With its frenzied urban sprawl, humid climate and crowded traffic, Thailand’s capital can be at first a pretty overwhelming city for its visitors. From its never-ending traffic and pollution to its billboard-covered buildings, the city has a fair share of possible disappointments and frustrations. But, as soon as you’ve scratched the surface, you’ll find a wondrously diverse hub with hospitable locals, a vibrant arts scene, lively festivals and a medley of colorful markets. Furthermore, there are so many insanely fun things to do in Bangkok that won’t cost you a lot of money. Yes, you can have a blast in of the world’s most dynamic and popular capitals, even if you’re not as rich as business tycoon.
Headed to Thailand’s capital, but don’t know what to do in Bangkok? Guess what? We’ve listed down over a dozen of fun things to do in Bangkok, to help you plan the ultimate getaway to this electric metropolis.
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1. Watch the sun set beautifully over Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
Wat Arun is certainly one of the most visually appeasing and top things to do in Bangkok. Although it looks awesome up close, I suggest that you head across the river, and gaze on the majestic temple, as the sun sets. And, if you don’t mind spending a few bucks, enjoy a snack or a drink at a waterside restaurant, such as the Deck by River, while watching the sunset.
2. Be mesmerized by Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
A visit to Wat Pho is an absolute must for anyone visiting Bangkok, Thailand. Billed as one of the best things to do in Bangkok, Wat Pho wows its spectators with its dazzling and gigantic Reclining Buddha, measuring 46 meters long and 15 meters tall. Covered in gold leaf, this statue is nothing short of awe-inspiring, especially when viewed up close. Known as the country’s earliest center for public education, it also flaunts a large and impressive collection of Buddha images. To top it all off, the temple complex is the headquarters for education of Thai massage and medicine.
3. Pay homage tothe Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew
The Grand Palace will likely be on every first time visitor’s list of things to do in Bangkok. And that’s because the grand and elaborate complex once served as a home to a multitude of Thai rulers, their royal courts as well as numerous government branches, including treasury and defense departments. Even though the government or royalty hasn’t resided in this complex for centuries, it hasn’t visitors from making a detour.
As you venture the walls of the Grand Palace, you’ll discover countless of ornate structures featuring a beguiling blend of European-style and Thai architecture. The palace’s most famed site, however, is the Wat Phra Kaew temple – home to the sacred emerald Buddha statue.
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4. Hit Sea Life Bangkok
Traveling with your kids? Then, make sure to include a stopover to Sea Life Bangkok to your list of things to do in Bangkok. Not only is it one of Southeast Asia’s largest aquariums, but it also offers a relaxing break from the crowds and heat of the outdoor attractions in Bangkok. In addition, the aquarium boasts a plethora of intriguing diversions, like the glass-bottom boat ride through the shark tank, and an underwater tunnel. Of course, it houses tons of different marine life and fish species, including penguins, seahorses and octopus.
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5. Pay a visit to Dusit Zoo
Speaking of child-friendly attractions, you might want to include a layover to Dusit Zoo to your list of things to do in Bangkok, Thailand. For more than 60 years, Thailand’s oldest zoo has been appeasing guests with its wide range of animals, including kangaroos, penguins, tigers, lions, alligators and monkeys.
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6. Eat your heart out at Chinatown Market
One of the must-try things to do in Bangkok, for foodies, is to venture into Chinatown and hunt for tasty culinary treats. As you explore the old market, you’re going to find some of the city’s best tasting Thai food offered at a fairly affordable price. From the ostentatious like Peking duck to the obscure like bird’s nest soup, there are tons of dishes to delight your taste buds at Chinatown Bangkok.
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7. Explore Khao San Road
While many call it a tourist trap, visiting Khao San Road is still one of the top things to do in Bangkok. Aptly nicknamed as a “backpacker’s paradise”, Khao San Road has a laid-back and fun atmosphere, especially at night, thanks to the wordy tourists and welcoming locals.
What’s more, it offers plenty of cheap and cushy accommodations for those traveling to Bangkok on a budget. On top it all off, you can find practically everything in this small yet well-known street in Bangkok, from handicrafts and cheap goods to backpacker essentials.
8. Chill out at rooftop bar in Bangkok
Looking for relaxing things to do in Bangkok, after a day of sightseeing? Why not unwind at one of the easygoing rooftop bars in Bangkok? With a visit to any of these Bangkok bars, you get to enjoy views of the stunning sunset as well as glittering skyline of the city, adding an element of romance to your trip. Plus, you’ll feel like the downtown’s hustling vibe is a distant hum from these bars in Bangkok.
9. Be enthralled by MahaNakhon Building
No list of the best things to do in Bangkok is complete without a visit to its tallest, grandest and newest skyscraper – MahaNakhon Building. Revered for its geometric complex architectural design, the building adds a more futuristic flavor and twist to the city’s dynamic skyline. With an amazing elevation of 314 meters, MahaNakhon Building is indeed a hypnotizing landmark and a breathtaking centerpiece in Bangkok’s skyline. And once you set foot inside this towering wonder, you’ll get to feast your eyes on a fabulous mishmash of interior decorations.
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10. Visit Lumpini Park in Bangkok
Searching for things to do in Bangkok that won’t cost you a fortune? For everyone’s favorite price of zero dollars, you can soak up some fresh air, and relax behind the city’s skyline at Lumpini Park. With a tranquil lake, flourishing bushes and leafy tropical trees, the park offers a refreshing and delightful change of scenery in the Thai capital. As an added bonus, the park offers a handful of attractions and diversions as well, including practicing tai chi, taking a picnic, walking leisurely and boat paddling on the lake.
11. Snap a photo of the Ministry of Defense
The Ministry of Defense usually doesn’t make the list of things to do in Bangkok, for most tourists headed to the city. Still, it has an impressive old architecture that will unleash your inner shutterbug.
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12. Hit Bangkok National Museum
When planning a trip to this city, don’t forget to include a visit to Bangkok National Museum to your list of things to do in Bangkok. Offering an encompassing overview of Thai history and art, the museum houses a collection of exhibits summarizing the beautiful history of the country. Trust me, you’ll have a better grip of the local culture as well as a greater appreciation for the things to do in Bangkok, after your visit to this treasure trove.
13. Watch a live Muay Thai fight
A lot of visitors in Thailand hope to catch a real Muay Thai match before leaving the “Land of Smiles”. Unfortunately, tickets can be a bit expensive, leaving hopeful fight fans left to imagine what these matches actually look like. But fear not, as there are free Muay Thai fights at MBK on Wednesdays from 6 to 08:30 in the evening.
14. Experience the grandeur of Thailand’s old capital
Whether you’re taking a solo bike trip or a group tour, visiting Ayutthaya should be on your Bangkok travel itinerary. Drenched in culture and history, Ayutthaya will sweep you away with its picture-perfect temples and ruins, such as Wat Phra si Sanphet, Wat Mahatgat, Wat Na Phra Men, Wat Suwam Dararam, Wat Thammikarat, Sanphet Praset Palace and Phom Phet.
15. Pamper yourself with a relaxing Thai Massage
There’s no better way to end a perfect day of sightseeing in Bangkok than a refreshing Thai Massage. And, as the birthplace of this old healing art, there’s literally no shortage massage parlors and spas in Bangkok. For an affordable Thai massage treatment, make your way to Ruen Nuad by Convent Road. As you visit this spa center, you get to indulge on a no-frills massage treatment with a simple menu consisting of a foot massage, Thai massage and one with aromatic oils.
16. See a Siam Niramit Theatre Show
Home to the world’s highest stage, this Guinness World Record holder can accommodate around 2,000 guests as well as occupy over half of the entire theatre space. As you visit this theatre, you’ll see three fascinating acts – Thorough Joyous festivals, Journey Beyond Imagination: The Three Realms and Journey Back into history. Deemed as a spectacular world-class show, it is by far one of the top things in Bangkok, for theater lovers and history buffs. For around 80 minutes, the show highlights Thailand’s cultural treasures, customs and history through scintillating performances.
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17. Swing by Jim Thompson House
A visit to Jim Thompson House should be a front-runner to your list of things to do in Bangkok. Owned by a famous American architect and businessman, this house is home to an impressive collection of exhibits, highlighting Thai architecture and art. And, with the Thompson’s mysterious disappearance, the house becomes an even more alluring and intriguing museum for those visiting Bangkok.
18. Ice skating in Bangkok
Want to beat the city’s heat? I suggest that you include ice skating to your list of things to do in Bangkok! In Bangkok, you’ll find a handful of operators offering a unique ice skating experience combining a rink with a karaoke and a night club in a freezing environment.
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19. Take a tuk tuk ride
Riding a tuk tuk is, without a doubt, one of the ubiquitous things to do in Bangkok. Get ready for speedy ride with a few flashing lights, bumps and a face full of fumes. A word of advice before you hop on a tuk tuk, determine the price since there’s no meter in these rides.
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20. Climb the Sathorn Unique Tower
As soon as you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the bustling capital of Thailand. As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the best offbeat things to do in Bangkok, Thailand.
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21. Shop and eat your way around Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak Weekend Market is a feast for the senses and something that should be on your bucket list of things to do in Bangkok. Wander through the market’s seemingly endless maze of vendors that sell everything from furniture and pottery to clothing. And, don’t forget to savor some tasty dishes and snacks from any of the food stalls within the market.
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22. Shop until you drop at Siam Paragon
With over 200 shops housing trendy international brands, Siam Paragon is a paradise for high end shoppers. As a matter of fact, it even has showrooms for leading car manufacturers like Lamborghini and Ferrari, making it a visit here one of the top things to do in Bangkok for car enthusiasts. And, even if you’re not a wealthy shopaholic, you can still have a swell time in this vast shopping mall, thanks to a huge multiplex cinema, a humongous aquarium and loads of restaurants.
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23. Eat street food
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24. Be a part of a water fight on Songkran
Celebrated every April, Songkran is an extraordinary and fun-filled traditional Thai New Year festival that will literally get you wet. In Buddhism, it is believed that sprinkling water during the festival will wash away your bad luck and sins. Today, this tradition has turned into a mind-blowing water fight that the entire nation gets involved in.
25. Check out Bangkok Art and Culture Center
For modern art connoisseurs, spend at least an hour browsing the displays inside Bangkok Art and Culture. Although it’s still a work in progress, it’s nonetheless a magnificent building full of art galleries, bookstores, cafes and art library. Additionally, there are rotating exhibits in larger spaces that spotlight both international and Thai artists, meaning there’s something always new and special going on this building.
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26. Drop by Erawan Shrine
Built as a shrine, this Brahmin temple is designed to pay homage to Brahma – the four-faced Brahmin God. People come to this shrine to pray and see its intricate designs. In addition, the shrine will entertain you with its Thai lion dance performances.
27. Experience the floating markets in Bangkok
You can’t leave the city without experiencing one of the top things to do in Bangkok – cruising on a floating market. For years, these markets have turned into sought-after attractions in Bangkok, luring travelers with its cornucopia of colors, aromas, sounds and sights.
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28. Cruise the Chao Phraya River
See the “Venice of the East” from a unique point of view by taking boat ride along the Chao Phraya River. From wooden sacks to skyscraping condominiums and ritzy hotels in Bangkok, there are so many enticing sights on this boat ride.
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29. Party the night away
Are you a party animal on the lookout for electrifying things to do in Bangkok? You’re going to love every minute of trip in Bangkok at night. When the sun goes down, the city turns up the volume and energy. Famed for its vibrant nightlife scene, the city has a fascinating and lively collection of hip cocktail bars, amazing rooftop bars and nightclubs. For a memorable night out in the city, swing by some of the most beloved night spots in Bangkok, like Patpong, Khao San Road and Soi Cowboy.
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