What to do in Bangkok – Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is filled with all types of attractions. Situated between the Western world and southeast Asia, the city evolved at breakneck speed throughout the years and to this day, you can still feel the incredible energy that keeps it alive. You’ll probably feel a little bit lost, like I did when I first got there, in the midst of the surrounding hustle and bustle. It’s a striking kind of agitation because it’s different from the kind of turbulence you find in other “big cities”. Don’t worry though, you’ll get used to it very quickly and you’ll start enjoying the city in no time.
Clearly, you won’t feel an ounce of boredom in Bangkok but to help you plan everything to make the most out of this beautiful city, here’s a list of ten must-dos not to miss out on
- Visit the Grand Palace
- Visit Wat Arun
- Do some shopping at a floating market in Bangkok
- Go for a walk in Chinatown
- Day trip to Kwai river
- Go for a tuk-tuk ride
- Have a drink at the Vertigo & Moon Bar
- Indulge in a Thai massage
- Party all night at the CE LA VI (formerly KU DE TA) club
- Go for a walk in the Lumpini park
Let me first tell you about two hotels you can try once you’re there, then we’ll get on what to do in Bangkok.
Where to stay in Bangkok?
The first time I went to Bangkok, I stayed in this hotel (picture above). It offers quality accommodation and it’s location is very convenient for night outs. If you’re on a smaller budget, I would recommend this brightly colored hotel (picture below). It’s location is also great and staff members there are very friendly.>
Now let’s get back to what we were saying and start with the Grand Palace at the heart of Bangkok.
What to do in Bangkok #1 – Visit the Grand Palace of Bangkok
Located right in the middle of the old city on the eastern shore of the Chao Phraya river, the Grand Palace is a key attraction to visit in Bangkok. It’s a unique site that is one of the most important of the city. Its architecture is representative of the country’s cultural heritage and is in fact considered to be a reference in the field of architecture.
The Palace is no longer the Thai King’s official residence but it is still used for some official ceremonies. There’s a strange feeling of disorientation when you visit the Grand Palace; everything surrounding you speaks the language of tradition. It is a very peaceful place that stands in sharp contrast to Bangkok’s vitality.
As you are already near Chao Phraya river, you can also note that you can have dinner during a cruise on the river. Here’s where you can book your dinner cruise.
What to do in Bangkok #2 – Visit the Wat Arun Temple
Wat Arun is just on the opposite shore of the Chao Phraya river; it’s literally just in front of the Grand Palace and to get there, you only have to take a boat and cross the river for a few bahts. The temple of the dawn, as it is called, is an impressive 262 feet tall building, decorated with tiny pieces of china. You can take the stairs if you’re up for a dizzying climb to enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of Bangkok. Just grab the metal handrail firmly and don’t look down. The whole thing will definitely be worth it.
What was really impressive I think was the way the people would renovate the Wat Arun. There were women who would break little pieces of porcelain of different colours that workers would glue on the walls where it’s needed. It’s such a meticulous and repetitive job so instead of paying only the 50 baht entrance fee ($1.5), I paid double the price to support those workers. It’s certainly a small act of recognition but a recognition that everyone can express.
Activity #3 – Do some Shopping at a Floating Market
Floatings markets are an integral part of Thai traditions. Many rivers (namely the Mekong and the Chao Phraya) flow through the country so floating markets developed almost everywhere. Here’s how it works: merchants would bring their goods to the riverside and clients would row their little motor boats across the river, stopping by whenever they want to buy something.
There are no floating markets near Bangkok so you’d have to take a cab out of the city to get there, even though some markets are quite far away. Here are the most popular floating markets you can try:
- The Taling Chan floating market, 9 miles away from Bangkok.
- Bang Nam Pheung, some 12 miles away from Bangkok.
- The Amphawa floating market, 56 miles away from Bangkok.
- The Damnoen Saduak floating market, at a solid 62-mile drive from Bangkok
I chose the Damnoen Saduak market despite the daunting 62-mile drive and I can’t say I was disappointed. The easiest way to got there is to book a tour. You can do it in Bangkok but I advice to book your tour online to avoid scams.
Book here: Damnoen Saduak floating market
What to do in Bangkok #4 – Go for a walk in Chinatown and visit a Night Market
Chinatown is also one of the best attractions you shouldn’t miss out on in Bangkok. You can literally buy anything and everything there for cheap. But it’s not just that, it’s also a very particular setting where Thai and Chinese culture intertwine harmoniously. I recommend you go there at night, it’s very convenient if you’d like to go shopping when all the other stores are closed.
By the way, if you are a foodie, make sure to read this blog post about Bangkok Thai Food.
What to do in Bangkok #5 – Day Trip to Khwae Yai River (Kwai River)
You probably all heard of the Kwai River from the famous war movie “the bridge on the river Kwai”. Its real name is actually Khwae Yai river and you can visit it from Bangkok. It’s a long trip but it’s definitely worth the visit. You can book your tour online and also enjoy the visit of the JEATH War Museum.
Book here: Kwai River Day Trip
Activity #6 – Go for a Tuk-Tuk Ride
If you’re looking for a convenient way to avoid traffic downtown, tuk-tuk is what you should try. It’s a really fun way to move around in Bangkok. If you’ve never heard about it before, a tuk-tuk is a very popular motorcycle turned two-seat cab in Thailand.
However, you’ll notice it tends to be more expensive than other means of transport like the subway or regular taxis, especially when tuk-tuk drivers try to rip you off which happens rather often, sadly. Avoid any nasty surprises by setting a price for the ride in advance.
What to do in Bangkok #7 – Have a Drink at the Vertigo & Moon Rooftop Bar
There are dozens of outstanding rooftop bars in Bangkok. Don’t hesitate to try as many as you can but if there’s one you shouldn’t miss out on, it’s definitely the Vertigo.
On the Banyan Tree building’s top floor, a boat-shaped bar has a terrific view that will take your breath away and make you feel like you’re floating in the Bangkokian sky.
It’s a rather expensive bar though so if it’s out of your budget, you could still go there, just don’t have dinner. Have a drink instead then go to a club somewhere else. No need to mention that a formal dress is required so no sneakers guys, you have been warned!
What to do in Bangkok #8 – Indulge in a Thai Massage
You don’t need to look for a massage parlour in Bangkok, those things are virtually everywhere. You might not get the best experience in some of them but personally, I haven’t been disappointed yet. Common sense is what you need to find your way!
Thai massages are well-known around the world, so much so that physiotherapy students come to Bangkok for training internships. They’re also relatively cheap so don’t use them with moderation. There’s nothing like a foot massage after a long day of walking, it’s magical! I recommend to book this Spa Package as the experience was top and the price is definitely affordable.
Activity #9 – Party All Night at the CE LA VI (formerly KU DE TA) Club
Bangkok’s nightlife is one of the richest. There are literally countless places to go where you can party and dance all night so here’s the one I liked the most (and that surprised me the most!)
The CE LA VI club takes up the 39th and 40th floor of the Sathorn Square Building. It was fascinating right from the start. When you get off the elevator, there’s something that looks like a middle room and it is pitch-dark. You have to keep on walking even if you can’t see anything and you suddenly dive into a sea of silver garlands touching your cheeks. There’s smoke all around to keep the mysterious atmosphere going and just when you start wondering where this is leading you, you’ll be amazed to find yourself in the middle of the dance floor, surrounded by beautiful people, with a stunning view of Bangkok in the background. Outstanding!
For more tips about parties in Bangkok, you can also check out these blog posts: Bangkok Nightlife.
What to do in Bangkok #10 – Go for a walk in the Lumpini Park
The Lumpini Park is sort of the Central Park of Bangkok. It’s one of the largest in town and is located right in the center of it. Instead of squirrels, you can expect to find a species of lizards that is harmless despite what it looks like. I almost gasped when I came across one of them but I’m sure he was more afraid of me than I was of him.
For the most part, the park is really enjoyable, especially if it’s a sunny day. You could even have a picnic or get on a boat and go for a ride on the lake there.
There you go, I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of the bustling city of Bangkok. Please let me know what you thought of these ten attractions as soon as you try them out! If you have more ideas to suggest, feel free to leave a comment down below and of course like and share this blog post of you liked it!
How does my whole trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai sound like for a bonus? Enjoy the video!
Talk to you all very soon,