Bangkok is a feast for the senses. The colors, the sounds, the smells are inspiring and full of possibility. Unlike the country excursions I went on in Chiang Mai, Bangkok is dense and intense and has everything you could want at your fingertips, from beautiful accommodations to exotic food stalls to serene boat rides through the canals. Below is what to do in Bangkok, my favorite experiences that I’ve had there so far. If I’ve missed your favorite please share it with me in the comments so we can learn from each other! And see more of my Thailand photos on Instagram.
|What To Do In Bangkok|
Best time of Year
There is a lot of discussion about the “high” season and “low” season in Thailand, and many prefer the season when it is less rainy, between October and April. Weather during this period is mostly cool and pleasant with light breeze, but the vegetation isn’t as lush and green. I went during the low season when it was more humid, hot, lush and green and had far fewer tourists. I preferred this because there were better deals to be had and because I didn’t have to navigate mobs of tourists.
Recommended Number of Days
4 days is plenty of time to explore this bustling city. You will also have time to hire a driver for some day trips in the vicinity.
Recommended Number of People
2 people is ideal in my opinion because it allows for nimble exploring and adventure, slipping in and out of food stalls, tea houses and long boats.
Thailand Tipping Policy
Tipping for good service is not expected but is always appreciated in Thailand. It is customary, though not compulsory, to tip tour guides and drivers at the end of a tour. Hotel and station porters should also be tipped a small amount.
Guide or Driver Tip: About THB 100 per day per person
Porters: THB 50 for luggage
Meals: 5-10% on top of the bill
Private Driver and Tours
EXO Travel is a wonderful tour company that will help set you up on many excursions with a private guide and air conditioned car to take you around. It is worth it.
Eat, Drink, Stay, See, Acquire
- Anantara Siam is a beautiful hotel with so many offerings — two wonderful restaurants, a grand lobby with a decadent afternoon tea, a breakfast fit for a queen, and a luxurious spa where you can get an excellent massage. You can even relax poolside after a day exploring the city.
Eat + Drink
- Take a Food Tour in bustling Chinatown and sample the many types of culinary delights, from Chinese dumplings to peppered pork noodles, Chinese donuts, mango coconut sticky rice, fried scorpions on a stick, durian fruit, and so much more. Some of these food stalls even have Michelin stars and it is well worth spending several hours exploring them.
- Stop off at a traditional tea house to rest, they will turn tea drinking into an art form which is very inspiring to watch.
See + Do
- Take a long-tail boat through Bangkok’s canals to discover the city’s ways of life and iconic monuments. Start with a ride along the Chao Phraya River, also known as ‘River of Kings’. Admire the passing skyline and glittering pagodas in the shadows of towering skyscrapers. You will see why Bangkok is called ‘Venice of the Eat’, while cruising along the intricate network of canals. You will see glimpses of small villages on the water’s edge and enjoy the slower pace of life away from the city center. Be sure to stop off and feed the fishes bread along the way, it is good luck and a local will gladly sell you a loaf of bread at a specific stop along the journey, your boat driver will know where to go if you ask them.
- Visit the glittering Grand Palace which has been the seat of Thailand’s revered Royal family for more than two centuries. Before leaving, pay a visit to the Emerald Buddha, one of Thailand’s most sacred statues. Note that very strict dress is required to visit temples and palaces, no shorts, mini-skirts, tight pants, sleeveless shirts or vests or sandals are allowed. No matter how hot it is! They will make you buy clothing from them to enter if you are not dressed to their standards.
- Travel away from Bangkok’s city center for a visit to local markets and countryside neighborhoods. Take a one-hour drive and stop at a local railway station where a bustling country market called Maeklong Railway Market has sprouted up along the tracks. As a train pulls into the station, witness the vendors quickly clearing their stalls off the railway. Then, after the train departs, watch them set up shop and resume business as usual.
- From Maeklong Railway Market head to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market which remains one of the best examples of a traditional floating market, despite the fact that it sells mostly items for tourists these days. For visits on Saturday and Sunday, try visiting the less touristy floating market Tha Kha. Take a paddle boat ride at the market and pass by an old section entering into a labyrinth of quiet canals. See houses built alongside the waterways and catch glimpses of local life in this rural Thai province.