Last Updated on July 7, 2023
Bangkok, a city of bright lights, exotic foods, picturesque views, and cultural activities…
The legendary capital of Thailand has a myriad of tourist-drawing activities and sites.
If you are planning a trip, here are the top eighteen things to see and do in Bangkok:
(Plus a BONUS tip at the end of the article!)
1. Visit the Temples
One of the main tourist attractions in the city is Wat Pho, the reclining Buddha. Visitors come to see the massive, golden Buddha statue.
The 108 bowls along the edge of the reclining figure represent the 108 characters of Buddha. You can get coins for the bowls at the entrance of the temple.
Just down the street is the Wat Arun, a temple on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. The temple is about 260 feet tall. It’s named after the God of Dawn, Aruna.
It is said to be guarded by giant, mystic sentries.
2. Visit the Royal Palace
The most visited landmark in Bangkok, the Grand Palace is a must-see for visitors.
The palace was previously home to the king and his family (until they relocated).
The architecture and exterior design of the palace convey the splendor of its past regal inhabitants.
You must purchase an admittance ticket to enter the premise.
3. Try Durian
Ah yes, the king of fruits!
Durian is one magnificent fruit; unusual, yet tasty.
It comes in a thorny, weapon shaped casing. Concealed inside is the buttery and delicious fruit.
However, beware the smell…the stink is so potent the fruit is banned in some public spaces!
4. Tour the Markets
If you enjoy perusing local markets, the first to visit is the Chatuchak Market. There are over 8,000 stalls selling all varieties of fruits and vegetables, local delicacies, and small trinkets.
Chatuchak spans roughly 27 acres! making it the largest market in the world.
Also open on the weekend, if you visit on a Saturday or Sunday expect hundreds of thousands of others ready to eat and shop.
Expect cheap prices for both locals and tourists alike.
Another market to check out are the floating markets.
They are called floating markets because all products are sold from a boat. The most popular are Thailing Chan and Khlong Lat Mayom.
5. Take a Boat Cruise
Cruises along the Chao Phraya river afford tourists a spectacular view of Bangkok’s architecture and landscape.
The ferries make multiple stops around the city where you can both alight and again board the boat; a convenient way to avoid hectic road traffic.
And luckily, the ferries are not expensive – it costs just under one dollar to hop aboard.
6. Go on a Shopping Spree
The malls in Bangkok are world-class, with free internet access, IMAX theaters, restaurants, boutiques, and other luxury stores.
The most popular malls to visit are:
● Siam Paragon
● Terminal 21
● MBK Center
● Central World
There’s a lot of buzz around Siam Paragon because of the Siam Ocean World aquarium. On the first floor of the complex, it’s the largest aquarium in Southeast Asia.
The mall also has showrooms for car manufacturers Ferrari and Lamborghini.
It’s a high-end shopper’s paradise.
7. Watch a Striking Muay Thai Fight
If you’re a fan of kickboxing, Bangkok’s got you covered.
Big fights are held at Lumpini and Ratchadamnoen stadiums.
The national sport, kickboxing is heavily supported in Thailand; the matches generate among the highest revenues in the country’s entertainment industry.
8. Visit Lumpini Park
The public park is a sanctuary within the city, a green lung amid the bustling metropolis, ideal for relaxing and watching sports games.
Covering over 500,000 square feet, the park’s opportunities for peaceful respite makes it a favorite of tourists.
The name, Lumpini, originates from a famous Buddha born in Nepal.
9. Enjoy Thai Delicacies
Thai food is world-renowned, and where better to try it than its origin?
Restaurant choices are endless, and offer nothing but the best. Plus, the food is relatively cheap.
Of course, not as cheap as street food.
And Thai people know how to do street food. Low prices, readily available, and easy to eat.
Food vendors set up shop on busy streets and sell anything from squid to papaya salad.
10. Visit Jim Thompson’s House
Have you ever heard of the American who disappeared in Malaysia?
Jim Thompson set up his home in Bangkok while working with the Thai silk industry.
The traditional Thai home is made of six teak wood houses. It’s a beautiful sight.
11. Drink the Night Away
Bangkok knows how to keep the party going.
You can have drinks ‘on top’ of the city at Vertigo and Moon bar. The view is unmatched; the bar is on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel.
Even if you don’t drink, the view alone is worth the visit.
Other great bars include Soi Cowboy and the Patpong. Any Thai night out will be an unforgettable experience.
12. Visit The Bangkok National Museum
If you’re looking for artistic inspiration or ancient relics, then you should visit the Bangkok National Museum.
It houses an impressive collection of art and artifacts, from modern to centuries-old.
You can view animal skins, Chinese weapons, textiles, stones and Khon masks. There are language translators available every Thursday.
The museum has a strict dress code, but no limitations on the pictures you can take.
13. Move Around the City
Getting around Bangkok is easy, thanks to its extensive public transport system.
Motorcycle taxis can take you anywhere you want to go, quickly. A very convenient means of transportation, the bikes provide a safe and secure means of travel.
You can also use the Skytrain. During rush hour and other high-traffic periods, the air-conditioned carriages facilitate speedy transport away from the roads.
14. Climb the Sathorn Tower
A 49-story skyscraper was abandoned during the financial crisis and the resulting fiscal crisis.
The incomplete tower offers unique climbing opportunities for more adventurous tourists.
The view at the top is breathtaking. A small fee must be paid to security at the building’s entrance, but from there the entire complex is yours to explore.
15. Visit the Oldest Zoo in Thailand
The Dusit Zoo, opened sixty years ago, receives thousands of visitors eager to see exotic wildlife. The facilities house thousands of animals, including alligators, lions, tigers, and penguins.
Sick animals are quickly cared for at the on-site hospital.
There is also an educational center and museum where you can learn about extinct species.
16. Marvel at the Puppet Masters
You can’t leave Bangkok without attending at least one puppet show.
The shows feature a large cast to play the different characters. They tell stories and tales, sing and play musical instruments.
17. Visit the Shrines
Last but not least, be sure to visit the many other shrines and temples that dot the city skyline.
One notable example is the Erawan shrine; it is one of the busiest because it’s a Brahman place of worship, not Buddhist.
The shrine was built in the 1950s, when construction workers on the building site wanted a shrine to cleanse the area of unhappy spirits. They believed the gods didn’t want building to commence without first seeking their approval.
The statue inside depicts a four-faced Brahman god; visitors are invited to lay garlands for good luck.
Other incredible temples you shouldn’t miss are:
● Wat Saket
● Wat Traimit
● Wat Kalayanamit
● Golden Mount
Each temple is made with magnificent craftsmanship.
Bonus! Take Part in a Cleansing Ritual
Bangkok holds a water fight during an annual celebration, the Songkran Festival. The festival is held in April, from the 13th to the 15th.
The tradition focuses on a new year ritual where one is cleansed in water. According to the Buddhist religion, the water will ward off bad luck and wash away sins.
This Songkran party is a fantastic and immersive way to experience Thai culture and beliefs.
Bangkok is a beautiful destination with many fun activities.
Their unique (uncolonized) culture – from pious religious devotion to impressive architecture – make it a great place to visit.