5 Unmissable Tourist Places to Visit in Bangkok – A Complete City Guide
Heading to Bangkok soon? Phew, there are SO many places to visit in Bangkok, you won’t even believe it! Scroll down to find my complete list of the best things to see in Bangkok, as well as the best places to stay, what and where to eat and more!
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and one of the most exciting destinations in Southeast Asia for sure. It has everything you can dream of: a rich history, incredible gastronomy, awe-inspiring temples and buildings, exciting nightlife and everything else in-between, catering for ALL types of tourists out there. From the Grand Palace to Wat Pho and Wat Arun temples, museums, street food and souvenir markets, your list of fun things to do in Bangkok will be ever-growing.
Okay, enough talking and let’s get going. Here is my hand-picked list of the top things to do in Bangkok, plus many useful tips that will help you properly enjoy this special city:
Top 5 places to visit in Bangkok, Thailand
1 - The Grand Palace / Wat Phra Kaew
The Grand Palace is, without a doubt, one of the most famous places to visit in Bangkok, if not all of Thailand. This tourist hotspot housed the kings of Thailand from the 18th to the 20th century and it’s located on the banks of Chao Phraya River.
While you’re there, make sure you enter the Temple of the Emerald Buddha to see the… well, the Emerald Buddha, of course – Wat Phra Kaew – one of the most sacred Buddhist relics in the world. Visiting the Grand Palace is definitely a must-do for all first-time visitors!
Grand Palace entrance fee: 500 baht ($16,5).
2 - Go temple hopping
There are literally thousands of temples to see in Bangkok! Most of the tourists’ flock to the more popular ones (Wat Pho and Wat Arun, of course), but there are some smaller, lesser-known temples too, all of them worth discovering if you have the time. These are always less crowded and you’re much more likely to have them all to yourself.
Here’s my checklist of Bangkok temples:
- Wat Pho, known as the Temple of The Reclining Buddha – this is the most popular temple in Bangkok, where the huge, world-famous Reclining Buddha statue is!
- Wat Arun / The Temple of the Dawn – just opposite Wat Pho temple and another very popular option with the tourists.
- Wat Saket / The Golden Mount
- Wat Benchamabophit – this golden temple is one of the less visited and stunning for photos.
- Wat Traimit
- Wat Intharawihan
- Wat Suthat
The entrance fees to these temples differ, ranging from 50 to 100 baht per person (1,60 – 3,30$).
3 - Visit the Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak Market is another one of the most famous tourist attractions in Bangkok and a must-visit for all your souvenir shopping! It’s actually one of the largest weekend markets in the world and the biggest market in Thailand as well. Chatuchak Market hosts more than 15.000 stalls, so make sure you don’t get lost while you’re searching for those handicrafts, Thai silk dresses and ceramics. By the way, you should also take this as an opportunity to indulge in some yummy food here at some of the many food stalls!
4 - Airplane Graveyard
For a unique experience, the aeroplane graveyard is one of the more adventurous sites to visit in Bangkok. Here you’ll find the carcasses of three abandoned aeroplane bodies – two of them are small, but the other one belongs to a huge 747 that you can enter and explore. If you’re feeling creative, this location is a photographer’s paradise! As this “graveyard” is further out of the city, it’s less visited by tourists than other attractions!
By the way, you will most probably need to pay a fee to enter the plane, as there’s a local family living there. They usually ask for 200 to 300 baht/person (6,50 – 9$).
5 - Floating Market
Visiting a floating market in Bangkok is a unique experience where you get an insight into the history of Bangkok back when the city heavily relied on water transport. There are a few different floating markets to choose from where you can take boat tours to explore the different stalls and produce.
BONUS: Extra things to do in Bangkok
The list above included the 5 must-visit Bangkok attractions for just a couple of days, but the city has so much more to offer! If you have more time on your hands before heading over to other destinations in Thailand, below are some cool places and activities that I recommend you add to your list. Just mix and match the most exciting ones for you:
- Jim Thompson House – If you’re passionate about Thai silk, then Jim Thompson House will be one of the best places in Bangkok for you, as you’ll be able to learn a lot about this craft here!
- Erawan Shrine – a cute little shrine with a golden Buddha that promises to make your promises come true;
- Khao San Road – wander around, grab a drink and people-watch. Eat some insects, from scorpions to tarantulas, if you’re feeling adventurous!
- Explore Chao Phraya River on a boat trip – there are tons of superb canals that will take you around the city. After all, Bangkok isn’t called the “Venice of the East” for nothing!
- Siam Paragon – a super popular shopping mall where you can shop ‘til you drop. You know what I always say: visiting Bangkok will be an incomplete experience without a shopping spree! You can also go to MBK mall, which is another great option, instead of Siam Paragon;
- Bangkok Art and Culture Center – if you’re a fan of contemporary art
- Traditional Thai massage – Getting a traditional Thai massage is one of the best things to do after a full day of exploring the city!
- Bangkok National Museum – if you’re a fan of Thai culture and art, then a visit to Bangkok National Museum is a must!
- Lumpini Park – for a relaxing walk in the middle of nature;
- Chinatown – go near Yaowarat Road to find one of the most colourful neighbourhoods in the city and the ideal place to indulge in some street food;
- Pak Khlong Flower Market – a market that’s open 24/7 with all types of exotic flowers such as orchids;
- Watch some Muay Thai – did you know that kickboxing (called muay Thai) originated in Thailand? Get your VIP ticket here!
- Do some bar crawling – partying in a club is one of the best things to do in Bangkok at night, and the night scene here is pretty much insane.
- Soi Cowboy – a vibrant nightlife district with tons of bars and neon lights;
- SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World – largest aquarium in Southeast Asia.
Best tours of Bangkok by type of traveller
Yep, indeed, there are tons of Bangkok tourist places and your bucket list might be super long in the end. In case you don’t want to spend endless hours planning the perfect Bangkok itinerary for your trip, a great idea would be to book some organised tours. Here are my best recommendations:
- Bangkok tour in a Day – simple and clear – if you only have one day in the city;
- Full day customized Bangkok city tour – for those of you that want the freedom to choose from different attractions in the city;
- Flexi Walking temple tour – a flexible tour during which you will visit the Grand Palace and then you can choose from Wat Pho and Wat Arun – good for all temple hoppers;
- 6-hour Floating Market tour – great for all adventurous foodies out there;
- Bangkok by night tuk tuk tour – for night owls eager to explore some Bangkok nightlife;
- Chao Phraya River dinner cruise – for the luxurious ones that want to experience the city with a different view, from Chao Phraya River.
Where to stay in Bangkok
RELATED READ: What you’ll find below is just a quick round-up. For an in-depth look at the best areas and hotels in the city, I recommend checking out my complete article: Where to Stay in Bangkok – 6 Best Areas and Hotels
To be completely honest, choosing the best place to stay in Bangkok can be quite an overwhelming task! There are tons of accommodation options here, from high-end hotels to hostels, apartments and more. With so many different neighbourhoods to stay in this gigantic city, the easiest way to go about it is to filter accommodations by area, depending on what you want to visit during your trip.
In order to make things easier for you, I’ve made a hand-picked selection with some of the best places to stay in Bangkok in each of the most popular areas for tourists:
Historic Old Town – Sala Arun Bangkok
Sukhumvit – Hotel Indigo Bangkok – this is where we stayed!
Chinatown – Shanghai Mansion
Siam – Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel
Khao San Road – Riva Surya Bangkok
Best places to eat in Bangkok & what to eat
When it comes to food, Bangkok is bursting with endless choices! Thai cuisine is extremely flavourful and interesting, and indulging in some traditional dishes HAS to be one of the best things to do in Bangkok! If you feel me, here’s my list of some must-try dishes during your visit to Bangkok, together with the food places where you can try them:
Pad Thai is possibly the most popular dish from Thailand. It’s basically stir-fried noodles with shrimp, bean sprouts, tofu and egg, topped with crushed peanuts. The most famous place to have Pad Thai in Bangkok is Thip Samai, which happens to be one of the oldest restaurants to serve this dish, dating back to World War II. The original place can be found at Maha Chai Road.
Tom Yum is a signature Thai dish; this sweet and sour soup is made with lemongrass, fish sauce, lime juice, kaffir lime leaves and some chilli to give it a bit of a kick. For a good street food restaurant that serves it, try Tom Yum Goong Banglamphu. For a less, spicy version of this dish, look out for Tom Kha Gai, which is made with coconut milk instead.
A bit less spicy than the other curries in Thailand, Panang curry is a tourist favourite in the country. A good place to have Panang Curry is Krua Apsom – so good, in fact, the Thai royal family often visits!
MANGO STICKY RICE
A must-try dessert when visiting Thailand! It’s a simple and easy to find dish in Bangkok, made up of rich, sticky coconut rice, condensed milk and sweet mango slices. It’s insanely indulgent. A well-known place for making amazing mango sticky rice is Kor Panich.
Getting around Bangkok
Okay, now that you know what to do in Bangkok and which places to visit during your trip, how do you actually get around Bangkok? There isn’t one single way to get from point A to point B, but several! Here are the best options for travellers:
SKYTRAIN (BTS). Probably the easiest and most convenient way to travel around the centre of the city. One-way tickets start at around 15 baht (0,50$) per person. By the way, the so-called “sky train” is one of Bangkok’s top tourist attractions actually and taking a ride around the city with this special means of transport is an unmissable activity – as odd as this may sound!
SUBWAY (MRT). In case you prefer not to be up above, then let’s try something down below. The MRT covers a larger area than the Skytrain and you can even change between the two at Silom or Asoke station.
TUK-TUK. In all honesty, this is a must-do for first-timers in Bangkok, at least for fun! A tuk-tuk is a three-wheeler commonly found in most Asian countries. Okay, they’re not extremely comfortable and they’re super loud as well, but they have their own, authentic charm. Compared to other means of transport, all tuk-tuk ride fares must be negotiated right when you set foot in the vehicle, so this is a touristic experience in itself!
MOTORCYCLE TAXI. These ones are pretty similar to the tuk-tuks, but they’re… motorcycles. You can find tons of them outside Skytrain or MRT stations and they’re extremely affordable, making them great for short distances. Don’t forget that the ride price must be negotiated beforehand, just like for the tuk-tuk! Work on your haggling skills!
TAXI. Cheap and convenient, especially after midnight, when there’s no public transportation operating. Insider tip: when you enter a taxi in Bangkok, make sure the driver turns on the meter and doesn’t try to negotiate a fixed fee instead; they have a bad reputation for ripping off tourists! Starting fare is 35 baht.
CHAO PHRAYA RIVER EXPRESS BOAT. How about you go from one attraction to the other by boat instead of train or taxi? There are boats departing every 20 minutes (5 minutes during rush hours) that can take you to all the main attractions in the city for small fees.
If you were looking for a complete guide to Bangkok, Thailand – now you have it! In this article, I have covered your most burning questions about the best tourist places to go in Bangkok and tours, as well as some excellent hotels, unmissable dishes to try and how to get around the city.
Bangkok offers endless activities and things to do for all types of travellers out there – and I mean all! Regardless if you’re a backpacker ready to raid some food markets, a culture lover with a list of beautiful temples to see or a luxurious traveller who wants to stay in a superb hotel and go on a shopping spree, followed by a night out clubbing, rest assured that Bangkok is THE place to do all this and more!
But as wonderful as it may be, Bangkok is not the only amazing destination in Thailand. If you want to further discover this unforgettable country, I recommend checking out here all our adventures and articles about it.