After spending a month living and working in Bangkok, we managed to explore the city on the weekends and see and do so much!
Even still, after a month, I feel like we barely scratched the surface. There is simply so much to do in the most visited city in Asia and most tourists will probably only spend around 3 days there. So, these are my top 10 things you HAVE to do when you visit Bangkok.
Eat delicious Thai street food
You cannot visit Bangkok and not experience the street food on offer on pretty much every street corner. You’ll find everything from fresh waffles and meat skewers to Tom Yam soup and Pad Thai. If you’re nervous about how fresh or clean the food is, head to the stalls where there are lots of people, preferably locals. This way, you know it’s good food (not an expensive tourist trap) and they’ll be cooking everything fresh if it’s busy.
Visit Bangkok’s famous temples
Bangkok (and Thailand as a whole) is home to thousands of temples. It’s easy to get ‘temple fatigue’ and feel bored by visiting temple after temple every single day, so I suggest you limit your temple visits to just two: Wat Arun and Wat Pho. Situated directly opposite each other on the banks of the river, you can visit one and then hop on the ferry which will take you over to the other side. Wat Arun costs 100 baht entry (£2.40) and Wat Pho costs 200 baht (£4.80), while the ferry is only 5 baht (10p!). I’d suggest going earlier in the day if you can to avoid the busy crowds and get the best photos.
The pyramid style structures at Wat Pho are fascinating to look at with their bright coloured tiles and quirky spires. It’s also home to the reclining golden Buddha which is huge and incredibly impressive. Wat Arun is perhaps the most picturesque; again the uniquely shaped pagodas and surrounding statues really piqued my curiosity and look so beautiful perched next to the river.
Spend a morning at the Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is simply a must-do while you’re in Bangkok. It’s expensive (after all it’s the kings gaff and he’s got to maintain all the solid gold buildings somehow!) but the grounds are huge and there’s so much to look at and learn about Thai history. Make sure to spend time in the temple of the Emerald Buddha which is at the centre of the palace complex. You’ll see people come to pray here and it just feels like a really special spot at the heart of the palace.
Go shopping and drinking on Khao San Road
Probably the most famous street in the whole of Bangkok is Khao San Road. It’s known for its wild nightlife and is 100% a tourist trap. However, I wholeheartedly recommend a walk down the street to see what all the fuss is about, as at the very least it’ll give you a good laugh! Throughout the day it has quite a pleasant atmosphere with stalls selling souvenirs and clothes (and the occasional scorpion) and we enjoyed stopping for a Chang and watching the world go by. At night, it becomes absolute mayhem and is not for the faint hearted! We spent New Year’s Eve on Khao San Road and there must have been thousands upon thousands of people crammed into the bars along the street. The atmosphere was crazy and it was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime event!
Walk around Lumphini Park
Bangkok’s version of Central Park, an afternoon is well-spent strolling around Lumphini Park. There is a metro station right outside the entrance so it’s easy to get to and has some beautiful views of the skyscrapers surrounding the greenery. When we visited there were swan peddle-o’s on the lake in the centre which were free for 30 minutes. I’m not sure if they’re always there but it was a fun spontaneous activity which we loved! There is also the huge shopping mall Centralworld about 20 minutes’ walk from Lumphini if you fancy a bit of shopping in the ‘posh end’ of Bangkok.
Visit China Town
Similar to my point about eating street food, a visit to Bangkok isn’t complete without a trip to China Town. The food there is so good that we went twice – and I kind of wish we’d gone again! Hop off the metro at Wat Mangkon and you’ll emerge into the vibrant atmosphere of China Town with its bright lanterns, jolly street vendors and delicious smells. Sample street food or pay a bit more for a sit-down meal at one of the fantastic restaurants for classic Chinese dishes and a refreshing beer.
See the Big Golden Buddha
The Great Buddha in Bangkok has taken 5 years to build and is 69 metres tall, making it one of the tallest Buddhas in Thailand. It’s not quite on the tourist path yet but it was fairly easy to get to on the sky train and was definitely worth a visit. Plus, you get to see a bit more of ‘local’ Bangkok as you walk from the train station to the Buddha through a more residential area.
Walk the streets of Sukhumvit
This popular area is full of great food, bars with live bands, an up-and-coming cafe scene, chic shopping malls and more. It’s definitely the ‘hip’ neighbourhood of Bangkok and we’d like to stay there in the future if we pass through for a night or two. If you’re feeling brave, and if you liked the buzzing atmosphere of Khao San Road, then head to Soi Cowboy and see what you make of it. Enjoy dance shows and live music and try not to get dragged into any of the raunchy clubs by the bikini-clad women (or should I say men?) along the street.
If that’s not your scene (no, me neither!) then head to Soi Sukhumvit 11 for great Thai food and little roadside bars where you can sit on a stool with your beer and watch the world go by. You’ll also find some great rooftop bars in this area if you fancy something a little bit fancier!
Take a cruise along the river
One thing we didn’t get to do and will definitely book ahead for our next visit was a cruise along the river. We attempted it on New Year’s Eve but naively didn’t realise how busy it would be. The ferry stops at many points along the river including Asiatique and Icon Siam (apparently great places for light shows, music and food) while other boats offer bookable tours along the river. I did this when I came to Bangkok in 2016 and it was great to have a guide talking about the history of the city and how important the river is to daily life in Bangkok. Plus, the views from the river are just fantastic.
Go to Chatuchak weekend market
Finally, another popular thing to do in Bangkok is to visit Chatuchak weekend market. The train runs to the market which is located just outside of the city to the north. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it there as we simply had too much else to do in the city centre! This is high on my Bangkok list as it’s the largest market in Thailand with over 15,000 stalls! Definitely add this to your list if you want to stock up on your holiday souvenirs.
I hope this gives you some insight into the varied activities and sightseeing you can get up to in Bangkok!
Like I said, we barely scratched the surface and didn’t quite make it to every place on our Bangkok bucket list. We really prioritised the eating (and drinking) experiences in Bangkok and don’t regret it at all. We had some incredible food and enjoyed indulging (a little too much perhaps) in the cheap beer and booze buckets Bangkok has to offer.
Let me know if you’ve been to any of these places, or if I missed your favourite thing to do in Bangkok!
Subscribe below to be the first to know when new blog posts go live!
2 thoughts on “Top 10 Things To Do in Bangkok”
Bangkok is definitely worth visiting. From cultural heritage sites to towering skyscrapers, it’s a unique city with the perfect blend of old and new. It’s a city where you can sample some of the best Thai cuisines in the world as you stroll through bustling street markets. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx
LikeLiked by 1 person
Agreed! We loved the hustle and bustle and all the different things to do in Bangkok. Thanks Aiva, you too x
LikeLiked by 1 person