20 essential places to visit in Bangkok
Suan Pakkad Palace
Suan Pakkad Palace (“Cabbage Patch”) was the former residence of Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Chumbhot of Nagara Svarga and is located on Sri Ayutthaya Road. Prince Chumbhotpong Paripatra and his wife converted the palace into a museum that opened to the public in 1952 making it Thailand’s first museum. The museum complex is composed of five traditional Thai pavilions, which displays antiques such as the 4,000-year-old Ban Chiang pottery and other magnificent collection of artifacts. On the walls, there are stunning drawings with gold leaves that illustrate stories of Ramayana and the Buddha. One of the museum’s pavilions, The Lacquer Pavilion, is over 450 years old.
Hours: daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission: Foreigners: ฿100 per person — locals:฿50 per person
Bangkok’s Street Food Stalls
Do not dare leave Bangkok without trying the cuisine! Local vendors are everywhere selling must-taste treats that provide you with a genuine taste of Thailand. Try out dishes like pad Thai, Thip Samai, mango sticky rice, Thai chicken with cashews, pork, Thai crepe, steamed fish snack, oyster omelet, stir-fries, roast pork belly, curry, sausages, steamed crab, and barbecue, among many other gastronomical delights.
Visit Grand Palace and Wat Pra Kaew
Situated at the heart of Bangkok is a building complex called The Grand Palace—the official residence of the Kings of Siam (Thailand) and the royal court since 1782. And on the palace grounds, make sure that you visit Wat Prakeaw, which houses the Emerald Buddha—one of Thailand’s greatest antiquity.
Hours: daily from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily
Admission: ฿500 per person; an additional ฿100 for audio guides (available in English, German, Spanish, French, Mandarin, Russian, and Japanese)
The Giant Red Swing
This religious Thai structure is another popular tourist attraction. The Giant Swing was constructed by King Rama in 1784, and then renovated and moved to its current location, Phra Nakhon District, in 1920. You should also check out the surrounding important tourist places like the Wat Suthat Thep Wararam, Sarn Choa Po Seu, and Lan Kon Mueng. Also one of Bangkok’s top 20 photo opportunities – check the other photo opportunities not to be missed in Bangkok.
Wat Arun is one of Thailand’s most important and popular landmarks to visit in Bangkok is well known throughout Southeast Asia. It was constructed in the ancient Khmer style during the first half of the 19th century. The stupa displays stunning elaborate floral pattern decorated in glazed porcelain, but it’s most popular feature is the Temple of Dawn, where the first light of the morning reflects off the surface of the temple, projecting spectacular iridescence.
Hours: daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Admission: ฿20 per person
The Chao Phraya River and Waterways
Take a picturesque tour of the river and waterways on the Chao Phraya Express Boat. It’s a great way to explore Bangkok sights like water-taxis, riverside luxury hotels, cafes, shops, sparkling temples, old settlements and stilt houses. Truly, it’s the most accessible way to get around Bankok’s most famous tourist destinations.
Khao San Road
Khao San Road is the ultimate melting pot of East and West and was originally labeled as the backpacker mecca. However, today the road is visited by all types of tourists. You can enjoy its wide selection of restaurants, eclectic shops, cocktail bars, hotels, entertainment, cheap accommodations, silk bars, hip music, and a neon-splashed nightlife. There’s definitely something for everyone here. If you want to stay on Khao San Road, be sure to check out Mad Monkey Hostel Bangkok! We are but a five-minute walk from the craziest road in the city.
Jim Thompson’s House
Within Jim Thompson’s House’s charming complex of Thai-style teakwood houses lies his artistic and cultural legacy. With over 20,000 visitors each year, you will experience a guided tour provided in Thai, English, Japanese, Chinese, and French. Enjoy Southeast Asian contemporary and traditional art, such as Chinese blue-and-white Ming pieces, a dining table that was once used by King Rama V, Belgian glass, Burmese statues, Cambodian carvings, and Victorian chandeliers. Jim Thompson was an American and a one-time spy who famously restored the Thai silk industry and saved it from extinction. He mysteriously disappeared in 1967 while on vacation in north-central Malaysia. There are compulsory guided tours around the house.
Hours: daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Admission: adults: ฿150 — students (under 22): ฿100
Wat Pho and the Reclining Buddha
Aside from the gigantic reclining Buddha or the traditional Thai massage, there are more reasons to visit Wat Pho. Wat Pho, a Buddhist temple complex in Phra Nakhon, also has a landscaped garden with fascinating stone sculptures; and a remarkable collection of murals, inscriptions, and sculptures, which depict an impressive range of subjects including astronomy.
Hours: daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Bangkok’s Floating Market: Damnoen Saduak
Yes, this is the leading floating market, the original, the century-old, the pioneer of all floating markets. Hire a boat from any pier along Th Sukhaphiban 1 and bask in authentic Thai culture. Upon request from food vendors, get served with “boat noodle” and seafood treats!
Yaowarat Road in Chinatown
This is mandatory in your itinerary. This area is a kaleidoscope of colors: vibrant and rich; truly a feast to the eyes. Take advantage of Chinatown’s lively and bustling experience as you weave your way through a narrow labyrinth of exotic market stalls, old shop houses, gold shops, glittering temples, and Thai cuisine. And if you happen to be around during the Chinese New Year, or the Vegetarian Festival, you will definitely experience Chinatown during its most unforgettable and spectacular time of year.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Behold one of the largest weekend markets in the world! With over 15,000 market stalls over 27 acres of land, it’s no wonder that around 200,000 tourists visit the place on a typical weekend. Delight in an exciting range of goods like clay handicrafts, amulets, wooden furniture, garden plants, ceramic wares, flowers, plants, and silk.
Described as an “arts oasis” by TIME magazine, the Patravadi Theatre —located on Arunamarin Road— is a chic and sophisticated riverside complex of art spaces. There is a theater overlooking the Grand Palace, restaurants, café galleries, and gift shops where you can watch avant-garde, modern and classical performers.
The Temple of the Golden Buddha
Wat Traimit is a majestic temple that houses a solid-gold Buddha image. It is speculated to date back from the 13th century. The golden Buddha is now sheltered in the new four-story marbled structure and features detailed descriptions of the history of the statue.
The highly unique temple is castle-like with 37 black metal spires. Located at the intersection between Ratchadamnoen Klang and Maha Chai Road in Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok, it was built under the order of King Nangklao (Rama III) in 1846. The temple was patterned after a temple in India and Sri Lanka and called the Metal Castle or the Loha Prasat. The complex also offers a splendid view.
National Museum and Wang Na Palace
The Bangkok National Museum, located near the Grand Palace, displays the largest collection of Thai art and artifacts. The museum also exhibits Chinese weapons, Khon masks, woodcarving and traditional musical instruments from around Southeast Asia. There is also gold treasure, precious stones, puppets, ceramics, clothing, and textiles.
Ananta Samakhom – The Throne Hall
Known as Bangkok’s own Champs Elysees, its neo-classical Renaissance architecture is a sight to behold. The two-story white marble palace is open to the public with arts and crafts exhibits to enjoy. Since this is a royal property, a semi-formal dress code is expected from tourists, and no photographs are allowed inside. The prestigious place is also used to court visiting dignitaries, head state council meetings, and throw royal celebrations.
If you are a nature lover then Lumpini Park is the perfect place for you. You can cruise the calm waters of the artificial lake, lounge in the peaceful park, or bask under a shaded tree or a Chinese pagoda. The park is a popular place for joggers and cyclists.
Hours: daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
This is not just your ordinary shopping mall—as it resembles an airport terminal, and every floor of Terminal 21 is designed as an international city. Find yourself in Paris on one floor, then Tokyo on the next…it’s like traveling around the world, but in a mall! Who wouldn’t want that? Check out our complete guide to shopping in Bangkok if that is your thing.
Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall
Learn about Thailand’s history during the Rattanakosin Era (1972 onwards) through a multimedia exhibition. The hall has seven chambers and was formerly a vintage, art-deco building. Now it has an observation room overlooking the historic Ratchadamnoen Klang Road, Metal Castle and Golden Mount. You can enjoy a delightful variety of interactive exhibitions here, which includes a 4D experience of the Grand Palace and an animated story on the legend of the Emerald Buddha.
Hours: Tuesday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. | Saturday and Sunday from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Admission: ฿200 for adults — ฿50 for children
More Information About the Best Things to see and do in Bangkok
We only recommend writers and blogs that we read regularly and believe will deliver substantial value to our readers that may be considering visiting Bangkok. The following is our pick of current articles we think are worth reading about when visiting Bangkok.
- The Extremely Useful Travel Guide for Bangkok by Chiam Huiy for Celine Chiam
- A guide to Bangkok for Shenny Yang
- 16 Reasons to Love and Visit Bangkok Once Again for Food Hunter Seth Lui
- Bangkok Food Guide for Bangkok Glutton