13 things to do in Bangkok and event guide for 2021
Temples, shopping, street eats and so much more
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Bangkok is a sprawling metropolis that never sleeps; it's built on taste buds, shopping malls and cultural pride. As temples close in the afternoon, nightly street markets and thriving bars wake up and stay open until the early hours of the morning.
With so much happening, you have so much choice when it comes to adding to your itinerary. Enjoy the nightlife and rich food culture or blitz through the temples, ancient ruins and floating markets. Here are our top picks to help you make the most of your trip to Bangkok.
1. Embrace Thai culture at Bangkok's temples
Bangkok is home to magnificently ornate temples with various incarnations of Buddha to marvel over. The most famous include Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Wat Traimit (Temple of Golden Buddha) and Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha). You can explore all of these temples in a day as they are situated along the banks of the Chao Phraya River.
- Pocket-friendly option: Bangkok Landmarks Day Tour
- The ultimate experience: Private Bangkok Temples, Sightseeing Cruise and Ratchada Train Night Market Tour
2. 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 and less touristy.
3. Indulge in 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. With so many food tours available, all you need to do is choose one and enjoy consuming a copious amount of food.
4. Marvel at the Grand Palace
Generations of the 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.
- Pocket-friendly option: Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Skip-The-Line Combo Guided Tour
- The ultimate experience: Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew Tour
5. Family fun at a water or theme park
For keeping the family entertained and cooled down, some of the best water parks include Fantasia Lagoon Water Park at the Mall 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.
6. Discover Bangkok on bike
Keep the kids busy with a bike tour that takes you around Bangkok's outdoors. Choose between a tour that will take you around the city streets or ride into Bangkok's jungle and follow the path towards canals, villages, the wilderness, an old temple and a floating market along the way.
7. Relax at the beach
One of the closest resort towns to Bangkok is Pattaya. Once a 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 kind of person, Pattaya offers adventure sports including snorkelling tours and Ramayana Water Park that the whole family will enjoy.
8. Discover Thailand's history at Siam Niramit
Learn about Thai cultural practices with an entertaining show featuring flying dancers, music performances and spectacular backdrops. You will get an immersive glimpse into Thai customs through the exploration of Thailand's past through song and dance. This is the perfect way for children to appreciate Thailand's past through song and dance.
9. 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 that will be a highlight of your time in Bangkok.
10. 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.
- Pocket-friendly option: Ayutthaya Temples and Floating Market Day Trip
- The ultimate experience: Ayutthaya City Tour with Traditional Thai Dress and Tuk Tuk Ride
11. Embrace a Muay Thai experience
Amp up your skills with a Muay Thai self-defence class or witness a thrilling fight up close with premium seats to Muay Thai Live. Witness professionals use their techniques to put on an entertaining show that is sure to get you up off your feet.
12. Explore Bangkok's nightlife
Not sure where to find the best party spots in Bangkok? Join a tour and follow your guide as they take you around to the best places. Enjoy entry into three clubs and one bar, and get one free shot at every venue you visit. If you're a fan of the Hangover films, enjoy a private tour with a guide who will take you on a tour visiting the best nightlife spots, including a stop at the bars in Soi Cowboy where scenes from Hangover 2 were filmed.
13. Take a tuk tuk tour
See Bangkok's sights after sunset with this tuk tuk tour that will take you around to some of the best attractions and drop you off right in front of the food markets so you can take the time to explore Bangkok's busting streets and taste the local cuisine at your own leisurely pace.
Things to do in Bangkok in summer
- Chinese New Year
Things to do in Bangkok in winter
- Moon Festival
Things to do in Bangkok in autumn
- Songkran Festival
Things to do in Bangkok in spring
- Loi Krathong Festival
Feeling inspired? Book your trip to Bangkok below:
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