27 Unmissable Things To Do In Bangkok, Thailand

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Bangkok is the bustling capital of Thailand and is famous for its lavish golden temples, floating markets, and world-class street food. There is so much history and culture to explore here, that you could spend weeks there and still not see it all.

girl standing in front of the golden temple bankgkok

It’s also home to an incredible nightlife scene, which attracts thousands of tourists from across the globe looking to part ways with their baht on cocktails that comes in buckets or experience the lavish sky bars.

If you’re thinking of visiting this exciting city but you’re not sure what things to do in Bangkok, Thailand, then don’t worry, we got you covered.

We interviewed Mark Wiens from Migrationology who has called Bangkok his home since 2009. He shares with us his hints and tips for what to do in Bangkok as well as shares some hidden gems.

Why Visit Bangkok, Thailand

But first, why visit Bangkok? Many backpackers use Bangkok as their starting point to explore Southeast Asia – why? Because it’s so easy to meet people. Not just other travelers, but locals as well. The people are so nice and friendly, you’ll instantly feel at home.

As well as this, it’s cheap, too. A simple meal can cost you no more than $2-$3 USD and many of the top things to do in Bangkok are even free to explore.

It’s home to golden shimmering palaces and temples, solid teakwood mansions, museums of everything imaginable, shopping that never ends, and a smorgasbord of delightful things to eat.

There are many reasons to include Bangkok on your travel bucket list, but thai milk tea must be at the top of it.

Best Things to Do in Bangkok

Now you know why Bangkok is worth visiting, it’s time to introduce to you the top attractions in Bangkok. These are some of the most unmissable attractions as well as some hidden gems. We’ve put some of these highlights together in a three day itinerary for Bangkok.

1. Grand Palace / Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)

small figurine decoratons holding up golden temple of the Grand Palace

Without a doubt, the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (on the same compound), are the most cherished and well-known things to see in Bangkok.

The golden palace and temple are a magical display of Thai craftsmanship and a must-see for any first-time visitor to the city.

If you only have time to see one temple, then this should be it.

Video: Grand Palace / Wat Phra Kaew

2. Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha)

large buddha head lying on hand
The Reclining Buddha

Another temple worth adding to your Bangkok itinerary is Wat Pho, better known as the “Reclining Buddha” temple. Though contrary to what people believe, the Reclining Buddha is not sleeping.

It is said in Thai Buddhism that this is the last position the Buddha was in before reaching Nirvana, and this is why the temple is so important to the locals.

Wat Pho is also the location where the original Thai massage was created. It’s a seriously impressive sight you don’t want to miss!

3. Wat Arun (Temple of the Rising Sun)

the pagodas of wat arun

One of my personal favorite temples in Bangkok is Wat Arun, located along the Chao Phraya River. You can climb two flights of steps up the main stupa for a fantastic view of the river.

The temple has been decorated with many statues and ceramic tiles, which change colour depending on the time of day you visit.

I recommend visiting at 5pm, just before sunset. This allows you to see how the temple changes color as the sun goes down.

You can also see the temple lit up at night.

The compound closes at 6pm and you need to get to and from the temple.

Top tip: you can get a pretty good nighttime view of Wat Arun from across the river in RONGROS, a restaurant with a roof terrace.

4. Vimanmek Mansion

Once the palace of the royal Thai family, the Vimanmek Mansion is the world’s largest golden teakwood structure and is now a museum.

The mansion itself is a work of stunning architecture, and the collection of precious artifacts inside it, are a glimpse into the Thai royal family.

5. Chatuchak Weekend Market

covered stalls of chatuchak market bangkok

With both permanent stores and makeshift stalls, the Chatuchak weekend market includes around 8,000 vendors and attracts 20,000 visitors per day. It’s the one largest markets in the world and covers a whopping 27 acres of space.

Nearly everything you could possibly desire is available somewhere within the shopping sprawl. It’s only open on Saturday and Sunday though, and closes at 5pm, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly.

The market is a huge maze of market stalls and food stands, and it’s easy to get lost in the throngs of stalls.

Here is a great place to test out your bargaining skills and come away with a pair of iconic Thai elephant pants for less than 100 baht, and some other souvenirs that take your fancy.

Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise, and for more options, check out these 6 most popular shopping markets.

Top Tip for visiting: If you see something you like, just buy it. Don’t think about coming back for it as you’ll never find it again, and the sellers will increase the price as they know you want it.

6. Khlong Toey Floating Market

Floating markets are common in Bangkok and across South East Asia. Nearly everyone who owns a restaurant or street stall in central Bangkok does their shopping at this market.

Local fresh food markets are one of the best places to observe daily life in any city; for Bangkok, the most authentic place to see this is at the wild and hectic, and constantly energized, Khlong Toey Market.

For a less busy and cleaner option try Or Tor Kor Market, located across the street from Chatuchak Market.

7. Take a Free Bike Tour

You’ve probably heard of free walking tours, but have you ever heard of free bike tours? Well, this is way more fun than walking! And honestly, some walking tours are hit-and-miss in Bangkok. Sometimes they can be full of information, other times it’s a whistle-stop tour of the guide’s friend’s restaurants.

But the bike guided tour is nothing like this; it’s all about exploring the hidden gems and cultural hot spots. The tour takes you past Wat Khun Chan (Wat Waramartaya Punthasatharam), Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen, Wat Nak Prok, Wat Ratcha Orasaram Ratchaworawihan (Chom Thong) and Talat Phlu (Phlu Market).

Because Bangkok is so big, a bike tour is a great way to cover more ground in a short amount of time. Don’t worry though, your local guide will take you down the back streets, alleys and quiet lanes, so you don’t have to face the crazy Bangkok traffic.

Make sure you book your tour in advance so your guide knows how many bikes to bring. Although it’s a free tour, it’s customary to offer a tip if you enjoyed the experience.

8. Get a Thai Massage

Medical thai massage - caucasian model female - stretch the muscles, top view
Medical thai massage – stretch the muscles

If you’re thinking about getting a Thai massage, you should know that this is no ordinary spa day. In fact, it’s anything but relaxing.

Thai massages are a cross between massage and sports yoga, where your masseuse will pull, punch, tug and twist your body in all manner of ways. I bet you never knew you were so flexible.

Despite being beaten up a little bit, you do come away feeling strangely great. Maybe it’s because your back has been cracked for the first time in years, or maybe because you’re now 5-inches taller.

I joke, you won’t come away taller, but you will enjoy the experience.

Top tip: If you download the local app GoWabi, you can find Thai massages and other beauty treatments really cheap. Plus they have reviews from previous guests, so you know what you’re getting yourself in for.

9. Try Thai Boxing (Muay Thai)

boxing bags hanging up in Muay Thai class

If you’re someone who likes to stay active on your vacation, then you should add a Muay Thai class to your itinerary. This is a form of combat boxing that includes hitting with your hands, elbows, knees, and shins.

When done professionally, it can be brutal, and in some cases deadly. But a Muay Thai class isn’t nearly as aggressive as the professional sport.

You will be paired up with a professional trainer who will teach you the techniques, breathwork, and stances. It’s still quite a work out, but a great introduction to the sport.

Top tip: If you download the app ClassPass, you can find Mauy Thai classes FOR FREE. You can also find other fitness classes such as yoga and pilates, but you should definitely take advance of the free Thai Boxing if you can.

10. Watch a Muay Thai Fight

two thai men fighting Muay Thai in a ring

Now you know the techniques from your Muay Thai class, you can appreciate the sport better. Watching a Muay Thai fight is one of the top things to do in Bangkok, but it is not for everyone.

It is a full contact sport, which means the fighters come away with blood, bruises, and cuts.

If you’re squeamish or not interested in seeing people beat each other up, then give this one a miss. But if you enjoy boxing and want to experience local sports, then definitely check it out.

Muay Thai is a huge part of Thai culture, and for some locals, it’s a way of making a living.

11. Visit the Royal Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen Temple

giant golden buddha statue sitting cross legged

For some reason, not many guide books mention the Royal Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen temple, which is pretty much unmissable because of the giant golden buddha statue that signals its location from miles around.

The temple itself is around 500 years old, but the 20-storey tall golden Buddha was completed in 2021. The house of worship is located on the outskirts of Bangkok on an island surrounded by canals from the Chao Phraya River.

The buddha is a fine work of craftsmanship and is definitely worth visiting. It’s also free to enter, so if you are looking for free things to do in Bangkok, this should be it.

There is also another stunning temple nearby, Wat Absonsawan Worawihan, which is also free to visit.

Fun fact: As these temples are more for locals to go to worship, you will see something unique here. Thai Buddhism takes some inspiration from Hinduism, and they believe in Karma. You may see people selling eels and small fish in the temple complex. People who visit the temples wanting to receive good karma will buy an eel or small fish and set it free in the river next door. This act of freeing an animal is said to bring them good karma.

12. Take a Long-Tail Boat Tour of Bangkok’s Canals

people hanging out long tail boat on Bangkok canal to take photo of another long tail boat passing by

Bangkok is a flat city that’s connected by rivers, canals, and tributaries. The locals have been using the canals as transport for many years, and have even built their homes on stilts over the waters.

One of the best ways to experience how the locals live is to take a long-tail boat around the canals.

You might even be able to buy some street food (or should I say, water food) from a vendor selling noodles from their boat.

13. Watch a Thai Puppet Show

three men in black clothes with a thai puppet performing
Thai Puppet Show at the Artist’s House

Puppet Shows have been a tradition in Thailand for centuries and are still practiced to this day. What makes the puppet shows unique is that they are operated by three people – one to operate the head and right arm, one to operate the feet, and one to operate the left arm.

The three people and puppet will engage in a dance that tells a story. It takes years of practice to get to performance level, so it’s definitely worth watching a show if you have time. This is one of the most unique things to do in Bangkok at night.

Top tip: If you want to watch a puppet show but you’re traveling on a budget, you can watch the students practice for free every day at 2pm in the car park of Wat Kamphaeng (Wat Kamphaeng Bangchak) or sometimes from Artist’s House.

14. Visit Artist’s House, a Historic Home with a Stupa in the Garden

the wooden outside of the artist house with artworks displayed on the inside

Just a short walk away from where the students perform the puppet shows is Artist’s House. This is a historic home that is well known for having a stupa in the garden.

You can purchase a cup of tea and a bag of fish food and feed the catfish out the front, or you can head upstairs of Artist’s house and see local art and the puppets used in the student’s puppet show.

15. Try Award-Winning Street Food

Street food is a huge part of life in Bangkok. When the sun goes down, you’ll find vendors on every corner selling BBQ’d meet and local delicacies. Everyone eats street food in Bangkok, it’s a way of life.

There’s no better snack on the streets of Bangkok than a few skewers of freshly grilled pork paired with a bag full of sticky rice, otherwise known as Khao Neow Moo Ping!

Another street food you must try is Pad kra pao, the most commonly available stir-fried dish in Bangkok, is a choice of meat or seafood fried with garlic, chilies, and the all-important holy basil. Placed over rice, with a fried egg on the side, this is one of the classic Thai street food dishes.

For more deliciousness, check out this Eating Thai Food Guide and 5 places to eat street food in Bangkok

plate of pad thai wrapped in omelet
Pad Thai from Thipsamai

Perhaps the most famous place to try street food is at Jay Fai. Jay Fai is the world’s only Michelin-Starred street food chef, and rose to fame after she appeared in the Netflix series, Street Food, which heavily mentioned her.

She is known for inventing dry Tom Yum, as well as several other unique dishes. You can expect to pay a little more than your average, and you should definitely visit early to reserve a table, but it’s definitely worth it.

Located just two doors down is another award-winning restaurant, Thipsamai, serving what is considered the best Pad Thai in Bangkok.

For traditional Thai curries that have been made using fresh ingredients, check out Jek Pui Thai Food.

Jay Fai is located at 327 Maha Chai Rd, Khwaeng Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok 10200 and is open from 12pm until late.

16. Try Insects on Khao Shan Road

a crowded Khao San Road

Khao Shan road is Bangkok’s party street and is lively every evening. If you’re looking to party, no doubt you’ll find yourself being dragged here by one of your friends.

Nearly all backpackers that visit Thailand eventually head to Khao San Road, a street that’s lined with hostels, bars, nightclubs, food, clothing stalls, and loads of travelers.

It’s not everyone’s favorite area of town, but if you’re searching for a budget accommodation and nightlife, Khao San Road is a popular option.

Even if you’re not into partying, you should still visit to try one of the more unusual street foods in Bangkok. Here, you’ll find many vendors selling scorpions, tarantulas, and some other mysterious-looking bugs.

I am yet to find anyone who enjoys the taste of these bugs, but it’s something the locals have been eating for centuries so it must have some nutritional value. When in Rome…or Bangkok…

17. Visit the Jim Thompson House

buddhist altar inside wooden hoes

One of the top things to do in Bangkok is to visit Jim Thompson’s House. But who is Jim Thompson? He was an American businessman and architect who collected an extensive amount of artwork.

Today, you can see his collection in his former home, which is just as stunning as the artwork inside. The house was built in 1959 and is made up of six old teakwood houses.

18. Check Out the Flower Markets

The flower market in Pak Khlong Talad in Wang Burapha Phirom Sub district, is the biggest flower market in Bangkok and the number one place to go to buy flowers.

The market sells primarily flowers, fruits, and vegetables of symbolic value to the locals, as these are then given as offerings at temples and monasteries.

It’s worth checking out, though you won’t want to spend more than an hour here.

19. Go for a Run in one of Bangkok’s Parks

sunset at lush green Benchakitti PArk
Benchakitti Park

You might be surprised to hear that Bangkok has quite a lot of green space. Many people like to visit Lumphini Park to go for a run or enjoy the impressive outdoor gym there.

You can even peddle around the lake on a swan boat.

However, I much prefer the nearby Benchakitti Park which is accessible via a walkway from Lumpini Park.

Benchakitti is a huge park with a massive lake, running and cycle lanes, and a huge Lilly pond. You can walk across the Skywalk which takes you on a path over the Lillies and gives you an ariel view of the park.

This is a relaxing and chilled place to explore in Bangkok, and definitely one of the top things to do in Bangkok to nurse your hangover.

20. Visit a Sky Bar

Aerial view of Bangkok city with Chao Phraya river during sunset
Bangkok at night

There are many rooftop bars in Bangkok that are located 25+ floors above the ground. These elegant cocktail bars are a more sophisticated attraction in Bangkok and are where you want to go if you don’t mind spending a lot of money.

A cocktail here could set you back around 1,300 baht – ouch!

Still, it’s a unique experience and the views are incredible. Some of the most popular sky bars are the Lebua at State Tower, Octave Rooftop Bar at Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit, and The Speakeasy Rooftop Bar.

21. Explore the Neighborhoods in Bangkok

If you’re looking for free things to do in Bangkok, then you should consider walking around some of the most notable neighborhoods. Here are some neighborhoods we think are worth checking out:

green doors of old buildings in chinatown bangkok
Chinatown in Bangkok

Yaowarat (Chinatown), is a busy, hectic place that’s packed with stores, and overflowing with food. Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the best things to do in Bangkok.

During the day, you’ll discover markets selling everything from food to trinkets, and beginning in the evening, you can dine at the countless street food stalls that are set up along Yaowarat Road.

Siam and Pratunam, just a short distance from each other, are the most well-known shopping districts in Bangkok. Along with mega malls, you’ll find plenty of street shopping, entertainment, hotels, and restaurants.

22. Go Shopping at Siam Square Shopping Mall

Going shopping is another one of the best things to do in Bangkok.

traffic movig through Siam Square

Shopping is one of the most popular reasons people come to Bangkok, and there’s no better place to get everything you need than at Siam. Including Siam Discovery, Siam Square, Siam Paragon, Central World, and the giant MBK, you’ll never run out of shopping choices.

Just behind Central World, and a short distance from Siam, is Pratunam market. If you want the best deals on locally made wholesale clothes and fashion accessories, go to Pratunam.

23. Enjoy Songkran Festival in Bangkok

Songkran Festival, which officially takes place from April 13 – 15, is a joyous celebration of ushering in the Thai new year, spending time with family, and playing with water (as Thais refer to it as).

A light sprinkle of water over the head, which was previously a symbol of a fresh clean start, has now turned into an all-out water fight throughout the entire country.

During Songkran, stepping outside is like stepping into a swimming pool – you will undoubtedly get splashed. The entire country is ready to have fun, so it’s a perfect time to visit Thailand and celebrate with everyone.

person getting splashed with water

25. Visit the Thailand Vegetarian Festival

After falling ill in Thailand, a group of Chinese opera performers decided to go on a strict vegetarian diet. Today, the vegetarian festival is an annual event and attracts many people from around the world.

You’ll find plenty of vegan street stalls throughout Bangkok, especially around Chinatown.

Are you vegetarian? Then check out this vegetarian Thai food guide. 

26. Visit the Erawan Museum

large elephant scuplture rising above trees
Erawan Museum

This giant 3 headed elephant, which doubles as a temple and private museum, is actually located just outside of Bangkok, in the province of Samut Prakan.

But with the extension of the BTS Skytrain (all the way to Bearing station), it’s easy to get there, and it’s a seriously impressive attraction.

27. Take a Day Trip from Bangkok

There are many places to visit outside Bangkok that are easily accessed within a day. Here are some unmissable day trips to take from Bangkok:

Suan Supatra Land fruit plantation.

One thing I can’t get enough of in Thailand is the abundance of fresh tropical fruit. I eat a lot of fruit! During the main fruit season, between April and July, I like to go to this fruit farm.

Not only can you see the fruit trees and see how each fruit grows, but you can eat as much fruit as you want!

peopel sitting around a table preparing and eating fruit
Suan Supatra Land

Khlong Lat Mayom and Bang Nam Pheung Floating Markets

Many people that visit Bangkok head straight for the famous Damnoen Saduak floating market (which is about 1.5 hours outside of Bangkok) under the guidance of all the tour guides and guidebooks. Many don’t realize that within Bangkok there are also quite a few floating markets.

My two favorites are Khlong Lat Mayom and Bang Nam Pheung, both accessible by public transportation. They make a great place to wander, shop, and sample some tasty food.

Video: Klong Lat Mayom Floating Markets


ancient pagodas of ayutthaya at sunset
Ayutthaya, Thailand at Wat Chaiwatthanaram during sunset in Ayutthaya Thailand

One of the most well known day trips from Bangkok is to Ayutthaya, an ancient capital of the Siamese kingdom. Visiting temples, ruins, shrines, and forts are all attractions the city has to offer.

Bridge on the River Kwai

The famous bridge over the River Kwai was built by WWII prisoners of war and was used, and still is, to transport trains across the river.

There was a famous movie released in the 1950s, Bridge of the River Kwai, which tells the story of how prisoners were building the bridge and how there was a plot to bomb it. It was based on a true story.

Where to Eat in Bangkok

plate of chicken satay
Thai street food

Eating your way around the city is one of the best things to do in Bangkok.

Sukhumvit Soi 38 or Terminal 21

There are plenty of top street food streets in Bangkok, and one of them is Sukhumvit Soi 38.

Every night, street food stalls set up on both sides of the road serving delicious things like pad Thai, soup noodles, stir fried dishes, and Thai salads.

If you are perhaps apprehensive about trying street food, then a great place to find good quality, cheap food is at the food court in Terminal 21 shopping mall.

You have to get a card when you enter and put as much money on it as you would like. Then walk around the rows of food vendors until you find something you like. The mango sticky rice is really good here, and a small portion is only 35 baht.

Once you’ve eaten as much as you feel like it, you can get all the money on your card refunded.

Larb Bpet Yasothon

Situated on a sidewalk opposite a cemetery, we’ve nicknamed this popular Silom street restaurant “graveyard dining.” Attracting a large local crowd each evening, their entire menu is superb, especially their green papaya salad and grilled chicken wings.

tabel filled with plates of thai food
Thai feast at Larb Bpet Yasothon

Boat Noodles

Boat noodles are one of the most beloved soup noodle dishes in Bangkok. They were previously served directly from boat vendors floating in canals, but nowadays the most popular place for boat noodles is next to the canal at Victory Monument. The noodles are porky, rich, and always flavorful.

Sabai Jai Gai Yang

This long-standing Thai restaurant, that’s serves nearly all genres of Thai cuisine, is a great place to meet friends or to share a meal with your family. The grilled chicken is well known, as is their tom yum goong soup.

The Local

A combination of Royal Thai recipes and home comfort foods is what the chef aims to deliver at The Local. The marvelous array of salads, curries, and stir-fried dishes are not only perfectly balanced but are elaborately presented.

Be sure to try the famous Thai green papaya salad, Som Tam, which includes shredded green papaya, tomatoes, dried shrimp, garlic, and chillies. The ingredients are pounded together in a mortar and pestle and dressed in palm sugar, fish sauce, and lots of lime juice.

plate of shrimp with holy basil
Pad Kra Pao Goong Kai Dao (Shrimp w/ Holy Basil and a Fried Egg)

Where to Stay in Bangkok

view of golden palace beside the river
Th eGolden Palace

Bangkok is huge and so it can often be overwhelming to choose a place to stay. Our advice is not to stress yourself with which district you stay in, either stay in the Old Town, Sukhumvit, or next to a BTS station.

For a budget place to stay, consider the Lub d Siam Square. It’s across the street from MBK shopping mall and right below the National Stadium BTS station, which makes Lub d Siam Square one of the most conveniently located hostels in the city. It’s a chic hostel with super comfortable beds and incredible showers.

Bangkok Loft Inn is a hotel that offers fantastic value for the price and makes a perfect place to stay for both families and couples. Located near the BTS Skytrain and very close to the river, you’ll have easy access to Bangkok’s top attractions.

For a luxury stay, consider Hansar. I’ve personally never stayed there, but I have heard from friends that it is Bangkok accommodation at its finest.

Getting Around Bangkok

Caz on Bangkok buses
With friends during non-peak hour- a pleasant ride

Bangkok literally offers every form of transportation available: train, subway, bus, taxi, canal boat, riverboat, motorbike, tuk-tuk ride, and even some man-powered rickshaws in certain areas.

Around the central part of Bangkok, the BTS Skytrain (elevated train) and the MRT Subway, are the two most convenient and easy ways to get around. They are new, clean, efficient, and best of all, you don’t have to wait in traffic.

Unfortunately, while the plan is to expand the train lines, as of now they don’t cover the entire city, so it’s necessary to take other forms of transportation as well.

motorbikes waiting at traffic lights bangkok
Motorbikes during rush hour in Bangkok

Public riverboats are also extremely convenient. Throughout the day, ferry boats usher passengers up and down Bangkok’s central Chao Phraya River, stopping at a series of piers along the way.

Since the area around the river is the old section of Bangkok, many of the most notable tourist attractions are along the banks of the river.

Taxis, tuk-tuks, and motorbikes are all widely available, affordable, and can get you anywhere in the city.

There is also an extensive bus network, and it’s possible to get pretty much anywhere in the city by direct bus.

Best Time to Visit Bangkok

golden temple on a hill bangkok
The Golden Mount

April is the most exciting time of the year to visit Bangkok and all of Thailand. Though it’s the hottest time of the year, it’s when the famous water festival (which is actually Thai New Years), known as Songkran, takes place.

By relative standards, the best time to visit is November until January. This period is Bangkok’s cold season, making for a less sweaty and more pleasant visit. The weather is sunny and warm, and there’s little chance of rain. December is also one of the busiest tourist seasons, so many of the most well-known attractions are packed.

Visit Bangkok in November or January, when the weather is cooler, but there are still not as many visitors as in December, making those months a great time to visit.

Getting To and From Bangkok

temples with bangkok view
Loha Prasat 

Bangkok is a major Southeast Asian hub, so it’s never difficult to find a flight into the city.

There are hundreds of airlines and carriers that land at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport. I’ve flown everything from Korean Air to Emirates to China Airlines into Bangkok before.

If coming from other destinations in Southeast Asia, or even a few cities in Australia, Air Asia provides good deals on budget flights. Buses and trains are great, but sometimes if you get a good deal on an Air Asia flight it can save a lot of time, effort, and prices can be very reasonable.

Air Asia operates from Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport in the north of the city.

Getting to and from Bangkok by bus is probably the best option after budget flights. There are a number of different classes from sit down seats to luxurious armchairs that lean back into beds.

Mo Chit is Bangkok’s main bus terminal for northern destinations, while most buses bound for the south of the county leave from Sai Tai Mai. To get to some of the major destinations that are close to Bangkok, like Pattaya and Hua Hin, head to the Ekkamai Bus Terminal.

The railroad system is alright, but I wouldn’t call it overly extensive. The Bangkok to Chiang Mai route is a good option and there’s also a railroad line heading south.

Tips for Visiting Bangkok

lush green Lumphini Park and lake views
Lumphini Park

Bangkok is a very exciting city, but in order to have the best time, I have a few words of advice for you:

  • Visit Bangkok Markets. Hitting up the local markets is one of the best things to do in Bangkok for shopping, people watching, and food. I personally like to go to a market known as Wang Lang Market, a local open-air shopping area that includes an outrageous supply of street food and snacks.
  • Try Durian. That’s right, the spiky, notoriously pungent fruit is what I consider one of the top attractions in Bangkok. Give it a try, you might love it (like I do)!
  • Be careful of cars. Bangkok is one of the most dangerous cities for traffic and there seems to be no rules. The pedestrian light might be green but cars won’t slow down for you. Be careful when crossing the roads.
  • Keep an eye out for scams. There are a few people who will try to scam you. When we visited, we had people come up to us asking us for money and they would PayPal us the money. Of course, we didn’t fall for it, but there are people who try to take advantage of tourists.
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport. You need to have ID on you at all times by law, but if you don’t want to risk carrying your passport around with you, take a photocopy instead.
  • Beware when booking a tuk-tuk tour. Some tuk-tuk drivers will try to charge you 100 baht for going a five minute journey, or take the “scenic route”. It’s better to use the Bolt or Grab Apps to order a bike or taxi so you know what your fare is beforehand.
  • Wear a helmet! It’s fun to ride around Bangkok on a motorbike and this is the cheapest form of taxi, but make sure you wear a helmet.
  • If you’re worried about trying street food, try a food tour to learn where all the best places are.
Thai street food stalls just outside Central World Shopping Center
Thai street food stalls just outside Central World Shopping Center

Before You Go

view of Bangkok from Golden Mount
Bangkok views from Golden Mountain

So there you have it, those are the top things to do in Bangkok and as you can see, there’s so much to see and explore!

You never have to walk more than a few steps before you stumble into something that looks delicious!

It really is the incredible mixture of food that made me initially fall in love with Bangkok.

In busy areas of town, every square meter is home to a smiling vendor ready and happy to serve you a plate of spicy green papaya salad or a freshly stir-fried plate of chicken with basil. Bangkok is a never-ending buffet.

Along with food, I absolutely love the way Bangkok is a very modern functioning city, yet at the same time, it remains quite traditional and true to its rich cultural heritage. It’s possible to be surrounded by skyscrapers one moment and then be in a peaceful traditional community the next.

Lastly, I love Bangkok simply because everything is so extraordinarily convenient. Hungry, thirsty, sick, or have any other need whatsoever? You can literally walk outside your door and get whatever it is you need.

Before you go, make sure you book your accommodation in advance. The best hotels and guest houses get booked up in advance, so plan ahead if you want more options to choose from.

Bio: Mark Wiens was born in the UU, grew up in Kenya, and eventually moved to Thailand where he became insanely obsessed with food. On Migrationology, he shares his latest travel feasts, while on Eating Thai Food he blogs about mouthwatering Bangkok street food. Need more tips on things to do in Bangkok? Be sure to follow his street food videos on YouTube.

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56 thoughts on “27 Unmissable Things To Do In Bangkok, Thailand”

  1. Ohhh, bookmarked for later this month! I have been a few times, but really only as stopovers or at the end of a SE Asia trip, so this will be helpful for actual places to seek out! Thanks!

    1. Hey Tash,

      We actually fly to Bangkok next Thursday, so this awesome guide from Mark is perfect timing and has us pumped! Glad it will help you too 🙂

  2. Thanks for the tips Mark. I’m reading this in between constant interuptions of ‘Should I take this?’ for our trip to SE Asia in a few days. As soon as we’ve offloaded our bags it’ll be staight to Sukhumvit Soi 38 for some street food.

  3. Great guide! I will add that for affordable and varieties as well as easy access place to eat is the food court in all the shopping mall in Bangkok. We frequent Siam Paragon’s food court during our visit. The food is clean and affordable. It’s a great start for those who can be easily intimidated by the side street eating. Plus you will have options to try different types of food in one place. If you need more guide for Bangkok with kids, let me know. 🙂

    1. Hi Amy,

      Yeah great tip on the food court situation for first timers! Definitely another affordable way to experience delicious Thai food. Yeah, lets have your Bangkok tips with kids 🙂

  4. An awesome list! I’ve been in Thailand for just over a year now, and 4 of those months in Bangkok. There’s definitely a never ending list of things to go and do here – but this is a pretty substantial start of some of the most interesting (and some new ones I just added to my own to-do list)!! Thanks for sharing and getting the goods from Mark! 🙂

    1. Hey Ian,

      That’s awesome you’ve got so much time in Thailand. Jealous. But we’re looking forward to our two week trip this month and using these tips! Enjoy the rest of your time in BKK.

  5. I have been to Bangkok a few months ago, but unfortunately didn’t have the time to do all the things you are suggesting here. Must go back. And Thai food, hmm-just delicious!

  6. I’m particularly interested in visiting arts and crafts shops for good quality products along with studios with artisans working. Any suggestions?

  7. Hi, I do not trust the “famous sellers” now, I really prefer to buy everything from Thailand now, this is where I buy my stuff, for $20 “Personal Shopper Bangkok” (Google it I don’t have the exact link) will go shopping for you (anything), cheap and good, I would love to find the same cheap service in Paris or New York !!!

  8. Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand and there are many popular places as well as some religious places at there like the temple of God Buddha. Also A Museum is one of the great place which attract the attention of a traveller.

  9. Yes…very huge and great article! Bangkok is too big to explore. Once I wrote a big report with photos about my travel in Pattay and Krabi, and I still can’t find forces to write a huge article about Bangkok.

    Thanks for your impressions. It is very interesting to read, especially about Thai food )))

  10. Great tips! Gald I found this post! We are leaving on the 14th of December 2013 for 3 weeks in Bangkok. SO excited. If you have any MORE tips please let me know! Thanks a mill! 🙂

    1. Yeah great tip on the food court situation for first timers! Definitely another affordable way to experience delicious Thai food. Yeah, lets have your Bangkok tips with kids 🙂.keep going like this weel done.

  11. thanks a lot..we will be travelling bangkok on november 2…oh..i mean with my sister..we are very exciting to visit all the places u have mentioned in your journey in thailand. your story helps us a lot and guide us when we will be there soon..excited..:)

  12. Great article Ytravel!

    I think Mark knows just about all there is to know about Bangkok! The advice to “eat everything you see” is spot on. You just have to toughen up the taste buds and go for it!

    If you are looking to pack in some of these amazing experiences all into one day you should check out AdventureHoney’s “Bangkok Day Tour”. It offers a local guide and is really flexible and what you can see and do.

    Check it out! https://www.adventurehoney.com/Experience/bangkok-day-tour-with-private-local-guide-35

  13. This was an amazing find! I have been living in Chon Buri for four months and haven’t gotten to do too much exploring of Bangkok with all of the protests and such. A friend is visiting in April and will be using this as my bible! Thank you!

    1. Aha! More protests in Thailand hey! We’re living in a no media travel bubble in Australia at the moment. Missing out on the global dramas. Glad the post could help you. We love Bangkok. Enjoy and stay safe

  14. The protests are actually far smaller than they have been and, at this point, not remotely dangerous.

    i’ve lived in Bangkok for 12 years and, at the beginning of the year, when the protests started to get big, protesters were camped out at the bottom of my street for almost a month. Annoying, to say the least. Particularly as for all their talk of being ‘democrats’ they are the least democratic group of people you could come across.

    Now, however, they’vw relocated from all protest sites around Bangkok to Lumphini Park, so if you avoid heading into the park, you’re not likely to see much.

    Overall, Bangkok is just as safe as it has always been in March, 2014. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend tourists travel here.

  15. Oh and your commenter above ‘Personal Shopper Bangkok’ is a well known spammer. She’s been on every website I write for with her ‘don’t know the link’ comment. A scam website for sure 🙂

    And there is NO need to ever hire a personal shopper in Bangkok. Shopping here is half of the fun, particularly as almost everything sold here is a fraction of the cost of the west.

    1. We sure have! I used to teach at Wat Saket High School and lived in an old converted office building. Wat Saket was the view from my bedroom window and my daily place to get away! Love it there

  16. Bettina Gutwenger

    One place nobody mention is “Ancient City” which I love very much.

    I call it “little Thailand”. When I was there for the first time, now nearly 35 years ago, it was way smaller than today. It has the propotions of Thailand but “in small” and you can see a lot places of interest – rebuilt or imitated – smaller than the original. The first time I was there, in 1980/81 we walked around the ground. Today it is not possible anymore and makes much more fun to drive with a golf caddy around.
    We come back to Thailand every 3-4 years and it is always a pleasure to visit this place again to see what was built last.

    A place to enjoy Thailand from North to South within one day!
    Love it !!!

  17. I would add: go watch a movie at Siam theater (or any other movie theatre). It’s cheap, it’s huge and you can watch trailers of thai movies, which are good for cultural knowledge ! and don’t forget to stand up for the national hymn.

  18. Great info. A day trip to Ayuttaya a must, it really is a highlight. I would actually suggest visiting the Jim Thomson house over the Vimanmek Mansion, we just thought it was way more impressive. Been there 5 times and never saw the Erewan museum…thanks for mentioning it.
    Frank (bbqboy)

  19. Thanks for sharing your valuable thoughts. I am planning to visit the most famous cities in Bangkok Krabi during May month as i have booked my holidays with Uk based Travel agent

  20. After reading your post, I’m more surely to plan a trip to Bangkok this June! I’m so thankful for your information!
    Hope you are always have great time in your trip!

    1. After reading travel experiences of Caz and Craig my respect for both of them have increased deeply..Traveling is my passion and do believe in it.
      Lynn, As you said that you explored Southeast Asia and had to return back to your hometown in short time, I have mentioned about things to do in Bangkok city for couples which needs very short time to explore.You can get a list of more than 400 Bangkok attractions to visit here.
      On your next trip to Bangkok, surely plan a Bangkok itinerary using above link shared and make your trip everlasting..

  21. I love Bangkok’s beautiful modern temples in the Royal Palace and how it’s close to Ayutthaya’s ancient temples. Their rich culture is very fascinating. 🙂

    1. Thailand has three official seasons – hot, cool, and wet. The hot season runs from March through to June, with April and May the hottest months of the year. So if you can handle the heat and humidity you’ll be ok. Hope this things to do in Bangkok article helps with your visit.

      1. Than you, Craig.
        Do you consider it as awful as it is in India in May?
        The weather channel forecasts 80-92ºF.. If it really is like that, I can handle it perfectly.

  22. Awesome list! I’ve done quite a bit of the things mentioned on here but NONE of the festivals sadly. That vegetarian festival sounds awesome — and I’m not even a vegetarian ha. Any food-related event in Thailand sounds amazing to me though 🙂

  23. Me and my bestfriend are planning to book a flight this September. This really excites me to get lost in Thailand. Awesome! Thanks for this! 🙂

  24. Hi, loved your article. We’ll be visiting Thailand for 8 days in December and our flights are to and from Bangkok. Will really appreciate any help with itinerary planning. Wish to see elephant bathing, women with the long necks and of course everything else. Sounds crazy. But this trip is so long due and I want to see the most in this short time. Thanks in advance.

  25. This is such a comprehensive city guide which I really enjoyed reading, Craig! Bangkok seems truly astonishing and a definitely worth visiting destination. These are all excellent suggestions. How many days would be enough to explore Bangkok properly?

  26. Thanks for the tips Mark. I’m reading this in between constant interuptions of ‘Should I take this?’ for our trip to SE Asia in a few days. As soon as we’ve offloaded our bags it’ll be staight to Sukhumvit Soi 38 for some street food. !

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