The Land of Smiles definitely holds a dear place in my heart, and to this date I’ve visited Thailand for up to five times already! This is where I started my backpacking journey, the gateway to a chapter I didn’t know I would embark. As one of the top destination in Asia, Bangkok can be rather daunting for newcomers. So if this is your first time, here are the top 10 things to do in Bangkok!
10 THINGS TO DO IN BANGKOK!
1. RIDE A TUK-TUK!
What is a trip to Bangkok without riding a tuk-tuk? Despite the unfavourable response for tuk -tuk drivers, scams and Bangkok’s notorious traffic, this hits the top of the list for Bangkok. Riding a tuk-tuk is more of an experience rather than a practical way to get around. So flag down a tuk-tuk, negotiate a fare and take off on an adventure around Bangkok!
Ps/ watch out for scams! Avoid taking tuk-tuks on peak hours, as no one likes to breath in the fume engines. For long distance ride, meter taxi is the better choice.
2. TRY THAI STREET FOOD
Nothing beats a plate of Pad Thai off the street of Khao San road for 30 baht. Deemed as one of the best street food in the world (source, here) Bangkok offers wide option for the gastronomy lovers. There was an outcry earlier this year as the Bangkok government proposed on banning the street stalls. But to everyone’s delight the Tourism Authority of Thailand reported that the street food are here to stay, so eat up!
The rule of thumb on street food is to watch what the locals eat, and it should be safe enough for you. Don’t be afraid to try everything! And while you’re at it, sink your teeth on these crunchy delicacies 😉
3. EXPLORE KHAO SAN ROAD
Deemed as the Backpacking Mecca of South East Asia, Khao San road is full of life. Travellers all over the world would gather in this little street, giving it a very lively character. There’s plenty to do here. From street food, souvenirs, little trinkets, hair braids, fish spas, and massage parlours – you will never get bored. Also there’s plenty of bars and clubs for parties and a good night out.
Curious of the backpacker’s world? Read more on my first backpacking experience in Khao San road here!
4. VISIT THE GRAND PALACE
Once a former residence for the King, the Grand Palace offers an insight to the life within the Royal court. Enjoy intricate architectural details, golden spires and the museum – and be sure to take a stroll along the beautiful garden!
Entrance to the Grand Palace costs 500 baht. There is a strict dress code, so it’s best to dress appropriately. Go early in the morning to avoid the mid-afternoon crowds, and be sure to pack adequate water and snacks as the complex is huge!
5. GO TEMPLE HOPPING
A trip to Bangkok wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the temples. In fact, Bangkok boasts up to 10,000 temples within its city limits, so there’s plenty to choose from! Top notable temples are the Golden Triangle of Bangkok; the Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho and Wat Arun.
To read more on the temples, here are my Top 5 temples of Bangkok.
6. VISIT THE JIM THOMPSON HOUSE
Nestled in the busiest area of Bangkok lies the picturesque Jim Thompson house. Held highly for his contribution towards the development of the Thai silk industry, Jim Thompson was discovered missing during his vacation to Malaysia in the early 1976. Today his house serves as a museum and a living memoir of his work.
Here you can observe the process of making silk from silk cocoons, enjoy traditional dance performances as well as an exclusive house tour making it a great getaway from the bustling city of Bangkok.
7. TAKE THE CHAO PHRAYA RIVER EXPRESS
Much of the Thai history can be traced along the Chao Phraya River, marking the importance of the river in the Thai society. To date, the Chao Phraya river remains as one of the main form of transportation around Bangkok. A local boat ride (or water taxis) would cost you 10-15 baht/way and it’s a great inexpensive way to explore Bangkok via the waterway.
Furthermore the Chao Phraya River Express is very well connected. There is a tourist boat specifically caters to tourist, where a one-day pass would costs you 150 baht. I personally find it a great way to explore Bangkok, especially if you’re planning to visit Wat Arun and explore the old Banglamphu area.
8. CHATUCHAK WEEKEND MARKET
Consisting of more than 15,000 booths selling various goods from all over Thailand, the Chatuchak weekend market is indeed one of the world’s largest. On weekends, Chatuchak boast over 200,000 visitors each day!
From antique goods, trinkets, souvenirs, street food and clothes, you will find almost everything in Chatuchak. This is definitely the one place where you would like to come on an empty stomach, and a really big pocket to spend.
9. FEAST IN CHINATOWN
Oh Chinatown! If you’re a foodie, you will love this place. Also known as Yaowarat by the locals, the street of Chinatown came to live at 6pm everyday…except for Mondays. This is the place for you to feast and to sample Bangkok’s best street food. Fan of Green Curries? Grilled seafood? Tom Yung Kung? Head to Chinatown!
10. LAST BUT NOT LEAST, VISIT THE FLOATING MARKET!
Photo credit to James Adam
Nicknamed as the ‘Venice of the East’, nothing screams more Bangkok than the floating markets. Some may find the floating markets as a tourist trap, but you can’t deny the definite Thai experience. I would recommend going for the smaller markets as opposed to the Damnoen Saduak, as it’s located pretty far from Central Bangkok. Amphawa and Khlong Lat Mayom are the top favourites, and some says it provides a more authentic experience compared to the big D.
And that’s it! My top 10 list of things to do in Bangkok. I hope this will help in your future planning to Bangkok, and until then – safe travels!