Bangkok has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a port trading community a couple of centuries ago on the Chao Phraya River. Today, Bangkok is a hub of international touristy, with all modern amenities. However, no matter how touristy the city has become in the last few decades, Bangkok’s illustrious past still prevails. There’s no death of stunning temples, dazzling palaces, internationally-renowned floating markets and colourful little towns. Of course, let’s not forget about the fabulous beaches in the nearby offshore islands! Let us take you on a journey of incredible Bangkok’s delights!
1. Visit The Bangkok Puppet Show
The Bangkok Puppet is a total delight; it’s a traditional puppet show, where the puppeteers are not, repeat not, hidden from view. They’re part of the show, singing and dancing and participating in the storyline along with their puppets. It takes three people to control each puppet, and the tales are from classic folk tales and from the great Hindu epics.
2. Check out the Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn)
Wat Arun is built on the shores of the Chao Phraya River, its towering spires shooting rays of gold into the sky. It is the most recognised temple in Southeast Asia, built in the ancient Khmer style during the first half of the 19th century. The stupa or the tower showcases an ornate floral pattern done in glazed porcelain. Wat Arun was built after Ayutthaya fell, to symbolize the birth of the Rattanakosin Period. Visiting the Wat Arun and admiring its golden spires is one of the 21 best things to do in Bangkok.
3. Visit the Grand Palace & Wat Pra keaw
The fabulous Grand Palace and the Wat Pra kaew were built in 1782 as the residence and temple for Thai royalty. The Wat Pra Kaew temple is the home of the famous Emerald Buddha, the Pra Kaew Morakot, which is carved entirely from a single block of peerless emerald stone.
4. Enjoy The Reclining Buddha At Wat Pho
Feast your eyes on the gold-leaf covered, 15-meter-tall, forty six metres long reclining Buddha. Do check out the magnificent murals, sculptures and inscriptions on every subject from astronomy, warfare to archaeology. Explore the sculpture-rich landscaped garden and admire the glazed porcelain stupas, one of the best things to do in Bangkok.
5. Explore the Chao Phraya River
The riverside is one of the most scenic areas in Bangkok. A backdrop of glittering temples and luxury resorts fronted by laden barges and river cruises make a fetching sight. Explore some of the oldest settlements especially Bangkok Noi with its stilt houses along the many waterways.
6. Enjoy the Vibrant Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak Weekend Market is a tourist must-see for its sheer size and extremely diverse merchandise. There are 8,000 market stalls and nearly 200,000 visitors arrive at the market each weekend to check out the latest offers.
7. Explore and Enjoy the Ambience At Khao San Road
Explore this ‘East meets west’ road with its unique Thai and western ambience. Enjoy the sight of traditional Thai houses amidst sophisticated clubs and eclectic market stalls and upcycled VW cocktail bars.
8. Check Out Forbidden Delights at the Soi Cowboy District
Soi Cowboy District is strictly for adults, all neon lights and windows flashing all the delights one could seek. However, Soi Cowboy has a carnival like ambience that’s different from the other adult districts – Patpong or Nana Plaza.
9. Explore the Floating Market
The market comprises of dozens of wooden boats floating on the Chao Phraya River, laden heavily with vegetables, flowers, fresh fruits and impromptu seafood kitchens. The food boats pass by with their huge stew cauldrons and charcoal grills, whipping out bowls of boat noodles or skewers of seafood to eager customers. The Floating Market of Bangkok is one of the top Bangkok attractions, so don’t miss checking it out!
10. Show Your Love Of Silk At Jim Thompson’s House
Jim Thompson was the man who dedicated his life to reviving Thai silk. His house is now a museum where you can view vast collections of Thai art and antiques. The house itself a lovely complex of six Thai-style teakwood houses preserved to their original glory.
11. Explore the Thai Chinatown
Chinatown offers one of the most colourful, exotic experiences in Bangkok. Its chaotic market stalls are packed with every kind of consumer enticement you can imagine. Chinatown has a high concentration of gold shops in all of Bangkok. Don’t miss a visit to Chinatown during festival time – it’s crazy!
12. Check Out The Riverfront Entertainment Complex
The Riverfront is a complex with over 1,500 boutiques and 40 restaurants. Enjoy nightly shows by the Calypso ladyboy cabaret, a Thai puppetry show and many others. You can shop, dine and generally have a great time here.
13. Visit Vimanmek Mansion
Check out the world’s largest teak building – there’s so much teak in it, the building is worth millions. The mansion houses ancient artefacts and some golden photos of a lost age. Modest dress is required to enter this mansion.
14. Take a Dinner Cruise
Take a sunset cruise on the Chao Phraya River to experience the true magic of the city. As the sun’s last rays hits the Wat Arun’s iconic spire, time seems to slow down. Enjoy the magnificence of the Grand Palace and other landmarks on the shores as you cruise.
15. Shop Till You Drop At Siam Paragon
Siam Paragon is a high-end mall with Southeast Asia’s largest aquarium, a huge multiplex cinema, 250 retail outlets and tons of eateries. Even Ferrari and Lamborghini have showrooms in this mall. It’s a fine mall for a pleasant evening of shopping in Bangkok.
16. Visit The Bangkok National Museum
The Bangkok National Museum houses the largest collection of Thai art and artefacts dug up in Thailand. The museum was incepted by King Rama V as a place to house the many unique gifts received from his father. Enjoy checking out Chinese weapons, puppets, ancient textiles, Khon masks and precious stones.
17. Take A Stroll Through Lumpini Park
The 500,000 sq. meter Lumpini Park offers a wonderful break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Take a stroll here in the morning and you’ll see people practicing Thai Chi or boating on the romantic little lake in the park. It’s a peaceful place to seek some solace during the mornings and evenings.
18. Enjoy A Rooftop Sunset Cocktail
One of the best things to do in Bangkok is to hit a rooftop bar. We recommend the Banyan Tree’s Vertigo and Moon bar or the Sirocco for first-class sunset views and superb cocktails. This is one experience you simply must not miss while at Bangkok.
19. Try the Thai Street Food
Thailand is known for its food and the best place to try it is on the streets. Every street has a line of street vendors selling great food at very low prices. If you love the unique, delightful Thai way of mixing fruit with meat and using coconut milk to thicken stews, you must try the food stalls on the street.
20. Visit the Erawan Shrine
The Erawan Shrine is an old Brahman shrine that was built during the 1950’s. One of the reasons why this four-faced Brahma deity is famous is because construction stopped at a nearby hotel owing to superstitious fears caused by the shrine’s presence. People still flock to the shrine, laying flowers at its foot for good luck.
21. Enjoy a Traditional Thai Massage
Don’t forget to experience an original, traditional Thai massage while you’re in Bangkok. You can delight in a traditional Thai massage in one of the many temples, and come out feeling as though you have been given a new lease in life. There are any number of massage parlours in Thailand as well, so enjoy as many as you can.
Bangkok takes on various forms depending on your expectations. It can be an overcrowded tourist city, or it can be the seat of ancient mysteries. It is a city of incredible beauty and contrasts. Let the explorer in you check out the magnificent sights, sounds and smells of Bangkok take over your senses as you enjoy the trip of your lifetime.