11 Best Things To Do in Bangkok

Bangkok is the capital of Thailand, but it goes beyond that: it's a city full of temples, canals, palaces, interesting neighborhoods and delicious food. Want to discover what to do when you go?

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

13 min read

11 Best Things To Do in Bangkok

Atardecer con vista al templo |©Maksim Romashkin

Hearing fascinating stories about the capital of Thailand is something quite frequent among tourist circles, but to know and see it directly is something that can not be compared. Bangkok is one of the most populated and cosmopolitan cities in Asia and in it you can find all kinds of atmosphere, flavors and feelings.

From visiting the most exclusive Buddhist temples and where there are more manifestations of faith, to take pictures of the most luxurious palace, while you buy food from the locals from a boat. Bangkok is a city of contrasts where every detail can be turned into an object of absolute dazzle. Would you like to be in such an environment? Then read on to find out what to see and do in this great city.

1. Hop on a hop on hoff tour

Red Public Transportation Bus in Bangkok|©Fancycrave
Red Public Transportation Bus in Bangkok|©Fancycrave

Let's get started! As an introduction to the city, I highly recommend you to take one of the best hop on hoff bus tours. As soon as you start the tour, you will realize that Bangkok is a very colorful city, so you can get an overview of many of the major attractions of the Thai capital from the top of a bus.

Keep in mind that temperatures in Bangkok tend to be high most of the year, so if you are looking for the best season to go to the city and opt for a warm month, then take your provisions. If you're on a tour of the best things to do in Bangkok in summer, then wear sunscreen if you're on the open top.

You'll find that being on the open top part of the bus for a while will be great, but you might want to collect yourself a bit on the lower deck because of too much sun. That is the best thing about this type of bus, as they allow you to get as close as you can to your destinations, with the greatest comfort.

You also have the possibility of hiring the services of bus companies of this type for 24, 48 or 72 hours, so you can get off at major attractions like the Grand Palace and once you finish, you can get back on the bus and continue to another tourist attraction.

Do not forget that the hop on hoff bus companies themselves offer routes according to attractions, such as entertainment tours, shopping or heritage sites. This is key if you want to optimize time and are looking for things to do quickly.

Book a guided tour of Bangkok

2. See the Grand Palace

Grand Palace - Thailand|©cattan2011
Grand Palace - Thailand|©cattan2011

The capital of Thailand is known worldwide for its palaces and among them, the Grand Palace or Grand Royal Palace is the one that stands out the most. Did you think that the only imposing royal palaces were in Europe? The Grand Palace was the official residence of the monarchs of Thailand, even under colonial rule, between 1782 and 1932, but even today it is still used in different official acts and stands out as the main of the best palaces in Bangkok.

When you pass by here you will realize the majesty of the site, because the Grand Palace is not just a palace, but it is an architectural complex with numerous palaces and temples, for a total of 218 thousand square meters, protected by one of its flanks by the Chao Phraya River. This palace is open for tourism so you can enjoy it in all its splendor, so buying tickets for the Grand Palace is something you can not avoid.

Within this complex of palaces is also the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, making it one of the biggest attractions of the whole city. This temple, one of the most important of Theravāda Buddhism will captivate you with its portals and details, which combine with the entire palace system. Do you dare to know this fantastic set of palaces?

Practical information

  • Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Phranakorn (Rattanakosin).
  • Price: usually 500 baht (about 14 €), which includes access to the temple of the Emerald Buddha and the textile museum of Queen Sirikit. For Thais the entrance is free.
  • Opening hours: daily from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.

Traveller Tip
Entering this complex of palaces and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha has a strict dress code that you must adhere to. To enter, you may not wear tank tops, shorts or Bermuda shorts, tight-fitting pants, miniskirts or athletic shorts.

3. Shop and live in Chinatown

Bangkok, Chinatown|©Wolfgang Bayer
Bangkok, Chinatown|©Wolfgang Bayer

Yaowarat is one of the most famous Chinatowns in all of Southeast Asia and is named after one of the most important streets in all of Bangkok. Yaowarat Street is also known as Dragon Street both for its shape and for the reference to the Chinese community, which keeps this area of Bangkok bustling with commerce and life.

If you want to buy both food and different products, then Bangkok's Chinatown is ideal. Next to Yaowarat Street you will find other tiny, narrow streets full of electronics stores and lots and lots of food. Especially in the evenings, Chinatown becomes a neighborhood with all kinds of Chinese cuisine, at the best prices and with the greatest variety. Eating in the street is among the best things to do in Chinatown.

Keep in mind that along Yaowarat Street you will find many shops on the sidewalks, so you should know that walking is not the most comfortable, but the most delicious for your palate. Besides, you will find street markets and many street stores, with incredible prices. You can reach this neighborhood by the blue line subway station Wat Mungkorn, or by public boats on the Phadung Krung Kasem canal.

4. Eat at the top of skyscrapers

Bangkok skyscrapers|©juan manuel ruiz ariza
Bangkok skyscrapers|©juan manuel ruiz ariza

It's no New York, but at times, Bangkok seems to rival it. In Southeast Asia, Bangkok stands out among cities for its towering skyscrapers, some of which exceed 300 meters in height. It would be a great pity to miss the view from the top of the observation decks of Bangkok's best skyscrapers, which at night will be a mind-blowing visual spectacle.

Bangkok's skyscrapers are very striking because this city is so large and predominantly flat, making these 200 and 300-meter buildings look like huge towers. The most important tower is the Baiyoke, which is the tallest in Thailand and has 85 floors, but the best part is one floor before, on the 84th, where you can eat in a rotating restaurant that moves 360° while you taste a delicious dish.

This experience is incredible; and I highly recommend it, but you can also complement it with other skyscrapers in the city, such as the one that houses the Cloud 47 restaurant on Silom Street. This restaurant is on top of a 47-story building, quite simple and office building, but from it you can eat at the best price and with an exceptional view.

Buy your ticket for the platform of the Baiyoke Sky Hotel

5. Learn in Thai cooking classes

Chef in the kitchen|©Ayyeee Ayyeee
Chef in the kitchen|©Ayyeee Ayyeee

At the food fairs of many, many restaurants around the world, Thai food is present. But what if, during your stay in Bangkok, you dedicate a few hours to participate in the best Thai cooking classes, taught by the Thais themselves? This is a plan that I highly recommend if you enjoy eating and cooking and want to take the best learning from the trip.

For example; you have different options. You can go to a cooking school like the Blue Elephant, where they offer courses for tourists, but the best is to take a tour that takes you to different markets to buy the most local products and then, with one or more cooks, you will learn how to make a series of dishes, to at least have a starter, a main course and perhaps a dessert. You will also see this if you take one of the best gastronomic tours of the city.

Thai cuisine puts a lot of emphasis on large stir-fries such as woks, but it is also important to learn how to use spices particular to the area and also to know the best way to fry and prepare soups. In short, the idea of these classes is to have access to the best flavors that you can now learn to prepare when you return home.

Book a cooking class in Bangkok

6. Book a tuk-tuk tour

tuk-tuks|©Heidi De Vries
tuk-tuks|©Heidi De Vries

Whenever postcards are popularized about Thailand or about Bangkok specifically, some curious means of transport appear, where a driver rides a kind of elongated and roofed motorcycle. These are the tuk-tuks, very characteristic of Southeast Asia that allow to solve the difficult mobility of these big cities. And believe it or not, they are great for a tour, so I invite you to book one of the best tuk-tuk tours in the city.

The tuk-tuk tours are very quiet because the driver can show you the different attractions of Bangkok at low speed. The great advantage of the tuk-tuk in this case is that it does not need to go as fast as a motorcycle, so you will see everything patiently, and in addition, you can be in pairs and outdoors, so the breeze will play in your favor to achieve a little appease the high temperatures in the environment.

It is important to know that much of the tuk-tuk tours are done at night, so the temperatures are also quite pleasant. These tours are one of the best things to do with children in Bangkok and can extend up to four hours if you make many stops or if the tour includes entrance to different attractions in the city.

I recommend that these tours are on your priority list, although you may also be interested in the best bike tours in Bangkok if you want to control the whole itinerary.

Book a gastronomic tuk tuk tour

7. See temples

Bangkok : Wat Trimit|©Iris Kunsongkeit
Bangkok : Wat Trimit|©Iris Kunsongkeit

In Southeast Asia Islam, Christianity and Buddhism coexist, but when you go to Bangkok, you will realize that Buddhism is a really important part of Thai culture and the theravāda Buddhism temples in Bangkok are the greatest representation of this in the whole region. That's why a must-do part of your excursions and tours should be to visit the best temples in the city.

Naturally, the temple that steals the show the most is the Emerald Buddha Temple, located inside the Grand Palace. But I suggest you go further and visit the Wat Trimit temple, which you have surely seen through many photos thanks to its huge pure gold Buddha. This 3.5 ton statue is the largest solid gold statue in the world, so it's mind-blowing that you can just walk up to it and take some pictures.

But there's more: the Wat Po temple will show you a reclining Buddha covered in gold leaf. It is a 46-meter long statue that you can walk from end to end. And what about the marble temple? It is a beautiful building that combines oriental architecture through its roofs with Italian marble.

My advice is to do one of the best tours in Bangkok where you can visit at least these three temples, accompanied by a guide and where you can learn about their differences and importance for Buddhism in the country.

Book a tour with visit to the temples of Bangkok

8. Browse and shop in a floating market

bangkok floating market|©Andrés Gallardo Altieri
bangkok floating market|©Andrés Gallardo Altieri

Bangkok is a city that is on the edge of the sea and incredible as it may seem, sometimes it seems that it is below sea level, because many of the roads share space with small waterways. That is why many of the markets are not on land, but floating. Some of them are adapted for tourists to enjoy and get to know these beautiful sites.

Therefore, I recommend that you do not leave Bangkok without first taking a day tour of the city's floating markets. There is no room for any doubt, the most famous is Damnoen Saduak, which although it is located on the outskirts of the city and it takes a long way to get there, it is the largest and most varied.

Here you can find better options to tour it as a tourist, in addition to shopping without getting off your small boat. Going to this market would be one of the best day trips from Bangkok, because of the time it takes.

But it is not the only one: Taling Chan market is considerably closer to the center of Bangkok and allows you to experience the charm of a floating market, with more local people and less tourist-focused services, for a shorter time. The problem with this market is that it is only open on weekends.

Your options may also include the Amphawa or Bang Nam Pheung floating markets, so it is a matter of adjusting your itinerary and not missing out on these picturesque wonders of Thai commerce.

Book a tour of Bangkok markets

9. Enjoy a cabaret show

Calypso" Cabaret|©Fleur

If you think of Bangkok, you surely don't associate the city with cabaret, but the truth is that it is one of the great nighttime industries of the Thai capital and, for that reason, I recommend that you at least treat yourself to one of the best things to do at night in Bangkok and attend the most splendid cabaret shows on a global scale. You will have different options to choose from, both in terms of theme, location and duration, but there are many that make the grade.

Without a doubt the most famous is the Calypso Cabaret, which emulates Broadway with a staging that highlights the best of the Thai tropics, but with a theatrical representation of great American artists such as Elvis Presley. Those who carry out this staging are mainly transgender artists while others opt for cross-dressing or being drag queens, which makes it an experience full of inclusion and talent.

But they are not the only alternative, as cabaret in Bangkok is a constant. Another of the most important is the Golden Dome, where phonomimic artists and drag performers will also make representations of the greatest hits of world music, to entertain all tourists regardless of their origin. At the end of this fantastic event, you will be able to take pictures with the artists. Don't miss the opportunity and book tickets for the cabaret and the best night shows.

Buy your ticket for the Calypso Cabaret

10. Take a river cruise

Bangkok Cruise|©KevinJewell
Bangkok Cruise|©KevinJewell

A huge sea flanks the city of Bangkok, which seems partially submerged by hundreds of canals and small waterways. But in Bangkok you can also take a ride on one of the city's cruise tours, as the majestic Chao Phraya River is crossed every day by many cruises for the enjoyment of tourists visiting the city.

One of the most popular plans in this regard is the dinner cruise. The idea is that you get on at the end of the afternoon so that inside the cruise you can watch the sunset and accompany it with a fantastic Thai meal. But there is something for everyone, because while there are more romantic cruises, focused on couples, others will have very loud musical presentations that will not go unnoticed for anything in the world.

The quietness of the Chao Phraya River also allows tourists to take daytime cruise tours, which allow you to see a panoramic view of the city and you can take the best pictures with all kinds of approaches. This is one of the activities to do in Bangkok in winter because it will not be affected unless there is a huge storm.

Also, it is a perfect time to relax, breathe fresh air and appreciate the magnitude of the huge city you are getting to know, because Bangkok is one of the most imposing cities in the world.

Book a cruise in Bangkok

11. Take an excursion to Ayutthaya or to the Bridge over the River Kwai

If you are lucky enough to spend several days in the Thai capital I recommend you to explore other nearby places such as the Erawan National Park, which you can reach with tours from Bangkok to see the Bridge over the River Kwai, famous for the 7 Oscar-winning film that tells the story of the construction by prisoners of war of the Burma Railway.

Another highly recommended excursion is the one that takes you to discover Ayutthaya from Bangkok, the ancient capital of the kingdom and where you will see the best temples of Thailand where sacred relics are still preserved , palaces and places of worship that will continue to delight lovers of this land.

Book a tour to Ayutthaya from Bangkok

When is it best to travel to Bangkok?

With its tropical climate, Bangkok receives tourists almost every season of the year. Temperatures tend to be high all year round, as is the humidity, although this soars in the rainy season. If you are deciding on which dates to travel, perhaps the dry season, i.e. between November and February, is the most advisable so as not to suffer so much from the typical heat of the region. In any case, this destination offers amazing activities every month. Here is a sample:

Or, why not... 10 things to see and do in Bangkok at Christmas?

Organize your trip well

In a city as cosmopolitan as Bangkok it is important to plan your trip to try to condense everything without stress but also without leaving anything to see. Therefore, in Hellotickets we have prepared these travel guides to facilitate your task and in which you will see distributed the plans according to the days of your stay in the city:

As a last recommendation, take a look at our post about the transfers between the airports and the center of Bangkok, you will like to know what are the options to, once you land, get to your hotel in the most comfortable and quickest way possible.