Bangkok is a city that satisfies both those looking for a cosmopolitan city and those who prefer to delve into an ancient culture and get to know the most authentic part of Thailand. We explain what to see in Bangkok and what to do to live the best experiences. Through this Bangkok guide you will discover what to see in Bangkok -in Thailand-, what you should not miss, and also what to do in this city. As for what to do in Bangkok, keep in mind that you can do activities that are so different, and at the same time so exciting, such as visiting the Grand Palace, the Floating Market, dining on top of a skyscraper or relaxing with a Thai massage.
What to see in Bangkok
The city of Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and its population is over 7 million, making it the largest city in the country. It is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and has extensive canals or klongs that can be traversed by boat – hence the nickname of the Venice of the East . In recent years, Bangkok has undergone rapid development and now boasts a large number of skyscrapers that contrast with the more than 300 ancient temples found in the city. In these temples you can breathe peace and tranquility unlike the bustling and frenetic atmosphere of its streets. In Bangkok there are multiple points of interest that you cannot miss on your visit to the city. The places to see in Bangkok are places that not only stand out for their history, but also for their uniqueness. We explain below what to see in Bangkok so you don’t miss anything of the most essential:
Grand Palace or Royal Palace
The Grand Palace is a true symbol of Bangkok, an essential thing to see in Bangkok! It is in the heart of the city, on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. This architectural complex, surrounded by walls, was built during the 18th century and was the residence of the King of Thailand. It also stands out for its mixture of architectural styles, such as Thai, Renaissance and Victorian. This architectural complex has more than 200,000 square meters.
Within its facilities, made up of both temples and gardens, you will find the Renaissance Chakri Mahaprasad Hall Temple, the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew). In this last temple there is a carving of Buddha only 45 centimeters high, which is one of the most revered in the country. You can also walk through its Exterior Patio or Central Patio. Currently in the Grand Palace, apart from visits by travelers and locals, certain royal ceremonies are also held, such as coronations, marriages or funerals. Without a doubt, a visit to the Grand Palace cannot be missing from your list of things to see in Bangkok, since it is one of the most important buildings in the city.
- Location: 1 Maha Rat Rd
- Hours: from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Price: 400 Baht (€10)
Another of the places to see in Bangkok is the Wat Pho temple , which is next to the Grand Palace, about 500 meters away. It is famous for containing an immense figure, 46 meters long and 15 meters high, of the reclining Buddha . Hence, it is also called the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. You can also visit the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand – it is estimated that it contains more than 1,000. Something to visit in Bangkok that will not leave you indifferent, since it is unique in the whole country.
In Wat Pho there was the first school of Thai massage – today you can also enjoy a massage in its facilities and it is where the masseuses are certified – and in turn there is the school of traditional Thai medicine. Any traveler who wants to visit the Wat Pho temple (or any Thai temple) should know that it is essential to respect a strict dress code, wearing clothes that cover the back and wearing pants or skirts that cover the knees. It is also mandatory to take off your shoes when entering the temple, although you are allowed to wear socks.
- Location: 2 Sanamchai Road
- Hours: from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- Price: 100 Baht (2.5€)
Another of the best things to see in Bangkok, Thailand, is the Marble Temple, or Wat Benchamabophit , it is located in the Dusit district, near the Dusit Palace, and is built with Italian Carrara marble.
This impressive temple was built in 1899 on the orders of King Rama V and designed by his half-brother, Prince Narai. Inside the Marble Temple is the Ordination Hall, with a statue of Buddha. Beneath this figure are buried the ashes of King Rama V. Religious ceremonies are currently being held inside the temple and spirituality is breathed throughout the premises. It is also recommended to take a walk through the gardens surrounding the temple. If you want to know what to do in Bangkok to rest and enjoy peace and silence, we recommend you visit this temple.
- Location: Khwaeng Dusit
- Hours: from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Price: 20 Baht (€0.5)
Wat Arun Temple
The Wat Arun temple, also known as the Temple of Dawn, is a temple built in 1768 that is located in the Bangkok Yai district. It is a Buddhist temple whose main feature is its central tower, of Khmer architecture . It is highly recommended to see it at night, since it is very well lit. It is something to see in Bangkok that you will not forget!
This temple is actually a whole complex, with various buildings and rooms. If you go up to the terrace of Wat Arun you can enjoy beautiful views of the city, even seeing the Royal Palace of Bangkok.
How to get?
This temple is located right next to the Wat Pho river. So we recommend you to get there by boat , through the river. Before reaching your destination and from the river you will have very nice views of the temple.
- Location : Thanon Arun Amarin
- Hours : from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Price : 50 Bahts (approximately €1.4)
Wat Saket Temple
Wat Saket, also known as the Temple of the Golden Mount , is located far from central Bangkok. Even so, an excursion from Bangkok to Wat Saket will allow you to enjoy 360º panoramic views of the city that are well worth it. It is also likely that you will enjoy a calmer visit than in other temples in the city, where there are more tourists.
The temple was built in the 18th century, although it has undergone several modifications throughout history. It is located on top of a hill and to reach it you must climb 318 steps.
How to get?
This temple is a bit far from the urban center of the city. To get there you can do it by road, by bus lines 15, 7,48, 508 or 8 .
- Location : Khwaeng Ban Bat
- Hours : from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Price : 20 Bahts (approximately €0.50)
The canals or klongs
Navigating the canals or klongs of Bangkok by ferry you will be able to get to know the surroundings of the Chao Phraya River in depth. During the tour it is possible to approach the Temple of the Dawn, the former royal palace. It is a very interesting visit to do in Bangkok, which will also allow you to get up close to some locals who live by the river in floating wooden houses. Bangkok was dubbed the Venice of the East hundreds of years ago by early European visitors. Currently, the canals of Bangkok tend to be quite active, with small boats that function as taxis or traveling shops. A must-see picturesque image and an ideal sightseeing route in Bangkok.
Damnoen Saudak Floating Market
If you are wondering what to see in Bangkok and its surroundings, the Damnoen Saudak Market is one of the most recognized floating markets and one of the largest in the Phraya Delta. It is located about 100 km from the city center but it has good communications, so it is easy to get there.
In the morning you will find a multitude of fruit vendors selling their products from a boat . In this market you will find all kinds of tropical fruits, such as coconuts, mangoes or bananas. In addition to fresh products, you can also buy a multitude of artisan products and souvenirs for travelers. Unlike other smaller floating markets, the Damnoen Saduak Market can be visited any day of the week.
The Train Market
Another peculiar market to see in Bangkok is the Train Market or Mae Klong Market. Oddly enough, and as its name suggests, this market is located on the same train tracks. When a train approaches, he honks his horn to warn the vendors, who quickly remove their products from the middle of the track. Once the train has passed, everything returns to normal and the vendors have their products again in the middle of the track.
This market is located on the railway tracks because in the past, in that area, in Mae Klong, there was only the market, and the railway still did not pass through there. After the construction of the railway, it was decided not to move the market, so it became the Mercado del Tren, the only market in the world through which a railway passes through the middle.
What to do in Bangkok
The capital of Thailand is a city for all types of travelers. A city the size of Bangkok offers endless activities to satisfy any traveler , from the most adventurous, to the most cosmopolitan or those looking to relax and unwind from routine. We explain what to do in Bangkok to make your trip unforgettable:
Relaxing couple massage
If you travel as a couple and are looking to relax and unwind, one of the best options is to have a Thai massage. Massages are very common in Thailand and are usually very affordable . There are couples massages, so you and your companion can rest and relax next to each other, enjoying a pleasant moment together. In Thailand there are several types of massages, such as Thai, which is quite intense and for therapeutic purposes, to massages with hot aromatic oils or herbs. If you are looking to simply relax, this last option will be the best alternative. A perfect way to recover from a long day visiting the city. One of the places where you can enjoy exceptional massages in Bangkok is the Ruen-Nuad massage studio, in the Silom neighborhood.
See the panoramic views and dine from a skyscraper
Bangkok is a city in constant evolution: a large number of skyscrapers have been built in recent years and it has become a city that perfectly combines its historical legacy with modern buildings. From the top of a skyscraper, such as the Sofitel SO hotel ( Booking score of 9 ), you can enjoy excellent panoramic views of the city. This hotel has an impressive restaurant, the Park Society Restaurant (with a 5* menu) and from its terrace you can spend a pleasant evening with the city of Bangkok at your feet.
Take a skytrain tour
The skytrain is one of the fastest means of transport in the city. It is estimated that it transports an average of 600,000 passengers daily.
What makes the skytrain an attraction for the traveler is that it goes above the streets of the city , its tracks are elevated on three different levels. So, apart from being a convenient and affordable means of transportation, a skytrain tour allows you to enjoy views of the city from a very different perspective.
Spend a Sunday shopping at Chatuchak Market
If you want to spend a different weekend and you don’t know what to visit in Bangkok that is original, don’t miss the Chatuchak Market , a huge market, the largest in Thailand. It opens from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and it is so big that if you feel like it you can spend a whole day if you really want to see everything. In the Chatuchak market you will find all kinds of products . In fact, this market is divided into several sections: the section for antiques, handicrafts and souvenirs, the food and drink section, the clothing and accessories section, the home decoration section, the garden section or the pet section –there are a total of 27 different sections–. It is estimated that the market has some 8,000 stalls and that some 200,000 people pass through each weekend.
To go to the Chatuchak market you must go to 587/10 Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd. To get there you can take the Bangkok skytrain to the Mo Chit Station stop, and then exit through exit number 1. At this point you will surely see a lot of people directed to the same place. Follow her and in no time you will reach the market.
Take a tuk tuk ride
Do you want to know what to do in Bangkok to be able to enjoy the city in a practical and comfortable way? A very common means of transportation in Bangkok is the tuk-tuk, also known as mototaxis . Its capacity is for two or three people and it is perfect for touring the city and exploring its bustling streets.
The tuk tuks stand out for their colorful design, and in the past they were the favorite transport of the locals. Now the tuk tuk share prominence with other means of transport such as the subway or the train, being them, but, the most typical.
Visit Patpong Night Market
Patpong Night Market is a great night market and it is in the Silom area. There you can buy all kinds of products and souvenirs.
This market starts around 7pm and ends after midnight. We recommend not going with children, since it is also a place known for its shows for adults.
Have a drink on Khao San Road
Khao San Road is located in the heart of Bangkok’s historic center and is close to some of the city’s most important points of interest, such as the Grand Palace. In this street you will find a lot of atmosphere and a lot of bars, restaurants, shops, massage centers and street stalls where you can enjoy Thai cuisine to the fullest. Fun on Khao San street is guaranteed and you can enjoy it both day and night.
Festivities in Bangkok
Do you want to know what to see in Bangkok to enjoy like a true local? We recommend that you take a look at the city’s calendar of festivities before you travel. It is likely that your visit to the city coincides with some of the celebrations that take place in Bangkok. It is one of the best things to do in Bangkok to enjoy the city like a local!
Songkran or the Buddhist New Year
If there is a quintessential festival in Thailand, it is the Songkran or Buddhist New Year. One of the epicenters of the celebrations is in the city of Bangkok, although it is also celebrated in other large cities in the country. The Songkran celebrations last for several days, in which the inhabitants of the city have water fights to welcome the monsoon and also to purify themselves. One of the places where you can most experience it in the first person is on Khao San street in Bangkok. If you visit Bangkok during Songkran, without a doubt, living the festivities and activities that are organized cannot be missing from your list of things to see and do in Bangkok!
- When? mid april
- Where? On Khao San road in Bangkok
Excursions from Bangkok
Now that you know what to see in Bangkok, would you like to know what excursions can be made from Bangkok? We propose some ideas of places to visit near Bangkok, ideal for a one or two-day excursion. These are the places that we recommend you visit around Bangkok:
- Ayutthaya : This city is 85 kilometers from Bangkok. It is the ancient capital of the kingdom of Siam. The city, founded in 1350 by King U-thong, stands out for its historical park, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991. There you can walk through its temples and thus… take a little trip back in time!
- Lopburi : It is 150 kilometers from Bangkok. It is known as the City of the Monkeys since these animals live freely on the streets of the city. They live in harmony with the locals.
- Koh Munnork: If you are wondering about the beaches in Bangkok, one of the most exclusive options is to opt for Koh Munnork. On this private island, located 5 hours away by road plus a short ferry ride, you can enjoy absolute tranquility in a heavenly setting.
Now that you know what to see and do in Bangkok, would you like to discover the city on your next trip? These are our Thailand itineraries where you can visit the country’s capital.