Are you planning a trip to Thailand? Then most likely Bangkok will appear somewhere in your itinerary. Whether you’re spending just one night passing through, or a few days in the nation’s capital, this article is for you.
This Bangkok bucket list gives you the low down on the best stuff to see in this crazy and hectic city. You’ll find no shortage of things to do in Bangkok, regardless of what you’re into, it’s impossible to be bored here.
I’m a huge fan of south east Asia, and I’ve visited Bangkok four times so far, each time seeing totally different stuff. So in this article, I’m going to tell you about the amazing things not to miss in Bangkok.
With so many great things to see in Bangkok, the trouble is just knowing where to start. So read on, and tell me, which ones are you going to be ticking off first?
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The Ultimate Bangkok Bucket List Challenge
If you don’t have time to read this whole Bangkok to-do list right now, no worries. For starters this article is divided into categories based on activity, so you can skip straight to what you’re interested in.
Better still, why not download this checklist of everything included for offline viewing and to refer back to when you’re ready to plan your Bangkok travel itinerary.
What you can expect in this article...
10 Best Things to Do in Bangkok
If you’re only passing through the city, which is what most people do, then here’s a quick reference list of the top things to do in Bangkok in one day. Although everything on this list is worthy of your attention these are the ten essential things to see in Bangkok.
- Grand Palace
- Wat Phra Kaew
- Khaosan Road
- Chatuchak Weekend Market
- The Floating Markets
- Tuk-Tuk Ride
- Maeklong Train Market
- Pad Thai and Mango Sticky Rice
- Wat Arun at sunrise or sunset
- Giant reclining Buddha at Wat Pho
Iconic Places to Go in Bangkok
The things listed in this section are some of the most iconic things that are synonymous with Bangkok. If you’re limited on time and wondering what to see in Bangkok in 1 day, then aim to at least see these.
The Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew
Highlights: At the top of this Bangkok bucket list is the city’s number 1 tourist attraction. The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew. Expect huge crowds here all year round, but especially during peak season.
The two sites are connected. One is certainly more regal (the palace) and the other is more characteristic of traditional Thai temples. The temples of Wat Phra Kaew are home to Thailand’s most important Buddha shrine. This lavishly decorated meditating Buddha is carved from a single block of Jade.
Tips for Visiting: Due to the popularity of The Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew, plan to visit either as soon as it opens or towards the end of the day.
The rules for visiting this complex are fairly strict. Wat Phra Kaew is an active place of worship and a place of pilgrimage for many Thais and Buddhists all over the world. The rules are for both men and women, make sure your shoulders and knees are covered. This needs to be a solid fabric as well, so no floaty sheer fabrics here.
Check Availability: Grand Palace, Temples and Markets Tour, Bangkok
Party at Khao San Road
Highlights: This is the most famous road in Bangkok. Khaosan Road always divides opinions, some people love it and others hate it. All I would say is go and make up your own opinion. It’s become a bit of an institution over the years and now Khaosan Road has spread to encompass adjacent streets and alleyways all after a piece of the action.
It’s loud, it’s busy and very tacky. If you’re after a Chang Beer-clad t-shirt or vest and a pair of elephant-print Thai pants, this is where you’ll find them.
The streets are lined with tourists having a massage or eating at food carts. Khaosan Road is party central and a hub for groups of revellers out for a good time.
Love it or hate it, it’s something to be experienced, and a definite must for your Bangkok bucket list.
Tips for Visiting: Be careful of pickpockets here. The area is a hub for tourists and locals alike and it gets busy. If you have to take a backpack, wear it on your front. If you have a little shoulder bag, carry it with the strap across your chest and in front of you. Avoid putting anything in your back pockets.
Related Article: Visiting Thailand? Check out this 10 Day Itinerary
Test Your Nerves at the Maeklong Train Market
Highlights: Quite possibly one of the most bizarre markets in the world, the iconic Maeklong Market is certainly worthy of being added to your Bangkok itinerary. The Thai nickname of this market is Talat Rom Hup which translates to ‘umbrella pulldown market’.
The unique experience of this market is that its located on top of the train track. The train track is still in use, and whenever a train approaches, the shopkeepers close the awnings, gather up their wares off the tracks, and breathe in as they wait for the train to pass. As soon as the train has gone, the shops are replaced. It truly is quite an eye opener, the locals don’t even bat an eyelid.
A trip to Meaklong Train Market is one of the quirkiest things to do in Bangkok.
Tips for Visiting – You can make your own way to the market from Bangkok centre by taking the BTS Silom Line to Bang Wa BTS Station. Once you arrive there, go out of Exit 1 and hail a taxi. Ask for Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal or Sai Tai Mai. A minivan does the journey from the bus terminal to Maeklong Railway Market about every 40 minutes.
If you don’t fancy navigating the public transport system, then there are several tours to Maeklong Train Market instead.
As with any crowded place, watch out for pickpockets, especially if you’re opting to go via public transport.
Check Availability: Maeklong Railway Market & Damnoen Saduak Market
Watch a Ladyboy Show
Highlights – Before I visited Thailand, I had no idea just quite how stunning the Bangkok ladyboys were. Growing up in the UK, my experience as guys dressed like girls was the questionable-looking pantomime dame. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The ladyboys in Bangkok are absolutely stunning.
Not only are they beautiful, but some of them are incredibly talented singers, dancers, contortionists…you name it. Going to a Ladyboy show is one of the top things to do in Bangkok. Night time is the best time to go.
Tips for Visiting – You’ll find plenty of street vendors selling tickets for Ladyboy shows especially around the chaotic hub of Khaosan Road. If you do choose to buy a ticket off a street vendor make sure they are a licenced seller and the tickets are genuine.
Shop at Chatuchak Weekend Market
Highlights: The gigantic Chatuchak Weekend Market is the largest of its kind not only in Thailand but there are also claims that it’s the largest in the world! Either way, it’s huge! It features over 15,000 stalls and 11,505 vendors.
These are divided into 27 sections selling every type of product imaginable. This is definitely one of Bangkok’s best open-air markets, Whether you’re after general nick-nacks or souvenirs, you’ll certainly find it here.
Tips for Visiting – The market is fairly easy to get to on public transport. Take the Skytrain (BTS) to Mo Chit station. Head out of Exit number 1 and then basically follow the crowds. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you can see the colourful stalls. These will mostly be selling clothes. You can also book onto a combined tour of Chatuchak and the floating markets.
Despite its name, the market isn’t only open at the weekend. Hours vary day to day, but it’s open from Wednesday through to Sunday. If you only have a short time, it’s definitely worth putting this on your bucket list for Bangkok
Must See Temples in Bangkok
There are no less than 400 temples and Wats in Bangkok. That’s quite a lot to choose from! You can read more about visiting some of the best temples in Bangkok in this article here, but the ones in this section are the ultimate must-see ones.
Discover the Giant Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho
Highlights – During your time in Thailand, you’re going to see hundreds of Buddhas. However, the giant reclining Buddha at Wat Pho will be one of the more memorable ones.
Wat Pho is the oldest and largest of the temples in Bangkok and the giant reclining Buddha that resides here draws big crowds. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the best temples to visit in Bangkok.
The giant reclining Buddha covered in gold leaf measures 46 metres long with the top of his head sitting at 15 meters high. The overall feeling when you visit is awe. You’ll feel incredibly tiny looking up to him and you’ll see why this is often dubbed the best temple in Bangkok.
Tips for Visiting – Remember to dress appropriately, this means having your shoulders and knees covered. The temple of Wat Pho is an active place of worship so you will probably see Buddhist monks walking about. Be respectful to them and don’t ask for photos.
Being the biggest temple in Bangkok, and with the draw of the giant Buddha, it can get busy at times. There’s a lot to see at this site, so you might want a guided tour of Wat Pho to tell you about some of the unusual statues here (check out the weird heads on giant legs in a small building here). Aim to visit either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Check Availability: Iconic Temples of Bangkok and Markets Tour
Related Article: 50+ Must-See Places in Asia
Watch Sunrise or Sunset Over Wat Arun
Highlights: If you’ve been to other destinations in Asia, and visited some of the ancient sites like Prambanan in Indonesia or Angkor Wat in Cambodia, then you’ll recognise the Khmer style of Wat Arun.
Wat Arun is one of the top temples in Bangkok to visit with the giant prang in the centre of the site standing 86 metres tall. It’s surrounded by 4 smaller towers each intricately decorated. The name Wat Arun gets its name from the Indian God of Dawn – Arun.
Although Wat Arun can be visited at any time of the day, there’s something magical about seeing it during sunrise and sunset.
Tips for Visiting – To get the best view of Wat Arun, see it from both sides of the water. A small passenger ferry makes the journey several times an hour across the river.
When you visit this famous temple in Bangkok, remember that this is still a holy shrine, so dress respectfully. You can climb up to about halfway on the large central prang. It does get crowded at peak times, so come back twice. One early in the morning, as soon as it’s opened to see it close up, and then later in the day to photograph Wat Arun at sunset.
Book Now: Wat Arun, Temples and Markets Tour
Wat Saket (The Golden Mount)
Highlights: Wat Saket is also known as Chedi of ‘Phu Khao Thong’. This iconic white mount is topped with a gold temple. This is one of the best temples to visit in Bangkok, especially if you’re looking to escape the bustle. It’s nestled amongst trees and manicured gardens. It feels tranquil in comparison.
The temple sits on top of a 79-metre-high partially manmade white mount in the old part of the city. Stairs spiral, all 318 of them, around the outside of the gleaming monument.
At the top of the mount is the temple, on top of the temple is a chedi and buddha, there is a small corridor and stairs leading to the uppermost level which gives you fantastic views across the city.
Wat Saket is an absolute paradise in the middle of the city. It’s a great place to relax and listen to the trickling water fountains, the breeze rustling in the leaves and the birds singing. This really is one of the best temples in Bangkok.
Tips for Visiting: Aim to visit either early morning or late evening. Because the mount is a pearlescent white colour, it shimmers and gleams in the sunlight, and reflects the harsh rays straight back at you. Also, take a pair of sunglasses, you’ll be squinting a lot if you don’t.
The easiest way to get there is by water taxi. One of the stops is just outside the temple. Take the taxi boat to the pier named Phanfa Bridge Station. You’ll be able to see the temple from here.
There is a fence surrounding the temple with several open gates. Go inside, once on the grounds, there is a small ticket booth at the entrance to the temple steps.
Related Article: Walking Guide to Bangkok’s Best Temples
Fun Stuff to Do in Bangkok
There’s a ton of fun things to do in Bangkok to suit every style of travel. Lots of these you can combine with visitis to the temples or iconic Bangkok landmarks.
Cruise Along the Chao Phraya River
Highlights: If you’re short on time, and not sure what to see in Bangkok, a cruise along the river could be the perfect solution. The Chao Phraya River runs through the heart of Bangkok and cruising along it is a great way to see some of the city’s highlights all at once.
If you’ve visited some of the temples in the day, it’s also nice to see them from a different perspective. Also, all of the iconic landmarks, like the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun are beautifully lit up if you take a cruise in the evening.
Tips for Visiting: Although you can take a Chao Phraya River Cruise at any time of the day, the best option is late afternoon, just as the sun is going down, or in the evening to see the city’s lights come on.
There are different options for river cruises. The cheapest night river cruise is on a small passenger ferry and will just consist of a ride up and down the river. If you’re on a budget and just want to see the monuments lit up, then go for this option.
For a better experience, you can also book a more luxurious river cruise package and make a full evening of it. The premium river cruises offer dining and traditional Thai entertainment as part of the package.
Enjoy a Thai Massage
Highlights – You won’t have to look far to find somewhere offering Thai massage. These are a great way to get all the cricks out of your legs, back and shoulders after a long day of sightseeing.
Most massage parlours offer a range of other services too including different types of massage, spa treatments, manicures & pedicures as well as hair removal and more.
Tips for Visiting: Most streets in the main centre will have staff outside the front door, enticing you inside and of course offering you ‘a special price’. You’ll find an abundance of them along Khaosan Road.
Although they all boast that they are the ‘best one’, honestly, they are all much the same. One thing the you’ll notice about all of the Thai massage parlours here, compared to the western world, the prices for services are a fraction of the cost. You’ll probably end up going several times if you’re on an extended trip to Thailand.
Another thing to note is that the Thai people might look small, but the staff at the massage parlours are incredibly strong and certainly don’t hold back. If you have a low pain threshold, you have been warned.
Related Article: The Complete Bangkok 4 Day Itinerary
Watch a Muay Thai Match
Highlights – Muay Thai is Thailand’s national sport, and watching a live Muay Thai match at its origin is certainly a worthwhile experience.
The boxers are quick and nimble, and the crowds, in particular the Thais, are lively throughout the match. Even if you’re not into sport or boxing, you’d be hard pushed not to get caught up with the excitement along with the locals.
Tips for Visiting: Although there are numerous small boxing rings in the city, the two main stadiums. One is called Rajadamnern Stadium, also spelt Ratchadamnoen, this is Bangkok’s original stadium. The other main stadium is Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.
Matches happen every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Take Part in a Muay Thai Lesson
Highlights: If you don’t fancy watching the sport, and you prefer to get involved, then you could always book a Muay Thai lesson.
Practice the art of self-defence, learn the skills yourself and get that adrenaline rush. Classes can either be for small groups, couples or private. They are suitable for absolute beginners right through to an intermediate level.
You will have an English-speaking teacher, who will take you through the unique techniques of this ancient martial art.
Tips for Visiting: You don’t need the stamina of an athlete to participate, but because it’s a physical activity, you will need to be reasonably fit. If you have a regular level of fitness you’ll be fine. You know your own body’s limitations.
Group sizes can vary, depending on how many people have booked, but they will be no more than 6 participants. If you want a private group (eg for a stag or hen party) then make this known so you’re not split up.
Even though the studio is air conditioned, it gets hot – wears shorts and a t-shirt/vest top and doesn’t forget a towel, or rock the ’80s look and wear a sweatband. Also, bring a change of clothes, they have showers on site.
Check Availability: Muay Thai Beginners Lesson
Relax in Lumpini Park
Highlights – If Muay Thai is a little too energetic, then head to the cool shade of Lumpini Park. Bangkok is a full-on and hectic city at times, however, amongst all the chaos you’ll find some calm and tranquil areas.
Lumpini Park is the largest and oldest green space in the city. As well as a giant man-made lake to hire a boat on, there are plenty of shaded meandering paths so it’s nice to escape here just for a bit of time out.
If you’ve got the energy (and coordination) Tai Chi takes place every morning here. The classes are mostly frequented by the city’s elderly population and it’s a fascinating insight into how the locals live.
Tips for Visiting: If you’re opting for Tai Chi, then lessons in the park start early in the morning. Because of the size of the park it can be difficult to locate where the classes happen. Although some classes might be happy for you to stand at the back and join in, this can come across as a little rude to other groups, so check with the instructor before the class starts.
Alternatively, you can book a Tai Chi lesson to include pickup and drop off from your accommodation with an English-speaking instructor.
Ride in a Tuk-Tuk
Highlights: A must for any itinerary for Bangkok, is a ride on a Tuk-Tuk. As synonymous to Thailand as Pad Thai and Massage are, is a ride in one. They’re as colourful as they are noisy but something is thrilling about darting about, sat in the back of one, with a crazy Thai at the helm.
If you’re short of time, this could also be an easier option to see a load of Bangkok’s top attractions quickly.
Tips for Visiting: It won’t take long to hail a TukTuk down from the roadside, however, be careful of inflated prices. Negotiate and agree on the fare to your destination BEFORE you get in.
Alternatively, you can hire a Tuk Tuk and driver for half-day and combine some of the classic Bangkok attractions too.
Check Availability: Bangkok Temples & Markets by TukTuk
Navigate the city on the Water Taxis
Highlights: Just like the TukTuks, the Water Taxis of Bangkok, are an authentic and fun way to experience and explore the city. Zipping along the city’s canals is one of the best things to do in Bangkok.
The Chao Phraya River runs through the middle of Bangkok and historically, the estuaries of the river provided important transport routes all over the city. They are still just as important today to the local Thais to get around the city.
Even if you’re not headed anywhere in particular, it’s worth at least one journey on the crazy water taxis darting between the network across the city. The water taxis are a really fun way of getting around Bangkok and are often overlooked by tourists.
Tips for Visiting: Watch out though, sometimes they go so fast that the spray and waves come into the boat. My friend I was with got absolutely drenched.
As refreshing as that was, the water is quite dirty but also, he was glad he didn’t have his camera out at the time, it would have gotten soaked. So just be aware, that if you sit at the edge, you may get wet.
Shop till you drop at Siam Paragon
Highlights: If you’re into high-end shopping, then you’ll love Siam Paragon. This gigantic mall in Bangkok features luxury boutiques, an art gallery, a bowling alley and even a concert hall and Siam Opera House.
Tips for Visiting: Siam Paragon is well connected. You can use the BTS Skytrain to get there, both lines go to Siam station. The mall is open daily from 10 am to 10 pm.
Watch a Traditional Thai Puppet Show
Highlights: For hundreds of years, Thais have told stories and legends through puppets. The official name for traditional Thai puppetry is hun lakhon lek.
Performers use life-like puppets to act out scenes from Thai history which includes a mixture of comedy, love stories, and satire.
Each puppet stands at about a meter in height (3.2 feet) and takes up to three puppeteers to operate with a series of rope and pulley systems.
Tips for Visiting: There are a handful of venues around Bangkok that host traditional puppet shows. One of the best venues to see a show is at a venue called The Artist’s House. This 200-year-old house is located in the old part of the city, not far from the canal.
The building also doubles up as a coffee house. It’s open daily between 10 am to 6 pm and also hosts traditional craft workshops.
Discover the Silks at the Jim Thompson House
Highlights: Located in central Bangkok, you’ll find the photogenic Jim Thompson House. This museum was once home to the American architect, designer and businessman, today it houses his collection of art.
The house itself is stunning, although it was built in 1959, it has a traditional feel to it with dark woods, balconies and plants adorning every surface.
Jim Thompson played a principal role in bringing beautiful Thai silk to a global market, which earnt him the nickname ‘The Silk King’.
Tips for Visiting: The museum and house are open daily between 10 am and 6 pm., guided tours in English happen several times a day, although you can also explore by yourself.
It’s easy to get to the Jim Thompson house. If you’re going by public transport, then take the BTS Sky to the National Stadium and take exit 1.
Check Availability: Jim Thompson House Guided Tour
See the colours at Pak Khlong Flower Market
Highlights: Pak Khlong Talad is the biggest flower market in Bangkok. You will have seen that every Buddha statue is adorned with flowers, most likely this is where the fresh flowers come from. The colourful and fragrant streets are filled with wholesale vendors.
You’ll find every type of flower imaginable here from roses, orchids, lilies and more. Flowers are usually sold in bulk, in bundles of 50+ flowers each, and compared to western prices, are amazingly cheap.
Tips for Visiting: The market is located in the old part of the city along Chak Phet Road, near Saphan Phut (Memorial Bridge). Lots of stalls line the streets, but you’ll also find vendors located inside the buildings on both sides of the main road.
If you’ve visited Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), which I talked about earlier, then you’re already close to Pak Khlong flower market. So combine a visit to both.
Foodie Things to Do in Bangkok
All the Street Food
Highlights: No trip to Thailand would be complete without eating two of their national dishes. Pad Thai and Mango Sticky Rice. Other popular dishes are fried curry crab, (although I’m a veggie, so didn’t try it), or the little steamed vegetable dumplings with the sticky brown sauce – I ate so many of these. Also, make sure you try the roti, a sweet folded pancake type desert.
You’ll find all of them for sale at pretty much every street food market you visit. Be warned, Mango Sticky Rice is sickly sweet and very filling, so if you aren’t a fan of sticky deserts, go for the smallest portion.
Tips for Visiting: Although there are loads of street food places in Thailand. One of the best ones is at Petchaburi Soi 5. You’ll find it slightly hidden between the ultra-modern shopping area of Siam and the Victory Monument. This district is called Phaya Thai.
Getting there is straightforward. The closest station is Ratchathewi BTS Station. Exit from the station and head to Phetchaburi Road.
Learn to Cook Authentic Thai Food
Highlights: I don’t know about you, but I love Thai food! If you’re ever thinking about what not to miss in Bangkok, of course, the food ranks pretty high. I’m still yet to meet someone who doesn’t rave about it.
You’ve probably tried several mouthwatering dishes but how about being able to recreate these delicious flavours at home?
Most cooking classes include a trip to the market so you get an insight into what some of the weird and wonderful fruit and veg are that you’ll be using.
During the cooking lesson, you’ll get to make a selection of iconic dishes like Pad Thai and Thai Green Curry. And of course, everything you cook you get to eat!
Tips for Visiting: When you book your Thai Cooking Class, make sure you state if you have any dietary requirements. I’m a veggie, so I was given alternative ingredients and shown how to tweak all of the recipes to suit my needs.
Also, go with an empty stomach and stretchy pants. You get to eat everything you make and it ends up being quite a feast by the end of the lesson.
Check Availability: Thai Cooking Class and Market Tour
Drink Cocktails at Lebua Sky Tower (The Hangover II Bar)
Highlights: Not only is the Lebua Sky Tower one of the highest open-air bars in the world but its other claim to fame is that this is the bar which featured in the hit movie, The Hangover II.
The bar is located on the 64th floor of the State Tower building. The building is a mix of luxury hotel suites, conference and business centres as well as a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Other names given to the bar are Sky Bar at Lebua, Lebua State Tower or Sky Bar Bangkok and sometimes even The Sirocco Bar! They are all the same place.
Either way, the Lebua Skybar gives you amazing views across the city. Head here to watch the sunset and then the lights switch on over the city while sipping on a cocktail.
Tips for Visiting: Lebua Sky Tower is located along Silom Road just a 10-minute walk from the Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain Station.
Due to its popularity, the bar does get busy. You can just walk in and hope for a table. However, reservations are advisable.
Eat Your Way Around China Town
Highlights: So, it’s true that there are ‘China Towns’ all over the world. However, the one in Bangkok is the biggest outside of China.
Historically, the local Chinese population in Bangkok lived in villages here even before Bangkok was the capital of Thailand and the area has spread since then. Today
it’s a vibrant and exciting part of the city.
Wandering around the streets is an absolute tease for the senses, there’s a constant smell of something delicious cooking, not that you’ll know what much of it is! The best way to find out is to try it. That’s all part of the fun.
Tips for Visiting: Although, as fun as it is wandering about by yourself, and trying anything that takes your fancy. Sometimes it’s nice to have a guide. Especially if you have dietary requirements.
If you want to know a little bit more about the history of the area and a more in-depth information about the cuisine around here, it’s worth booking a walking China Town food tour with a guide.
Check Availability: China Town, Bangkok Guided Food Tour
Hang Out With Locals Over a Chang Beer
Highlights: You’ll see the elephant motif of Chang Beer everywhere in Thailand. Even if you aren’t normally a big beer drinker it would be a crime to the nation to not try the national beer just once. I’m not a huge beer fan, but actually, this one’s quite mellow, and a chilled bottle on a hot sticky evening, is actually quite refreshing.
The iconic logo is printed onto tons of souvenirs, in particular T-shirts along Khaosan Road. I’m not sure if it’s because the Thais are proud of their beer, or that it’s the tourists who love the beer so much. Either way, you could literally say ‘been there, done that, bought the T-shirt’.
Useful Tips: Thai people are really friendly and welcoming. The country isn’t called the land of smiles for no reason. Most tables at food markets are long communal benches, with a continual flow of people. Lots of Thai people will be happy to strike up a conversation, especially over a shared beer.
Things to Do Near Bangkok
If you have a few days in Bangkok, then I recommend seeing a few of these great places in the vicinity. There are loads of interesting places nearby, these are my top suggestions.
See the famous Buddha Head in the Tree at Ayutthaya
Highlights: If you have a little longer in Bangkok, then it’s worth doing a few day trips from the capital. My absolute favourite is Ayutthaya. Not only is this worth putting on your Bangkok bucket list, but I’d also go as far as saying it needs to be on your Thailand bucket list.
The ancient city of Ayutthaya became the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai (another ruin further north). The UNESCO-listed Ayutthaya Historical Park was founded around 1350. You can wander around the ruins of palaces and Buddhist temples.
All of the temples are stunning, and if you have a thing for run ruins, you will want to spend hours here perusing over everything. The most iconic thing to see in Ayutthaya is the infamous Buddha head trapped in the bodhi tree. It can be found at Wat Mahathat.
Related Article: The Complete Guide To Visiting The Ruins of Ayutthaya
Tips for Visiting: Ayutthaya is located about an hour train ride out of the city. Get the train from Bangkok main station. It’s easy enough to visit on an independent trip. When you arrive in the town of Ayutthaya, you’ll be able to see a few of the temples (including the Wat Mahathat) by walking.
The ruin complex are spread out over quite a large area. So if you want to visit them all, then you can either hire a bicycle or get a driver and tuk-tuk for the day to take you to all the best temples in Ayutthaya.
Alternatively, book a tour from Bangkok, that includes transportation to Ayutthaya as well as a guide who will take you to the temples further out of the town centre.
Check Price: Private Tour from Bangkok to Ayutthaya
Visit Death Railway and Cross the Bridge Over the River Kwai
Highlights: Thailand has had a pretty turbulent past, and some of it, was not that long ago. You’ve probably heard of the film ‘Bridge Over the River Kwai’. This is the location the film is based on. You can visit the area and learn about the harrowing history surrounding Death Railway and its notorious reputation.
These two places are located in Kanchanaburi province, just outside of Bangkok. And if you’re interested in learning more about the happenings here, it’s a really informative day trip.
Kanchanaburi played a major role in WW2 with the building of the Burma-Siam railway to improve communications and connections for the Japanese army who were based in Burma.
The railway was built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war. The notorious reputation of this prison camp gave the railway the name ‘Death Valley’ and ‘Hellfire Pass’. When you visit you can walk some of this route, as well as walk across the bridge over the River Kwai.
There are several memorial sites and museums dotted about this area. While you’re here take the scenic journey on the vintage train that follows the route along Death Valley and across the famous bridge over the River Kwai.
Trip for Visiting – Although you can visit on your own, it’s challenging. A single daily bus does run between Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. It’s 144km between the two. The easiest options are to either hire a car or rent a taxi and diver for the day. This could be expensive if you’re on a budget.
The easiest way to see it is by booking a guided tour with the transport included. The area is spread out, so they drive you to each of the locations, plus make sure you’re at the train station on time to pick up the vintage train. They’ll meet you at the station at the other end of the journey. The popular tour to Kanchanaburi, River Kwai and Hellfire Pass are one of the top things to do near Bangkok and often sell out at peak times.
Check Availability: River Kwai, Hellfire Pass & Kanchanaburi Private Tour
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Highlights: If you’re a fan of Thailand markets, then take a visit to the famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is located in Damnoen Saduak District in the Ratchaburi Province. It’s about 100 kilometres southwest of Bangkok. Although used by locals, it’s become quite a tourist draw in recent years which has led to it becoming the most famous floating market in Thailand.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is filled with vendors who sell their stuff from a traditional longtail boat. The unique experience of hopping from boat to boat while browsing the local wares is great fun. It’s a totally different way to experience shopping.
Tips for Visiting: It’s easy enough to get to the floating markets by public transport from Bangkok. Take the BTS Skytrain to Bang Wa Station. From there, pick up a taxi going to Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai). You need to find the #78, it will say Damnoen Saduak on it. If you can’t find it, just ask for the floating markets. If you make all the connections, then it takes a couple of hours, but it’s worth it.
If you don’t want to navigate the public transport system, then there are daily tours to Damnoen Floating Markets with pick-up and drop-off included. The markets are open daily between 8 am and 4 pm.
Check Availability: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Visit the Airplane Graveyard
Highlights: The Airplane Graveyard is one of the most interesting places to visit in Bangkok. Thailand has several quirky landmarks, is this is one of the easier ones to see.
This is the resting place of dozens of enormous, half-disassembled planes. They reside on a patch of wasteland not far from the city.
Some of the planes have been turned into homes, people live here! And others you can climb in and out of the empty shells. If you’re interested in off-beat or abandoned places, then you’ll love it here.
Tips for Visiting: The Airplane Graveyard is located outside of the centre. It’s easy enough to get to on public transport though. You’ll find it located to the east of the city just off Ramkhamhaeng Road in the Bang Kapi District.
The cheapest way to get there is to use the taxi boat. Take the Khlong Saen Saep Express Boat. The nearest pier to the Airplane Graveyard is Wat Sriboonreung. It is just a few minutes’ walk to get there.
See The Dragon of Wat Samphran
Highlights: Located about 45 km from Bangkok, in Nakhon Pathom province is the temple of Wat Samphran. It features a 17-storey tower, with an enormous dragon statue wrapped around it.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the temple, and when you arrive, find one of the Buddhist volunteers who work at the monastery – they are usually dressed in white. They will tell you the stories about a monk who ‘slept’ in a coffin for 38 days without breathing and who miraculously woke up, as well as other stories.
Originally the temple was named Wat Buddha Pawana, but it changed its name to Wat Samphran after a scandal involving one of the Buddhist Monks. This temple is one of the lesser visited monuments in Thailand, but it’s certainly worth visiting to see the stunning structure and hear interesting stories.
Tips for Visiting: If you’re vising Wat Samphran, aim to go at the weekend. It’s a little off the tourist trail so to find out more and to gain access, you’ll need to find one of the volunteer nuns, dressed in white, to show you around. They are only there at the weekend.
You can get there by public transport by using the public vans. They depart from Bangkok’s Pata Pinklao shopping centre. If you prefer to go by taxi, then take the Metro to Lak Song MRT Station (on the Blue Line). By going to Wat Samphran from here, you’ll shave off about 20km of your taxi journey.
It’s essentially free to enter the temple with one of the nuns, however, they will expect a donation, so have adequate cash on you for this.
Visiting Bangkok - FAQs
Best Place to Stay in Bangkok
You’ll find accommodation all over Bangkok, however, for convenience, stick with the more central ones making it easier to sight see. Here are three great places to stay in Bangkok.
Luxury Accommodation - 5* Carlton Hotel Bangkok Sukhumvit (SHA Extra Plus)
The 5-Star Carlton Hotel Bangkok Sukhumvit is located in central Bangkok, less than 1 km from Emporium Shopping Mall. It offers guests onsite dining, free private parking, an outdoor swimming pool sauna and a fitness centre. Guests also have access to the terrace bar. Rooms are fitted with air con, a seating area, and private bathrooms with robes and slippers. Buffet and American breakfast options are available every morning.
Boutique Accommodation - 5 * Chakrabongse Villas (SHA Plus+)
Chakrabongse Villas is a former royal residence. Located next to the Chao Phraya River, it offers stunning views of Wat Arun. Rooms are decorated with luxurious Thai-style furniture. Onsite there is a pool and manicured gardens. Chakrabongse Villas are a 15-minute walk from the Royal Palace and Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Onsite facilities include Thai massage, bicycle hire and a tour desk, plus Thai Dining in The Riverside Sala Dining Room.
Budget Accommodation - Bed Station Hostel
Modern and industrial style, Bed Station Hostel is located just a 2-minutes walk from Ratchathewi BTS Skytrain Station. Onsite free WiFi access is available. A range of dormitories or private rooms comes with air conditioning. Shower facilities with free toiletries and slippers are provided. Coffee and other drinks are served onsite along with large communal seating areas to relax and meet other guests. There is an on-site tour booking desk and self-service washing machie.
Getting From the Airport to Bangkok
The main airport for Bangkok is Suvarnabhumi Airport. It’s located about 35km outside of the centre of Bangkok.
There are several options to get from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Bangkok centre. One of the most efficient is by taking the Airport Rail Link followed by a Sky Train to your nearest destination.
Alternatively, you can book your airport transfer directly to your hotel in advance with either a VIP Meet & Greet or a shared transfer service. Booking in advance saves you both the hassle and avoids the hefty inflated fees from the taxi companies at the airport.
How long do I need in Bangkok?
Most people don’t use Bangkok as a final destination. They often stop here for a day or so before moving on to the tropical islands or heading up north. There’s enough stuff to do in Bangkok for several days without getting bored.
However, if you only have one day in Bangkok, then take a look a the top ten things to do in the city which I listed at the start of this article and you’d be able to see some of the main highlights.
You could split your time in Bangkok into a couple of days at the start, to acclimatise, and then a couple of days at the end of your trip to pick up any souvenirs. Honestly, it’s a great city, this four-day Bangkok itinerary might be useful if you plan to do that.
The Best Time to Visit Bangkok
Thailand is a tropical destination, so it’s warm all year round. Essentially, it’s divided into two seasons; the wet season and the dry season. The wet season runs from July to October. Even though it’s wet, it’s still warm with temperatures at about 26 – 34 degrees. However, with the rain, it can be unbearably humid at this time of year.
The hottest months are between March and June with temperatures ranging between 30 – 40 degrees. The cooler months fall between November to February with temperatures between 23 – 39 degrees.
If you can tolerate the humidity, then visit at any time of the year. However, if you’re after a more comfortable climate then visit between November to February.
Getting Around Bangkok
Bangkok has an abundance of transport options. Of course, there are taxis but similarly are the tuk-tuks. Because the tuk-tuks have so much tourist appeal, you’ll often find them more expensive than a regular taxi. It’s worth checking what the typical fare should be with your accommodation, so you’re better informed to negotiate a price with the drivers.
One thing you’ll notice about Bangkok is that the roads are gridlocked most of the day, so going by road can take what feels like an age. However, if you want a cheap way of seeing all the main tourist sights, then you might like the Bangkok hop-on-hop-off bus.
The BTS Skytrain, Metro and the water taxis are also great ways to get around the city. These are often quicker than using taxis. Between them, they cover a vast area of the city and stations or piers are located near pretty much all the tourist attractions.
Is Bangkok Safe?
Yes and no. On all of my visits there, I’ve not had a single problem. The only one is probably being ripped off by a taxi, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that big a deal. Bangkok is a huge city, and like anywhere in the world there are going to be parts of it that is no-go areas.
Overall the city is safe. The most common problems are pickpocketing, scams and food poisoning.
Don’t carry valuables about, and keep an eye on your belongings, for example, don’t keep your phone in your back pocket, and carry your daypack on your front on public transport and in busy areas like Khaosan Road.
You can not drink the water in Thailand, and often this is what leads to food poisoning when you eat food washed in water or ice in drinks
Which Ones Are You Ticking Off Your Bangkok Bucket List?
If you’ve made it to the end of this ultimate Bangkok bucket list, well done! So which of these incredible activities are you going to tick off first?
How many of these outstanding things have you done? And how many are you adding to your Bangkok travel itinerary?
If you’re planning a trip to Bangkok, as part of your Thailand adventure then why not download this FREE checklist for offline viewing.
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If you have any questions, then drop them in the comments below.