10 Things You Must See and Do in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city; filled with temples, eateries and endless shopping. Here’s a list of 10 things to do whilst you’re in Bangkok to make the most of your trip.

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City of Angels

1. Browse Bangkok’s Most Famous Markets

Bangkok is filled with markets selling a wide range of products from food to clothes. These markets are a shopper’s paradise and they should definitely not be skipped on the itinerary. They’re also a great place to pick up souvenirs for your friends and family – don’t be afraid to haggle!

Chatuchak Weekend Market

  • Opening hours: Sat-Sun, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Great for: Thai silks, clothing, handicrafts.
  • Food and Drink: There are many stalls throughout the market selling local delicacies and seating areas to enjoy a cold drink.
  • Tip: Get there early to beat the crowds and grab a map – Chatuchak Market spans 25 acres!

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Asiatique The Riverfront

  • Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 4 p.m. – 12 a.m.
  • Great for: A little bit of everything! From market stalls to high end shopping.
  • Food and Drink: Ranges from ฿100 food courts to ฿1000 chain restaurants.
  • Tip: Take the free Asiatique shuttle across the river and enjoy the breeze and the view.

Asiatique The Riverfront

Pratunam Market

  • Opening hours: Everyday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Great for: Clothing, textiles and fashion accessories.
  • Food and Drink: Filled with food and drink stalls.
  • Tip: Most sellers quote in wholesale prices (Pratunam is a wholesale market) so make sure you’re asking for the right price if you only intend on buying one item.

Pratunam Market

Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market

  • Opening hours: Sat-Sun and Public Holidays, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Great for: Local fruits, cooked food and snacks.
  • Food and Drink: The riverside market is filled with seating areas to enjoy your food and drinks.
  • Tip: Go early because Khlong Lat Mayom is around 20km from Bangkok city centre.

Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market

2. Eat Street Food

Street food is loved by tourists and locals. It’s a great place to experience authentic Thai food for a low price, locals usually choose to eat at food markets instead of cooking at home as the food is so affordable. Several things to try would be: pad sieu, papaya salad, khao pad (fried rice), Thai iced tea/coffee and of course mango sticky rice. You can find street food in the markets mentioned above and in Bangkok’s Chinatown. 

Street food Vendor in Chinatown, Bangkok

Satay

3. Relax with a Thai Massage

Thailand is home to the best massage parlours in the world. Not only are they the best – you can treat yourself to one at a fraction of the price of anywhere else in the world. A one-hour massage in the Land of Smiles will set you back ฿200 for a standard massage and ฿500 if you opt to go to a more luxurious establishment. Your masseuse will use every part of their body to massage you including their elbows and knees, some may even walk on your back! Thai massages are known to be painful sometimes; if you want to tell your masseuse that they’re using too much strength, just say the word tjep (which means painful in Thai) to let them know.

Thai massage

Thai massage

4. Discover Bangkok’s jaw-dropping Temples

The biggest, oldest and most famous temple in Bangkok is Wat Pho. It is also commonly referred to as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha which comes from the 15-metre tall, 46-metre long golden Buddha covered in a golden leaf. Visitors are free to wander the temple or Wat Pho also has tour guides who provide tours with insightful information in English which cost between ฿200-฿400, depending on the size of your party. Wat Pho is also famous for being the school of traditional Thai massage. A one-hour traditional Thai massage at Wat Pho will cost you ฿250 and a two-hour massage ฿500. Other temples worth visiting in Bangkok would be the neighbouring Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn).

  • Opening hours: Everyday, 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Entrance fee: ฿100
  • Dress Code: No exposed knees and shoulders, shoes should cover toes. Similar dress codes apply to other temples.

Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho

5. Ride a Tuk-tuk

What is a Tuk-tuk? A Tuk-tuk is a three-wheeled motorized rickshaw. Tuk-tuks drivers may equip their Tuk-tuks with flashing lights and speakers to make rides more exciting. They are an exciting way to go from one place to another unique to Thailand (and Southeast Asia) instead of a regular taxi. Do be cautious when inside a Tuk-tuk and keep your belongings close to your person in case a motorbike rides past and snatches something that’s hanging loose. Negotiate your price before you get in the Tuk-tuk to avoid paying a higher price and carry small bills as the rides are cheap. A short Tuk-tuk ride should not cost more than ฿30. Avoid taking Tuk-tuks during rush hour (7 a.m. – 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) as Tuk-tuks are not air-conditioned and there will be toxic fumes emitted from the surrounding engines.

Tuktuk in Bangkok

6. Go for a drink..or two

Whether you prefer to hang out with friends over casual drinks or you prefer going clubbing. Bangkok caters to all types of nightlife. Khao San Road and Sukhumvit are infamous for clubbers where they’re spoilt for choice between some of Bangkok’s biggest and most rowdy clubs to smaller, more local places. Bangkok also has rooftop bars where you can sip on your cocktail from a high altitude and look down at Thailand’s vibrant capital below you.

Sky Bar, Bangkok

Khao San Road

7. Take part in a water fight during Songkran (seasonal)

Songkran is important to Thailand as April 13th marks the New Year in the Buddhist calendar. The belief is that the water will wash your sins away and it is celebrated between April 13th to April 15th. During Songkran, everyone gathers in the streets to participate in a mass water fight across the country. There is no better place to celebrate it than in Bangkok, Thailand’s most populated city!

Water fight in the streets of Bangkok

8. Cruise down the river on a Boat

Riding around on a boat in the scorching heat of Bangkok is a refreshing breeze as you cruise down the river. The Chao Phraya river boats stop next to interesting sights in Bangkok like the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Don’t forget to pick up a river boat map so you can explore some of Bangkok’s most extravagant temples. 

  • Operating hours: Everyday, 7 a.m. – 6:25 p.m. Departures are scheduled every 20 minutes
  • Tickets: single ticket – ฿40, day ticket – ฿150.

Chao Phraya River Boat

Chao Phraya River Boat

9. Shop til you drop in Bangkok’s upscale malls

As well as being home to countless street markets, Bangkok also has many high-end shopping malls, some of which are the largest in the world. These upscale malls are filled with international luxury brands, the largest mall Siam Paragon even has a Ferrari and Lamborghini showroom inside the mall as well as the largest aquarium in Southeast Asia. Other cult favourite malls would be Central Embassy, EmQuartier and Emporium. 

EmQuartier Bangkok

Centralworld

10. View the Most Significant historical relics and art pieces in Southeast Asia’s largest museum

The Bangkok National Museum occupies the former palace of the Vice King. It was opened in 1874 by King Chulalonkorn to display the relics from his fathers’ rule. The collection shows Thailand’s decades of history and architecture. Some areas of the museum require you to remove your shoes, so bring shoes that are easy to wear and remove.

  • Opening hours: Wed-Sun (generally closed on public holidays), 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. last entry 3:30 p.m.
  • Entrance fee: ฿200
  • Dress Code: No shorts, mini-skirts or flip-flops. Trousers and plastic shoes can be hired at the entrance.

Bangkok National Museum

Bangkok National Museum

Related: 10 Things You Must Do in Phuket, Thailand

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