaza and the likes of Venice of the East where you will be greeted by canals or Khlong all over the Old City.

Amidst easy-going people plus a natural smile from the locals and the words, you hear daily, Sawasdee krup, and Swaddee ka and Chern ka (Hello and welcome) from 7-Eleven stores, at every fifty metres, so to speak, that gives Bangkok’s visitors a homecoming welcome back. Yes, in fact, MORE than everything you need.

Thailand is indeed a great destination not only for travelers who wish to travel under strict budget but also who wish to experience value for money luxury as per their own choice and budget. Thailand offers you combination of visiting beach as well as city experience. You can easily stay in Thailand from 4 to 8 days.

best things to do in Bangkok

So if you are still weighing your options of what to do in Thailand, have no fear, because I’m breaking it down for you here the best things to do in Bangkok!

For the History Buff

1. Jim Thompson House Museum

Next, head to Krung Thep near the national stadium. Here you will find yourself in a quiet neighborhood that is home to an awe-inspiring structure - Jim Thompson House. This Thai styled enclave consists of six authentic Thai wooden houses accentuated in western and Asian design elements.

Surrounded by lush tropical gardens, this Thai attraction exudes Jim Thomson’s interest in South East Asian art, culture and heritage which he gracefully fused with western features. The aura here is starkly contrasting to Bangkok’s dynamic vibes. The serenity is so intense that you wouldn’t feel that you are in Bangkok anymore. If you are opting for a guided tour, the cost will be around 150 Thai Baht.

For the Spiritul traveler

2. Go temple hopping in Thon Buri

For the typical tourist, Floating market, The Grand Palace and countless Temples and culture shows for culture lovers are still there for you. Are you a selfie king/queen and are proud of it? Then your best bet would be to grab a local tour guide to be your escort as you hop from one temple to another. While there are numerous temples scattered throughout Bangkok, some of the more IG-worthy ones include Wat Arun, Wat Pho, and Wat Saket.

Pro tip: I recommend joining an Instagram tour (yes, those are a thing now!) where you can get someone to bring you around the temples in Bangkok and most importantly take your photos for you!

For the Outdoor Adventurer

Bangkok is full of interesting neighbourhoods, like a mini Tokyo or New York.

3. Lumphini Park

Bangkok’s vigor can become quite overwhelming for its visitors. If you feel that you need a break from the chaos of city life, then head to Lumphini Park. Here lush green landscapes right in the middle of Bangkok gives you a refreshing pause before you gear up to get back on your what to do in Bangkok list.

Lumphini Park is one of Bangkok’s best places to reconnect with nature within the city and take a break for recreational activities. You can enjoy leisure picnic time, paddle boating or join locals in tai chi, jogging or cycling activities. The park is brimming with a variety of flora and fauna and you might even spot exotic birds or monitor lizards. The entry to the park is free.

For the Passionate Foodie

Bangkok is a gastronomic paradise. Sumptuous food with new invention dishes now and then make Bangkok a desirable place to explore. The food is so good that they're bringing out a Thai Michelin Restaurants Guide. Bangkok has been named the world's best city for street food by CNN Traveler! Food is everywhere around you in Bangkok and it's not just Thai food.

You can find some of the best Japanese restaurants outside of Japan. Korean BBQ is also popular. There's an Arab quarter that serve Halal only food and even African restaurants.

For fine dining, you can choose from some of the best restaurants in Asia like Gaggan (Indian), Nahm (Thai), Suhring (German), L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Le Normandie (French), Appia (Italian) etc. Gaggan has been voted Asia's best restaurant for three years running and is rank amongst the top 10 restaurants in the world.

4. Stroll along China Town

Take a stroll through the winding alleys of China Town in Thailand. The place is amazing to sample tasty Chinese dishes and indulge in street shopping from an endless array of streets lined with food stalls and merchandise shops. Some interesting sights to visit in Chinatown are the ornate China Gate, Yaowarat Road, and Wat Mangkon Kamalawat. You will certainly lose track of time amid the vibrancy of Thai and Chinese cultural mix.

Thai food is one of the most delicious in the world! One of the best places to find cheap and authentic Thai food? Chinatown. Don’t expect fancy restaurants in this place though, because you know what they say, the best food is on the streets! Don’t know what to try? Start with these: pad thai (wok-fried noodles with condiments), som tam (papaya salad), yam woon sen (glass noodle salad), dim sum (dumplings), and hoikran luak (boiled cockles).

Pro tip: Not as party or alcohol-centric as nearby Sukhumvit soi 11, soi 3/1 (between soi 3 and soi 5) offers the best collection of Middle Eastern food in Bangkok.

For the Obsessive Shopper

All the shopaholics are in for a treat in Bangkok. With luxury malls and traditional floating markets, the capital of Thailand is one of the best places to visit in Thailand for first-timers. A melting pot of cultures and faiths, Bangkok boasts towering skyscrapers, temples, and beautiful monasteries and is among the cities in the world that never sleeps.

Bangkok is also a shopping paradise for shopaholics, those who buy-first-go-home and throw them aside. The shopping experience in Bangkok is unbeatable. In Bangkok there are markets, weekend markets, night markets. There are many types of malls: hypermarts, community malls, boutique malls, luxury malls and mega malls.

The shopping experience in KL is forgettable. Bukit Bintang (Berjaya Times Sq, Starhills Gallery, Sungei Wang, Pavillion, Lot 10) can be seen in a day. You can find the likes of these malls all over Bangkok and in second tier cities in Thailand.

Down the main street, you'll find phone cases, clothes, bags, watches, cloth, laser pointers, shuriken, and plenty of other oddball things for sale. The walking street gets crowded, and motorcycles will whizz right by you, so take care while walking.

5. Ride a boat along the Chatuchak Weekend Market

Isn't it obvious to do shopping in Bangkok in your to-do-list? Yes, it is, but the main thing is that from where you should shop so that you get good stuff at a reasonable price. So if you are planning to do shopping during your trip, you should do it from Chatuchak market. There are 8,000 shops from where you can shop and there will be lots of options and varieties from which you can select.

Yes, there’s the ever popular Chatuchak Weekend Market where you can probably find anything and everything under the sun, but if you truly want an authentic Thai experience, go to the floating markets just to experience it. Cruise down the river on a wooden boat and bargain with vendors selling their wares on their own boats. Visit the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market or the Amphawa Floating Market as these have the most variety in terms of products and produce.

Pro tip: Another famous market you can visit (although not a floating one) is the Maeklong Railway Market. Set on the sides of an actual railway, the excitement happens when a train thunders through the tracks sending market vendors into a hurried frenzy to take down their tiny stalls!

At first glance The Maeklong Railway market located just outside of Bangkok, Thailand seems identical to the country’s Thousands of other open air markets. There you’ll find sellers advertising a myriad of locally sourced fruits, vegetables, meat, sea food, drinks, sweets. But for every seller, there’s dozens of buyers, tourists and locals as it is the largest market in the country.

But then what makes it so special? The answer lies in the center of the market, it’s the train tracks. 8 times a day, 7 days a week a train passes through the market with only a bell that rings 3 minutes before it arrives to warn the market goers. 8 times a day, 7 days a week sellers put their sunshades up, pull their produce from the track and duck out of the way as the train speeds past.

The Eastern Mahachai line cuts directly through heart of market and has been there since 1904 but surprisingly, the market was there first.

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6. Cruise along Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market

You can find images of floating markets in most travel brochures about Thailand. Like the night markets, they are a beehive of activity, with locals going about their daily business. The merchants sell everything from vegetables and fruits to souvenirs and delicious Thai cuisine.The best way to absorb all this flurry of activity is by hiring a boat and cruising along the market.

These are hard to find sometimes if you're not a local. These markets start at 5 am. You'll see slow Thai culture and the incredible food they grow and harvest. Everything from frogs, mollusks, vegetables, grains, carp, snapper, pork, and chicken. It's a cool experience. Being extremely popular among tourists, they can get pretty crowded, often leading to traffic jams in these waterways.

So make sure you reach early to beat the crowds. Your visit to Bangkok is far from fulfilled if you have missed the floating markets. Comparatively much quieter than rest of the bustling floating markets of Bangkok, Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market lets you experience how traditional Thai markets operate.

Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market is one of Bangkok’s charming floating markets that is easier to reach and has fewer hoards of tourist. The only disadvantage is that it is operational only on weekends. Watching numerous boats meandering through the canal selling all types of goods, fresh produces, flowers and Thai delicacies is a fascinating experience.

If you don't have a weekend in Bangkok, you can swap Klong Lat Mayom Floating Market with Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is around 100 kms from Bangkok at the canal which was created to connect the rivers Mea Klong and Tha Chin. Normally here you will see shops are at the side of the canal as well as on the boats.

On the boats mostly you will see local people selling some local handcraft items and food whereas at the shops at the side of the canal you will find shops selling accessories, clothes, belts, some local handmade items.

For the Sports buff

7. Go for a Muay Thai session in New Lumpinee Boxing Stadium

If you love pushing the extremes of your physical boundaries, then a Muay Thai session is a great way to test yourself. An intense sport, Muay Thai sees fighters launch a flurry of brutal punches, kicks, and elbow strikes to beat their opponents. Of course, you don't really have to go that extent.

A training session involved strength conditioning, cardio and sparring are enough to give you a flavor. If you enjoy it, you can go for a month-long course. And if you have the heart for it, why not put your new-found skills to the test?

For the Wildlife Lover

8. Ride a bicycle to Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo

A unique way of experiencing a city like Bangkok is to go on a bicycle tour. It takes you through small alleyways and traditional settlements. Along the way, you get to see Bangkok’s impressive temples and bustling night markets. Once you cross the river on a ferry, you discover communities living along the riverbank and interact with them. Led by a fun local, the bicycle tour lets you discover a side of Bangkok you never knew existed.

Imagine, travelling to Thailand and wanting to see most of the historical sights of Thailand. Well, this can be done by visiting the Ancient Park. If you are a cyclist, then you can even cycle around this park. It is certainly a park worth visit and the sights are fantastic.

For the Wellness Freak

9. Traditional Thai massage in Khaosan Road Area

It is almost impossible to leave Thailand without giving your sore muscles a taste of an authentic Thai massage. They are everywhere, so it’s easy to get one, you just need to decide the place. There is Wat Pho, a popular temple in Bangkok, considered to be the birthplace of authentic Thai massages. Or you could get it on a beach, with the gentle waves and ocean breeze acting as a lullaby.

You can also get one right in the middle of the street, sitting in one of the recliner chairs. They are as good and easy on the wallet too. So remember, when in Thailand, say goodbye to sore muscles.

Wind up your day in Bangkok with a stroll on Khaosan Road. Known as a back packer’s haven, it’s the perfect place to experience local life, mingle with other globetrotters, chill out with delicious Thai dinner and a relaxing spa massage. Old Bangkok would not be complete without a visit, or a stay at Khaosan Road, a backpackers' haven, where millions of tourists would have Bangkok's Khaosan Road on their bucket list.

This one-kilometre stretch located near Ratchadamnoen Avenue offers a wide range of budget guesthouses and hotels, cafes, pubs and restaurants. You can also visit the Wat Bowonniwet, Wat Chana Songkhram, Phra Sumen Fort and Bangkok’s National Gallery which are located just beside Khaosan Road.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the bustling chaos of Khao San Road, check out Soi Rambuttri and Banglamphu Market which are much quieter and less crowded than Khao San Road. Not far from Khao San Road is Ratchadamnoen Avenue, a wide boulevard that cuts through the old quarter. It is not a well known tourist sight but is Bangkok's equivalent of the Champ Élysées.

Or how about Chareon Krung Road, the first paved road in Bangkok that runs through Bangrak and Yaowarat? The moment you start to believe that the Khao San Roads of Thailand are the real Thailand, you lose sight of the big picture, the real Thailand, which is already right in front of you.

Bangkok has a wide selection of places to stay: dirt cheap rooms, boutique hotels, the budget comfort range (Ibis and Holiday Inn), the luxury chains like the Four Seasons, Hilton, Intercontinental etc. If you're prepared to splurge you can stay at some of the best hotels in Asia, the likes of the Mandarin Oriental Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok - TripAdvisor, The Peninsula Bangkok or Park Hyatt.

For the Night Owl

10. Soak Up The Nightlife in Soi Cowboy

There is a nightlife where ever you go. You can enjoy a full-night out in Bangkok and hop pubs till 3 am. The street off Khaosan Road in Bangkok has amazing live music till 1 am on the streets. Khao San road, Bangla Road, Sukhumvit soi, Walking Street. The best clubs to trash places serve people with great music and alcohol all night.

If you visit any club or any place serving alcohol, there will be girls who come up to you and ask you to buy drinks. It’s natural to get excited, but they are just trying to increase the alcohol sales. Nightlife that never bore anyone, from a lonesome cowboy from Texas to the likes of Prince Andrew.

If you offer to buy them drinks they will ask for the most expensive drink on the card. So yeah, it’s really not your charm working. They are just bar recruits, and you may score if you pay. The idea here is to make you spend as much as you can when you enter a party place or gogo bars. They speak very nice, and you will have amazing company, but as your cash starts drying up, the person of interest shifts.

Gogo bars have explicit offerings. Again if you want a girl to accompany you whilst you’re just sitting be ready to buy her, her friend, the bar manager, the server more drinks and pay big tips to the serving lady. These girls are willing to accompany you back to your room, of course for a price.

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Kalyan Panja