Guide to Bangkok
Experiences & Sights
Bangkok Guide with recommendations for great Experiences & Sights
Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, is the world’s most visited city and it’s no wonder.
Bangkok is a busy and vibrant city. The traffic is a nightmare and the heat is intense. At the same time, it’s a city that offers a myriad of wonderful experiences that you definitely must visit.
Bangkok evening skyline
Bangkok is full of history, culture, traditions, temples, markets, shopping and amazing street kitchens.
Even though you may not be a big city fan, indulge yourself for a few days in the city. It’s easy to get around, shopping is cheap and you stay cheaply at great hotels (affiliate link).
The The Chatrium Sathon Hotel with lagoon pool on the 4th floor
Transport to and around Bangkok
Getting to and around Bangkok may seem a bit chaotic at first, but actually getting around Bangkok is pretty easy.
Both trains are clean, fast and easy to use and are advertised in English at all stations.
Bangkok is packed with a / c taxis that drive you wherever you want. Always remember to ask for a price before getting in and if you want to drive by a taximeter, ask the driver to turn it on.
Travel Tip: Most often it is cheapest to drive by taxi meter – at least from the airport.
Tuk-tuks is found throughout the city and it’s a fun way to get around. Here too, be sure to agree on a price before stepping in.
Travel Tip: Keep in mind that Bangkok traffic is horrible and it can take a long time to arrive by taxi and tuk-tuk. If you have the opportunity in the daytime to walk or take the train / subway, it will usually be much faster.
If you are traveling only one person, you can also use a scooter taxi – they are fast, cheap and can slip between cars. A scooter taxi can be seen on the neon-colored vests most drivers wear.
Experiences in Bangkok
Bangkok’s interesting temples
There are countless temples in Bangkok and of all sizes. You can hardly walk through Bangkok’s streets without passing a temple.
However, the best known temples are those that you (at least as first time visitors) must visit.
The Grand Palace was built in 1782 and is Bangkok’s most visited attraction.
The Grand Palace is the former residence of the Thai monarch. The temple / castle is like the area, amazing with lavish gold-plated walls, Buddhist sculptures, beautiful paintings, pavilions and beautiful gardens.
It is also in The Grand Palace that you can experience the world’s longest painting of Ramayana.
Travel Tip: The Grand Palace is a religious place, so remember to wear long pants and a blouse that hides your shoulders.
Architecturally, Wat Arun stands out from other temples in Bangkok. The temple is very beautiful with a 79 m high spire decorated with stained glass, ceramic tiles and Chinese porcelain mosaic.
If you like, you can climb up the steep and tall spiers and get the most amazing views of Bangkok’s skyline.
Travel Tip: It’s recommended to visit the temple in the evening where both spire and Bangkok are bathed in light.
Wat Pho is the temple with the 15 m high and 45 m long resting Buddha.
The Buddha is covered in gold leaf and is an impressive sight. In the temple there are 108 bowls and on the way into the temple you can buy coins to put in the bowls.
The story behind the 108 bowls and coins is that the Buddha performed 108 good deeds on his way to the perfect.
If you do not want to arrange a trip to the temples yourself and you want to hear more about their history, then it’s recommended to book a guided tour where all 3 temples are visited.
River trip on Chao Phraya
The wide and muddy Chao Phraya River is the heart and soul of Bangkok.
It’s a must to take a boat trip down the river. Here you will alternately experience local apartment blocks and luxury hotels lying side by side. Watch small private wooden sheds with laundry hanging outside and the kids playing in the river.
For very cheap money you can buy single tickets and multiple day hop / hop tickets. Be aware that there are huge differences between tour boats (who will surely try to sell their tickets) and the raft-like barges.
Travel Tip: The river trip with the barge boats is by far the cheapest. In addition, they are the most traditional and an ideal transport for eg. Grand Palace and Wat Arun.
Bangkok National Museum
At the Bangkok National Museum you can see the largest collection of artifacts and Thai art in all of Thailand.
The museum is primarily an exhibition of King Rama V’s gifts from his father. The exhibition is interesting and shows both Chinese weapons, gems, dolls, clothing, textiles and Khon masks.
Travel Tip: On Thursdays, tours around the museum take place in English, which for most will give a greater understanding of the exhibition – than in Thai.
Shopping & Markets
Bangkok is the place in Thailand to get the most out of shopping.
There are plenty to choose from, with everything from small outdoor markets, large centers, evening / night markets to authentic floating markets.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak Weekend Market is not only Bangkok’s largest, it’s the world’s largest market!
The market has a size of 14 hectares, has over 15,000 stalls and gets approx. 200,000 visitors every weekend.
The range of items sold is huge and everything can be bought here – food & drink, antiques, garden items, clothes, crafts, books, furniture, art galleries and puppies.
If you don’t like chaos, you should probably stay away, but if you love shopping, you will love Chatuchak Weekend Market.
Asiatique aften marked
Asiatique is an outdoor evening market that opens at 5pm.
Asiatique is of a higher standard than most other markets. The market is located by the river and has no less than 1,500 shops and 40 restaurants.
In addition to the many shops – including several nice specialty shops, there are several types of entertainment such as a Ferris wheel, a Calypso Ladyboy Cabaret, a Thai puppet show and lovely restaurants along the river.
The market is cozy, family friendly and with a really good atmosphere.
The Floating Market
A visit to the floating markets is truly a different experience. An experience only reserved for Southeast Asia.
A little outside Bangkok there are several floating markets.
Wat Sai Floating Market
Only half an hour drive from Bangkok city center you will find the Wat Sai market.
Years ago, the market was almost extinct due to better roads and thriving shopping malls.
Fortunately, the market has made a comeback and is once again lively in the old area.
Visit the busy market and get close to life among the locals. The food in particular. Lots of fresh local products in this market is really worth coming for.
Khlong Lat Mayom
Khlong Lat Mayom, despite being one of Bangkok’s newer floating markets, has a very traditional feel.
The fact that this market is so popular is largely due to the many tourists who visit the area.
Take a boat trip and experience the local country life.
It’s with pride that the Thais in this market sell their organic and locally produced goods. On weekends as well as on holidays you are wise to arrive early.
The market opens at 8am and already at that time there are a lot of traders.
Spend a few hours walking along the river looking at the many items sold from both land and water. Also visit the connected orchard.
If you have time, take the 90 min. boat trip down the river which really takes you through the local country life.
There are several “floating markets” around Bangkok and at several of them, you can go on a short boat trip.
It’s also a nice experience to sit on a boat or somewhere near the market – with some nice homemade food from one of the boats – and look at the life around these markets or along the river.
Travel Tip: Be aware that there are mosquitoes in most places by the river. Remember – or buy – some tiger balm that works really well against mosquitoes and as an ointment on the itchy stings.
The world’s largest Chinatown can be found in Bangkok
Every big city has its own Chinatown, but nowhere else it’s as big as Bangkok’s Chinatown.
Chinatown is at the end of Yaowarat Road. Here, of course, you are welcomed by the large well-known Chinese gate at the entrance.
In Chinatown you will find an endless maze of streets packed with stalls spread across areas of bags, shoes, gold, kitchenware, etc.
All Chinese stuff can be found here incl. Bangkok’s largest selection of Chinese food – and all at spot prices.
You can also try some delicious fried insects.
Siam Paragon – The fashionable mall
Siam Paragon is Bangkok’s most fashionable and very popular mall.
The center houses over 250 stores, the majority of which are known brands and designers.
In Siam Paragon you will also find Southeast Asia’s largest aquarium, a huge cinema and countless restaurants.
If you are into fancy cars, the center also has a Ferrari and Lamborghini showroom.
MBK shopping center
MBK shopping center is probably Bangkok’s busiest shopping mall.
Spread over 7 floors, you will find more than 2,000 stores spread across restaurants, cinemas, a bowling alley and a 3D art museum.
MBK is the diametrical contrast to Siam Paragon, especially when it comes to price levels.
From the countless small shops and stalls you can buy everything from clothes & electronics, to jewelry & crafts.
Just like in the markets, you have to bargain prices. If you are good at negotiating (and with a smile on your lips) then you can get the prices very far down – especially if you buy more than one thing.
Street food at the MBK shopping center
Outside on the ground floor there is a nice food market, which is definitely worth a visit.
Dining in Bangkok
You will find everything edible in Bangkok and countless restaurants. There are restaurants of all price ranges, sizes and standards and they are everywhere.
Wherever you are in Bangkok, there will be a restaurant close by.
In this guide I wont go into different restaurants, but will only emphasize the most authentic.
Street Food – fresh, tasty and cheap
Street food is very popular – not only among tourists, but also among Thais themselves, who always eat out.
Everywhere you find street food sold from scooter kitchens, markets, small stalls, etc.
Prejudices about street food are many, but let us once and for all, emphasize how good street food is.
Street food is one of the most well-prepared and tasty food you can get.
It’s fresh, often locally grown, it’s cheap and in many ways it’s also social.
Sitting and eating a delicious, tasty meal among locals and other tourists is actually social and provides a good insight into the daily lives of Thais.
Travel Tip: The best places to eat are usually places with other guests – if there are people = the food is good. This also applies to most restaurants.
Drinks & Panoramic Views
If you like good cocktails and beautiful panoramic views then you have to visit some of Bangkok’s amazing skybars.
Moon Bar is on the 61st floor and the Lebua Skybar on the 64th floor. Both bars have an amazing 360 degree view of Bangkok and both bars have belonging restaurants.
Be aware that most sky bars have dress codes and age restrictions.
Islands & Beaches close to Bangkok
Islands close to Bangkok
Beaches close to Bangkok
If you want to stay on the mainland you can reach beaches like Koh Laan (Pattaya), Hua Hin, Pranburi, Cha-Am in a few hours
When you see (affiliate links) in our articles, it means that if you book tours and / or hotels through our recommended links, we earn a small bit in commission – thank you for your support.
This article was updated on March 20, 2020