Bangkok, Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It is a land of great amusement, recreation, and attraction for people of all ages and genders.
Bangkok is the capital and also the largest city in Thailand. The place is known mainly for its vibrant street life and the sumptuous shrines. This is just one aspect of it as the place has got a lot more than this to offer.
One thing that makes Bangkok more preferable and attractive for tourists is that the place is very economical.
A good long holiday in the capital wouldn’t break the bank and you will get back home with a very relaxed and fresh mind. In this guide, we will tell you about the top 10 things or activities that you must do when you are in Bangkok.
Top 10 Things to Do in Bangkok
If you are into history and want to visit at least one historic place in Bangkok then it has to be the Grand Palace for sure. The royal place lives up to its name. It has got amazing structures that could even put the most innovative royals to shame. The Grand Palace is also the home of Wat Phra Kaeo. It houses the Jade Buddha. The palace was built in 1782 and it remained the royal residence for many generations. It is still currently used for different critical ceremonies and also for accommodating different visits from the head of states.
If you are going to this palace then make sure to dress with modesty. This means that you must cover your arms and legs when in the vicinity of the palace. Make sure that you are not wearing any kind of sloppy attire. A half-day sightseeing tour of the palace makes the best deal. You may visit it in the morning or afternoon. Many hotels in Bangkok offer pickup for the tour. A local guide usually accompanies you on these guided tours so that you could make the most of your time in the palace. It is normally seen that people without a guide miss out on important attractions or they fail to understand the relevance of the place. Therefore, having a guide on such tours always works.
Thai food is famous throughout the world where you happen to see these Thai restaurants and their dishes in different countries of the world. Therefore, when you are in Bangkok then how could you miss having their food right from the best Thai chefs. This is one of the best activities to do in Bangkok for sure. It is really up to you to explore and find your most desirable place. The options of having the best food in Bangkok are endless. A lot of tourists find their street food to be the best one. It is not just tasty but quite economical too.
Good and popular Thai meals found in the streets would cost you $1 to $2 maximum. You don’t have to travel too much for it as these hawkers with the best dishes are found almost everywhere in the city. It is almost impossible to be in the city center and walk in any direction and find a street with no food stall. The most popular area for Thai food stalls is in Silom Soi 20. It is a place where you will not enjoy Thai cuisine but also some of the most spectacular global dishes that are cooked in Thai style. An entire family in this area could eat food to their fullest for $6 on average. A lot of tourists are seen flocking to Bangkok only for trying more and more of the Bangkok street food.
Thai massage is very common in Bangkok. There are massage spas found almost in every corner of the city, rather than the entire country. Their traditional Thai massage has a fame all around the world. There are many tourists to Bangkok who have Thai massage right at the top of their to-do list. So, if you are the first time Bangkok then goes to a nice massage spa nearby within the first few days of your visit. If you miss this experience then you will be regretting this for a long time.
These spas could be found in the city center within the luxurious retreats. They could also be found in the sky-high buildings where you could relax and get a good view of the city. If you happen to visit a beach nearby then the massage experience there would be incomparable to any other facility in the city. The Wat Pho mentioned below is the most famous place for Thai massage in Bangkok.
Apart from being home to the reclining Buddha, it is also the home of traditional Thai massage and medicine. A typical Thai massage is usually known for lasting for a couple of hours. It could cost you anywhere between 300 to 500 Baht. If you are interested in foot massage only then it may cost you 300 to 400 Baht for a session of 40 to 50 minutes. If you are having the same massage in a 5star type of facility then you can simply triple the price, if not more.
Vat Pho is a must-visit place for anyone coming to Bangkok. This is where you will find the reclining Buddha which has a 15 meters tall structure. The width of this sculpture is 46 meters. If you just talk about the feet of the Buddha then it is above five meters.
The entire sculpture is packed with gold leaf. It looks incredible when you see it closely. Inside the temple, you will find a unique thing in the form of 108 pieces of bowls. While you are finding your way through the passage to reach the place where the Buddha sculpture is located, you will be able to buy the coins from there for the bowls.
It has a history behind it as Buddha is known for completing 108 positive actions before gaining perfection. Although there are plenty of other places in Bangkok to get a Thai massage, this place can also facilitate tourists with the same. The masseur finds there are the best in the world and the message they give will have a long-lasting impact. So, if you come here then it is highly recommended to get the famous and traditional Tai massage from here. You might find yourself coming again to this place for the same.
This place is of the triumphant complex which has a history dating back to the battles in ancient times. Its significance is between the wars of former Siam and Burma. This fell to the Burmese while Ayutthaya got reduced to ashes and rubble.
However, it was General Taksin and the other survivors who promised to march until they see the sun again and also to build a temple on the spot. This is why it is named Wat Arun which means the temple of the Dawn. It is also the place where the later king also made his royal palace here along with a private chapel.
If you visit there and go to the Prang’s top just ahead of the sunset then you will be rewarded with a mesmerizing view when the sun tries to skin over the glorious Chao Praya River. Even if you are not planning for any sort of climbing there then still the sunset is the best time to visit the place which will take you into its magical spell. This is a lovely place to take some photographs and your Thailand trip album would surely be dominated with the maximum pictures taken of this venue. This is a place good enough for spending three to four hours and to be visited in the later afternoon or early evening.
Wat Traimit, The Golden Buddha Temple
Sheer luck is what makes this Wat Traimit so special. The East Asiatic Company in the 1950s purchased a good chunk of land around this temple. One condition that was put in the sale agreement was to remove the statue of Buddha. But, this Buddha statue proved to be too heavy to be moved with the crane being used. The cable pulling the statue broke and it dropped on the floor.
It was left in that position overnight where it fell. It was the rainy season. Some monks who walked past it the next morning were able to see some glint of gold through the plaster. The coating was then decided to be removed and it brought out 3.5 meters of Buddha having 5.5 tons of gold. So far, all the attempts made in tracing the Buddha have failed.
But, it is assumed to have originated from the period of Sukhothai. It was the time when the marauding invaders threatened the entire country and all of the treasures it had. It then became a very regular practice to conceal the figure of Buddha beneath the plaster. No one has any idea that how it reached Bangkok but that’s where it stands today. It is available for all the admiration for tourists from all corners of the world.
If you are in Bangkok then you are open to so many sightseeing opportunities throughout the city. The best way to enjoy this is through the Sky Train. This in itself is a great opportunity for people not only to commute to the different parts of the city but also to enjoy the ride itself.
It is an air-conditioned train that will help you to stay cool during your commute in Bangkok which could be hot in several months of the year. In most of the journey, you will be well above the traffic below which will give you a panoramic view of the city. Adding further to your convenience, the train in most cases takes the direct route and that helps in saving time for the travelers.
The majority of the tourist attractions of the city are connected with it and you can never get anything better than this in Bangkok. The tourists enjoy this ride a lot. Experiencing this is a must at least once when you are in the city. Once you are on this Sky Train then you will surely be clicking a lot of photos while seeing the entire beauty of the city outside with a top view and also enjoying the luxury of the train.
When you are at one of the busiest squares of the town near the Wat Suthat, you will see some incredible sights of the city along with a giant swing as well. This is a 27 meters high swing that will surely catch your attention.
It also has a rich history behind this one as it was constructed in 1700. It was planned to be employed for the traditional Brahmin ceremonies. The swing got damaged much later due to lightning and since then, it is only used for decorative and sightseeing purposes. This is used as the focus of the religious ceremonies that are held in December of every year. It comes after the harvesting of rice is done. Teams are made of three who take turns to balance over a very narrow board.
They swing as much as 25 meters or even more at times off the ground and going up to heaven. From the high point, the team members attempt to get hold of a bag filled with golden coins using their teeth. A lot of fatal accidents happened and King Rama VII banned this content in the year 1932. The place although is still loved by the tourists and it is one of the finest landmarks of Bangkok.
This is the semi-outdoor sprawling weekend market of Bangkok which is also the largest of the world in the category. Tourists in this market could easily find everything from religious icons to jewelry to paper lamps to pet supplies and some delicious street food as well. This market is home to more than 15000 stalls that offers just about anything that you could think about.
This is also a place from where the tourists buy multiple souvenirs for their loved ones and also for themselves to be taken as a memory of the place to their home. This market is also considered as a great place where you can mingle with the locals and could also make yourself a part of the daily life of the Thai people.
It is advised to arrive early at this place and spend your entire day here. This is the only way to do justice with this place. This market is just next to the famous Kamphaengpecth Station (MRT) and only five minutes walk from the Mochit Skytrain Station.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
The floating market concept in Thailand is quite famous and this near Bangkok is the best. It is located in Ratchaburi which is at a distance of 1.5 hours just outside the city of Bangkok. It was the popularity of this very market that helped Bangkok to gain the title of “Venice of the East”.
These floating markets for quite some time have become extremely touristic creativities. Therefore, you must not expect to have a highly exclusive morning for doing all your different types of sopping by boat. However, you will be able to buy some excellent and fresh food items from here, do the sightseeing and interact with the locals of the place.
You need to reserve one whole day of your trip to Thailand if you want to enjoy this place. A lot of day tours are arranged by different tour operators in Bangkok. They pick you from your hotel in an air-conditioned coach and allows you good enough time to see the place properly. You also get a chance to know details about the place and its history through the guide that will accompany you all the time while you are in this market.
Video Credit: Laura Reid
Your trip to Bangkok, Thailand will be incomplete if you miss out on any of the above-mentioned places or activities in the capital. Understandably, people according to their nature and liking have specific preferences. But, the things recommended here in Bangkok are suitable for the majority of the people. The places have visits of tens of thousands of tourists everywhere from all parts of the world.
There could be some seasonal activities that are a possibility only during a specific season. You may arrange this list in your order of preference so that you do the most desirable activities first. Finally, if you can do 80% or 8 out of 10 activities then you can consider your trip to Thailand a complete, successful, and enjoyable one.
You can also read Best Time to Travel to Vietnam in the Asia category.