Bangkok is the bustling capital of the Southeast Asian country of Thailand. The city has been a popular tourist destination for years, and its popularity just seems to be growing. Bangkok is full of breathtaking sights and sounds, delicious cuisine, and unbeatable views. From ancient temples and majestic palaces to vibrant floating markets, you’ll never run out of things to do and places to see. No matter how you choose to spend your time in Bangkok, the city truly has something for everyone!
One of Bangkok’s most popular tourist destinations, the Grand Palace is not to be missed. Thailand’s kings have called the palace home for over 200 years. Gold covered and beautifully built, this marvel of architecture is impressive whether you know much about its history or not. Put a whole afternoon aside to explore the palace, as it can easily take a few hours to cover the entire 214,000 square meters. Be aware of scams while you're there, and make sure you only pay the entrance fee right before you go in!
If you only have one day to spend visiting historic sites in Bangkok, head straight to the city's stunning temples. Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and Wat Phra Kaew are the main ones to see, and they will not disappoint! The impressive Wat Pho is home to the world-famous Reclining Buddha, but Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew are equally beautiful and culturally significant. The temples stand tall with golden roofs, and they’re just as mesmerizing to look at from the outside. Learn a little about the temples before you go to get the most out of the experience.
There are plenty of beach-side resorts dotted around the country where you can enjoy a Thai massage, but how can you resist the urge to get one as soon as you arrive in the country? There are so many spas to choose from in Bangkok, so do your research and find the perfect place to experience a true Thai massage. Don’t expect to get a gentle rub, either; Thai massages are more medicine than luxury. They can hurt in a good way, so be prepared for the massage therapist to pull, crack, and stretch different parts of your body. Just remember, your aches and pains will melt away after indulging in one of these!
A visit to the floating markets is a quintessential Bangkok experience. Join tourists and locals alike to barter for goods, stock up on produce and spices or grab a bite to eat. The colorful affair is as photogenic as it gets, so be prepared with your camera in-hand. For a truly authentic market, check out the weekend market of Taling Chan. There are more locals than tourists at this lively market, and you’re sure to have a great experience while snagging a few deals.
This should go without saying, but the street food in Thailand is second to none. Bangkok is a hub of tasty and affordable cuisine, with food stalls around every corner. Enjoy some mouthwatering staples such as Pad Thai and Pad See Ew or try the popular Gai Tod, a type of fried chicken served with sticky rice. Looking for something sweet? Stop at one of the metal carts to grab a bubble tea and enjoy a sweet and refreshing iced drink full of chewy tapioca pearls. To experience some local flavors, choose the semi-savory taro or the bright green cantaloupe tea.
Tuk Tuks are the cheapest and most exciting way to travel in Thailand. Zooming around Bangkok’s chaotic traffic in the little rickshaws is exhilarating, and it’s an experience you won’t soon forget! Tuk tuks are reliable and affordable, and the helpful drivers will take you anywhere you need to go. Take a day to explore the city and get a little lost along the way. A tuk tuk will be waiting for you when you’re ready to head back to your hotel or to a local market for some lunch.
Khao San Road is not the largest road in Bangkok, but it is certainly one of the most famous. A backpacker’s paradise, the road is full of bars, clubs, and restaurants. Grab a drink and mingle with some fellow travelers or enjoy a pad Thai and do some people watching. Be prepared for loud music and loud parties. The celebrations don't stop on Khao San Road, so only plan on staying there if you can sleep through a lot of noise!
One of the best things to do while in Thailand is to go shopping, and one of the best places to do it is at Chatuchak Market. The weekend-only Chatuchak Market is one of the largest markets in the world. The market covers 27 acres and includes well over 800 stalls. Pick up a map and head into the market for a couple of hours to grab some great deals on clothes, souvenirs, and food.
Lumpini Park is Bangkok’s answer to New York’s Central Park. Lumpini is a green oasis in the busy and sometimes overwhelming capital city. If you plan on spending a few days in Bangkok, make sure you plan a visit to recharge in this beautiful park. Pack a picnic and spend a leisurely day walking along the paths and relaxing by the lake. Locals also practice Tai Chi and other group activities in the park, so plan a visit early in the morning or before sunset to enjoy the most peace and quiet.
The Chao Phraya River flows right through Bangkok, and little canals feed off the river and snake through the entire city. Taking a boat along the river is a fascinating and relaxing experience. Not only is the river itself beautiful, but you’ll also get to experience a completely new view of the city. Float past neighborhoods, take in the diverse architecture and watch people going about their daily lives. There are plenty of ferries departing from different parts of the city every day, so feel free to hop on and off at different stops to get the full experience.