Bangkok is one of the most visited cities in the world and nobody is surprised. This cosmopolitan city offers a wide range of scenic spots, authentic Thai activities, and sumptuous cuisine. It is impossible for a tourist to experience the quintessential Bangkok for a short period of time, but doing these ten things is the closest to experiencing it. There is something about Bangkok that attracts people from around the world, people who don’t mind the hot temperature and humidity, traffic, and pollution. It could be its diverse culture, delicious food, magnificent skyline, lively nightlife, or its hospitable people. Whatever it is, everybody just loves Bangkok. Below are the Top Ten Things To Do in Bangkok, Thailand.
1. Visit the Majestic Grand Palace.
Visiting a popular place is one of the reasons for our travel. It added credence if the place was a defining spot of a city or a country. Take for instance, the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace is probably the most important structure in Bangkok as it is a piece of history. The Palace was built in 1782 and has been the official residence of Kings of Siam, (former name of Thailand). Though, it’s no longer the official residence, state functions and official meetings are still held here every year. While strolling the magnificent and vibrant halls and buildings, go deep into history for every walls has been witnessed of important decisions that has shaped Thailand today.
Tip: Visit the most sacred site in Thailand, The Temple of Emerald Buddha. Make sure to mind the strict dress code. No shorts, slippers, sleeve-less, off shoulder dresses, and skirts. The Palace is open daily from 830am to 330 pm. Entrance fee is 500Baht. From Silom Line, take the train and get off at Saphan Taksin Station and go out through Exit No. 2. Then, take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Ta Chang Pier (No.9).
2. Cruise the Chao Phraya River.
The Chao Phraya River is the major river in Thailand that extends from neighboring provinces to the Gulf of Thailand. Cruising the river will not only bring you to some of the major attractions in Bangkok, like, Wat Arun, but will also display the diverse culture of Thailand. Enormous hotels and buildings on one side and stilt houses and temples on the other. It clearly demonstrates the presence of a line separating the cosmopolitan area to the quintessential Thailand populated by the early settlers. No one can really say they’ve been to Bangkok without experiencing the mesmerizing waves of a Chao Phraya River Cruise.
Tip: You may join a group tour cruise or you can rent a small boat to privately cruise the river. In renting a private motor boat, just beware of scams that will charge you higher than usual. Learn how to haggle. If you’re on budget tour, taking the River boat is economical and can bring you from the first ferry point to the last. It can get really hot in here, so, drink more water.
3. Wake up early and go to Floating Market.
For those who haven’t been to Bangkok, close your eyes and imagine the city, what do you see? Elephants, food, temples, and floating markets, right? Since it’s one of the most popular attractions in Bangkok, floating markets tend to be filled with horde of tourists. But, there is nothing as quintessential as seeing vendors on a boat selling fruits, vegetables, snacks, and some other local delicacies, so it is definitely worth it. Get up early and join the crowd!
Tip: The most famous floating market is the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. The place is filled with enough vendors and tourists that gives an impressive view. Do book a tour in advance to prevent scammers, there are lots of them.
4. Indulge on an authentic Thai Dish.
Thai cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the world. Thailand is renowned for its mouth-watering dishes rich in spices that do not rely on simplicity yet not intricate to make. Tom Yum soup, Pad Thai (Stir-fried Rice Noodle), Som Tam (Papaya Salad), Khao Niao Mamuang (Sticky Rice with Coconut Milk with Mango Slices), and Stir-fried Spicy Minced Pork with Lettuce are just some of the most famous Thai dishes available everywhere in the world. Only this time, you get to eat an authentic Thai Cuisine, prepared by Thais, and served in Thailand. Can that get any better?
Tip: You can get Thai food anywhere in Bangkok, but the most popular place is an old town in Saphan Taksin and the Bang Rak Area. Experiencing Thai street food is a must, too. Lastly, If you are into exotic foods, then, you are in for a treat. Bangkok is just the right place for you.
5. Experience the Night Life a la The Hangover.
Bangkok, Thailand is the Las Vegas of the East in terms of night happenings and bar experiences. Bangkok is already a hot night spot even before the Hangover movie. Though, the movie has catapulted the city on an even higher scale worldwide and has brought younger travelers from all over the world. Relieve all the places the Wolfpack had visited and party till the sun is up.
Tip: You do not have to go exactly to the bars they went to like, Soi Cowboy. Admit it, that was pretty outrageous. The pub streets on Khao San Road or Soi Rambuttri are the best places to party together with tourists and locals looking for a good night time.
6. Shop ’Til You Drop at Chatuchak Market.
Another good thing about Thailand aside from its heavenly good food, satisfying massage, and numerous tourist spots is it being the center for economical shoppers. Yes, if you are looking for some bargaining of almost all products from all over Thailand in a very cheap price, then Chatuchak Weekend Market is the haven. For businessmen, this is like the ultimate spot for wholesale purchases. What used to only be a market is now one of the busiest tourists attractions in Bangkok. You can literally shop until you drop here!
Tip: Chatuchak Market is open on Wednesdays thru Sundays from 6am to 6pm. Wednesdays and Thursdays for Plants and Flower. Fridays for Wholesale products and Saturdays and Sundays for Miscellaneous items. Plan your travel.
7. Visit the Temples.
There are more than 400 temples or ‘wats’ in Bangkok, some big and some small, but all sacred. Spend a day visiting temples to marvel on these intricate structures and examine how meticulously they’re designed. Visiting temples is also a sign of respect for local’s belief and culture, just observe the rules. Three of the most famous and most exquisite temples in Bangkok are Wat Arun, Wat Pho, and Wat Phra Knew.
Tip: Go to Wat Arun during sunset, it gives an impressive sight. Open daily from 8am to 530pm with 50Baht admission fee. Take SkyTrain to S6 Saphan Taksin Station (Silom Line) and proceed to Exit 2 then take a Chao Phraya Express Boat to Tien Pier (N8) and take a cross-river ferry to Wat Arun. Wat Pho is just opposite river, there is no need to take the cross-river ferry.
8. Backpack at Khao San Road.
Backpackers are the most frugal travelers and wouldn’t mind staying in a hostel, apartment or even transient houses. There is a certain excitement in backpacking because you get to meet new people from different nationalities. You get to befriends people you share the same interests, which is one of the purposes of traveling. So, at least once in your traveling life, ditch hotel and opt to backpack. It is fun. In Bangkok, backpackers are heading to Khao San Road. The street is filled with foreigners and tourists chilling in bars, eating street foods, and drinking coffee at the shops all around the place.
Tip: To go to Khao San Road, take the Skytrain to Saphan Taksin station. Then, take the express boat from Sathorn pier to Phra Arthit pier.
9. Watch a Muay Thai Fight.
Philippines has boxing and basketball. India has crickets. England has soccer. USA has baseball. Thailand has Muay Thai. This combat sport is what Thailand is also known for. It is a variation and combination of martial arts, kung fu, and boxing. This sport is already recognized world wide and being played all over the world, but, there is nothing better than watching local Thais doing Muay Thai on a local Muay Thai stage.
Tip: Watch at least one Muay Thai fight and experience it first hand. The best fights are held in Rajadamnern Stadium. For tickets, flight schedules, and other information, visit their site: http://rajadamnern.com/contact/
10. Relax and Have a Good Massage.
What better way to end your tour of Bangkok than to relax and treat yourself with a satisfying massage? It’s not only an ordinary massage, it’s Thai massage known around the world. Let your body be stressed-free by indulging on different kind of massage treatment. Throughout the years, Thais had perfected the art of ancient healing that makes it sought-after.
Tip: Massage parlors and spas are everywhere but not all masseurs/masseuses are trained professionally. Check out the list of government’s accredited massage venues and practitioners for those who are particular.
Further readings about Thailand: