Looking for the best things to do in Bangkok? We got you covered. Bangkok is one of those legendary cities that is just so full of life. For first-timers, Bangkok may be a tad bit overwhelming.
Don’t worry, as soon as you ease into it, you will actually find the hustle and bustle like no other place.
To help you make the best out of your time in this city, in this article, I will walk you through some of the best things to do in Bangkok.
After living on and off in Thailand over the last couple of years, Bangkok has been a place we frequent at least 3x a year. At the beginning of the year, we spent a couple of days eating our way around the city and absolutely loved it.
Between its bright lights, exotic food, along with a myriad of different places to see and things to do, there’s a little bit of something for everyone in this city. This is why Bangkok is one of the most popular cities in Southeast Asia.
If you’re looking for a one-stop article telling about all the things you can do in this incredible city, look no further as I got you covered.
- Highlights of the Best Things to Do in Bangkok
- 1. Eat Thai Street Food
- 2. Shop at the Chatuchak Market
- 3. Visit a Rooftop Bar in Bangkok
- 4. Visit Bangkok’s Famous Shopping Malls.
- 5. Visit the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew
- 6. Visit Wat Arun
- 7. Go to Wat Pho: The Reclining Buddha
- 8. Go on a Culinary Food Tour
- 9. Eat in Gourmet Michelin Starred Restaurants
- 10. People Watching at Khao San Road
- 11. Marvel at the Floating Markets
- 12. Do a Thai Cooking Class
- 13. Watch a Muay Thai Fight
- 14. Visit the Jim Thompson Silk House
- 15. Boat Ride in the Chao Phraya River
- 16. Try Durian
- 17. Pamper Yourself with a Thai Massage
- 18. Chill Out at Lumpini Park
- 19. Get a Sak Yant Tattoo
- 21. Visit an Airplane Graveyard
- 22. Explore the Abandoned The Sathorn Unique Tower
- 23. Midnight Food Tour by Tuk Tuk
- 24. Bangkok Cruise and Dinner
- 25. Bangkok E-Scooter Night Food Tour
- 26. Go Bar Hopping
- 27. Enjoy the Views from the MahaNakhon SkyWalk
- 28. Visit Yaowarat Road (Bangkok’s Chinatown)
- 29. Visit the Flower Market
- Day Trips from Bangkok
- 30. Visit the Bridge of Kanchanaburi
- 31. Go to the Ayutthaya Temples
- 32. Maeklong Railway Market
- FAQ on Things to Do in Bangkok
- Bangkok Travel Tips
- Where to Stay in Bangkok
Highlights of the Best Things to Do in Bangkok
Bangkok is a HUGE city filled with tons of things to do. With that being said, it is also very chaotic. Although we always say that the best way to see Bangkok is to just walk around, here are a few tours that we recommend you book to make the most out of your trip.
- Chef Designed Food Tour– Discover the best eats in Bangkok with the highest rated food tour on Trip Advisor. This is a must-do for FOODIES!
- Floating Markets and Maeklong Railway- This tour takes you to the two most popular spots in Bangkok in an easy, no-fuss tour!
- Bangkok Tuk-Tuk Tour- If you want to discover the best street eats in BKK, we recommend doing this night time tuk-tuk tour taking you to all the best spots.
- Must-Try Bangkok E-Scooter Tour- If you want to see a different side of Bangkok from the eyes of a local, this tour is highly recommended.
- Bangkok City Highlights Tour If you’re tight on time, book this guided tour taking you around the best of Bangkok’s temples and markets.
- Muay Thai Boxing Skip the Line Watching a fight is incredibly fun and worth doing while in the city!
- Private Hotel Transfers If you want to skip the chaos, opt to book a transfer to get you from the airport to your hotel. This will save TONS of time!
- Ayuthaya and River Cruise Day Trip– Combine a river cruise down the Chao Phraya River after you visit the impressive UNESCO Heritage site of Ayuthaya.
1. Eat Thai Street Food
No one in their right mind would come to Bangkok and skip out on its amazing food. Just the thought of a steaming plate of pad thai along with some cold mango sticky rice is enough to make me hop on a plane.
Oh, did I mention that most meals from the street are only $1-3? Although it’s hard not to get delicious street food, our recommendation is to head to Sukhumvit Soi 11, a street in downtown Bangkok whose streets get lined up with street food vendors.
Alternatively, you can also check out Yaowarat, Bangkok’s own version of China Town, Ratchawat Market, and Petchaburi Soi 5 for some great street eats.
Netflix Bangkok Food Locations:
Given the popularity of Netflix’s show called Street Food, we decided to include the locations of the places that are being recommended in the show. Listed below are some of the popular food vendors that people frequent when in Bangkok.
- Jek Pui- If you’re in the mood for a good curry, head on to Jek Pui in China Town for a cheap yet delicious meal.
- Sukhumvit 38 Famous Ba Mee– Another popular meal to try in Bangkok would be the egg noodles in Ba Mee.
- Jai Fai- Being the first street food vendor in Thailand to win a Michelin star, Jai Fai’s popularity has grown year after year. Apart from Netflix’s street food, she was also featured in Somebody Feed Phil and is known for her amazing crab omelets.
Although there is now a long queue for her food, people wait in line just to have a taste of her cooking. If you feel like having a Michelin star meal for a fraction of the price, definitely head here.
Recommended Food Tours in Bangkok
This highly rated food tour takes you on a food crawl all over the best eats in China Town. Alternatively, this China Town Food Tour takes you through some of the foodie highlights of the place and is highly recommended by many.
If you want to go off-the-beaten path, book these local food tours for the most authentic street eats around Bangkok.
2. Shop at the Chatuchak Market
Explore and get lost in the maze-like Chatuchak Weekend Market which has about 15,000 vendors. Even if you’re not looking for anything in particular, chances are you will go home with something in tow. From cheap clothes, gadgets, to even exotic animals, Chatuchak Market is a sight to see.
There is also a massive eating area which has loads of cheap and delicious food. You could easily get lost wandering around the seemingly never-ending maze of stalls.
While there are a variety of tours around the area, we recommend that you visit it independently so as you have enough time to wander around.
Although it mostly runs during the day, Chatuchak Market is one of Bangkok’s night markets and is a popular spot for both locals and tourists.
How to Get to Chatuchak Weekend Market
To get to Chatuchak Weekend Market, you can opt to take either the Skytrain (BTS) to Mo Chit station, then exiting at exit no. 1 until you see rows of canvas stalls selling clothes.
Alternatively, you can also take the Subway (MRT) to Chatuchak Park station exiting at exit no.1 until you arrive at the small entrance that leads into the market.
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3. Visit a Rooftop Bar in Bangkok
One of my favorite things to do in a city…even if I’m not a city person is to see the skyline of the city at night. We did this when we were in Chicago, New York, and even in Manila.
What better way to admire a city than by going to a rooftop bar in order to take in the sights and sounds. In Bangkok, Tichuca Rooftop Bar, the Vertigo and Moon bar at the Banyan Tree Hotel is our pick! They serve amazing cocktails, with the most amazing view to match. Trust us, a visit here is a must!
We recently went to Tichuca and loved the laid back vibes as well as their “avatar-like tree” which is in the center of the entire bar.
While most of these bars are located in hotels, you can easily reserve a table given that you will pay for food or cocktails. Although the prices are usually much higher, the views are 100% worth it. If you want to party with a local, check out this nightlife tour taking you to the best bars in Bangkok.
Other Rooftop Bars in Bangkok
- Red Square at the Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit
- Yao Rooftop Bar at the Marriott Hotel
- Penthouse Rooftop Bar at the Park Hyatt Bangkok
- Cru Champagne Bar at the Centara Grand at CentralWorld
If you want dinner, drinks, and more, we recommend either making a reservation ahead of time or booking a few of these tours: Crystal Dinner Buffet and Observation Deck at the Baiyoke Tower or just tickets to the Observation Deck and Revolving Viewpoint.
4. Visit Bangkok’s Famous Shopping Malls.
If you can’t stand the heat but you still want to shop, check out many of Bangkok’s famous shopping centers like Pratunam, Siam Square, Siam Paragon, Central World, and MBK. Known for their bargain shopping, these destinations are great as they are usually a one-stop-shop that has everything from clothes, electronics, footwear and more.
Bangkok is one of those places where you can shop and drop as there are just SO MANY malls. Siam Paragon in particular is home to over 250 stalls and is located right in front of the Siam BTS Skytrain station.
When shopping in Bangkok, prepare to find everything under the sun! When going to shops, especially those that are made up of stalls, be prepared for a little bartering as it is all part of the fun.
I recommend learning a little bit basic thai to help get you a few points with the local vendors.
5. Visit the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew
Bangkok is home to many impressive temples which are not to be missed. If you’re a big temple fan, this is the place for you. If you just want to see the highlights, don’t miss out on the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew which are located in the same compound. In fact, most temples are within walking distance so you can definitely make the most of your time by doing them all at once.
The Grand Palace is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Bangkok and rightly so as it is a very impressive complex. Located in the same complex is Wat Phra Kaew which is also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
These two attractions can be done by yourself or in a guided tour if you want some historical information. Keep reading below for tips on how to avoid the Grand Palace scams.
Other Temples Worth Visiting
- Wat Traimit
- Wat Saket
- Golden Mount
- Wat Kalayanamit
What to Wear in Temples
Please note that you have to observe proper attire when entering the temples. Shorts and sleeveless tops aren’t allowed. You also need to cover your knees and shoulders at all times (even for men). Flip-flops and sandals without back straps aren’t really allowed either so make sure you keep this in mind.
It will save you a lot of time if you have the proper items of clothing with you when visiting these locations. Otherwise, there are booths outside where you can rent sarongs to cover up.
Grand Palace Scams
There are a few popular travel scams around the Grand Palace area so make sure you only get tickets from the official ticket window and don’t listen to anyone who tries telling you that the area is closed. They are just trying to upsell you on a private tour.
If you want to see all the temples in one go, we recommend this temple walking tour which takes you to the best 3 temples in Bangkok. For a quick guide to the city, discover the best of Bangkok with Expedia’s tourism guide.
6. Visit Wat Arun
Another temple worth visiting is Wat Arun which is also known as the Temple of the Rising Sun or Temple of Dawn. If you’re in the area of the Grand Palace, Wat Arun is located right across and is just a short ferry ride away.
You can see the temple’s famous spire from the Chao Phraya River. The ferry across is insanely cheap so definitely spend some time wandering around the area. Wat Pho is located right across Wat Arun so definitely make time to visit both temples.
Like most Thai temples, Wat Arun enforces a dress code for visitors. It is important to dress modestly, covering your shoulders, arms, and knees. If you arrive in inappropriate attire, you may be required to rent or purchase clothing to enter the temple grounds.
7. Go to Wat Pho: The Reclining Buddha
One of the best things to in Bangkok is to visit Wat Pho which is home to a huge, golden reclining Buddha. It is a MUST-DO while in Bangkok. Wat Pho or Wat Po is located right across Wat Arun, separated only by the Chao Phraya river.
It is one of the most impressive attractions in the city. If you want a local guide, check out this tour around a few of the Wats (temples).
Wat Pho, Wat Phra Chetun, and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha and is located just South of the Grand Palace which makes it convenient for those who are sightseeing in the area.
8. Go on a Culinary Food Tour
If you want to know where the locals dine, we recommend going on a food tour that takes you to some of the best street food stalls in the country. We love doing this in Bangkok because the local guides always have so much good advice on what to do in the city.
Although I already mentioned a few tours above, Bangkok is a FOODIE city and eating your way around this city is one of the best things to do in Bangkok.
- Bangkok by Night– This tour takes you on a night time tuk tuk adventure around the best markets, street eats, and temples.
- Chef Designed Food Tour This food tour in Bangkok takes you around all the best street eats. The tour was created and customized by a chef so you know you’re in good hands.
- E-scooter and Street Eats tour– If you want a unique experience, check out this e-scooter tour which stops in a ton of local food stalls.
9. Eat in Gourmet Michelin Starred Restaurants
If you’re a foodie like me, Bangkok is heaven as they have so many dining options. If you want to live it up for a night, you can opt to eat in many of Bangkok’s Michelin Starred restaurants.
Gaggan is a progressive Indian fine dining restaurant that has made waves in the BKK food scene. Although it is set to close in 2020, it is still frequented by many.
For another impressive meal, Bo.lan gives you a glimpse of what traditional Thai food is, using only local and sustainable ingredients. Another must add to your list is Homeburg.
The chef Taiki spent 9 months making 4 burgers a day until he perfected the recipe. Now he has a small restaurant (by reservation only) where he serves a multi-course meal (including 2 burgers). It was one of our favorite things to do in Bangkok during our last trip.
10. People Watching at Khao San Road
Known as the backpacker hub, Khao San road is an interesting area lined with people, food stalls, bars, and hostels. Soak in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok by sitting in one of the many street bars and watch the world go by.
If you’re traveling alone, Khao San Road is a great place to meet other travelers. Do take note that it is BUSY.
We wouldn’t recommend staying there as the hostels can get a bit loud, but do yourself a favor and check it out at one point.
If you want to party in Khao San Road with a local, check out this local tour taking you around spots in Khao San Road. If you’re looking for something a little bit quieter, Soi Rambuttri has a similar vibe without being over the top chaotic.
11. Marvel at the Floating Markets
Not too far away from the city are Tailing Chan or Khlong Lat Mayom, home of the floating markets in Thailand. Tailing Chan is located only 12 km from downtown Bangkok, making it an ideal place to visit unlike the larger markets like Damnoen Saduak which is a lot farther.
You can hop on a small longtail boat cruise to see the sights as you watch the locals trade, sell, and bargain various items. There are loads of food for sale but the markets can also get very busy so best to head there in the mornings.
The particular tour listed above is a great way to cover all the sights in one day.
Because these places are easily accessible by public transport, we recommend avoiding a tour group.
Experience it for yourself and you might even make a local friend or two. Other floating markets are Amphawa, Bang Nam Pheung. If you want more information, check out this article for a list of the best floating markets in Bangkok.
12. Do a Thai Cooking Class
If you want to learn how to cook your own Thai food, we recommend taking cooking classes while in the area. The cooking classes in Bangkok are out of this world with heaps of choices and varieties! Check out the link above to see the various cooking classes available.
We’ve taken cooking classes in all corners of the world and will continue to do so as it is the ultimate travel souvenir for us and is the perfect way to instantly be able to go back to a place.
Here are other alternative cooking classes to take in Bangkok.
13. Watch a Muay Thai Fight
For those people that have been living under a rock for the last few years, Muay Thai is a Thai combat sport that is very popular in the country. It’s quite similar to MMA, but still, has some differences which make each one stand out.
The city has two national stadiums, Ratchadamnoen or Lumpini which has regular fights. Try to score tickets to these matches and you will find yourself highly entertained!
This Muay Thai tour guarantees you good seats, allowing you to fully take in the vibe of the place.
The ambiance, the fight, the spectators, oh and of course, the beer and other stadium snacks all contribute to the overall experience.
14. Visit the Jim Thompson Silk House
For those that are interested in textiles, a visit to the Jim Thompson silk house is a must. The traditional teak houses where the complex is located at are also an architectural feat and are considered highlights for those that come and visit.
Here, you can learn more about the Thai silk industry and the unique products that they produce. If you’re wondering, Jim Thompson was an American architect and merchant who helped establish the Thai Silk Industry in the 20th century.
Visiting the Jim Thompson house has become on the best things to do in Bangkok and if you’re interested in textile and history, this is a must-visit.
15. Boat Ride in the Chao Phraya River
Take a break from the business of Bangkok and peacefully sail down the Chao Phraya River. There are tons of river tours where you can enjoy dinner, live music, all while watching the spectacular Bangkok sunsets.
A few recommended tours are this pearl river cruise or this buffet dinner cruise by the Shangri-La Hotel. If you want to do this independently, you can opt to ride a local water taxi or go on this river canal cruise.
During your river ride, you will see hotels, wooden shacks, old colonial buildings, and temples. The local water taxi will also allow you to interact with the locals in comparison to the ones just for tourists. You can ride these boats from the Sathorn Pier to the Grand Palace and back.
16. Try Durian
You can’t say you’ve been to Bangkok (or anywhere in Thailand) if you don’t try durian. Loosely dubbed as “the king of fruits”, it is known worldwide due to its distinct smell.
Most hotels don’t even allow durian to be brought in the premises due to the smell so trying it while you’re out in the streets is your best bet.
For me, its a type of fruit that you either love or hate. If you can get past the odor, the rich creamy texture and flavor of this fruit are obsessed by durian lovers.
You can find these all over the streets of Bangkok and is considered a delicacy by many.
17. Pamper Yourself with a Thai Massage
After a busy day of sightseeing and walking around, there is no better way to end your day than a traditional Thai massage. I mean, seriously!
Now given that you are in the place where Thai massages originated, there is no shortage of spas and massage places. For an affordable treatment, head on over to Ruen Nuad by Convent Road.
Here, you can avail of a no-frills massage with a simple menu composing of a traditional Thai massage, foot massage, and one with aromatic oils.
Another well recommended and popular spa is Health Land. Despite being a chain, they come well recommended and gives good value for their massages.
However, with that being said, there are SO many spas in Bangkok so there is no shortage of good places!
One of the best things about being in Southeast Asia is how cheap massages are! Massages in Bangkok range from $500-800 THB.
18. Chill Out at Lumpini Park
If you’re looking to escape the busy streets of Bangkok, head over to Lumpini Park where you will find both locals and tourists strolling around. The park itself is more than half a million square meters big, and the home to different kinds of plants and flowers.
Strolling around there is highly entertaining as there is always something going on. People laying on mats taking naps, doing tai chi, and even live music performing during the weekends.
Naturally, there are also lots of food vendors near the gate of Rama VI statue, making instant picnics possible!
19. Get a Sak Yant Tattoo
While in Bangkok, you can look at getting a Sak Yant Tattoo from a monk. Rather than looking at this as a souvenir, the Sak Yant Tattoos are a rather sacred experience where you are blessed by a sacred prayer, designed specifically for you.
This is an incredible experience and is something that is both sacred and memorable. Click the button below to find out more about it.
21. Visit an Airplane Graveyard
If you like photography and exploring the unique and unusual, visit the airplane graveyard which is home to a bunch of abandoned airplanes, including a 747 plane which is now home to a family. For a small fee ($8-10), you can walk around the area and take as many photos as you want.
22. Explore the Abandoned The Sathorn Unique Tower
All over Instagram, you can find photos of people scaling up abandoned hotels and towers. One of the most famous ones is the Sathorn Unique which is a 49-story luxury hotel which has been abandoned due to the financial crisis.
If you do decide to go, make sure you wear closed shoes and bring some water with you as the walk up the stairs is steep!
23. Midnight Food Tour by Tuk Tuk
If you’re looking for a fun activity to do at night, why not hop on a tuk tuk tour to discover the many street food stalls that come to life. Eating at night is one of our favorite things to do in Bangkok and is considered a huge part of their culture. Click here to check out this tour.
24. Bangkok Cruise and Dinner
If you want to enjoy an evening cruising down the Chao Praya, check out this dinner cruise. They offer a buffet of both Thai and International food as well as live entertainment. It’s a great way to see the beautiful sights along the river.
25. Bangkok E-Scooter Night Food Tour
Enjoy the streets of Bangkok without the hustle and bustle by going on a night food tour with E-scooters. You can visit historic sites like Thonburi, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, and Pak Khlong Talat flower market. Your local guide will show you around these sights while taking you to some awesome street food stalls.
26. Go Bar Hopping
If you’re looking for the ultimate backpacker / traveler experience, head on over to Khao San Road where there are tons of restaurants and bars.
Khao San road is an institution for travelers, especially at night! However, having said that, if you’re looking for something a little bit more classy, a visit to the Vertigo and Moon bar at the Banyan Tree Hotel is our pick for incredible views.
If speakeasy joints are your thing, Havana Social is a must! You essentially walk inside a phone booth and get transported to a Cuban havana bar, complete with hats and all!
27. Enjoy the Views from the MahaNakhon SkyWalk
Head to Mahanakhon SkyWalk for incredible views of the Bangkok Skyline. Here, you can walk across one of the world’s largest glass floors which has a 360-degree panoramic views of Bangkok from the highest observation deck in Thailand.
This experience books out pretty fast so make sure you reserve tickets in advance. This is a popular tour for locals and tourist alike so plan ahead.
28. Visit Yaowarat Road (Bangkok’s Chinatown)
Another popular attraction in Bangkok is Yaowarat road which is the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown. Here, you can wander around the insane streets, eat some good food, and explore a different subculture within Bangkok.
The streets are narrow and there are market vendors everywhere. If you prefer to have a local show you around, this backstreet tour of Bangkok’s Chinatown is perfect for you.
29. Visit the Flower Market
If you’re looking for something unique, located in the Chao Phraya river is Bangkok’s flower market which is famous all over Thailand. Here, you can see tons of flowers in all shapes and sizes being sold. This flower market night tour takes you to some local places in the flower market where you can spot orchids, marigolds, and other unique items that are being sold.
Day Trips from Bangkok
There are heaps of great day trips in Bangkok that are worth visiting. Listed below are just a few of our top recommendations.
30. Visit the Bridge of Kanchanaburi
Kanchanaburi is a popular day trip from Bangkok. Travel back in time to see the famous bridge build in WWII by war prisoners near the town of Kanchanaburi. This tour is a must for history buffs!
31. Go to the Ayutthaya Temples
A trip to the ancient city and temples in Ayutthaya is a must for those interested in culture, history, and photography! Ayutthaya is one of the most popular of all the day trips from Bangkok as it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Make sure you a lot a full day (or even an overnight trip) as the entire complex sprawls to over 289 hectares. This tour combines the Ayutthaya temples as well as a river cruise.
32. Maeklong Railway Market
Last but not least, one of the best things to do in Bangkok and a great day trip from the city is a visit to the famous Maeklong Railway Market. Here, you can marvel at the narrow market stalls which surround the railway market.
Getting photos here is a must as it is truly a unique sight! This tour combines both the Maeklong Railway Market as well as the Amphawa Floating Market.
There you have it, folks!
A good mix of sightseeing, culture, shopping, and relaxation. Having been to Bangkok on multiple occasions, I can attest that every time I go, I find something about it that completely enamors me, over and over again.
FAQ on Things to Do in Bangkok
Bangkok is a huge city with tons to do. Most people spend 3-4 days here either in the beginning or the end of their trips. We recommend allotting at least 3 days before you explore the rest of Thailand. Spending time in the main city is the perfect introduction to the Thai culture.
Bangkok is one of those cities that has a little bit of everything for everyone. For those who want to shop, visit Chatuchak Weekend Market or the many shopping malls.
For those who want to eat their way around the city, there is no shortage of amazing restaurants and rooftop bars where you can enjoy the stunning Bangkok skyline. For those who want a bit of culture, visiting the many temples as well as the floating markets are recommended.
Bangkok is a city that comes alive at night! There is no shortage of fun things to do from restaurant hopping, visiting rooftop bars, and having a cocktail or two in a speakeasy bar. Bars like Havana Social, Locker Room, and Rabbit Room are all super fun to visit while in Bangkok.
If you’re only in Bangkok for a couple of days, a few must-sees are: The Chao Praya River, the Reclining Buddha, The Grand Palace, and the Tailing Chan or Khlong Lat Mayom floating market.
While Bangkok has a lot of temples to visit, the best temples that you can’t miss are the Grand Palace, Wat Arun and Wat Pho.
Bangkok Travel Tips
Before traveling to Thailand make sure you understand the visa situation. Most people are able to get a Thailand online visa and some on arrival. Either way, make sure you do your research.
After Bangkok, whether you’re heading to the Thai Islands or up to Northern Thailand, save time by booking your bus, train, and ferry schedules ahead of time.
We recommend using Bookaway or 12Go website to view bus, boat, and train schedules ahead of time. We’ve used these websites all over Asia and it saves us the hassle of lining up in travel agencies or bus stations.
Where to Stay in Bangkok
Naturally, there are literally thousands of places to stay while in Bangkok. A few things that you would have to consider when choosing a place would be the location, distance to the things you want to see, and budget.
Check out our article which has multiple places to stay, varying from budget hostels to nice splurges for hotels.