Temples, shopping, street eats and so much more.
Bangkok is a city you need to dedicate time to. It’s a sprawling metropolis that never sleeps, built on tastebuds, shopping malls and cultural pride. As malls and cafes close in the afternoon, nightly street markets and thriving bars wake up for the midnight run. With so much happening you may feel overwhelmed by the activities added to your itinerary, but you don’t have to. Sit back and enjoy the nightlife and cuisine, or blitz through the temples, ancient ruins and floating markets. Here are our top picks to help you get the most out of your trip to Bangkok.
Top things to do in Bangkok
Browse the shopping malls and night markets
Shopping is a must in Thailand and it’s best you visit Bangkok with a near-empty suitcase. Explore the most famous malls including the Platinum Fashion Mall, MBK and Siam Paragon. For markets and handmade finds there’s Chatuchak, an open air and undercover paradise of bazaars. Shopping tours abound if you need help finding the right place and paying the right price.
Dine at the floating markets
Each morning, vendors fill their boats with fresh produce and paddle down river to this market spot, selling goods to customers on the shore. Some boats sell fruit, others cook meals for you or offer market tours. Damnoen Saduak floating market is the most popular and accessible in Bangkok, while Amphawa is smaller, more remote and less touristy.
Eat street food
If you’re the type of person to eat your way through a country, look no further than Thailand for food that really hits the spot. For an affordable price, you can delight in as many dishes as you can fill your stomach with. Food tours abound, all you need to do is choose one.
Get cultured at Bangkok’s temples
Bangkok is home to magnificently ornate temples with varied incarnations of Buddha to marvel over. The most famous include Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha), Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) and Wat Benchamabophit. You can explore these in a day with each situated along the banks of the Chao Phraya River.
Discover the ancient city of Ayutthaya
The ancient city complex of Ayutthaya is a world of crumbling stone, brick temples and Buddhist monasteries. Reminiscent of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, it lies 80km north of Bangkok and was once the capital of Thailand. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s best travelled by car or with a tour to explore the numerous sections.
Nightclubs, gogo bars and the red light district
If you look at Thailand’s nightlife scene, it’s easy to see why it’s the home of gogo culture. Bars and ladyboy clubs thrive with tourists drinking and dancing into the early hours. For those seeking an experience, Bangkok is also home to three renowned red light districts: Patpong, Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza.
Cruise the river
The Chao Phraya River is the main waterway of Bangkok. It’s speckled with restaurants and temples, snaking its way from north to south into the Gulf of Thailand. Public and tourist cruises sail the river, but a dinner cruise alongside the romantic lights of the city is a remarkable experience.
Marvel at the Grand Palace
Generations of Thai monarchy have lived within the walls of The Grand Palace, an architectural wonder and an icon steeped in history. On a palace tour you’ll be taken through its most awe-inspiring rooms including the ornate coronation hall, the throne hall, the funeral palace and the reception palace. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is also on the grounds and features a green jade Buddha statue.
Relax at the beach
One of the closest resort towns to Bangkok is Pattaya. A once quiet fishing village, it’s become a popular destination for tourists craving a beach break while staying within reach of the capital. If you're not a relaxing at the beach type of person, Pattaya offers adventure sports including canopy tours, a human slingshot, bungee jumping and an adventure theme park for the family.
Family fun in a water park
For keeping the family entertained and cooled down, some of the best water parks include Fantasia Lagoon Water Park at The Mall (pictured) and Leoland Water Park. There are plenty of adventure parks where you can stay dry too, such as Siam Park City, Kidzania at Siam Paragon and Dream World. With convenient shopping mall locations, you can drop the kids off while you browse.