There is so much to see and do in Thailand’s capital. From visiting temples and floating markets to trying delicious street food and taking cooking classes. I have been to Bangkok around four times now and I always find something new and interesting to do every time.
So here is a little list of things to see and do in Bangkok, which has been created in collaboration with a bunch of awesome travel bloggers from around the world. From visiting the beautiful Wat Arun temple to exploring Bangkok’s best markets. Here are some of the best things to do in Bangkok that should be included in your Thailand itinerary.
Taling Chan Floating Market
Submitted by Jennifer & Tim from Luxe Adventure Traveler
One of the must-dos when visiting Bangkok is heading to a floating market. Many of the floating markets are located farther from central Bangkok than most visitors anticipate, and some of the most popular like Damnoen Saduak are extremely touristy. Jennifer and Tim of Luxe Adventure Traveler love Bangkok’s Taling Chan floating market, located just 12 kilometres from central Bangkok. It’s easy to reach using the BTS to Wongwian Yai Station and then taking a taxi the rest of the way to the market.
While Taling Chan is one of the smaller floating markets of Bangkok, it’s loved by locals and not as touristed by visitors. There’s a delicious variety of Thai street food – or in this case “boat food” – to sample. The blue crabs are one of the most popular dishes locals grab a seat and gobble up. It’s the sauce that makes them such a tasty treat. Also try the tempura fried Thai basil, nibble on the finger-licking good barbecue pork skewers and satisfy your sweet tooth with the Thai pancakes. It’s all so inexpensive that you can definitely go back for seconds, or even thirds!
Taling Chan is definitely worth the trip out of central Bangkok – and particularly if you’re a foodie. Just don’t forget to bring cash as the vendors are all cash-only and there aren’t any ATMs easily accessible nearby.
Opening hours: All day on Saturdays and Sundays
Or Tor Kor Market
Submitted by Lee from The Travelscribes
You can’t come to Bangkok and not spend an obscene amount of time trying Thai cuisine. From munching on mango sticky rice to slurping steaming Pad Thai noodles, you are best placed to try these at one of the larger markets in the city. Our pick? Definitely the Or Tor Kor Market.
Perched right next to the more famous (and popular) Chatuchak Market (which is only open on weekends), Or Tor Kor is informally known as the Kings market, as it was founded by the former king of Thailand. His idea was to bring together the best produce in all of the country into one, bustling market while also encouraging vendors to then turn that produce into delicious dishes in the central food court.
Wander the aisles to find jewel tones of fruit and vegetables, fresh fish and aromatic spices. Attempt to try the king (and smelliest) of all the fruits – the durian – or wolf down your bowl of beef noodles or pungent papaya salad; there is so much to eat and see that your senses will overwhelm you.
Address: 101 Kamphaeng Phet Rd, Chatuchak, Bangkok
Opening hours: 8am – 6pm daily
Bangkok Thai Theatre
Contributed by Lena from Social Travel Experiment
When I bought my ticket for the Grand Palace in Bangkok (during my 5 days in Bangkok) it included a free Kohn performance at the Thai National Theatre. The ticket allows a visit on the same day or up to 7 days after visiting the Grand Palace. There are 5 performances each day from Monday to Friday at 10:30a.m., 1:00pm, 2:30pm, 4:00pm, and 5:30pm.
So, I decided to attend it, to find out what Kohn is all about. Kohn is a masked dance-drama based on the Ramakien, a spiritual test. The one I watched was a short adaptation including English subtitles. Dancers are exclusively male and there is no dialogue.
It was quite entertaining with the colourful costumes, exotic dances and traditional Thai music. But it was extremely cold and even though I was wearing long trousers and a cardigan I was frozen solid after 30 minutes.
From the Grand Palace, you can reach the Thai National Theatre in about 15 minutes by foot or by Tuk-Tuk.
Ancient Siam Park Museum
Submitted by Slavi from Global Cast Away
The Ancient Siam park-museum (also known as Muang Boran Ancient City) is one of Bangkok’s most underestimated must-sees. The enormous 300 acres park is shaped in the form of Thailand and divided into four different sections (the same way Thailand is divided) – Northern Region, Northeastern Region, Central Region, and Southern Region.
Exploring Ancient Siam is like exploring Thailand. You can see the different architecture of every Thai region with the scaled models and replicas of ancient ruins and historical monuments.
But don’t think the park offers only replicas. A pretty significant portion of the 116 buildings in Muang Borang are creative designs that symbolise religious beliefs and concepts. Park’s most famous constructions are just like that. The Pavilion of the Enlightened represents the story of 500 monks who attained Nirvana. The golden pavilions that exemplify Nirvana are one of the most picturesque places in the whole of Bangkok.
The Sumeru Mountain, on the other hand, represents the centre of the universe supported by the giant Anondha fish. Not as photogenic as the pavilions but definitely a curious place to see. The biggest disadvantage of Ancient Siam is its location. To reach it with public transport, you need to take the BTS to its latest stop – Kheha and then take a Tuk-Tuk or a bike taxi for a few extra kilometres.
Opening Hours: 9am – 7pm; Price: 700 THB
Contributed by Caroline from CK Travels
Chatuchak market is Thailand’s largest market with 15,000 stalls and is one of the best things to do in Bangkok for shopping fans. It is free to visit Chatuchak Market and the best way to get there is by using Bangkok’s public transport – take the Skytrain (BTS) to Mo Chit Station or the Subway (MRT) to Chatuchak Park Station.
The market is massive and handily divided into 30 different sections – make sure you grab a free map from any of the information kiosks. Chatuchak sells everything you can possibly think of – you’ll find clothing, plants, kitchenware, furniture, antiques, art and even pets! There are FedEx and DHL courier services available in the market if you buy too much and want to ship your purchases home!
If all that shopping makes you hungry then there are loads of street food stalls selling Thai snacks, drinks and cheap meals. Many of the stalls have their own sit down dining areas if you need a rest with a nice ice cold Chang beer.
Opening hours: The market is open 9am to 6pm on the weekends and 6pm-12am on Friday nights (not all of the market is open on Fridays).
Pak Khlong Talat Flower Market
Contributed by Carine & Derek from We Did it Our Way
When we travel, one of our favourite things to do is to check out the local markets. Our trip to Bangkok was no different, especially since we found a really cute flower market (but don’t be fooled, this is the biggest flower market in Bangkok).
The Pak Khlong Talat Flower Market is the place to go if you’re looking for some beautiful flowers or just to see the hustle and bustle of local Thai businesses. The variety of flowers here is just insane. You can get any flowers you’re looking for at the best prices.
Although we didn’t buy any flowers, just walking through this wonderful garden market was fun enough. You really see what local life in Bangkok is really like, and best of all, you can take in the wonderful smells of flowers. A good trade-off compared to some of the scents in the city!
The Pak Khlong Talat Flower Market is open 24 hours, but the best time to visit is just pre-dawn when the vendors receive their flower deliveries. It’s located within walking distance from Wat Pho temple. If you are not already in the area taking in some epic temples, just jump on the ferry on the Chao Phraya River and get off at the Yodpiman stop.
Contributed by Sean from Living Out Lau
If you are exhausted from visiting temples after temples and street markets after street markets, why not go get a massage instead? Well, I am not talking about any massage, I am talking about a traditional Thai massage. Known for its back-breaking yet refreshing and relaxing sensation, getting a Thai massage is something you cannot miss in Bangkok.
Be prepared to be pulled, stretched, elbowed, and kneed when you are getting a Thai massage. Sometimes the masseuse will even step on your back, something very different from western massages. All in all, a Thai massage will release the tension and stress in your body from traveling, loosen up the knots that are in your body, and most likely, make you scrunch your face in pain!
Not only does a Thai massage aid you physically, but it is also known to have emotion healing powers!
Many massage parlours in Bangkok are seedy and sketchy. Avoid going to less reputable massage parlours and always go for the legitimate traditional Thai ones. I recommend going to a Health Land for your first traditional Thai massage!
Submitted by Martina from PlacesofJuma
The Asiatique the Riverfront is one of the new top night markets in Bangkok and a must visit on any city trip. With its spectacular white Ferris wheel and the beautiful location right on the Chao Phraya River, this place has become a true highlight in Bangkok. It’s one of the very new and modern night markets and actually it has nothing to do with a typical Thai night market.
Nevertheless, visitors are excited about the unique atmosphere, the many fantastic shops and plenty of good restaurants. On top, you have the possibility to enjoy cabaret shows, Thai boxing and even a small amusement park.
If you also want to go there, you should plan you visit for the late afternoon or evening. Asiatique the Riverfront is open daily and there is no entrance fee for visiting the market. Getting there can easily arranged by Taxi, or even better by free shuttle boat!
Opening hours: Daily from 5pm to midnight
Submitted by Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel
The Grand Palace complex is a great introduction to the history of Thailand and is one of the top things to do in Bangkok. It is located in the heart of the Old Town and was built in 1782. It remained the official residence of the nation’s royal government and monarchy until 1925. The most famous building within the Grand Palace complex is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew). The Emerald Buddha is of great spiritual significance to Thai Buddhists and dates back as early as the 14th century.
Tickets to the Grand Palace are 500 Baht but well worth the ticket price to get a first-hand look at the intricacies of the palace’s architecture and the grandiose of the complex. However, we would suggest you arrive early to avoid the worst of the crowds.
Opening hours: Daily from 8:30am to 4:30pm (ticket office closes at 3:30pm)
Stay in an authentic Canal House
Submitted by Delilah from Our Travel Mix
Many tourists struggle to venture out beyond Khao San Road or Bangkok’s busy rooftop bars. This is a pity as it doesn’t take much to explore a more authentic side of Bangkok.
For a few Baht, you can take a public boat across the Chao Phraya River. Alternatively, you can take a taxi or GRAB, but bear in mind Bangkok’s traffic is infamous for being slow. Here, you will find numerous canals lined with traditional Thai houses – many of these are more like shacks, however, Ohm’s Canal House is a hidden gem.
Staying on the canals is both a humbling and luxurious experience. You will get to eat with locals as you try far more authentic cuisine (unlike on Khao San Road, Thais don’t live off insects). You are likely to spot gigantic monitor lizards sunbathing outside your house. You’ll enjoy the deafening rumble of giant diesel engines as the canal-boats go past (don’t worry, they stop in the evening).
There’s a lot of places around here, but you won’t find any 5 star hotels. A night at Ohm’s will set you back around $80 a night – which we think is great value.
Muay Thai Boxing
Submitted by Daniel and Ilona from Top Travel Sights
One of the things you should absolutely do while visiting Thailand is watching Muay Thai Boxing. This traditional sport originated in Thailand in the middle of the 18th century and back then was even used as a fighting technique during wars. It soon turned into a sport that has attracted more and more international attention.
While you can find Muay Thai Boxing matches all over Thailand, the best place to watch one is in Bangkok. Skip the touristy shows and go to Rajadamnern Stadium instead. It was founded in 1945, which makes it the oldest boxing stadium in Thailand. Fights take place every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 6:30pm.
You will have the choice between different seating categories, costing from 1000 to 2000 Thai Baht (approx. 31-62$). The most expensive tickets will have you sitting next to the ring from where you’ll have a very close view of the fighters. But even the cheapest standing tickets are amazing. You’ll still have a good view of the fights and you’ll be standing amongst locals who cheer for their favourite champions.
Wildlife Friend’s Foundation
Submitted by Corritta from Itz a Family Thing
If you want to see elephants ethically you should visit Wildlife Friend’s Foundation located two and a half hours outside of Bangkok. Their mission is an admirable one, as they are dedicated to taking care of neglected or malnourished animals. The organisation not only purchases abused elephants from the animal tourism industry they accept any animals, usually smuggled for pets, left outside of their gate.
If you would like to visit be sure to visit their website at least a week before setting up your visit. There are half and full-day tours available and transportation is provided for an additional fee. The full-day experience (my recommendation) is 1600 Baht per person ($50) and the half-day experience is 1100 ($34) Baht per person, excluding transportation. If you would like round-trip transportation the cost is 3500 Baht per car ($109). It was easier for us to let them arrange transportation, and they picked us up from our Airbnb. We had the van to ourselves so we were able to stretch out and relax during the ride.
This was a once and a lifetime opportunity to truly interact with elephants and other animals ethically. We had the opportunity to feed them and watch them in their natural habitat. The work they are doing to combat animal cruelty is astounding, especially as a foreigner. Also, be prepared for an amazing Thai lunch. If you book the full day experience you will have the opportunity to walk with and feed the elephants. I cannot put into words how awesome this was. The full-day experience is complete at 3pm and you will arrive back in Bangkok by 5:30 pm, depending on traffic.
Pro Tip: If you have the time you can spend the night in their eco-lodge located in their elephant enclosure.
Submitted by Alice from Adventures of Alice
A complete contrast to the glistening gold of the Grand Palace, Wat Arun is another stunning temple in Bangkok. It’s on the other side of the river to the main city but still pretty easy to get to. If you have already explored the Grand Palace and Wat Pho before, it’s a fairly short walk to Chao Phraya River. From here, there are many water taxis that will take you across the river for about 3 Baht.
One of the most iconic temples in the city, Wat Arun is magnificent and easily one of the best things to do in Bangkok. It consists of one major Khmer-style tower in the middle and another four around the outside. All five towers are encrusted with beautiful Chinese-style shards of porcelain in amber, blue and green.
Be sure to climb to the top of the main tower for wonderful views across the river. But, be careful when you’re walking around and climbing up! The stairs are very steep (some have actually been cornered off because they were dangerously steep), and the walkway at the top is quite narrow. Wan Arun can get extremely busy and, when there are lots of people walking around, it can get pretty crowded too! For the best views of Wat Arun, visiting as early as possible is much nicer but, no matter when you visit, the temple will definitely take your breath away.
Bangkok Snake Farm
Submitted by Kieren from Got my Backpack
For a unique activity to do in Bangkok, head to the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute which is managed by the Thai Red Cross. The centre, often known as Bangkok Snake Farm, houses venomous snakes from across the world which are used to create anti venom for use in treating snake bites.
The centre holds 35 species of venomous snake including a King Cobra which can grow up to 5 meters and various species of Viper. All of these snakes remain venomous and deadly due to the nature of the centre.
Each day you can watch as experts extract the venom from these snakes in the purpose built auditorium or you can watch the snake handling show where a doctor and professional handler let you get up close to some of the institutes’ snakes. As well as seeing the reptiles themselves, you’ll also find a museum sharing information about the history and anatomy of snakes where you’ll learn plenty of brand new facts.
And here were some of the best things to do in Bangkok! Have you been to Bangkok? What is your favourite activity to do in Thailand’s capital?
Let me know in the comments!
Talk to you soon x