2024 BANGKOK TRAVEL GUIDE with Sample Itinerary & Budget

2024 BANGKOK TRAVEL GUIDE with Sample Itinerary & Budget

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If backpacking were a college degree, Bangkok would have to be the 101 course.

Not only is Bangkok the the most visited city in the world, it also considered the global epicenter of backpacking culture. The famed Banana Pancake Trail, perhaps Asia’s most used travel route, often starts and ends in the Thai capital. No shock there, given that it sits at the heart of mainland Southeast Asia, boasts affordable prices, serves delicious local cuisine, and is home to some of the most hospitable people you’ll ever meet. Best of all, even during the pandemic, it remains tourist-friendly.

We have just arrived from our ninth — yes, 9th — Bangkok visit, and in this article, we’ll share with you all the tips and latest updates we’ve collected.

ESSENTIAL BANGKOK LINKS

Before we dive into the details, here’s a list of links to some of our recommended hotels, tours, attractions, and other must-haves, for easy reference in the future.

Top Bangkok Hotels Find Deals on Agoda! Top Day Tours on Klook Ayutthaya Day Tour Floating Market & Railway Market Tour Pattaya Day Tour Transportation Passes BTS Rabbit Card BTS One-Day Pass Internet Connection Data SIM Card Pocket Wifi

WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?

UNDERSTANDING BANGKOK

Bangkok is the capital and the commercial, economic, and political center of Thailand. The name Bangkok is an exonym, something that foreigners use. Thais call it Krung Thep (meaning City of Angels), short for its official name Krung Thep Maha Nakhon , which is also a shortened version of its full, ceremonial name: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.

At first glance, Bangkok appears as your typical highly-urbanized metropolis, but a closer look reveals it remains very much in touch with its past. The city’s roots as the capital can be traced back to 1782, when King Rama I, after the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767, ordered the people to move south and establish a new center at a more militarily strategic location along the Chao Phraya River. Many of Bangkok’s most visited attractions today were built under King Rama I, including the Grand Palace complex and the other temples that will be discussed in the guide.

Bangkok on a Budget

Here are a few more facts you need to know:

  • Language : Thai. For newly exposed non-native speakers, it can be quite intimidating, especially its lengthy words. It’s also a tonal language, i.e. the meaning changes with the tone. But many road and establishment signs are also written in Latin alphabet. English isn’t normally spoken. You’ll encounter taxi drivers and vendors who cannot speak English. But most younger locals can. And what the Thais lack in English fluency, they make up for with their friendly attitude toward tourists.
  • Timezone: UTC+07:00 (ICT – Indochina Time), year round. No daylight saving time observed. Same time zone as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Thailand, in general, is one hour behind the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia.
  • Currency : Thai Baht (THB, ฿). TTHB100 is roughly USD 2.89, EUR 2.72, SGD 3.9, PHP 161 (as of December 2022).
  • Modes of payment : Cash. Although some restaurants and hotels accept credit cards, smaller establishments prefer cash.
  • Religion: Buddhism is the predominant religion, practiced by almost 93% of the population. Most others identify with Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Confucianism.

WHERE TO STAY IN BANGKOK

Best area to stay.

Bangkok is a vast city, and many of the key attractions are spread apart. Thankfully, there are also plenty of neighborhoods that are ideal places to stay. What’s best depends on why you’re in Bangkok in the first place.

Bangkok Best Area to Stay

  • If you’re on a budget , SIAM and SILOM have a good selection of hostels and budget hotels, especially the areas around BTS National Stadium Station or MRT Ratchathewi in Siam and BTS Sala Daeng and MRT Si Lom in Silom. From any of these, most of the attractions easily accessible, ensuring savings on transportation. Cheap food spots are also scattered around these districts.
  • If you’re backpacking or after Bangkok’s wild nightlife, the KHAO SAN area should be your top choice. Khao San Road is loud, but it is where backpackers from around the world congregate. The area also harbors countless hostels and other lodging options for budget travelers. It’s also easily accessible from the Grand Palace and the city’s popular temples.
  • If you’re here to shop ’til you drop , the PRATUNAM and SIAM areas are ideal because of the many bargain centers and shopping malls around.
  • If you wish to experience modern Bangkok, the SUKHUMVIT area has a lot of dining, shopping, and clubbing options, including many of its famed rooftop bars. It’s also where most expats are based, creating a more cosmopolitan vibe.
  • If you’re a foodie , SILOM and CHINATOWN are home to some of the best but affordable food spots in the city. Silom is the business district with the Lumphini Park, Bangkok’s largest green space, at its center, ensuring a balance between quiet and chaos. The BANGLAMPHU area (near the Democracy Monument and Khao San Road) also has a great selection of Michelin-listed pocket-friendly restaurants.

All these areas are conveniently located because there are BTS/MRT stations nearby. Well, almost. The only exception is KHAO SAN / BANGLAMPHU, which is a 30-minute walk away from the nearest BTS Station (Sam Yot) . But Khao San is close to a pier, where you can board a boat to get to key attractions along Chao Phraya River. Other than that, tuktuk and taxi are the main transportation options to and from Khao San. That said, I can still recommend staying there, especially if you wish to have a taste of Bangkok’s backpacking culture.

If you prefer to stay somewhere easily accessible, the SILOM and SIAM areas are my top recommendations. Both have a number of BTS/MRT stations and offer a little bit of every thing that the other districts have to offer — good food, shopping, and nightlife.

Top Budget Hotels & Hostels in Bangkok

Here are some of the top-reviewed hostels and budget hotels on Agoda that won’t break the bank:

Daraya Hostel

  • Tamni , near Hua Lamphong Station & Chinatown. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
  • Daraya Hostel , Siam. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
  • Siam Eco Hostel , Siam. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
  • Kinnon Deluxe Hostel , Silom. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
  • HOSTEL URBY , Chinatown. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
  • Baan Kun Mhor Hostel , Chatuchak. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
  • LOBSUEK Hostel หลบศึก โฮสเทล, Khao San Area. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
  • VIX Bangkok @ Victory Monument. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
  • Lub d Bangkok Siam Hostel , Siam. Check Rates & Availability! ✅

Top Mid-Range/Upscale Hotels in Bangkok

If you have a bigger budget, here are the top properties on Agoda:

ASAI Bangkok Chinatown

  • Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok, Siam/Silom. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
  • Carlton Hotel Bangkok , Sukhumvit. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
  • Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Bangkok , Sukhumvit. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
  • Old Capital Bike Inn , Khao San area. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
  • Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit. Check Rates & Availability! ✅
  • ASAI Bangkok Chinatown . Check Rates & Availability! ✅
  • Ago Hotel Chinatown. Check Rates & Availability! ✅

Search for more Bangkok Hotels

THEPOORTRAVELERKLOOK

HOW TO GET TO BANGKOK

Bangkok is one of the busiest and most connected cities in the world. If you’re living in a major city, chances are, there’s a direct flight from where you are to Bangkok.

Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok

The city is served by two airports:

  • Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) , the newer and bigger airport, serving most airlines, except a few low-cost carriers. It’s situated east of the city proper, roughly 1 hour away.
  • Don Mueang Airport (DMK) , serving mostly AirAsia, Nok Air, Thai Lion Air, and TigerAir Taiwan. It lies north of the city center, 45 minutes to 1 hour away, depending on traffic conditions.

Manila to Bangkok

If you’re flying from Manila, it’s easy to find direct, non-stop flights to Bangkok as multiple airlines operate this route. As of this writing, here are your options:

TO SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT (BKK)

  • Philippine Airlines
  • Cebu Pacific Air
  • Thai Airways

TO DON MUEANG AIRPORT (DMK)

  • Philippines AirAsia

Travel time: 3.5 to 4 hours.

For our most recent visit, we flew with Philippine Airlines for many reasons:

  • 30 kg check-in baggage allowance. Most other airlines only provide 20kg. Although we had been to Bangkok many times before, this would be the first time we intended to go shopping here. Bangkok is a retail paradise, so bargain hunters can easily have a field day at any of their shopping centers. It turned out to be a great decision because we really did use almost the entire 30 kg.
  • FREE rebooking. There were a lot of uncertainties about this recent trip. When we booked our tickets, we still weren’t decided yet on how long we wanted to stay in Thailand. It was a multi-city trip and we weren’t sure if we also wanted to visit Chiang Mai and Koh Samui. We wanted more flexibility, just in case. As of this writing, PAL doesn’t charge additional rebooking fees if the new flight is within 60 days after the original flight. (But double check first because airline policies change often these days.) Fare difference still needs to be settled, though.

HOW TO GET TO DOWNTOWN BANGKOK

Just in case you missed it, Bangkok has two airports: Don Mueang Airport (DMK) , located 25 km north of the city center, and the new Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) , 30 km west of the city center.

We’ll be creating a more detailed guide about this. But here’s a condensed rundown of the ways to get to downtown Bangkok from either airport.

Suvarnabhumi Airport to Bangkok City Center

The AIRPORT RAIL LINK is the fastest way to get to the city proper because you’ll be dodging Bangkok’s infamous traffic jams. You can find the station at the basement of the airport’s passenger terminal. There’s a train every 15 minutes from 6am to 12 midnight (every 10 minutes within the peak hours).

It’s connected to the city’s BTS Skytrain at two stations: Makkasan (฿35) and Phayathai (฿45), the last station. Travel time: around 25 minutes.

Depending on where your hotel is located, you can switch lines.

  • To SUKHUMVIT or SILOM Area: You can connect at either Makkasan or Phayathai Station. Find out the station closest to your hotel and transfer to either the MRT Blue Line at Makkasan Station (then to Petchaburi Station) or to BTS Sukhumvit Line (Light Green Line) at Phayatai Station.
  • To SIAM Area: Alight at Phayathai Station and transfer to BTS Sukhumvit Line (Light Green Line). Catch a train bound for Kheha. Get off at Siam Station (or whatever station is closest to your final destination).
  • To VICTORY MONUMENT Area: Connect at Phayathai Station and transfer to BTS Sukhumvit Line (Light Green Line). Catch a train bound for Kho Khot. Alight at Victory Monument Station.
  • To KHAO SAN Area: Alight at Makkasan Station, transfer to MRT Blue Line at Petchaburi Station, and get off at Sam Yot Station. From here, take a cab, tuktuk or Grab to Khao San.

By Taxi or Grab

Suvarnabhumi Airport Taxi Bangkok

If you’re a group or if you have heavy luggage in tow, consider taking a cab or book a Grab car straight from the airport (especially if you’ll be staying Khao San area). If you opt for a taxi, always insist on using the meter.

Travel time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

TAXI RATES: Fare: around ฿400 Airport surcharge: ฿50 Highway toll fees: ฿75

GRAB RATES: ฿530 and ฿600, inclusive of toll fee or highway fee. This is based on the experience of our team.

Don Mueang Airport to Bangkok City Center

According to reports, the Don Mueang Airport was finally connected to Bangkok’s train network in August 2022. I say “according to reports” because we haven’t tried this ourselves yet.

From the airport, you can walk to the Don Mueang Station, along the SRT Dark Red Line . Board the train bound for Bang Sue and alight there, at the last stop. Transfer to the MRT Blue Line.

  • To SILOM Area: Most stations in Silom are along the Blue Line, so just get off at the station closest to your hotel.
  • To SIAM Area: Alight at Chatuchak Park Station and transfer to BTS Sukhumvit Line (Light Green Line) at Mochit Station. Catch a train bound for Kheha. Get off at Siam Station (or whatever station is closest to your final destination).
  • To VICTORY MONUMENT Area: Connect at Phayathai Station and transfer to BTS Sukhumvit Line (Light Green Line). Catch a train bound for Kheha. Alight at Victory Monument Station.
  • To SUKHUMVIT Area: The Sukhumvit area has a lot of stations that are either along the MRT Blue Line or the BTS Sukhumvit Line (Light Green Line). If the closest station to your hotel is along the Blue Line, it’s going to be easy because you’re already on the same line. If your hotel is closer to a Light Green line, alight at Chatuchak Park and transfer at Mochit Station. Then, board a train bound for Kheha.
  • To KHAO SAN Area: Alight at Sam Yot Station (along the same Blue Line) and take a cab, tuktuk or Grab to Khao San.

If, for whatever reason, you do not like taking the train straight from Don Mueang Airport, you can also take the bus and the switch to BTS/MRT. And follow the steps above.

There are direct buses from Don Mueang Airport to select destinations around Bangkok.

  • To MOCHIT BUS TERMINAL: Bus A1
  • To BTS MO CHIT STATION: Bus A1
  • To VICTORY MONUMENT: Bus A2
  • To BTS RATCHADAMRI STATION: Bus A3
  • To LUMPHINI PARK: Bus A3
  • To KHAO SAN ROAD: Bus A4

Fare: ฿30-50 , depending on route

To see the complete list of stops, visit this page .

If you want a more straightforward journey, consider taking a cab or book a Grab car straight from the airport (especially if you’ll be staying Khao San area).

Travel time: 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic Fare: around ฿540 (including ฿50 airport surcharge)

If you opt for a taxi, always insist on using the meter.

POCKET WIFI AND DATA SIM CARD IN BANGKOK

Thailand Data SIM Card

Data Sim Card

This is the cheapest and most convenient option. Klook has two main options: TrueMove and dTac. Both offer:

  • 15GB data for up to 16 days
  • Internet connection anywhere in Thailand
  • Inclusive of FREE call credits
  • Pickup at Suvarnabhumi Airport or Don Muang Airport

✅ RESERVE TRUEMOVE DATA SIM HERE!

✅ RESERVE DTAC DATA SIM HERE!

Pocket Wifi

If your phone is locked to your home network or you have more devices to connect, you can rent a pocket wifi. You’ll find many wifi rental booths around Bangkok, but if you want to stay connected from the get-go, you can reserve one in advance via Klook and just pick it up at the airport, either at Don Muang Airport or Suvarnabhumi Airport.

If you’re coming from Manila, you can also get one at NAIA Terminal 3. Either way, they can accommodate up to five devices at one.

✅ RESERVE POCKET WIFI – BANGKOK PICKUP!

✅ RESERVE POCKET WIFI – NAIA PICKUP!

HOW TO GET AROUND BANGKOK

Pratunam Bangkok

The Thais have their own address system and first timers in Bangkok can be easily disoriented. Wikitravel explains it really well: “Large roads such as Silom or Sukhumvit are thanon while the side streets branching off from them are called soi. Sois are numbered, with even numbers on one side and odd numbers on the other side. Thus, an address like 25 Sukhumvit Soi 3 means house number 25 on the 3rd soi of Sukhumvit Road.”

Although it is not as sweat-free as in Hong Kong or Singapore, commuting in Bangkok is quite easy. Vehicular traffic can get crazy during rush hour though. But if you’re used to the giant parking lot that runs across Manila called EDSA, you’ll be fine in Bangkok (or any other Southeast Asian city for that matter).

Getting around via public transportation means using one or more of these four modes:

Chao Phraya River Ferry Service

  • Train (BTS Skytrain/MRT) . Bangkok’s train system is fast and reliable, and will take you to many attractions throughout the city. I always find myself taking the train most of the time because many attractions are located close to a station. Also, it allows me to bypass traffic jams especially during rush hours. Although connected at a few stations, the BTS and the MRT are completely separate systems, run by different managements and use different tickets. The fares for both are similar, ranging from 16 to 52 baht. Most stations have a counter than can break your large bills and a ticket machine that accepts bills. For a more convenient journey on BTS, use a Rabbit Card (stored-value ticket) or a One-Day Pass (unlimited rides for 1 day).
  • Boat . The two boat services operating in Bangkok are the Chao Phraya Express Boat, which plies up and down the Chao Phraya River and is popular among tourists for it stops at many of the city’s most popular landmarks; and the Saen Saep Express Boat, used mostly by locals who commute to work. The Chao Phraya boat is the best option for you if you intend to visit the Grand Palace complex (at Tha Chang) and Wat Pho (at Tha Tien), and Khao San Road (at Phra Athit) within one day! Both the Chao Phraya TOURIST BOAT and the cheaper ORANGE-FLAG BOAT will make a stop at these key tourist attractions. Fare: tourist boat, ฿50 single ride or ฿180 for day pass; orange-flag boat, ฿15 flat rate.
  • Taxi/Grab . If my destination is too far from a train or boat station, I would just hail a cab. A ride costs more than in Manila but nowhere near the rates in Hong Kong or Singapore. The flagdown is 35 baht and the average ride within the city is probably around 100. You might encounter cab drivers who take advantage of tourists by not using the meter and then overcharging. If the driver refuses to use the meter, just get off the vehicle. Know that all cabs in Bangkok must use the meter. Many of these drivers wait for tourist passengers at the popular attractions like temples and Khao San Road.
  • Tuktuk. I didn’t even bother. They are very expensive, even more expensive than cabs, and many (not all, but it’s hard to know) are involved in scams. If you really want to try for the heck of it, just agree on the price first.

THINGS TO DO IN & AROUND BANGKOK

Before we enumerate the many attractions waiting for you in Bangkok, allow us to introduce KLOOK PASS BANGKOK & PATTAYA . This ticket will give you up to 45% discount. The pass is valid for 30 days upon confirmation.

How it works is simple. With this pass, you’ll have access to a number of attractions. You get to choose how many and what these attractions will be. The first step is to choose how many attractions you want your pass to cover and purchase the pass. Once paid, you can go to the BOOKING section or your app or account, and redeem it. Say, if you purchase a 3-attraction pass, you can book up to 3 attractions from the list. Some attractions might also require you to reserve afterwards.

Here are the attractions in Bangkok and Phuket that you may choose from:

Mahanakhon Skywalk

Siam amazing park.

  • Safari World
  • SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World
  • Madame Tussauds Bangkok
  • Pororo Aquapark
  • Sanctuary of Truth
  • Dream World
  • Frost Magical Ice of Siam
  • Underwater World
  • Ancient City Museum
  • Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
  • Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha
  • Wat Pho & Wat Arun Walking Tour
  • One More Thai Massage
  • Chao Phara Princess Dinner Cruise
  • Alcazar Cabaret Show
  • Tiffany’s Show
  • Bangkok Hop on Hop Off Bus

✅ CHECK RATES & GET PASS HERE!

How much you save depends on what you book. Regardless of the attractions you use it on, the price of the pass remains the same. So what we recommend is to use this pass on pricey attractions.

Here are examples on how you could save using this pass:

Klook Pass Bangkok Price Comparison

Grand Palace and Temples Tour

Bangkok Temples

If you’re fit and you enjoy walking, you’ll be glad to know that many of the city’s key attractions are located within walking distance of each other. For example, Bangkok’s most popular temples and shrines, Chinatown, and even Siriraj Forensic Museum are easily accessible from the Chao Phraya River and can be easily visited in one day.

How to get there : If you’re from Silom, Siam or Sukhumvit areas, take the train to Saphan Taksin Station. Take Exit 2, and walk to the boat terminal. Buy a ticket and board a boat to either Tha Thien or Tha Chang. Boat fare is ฿50 if you board the tourist boat or ฿15 if orange-flag boat.

Here are the usual stops:

  • Grand Palace. A complex of structures, pavilions, and courtyards including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The entrance fee also includes admission to “Khon: Thai Classical Masked Dance”. Boat stop: Tha Chang Pier (No. 9). Opening hours: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM (Ticket counters close at 3:30 PM). Entrance fee: ฿500.
  • Wat Arun. Probably the most recognizable landmark in Bangkok with a 70m tall spire (called prang). Boat stop: Tha Thien pier (N8) and then cross the river on a smaller boat. Opening hours: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM Entrance fee: ฿100, inclusive of bottled water.
  • Wat Pho. Famed for the enormous reclining Buddha that it houses. Boat stop: Tha Thien pier (N8) and then walk up the perpendicular road to Wat Pho. Opening hours: 8:00 AM-6:30 PM Entrance fee: ฿200, inclusive of bottled water.

Dress Code : The rule is to have your shoulders, knees, and heels covered. The following are not allowed:

  • Shorts, short skirts, mini-skirts, tight fitting trousers
  • Torn trousers/pants
  • Sando, vests, sleeveless shirts
  • See-through shirts

The management used to rent out pants to inadequately dressed tourists, but perhaps because of the pandemic, they only sell those now for ฿200 apiece.

Although it’s completely possible to pull this off DIY-style, it’s still much more recommended to join a guided tour so you have better appreciation of each site. These are historic and cultural landmarks that hold so much significance for the Thai people. You can book a guided tour on Klook, which includes all entrance fees, boat transfer fee, insurance, and the service of an English-speaking guide.

✅ CHECK ITINERARY & BOOK HERE!

Floating Markets & Railway Market

Klook Markets Tour

Aside from its ornate spires and temples, Bangkok is also best known for its floating markets. But the truth is, these boat-navigated markets are actually located outside the capital. Two of the most accessible are:

  • Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi Province
  • Amphawa Floating Market in Samut Songkhram

A visit entails boarding a small boat as you negotiate the market canals. Plenty of souvenir and food options around!

Another market that has been attracting throngs of tourists is the Marklong Railway Market. Yes, railway, because it’s set up along the train tracks. And when a train chugs along, watch and be amazed by how the vendors make way for it. You can also spend an hour chilling at a railway cafe.

Klook has tours that combine Maeklong Railway Market with either Damnoen or Amphawa Market — your choice. There are several departure times available so choose the most convenient for you.

✅ CHECK RATES & OPTIONS HERE!

At 314 meters tall, King Power Mahanakhon is one of Thailand’s tallest buildings, housing a hotel, residential units and tourist attractions. From the outside, it looks like a pixelated skyscraper, a design that easily captivates. Inside, a multimedia elevator will take you to the highest outdoor observation deck in the country, allowing a magnificent view of Bangkok and surrounding areas.

Mahanakhon Glass Walk

But most visitors are here for the Skywalk. Atop the building is an area with a glass floor that you may walk on, creating a nerve-wracking but pretty mind-blowing experience.

You need to wear the shoe covers provided onsite before you’re allowed to step on it. And mobile phones (and other loose items) are NOT allowed within the glass tray area. This means that you won’t be able to take a selfie while on the glass. If you’re after photos, best to visit with someone else. Or if you’re traveling alone, make friends with other solo visitors and just take photos of each other.

Location: 114 1 Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra Road, Bang Rak, Bangkok Nearest Station: Chong Nonsi BTS Station Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday, 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM (Mahanakhon SkyWalk); Entrance Fee: Mahanakhon SkyWalk (Indoor & Rooftop) – Adult, ฿836; Child (3-15 y/o), ฿250; Senior (Above 60 y/o), ฿250.

Only a limited number of tickets are sold per day, so it’s best to book in advance. You can reserve online via Klook! You can also check out other Mahanakhon experience package options and choose the one that suits your preference.

✅ RESERVE A TICKET HERE!

Bangkok Nightlife

Bangkok Nightlife Khao San Road

No Bangkok trip is complete without getting a taste of its (in)famous nightlife. We already mentioned Khao San Road , the backpacker mecca. It is crowded, loud, and wild. Thunderous music from nightclubs and the delicious smell of street food fill the air, while tourists fill every vacant seat, table and corner.

Aside from Khao San, Bangkok has several other nightlife districts! Most clubs and bars are safe, but as in any other major city, not all. Scams targeting tourists do exist at some establishments. You’ve probably heard about tourists entering a bar and then not being allowed to leave without paying a hefty price for a ridiculously overpriced drink.

If you want to try Bangkok nightlife and make sure you’re in good hands, you may join a guided tour. Klook has two main options: a bar hopping tour , more like a pub crawl, and a Hangover tour , where you get to visit the bars featured in The Hangover 2 movie (including a ping pong show)!

✅ JOIN HANGOVER TOUR HERE!

✅ BOOK BAR HOPPING TOUR HERE!

Dream World Bangkok

Bangkok has its fair share of theme parks, too! And on top of that list is Dream World , a 25-hectare adventure park featuring over 40 rides, shows, and other attractions, spread around four key zones!

Some of the most popular rides are the cable car, Sky Coaster (rollercoaster), Tornado, Vikings (pendulum ride), and Grand Canyon (water rapids)!

Dream World Bangkok

ENTRANCE FEE

  • Dream World Visa (26 rides with unlimited time per ride EXCEPT Alien, Bump Car, and Haunted House, which can be enjoyed once only): ฿600
  • Dream World Super Visa (includes all the rides for unlimited time): ฿1,000
  • Children below 90cm : FREE
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Saturday – Sunday, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. The schedule might change, so it’s best to check updated opening hours before going. Location: 62 Moo 1, Rangsit-Ongkharak Road (Km.7), Thanyaburi, Pathum Thani How to Get to Dream World: From Victory Monument BTS Station, take Bus No. 523 or 538 to Dream World.

Dream World is very popular even among locals, so you might want to book your ticket in advance to skip the line. You may also add transfers.

✅ GET SKIP-THE-LINE TICKETS HERE!

The Siam Amazing Park is the largest theme park in Thailand and is home to the largest wave pool in the world (according to the Guinness World Records). You can also enjoy exhilarating rides including Southeast Asia’s first suspended looping coaster with five inversions and the 7-story water slides.

Siam Amazing Park

Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. The schedule might change, so it’s best to check updated opening hours before going. Entrance Fee: Adult, ฿1000; Child, ฿850; Children below 101cm, FREE. Location: 203 Suan Sayam Road, Khan Na Yao, Bangkok How to Get There: From Victory Monument BTS Station, head towards Ko Din Daeng Bus Stop via the circular skywalk, then take Bus No. 168 or 36ก to Siam Amazing Park.

Visitors must purchase their tickets at least one day in advance. You can book online via Klook! You can also choose the package — combine your ticket with an international lunch buffet or combine it with both lunch and shared transfer.

✅ GET DISCOUNTED TICKET HERE!

Ayutthaya Day Tour

Ayutthaya

Founded in the 1350s, Ayutthaya was Siam’s old capital before it was destroyed by the Burmese. Today, however, parts of its glorious past still shine through, especially at the Ayutthaya Historical Park, where four major temples stand up to this day: Wat Mahathat, Wat Phra Ram, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, and Wat Ratchaburana – the Royal Palace and Wiharn Phra Mongkol Bophit. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.

Lying about 80 km from Bangkok, it is easily accessible and can be visited on a day trip. You can do this independently by taking public transportation and then hiring a tuktuk to tour you around. (We’ll write a separate post about it.) But if you need a guide and you want someone else to take care of everything for you, you can book with Klook.

✅ SEE OPTIONS & RESERVE HERE!

Pattaya Day Tour

Pattaya is another popular day trip destination from Bangkok, thanks mainly to its proximity, just around 150 km and roughly 2.5 hours away. The closest major beach destination to the capital, it is best known for water sports, island tours, and beach activities. But it also harbors some cultural structures like Wat Phra Yai Temple and the Sanctuary of Truth.

Pattaya Koh Larn Thailand

Jump-Off Point: Bangkok Eastern Bus Terminal/Ekkamai Bus Terminal or Mo Chit Bus Terminal (Bus); Hua Lamphong Railway Station (Train) How to Get to Pattaya: By bus, go to Bangkok Eastern Bus Terminal, then take the bus bound for Pattaya. The travel time is about two and a half hours. The one-way fare is ฿130-200 per person. By train, go to Hua Lamphong Station and get on a train to Pattaya. The travel time is 2-3 hours, depending on the type of train. The fare is ฿30-฿300, depending on the ticket class. The train for Pattaya normally leaves early in the morning — around 6:00 AM.

If you want a convenient roundtrip transfer between Bangkok and Pattaya, you can just join a guided tour. Klook offers Pattaya Beach and Koh Larn Coral Island Full Day Tour from Bangkok. This covers roundtrip transfers, an English-speaking guide, a Sanctuary of Truth ticket, insurance, and bottled water.

✅ CHECK RATES OR RESERVE HERE!

Muay Thai Match

If you’ve ever wanted to witness a live muay thai match, there’s no better place to make that happen than Bangkok! The two common venues are:

Muay Thai Match

  • Lumpinee Boxing Stadium 6 Ramintra Road, Anusawaree, Bangkok
  • Rajadamnern Thai Boxing Stadium 1 Ratcha Damnoen Nok Road, Bangkok

You can secure your slot in advance and get discounted ticket by booking online through Klook!

✅ GET LUMPINI STADIUM MATCH TICKET HERE!

✅ GET RAJADAMNERN STADIUM MATCH TICKET HERE!

Other Attractions:

Bangkok Chinatown

  • Siriraj Medical Museum . Not for the faint of heart! Also known as the Museum of Death, it houses a huge collection of artifacts gathered in the 120 years of the Siriraj Hospital’s service as a pioneer in the medical field in the country. These pieces are divided into seven smaller museums dedicated to parasitology, anatomy, and forensic science among others. It’s a must-visit for dark tourism enthusiasts and those who simply wish to learn more about these fields. How to get there : Board the SkyTrain to S6 Saphan Taksin Station, take Exit 2, and hop onto a Chao Phraya Express Boat to Siriraj Pier N10 or Tha Rot Fai Pier, both on the west side of the river. Walk a couple of blocks into the hospital complex. Follow the signs to Adulyadej Vikrom Building. The museum is on the second floor. More info : Siriraj Museum
  • iconSIAM . Opened in 2018, this massive shopping mall is one of the largest in Asia. It is bursting with retail shops including luxury labels and budget-friendlier options, and the first Takashiyama Department Store in the country. But it’s best known for its indoor floating market, mimicking those in nearby provinces and showcasing local products and cuisine. Nearest Station: Charoennakorn Station (Sky Train Gold Line via Krung Thon Buri BTS Station) or Saphan Taksin BTS Station (then ferry from Sathorn Pier to IconSIAM) Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday, 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM.
  • Bangkok Chinatown . Popular for its shops, especially near Charoenkrung Road. But there are also temples around the district. To be honest, it’s not as grand or as visually arresting as Chinatowns in other countries, unless you visit during the Chinese New Year, when the district really comes to life. How to get there: Take the Skytrain to S6 Saphan Taksin Station (BTS Silom Line), take Exit 2, and walk to the boat terminal. Buy a ticket and board a Chao Phraya Express Boat. Alight at the Ratchawong Pier (N5) and make your way on foot from Ratchawong Road to Sampeng Lane and Yaowarat Road.

WHERE TO SHOP IN BANGKOK

Here are some of the best areas to satiate your inner shopaholic! We’ll be creating a separate, more detailed article about these spots in another post.

Platinum Mall Bangkok

  • Pratunam . Bangkok’s most popular shopping district. Between its busy alleys are even busier blocks filled with indoor and outdoor stalls selling mostly apparel and accessories. Smack at the heart of the area stand two massive malls — Platinum Shopping Mall and the Paladium World Shopping — both filled to the brim with bargain finds. Most of these specialize in wholesale, they also sell in retail quantities. How to get here : Take the MRT to Ratchaprarop Station and walk south from there. It should take around 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can also take the BTS Skytrain System and get off at Chit Lom Station.
  • Chatuchak Weekend Market . If your visit in Bangkok falls on a weekend, squeeze this into your itinerary. This retail paradise is a labyrinth made of shops, once popular only to wholesale traders but eventually became a favorite attraction among tourists. Here you’ll find almost anything you can think of: from souvenirs to flowers to clothes to furniture to street food! Prioritize this over Pratunam. We found that most of the items in Pratunam are also sold here at a cheaper price. (That said, I think Pratunam has a much more diverse selection when it comes to apparel.) Nearest BTS Station: Mo Chit Station, take exit 1.
  • Siam Square . Made more popular to foreigners as the shooting location for the hit movie The Love of Siam, Siam Square does not disguise itself with pretenses of being culturally significant. It is a shopping and entertainment district. Yet, if you think about it, it somehow represents a generation — a younger, more industrialized, more fashionable Bangkok. Catering mostly to college students and young adults, Siam Square comprises several blocks harboring a wide array of stores — over a hundred of ’em — apparel stalls, boutiques, bookshops, record stores, restaurants, cafes, even cinemas. How to get here : Take the BTS Skytrain System and get off at Siam Station.
  • Ratchada (Train Night Market) . The colorful rows of tent stalls of Ratchada (New Rot Fai Market) will absolutely fill your stomachs with its wide selection of affordable Thai cuisine and international dishes— snacks, street food, sweets, exotic delicacies, and milk teas! The market also offers affordable clothing, accessories, shoes, and many more! Nearest Train Station: Bangkok MRT Thailand Cultural Centre Station. Take Exit 3, then walk towards Esplanade Mall. Ratchada is located just beside the mall. ⛔️ Opening Hours: As of this writing, Ratchada Night Market remains temporarily CLOSED!

WHERE TO EAT IN BANGKOK

We’ll be creating a more detailed version of this article soon. But in the meantime, here’s a quick rundown of our favorite places to eat in Bangkok.

Bangkok Restaurants

  • Thipsamai , where we had the best pad thai of our lives. It’s said to be the first store to serve the now ubiquitous noodle dish. It uses thinner rice noodles coated in shrimp oil. Michelin bib gourmand awardee Address: 313 315 Maha Chai Rd, Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand Bestsellers: Pad Thai, ฿105; Pad Thai with prawns: ฿150 Open: 10AM – 12MN for takeaway only; 5PM – 12MN, dine in & takeout
  • Jeh O Chula (Jay Oh) , for the best affordable tom yum noodle soup! It’s crazy popular that queuing can take up to 2 hours, unless you arrive early. We arrived past 4pm, just in time for the opening. But barely 5 minutes after we arrived, the line grew quickly. If you could, reserve a table via Klook. Those who book with Klook have a separate line, which is much shorter. Reserve here! ✅ Michelin bib gourmand awardee Address: 113 ซอย จรัสเมือง Rong Muang, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand Bestsellers: Tom yum mama (spicy tom yum noodle soup), plain ฿150, with meatballs, squid, shrimps and crispy pork belly, ฿300; salmon salad, ฿300. Open: Daily 4:30PM-12MN
  • Polo Fried Chicken , another Michelin-recognized establishment just across Lumphini Park in Silom area. It started out as a humble street stall but grew to become a proper eatery serving only a few Thai favorites. Address: 137/1-3,9 10 Sanam Khli Alley, Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand Bestsellers: Fried chicken half, ฿130; som tam (papaya salad) with salted egg and dried shrimp, ฿80; pork larb/laap (spicy sour minced meat salad), ฿80. Operating Hours: Daily 7am-8:30pm
  • Moo Yang Mae Sumontha , a hidden stall inside Chatuchak Market serving moo yang (grilled pork). But its version is roasted honey glazed, which is incredibly tender, succulent, and properly cooked. Address: 587 โครงการ 22 ซอย 4 /2ตลาดนัด จตุจักร 10 Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Chatuchak, Bangkok Bestseller: Roasted honey glazed pork, ฿60 per 100g. Open: Weekends 8AM-6PM
  • Kuang Heng Chicken Rice , established 1932. If you get hungry while shopping around Pratunam, this is the place to refill that empty tummy! It’s located just next to Platinum Mall and across the street from Palladium. Address: 930 Phetchaburi Rd, Makkasan, Phaya Thai, Bangkok 10400, Thailand Bestsellers: Hainanese chicken and deep-fried chicken, ฿50 (single); chicken/pork satay, ฿80 per 10 sticks. Open: Daily 7am-10pm
  • Jay Fai , with one Michelin star and featured on the Netflix series Street Food . It’s so incredibly popular that we still haven’t been able to try it. It doesn’t accept reservations beforehand, so you need to show up and fall in line early to be considered for the waitlist. We attempted three times but the waitlist was always full by the time we arrived. Nevertheless, I’m adding it to this list so you could try it for yourself. Address: 327 Maha Chai Rd, Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand Bestsellers: Hainanese chicken and deep-fried chicken, ฿50 (single); chicken/pork satay, ฿80 per 10 sticks. Open: Wednesday-Saturday, 9am-9pm Closed: Sunday-Tuesday

USUAL PRICES IN BANGKOK

Below is the list of the prices of common items that you will need for a comfortable budget stay in Bangkok! Bear in mind that the figures are in Thai Baht.

FAST FOOD & CONVENIENCE STORE

  • Bottled water (500ml): ฿6-12
  • Bottle of softdrink (550ml): ฿20
  • 7-Eleven rice meal: ฿40-55
  • Big Mac (McDonald’s): ฿128

STREET FOOD

  • Grilled meat: ฿10-30 per stick
  • Pad thai: ฿50-60
  • Noodle soup: ฿50-70
  • Rice meals: ฿50-100

ENTRANCE FEES

  • Grand Palace: ฿500
  • Wat Pho: ฿200
  • Wat Arun: ฿100
  • Siriraj Medical Museum: ฿200
  • Mahanakhon Skywalk: ฿836
  • Dream World Bangkok: ฿575
  • Siam Amazing Park: ฿650

TRANSPORTATION

  • BTS/MRT fare: ฿16-52
  • Taxi flagdown rate: ฿35
  • Grabcar within the city: ฿100-280, depending on distance/traffic conditions

TOURS (with Transfers)

  • Maeklong Railway Market + Damnoen/Amphawa Floating Market: ฿1356
  • Ayutthaya: ฿1690
  • Pattaya + Koh Larn: ฿2239

SAMPLE BANGKOK ITINERARY

Here’s a sample itinerary that you may use. We stayed much longer, but if you have only an extended weekend to spend in Bangkok, here’s something to consider.

Note that this itinerary assumes that you’re a party of 2 , splitting some of the costs, and that you’re staying at a hotel in Siam, close to BTS National Stadium Station. Feel free to adjust here and there to match your hotel location, flight schedule, and your travel preferences.

DAY 1: MAHANAKHON SKYWALK & JEH-O-CHULA 01:00 PM – Arrival in Bangkok – Pickup Data SIM Card & Rabbit Card 02:30 PM – Train to Phaya Thai Station ฿45 – Transfer to BTS to Siam, ฿25 03:00 PM – Walk to your hotel, check in, freshen up 04:00 PM – Train to BTS Chong Nonsi Station, ฿28 04:15 PM – Mahanakhon Skywalk, ฿836, Book here! – Chill and wait until sunset 07:00 PM – Train to BTS National Stadium, ฿28 07:15 PM – Walk to Jeh-O Chula 07:30 PM – Eat tom yum set at Jeh-O Chula, ฿350/pax, Reserve here! ! 09:00 PM – Walk or train to Siam, ฿22 09:30 PM – Back to hotel, lights out

DAY 2: DIY TEMPLES TOUR & KHAO SAN ROAD 07:00am – Wake up call 08:00am – Train to BTS Saphan Taksin Station, ฿37 08:30am – Walk to Sathorn Pier 08:45am – Board orange-flag boat, ฿15 09:15am – Get off at N9 Tha Chang Pier 09:30am – Grand Palace Complex, ฿500 10:00am – FREE Tour at Temple of Emerald Buddha 11:00am – Lunch, ฿100 12:00pm – FREE shuttle to Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre 01:00pm – Khon Performance (included in Palace ticket) 01:45pm – Walk to Wat Pho 02:00pm – Wat Pho, ฿200 03:30pm – Boat to the other side of the river, ฿5 03:45pm – Explore Wat Arun, ฿100 05:00pm – Boat to the other side (Tha Thien*), ฿5 05:15pm – Boat to N13 Phra Arthit, ฿15 05:40pm – Walk to Khao San Road 06:00pm – Dinner & drinks at Khao San, ฿400 09:00pm – Taxi/grab to Silom, ฿100/pax *Note: Tha Thien/Tha Tian Pier is temporarily closed for renovation, as of Dec 2022. For now, you may walk all the way back to Tha Chang and catch the boat to Phra Arthit Pier.

bangkok travel tips

Day 4: SHOPPING, DEPARTURE A: If this falls on a weekend 08:00am – Wake up call, check out, leave bags 08:40am – BTS to Chatuchak Park Station, ฿42 09:00am – Shop at Chatuchak Market 11:00am – Lunch at Moo Yang Mae Sumontha, ฿120 11:30am – Continue shopping 02:00 PM – BTS back to hotel, ฿42 02:20pm – Back to hotel, pick up bags 02:50pm – BTS to Phaya Thai Station ฿25 – Transfer to ARL to Suvarnabhumi Airport, ฿45 03:30 PM – Flight check in 06:45 PM – Flight out B: If this falls on a weekday 08:00am – Wake up call, check out, leave bags 08:40am – BTS+ARL to Ratchaprapop Station 09:00am – Platinum + Palladium Malls 11:30 AM – Lunch at Kuang Heng Chicken Rice, ฿120 12:30pm – Continue shopping in Pratunam 02:00 PM – ARL+BTS back to hotel 02:20pm – Back to hotel, pick up bags 02:50pm – BTS to Phaya Thai Station ฿25 – Transfer to ARL to Suvarnabhumi Airport, ฿45 03:30 PM – Flight check in 06:45 PM – Flight out

If you follow this Bangkok itinerary, prepare to shell out ฿5000 (USD 144, EUR 136, SGD 195, PHP 7950) , excluding airfare and hotel but including a bit of allowance for wiggle room and to make up for any possible price adjustments and incidental expenses.

If you spend TH฿600 per night per person on accommodations, the same itinerary will cost you TH฿6800 (USD 197, EUR 185, SGD 264, PHP 10,800) , excluding airfare but with some allowance to cover adjustments and incidental expenses.

(If you’re coming from the Philippines, it doesn’t include the PHP1650 travel tax yet.)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BANGKOK

What are the covid-19-related travel requirements in thailand.

But if your next destination is a country that requires an RT-PCR COVID test (like India and China), travel insurance is mandatory . It must cover the full length of intended stay in Thailand + 7 extra days.

Is Bangkok safe?

My only frustration with Bangkok is that it has more than its share of scams targeting tourists, so always be careful.

What are the common Bangkok scams?

Khao San Road is also rife with scams. You’ll find tourist agents selling all sorts of transportation tickets that turn out to be less than what they promise. For example, you’ll find plenty of “direct buses” to Siem Reap, but most of them are not really direct as they involve switching vehicles at one point during the trip. Worse, some of these buses stop at “travel agencies” that will sell you fake visa.

Patpong is also notorious for scams. You’ll be invited by barkers to a sexy club to see a “pingpong show” or other mind-blowing presentations, to say the least. They’ll say the show is free but you must order a drink. The catch is, the drink is ridiculously overpriced.

As in any other city, be careful and vigilant. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

When is the best time to visit Bangkok?

Bangkok Rainy Months

Bangkok could’ve been a year-round destination if it weren’t for the bouts of rain and flooding problems, which is why it is best to avoid the wettest months.

Rainy season is from May to October, but the wettest months are September-October. We have tried traveling to Bangkok in January, July, August, September, October, and November, and we can tell you that the precipitation level can definitely affect your overall travel experience. We’ve been stranded in some sites because of torrential rains and flooding and ended up wasting much of our time.

What is tipping policy in Bangkok?

When eating at sit-down restaurants, a tip of 10% of the bill should be fine. You can also just round off your bill. For example, if your bill is ฿135, you can leave ฿150. Same with cabs. If the meter is ฿105, round it off to ฿110 or ฿120. At hotels, you can give ฿20-50 to the porter who carries your luggage to your room, depending on the number of pieces. For a massage, tip ฿50. For full-day tour guides, at least ฿200 is alright.

Where to exchange money in Bangkok?

What is the power socket used in bangkok.

Bangkok Electric Socket

Do I need a visa to visit Thailand?

To see the complete list of countries, visit this: List of Visa-Free and Visa-on-Arrival Countries

However, visitors must have the following upon entry:

  • a valid passport (with at least 6 months validity)
  • return or onward ticket
  • at least 10,000 baht per person or 20,000 baht per family or equivalent in other currencies, cash.

It will also help to have a hotel reservation .

Note that if you’re not arriving by air, you’re only allowed to enter Thailand twice per year.

Do I really need 10,000-baht show money at the immigration?

Our team has been in and out of Thailand recently but none of us were asked how much we carry. But it would help to just comply, just in case.

The amount should be 10,000 baht per person or 20,000 baht per family.

It doesn’t need to be in baht. It can be any currency as long as it has the equivalent value.

Updates Log

2024•1•5 – Removed travel insurance for test-requiring next destination as it no longer applies 2022•12•21 – First up

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I stumbled upon your travel blog website and I’m absolutely loving it! Your posts are so informative and inspiring, and they’ve given me some great ideas for my own travels. I especially enjoyed your recent post on Travel blog, and I can’t wait to see where you’ll take us next!

Thanks for sharing your experiences with the world, and keep up the amazing work! I’ll definitely be following along on your adventures.

Ren

Thank you so much for preparing this blog, Yosh!!! I cannot imagine the length of time it took you to lay out this information, so thank you! I appreciate it a lot now that I am in charge of our Thailand itinerary – it’s crazy!

Yosh Dimen

Glad it was helpful. And yes, it takes us days (sometimes, weeks) to produce just one travel guide. But it’s always worth it!

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Bangkok Tourism Guide

Bangkok Tourism Guide

The insider's guide and essential travel planner.

Bangkok, Thailand

A s a gateway to Thailand’s many beautiful islands and beaches, Bangkok has become one of the world’s most visited cities . The Thai capital is a vibrant and frenetic place , offering non-stop action and constantly dazzling visitors with a variety of sights, sounds, and scents. It can be overwhelming, as it assaults the senses with majestic temples, flavorful cuisine and pungent street food, an exhilarating nightlife, and reinvigorating massages. It’s an exuberant and exotic destination with much to explore, from busy roads lined with food stalls and huge shopping malls, to towering skyscrapers topped with rooftop bars offering stunning views and signature cocktails. This is your illustrated guide to planning your most memorable experiences, with insider tips to help you find the real city.

BANGKOK HIGHLIGHTS - 5 REASONS TO GO

1. Fairytale architecture in magnificent temples with some of the world’s most monumental Buddha images. 2. The world’s highest and most spectacular rooftop bars . 3. Some of the world’s biggest street markets . 4. One of the world’s best cuisines and the most varied street food . 5. A world-(in)famous nightlife for all tastes.

First time in Bangkok?

Helpful insider tips to plan the perfect days in the city:.

Bangkok view

The Best Neighborhoods Know where to stay

Bangkok temple

Top 10 Attractions What you must see and do

Bangkok sunset

Bangkok in 1, 2, or 3 Days Suggested itineraries

Bangkok temple

Bangkok Tours The most popular tours and activities

Bangkok rooftop bar

Top 25 Rooftop Bars The world's most spectacular rooftops

Bangkok tuk tuks

Transportation Know how to get around Bangkok

Advance planning -- know before you go.

WHEN TO GO : Bangkok is a year-round destination, but its tropical climate is more pleasant at different times of the year. No matter when you go, it will be hot and humid, but the cooler days are between November and January (December is the coolest, with average high temperatures reaching 26°C/79°F). Take an umbrella between May and November, as that’s the unpredictable rainier season, but it will still be warm and the rains rarely last more than one or two hours at a time. The highest temperatures happen between March and May, with April being the hottest and most uncomfortable month (the average high is 35°C/95°F). The peak tourist season is December and January. In April you’ll catch the Thai New Year celebrations, while in May you’ll see candlelight processions around important temples, marking Buddha’s Enlightenment. Another major event is the Golden Mount Fair in November, with performances and processions at the foot of the Golden Mount .

VISAS : Citizens from the United States, Australia, and most of Europe can enter Thailand without a pre-arranged visa. You’ll be allowed to stay for 30 days, but those wishing to stay longer can acquire a 60-day tourist visa from a Thai embassy or consulate prior to arrival. You should do that about one month before your departure date.

BOOKINGS : You should book your hotel about three months in advance for the most popular luxury or boutique hotels , especially if you’re staying in December or January. Not only will you have a better chance of getting the preferred room, you’ll also have the best rates. If you’re interested in a tour , book it one week before. If you’re wondering where you should book your room, see our guide to the best neighborhoods to stay in Bangkok .

HOW MANY DAYS IN BANGKOK ? Although many people stay in Bangkok for just two or three days, before or after the Thai beach resort experience, it’s not uncommon for visitors to extend their time to as much as one week or more. You can see the main sights in just two days, but, with its many rooftop pools and bars, spas and massages, Bangkok is also a city for relaxation and pampering, not meant to be rushed. For the full experience, plan at least five days in the city.

WHAT’S NEW IN BANGKOK IN 2022?

The COVID-19 pandemic has put many projects on hold around the world, including in Bangkok, but there are still new attractions in the city to enjoy in 2022. Despite the devastating effects of the pandemic on the travel industry, Bangkok has inaugurated two major new hotels, both located in the same compound on the riverfront. Those are the luxurious Capella Hotel and the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok . Also new is Paradise Lost, a tropical-inspired and eco-friendly rooftop bar at the design hotel Siam@Siam . Then there’s the city’s ever-expanding transport network. After the new stations of the MRT (the underground metro), which now offer faster connections to popular neighborhoods like Chinatown and the Old City (and they are some quite beautiful stations, especially Wat Mangkon Station, which is decorated with traditional Chinese motifs), come new stations for the BTS Skytrain, although these are on the northbound Sukhumvit line, outside the typical tourist areas. The MRT has also introduced Thailand’s first underground museum, at the Sanam Chai station. It’s a free and very informative exhibition, with artifacts unearthed during the station’s construction, mostly related to the area’s ancient palaces.

OFFICIAL BANGKOK TOURISM OFFICE

BangkokTourismGuide.com has everything you need to plan your visit to Bangkok. Written by tourism experts, it offers complete and unbiased information, and is entirely independent, not associated with any local business, organization or institution. It’s an insider’s guide which you may print, creating a guidebook to take around the city with you. In case of any last-minute doubts when you arrive, look for the official tourism office at Suvarnabhumi Airport, open 24 hours on the arrivals floor. In the center of the city, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has a tourist office on 1600 New Phechatburi Road, close to the Phetchaburi station of the MRT subway and the Makkasan station of the Airport Rail Link.

Bangkok Guide:

Bangkok accommodation.

Top 10 Hotels

Luxury Hotels

Budget Hotels

Boutique Hotels

Design Hotels

Central Hotels

Hotels with Pool

Hotels with Views

Riverfront Hotels

Romantic Hotels

Family-Friendly Hotels

Airport Hotels

Bangkok Attractions

Top 10 Temples

Floating Markets

River Cruises

Parks & Gardens

Romantic Bangkok

Massages & Spas

Gay/LGBT Bangkok

Bangkok Transportation

Getting Around

Airport Transportation

Bangkok Neighborhoods

Siam & Ratchaprasong

Silom & Riverside

Covid-19 Pandemic in Bangkok and Thailand - Travel Advisory

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22 Best Things to Do in Bangkok, Rooftop Bars and Ancient Temples Included

Here's how experts recommend exploring Thailand's capital.

bangkok travel tips

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One of the most exciting and energetic capital cities in the world, Bangkok is the perfect gateway for travelers ready to take a deep dive into the beauty, history, culture, and traditions of Southeast Asia. The frenetic metropolis may cause a bit of sensory overload, but getting into its rhythm is part of the adventure. Built along the Chao Phraya River, modern-day Bangkok is an amalgamation of culture, ethnicities, architecture, and even time periods. It's entirely possible to pass a 400-year-old temple on one corner and a tech-forward, 21st-century shopping mall on the next. It's a city where street food mingles with Michelin-starred restaurants, and top-rated, modern hotels stand next to antique wooden houses. The energy of Bangkok is a heady mixture of ancient traditions, swirls of incense, the sizzle of chilis on cast-iron woks, an explosion of colorful flowers, flashes of neon, and endless honking from sputtering tuk tuks. It's a city that will ensnare the senses and hook you from the very beginning. "You cannot go to Thailand and not see the capital," says Grant Ekelund, senior travel consultant with InsideTravel Group Ltd, and a Travel + Leisure A-List Advisor. "Even if you want to spend all of your time at the beaches or up in the mountains, you cannot understand those parts until you understand Bangkok — until you've gone down the klongs, wandered the roads, seen the temples, grabbed the street food, and interacted with people. It's just a dynamic and interesting city, and you're selling yourself short if you don't spend time there." But where to begin? With so many wonderful things to do in Thailand's capital, we've spoken to experts to narrow down the list. Read on to discover the best things to do in Bangkok.

Visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

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In a city with no fewer than 400 temples, it can be a daunting task to try to determine which ones to visit. That said, if it's your first time in Bangkok, experts agree that there are a few temples to put at the very top of your list, the first being the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Regarded as the holiest Buddhist temple in Thailand, you'll find it within the elaborate Grand Palace complex. Inside the shrine is a small, jade-colored Buddha draped in golden robes to enjoy from a good distance — no one is allowed near the Buddha except for the king of Thailand. While you’re there, spend some extra time exploring the other temples, shrines, and historic halls in the Grand Palace grounds.

Have a drink at a rooftop bar.

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The Bangkok skyline is known for its towering skyscrapers, and a good number of them have rooftop bars that range in style and budget. There are options for unfussy backpackers, then some that draw the poshest of travelers. We're partial to Mahanakhon Bangkok SkyBar, Thailand's highest restaurant and the bar at King Power Mahanakhon. Located on the 76th and 77th floors of the building, both venues promise beautiful panoramic views of bustling Bangkok.

Climb Wat Arun.

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Another can't-miss temple is Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of the Dawn. The uniquely shaped temple rises above the banks of the Chao Phraya River and is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Bangkok. In fact, the land on which Wat Arun sits has been home to a temple since at least the 1500s. It is known for its 82-meter-high tower, which has stairs that lead all the way to the top, where you'll find gorgeous views of the river and Bangkok. From a distance, Wat Arun appears to be gleaming white, but as you get closer you'll find that the structure is actually made of beautifully painted floral mosaics that have been constructed from Chinese porcelain.

Visit Warehouse 30.

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While Bangkok is steeped in centuries of history and art, it is also a thriving capital of contemporary and forward-thinking art and design. At Warehouse 30, an abandoned block of World War II-era warehouses that's been transformed into creative spaces for artists and designers, you'll discover cafes, boutiques, and galleries to explore.

View the Reclining Buddha.

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Yet another temple to add to your itinerary is Wat Pho, or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. This massive Buddha is covered from head to toe (all 46 meters) in gold leaf and is one of the largest Buddha statues in the world. Wat Pho also boasts one of the largest collections of Buddha images; there are more than 1,000 of them throughout the sprawling temple complex.

Shop for flowers before dawn.

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Bangkok is one of the most colorful cities in the world, and nowhere is that more evident than at Pak Khlong Talat. In this vibrant flower market is a brilliant kaleidoscope of colors and the sweet and enveloping scent of thousands upon thousands of fresh blooms. Browse stalls full of marigolds, orchids, roses, and more. What's great about the flower market, particularly if you are battling jet lag and need a late-night activity, is that it is open 24 hours a day.

Sample some of the best street food in the world.

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Bangkok streets seem to sizzle at all times of day with some of the most coveted street food on the planet. No matter where you are in the city, you're never more than a few steps from savory, flavorful, and aromatic foods, most of which can be purchased for less than $2 per person. Start the day with a Thai iced coffee (strong coffee made extra sweet with condensed milk) and try snack after snack throughout the day, from pad Thai to braised duck and chicken rice.

"Bangkok's reputation as a top street food city means you must explore local food culture in hubs like Chinatown and Baan Tad Thong," says Patty Lerdwittayaskul, director of communications for Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok . "Local dishes offer an authentic taste of everyday Thai life."

Lerdwittayaskul recommends Lim Lao Sa Noodle Stall in Chinatown, a hidden, family run stall offering noodles in a clear fish broth. She also points to Phee Mao Rad Na, a food cart by the canal next to Wat Ratchabophit. "The stir-fried noodles are cooked a la minute, and the two-minute walk to Wat Ratchabophit after a meal adds to the experience," she says.

Eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Beyond its bustling street food scene, Bangkok is home to roughly 30 Michelin-starred restaurants. One to note in particular is Le Normandie by Alain Roux, a fine-dining restaurant at the iconic Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. This haute, white-glove experience is set within the gorgeous dining room overlooking the Chao Phraya River. Be sure to book a table at the window so can watch the sunset and the colorful boats on the river while you dine on exquisite and artfully prepared French cuisine.

Take a cooking class.

Of course, it's fun to cook your own food, too. A Thai cooking class is one of the best things to do in the country overall, so why not give it a try in Bangkok? The city has dozens of cooking schools to choose from across a variety of budgets. Sompong Thai Cooking School is a top choice; each class begins with a trip to the local market to procure key ingredients before moving back to the kitchen to prepare flavorful Thai dishes.

Get a Thai massage.

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It's no secret that the spa and wellness services in Bangkok are second to none — you just have to choose your preferred vibe. Whether it's a luxury spa palace or a no-frills storefront down a narrow alley, Bangkok has the wellness market cornered. A Thai massage is a distinct and unique style of massage; it uses no oils or aromatherapy, and instead focuses on passive stretching, acupressure, and increasing the range of motion of your muscles. If you've never had a Thai massage, Bangkok is the perfect place to try one.

Cruise the Chao Phraya River.

Bangkok's main lifeline is the serpentine Chao Phraya River, and along its banks are some of the city's top luxury hotels, oldest neighborhoods, and biggest tourist attractions. A cruise down the Chao Phraya is the perfect way to introduce yourself to the iconic Bangkok skyline, and to catch a glimpse of daily local life. There are a many ways to get on the river, from evening dinner cruises to daytime sightseeing excursions. If you really want to travel like a local, though, ride the Chao Phraya Express Boat . The public water taxi stops at busy docks along the river and travels all the way up to the neighboring province of Nonthaburi.

Wander Chinatown.

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Bangkok's Chinatown is among the largest Chinatowns in the world, and walking through this sprawling neighborhood will have you feeling like you've stepped out of Thailand and onto the streets of Beijing. If you like street food, Bangkok's Chinatown is the place to be. Or come to marvel at the district's neon lights, dangling lanterns, and dozens of gold stores on the iconic Yaowarat Road.

"Visit the Chinese Shrine in Chinatown during the late afternoon to catch the evening chanting rituals by monks," says Lerdwittayaskul. "In the evening, the red lanterns in the shrine and candles are lit up. The experience is grounding and serene. After visiting the shrine, I love strolling through the backstreets, trying delicious Chinese dishes like noodles, stir-fried oyster pancakes, dumplings, and refreshing lotus root herbal juice."

Browse the Chatuchak Weekend Market.

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If you hear locals talking about the JJ Market, what they're referring to is the Chatuchak Weekend Market. And if you like bazaars and outdoor markets, this will be the one that will blow you away. It is one of the largest outdoor markets in the world, boasting around 15,000 stalls selling knock-off electronics, clothing, souvenirs, local art, birds, and everything in between.

Cycle in the city.

For such a congested city, you'd be amazed at how many opportunities there are for getting outside. If you're looking for a bit of fresh air, give cycling a try. "One of the best places for a cycle is in Bangkrachao, an island in the Chao Phraya River — also known as the 'Green Lung' of Bangkok, thanks to its abundant green space," says Wanwisa Maneewatthana, chief culturist at Capella Bangkok . "Despite being a big city, Bangkok can offer great outdoor experiences to immerse [you] into both nature and culture. Visitors can enjoy cycling in an old neighborhood like Charoenkrung to discover remarkable and non-tourist cultural sights like local wet markets and neighborhood temples."

Visit the Bangkok Art & Cultural Centre.

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After you've hit the main tourist sites, you may want to slip a little below the radar for a different look at Bangkok, and the Bangkok Art & Cultural Centre offers just that. This public space promotes both local and international art and culture exhibits. If you're interested in seeing the work of young Thai artists, this is the top gallery in the city to visit.

Visit Jim Thompson House.

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If there's one Western name consistently tied to Bangkok, it's Jim Thompson. Thompson was the American businessman who brought Thai silks to the rest of the world in the mid-20th century. His canal-side home has been transformed into a museum showcasing his vast collection of art and antiques. The home is an architectural marvel, made of an amalgamation of six traditional teak houses from Ayutthaya. The lush gardens surrounding it are equally beautiful.

Celebrate a new year at the Songkran festival.

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If there is one festival to attend in Bangkok, it would be Songkran, or Thai New Year, which is held every year in April. This three-day event is when the city stops its usual business and transforms into one giant (and water-soaked) party. "The festival offers guests the chance to experience a fun-filled celebration that includes water fights on the street," says Maneewatthana. "Also, visitors can visit temples to participate in religious celebrations to bring them good luck in the coming year."

Shop at Siam Paragon.

If you're cruising down the Chao Phraya River, you can't miss one of the largest luxury malls in Asia, Siam Paragon. This is the ultimate stop in Bangkok for high-end labels, as well as a host of entertainment options, from restaurants and Southeast Asia's largest aquarium to a 16-screen movie theater and more than 250 shops. It's also the home base for the largest foreign-language bookshop in Bangkok, Kinokuniya. It's easy to get to Siam Paragon, as two BTS Skytrain lines intersect at the stop right in front of the mall.

Cruise the klongs in a longtail boat.

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Bangkok is known as the "Venice of the East," and for good reason — the city is quite literally webbed with miles of canals, or klongs. The oldest part of the city, known as Thonburi, sits west of the Chao Phraya River, and a visit to this corner of the city takes you back in time. There are wooden houses on stilts, plus lush greenery, small, colorful temples, and far more locals than tourists. "I try to have [all of my clients] spend some time on the klongs," says Grant Ekelund . "I like to do it because it's an interesting and unique way to experience the city from the water. Experience the neighborhoods, get a little bit out there, and get a sense for how people live in Bangkok."

Stroll in Lumpini Park.

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Another slice of green space in Bangkok is the 142-acre Lumpini Park, also known as the "Central Park of Bangkok." Set right in the heart of the city, the park includes a man-made lake strewn with swan paddle boats, and it's a popular spot for trail walking, picnics, Tai Chi, live music, and more. 

Explore Charoenkrung Road.

Bangkok is a city of many personalities, but if it's old-school charm you're looking for, head to another of the city's oldest neighborhoods, Charoenkrung Road. Home to the very first paved road in Bangkok, Charoenkrung is slowly disappearing as luxury hotels continue to open. But visitors can still experience myriad cultural activities here, from street food and hidden temples to an emerging art district.

Take a day trip to Ayutthaya.

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About an hour from Bangkok by train, Ayutthaya is the perfect day trip from Bangkok. Once the capital of the Kingdom of Siam, Ayutthaya gives visitors a glimpse of the ancient days of Thailand. The preserved kingdom capital is home to gorgeous palaces and temples that date back as far as the 14th century. Visitors can wander around the temple ruins for a unique look at how this part of the world used to be. "A day trip here offers a deep dive into Thai history and culture," says Lerdwittayaskul. "You can explore numerous historical sites and temples, where the civilization, traditions, and beliefs of ancient people come alive." "Ayutthaya gets more into the history of Thailand," added Ekelund. "It's so cool, especially if you are not going to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat and want to see that style of architecture."

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19 Best Things to Do in Bangkok

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One of Southeast Asia’s most popular destinations, Bangkok is an ever-changing, always-bustling cosmopolitan capital with much more on offer than incredible street food (although there’s plenty of that). Chaos covered in a hazy combination of charcoal grills, incense, and motorbike exhaust, it’s home to culture and history alongside luxury hotels, Michelin-star restaurants, cozy cocktail bars and a surplus of good times. Overwhelmed? That’s normal. After a day of temple hopping, hit up Chinatown for old-world architecture and some of the city’s best bars. Or go green with a stroll through the city’s coolest parks, followed by a multi-course meal aboard an antique barge or tucked inside a century-old shophouse. Here are our picks for what to do in Bangkok.

Read our complete Bangkok city guide here .

This gallery has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

All products and listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Thailand Bangkok Activity Jim Thompson House

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The home of American Jim Thompson, who made a fortune in the mid-20th century selling Thai silks, has been transformed into a museum displaying the businessman's collection of antiques, artwork, and religious artifacts. The canal-side property is made up of six traditional teak houses from Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand, surrounded by a verdant garden. Known for more than just its art collection, the property was also a legendary spot for high-society parties.

Thailand Bangkok Activity Park Lumphini Park

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Bangkok is the ultimate concrete jungle, and most of its green spaces have long been gobbled up by developers adding condominium towers to the skyline. But smack dab in the center of the city is leafy Lumphini Park; often called the "Central Park of Bangkok" and named after the Nepali birthplace of Buddha, this an urban respite for many Bangkokians. The geographical heart of the park is an artificial lake where you can rent swan-shaped paddle boats.

Thailand Bangkok Activity Grand Palace

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The land for the Grand Palace was designated in 1782—the same year the capital of Thailand moved from Ayutthaya to Bangkok—and today it's home to various royal throne and ceremonial halls, as well as the sacred Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Although the Thai royal family moved out by 1925, this sprawling complex remains an important structure for Thais, one that's also a central stop on the well-trodden tourist route.

Thailand Bangkok Activity Chinatown

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Market lanes, glittery gold shops, phenomenal street food, temples with golden Buddhas, Daoist temples clouded with incense smoke, street art, history, and a neighborhood setting that feels untouched by time and modernization: Welcome to Bangkok’s enchanting Chinatown, one of the largest Chinatowns in the world. You don’t need tickets or reservations, just an appetite for Thai-Chinese street food and a penchant for getting a little lost in the name of exploration.

Thailand Bangkok Activity Wat Pho

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The main draw at Wat Pho is the country’s largest reclining Buddha, a 150-foot long sculpture occupying nearly every inch of the building and leaving guests to observe its gold-plated form from all angles. Beyond the Buddha, an expansive compound has the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand. The complex was Thailand’s first center for public education; people came to study its 1,360 marble inscriptions to learn about medicine, history, and liberal arts.

The Siam

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Compared with many of its rivals, this Bangkok stalwart doesn’t have a location that’s wildly convenient: the postcard sights need a boat transfer, and most top tables are more than a 30-minute taxi ride away. But for me, and the legions of other loyal fans of this monochrome masterpiece by hotel guru Bill Bensley, that’s the point. Pitched up on a lush riverside plot in the hushed Dusit district, The Siam feels like a portal to a bygone Bangkok. Even though it opened a decade ago, it’s easy to imagine it as a plush playground for the city’s erstwhile big guns, the mid-century movers and shakers whose heirlooms—vintage Pan Am posters, tattered travel trunks and chipped ceramics—adorn the marble-floored hallways. I’d be hard-pressed to point friends to a lovelier lunch spot than the hotel’s Thai restaurant, set between the timeworn pillars of three ancient teakwood houses, where butlers in dressy black sarongs deliver the kind of classic Thai hospitality—lilting “sawadee ka” greetings and tables set with fresh orchids—that’s becoming harder to find. None of which is to say that the hotel is stuffy—there’s a tattoo parlor in the spa. An ongoing refurb is keeping suites and private-pooled villas looking fresh. And with the opening of a Jim Thompson homeware boutique in the wooden house the illustrious silk magnate helped procure for its former owners, things have come full circle. The Thai capital’s five-star hotel scene gets plusher every year, but this timeless beauty remains in a league of its own. From $618. —Chris Schalkx

Thailand Bangkok Activity Chatuchak Weekend Market

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Known as JJ Market to most locals (the official name, Chatuchak, is pronounced with a J sound), this is the granddaddy of all markets: With 15,000 stalls, it's among the largest outdoor markets in the world. Everything is buyable, from practical stuff like home décor, art, clothing, accessories, and cooking equipment, to trinkets and oddities like knock-off Nikes and Beats by Dre, iPhone covers, and—yes—even live animals. Despite its sheer size, though, the market is very well organized, with goods arranged by type and a large map posted near the entrance.

Thailand Bangkok Activity Wat Arun

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Of the more than 37,000 temples, or wats , throughout Thailand, Wat Arun is one of the most iconic. The 269-foot tall prahng, a Khmer-style tower, juts out from the banks of the Chao Phraya River, and the temple complex is illuminated in a golden glow at night. This is one of the few temples in Thailand that you can climb; once you've ascended the steep and narrow stairs, you're in for a great view of the river and surrounding temple complex.

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The peeps behind Smiling Albino have been at it since 1999, so you can rest assured they know what they’re doing. Their offerings fall in the custom luxury category: private experiences in Bangkok, cultural visits, and trips to nearby villages. They also organize weeklong trekking journeys in northern Thailand, cycling in Nepal, and motorcycling in Vietnam. Each trip is custom-made to your interests: no coaches and explanations shouted through a microphone, but rather personal guides and drivers.

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Manohra Dinner River Cruise Arrow

This six-course dinner served aboard an an antique wooden rice barge is an excellent crash course in both Thai food and Bangkok's must-visit destinations along the river. Book it to get your bearings on what you'd like to explore during daylight—while eating fantastic dishes like a gold leaf-topped curry amuse bouche, a dry-ice play on mango sticky rice, and a creamy coconut and turmeric soup with charcoal-cooked chicken. The warm service rivals any fine-dining establishment on land, and the experience is perfect for a relaxed, romantic evening on the water.

White pagoda in WatPrayoon Rawongsawas

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Sitting on the quieter Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River, Wat Prayoon is a crowd-free, surprise-filled temple compound with plenty of moments for peaceful solitude. Visitors can spend an afternoon here exploring the towering white chedi —it's rare to find one in Bangkok you can actually enter—or watching the turtles and monitor lizards in the Khao Mo garden. It's an excellent spot for families with young kids and temple-lovers looking for something besides a giant gold Buddha (although it's got one of those too).

Thailand Bangkok Activity Blue Elephant Cooking School

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Bringing home a taste of Thai food is high on the list of most travelers, and in the always-hungry capital, there are lessons for newbies and pros alike. Blue Elephant’s half-day lesson is a good middle ground, where experienced cooks won’t be bored and novices won’t feel lost. At the morning lesson, small groups gather at the elegant colonial-style house before making their way to the multiethnic Bangrak market; the afternoon session, meanwhile, dives right into cooking.

The Jam Factory Bangkok

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Architect Duangrit Bunnag’s fingerprints are all over the revival of Bangkok’s waterfront. Savvy travelers will also notice his handiwork just across the Chao Phraya at Warehouse 30 . Down Charoenkrung Road in the former General Post Office lies the reopened Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC), which Bunnag co-founded. The Jam Factory is at the core of his vision to shift the city’s gravitational center back to where it once lay: on the so-called River of Kings. He built this stunning complex anchored around an ancient Bodhi tree to house his firm’s main office, along with a hip restaurant, a gallery, and more.

100 Tonson Gallery Bangkok

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Over the past decade, Bangkok’s art scene has mushroomed from a few scattered galleries into a vibrant, thriving community. Much of that transformation has to do with Aey Phanachet’s groundbreaking contemporary art space in Ploenchit. In 2020, Tonson Gallery became a non-profit and changed its name to 100 Tonson Foundation.This was the first Thai gallery to participate in Art Basel, the Switzerland art fair, and it’s been a champion of Southeast Asian artists ever since. Despite its high-powered reputation, the gallery is open to casual art-lovers as well as collectors.

Wat Pariwat Bangkok Temple

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Bangkok’s temples are truly a wonder to behold, but after a few days of battling the crowds, the appeal of gilded Buddha statues may start to wear thin. When you’ve conquered the major attractions, hop in a taxi to this Wat Pariwat, a one-of-a-kind temple down the Chao Phraya River. Sometimes nicknamed the David Beckham Temple for its statue of the famed soccer star below the main altar, Wat Pariwat is both an active place of worship and a hodgepodge of pop culture references.

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Follow the outdoor neon sign that says "Only Kids Drink Milk" to this fine-dining speakeasy that ranks 10th on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list. Head to the back of Mayrai Pad Thai and Wine Bar, go up the spiral stairs and past the open kitchen, and find a small dining area set for 12. One of Bangkok's most exclusive reservations, the restaurant serves a 12-course set menu of Thai chili–laden dishes that are an ode to Chef Ton Tassanakajohn's grandmother, Nusara. Highlights include peanut relish with seasonal vegetables and shrimp paste water perfected over the course of 80 years.

Thailand Bangkok Activity Pak Khlong Talat

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Bangkok’s bustling 24-hour flower market is a feast for the eyes and the nostrils—and one of the best places for jet-lagged travelers awake at odd hours to do some sightseeing. The highlight of the market is visiting the vendors along Chakkaraphet Road and watching locals prepare sacred temple offerings at lightning speed. They’re folding back the delicate petals of lotus blossoms, stringing fragrant jasmine into garlands known as malais, sorting through bags teeming with marigolds, and creating elaborate arrangements for funerals and weddings. Under the market’s tin roof, merchants sell bundles of orchids, button carnations, roses, green bananas still on the stem, towering stacks of prickly pineapples, and pre-made temple offerings. Across Chakkaraphet Road, don’t miss the elaborate ready-made bouquets and stacks of colorful orchids for 20 baht (60 cents) each.

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The creation of Warehouse 30 is the latest creative project in a string of artistic spaces in rehabbed historical buildings along Charenkrung Road. Under the artistic and watchful eye of Duangrit Bunnag, a founder of the Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC) and Thailand’s best-known architect, an abandoned block of World War II-era warehouses have become a bastion for local designers and artists. Ever-changing exhibition spaces, independent boutiques, a coffee shop, and more are all part of the new development. And while the shops and the vibe are new, the exposed beams and wood flooring are original.

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Nomadic Matt: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Better

Visiting Bangkok: My Suggested 3-5 Day Itinerary

Beautiful temple in Bangkok

When people tell me they hate Bangkok and don’t find a lot of things to do there, I totally understand. It’s a love/hate city that most people aren’t a fan of on arrival.

In fact, when I first visited Bangkok in 2006, I despised the city and couldn’t wait to leave.

It wasn’t until I lived in Bangkok that I really fell in love with it .

A decade and a half later, Bangkok is still one of my favorite cities in the world.

It just takes a little time to get to know and love.

Bangkok is not a city that opens itself up easily, and most people spend just a day or two here before leaving to go to the islands or the jungle .

That said, there are a lot of things to do and see in Bangkok . Cheap things, expensive things, unique things, and outdoor things. Bangkok has a bit of everything.

To help you plan your trip and make the most of your visit, below is my suggested itinerary for Bangkok. It will help you tackle this sprawling, hectic city in a way that gets you on and off the beaten track so you can peel back the onion that is Bangkok and discover why I love it so much.

Bangkok Itinerary

Day 1 : Grand Palace, Khao San Road, & more!

Day 2 : Floating Market, Muay Thai Fight, & more!

Day 3 : Chatuchak Weekend Market, Lumpini Park, & more!

Day 4 : Bangkok Art and Culture Center, National Museum, & more!

Bangkok Itinerary: Day One

The stunning exterior of the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand on a bright and sunny day

Afterward, wander down the street to Wat Pho and the famous reclining Buddha (as well as the famous Golden Buddha). It’s the largest reclining Buddha statue in the country at 46 meters (150 feet) long. The Wat Pho complex fills a city block so while seeing the statues doesn’t take long, you could spend a solid hour wandering the maze-like temple grounds.

Next, head across the river to Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn). This is a gorgeous Buddhist temple on the Chao Phraya River opposite the Grand Palace. It has one main spire and four small ones and is so iconic that it’s on Thai money. From the top of the main spire, you get to see sweeping views of the city. It’s my favorite temple in Bangkok.

If you want a deep-dive into the temple and palace, take a guided tour . You’ll learn about the history of each temple and the palace from an expert local guide who can answer all your questions and provide a much more nuanced experience.

Note: When visiting these places, be sure to wear clothes that cover your legs and shoulders; it’s considered disrespectful to wear revealing clothes. That means no short skirts, no tank tops, nothing that shows your stomach, and no ripped pants.

The Grand Palace is located on Na Phra Lan Road; royalgrandpalace.th/en/home. Open daily 8:30am-3:30pm. Admission is 500 THB.

Wat Pho is located on 2 Sanamchai Road, Grand Palace Subdistrict, +66 083-057-7100, watpho.com/en. Open daily from 8am–6:30pm. Admission is 200 THB.

Wat Arun is across the river at 158 Wang Doem Road, +66 2 891 2185. Open daily 8am–6pm. Admission is 200 THB.

Cruise on the river in Bangkok, Thailand with a historic temple across the river in the background

My favorite temples are:

Wat Saket – The Golden Mount has an enormous, 100-meter-high, 500-meter wide chedi (mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics). This is one of my favorite temples in the city because of its beautiful golden temple and wonderful views of the city from its top. At the base of the mountain is an overgrown cemetery for 18th-century plague victims. Open daily 9am-7pm. Admission to the temple is free while the chedi costs 50 THB.

Wat Benchamabophit – This temple is pictured on the back of the 5-baht coin. The white marble used to contrast the building was imported directly from Italy, and there is a unique blend of both Thai and European architecture and design. In the courtyard, there are 53 Buddha images representing every mudra (gesture) and style from Thai history. This makes it a good place to visually see how Buddha has been represented in Thailand over time. Open daily 8:30am-5:30pm. Admission is 20 THB.

Just make sure your tuk-tuk driver doesn’t take you shopping along the way — drivers get kickbacks if they bring customers into certain shops. Ask your hotel/hostel staff for a reputable driver; they will likely know someone.

The lively, bustling, and crowded street of Khao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand at night

Bangkok Itinerary: Day Two

The famous Floating Market in Bangkok, Thailand with lots of small boats selling goods to tourists

I love the chaos, the smells, and the little ladies cooking and selling you various treats as they paddle by you. (You never leave hungry.)

Blurred traffic and bright lights in Chinatown at night in Bangkok, Thailand

Here’s a list of the best malls in the city:

  • Terminal 21 (88 Sukhumvit Road 19, +66 2 108 0888, terminal21.co.th)
  • MBK Center (444 Phayathai Road, mbk-center.co.th)
  • Siam Paragon (991/1 Rama I Road, siamparagon.co.th)
  • Emporium (622 Sukhumvit Road, emporium.co.th)
  • CentralWorld (999/9 Rama I Road, centralworld.co.th)

Muay Thai Fighting

You can also catch fights at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, which seats up to 5,000 people, on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Between the two stadiums, there are fights going on every night of the week.

1 Ratchadamnoen Nok Rd, +66 2 281 4205, rajadamnern.com. Tickets start at 1,500 THB.  

Bangkok Itinerary: Day Three

The massive and colorful weekend market in Bangkok, Thailand lit up at night

Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, +66 2 272 4813, chatuchakmarket.org. Open Saturday and Sunday 9am-6pm.

The wooden exterior of Jim Thompson's House in a quiet area of Bangkok, Thailand

When he returned to private industry after the war, he almost single-handedly revitalized Thailand’s sinking silk industry. He made his home in the traditional Thai style, decorating it with beautiful teak wood and a surrounding garden. The tours feature a lot of history about Jim, the silk industry, and how and why Thais design their homes the way they do.

1 Khwaeng Wang Mai, +66 2 216 7368, jimthompsonhouse.com. Open daily 10am-6pm. Admission is 200 THB.

The green, lush grass and trees of the sprawling Lumpini Park in Bangkok, Thailand

192 Wireless Rd, +66 2 252 7006. Open daily 4:30am-10pm.

Hang with the Hipsters on Soi Nana There are two areas in Bangkok called Soi Nana (one is a sex tourism hub), but the Soi Nana I’m referring to is a hip area for nightlife near the train station in Chinatown. This street is filled with tiny bars, cocktail lounges, and art exhibits in old-style Chinese homes left in their original style.

Some of the best bars are Pijiu (Chinese beer bar), Teens of Thailand (first gin bar in Thailand), Ba Hao (four-floor Chinese-inspired bar), El Chiringuito (Spanish tapas), and 23 Bar & gallery (bar in an art space). It’s incredibly popular with young Thais and one of the coolest new areas of Bangkok. Don’t miss it.  

Bangkok Itinerary: Day Four

The exterior of the small National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand

Na Phra That Alley, +66 2 224 1333, virtualmuseum.finearts.go.th/bangkoknationalmuseums/index.php/th. Open Wednesday-Sunday 9am-4pm. Admission is 200 THB.

Delicious Thai food in Bangkok

And for cooking classes, a half-day cooking class (including a market visit) costs around 1,345 THB. They’re a fun way to learn about the cuisine while learning new skills and recipes you can try when you get home.

Enjoy an event at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center This contemporary arts center highlights and hosts art, music, theater, film, design, and cultural events in its exhibition and performance spaces. Opened in 2007, the BACC hosts cultural events in its exhibition and performance spaces. There is also an art library, cafe, gallery, craft shop, and book store here too. In a city that lacks a real art scene, this is an enriching place to see some local art. Check the website to see what’s going on during your visit.

939 Rama I Road, +66 2 214 6630-8, en.bacc.or.th. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-9pm. Admission is free though events cost money. See the website for pricing and tickets.  

Other Things to See and Do in Bangkok

The famous and historic temples of Ayutthaya near Bangkok, Thailand

Museum of Siam This museum uses a variety of media to explore the origins of the Thais and their culture. Opened in 2007, there are displays, movies, and multimedia that cover culture, history, Buddhism, war, and the making of modern Thailand. It’s an interactive and educational little museum housed in an old 19th-century European-style building that not a lot of tourists visit.

4 Maha Rat Rd, +66 2 225 2777. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm. Admission is 100 THB.

Wakeboard at Lake Taco If you want to get out of the city and have some adventure, head to the outskirts of Bangkok for some wakeboarding (riding on a short board while being pulled by a motorboat). This is a popular thing to do with expats and though I never did it, my friends always said it was a fun time. The lake is just 40 minutes away so it’s an easy activity to do whenever you need a break from the city.

thaiwakepark.com. A two-hour ticket at Lam Luk Ka starts at 850 THB.

Calypso Ladyboy Show This ladyboy show is actually a good cabaret show that attracts a variety of visitors. It’s Bangkok’s version of Moulin Rouge. There’s glitz, glamour, and spectacle — everything you’d expect from a cabaret show in Bangkok. Calypso Cabaret, founded in 1988, is the best place to see a show in the city. Playhouse Cabaret and Golden Dome Cabaret are two other reputable venues that host fun performances as well.

2194 Charoenkrung 72-76 Road, Warehouse #3, +66 2 688 1415-7, calypsocabaret.com. Performances are at 7:45pm and 9:30pm and tickets start at 900 THB.

Day Trip to Ayutthaya Ayutthaya (pronounced ah-you-tah-ya) was founded around 1350 and was the second capital of Thailand (it was the capital before it relocated to Bangkok). Unfortunately, the city was destroyed in 1767 by a Burmese attack and there are only ruins and a few temples and palaces still left standing.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s home to the summer palace and tons of breathtaking and unique temples. Since it’s so close to Bangkok, it’s a very popular day-trip destination for tours.

While lots of companies offer trips, it’s so easy to get to that you should simply go on your own by train. Train tickets cost 90-130 THB round-trip, with the journey taking 1.5 hours each way.

To really learn more, take a guided tour . They’re just 1,300 THB and are a great way to learn about this UNESCO site.

Contrary to popular belief, there’s more to see and do in Bangkok than just temples, shopping, and traffic. It’s a city whose charm emerges slowly once you get off the beaten path.

While you can see the highlights in a couple of days, with four or five days you can start to peel back the layers of this chaotic city and start to see why Bangkok really is one of the best destinations in the world.

But don’t just take my word for it. Use this post as a guide and learn to love the city the way I did. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to Thailand!

Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to Thailand!

My detailed 350+ page guidebook is made for budget travelers like you! It cuts out the fluff found in other guidebooks and gets straight to the practical information you need to travel around Thailand. You’ll find suggested itineraries, budgets, ways to save money, on and off-the-beaten-path things to see and do, non-touristy restaurants, markets, bars, safety tips, and much more! Click here to learn more and get your copy today.

Book Your Trip to Bangkok: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned!

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. Two of my favorite places to stay are:

  • @Hua Lamphong Hostel
  • Lub d Bangkok Siam

If you’re looking for more places to stay, here are my favorite hostels in Bangkok .

Or, if you’re wondering what part of town to stay in, here’s my neighborhood breakdown of Bangkok .

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • Safety Wing (best for everyone)
  • Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
  • Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.

Got a comment on this article? Join the conversation on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter and share your thoughts!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.

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One of the many beautiful and colorful temples in Bangkok, Thailand on a bright and sunny day

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Bangkok Itinerary: The Best 5 Day Trip Guide for Reference

Bangkok Itinerary

This Bangkok itinerary for 5 days is a collection of my favorite spots in Thailand’s capital , designed to give you a memorable trip in the city .

The itinerary I’m going to share with you is very clear and easy to follow. It highlights the best markets and must-see attractions in Bangkok .

Additionally, I’ll recommend the best routes to navigate this vibrant city . Trust me, with this guide, you’ll save time and avoid headaches when planning your journey .

So, are you ready? Let’s dive into my 5-day Bangkok plan to make your trip awesome. 😊

Explore the Best of Bangkok: Your Go-To Itinerary for a Wonderful Trip!

Day 1: grand palace, wat pho, wat arun, asiatique and cruise, day 2: platinum mall, pratunam market, bangkok aquarium, and jeh o chula, day 3: bangkok’s chatuchak, massage, mahanakhon skywalk, and more, day 4: safari world bangkok and chocolate ville, day 5: discover thailand’s top markets and visit the one ratchada, smart ways to save on bangkok attraction tickets, bangkok itinerary 5 days map, where to stay in bangkok, thailand sim card, bangkok transportation guide, related posts.

Day 1 Bangkok Itinerary infographic: visits to Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Asiatique, Wat Arun, and a river cruise

Start day 1 of your Bangkok itinerary by visiting the city’s stunning temples. Continue the excitement with a trip to a well-known open-air mall for a shopping spree.

Finish your day with a scenic river cruise, taking in the beautiful nighttime skyline.

  • 9:00 AM: Grand Palace
  • 11:30 AM: Wat Pho
  • 1:00 PM: Lunch at Baan Tha Tien or Pad Thai Kratong Thong
  • 2:00 PM: Wat Arun
  • 4:00 PM: Asiatique The Riverfront
  • 6:30 PM: Having dinner at Rosewood Restaurant (Option 1)
  • 7:45 PM: Calypso Cabaret Show
  • 7:30 PM: Take the Chao Phraya Princess Cruise for your dinner (Option 2)

1. Grand Palace Bangkok – 2.5 hours (9:00 AM to 11:30 AM)

Bangkok's Grand Palace is depicted with its ornate architecture, golden spires and guardian statues

On the first morning of your itinerary , I’d suggest starting with the Grand Palace Bangkok .

This site was built way back in 1782 and used to be the home of the Thai King . Now, it is considered a major Bangkok tourist destination .

The architectural designs here are totally impressive . In fact, it’s very unique and majestic .

Take a stroll through its beautiful halls and gardens , and be sure to see the Emerald Buddha . As you explore, capture the many photo-worthy spots within the temple complex .

Take Note: To enter the palace, you need to wear a shirt with sleeves and pants that go down to your ankles. If you’re thinking of wearing a dress, just make sure it covers your shoulders and is ankle-length.

Option 1 for Getting to the Grand Palace

2. Wat Pho – 1.5 hours (11:30 AM to 1:00 PM)

Giant golden Reclining Buddha statue at Wat Pho, Bangkok

Next, head over to Wat Pho , a renowned Buddhist temple of Bangkok .

This temple is visited by many travellers every year because of its unique features.

One of the highlights here is the huge reclining Buddha that is 46 metres long. It’s literally a gigantic golden figure , making it the largest Buddha statue in Thailand .

So, if you want to visit the highest grade among all other first-class temples, this should be part of your list.

Route Map to Wat Pho

3. Lunch at Baan Tha Tien or Pad Thai Kratong Thong – 1 hour (1:00 PM to 2:00 PM)

Interior of Baan Tha Tien Cafe in Bangkok, featuring traditional Thai decor and wooden furnishings

After visiting Wat Pho, a tasty lunch is just a short walk away. Both recommended restaurants are just around a 2-minute walk from the temple.

  • Baan Tha Tien : This place offers a true taste of Thai cuisine in a cozy setting. Here, you can savor dishes like Tom Yam Kung and Thai-style fried rice. The prices range between 50 Baht and 120 Baht, making it very affordable.
  • Pad Thai Kratong Thong : This spot is a haven for Thai food lovers. Dive into their signature Pad Thai priced at just 109 Baht. If you’re in the mood for something spicy and flavorful, the Tomyum Soup with Shrimp is a steal at 159 Baht. Also, don’t miss out on their Green Curry Soup with Chicken for 129 Baht.

Trust me, these nearby eateries will not only save you time but also provide a delicious culinary experience.

Route to Baan Tha Tien or Pad Thai Kratong Thong

4. Wat Arun Bangkok – 2 hours (2:00 PM to 4:00 PM)

Architectural of Wat Arun Bangkok, showcasing its intricate carvings, colorful porcelain, and layered spires

After enjoying your lunch, continue your Bangkok trip by exploring Wat Arun , often known as the “Temple of Dawn”. This is a very beautiful temple situated along the riverside .

There are plenty of gorgeous spots here , including the colourful spires that complement the water scenery . The religious items inside are also very impressive.

And of course, the architectural beauty of the temple is totally unique .

So, take your time and capture many picturesque photos . For sure, you will be in awe of the amazing photo choices.

Route Map to Wat Arun

5. Asiatique The Riverfront – 2.5 hours (4:00 PM to 6:30 PM)

Vibrant evening scene at Asiatique The Riverfront in Bangkok, with bustling shops and a large Ferris wheel

Next on the itinerary is Asiatique Bangkok , a lively night market and entertainment spot by the river.

To be honest, this is one of my favourite night markets to go in Bangkok because of its incredible array of activities.

Start with some shopping; there are hundreds of boutique stalls selling unique items .

Don’t forget to take a ride on the big Ferris wheel – the view from the top is breathtaking , especially at sunset.

Route Map to Asiatique The Riverfront

6. Rosewood Restaurant or Happy Fish ( Dinner Option 1) – 1 hour (6:30 PM to 7:30 PM)

For a delightful dinner in Asiatique , you’ve got two popular choices : Rosewood Restaurant and Happy Fish. Here’s a quick intro to help you decide:

i. Rosewood Restaurant

Delicious grilled chicken dish served at Rosewood Restaurant

Rosewood Restaurant is truly a gem! Nestled in a serene setting with beautiful wooden decor , this spot offers the perfect ambiance for a quiet, romantic dinner .

For a start, their roasted chicken, brimming with traditional Thai flavors, is a must-try . Their steaks won’t disappoint either . Many visitors highly recommend the Grilled Chicken , so it might be worth a taste.

And as the evening deepens with live music , it’s the perfect setting to round off your meal with a cold beer , immersing yourself fully in the relaxed atmosphere.

ii. Happy Fish

Colorful, aquatic-themed Happy Fish Restaurant in Bangkok, serving seafood dishes in a lively atmosphere

For a lively dining experience, head to Happy Fish .

Not only do they serve mouth-watering seafood , but they also have a variety of international dishes , like grilled chicken, pizza, burgers, and spaghetti . With prices ranging from 200 Baht to 500 Baht , it’s affordable too.

Fancy a drink? They have a nice selection of cocktails and beers to complement the live music . The riverside view, combined with the tunes, makes it a memorable spot.

7. Watch the Calypso Cabaret Show – 1 hour (7:45 PM to 8:45 PM)

Dynamic stage scene from Calypso Cabaret Show in Bangkok, showcasing dazzling costumes and vibrant performances

Be sure to catch a live performance of Calypso Cabaret after dinner. It’s a famous ladyboy show with vibrant dances, stunning costumes, and impressive performances .

The combination of glittering costumes, lively music, and talented performers make this a highlight of any Bangkok visit.

The original ticket price for the show is 1200 Baht , but if you purchase online , you can gain a 25% discount ! The show has two time slots: 7:45 PM and 9:30 PM. For updated show times, please check their website.

8. Chao Phraya Princess Cruise (Dinner Option 2) – 2 hours (7:30 PM to 9:30 PM)

Luxurious Chao Phraya Princess Cruise at night, with illuminated Bangkok skyline in the background

Another great dinner option is to hop aboard the Chao Phraya Princess Cruise , which you can easily board at Asiatique Pier .

You can get more information about this trip by checking the cruise menu and prices here .

The cruise itself is such a lovely way to see Bangkok’s scenic night landscape and relish in the cool river breeze .

You are given 2 hours to savour the overloaded buffet of local and international dishes .

While enjoying your food, there’s a live band to serenade you for a night full of entertainment .

Bangkok Day 2 Itinerary visual guide: Shopping malls, market, local eats, wax museum, and aquarium visits

Let’s get ready for day 2 of your exploration in Bangkok . The itinerary for today takes you through Thailand’s vibrant marketplaces, top family destinations, and a feast of local culinary delights.

  • 9:00 AM: Platinum Fashion Mall
  • 11:00 AM: Pratunam Market
  • 1:00 PM: Have lunch at either Pe Aor Tom Yum Kung Noodle or Go-Ang Pratunam Chicken Rice
  • 2:00 PM: SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World
  • 5:00 PM: Madame Tussauds Bangkok
  • 7:00 PM: Enjoy your dinner at Jeh O Chula or the Baiyoke Sky Hotel Buffet

1. Platinum Fashion Mall – 2 hours (9:00 AM to 11:00 AM)

External view of Platinum Fashion Mall

Commence with your morning adventure at Platinum Fashion Mall . Without a doubt, this is a very popular shopping mall in Pratunam , Bangkok.

It’s an indoor mall that has all kinds of fashion items and accessories .

There are over 1000 outlets inside the mall , offering trendy clothing, underwear, and kids’ wear .

You’ll also find different belts, handbags, shoes, wigs, and even cosmetic products . The best part of the mall is that it is air-conditioned.

Route to Platinum Fashion Mall

2. Pratunam Market – 2 hours (11:00 AM to 1:00 PM)

Busy, colorful stalls at Pratunam Market Bangkok, offering a variety of clothes and accessories

No Bangkok itinerary would be complete without going to the Pratunam Market and exploring its vibrant shops.

This busy marketplace is just situated on the opposite side of Platinum Fashion Mall .

Most of the stalls sell fashion stuffs at a wholesale price , ranging between 50 Baht and 400 Baht per piece of cloth . This means the clothes here are really cheap .

So, if you’re in need of new dresses, pants, shoes, and accessories, this is the best place to get your money’s worth .

Route Map to Pratunam Market

3. Lunch at Pe Aor Tom Yum Kung Noodle or Chicken Rice – 1 hour (1:00 PM to 2:00 PM)

After all the shopping, enjoy your lunch at one of the recommended spots below , which are close to Pratunam Market . Both places offer some of the best tastes of Bangkok . Enjoy your meal.

i. Pe Aor Tom Yum Kung Noodle

Delicious bowl of Pe Aor's famous Tom Yum Kung noodle, rich in flavor and topped with fresh shrimp

For just around 100 Baht, you can enjoy a rich and creamy noodle soup made with a fragrant broth, large prawns (Kung), and often served with noodles.

The soup is tangy, spicy, and a tad creamy from coconut milk, making it an unforgettable dish.

Access: Pe Aor Tom Yum Kung Noodle shop is not close to Pratunam Market. You can take a Grab car for about 150 Baht, and it takes 15 minutes to get there.

ii. Go-Ang Pratunam Chicken Rice

If you’re a fan of chicken dishes, you must visit Go-Ang Pratunam . For only 50 Baht per plate, you can savor their famous tender Hainanese chicken paired with fragrant rice.

Route Map to Go Ang Pratunam Chicken Rice Shop

4. SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World – 3 hours (2:00 PM to 5:00 PM)

Underwater scene at SEA LIFE Bangkok with penguins, sharks, and vibrant coral reef fishes

In the afternoon, consider a visit to SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World , the largest aquarium in South East Asia . It’s a spectacular place with over 30,000 marine creatures .

I’ve been there, and it’s a sight to behold. The highlights for me were the sand tiger sharks , giant eagle rays , and the vibrant coral reef fishes .

Plus, you shouldn’t miss the playful penguins and giant spider crabs . I truly love this place for its mesmerizing marine displays.

A little tip: consider booking your aquarium admission tickets online . I found out you can save some money off the original ticket price this way!

Access: If you’re coming from Pe Aor Tom Yum Kung Noodle shop, you may opt for a Grab car to SEA Life Bangkok Ocean World, which costs about 120 Baht and will take roughly 10 minutes.

Route to SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World

5. Madame Tussauds Bangkok – 2 hours (5:00 PM to 7:00 PM)

Wax figures of Captain America, Michael Jackson, and Cristiano Ronaldo at Madame Tussauds Bangkok

Spend your evening at Madame Tussauds Bangkok . This is such a nice spot to run into your favourite stars .

In this museum, you’ll get to meet the wax figures of best-known movie actors such as Jackie Chan , Captain America , Will Smith , and Hugh Jackman .

Musical stars like Michael Jackson , Lady Gaga , and Ariana Grande are also present.

For the sports category, there’s David Beckham , Cristiano Ronaldo , Serena Williams , and more. In addition, there’s a display for the world’s top leaders .

Route Map to Madame Tussauds Bangkok

6. Dinner at Jeh O Chula or Baiyoke Sky Hotel Buffet – 2 hours (7:00 PM to 9:00 PM)

If you’re looking to indulge in a memorable dining experience in Bangkok , you can’t miss out on Dinner at Jeh O Chula or the Baiyoke Sky Hotel Buffet . I’ve had the pleasure of dining at both, and believe me, they’re truly special.

i. Jeh O Chula

Bustling Jeh O Chula restaurant in Bangkok, famous for its large, flavorful bowls of noodle soup

At Jeh O Chula , the star dish is their famous Mama Instant Noodles . It’s called Jeh O’s Famous Mama Tom Yum .

This isn’t just any bowl of noodles. It’s a small pot comes with Mama Noodles mixed with flavorful seafood like prawns and squid, eggs, and juicy pork meatballs .

They even add their signature crispy pork belly, giving it an upscale twist . Though it might sound simple, take my word for it, the dish offers a burst of unexpected flavors .

Just a heads up, the queue at Jeh O Chula can be quite long , sometimes stretching over an hour . If you’d like to skip the wait , I suggest you reserve a seat online.

Access: Jeh O Chula is a bit far from Madame Tussauds Bangkok, so I suggest taking a Grab car to get there. It will cost around 100 Baht and take about 10 minutes.

ii. Baiyoke Sky Hotel Buffet

Panoramic view of Baiyoke Sky Hotel's buffet, offering a vast array of international cuisines

The Baiyoke Sky Hotel Buffet is on the 81st floor . It’s in Thailand’s tallest hotel !

They have lots of food like sushi, grilled meats, seafood, Thai dishes, and desserts . Want to see all the food choices? Simply check the buffet menu here .

And the best part? While eating, you can see the whole city of Bangkok from high up . It’s a beautiful view!

Access: Catch a Grab car from Madame Tussauds Bangkok to Baiyoke Sky Hotel will cost about 100 Baht and is expected to take approximately 10 minutes.

Day 3 Itinerary: Chatuchak Market, Jim Thompson House, Jodd Fairs, Mahanakhon SkyWalk and other places

On day 3 of this Bangkok travel itinerary , start with a visit to Thailand’s largest market for an immersive shopping experience.

Afterwards, explore the art and history at a heritage house. Then enjoy a leisurely massage to relax before continuing your adventure.

  • 9:00 AM: Chatuchak Weekend Market
  • 12:00 PM: Lunch at Chatuchak Market
  • 1:00 PM: Jim Thompson House
  • 3:00 PM: One More Thai Massage
  • 5:00 PM: Mahanakhon SkyWalk
  • 7:00 PM: Jodd Fairs Dan Neramit
  • 9:00 PM: Dinner at Holy Shrimp

1. Chatuchak Weekend Market – 3 hours (9:00 AM to 12:00 PM)

Wide view of the crowded lanes of Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, teeming with various vendors and goods

Have a fun morning visiting Chatuchak Weekend Market Bangkok . As the largest market in the country , you surely will have a lot of shopping options here .

This particular market is known for its trendy clothing at super cheap price .

Most of the items available on display are fashionable tops, comfy shirts, formal wear, and sports attire .

There are also colorful headbands, cute footwear, beautiful bags , and a lot more!

Route to Chatuchak Weekend Market

2. Having Lunch at Chatuchak – 1 hour (12:00 PM to 1:00 PM)

Stalls at Chatuchak Market serving crispy chicken rice and refreshing coconut ice cream

After shopping at Chatuchak Market , you don’t need to venture far for lunch .

The market isn’t only about fashion; it’s also a culinary hotspot with numerous food stalls serving a range of delicious foods, drinks, and desserts .

Don’t miss out on dishes like fried chicken, grilled river shrimp, chicken skewers, and coconut ice cream . Many of these mouthwatering items start at just 20 Baht .

3. Jim Thompson House – 2 hours (1:00 PM to 3:00 PM)

Historic Jim Thompson House in Bangkok, showcasing traditional Thai architecture

The next stop is to visit Jim Thompson House and search around its connecting houses . This traditional museum is known for its ancient and personalized exhibits .

Some of the things featured here are silk scarves, handbags, accessories, and clothing . Each of these comes with unique and beautiful designs that make it very eye-catching .

There’s also a cosy restaurant and gift shop inside the museum.

So, if you want an old-style tourist site in Bangkok with eye-catching display, make sure to pop by the museum.

Route Map to Jim Thompson House

4. One More Thai Massage (Chit Lom) – 2 hours (3:00 PM to 5:00 PM)

Relaxing interior of One More Thai Massage in Bangkok, with a serene and calming atmosphere

For those seeking to unwind and relax in Bangkok , One More Thai Massage is a spot you shouldn’t miss.

Located in the heart of the city, this massage haven offers an authentic Thai massage experience .

When you’re there, I’d recommend trying their traditional Thai massage or perhaps a soothing foot massage .

It’s not just about the massage, though; the ambiance and the skilled therapists make the whole experience truly rejuvenating .

For a detailed look at their packages and treatment options , simply see their prices here .

Route to One More Thai Massage

5. Mahanakhon SkyWalk (Thailand’s Highest Observation Deck) – 2 hours (5:00 PM to 7:00 PM)

Breathtaking evening view from Mahanakhon SkyWalk, overlooking Bangkok's illuminated cityscape

Before the evening kicks in, go to Mahanakhon SkyWalk and catch the sunset . This spot is the best place to see the entire view of Bangkok and its magical cityscape.

The moment you step onto the glass skywalk, you’ll find yourself immersed in a stunning landscape of soaring buildings and lively streets below.

It’s like the whole place is lit up with the warm glow of the sunset . Believe me, you’ll want to take it all in. It’s a view you’ll never forget .

Tip: Be aware that evening lines can be long, so it’s best to book your Mahanakhon SkyWalk tickets online beforehand to save time and ensure your spot.

Route Map to Mahanakhon SkyWalk

6. Jodd Fairs DanNeramit – 2 hours (7:00 PM to 9:00 PM)

Nighttime scene at Jodd Fairs DanNeramit in Bangkok, with crowds of people walking among brightly lit food stalls

If Jodd Fairs DanNeramit isn’t on your itinerary yet, it should be! It’s a special market in Bangkok with a fairytale castle , cool vintage cars , and lots of food stalls .

And if you like taking photos, this market is perfect. There are so many great spots for pictures!

Shopping here is fun too. You can find stylish clothes, cool accessories, old-school items, and gifts to take home.

And if you get hungry, there’s plenty of food . From tasty Thai snacks to Japanese food, BBQ skewers, drinks, and more . Plus, there are nice places to sit and eat .

I recommend trying the spring rolls, pad Thai, chicken skewers, and the sweet mango rice . They’re all delicious.

Route to Jodd Fairs DanNeramit

7. Savor Holy Shrimp – 1 hour (9:00 PM to 10:00 PM)

Seafood dish at Holy Shrimp, including fresh shrimp, crabs, and mussels, served in a flavorful, spicy sauce

For dinner , I’d recommend trying Holy Shrimp at Jodd Fairs DanNeramit.

They serve amazing seafood dishes . You can enjoy tasty shrimps, mussels, and scallops, all cooked just right in a yummy sauce .

The mix of herbs and a splash of lemon make everything taste even better. Don’t forget the sweet corn—it adds a nice touch to the meal.

If Holy Shrimp isn’t to your liking, don’t worry! Jodd Fairs DanNeramit has plenty of other food options to explore .

From crispy fried chicken and cheesy pizza to juicy burgers and spicy tomyum , you won’t have any trouble finding a delicious dinner here . There’s something for everyone’s taste!

Going to Tokyo soon? Consult my Tokyo itinerary for 7 days to assist you in planning your trip.

Day 4 Itinerary: Safari World Bangkok and Chocolate Ville

The next stop on your Bangkok adventure takes you first to a popular zoo, home to a diverse array of animals and marine life.

Following that, you’ll visit a vibrant park offering stunning photo spots and picturesque dining experiences.

  • 9:30 AM: Safari World Bangkok + Lunch
  • 4:30 PM: Chocolate Ville + Dinner

1. Safari World Bangkok – 6 hours (9:30 AM to 3:30 PM)

Exciting scenes at Safari World Bangkok with tiger and lion feedings, playful orangutans, and engaging dolphin shows

Get yourself ready as you visit the Safari World Bangkok in the morning. Home to thousands of different animals , this park is undeniably entertaining.

Here, you will encounter bears, crocodiles, deers, lions, parrots, orangutans, tigers, and many more !

There are also remarkable shows to look forward to such as the tiger and lion feeding shows , dolphin show , orangutan show , and sea lion show .

Giraffe feeding is another captivating activity for all ages.

I highly suggested that you book the zoo tickets online to save around 40% compared to buying the tickets on-site.

Getting There:

Unfortunately, there isn’t a BTS or MRT station near Safari World. The best and easiest way to get there is by taking this shuttle bus from Central World shopping mall. This is how we did it during our visit. However, it’s required to reserve your seat online in advance .

Please be aware that outside food is not permitted at Safari World. However, there’s no need to worry! The park has numerous restaurants offering a variety of dishes, from Thai and Asian cuisines to Western favorites like burgers.

2. Chocolate Ville – 3 hours (4:30 PM to 7:30 PM)

Picturesque view of Chocolate Ville Bangkok, resembling a European village with quaint buildings

Come evening, proceed to the ever-colorful Chocolate Ville Bangkok . This is a beautiful European-themed village that is filled with gorgeous photography spots .

Walk around and you’ll see pretty streets everywhere, perfect for photos . There are fountains , old-style buildings , and even a calm lake .

If you’re visiting Safari World Bangkok and Chocolate Ville in one day , consider booking this shuttle bus . It’s a time-saving choice since neither attraction is train-accessible.

Alternatively, you can take a Grab car from Safari World to Chocolate Ville, which will cost around 160 Baht and take about 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to head back to your hotel, getting a Grab car from Chocolate Ville is also simple.

Romantic riverside dining area at Chocolate Ville, Bangkok, with charming lights and serene water views

You can take your dinner at Chocolate Ville. It offers lots of yummy food choices, from local Thai dishes to tasty Western meals. I believe you’ll enjoy it!

For a scenic dining view, I’d suggest grabbing a seat by the riverside.

Day 5 itinerary: Visit Damnoen Saduak and Maeklong Railway Markets, plus The One Ratchada in Bangkok

Day 5 of the Bangkok itinerary will bring you to the best Thailand floating market and other unique tourist spots .

During our recent trip, we took a bus tour from the city centre of Bangkok to the markets . We chose this method because these places aren’t easily accessible by public transport .

If you want to follow what we did , just book the top-rated bus tour here .

Personally, I was very satisfied with the bus tour service . We had enough time to explore , and the guides offered recommendations on the best local foods to try.

Now, I’d love to share with you the destinations we visited on this day.

  • 11:45 AM: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
  • 1:50 PM: Maeklong Railway Market
  • 6:00 PM: The One Ratchada + Dinner

1. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market – 1 hours 45 minutes (11:45 AM to 1:30 PM)

Vivid and bustling scene at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market with colorful boats and lively vendors

Commence your morning with a visit to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market , the most famous floating market in Thailand .

This destination is not just a top day trip from Bangkok but also a haven for photography enthusiasts . So, make sure to include this place in your itinerary .

As you wander, hop on a boat ride for an up-close view of the market . You’ll find delicious local snacks being sold by boat vendors – make sure to taste a few!

If you join the tour like we did , the tour guide will arrange a boat ride for you , so there’s no need to worry about it.

Traditional Thai boat noodle soup and sweet mango sticky rice served at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

While exploring the market along the canal , you’ll discover a wide range of delicious foods . Make sure to sample as many dishes and snacks as you can.

For your lunch , you can opt for the boat noodle , which is priced at 60 Baht . Then, pair it with the delicious mango sticky rice at 50 Baht . These two are very popular in the market, so make sure not to miss them.

And, you can try coconut ice cream , which is also a favourite among locals and even tourists . The price for this kind of dessert is normally 40 Baht .

Side note: Some travellers choose to visit Amphawa Floating Market . This market is celebrated for its seafood goodness and relaxing ambiance, but it’s not as renowned as Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

2. Maeklong Railway Market (Rom Hup Market) – 1.5 hours (1:50 PM to 3:20 PM)

Unique Maeklong Railway Market with vendors and colorful stalls along the train tracks

In the afternoon, make your way to the Maeklong Railway Market and capture the moving train . This is definitely the main reason why travellers want to visit this popular market when they’re in Bangkok.

Aside from that, this place is also a fun spot to buy some dried fruit snacks . Most of these are sold for as low as 50 Baht .

So, if you’re looking for delicious and affordable treats, you can buy them here.

And to energize you, try the fresh coconut in the market , which is also very cheap . It’s only 20 Baht! You really can’t find this kind of price anywhere in Bangkok , so don’t miss them out.

3. The One Ratchada – 3 hours (6:00 PM to 9:00 PM)

Vibrant night scene at The One Ratchada market in Bangkok, bustling with street vendors and visitors

Kick off your evening at The One Ratchada . This cozy market is perfect for both shopping and eating .

If you’re like me and love local markets, this place is a treat. You’ll find stylish clothes and unique souvenirs to take home .

With a vast array of food options , you can easily have your dinner in the market .

Delight in delicious sushi , refreshing smoothies , and fresh coconuts . And for seafood lovers , don’t miss out on the grilled crabs and prawns .

To top off your visit, unwind at one of the laid-back bars with affordable drinks and lively music. Enjoy!

Route Map to The One Ratchada

If you’re planning to see several attractions in Bangkok , you might want to consider getting the Bangkok Multi-Attraction Pass .

For instance, if you’re interested in visiting Safari World, enjoying a river cruise, and seeing the city from the Mahanakhon SkyWalk, buying tickets one by one would cost 3,230 Baht .

But if you get the multi-attraction pass , it’s just 2,400 Baht for all three . That means you save 830 Baht .

If two of you are traveling , you’ll save even more , about 1,660 Baht in total . The pass can get you into as many as 28 attractions . For more info, just hit the link below.

  • Check out Bangkok Multi-Attraction Pass here

Bangkok Map

To help you craft the perfect itinerary for your Bangkok vacation, I’ve created a map that highlights all the best places in the city.

This way, you can see where each attraction is located and easily plan out your route from one must-see to the next.

For the best accommodation , below are my most recommended hotels to stay in Bangkok . These hotels are situated near BTS stations, shopping malls, and eateries .

  • Holiday Inn Bangkok : For those who want to be near Chit Lom and Siam BTS stations, this hotel is a great choice. Not only that but this is also 5 minutes away from the top shopping malls such as Central World and Siam Paragon.
  • Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel : This hotel is very near to Pratunam Market and Platinum Fashion Mall. Just a 5-minute walk to Siam Paragon Mall and Central World Shopping Complex.
  • ibis Bangkok Siam : This hotel is very close to MBK and Siam Paragon shopping mall. It’s also located next to the National Stadium station. This BTS station allows you to easily ride BTS Skytrain to visit other places in the city.

Thailand SIM Card

Just in case you do not know, it’s quite difficult to get a free Wi-Fi connection in Bangkok. That’s why it’s advisable that you get a Thailand prepaid SIM card ahead of time.

You can book here for the prepaid SIM card before you kick-start your vacation. This is actually what we did during our trip to the city.

Why Use Local Prepaid SIM Card

  • It allows you to navigate around the city via Google Maps easily.
  • It lets you check the precise train route from time to time while travelling.
  • It gives you the chance to use Grab. Having a local SIM card is needed because the driver needs to call you beforehand to confirm the pickup location.

Why Book the SIM Card Online

  • Online reservation offers you up to 50% discount compared to buying it directly at the airport.
  • It’s easy for you to pick up the SIM card at the counter of Suvarnabhumi Airport or Don Muang Airport .

After your Bangkok trip, is Singapore or Penang your next stop? If yes, then better read my suggested 5 days in Singapore itinerary or Penang 3-day itinerary right here!

Bangkok Transportation

1. BTS Skytrain and Metro (MRT)

The best way to get around Bangkok is by taking the BTS Skytrain and Metro (MRT) . This transport option lets you skip the traffic jam and save your travel time .

You can purchase the train ticket from the ticket vending machines located in each station . Hence, you just buy the tickets every time you need to ride a train .

To check the train route, I recommend that you utilize Google Maps. This gives you the shortest route to reach your preferred destination.

Unfortunately, taxi scams in Bangkok are quite common . Some drivers do not use their taxi meter so they charge tourists a higher, fixed price .

Because of this, I encourage you to use Grab for safety purposes . The rates of this transport service are also reasonable, so nothing to worry about.

3. Airport Transfers

My most recommended choice when it comes to travelling from the airport to a hotel is via private airport transfer . It’s because this option offers stress-free transportation .

There’s no need to drag your luggage during train transfers . All you have to do is relax and wait for your destination.

I booked a private airport transfer during our trip , and their service was truly excellent , with a very friendly driver . They can even take you directly to any hotel in Bangkok .

Check out the prices at the below links.

Bangkok is all set for you; just add these ideas to your own itinerary. Have a fantastic time exploring!

Best Things to Do in Bangkok

30 Top Things to Do in Bangkok You’ll Want to Go in 2024

Best Markets in Bangkok

12 Best Bangkok Night and Day Markets to Visit in 2024

Asiatique The Riverfront Bangkok Guide

Asiatique The Riverfront in Bangkok: A Detailed Guide

1 thought on “bangkok itinerary: the best 5 day trip guide for reference”.

Hello Josh, We plan our trip to Thailand and Cambodia our group 11 adults. I have read your advice and tips and it helps me a lot especially my sister, nieces and nephews are depending on me to do tours. Thank you!

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  • 42 Bangkok Tips For First Timers: Must-Read Guide

About to take your first trip to Bangkok? These Bangkok tips for first timers will help you get started on the right foot, from where to eat and to where to stay to which sights should make your itinerary.

If you are planning to visit Bangkok for the first time, you are in for a treat. To make sure you come to love the city as much as we do, our good friend Helen from Differentville has shared her list of Bangkok tips for first-timers, aka how not to hate Bangkok , to help you make the most of your visit.

Why I didn’t enjoy my first Bangkok trip

1. find the areas with character, 2. don’t just go where everyone else does, 3. get up early, 4. find somewhere to chill out, 5. it’s okay to go to mcdonald’s and hope it all goes away, 6. keep your eyes peeled, 7. the grand palace is probably open, 8. know where to find good food, 9. ask an expert, 10. don’t fret about chopsticks, 11. don’t try to find street food on a monday, 12. take the chance to go gourmet, 13. know where the girly bars are, 14. be nice, 15. drinking in soi 4 for women, 16. stay downstairs, 17. buckets are evil, 18. the ‘hangover bar’ is not the only rooftop bar in bangkok, 19. khao san road., 20. there are cool bits of bangkok, 21. visit a night market, 22. the airport train may not go where you’re staying, 23. buy a rabbit card, 24. bring your passport, 25. tuk tuks are fun, 26. be careful of taxis, 27. get some small notes as soon as you arrive, 28. download grab, 29. don’t forget the boats, 30. get on the right boat on the chao praya, 31. walking is the best way to see stuff, 32. choose your area well, other useful advice when visiting bangkok for the first time, 33. don’t drink the water, 34. avoid food poisoning, 35. take probiotics before your trip, 36. buy a sim card or esim, 37. carry id with you., 38. pack a top that covers your shoulders and skirt or trousers that cover your ankles., 39. you might see ++ on a restaurant or hotel bill., 40. carry plenty of small banknotes., 41. stop looking for anyone carrying a pig on a motorbike, 42. you will at one point during your trip get the song one night in bangkok stuck in your head..

This page contains affiliate links. Please read see our disclosure policy . Considering I have been to Bangkok eight times it might surprise you to hear I hated it the first time I went. So did my partner (who is now as addicted to the place as I am).

It’s a story I hear over and over again–and while it’s taken me a long while to ‘get’ the place, I think I’ve picked up a few tips that might help everyone on their first time in Bangkok have an incredible time.

My first trip to Bangkok was sometime in the early 2000s – prime  The Beach  territory. Until then, most of my holidays had been to Europe or the USA, but I had heard that in the other direction, there was this place called Asia where chaos reigned.

Here the roads were full of motorbikes, often carrying everything from a whole wardrobe or a small family of pigs.

The food was exotic and spicy, and you diced with death if you ate it anywhere except a clean, sanitised restaurant.

Khaosan Road or Khao San Road, either way, its backpacker central in Bangkok, Thailand

Markets either floated or were a cacophony of noise, smells and sights guaranteed to turn me vegetarian.

There were gleaming temples, winding alleys, a hint of sin… Imagine my surprise therefore when I turned up in Bangkok to find a branch of Boots (a UK pharmacy) opposite my hotel, McDonald’s on every corner, and a selection of designer clothes shops to rival Bond Street in London. I was confused.

Seven Eleven along the Sukhumvit street at Thong Lor district in Bangkok, Thailand.

I wandered around the temples; I went to the backpacker central of the Khao San road where people with dreadlocks and ridiculous traveller’s trousers looked like they’d arrived in 1974 and never left.

I whizzed about in tuk-tuks and I ate my body weight in Pad Thai, but I didn’t find this madness I was looking for.

I went home decidedly underwhelmed and thinking that Bangkok was overrated. Other people have the opposite experience. ‘It was all just too much,’ says my partner Neil. ‘Everything was noisy and smelly.

Bikes were everywhere. People were everywhere. I just couldn’t think. I decided I wouldn’t go back.’ We were both staying on the same road, just at different ends!

Over time I’ve realised that whatever you’re looking for in Bangkok – frantic madness with a side order of grit, a ‘mild’ introduction to Southeast Asia, or trendy bars and coffee shops that wouldn’t seem out of place in London or New York, you can find it in Bangkok (if you know how) – and in time it’s a place that just gets under your skin.

But before that can happen you need to enjoy your first time in Bangkok and here’s my list of tips that I think will help. You’ll learn where to go, what to eat, and what to do to have an awesome first trip to Bangkok.

Sightseeing in Bangkok

I’m guessing you’ve come to Bangkok to see some sights and there are a lot of them – the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and Khao San Road should all be on your must-see list for a Bangkok first-time visitor – but if you’re not careful, your first trip to Bangkok can seem like a mass of temples, all blending into one another and not a lot in between.

Wat Arun, Bangkok, Thailand

That’s a shame because if you look behind the surface a bit of Bangkok and you’ll find a fascinating city full of intriguing things to discover.

So, here are some ideas that might not be on the radar when you’re visiting Bangkok for the first time but should be…

On my first time in Bangkok, I stayed as so many people do in the area of Sukhumvit. It’s a fantastic place – if you want to go shopping…if you’re looking for somewhere with a bit more grit or character, you won’t find it here…as my friend Greg (another Bangkok first-time hater) said, ‘I just found it all really sterile.’

Areas with a bit more character to check out include Chinatown, Talad Noi, a working district full of car repair shops that’ll make any photographer’s day, Little India, and the Khlong Toei Wet Market.

Talad Noi's famous car in Bangkok, Thailand

If your Bangkok first-time itinerary reads ‘Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Khao San, and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market’ you’ll see some amazing sights, but you might also walk away from Bangkok saying it’s too touristy, so mix things up a bit.

The places above will help, but if you have time also think about visiting Nang Leong Market  for all the cheap food you can eat.

You might see one or two other foreign faces in this lunch place for locals but not many more than that.

  • North Samsen Road Even around the tourist centre that is Khao San road, wander north about 25 minutes-walk up Samsen Road and you’ll find a truly local area with an amazing wet market and some fascinating backstreets. Find directions in this guide to less touristy things to do near Khao San .
  • Taling Chan about 11km from Bangkok’s Grand Palace is no longer the secret it once was, but it’s still a good place to get some nice pics of a genuine floating market – without having to get up at 4 am to beat the crowds at Damnoen Saduak.
  • Take a day trip to Maeklong Railway Market.  This market is famous as a train runs through it daily – yes, it’s packed with tourists, but if you go by train, rather than on a tour, you’ll get an experience few other folks do. You’ll find full instructions on how to get to Maeklong by train here .

Maeklong Railway Market, Thailand

If you are going somewhere super touristy (and you should because there’s a reason all the main Bangkok sights are on your must-see list), go early – everyone else is sleeping off the after-effects of 200 baht buckets of booze! 

Anywhere in Asia can feel a bit full-on if you’re out pounding the pavements day in, day out.

And if you’re not going to come away from your first time in Bangkok, needing a holiday or swearing never to return, you’ll need to take a break sometimes.

bangkok travel tips

Sit by the pool in your hotel sometimes – it’s not a crime (it’s where you’ll find me most mornings until Bangkok wakes up!)

If you want to combine chilling out with sightseeing, visit Lumphini Park, which, once you get away from the traffic that rings it, is a proper escape in Bangkok

Or, go and see an exhibition at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre opposite the MBK shopping centre. The silence here makes a welcome change.

There’s also a park just outside the, sometimes insanely busy, Chatuchak Market that you can escape to when inside the market gets too hot and sticky.

So you’re visiting Bangkok for the first time and you’re ready to throw yourself into 24-7 Thai Culture.

And then five days in, you’ve had enough spicy food, it’s too hot, you’re sick of Thai beer and no you don’t want a bloody t-shirt with Same Same on it.

That’s fine – go get a Maccas. Sit in the air-con and literally and figuratively chill. There’s no law that says you have to go all Thai, all the time.

A McDonald's in Bangkok, Thailand

Personally, though if you’re going to eat fast food in Bangkok I’d say go to KFC – it’s great in Bangkok, the staff seem to genuinely enjoy their jobs; you get cutlery; the food is great – and it comes with chilli sauce! If it is all getting a bit much, but you don’t quite want to go fully Western, some nice compromises are:

  • Head to the giant ICONSIAM shopping mall and go to their floating market food hall. Clean, easy, air-conditioned – and full of local restaurants.
  • Visit Cabbages and Condoms – it’s a Thai restaurant with a unique theme. The food is good, the staff speak English, it’s nice and calm (just wear insect repellent).
  • Wander around the food hall at Siam Paragon – it’s one of my favourite places in the city. Just buy a prepaid card, load it with cash, and pick whatever looks good.
  • Check out the Unicorn Cafe and destress cuddling magical creatures.

Some of my favourite Bangkok moments have been nothing to do with the big sights – they’ve just been things I’ve spotted on the street like watching a pink-haired old lady feed her duck just a few minutes walk from Khao San Road – who knew?

Another day I watched a troop of Lion Dancers squeeze their entire costume (and all of them) into a tuk-tuk and speed off to their next job.

I was on the bridge overlooking CentralWorld as a Thai football team went past on an open tour bus with what seemed like every single moped in Bangkok riding alongside them beeping – that was a never-to-be-repeated experience.

bangkok travel tips

None of them are in any tour book, but they’re some of my best memories of my trips to Bangkok.

There’s so much going on if you keep your eyes peeled – and always, always look in shop doorways. Some of them are amazing.

Scams: what every first-time visitor to Bangkok needs to know

‘Everyone is trying to rip you off’ – is another common refrain you hear about why people hate the city after visiting Bangkok for the first time.

And yes, I will confess I’ve met a few scammers in my time there. Here’s what not to fall for…

The first time I went, I got in a tuk-tuk to go to the Grand Palace.

If you’re going to find a dodgy tuk-tuk driver in Bangkok, saying the words Grand Palace will make them manifest faster than saying Beetlejuice three times brings out Michael Keaton.

They smile and say. ‘It’s closed today, let me take you somewhere else instead.’ That somewhere else is his brother’s shop!

You’ll also find ‘helpful’ people telling you that it’s closed on the roads around the Palace and other major sights.

Remember the Golden Rule of Bangkok – unless something very important is happening with the Royal Family (which will be on the news), it’s extremely unlikely that any of the major attractions are closed when they are supposed to be open.

The Grand Palace is open from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm, 7 days a week. Oh, your hostel is very unlikely to have burned down without them telling you too.

Also watch out for any tuk-tuk driver who wants to take you on a detour to a shop, restaurant, or bar, en route to wherever you want to go. Just say no.

Photo of The Grand Palace, a complex of buildings at the heart of Bankgok, Thailand

My favourite story on Bangkok scams though comes from a friend, who, as a naïve 20-something got a limo to pick her up from the airport.

As he hurtled along the freeway at about 40 over the speed limit, he gave her a grave warning. ‘Don’t get in the normal taxis – they carry spare gas in their boot and if another car hits them, they explode.’ Of course, at this point, he then offered to be her personal chauffeur, in his clearly non-exploding car, for the rest of the trip.

To me this sums up Bangkok scams, they’re harmless guys chancing their arm – just be aware of it.

Eating in Bangkok for first-timers

Eating all the Thai food you can is probably on your list of things to do in Bangkok, but I admit, until recently, even I was a bit cautious about what I ate and where I ate it.

Lock Tien Food Center Pad Thai Phuket

It’s taken time for me to get brave enough to try some of the more local-looking places – and chances are you’re going to be equally nervous on your first trip to Bangkok. So….

There’s a lot of good food in Bangkok, and there’s a lot of cheap food in Bangkok, but sometimes it doesn’t seem that there’s a lot of good, cheap food – particularly in places you might be spending most of your time when in Bangkok for the first time! 

Good choices include the Tom Yum at Pe Aor in Ratchathewi and the famous 50-year beef soup at Wattana Panich in Watthana near Ekkamai.

For full details and more suggestions, check out my post on  where to find some of the best cheap food in Bangkok here.

If it’s your first time in Bangkok and you’re a bit nervous about street food or eating locally, I definitely recommend taking a food tour with Bangkok Food Tours. They show you the best places.

A food tour in Bangkok, Thailand

They got me over my worries about just walking in somewhere with no English menu and pointing at whatever looks good – the dishes above were from somewhere I tried on the tour, then went back to.

Thai food is eaten with a knife and fork.

The stalls close for cleaning. For the same reason, don’t plan a trip to Chinatown on a Monday night, if you want to eat from the tiny stalls that fill the roads there. You’ll be disappointed.

Bangkok is home to four of the top 10 restaurants in Asia – according to the San Pelligrino Awards.

And the prices are VERY cheap compared to eating at similar quality places elsewhere in the world. Three of the best are Sorn, Raan Jay Fai, and Suhring.

Bangkok nightlife for rookies

Whether it’s drinking cold bottles of Chang watching the world go by on Khao San Road, a sophisticated night of cocktails on a rooftop, or a full-on Hangover-esque trawl through the dodgiest bars in Bangkok, you’re not going to be lacking for something to do in Bangkok at night, but like everything else, it pays to know what you’re doing so you don’t end up with a three-figure bar bill or a tattoo on your face!

And avoid them If this type of thing is going to upset you. Prostitution may be illegal in Thailand, but you’d never believe it in a few areas.

The good news is, it’s fairly easy to avoid–don’t go to Soi 4 in Sukhumvit or Soi Cowboy near Asok, avoid Soi 1 and 2 or Soi Twilight in Patpong. Job done.

Soi Cowboy, Bangkok, Thailand

Admittedly, the last time we went, a lot of the bars at the upper end of Soi 4 had closed and other businesses were moving in. There’s even an Ibis hotel at that end now.

Rules in the Nightlife areas

Knowing these “rules’ will help you navigate Bangkok after dark and find the right place for a great night out.

If you are drinking in Nana or Patpong. and are males on your own, yes, the girls will approach you. If you’re not interested, just be nice and say no thank you. They’re only doing their job.

If you’re a girl drinking in Soi 4, I’ve found Hilary’s bars most friendly. If you don’t want to go into an official girly bar, try Hanrahan’s Irish Pub.

Personally, I don’t go into the bars in Patpong, as I’m not keen on the area, but there are a few outside areas of bars that line the market that give you a good chance to watch the world go by and soak up the atmosphere.

If you go to Patpong, don’t go upstairs in a ping-pong bar – you’re just asking for a few thousand baht bar bill and a large guy standing in the way of your exit until you pay it.

If you want to get an idea of what goes on inside such establishments, take a trip to the fun Patpong Museum instead.

Patpong Museum, Bangkok, Thailand

Oh, and know that if you ever play a bar girl at Connect Four, you will lose. They are masters at it. Thankfully, this mistake will only cost you the price of a Lady Drink.

They sound like a great idea. Lovely, lovely booze that tastes like sweeties for just a few hundred baht. You’ll just have one you tell yourself.

You’re on holiday you tell yourself. It’s your first trip to Bangkok, you want the picture you tell yourself.

Tourists enjoying bucket drinks in Khao San Road Bangkok Thailand walking street

You will not drink one. You will think you only drank one and then find pictures of yourself with three different coloured buckets.

You will then spend the whole of the next day with your head on a table thinking you are dying. I can neither confirm nor deny if I know this from personal experience.

The Sky Bar on the 63rd Floor of the Lebua Tower has become a must-visit for Bangkok first-timers after its appearance in The Hangover.

Lebua Tower Skybar, Bangkok, Thailand

Yes, it’s incredible – but it’s also very busy because of it. It is a first-time in Bangkok rite of passage – and, if it’s on your list you must go (checking the dress code first).

You won’t believe how high it is when you’re up there with barely any safety barriers! But, if you don’t like crowded places, want somewhere you’ll feel as comfortable ordering a beer as a cocktail, or just want to do something different, here are a few other bars with views you might want to check out – most of them have a slightly less formal feel than Sky Bar.

  • Sala Rattanakosin – directly opposite the Wat Arun temple, it has a great view of the river and is stunning at sunset.
  • Above Eleven – chic bar just off Sukhumvit
  • Octave Rooftop Bar and Lounge near Thong Lor – it’s chilled and has a good happy hour.
  • Red Sky – right on top of the Central World tower so convenient if you’re staying around Siam/Chitlom
  • If you’re in Chinatown and get thirsty, the Hotel Royal has a small pool bar with a view of the surrounding roofs

All of these are clearly marked on google maps.

It is What it Is! And what it is, is a melting pot of the world’s backpackers – which basically means that come 10 pm it looks like your local High Street on a Saturday night… No matter where you’re from!

It’s fun, the beer is cheap, find the right venue and you’ll have a blast – but don’t expect a cultural experience.

Oh and no matter how good an idea it seems at the time, you do not need a frog that croaks when you rub a wooden stick over its back.

If you do become tired of the ladies selling you frogs, the accents you hear back home or just the backpacker-ness of it all and want a change of scenery without going far, try Soi Rambutri which is still cheap and cheerful but less rowdy, take a walk up Phra Sumen to the more local Pat Bar.

Or, walk up to Samsen Road which is lined with small bars like Adhere the 13th Blues Bar or Post..

I’ve just talked about the line of bars on Samsen Road in which you’ll find some Thai hipsters hanging out, but there are a few other areas to try if you want to search out Bangkok’s next cool thing.

Charoen Krung Road, slightly southeast of Talad Noi is Bangkok’s newest hipster area with coffee shops, art galleries, restaurants, and a few bars springing up. Search for Tropic City and Jua on google maps.

Also, check out the more established group of trendy bars in Chinatown on a road called Soi Nana. Look for Tep bar or Teens of Thailand on google maps.

Night markets are also another cool thing to do in Bangkok – no, not the touristy ones selling you knock-off Rolexes and Same Same t-shirts, but those that combine selling vintage goods with pop-up bars and restaurants or food trucks.

Rachada Night train market (Talad Rot Fai) at night in Bangkok, Thailand

Check out JJ Green near Mo Chit BTS station or Talad Rot Fai at Ratchada (metro: Thailand Cultural Centre). Both markets run Thur- Sun from 6 pm.

Getting around Bangkok as a first timer

Getting around Bangkok can be a bit tiring – traffic is pretty bad and a lot of places you want to go as a first-time visitor don’t seem to be immediately accessible by any obvious transportation. It takes a while to get your head around it all.

This should help…

Bangkok BTS

Basically, there are four main ways you’ll be likely to get around during your first time in Bangkok – taxi, BTS Skytrain – an elevated train that goes to many popular tourist destinations – the Metro and the Chao Praya river boats which go up and down the main river that runs through the city.

But I’d also suggest you explore by the smaller canal boats, tuk-tuks and on foot.

You can also get motorbike taxis and the bus – but I’m not sure they are best for first-timers. A few things to note though include:

At 45 baht a trip (rather than 300-400 for a taxi) the Airport Train to the city can save you cash, but be aware – it only takes you to Phetchaburi or the Phaya Thai Metro station where you’ll need to swap lines to the Metro or BTS which can be a bind if you’ve got a lot of luggage – and if you’re staying at Khao San Road, you’ll still need a taxi.

Not to mention that the BTS gets very full at certain points and getting out of it with luggage could be tricky.

If you want to avoid long taxi trips just jump off the train at whichever stop is closest to your hotel and grab a taxi there.

Like the Sydney Opal card or the London Oyster card, this preloaded card lets you pay for your journeys on the BTS Skytrain without having to fumble for cash.

You can also use it in Family Mart, Subway, McDonald’s, and a heap of other stores to pay for purchases.

They now ask all tourists to show their passport when registering their Rabbit card for the first time, or filling up an old one, so make sure you have it with you.

There’s nothing like blasting through the Bangkok traffic in one – especially late at night when they can go fast enough to blast.

Tuk Tuks in Bangkok traffic, Thailand

However, they are not the cheapest way to get about if you’re a foreigner. Know that, barter the fare down a bit to pay what you think the experience is worth for you – then just enjoy it

Catching taxis can be the one time where even I hate Bangkok! You get in the taxi – and they refuse to put the meter on.

I’ve even got staff in the hotel to get a taxi, have them put the meter on as they leave, then get around the corner and turn it off, demanding a flat fee way higher than what I’m supposed to be paying.

It’s a better plan to use the BTS Skytrain service to get as far as you can out of the area in the direction you need to go – and then get a cab.

What I have learned though is that this is far more likely to happen in the area around Sukhumvit where the traffic is appalling and it can easily take 40-50 minutes for a short journey.

If it happens, remember that you’re often still only paying a few pounds or dollars over the odds and sometimes, it’s just not worth worrying about.

Elsewhere in Bangkok, the drivers have been fine and I’ve never had a problem with a taxi leaving from the official queue at the airport.

There are two tolls on the road from the airport into Bangkok and the driver will ask you to pay them, that’s normal, but it’s handy if you have a small note to do so.

There’s also a 50 baht airport fee that’s added, again, totally normal.

This app is like Uber and it makes getting around Bangkok in a taxi far less stressful, as the driver always knows where you’re going and the fare is fixed.

It can get busy and you might need to wait so allow a little extra time if you’re going to use it.

Bangkok has a series of canals running through it – and, if you’re trying to get from say, Khao San Road to Siam, it’s a lot easier to jump on one of the San Saeb Canal boats than try and get there by the BTS.

You can also get the boat along the main Bangkok river, the Chao Praya which can come in very handy.

Sathon Pier Bangkok

This is great for getting to Khao San Road from Sukhumvit – take the BTS to Saphan Taksin, find Sathorn Pier, jump on the boat, and get off at Phra Arthit a short walk away.

Ditto the easiest way to get to the Grand Palace from Sukhumvit is to get the riverboat up to Ta Chang from Sathorn Pier.

Note: The Chao Praya boats don’t run at night, they are for day trips only.

If you decide to take the boat up the river, when you get to Sathorn pier, you will be greeted by a mass of humanity – all looking completely confused as to what boat to get.

The main two boats you’ll probably need to know about your first time in Bangkok are the Tourist Boat . 

This has a blue flag and costs 60 baht to take you to where you want to go – or 200 baht for a day pass.

Chao Phraya Tourist Boat in Bangkok aka the hoho boat

The guides speak English and will be a bit more forgiving about waiting at the pier for you to get off.

They only stop where people want to get off so if you hear the name of your pier called, yell out – or it’ll whizz past. The downside is it only runs every half an hour.

The Regular Boats : This costs 16 baht to go to the same places as the Tourist Boat. This has an orange flag. If there’s no ticket seller on the pier on which you board, or you didn’t get a chance to buy one, you can just pay the conductor on the boat.

It can be a bit frantic and you need to be ready to get out at your stop – they don’t hang around.

There are also regular boats with no flags, boats with yellow flags, and boats with green flags that run at different times of day and stop at different piers.

Passengers ride the Bangkok Orange Flag Ferry

Note. You can’t get on any of the regular boats with the 200-baht pass. I’ve seen a lot of tourists look very grumpy when they have to pay again.

I’m inherently tight when it comes to these boats so will always get the cheap boat – in reality, you’re quibbling over about 35 baht so get on whichever comes in first!

Read our detailed public transport guide here

But man it’s hot. Wear sunscreen, carry water (there’s always a 7-11 or Family Mart close by to buy some), and walk slowly so you don’t overheat.

Where to Stay in Bangkok your First Time

When you’re visiting Bangkok for the first time you do not want to stay in the middle of nowhere. You’ll spend your whole day travelling.

You want to be somewhere close to the sights you most want to see – or with easy access to transportation. So,

And for a first-time Bangkok visitor, I’d suggest you stick to:

Located around the BTS stations of Nana and Asok, Sukhumvit is lined with big hotels and while it doesn’t have any attractions per se (unless you’re into the girly bar thing) the fact that the BTS Skytrain runs right down the middle of it makes it easy to get around.

Signage above Sukhumvit Road, in the central district of Bangkok, Thailand

You won’t have any problems finding hotels in this area – plus Bangkok has some of the cheapest hotel prices in the world for the quality of the rooms you get. You’ll find you can often book a suite for the price of a budget room in London! A good choice is the Fraser Suites . We stayed here on one trip, and the room was possibly larger than my house.

Top tip if you do stay here, use the little Tuk Tuk to the station – it will save your legs from a lot of steps. Another popular choice is Grande Centre Point Terminal 21.

Chitlom to Siam

This is the other end of Sukhumvit Road and where I stayed for my first time in Bangkok. It’s again, brilliant for transport and amazing if you want to shop.

Personally, I would recommend the Amari Watergate . It’s set a bit back from the main area but is only a short walk to all the shopping malls.

Phot of the bust transport around Siam Square, central Bangkok, Thailand

If you can, spring for an executive club room which gives you access to your own private rooftop bar. Sitting here after a day of madness and watching the sunset with a (free) glass of fizz was absolutely fantastic. On my first trip to Bangkok, I stayed at the Holiday Inn Bangkok which is even closer to the shops. I haven’t been there for a long time, but it’s still there and still gets great reviews!

MBK Shopping Centre

This is a super convenient place to stay because even though there’s not a lot around her (apart from the mall) you are smack bang in the middle of everywhere you want to go by public transport.

MBK Shopping Centre, Nangkok, Thailand

There’s even a hotel on top called the Panthumwan Princess which is fantastic – and has one of the best pools I’ve found in Bangkok so far.

Khao San Road

If you want to spend most of your time around the main sights of the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun, it’s probably the best area to stay for sightseeing as you can walk to the main sights in about 20 minutes. The road itself is crammed with more ridiculously cheap hotels than you can shake a stick at but if you aren’t on a backpacker budget, look at the Casa Nithra which is a little bit off Khao San itself, but my normal place to stay on this side of the city.

Or, if you’re lucky enough to get a room, try the Riva Surya . It’s always been full when I’ve tried to go.

The Riverfront

There’s a crop of boutique hotels around the riverfront by the Grand Palace itself – very convenient, but the influx of daily tourists might drive you a bit mad.

Bangkok City at night time, Hotel and resident area in the capital of Thailand

Have a look at Sala Rattanakosin  (yes of the bar I mentioned above) or Riva Arun .

There are also 5-star hotels all along the river and the Millennium Hilton Bangkok is right next to ICONSIAM for serious shoppers.

The business district is lined with office blocks and glitzy five-star hotels – rubbing shoulders with the madness that is Patpong.

I have never stayed here personally, but you’ll be unlikely to go far wrong with established names like the Banyan Tree or The Sukhothai .

Hopefully, all the above will mean you have an awesome time on your first trip to Bangkok and come away loving it not hating it – but just before you go off to plan heaps of cool stuff, there are just a final few things that might smooth things out for you.

Don’t even brush your teeth in the water. Most hotels offer bottled water or pick it up from the 7-11. There will be one close to your hotel – they are everywhere.

Use all the normal sensible advice on eating to avoid food poisoning.

If you can buy them where you live, take Bimuno Travelaid Pastilles before you leave. They are prebiotic pastilles that feed the gut bugs that fight off tummy troubles.

I swear by these and have literally eaten off the same plate as my partner when using them and he’s got sick and I haven’t.

Bangkok is enormous and if you want to walk anywhere you’re going to need maps.

It’s a legal requirement, and we have been stopped and asked for it before

You’ll need it if you’re going to go into any of the main temples, the new Giant Buddha at Wat Paknam or the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace dress code is particularly strict.

View from the canal of the Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen Temple, with a massive gold Buddha statue, outside Bangkok, Thailand

As well as the above (and a scarf to cover your shoulders won’t cut it), you can’t wear anything tight-fitting, anything see-through, anything that shows your middle, back, or cleavage, or anything ripped. It’s also best to wear closed-toe shoes.

This means that your bill will come with a 10% added service charge plus local taxes (around 7%). If a bill says “nett,” then these are included already.

If you have a large Thai banknote, go to 7-11 and buy a drink to break it – they always have change.

That’s Vietnam (I know I was disappointed too). There are a lot of dogs on scooters though!

I can’t help you with that one! You can listen to it here .

Keep Planning Your Trip to Thailand

  • How To Get Around Bangkok: Public Transport For Visitors
  • The Chao Phraya Tourist Boat: Sightseeing Tips For Every Stop
  • 12 Things to Know Before Going to Thailand
  • Simple Thai Words and Phrases for Traveling in Thailand

About the Author: Helen Foster is a freelance journalist and author based in Sydney. Her travel articles have appeared in publications including The Australian, Jetstar Magazine, and RAC Horizons. She has taken more than ten trips to Thailand.

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Travel & Food, Itineraries & Guides, Hotel Reviews

My Perfect Bangkok Itinerary Updated With Newer Attractions (2024 Travel Guide)

December 25, 2023 by Bino 15 Comments

As one of Asia’s best value and most popular destinations, Bangkok offers a plethora of things to see and do and there are various permutations that you can do for your Bangkok itinerary. Filled with many spectacular Buddhist temples and ornate buildings, the city is at once exotic and at the same time modern with all the creature comforts that one can imagine. Bangkok is also known as a shopping haven, with mass consumerism juxtaposing against a strong market culture. 

I have been to Bangkok quite a few times and always enjoy coming here for the unbeatable value, delicious Thai food and fascinating things to see in the city’s streets. Whether you’re a first-timer, a regular or even a shopaholic, here is my suggestion for your trip with a Bangkok itinerary that you can easily break down into 2-days, 3-days or 4-days depending on the length of time you are there. I’ve made the duration flexible to make the itinerary easy to execute during weekends or during longer visits. For some other ideas, you can also check out this Bangkok travel guide .

Table of Contents

Day 1 – Old Bangkok

Learn about thailand’s royal traditions at the grand palace.

If it is your first time visiting Bangkok, venturing out to the dazzling Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha is recommended to be part of your Bangkok itinerary. First built in the late 1700s, the palace grounds cover an area of over 218,000 square meters. While the royal family no longer resides here (they reside at Dusit Palace), the Grand Palace still hosts some official and state functions. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Kaew, considered to be the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand, is also situated here. 

Tip: If you are visiting the Grand Palace, do note that a dress code applies. Men are required to wear trousers and sleeved shirts while women are expected to cover their upper arms and legs up to the thigh area. As a last resort, visitors who show up with improper clothing can rent clothes from shops nearby. 

Be Awed by the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho

bangkok travel tips

Also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha , this well known religious building sits just next to the Grand Palace and can be easily combined with the former. The image of the gold-plated reclining Buddha is perhaps one of the most iconic tourist shots in Bangkok and at any given time of day, visitors will find the narrow hallway housing the statue to be extremely claustrophobic.

Tip: If you are looking for a fuss-free experience visiting Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha, you can book this join-in or private tour that includes all these attractions and even comes with a cruise down the Chao Phraya river. 

wat arun

wat arun during sunset

Immediately to the west of Wat Pho just opposite Tha Tien pier, is another one of Bangkok’s most well-known landmarks. Wat Arun , also known as the Temple of Dawn , consists of a large central tower and flanked by four smaller ones on each side.  The grey-ish appearance of the temple makes it seem like it’s constructed from the same material as the likes of the Ayuthaya temples but it’s actually a lot more ornate than that when inspected closely. The material is actually Chinese porcelain. Visitors are able to enter for a fee whenever the temple is not under renovation. It is well worth the short trip across the river to see this temple up close. I would also recommend checking this temple out during sunset when it is floodlit.

Tip: While it may look fun to ride on a tuktuk especially for first-timers to Bangkok, do note that the price can easily exceed that of a taxi. For a truly cheap ride around town, try the moto taxis which you can also book on Grab. You’ll also get to beat the traffic jams this way.

rong kueak shrine in bangkok

rong kueak shrine in bangkok

One of my favorite neighborhoods in Bangkok is quirky Talat Noi, an area that has historically been home to the city’s ethnic Chinese community. Though still considered part of Bangkok’s Chinatown, Talat Noi is a lot quieter and more laidback. Its maze-like alleys, which are filled with street art, temples, galleries and hipster cafes, are generally free from huge crowds. 

street art in talat noi, bangkok

street art in talat noi, bangkok

While here, make sure to check out the street art found in Trok San Chao Rong Kueak. Unwind for coffee at Mother Roaster , a warehouse for auto parts with a nice cafe on the second floor. The area also has a number of old Chinese mansions that have been converted into restaurants. These include Hong Sieng Kong and So Heng Tai Mansion . The riverside Rong Kueak Shrine offers a glimpse into the religious traditions of Bangkok’s Chinese community. 

soi charoenkrung 22

soi charoenkrung 22

For a glimpse of local life, you can also check out Soi Charoenkrung 22 , where generations of Thai-Chinese have been selling steamed buns, fruits and noodles. This alley reminded me quite a bit of those found in Malaysia. 

Charoenkrung Road

the very first central department store along charoenkrung road

the very first central department store along charoenkrung road

After Talat Noi, you can spend the rest of the afternoon checking out the fast-gentrifying Charoenkrung Road which is home to charming cafes and photogenic colonial buildings. In this area, you can find museums/galleries such as the Bangkokian Museum (open daily Wed to Sun, 10AM to 4PM) and discover how city folk lived in the olden days. For a spot of modern art, there’s also the Thailand Creative & Design Center or TCDC (open Tues to Sun, 10:30AM to 9PM) which used to be Bangkok’s main post office. The well-known night market, Asiatique , is also located in this part of the city.

inside central: the original store in bangkok

inside central: the original store in bangkok

For a retro experience, head to Central: The Original Store , a lifestyle hub housed in the very first Central department store from the 1950s. Here, you can find an artsy display of vintage publications tracing the retailer’s history as well as some fun and quirky merchandise. I dropped by in December and found them selling unique gift ideas. 

Ong Ang Canal

ong ang canal

ong ang canal

If you happen to be in Bangkok on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday – check out the newly rehabilitated Ong Ang Canal which is roughly in between Wat Pho and Chinatown. The walkways around the canals were recently repaved and decorated with street art. During weekends, you will find street performers, artists as well as independent shopkeepers selling their wares. You can even go kayaking here and paddle through the canal. 

Ong Ang Canal is best explored in the late afternoon or early evening when it’s not so hot and more pop-up stores are open.

Ong Ang Canal can be easily reached through Sam Yot MRT Station.

A Feast for the Senses at Yaowarat Road

yaowarat road

yaowarat road

Yaowarat Road, which is synonymous with Bangkok’s Chinatown, has seen quite a bit of transformation as of late. I have been visiting since pre-2020 when it was a hotbed for touristy restaurants serving bird’s nest or shark’s fin. Gradual reliance on locals when the borders were closed for 2 years meant that many of those establishments are no longer around. Instead, street vendors offering anything from fried crickets to noodle soup have increased the street side congestion even further. The street has also become a lot more accessible via public transport, with the nearby Wat Mangkon MRT station opening in 2019.  A typical walking route that takes one thru the gist of Bangkok’s Chinatown is to start from Wat Traimit Withayaram Worawihan up until Grand China Bangkok Hotel. The area is best visited from sunset onwards. That’s when the street truly becomes alive with neon signs and street side food stalls.

Tom Yum Noodles for Supper at Jeh O Chula

jeh o chula

jeh o chula

Jeh O Chula is a popular dinner and supper spot (they open til midnight) and they are well-known for sumptuous dishes such as Tom Yum Noodles, Fried Pork Belly and Spicy Salmon Sashimi Salad. End your day here after a long day out. There is always a long and snaking queue but you can avoid the wait and get a guaranteed slot with a set meal by booking in advance here .

Day 2 – Ayutthaya and Bang Pa-In Excursion 

Explore the ancient ruins of ayutthaya.

bangkok travel tips

Set out early in the morning for a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ayutthaya which is only an hour away from Bangkok. You won’t be able to visit all the temples within half a day but you can expect to reasonably cover the major ones like Wat Chaiwatthanaram , Wat Yai Chaimongkon and Wat Phra Mahathat. You can choose this Ayutthaya day tour that can take you there by an air-conditioned vehicle and even includes the picturesque Bang Pa-In Summer Palace.

Tip: The temples of Ayuthaya can easily be done by bike. Best time to visit the temples of Ayuthaya if you plan to cycle is in the morning so that it’s not too hot. If you are not getting around the temples by airconditioned vehicle, you may consider heading to Ayuthaya the previous evening and stay overnight to allow you to cycle early the next morning.

Bang Pa-In Palace

bangkok travel tips

bang pa in palace by juan antonio segal | cc 2.0

Go for an excursion to the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace just north of Bangkok where you can find a combination of Thai, Chinese and European architectural influences. A visit here is usually combined with the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya. 

Cruise Along the Chao Phraya

bangkok at night

bangkok at night

Go on an evening cruise along the Chao Phraya river and see monuments such as the Grand Palace and Wat Arun lit up in the night sky while enjoying a meal.

With Bangkok’s notorious traffic jams, it is sometimes more practical to just take the water taxi and cruise down the Chao Phraya. If you are heading to the impressive Iconsiam at the other side of the city, it may be more practical to go by boat. The shopping mall is one of the largest in Asia and the highlight here is a section devoted entirely to regional Thai cuisine. You can find many street eats here from as far as Isaan and Chiang Mai, all in one roof!

Rooftop Bar-Hopping

bangkok travel tips

sirocco bar at lebua state tower

Check out one of the city’s many rooftop bars for excellent views of the skyline. Lebua Tower (Sirocco), Banyan Tree (Vertigo) and Tichuca Rooftop Bar are just some that you can consider. You can’t go wrong with any of these, or better yet go bar-hopping across multiple nights! Expect to pay western prices though for drinks in exchange for the spectacular view

Day 3 – New Attractions & Less Common Attractions to Include in Your Bangkok Itinerary

Experience the green side of bangkok.

lumphini park

lumphini park

Take it easy in the morning by exploring Bangkok’s green lungs. You may be a Bangkok regular by now, having done all the temples and the shopping, but chances are you have not been to Lumphini Park . Come to this lush oasis early in the morning when you can witness locals doing taichi and cycle your way around the park without the infamous Bangkok heat setting in.

chong nonsi canal park

chong nonsi canal park

A newer attraction that opened in Bangkok is the Chong Nonsi Canal Park . A stretch of the canal running through Bangkok’s central business district was rehabilitated in December 2021 and turned into a public space featuring walkways, seats as well as architectural landscaping. It is still a work in progress although the first phase just south of Chong Nongsi BTS Station is already open. This park is best visited during the evening when it is lit up.

rama ix park

rama ix park

Further afield, Rama IX Park is more off-the-beaten path than Lumphini Park and a lot bigger. This park is several kilometers from Central Bangkok. Expect to pay about 200 Baht for a ride here. Make sure to check out the Royal Pavilion which sits in a postcard perfect lotus pond.

Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre

bangkok art and culture centre

bangkok art and culture centre

If you happen to be around the Siam Square area, you can walk to the nearby Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre which usually has an exhibition going on at any period of time. Even if not, its curved spiral walkways are also worth a look from the top floor. Admission is free. 

Visit Unusual Museums

Bangkok has some pretty weird museums and you can spend this day on an offbeat museum-hopping tour. From the corpses of mass murderers in the Forensics Museum to the gruesome Human Body Museum , you will slowly see Bangkok’s freaky side. For something quirky, you can also check out the Phallic Shrine , home to hundreds of penises standing (and leaning) side by side. Women come here to seek blessings when they want to conceive a child.

Walk Through Transparent Glass 314 Meters Above Ground

kingpower mahanakhon skywalk

kingpower mahanakhon skywalk

If gruesome museums aren’t your thing, check out one of the city’s newest attractions – the Kingpower Mahanakhon Skywalk in Sathorn. This is the highest observation deck in Bangkok. In certain areas, you get to walk on a totally transparent glass floor, giving you the impression that you are walking on air. You can book tickets here to get them at a discount here  to enjoy a dedicated online queue which is shorter than the walk-in one. 

Talad Rot Fai

bangkok travel tips

Check out what is perhaps Bangkok’s quirkiest market, Talad Rot Fai which is located in Srinakarin Road. You’ll find all sorts of oddities here, from antiques to vintage items dating back from the 1970’s. The restaurants around here are just as odd – you’ll find restaurants using old cinema chairs as dinner chairs and bars on reconstructed Volkswagen Beetles. 

Day 4 – Shopping Day

Hunt for bargains in pratunam .

Wake up early to access the cheapest goods you can find anywhere in Bangkok in the Pratunam Morning Market . The cheapest goods are typically available between 5am to 8am and most stores are closed by noon. Be warned – bulk of the goods consist of ladies’ clothing. If sorting through wholesale markets is not your thing, you can also check out Platinum Mall which sells basically the same clothes as the Pratunam morning market but at a higher price and in airconditioned comfort.

Get Lost in the Maze That Is Chatuchak

bangkok travel tips

chatuchak by robert brands | cc 2.0

Brace yourself for this mini-village of a market. The Chatuchak Weekend Market is not just Thailand’s largest market, it is also a popular tourist attraction. Here you’ll find a lot of interesting products by budding designers and hipsters alongside more conventional items such as household products, pets and even food to bring home. A day is not enough to cover the entirety of the place, but hey you only have a weekend!

Mall-Hopping in Siam & Sukhumvit

bangkok travel tips

terminal 21 in bangkok

If you still have not had enough of the weekend markets and wholesale clothes market, here are some notable shopping malls to check out in Bangkok. Many of them are situated around the Rama I and Sukhumvit stretch.

  • Siam Paragon – high end mall close to the BTS station, with all the luxury brands that you can think of
  • Siam Center – recently renovated upscale hipster mall catering to a young crowd
  • Centralworld Plaza – One of the largest malls in the world, Centralworld is another upmarket mall – though not as upmarket as Siam Paragon. You can find Zen department store here.
  • Gaysorn Village – another high-end shopping malls with a similar tenant mix to Siam Paragon plus some other brands
  • MBK Shopping Center – hands down the most popular mall for tourists. MBK is the place to be, especially for those seeking bargains without sacrificing comfort
  • Siam Square – a street-level shopping center offering a handy mix of retail, f&b, entertainment and even tutor schools. Popular with local students
  • Terminal 21 – Located in Sukhumvit Road with easy access to Asoke station, shoppers can almost explore the world in this mall which each floor having different international themes
  • Some of Bangkok’s malls have really interesting interiors and are worthy attractions even if you’re not planning to buy anything. Design-wise, the ones I recommend are Central Embassy and EmQuartier
  • Emsphere is Bangkok’s newest mall, having opened only in December 2023. It is located near Phrom Phong Station and features a trendy array of shops. The pink escalators are quite insta-worthy.

Watch a Muay Thai Match

bangkok travel tips

muay thai boxing by dylan waters

In the evening, you can watch one of Thailand’s quintessential sports – Muay Thai (Thai boxing).

Day 5 – Family-friendly Attractions

  safari world.

safari world bangkok

safari world bangkok (source: safari world)

Safari World is somewhat of a social media darling, especially with images of cute and friendly giraffes extending their necks all the way to the viewing deck for visitors to pet them. There’s plenty to keep everyone preoccupied, including dolphin, bird and seal shows. Visitors can even simulate an African-style safari with a 7km stretch of open space teeming with wildlife that can be explored by private car or van.  

To get to Safari World, you can hire a Grab but do note that the park is 30km away from the city center. You can either buy standalone tickets or a bundle consisting of tickets + shared transfer . If you choose the latter, the trip departs from Siam Paragon at 7:45AM and arrives back in Siam Paragon at around 6PM. If you decide to DIY and head there on your own, it is recommended to get there by the time they open so that you can see as much of the park as possible. 

SEA Life Bangkok

If you went for the shared transfer for Safari World, you’ll be back in Siam Paragon by 6PM. That will leave you some time to check out SEA Life Bangkok before calling it a day. 

sea life

sea life (source: sea life)

Learn about sharks, penguins, whales and other marine creatures at Sea Life Bangkok with plenty of themed zones to explore. Start with the Shark Walk – a glass window with views of the majestic creatures swimming just inches away. The more daring visitors can opt for a VIP experience where they can snorkel with sharks. The Coral Reef zone on the other hand, presents a myriad of colors with various types of corals and exotic fish. Another highlight of Sea Life is the Penguin Ice Playground where visitors can catch these fluffy creatures taking a swim or just waddling in a snowy backdrop. You can purchase tickets here  at a discount. 

You can also check out my suggestions for more family-friendly attractions in Bangkok here .

Extra Savings for Bangkok Tourist Attractions

If you intend to visit a few attractions in Bangkok, you may consider getting the Bangkok Pass for extra savings. You can choose from among 21 activities and attractions such as the Mahanakhon Skywalk, Safari World Bangkok and Chao Phraya Princess Cruise as a bundle of 2, 3 or 4 attractions that you can use within 30 days. For instance, if you do choose the 3 activities just mentioned, it will cost THB 3,030. A 3-attractions pass will cost just THB 1,160. You can purchase the Bangkok Pass here .

Helpful Tips for Bangkok

  • Travel Insurance: You can compare for the best travel insurance that suits you and get exclusive discounts and even freebies when you book. If you reside in Singapore, check out Starr Travelead , one of the cheapest travel insurance. They have a promotion running until 29th Feb that comes with FREE Apple AirTag (worth S$45) that may even be worth more than the cost of the insurance itself. 
  • Airport Transport: Taxi scams used to be prevalent in Suvarnabhumi Airport. While they have mostly dissipated in recent years, it still pays to be careful in dealing with random offers for transport. Whether you arrive in Dong Muang or Suvarnabhumi, you will find official taxi stands where taxis go by the meter. Unfortunately, queues tend to be very long and sometimes, it’s also difficult to get a car from a ride-sharing app like Grab. A cheap and fast way to get to the city from Suvarnabhumi Airport is the Airport Rail Link which takes you to Siam Center where there are train connections to other parts of the city.  Alternatively, you can also book airport transfers in advance in order to skip the taxi queue.
  • Which Bangkok Airport is Better: If you are deciding whether to arrive in Don Muang Airport or Suvarnabhumi Airport, it does not really make much of a difference. I have used both during various occasions. I would say that the airport facilities in Don Muang aren’t as extensive as in Suvarnabhumi. The former has fewer airport lounges and duty free shops. In terms of immigration queues, it used to be better in Don Muang but recently it has become just as bad. Taxi queues are very long in both airports. 

Where to Eat in Bangkok

Sri Trat (90 Soi Sukhumvit 33) – A showcase of cuisine from Trat province near the Cambodian border. Specialties include the local version of Sweet and Sour Pork Belly Stew, Massaman Curry with Durian and Stir-fried Noodles with Soft-Shell Crab. 

Plu (Soi Sathon 3) – Located in a colonial house, Plu offers dishes from all over Thailand. You will find many well-known Thai dishes here like Pad Thai and a more coconut-y version of Tom Yum. The Steamed Sea Bass entails a longer serving time but is well worth the wait.  

Rung Rueang (10/3 Soi Sukhumvit 26) – This nondescript eatery off Sukhumvit is famous for its pork noodles. You can order them dry or with soup and with varying levels of spiciness. What sets their pork noodles apart is the high and relatively dense concentration of minced meat which they also sell in frozen form.

bangkok travel tips

supanniga eating room

Supanniga Eating Room (multiple locations) – A popular Bangkok restaurant with three locations – one in Sathorn, one by the river overlooking Wat Arun and one in Thonglor. Cuisine is mostly from Eastern Thailand with specialties such as Pu Jah (crab meat and minced meat in crab shell) and hearty curries.

mango sticky rice from mae varee

mango sticky rice from mae varee

You can practically find sticky rice with mango anywhere in Bangkok but there’s a reason why Mae Varee Mango Sticky Rice (1 Thong Lo) is still a hit with residents and tourists alike. It is perhaps the generous and luscious chunks of mangos, the sweet coconut sauce or the well-textured rice. Or perhaps it is all of the above. The shop is located close to Thong Lo BTS Station and is worth checking out if you are in the area. 

Where to Stay in Bangkok

Budget – Lub d Bangkok Siam is located within walking distance from Siam Station and Siam Square. I personally favor this area over the popular backpacker haven of Khao San Road as the train in the Siam area enables you to avoid Bangkok’s infamous traffic jams. Another convenient location for stays is the Phaya Thai area which offers convenient connections with Suvarnabhumi Airport. For a budget hotel, Hotel Tranz offers spacious and spotless rooms while being located just next to Phaya Thai Station.

baan tuk din

baan tuk din, unique hotel in bangkok (source: baan tuk din)

Midrange – If unique looking hotels are your thing, check out Baan Tuk Din , a boutique hotel near the Democracy Monument. Distressed walls and cool furnishings make this a hotel like no other in Bangkok. The jazz bar by the lobby is also worth a look. In Sathorn area, the T2 Residence Sathorn is a good CBD option as it’s located in a quiet side street. If you prefer to stay near the Siam/Sukhumvit area, a relatively new option to consider is the Sindhorn Midtown Hotel located a short walk from Chit Lom Station. Rooms are modern and well-appointed. This hotel is also popular for its rooftop pool.

bangkok travel tips

the sukhothai bangkok

Luxury – My personal pick is The Sukhothai Bangkok for a peek at fine Thai living. The rooms are decked with Thai handicrafts and antiques while the breakfast buffet here is among the best I’ve had in the city. Highly recommended if you are looking to splurge a bit. Alternatively, you can also check out the new The Standard Mahanakhon located in the same building as the Kingpower Mahanakhon Skywalk. Rooms are stylish with the usage of “cute” furnishings and are highly instagram-worthy.

Rates are always competitive regardless of the season and booking websites are an excellent way to compare prices. You can check out some of the best deals for hotels in Bangkok HERE .

Transport Options in Bangkok

With a myriad of transport options, it is sometimes not very easy to choose the best way to get around Bangkok. Here are some available options:

Tuktuk – It may be worthwhile to try it once or twice just for the heck of it. It is by far the most iconic means of transport in Bangkok but be aware that the starting fare could easily set you back by 100 Baht. This is almost 3x the flag down fare for a cab.

Taxi – A popular and economical means of transport in Bangkok, taxis in Bangkok are generally clean. The flag-down fare is 35 Baht. Some drivers could be choosy and you may find yourself in situations where you’ll have to go through two or three drivers just to get yourself one who’s willing to turn the meter on.

BTS/MRT – Routes are limited but you’re covered for most places within the Sukhumvit area and Chatuchak Night Market. The BTS/MRT is a great way to beat the infamous traffic jams of Bangkok. If you’re heading to the older part of town, this may not be the most ideal option. Save the hassle of buying tickets before each ride and get a BTS Skytrain Rabbit Card for your BTS rides.

Buses – The most inexpensive way of getting around Bangkok but your main challenge is knowing the routes which are mostly written only in Thai.

Grab  – This is personally my preferred means of transport. Fares are competitive and are almost similarly priced to cabs. You won’t have to worry about cab drivers turning you down.

Have you been to Bangkok before? What was your itinerary like when you were in the Thai capital?

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Hi, my name is Bino and I started I Wander around 15 years ago with the aim of sharing about some of my personal journeys and experiences, hoping that the information may benefit readers like yourselves. Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below. Alternatively, you can also email me at b i n o (at) iwandered.net. You can follow I Wander on Facebook , Telegram , or Instagram . Also, if you liked this article, please feel free to SHARE or RETWEET

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November 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Very informative. Surely this will be really helpful for those travelling to Bangkok, especially for first timers. Kudos!

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November 26, 2014 at 5:13 am

Great tips! We are headed back to Bangkok for the second time and were trying to find some things that might not be at the top of most peoples’ lists! The weird museums sound like an interesting way to spend a day

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December 4, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Very nice! I visited Bangkok for the first time a few weeks ago and did a few things on your first-timers list, visited the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, the Moon Bar on top of Banyan Tree hotel and the Chatuchak Weekend Market! Really enjoyable so good tips!

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April 10, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Very helpful! I’m planning a trip to Bangkok a few months from now and this post has been great in plotting out my places to visit. Thank you!!! 🙂

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June 16, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Hello, I was searching for Bangkok trip itineraries as I will be traveling to Bangkok in nest month hence came across your article

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June 22, 2015 at 5:56 pm

Many thanks for the three different perspectives. Makes it easy for first timers. Intelligently written. – Anupam.

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October 24, 2015 at 6:19 pm

Thank you for a very interesting Web site. You have given me plenty ideas to visit on my next trip to BKK.

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February 15, 2017 at 6:47 pm

Helpful. How about transpo? How did you get around and how much it cost you?

bangkok travel tips

February 16, 2017 at 10:05 pm

Hi Merjay it is easy to get around by taxi or uber

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September 20, 2017 at 11:58 am

Great ideas! We’re heading to Bangkok next week. Been there a handful of times, but these are some great additions to what we’ve already done! Thanks 🙂

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February 17, 2018 at 2:11 pm

Do you have any recommendations for Phuket or Karbi? I’m going to Thailand and will be stopping in Bangkok first. I will be in the city for 2 days and then I fly off to Phuket where I’ll spend about 8 days there. I was thinking of taking a ferry to Karbi. Are there things to do in Phuket and Karbi? Do you recommend any other spots?

Do you think this a good amount of time for visiting Thailand for the first time and each location? I’m going alone so I’m wondering if I am making the right move.

Thanks for any feedback you can give.

February 19, 2018 at 11:12 am

I’ve not been to Krabi before! I only did Phuket within a day so I don’t really know it well.

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August 8, 2018 at 10:17 pm

This is very informative! Thank you.

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May 19, 2019 at 2:21 pm

THANKS FOR info – I AM VISITNG IN MONTH OF JULY.. PLANNIG TO VISIT BANGKOK AND PHUKET AND KARABI IFF POSSIBLE

BANFKO DETIAL U HAVE GIVEN HELPED ME A LOT, ITS IN MY LIST NOW. HOPE FOR GOOD TOUR..

MANY THANKS BRO.

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July 5, 2019 at 7:48 pm

I have been to Bangkok a few times and always stay in the Koh San area. I don’t really know why, I have seen most already and need to explore a new area of the city, but until now I never did. Maybe next time I visit Bangkok.

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bangkok travel tips

Bangkok Tips: How to Survive Your First Time In the Capital of Thailand

Picture of Ivana Greslikova

  • February 15, 2023
  • Last updated: July 12, 2023
  • Asia , Destinations , Thailand

Home » Travel Blog » Bangkok Tips: How to Survive Your First Time In the Capital of Thailand

The first time in Bangkok or Southeast Asia in general might be overwhelming. Surprising smells, new sounds, a different culture you’ve never encountered before can bring more challenges that one would wish. Or not. Maybe you’re a person who jumps into a new environment easily, adjusts to a new timezone, cuisine and embraces new traditions without any hesitation.

In any case, if you’re heading to Thailand and looking for some practical Bangkok tips, you’re coming to the right place.

This Bangkok blog is based on our personal experience in the city which has become our second home during our travels.

Bangkok tips for your first time in the city

Choose the best time to visit bangkok.

Want to have a pleasant weather and no rain? Then number 1 Bangkok travel tip would be traveling there between November and end of February. If you are not confident to travel to Asia independently, start looking for Thailand holiday packages in March or early April. You’ll get better chance  to pick the best place and activities for early bird price.

Find the best hotel in Bangkok

If you haven’t booked a room, do it now. Not sure which are the best areas to stay in Bangkok? Here are three of the most tourist-friendly districts and hotels in Bangkok you might want to consider.

Siam district

We stayed in the area many times and honestly, it’s one of the best areas to stay in Bangkok. Get ready for a commercial atmosphere here. Many of the main shopping malls are located in Siam Square and it’s easily accessible by sky train, too.

Sukhumvit district

The nightlife in Bangkok doesn’t concentrates only in Khao San road. If you are for the first time in Bangkok and you like some fancy clubs and looking for some of the best hotels in Bangkok, you should check the Sukhumvit district.

Yaowarat district (Chinatown)

This is one of our most favourite parts of Bangkok and it’s on the top of the list of our Bangkok tips. If you’re a street food lover, this is the place you have to go! Find a vendor with a steamy stall with grilled food, grab a beer, find a free table on the pavement and indulge in the street vibes of Bangkok.

Check out our ultimate Thailand Travel Guide and plan your trip independently! 

Get a new SIM card

At the Suvarnabhumi International airport you will find a stall offering you mobile packages with top-up or 3G data for tourists. Go for Happy Tourist SIM card from DTAC (great deal of 299 THB for 7-days with unlimited data and 100 THB calling credit). If you plan to stay in Bangkok and Thailand longer, we suggest AIS SIM card with good monthly deals.

Thanks to the advance of technology, now you can access the Internet seamlessly and hassle-free with just a QR code – eSIM. With  Thailand eSIM , visitors can simply purchase a data plan through an eSIM app or website, load it onto their phone, and start using data immediately upon arriving in the country.

This bypasses the need to search for a local SIM card at the airport or elsewhere. With Thailand eSIM, travelers can choose from a wide variety of flexible data plans and options from various providers to suit their budget and data requirements.

Get a free map of Bangkok

If you’re a paper map person, grab one at the airport or at your place of accommodation.

How to get around in Bangkok

Bangkok tips

Use public transport. This is the best way to get around Bangkok. From the airport you can take the Airport Rail Links: City Line or Express Line and then use one of BTS skytrains or the MRT (metro train). Check out the routes at the official website of transport in Bangkok .

Vending machines at the metro stations are user-friendly, as there is an English language option. In any case, you can ask for help from a staff member at the station.

The majority of the staff speaks English and is very helpful. By the way, all trains are fully air-conditioned… sometimes even ‘over’-conditioned.

Taxi in Bangkok are very affordable and safe. Pink taxi are very reliable. Just agree with the driver that he switches on the taximeter.

Local public buses are super cheap. You just have to figure out which number will bring you to your destination as the schedule on the bus stops is either in Thai, or you won’t find it at all.

Ask for directions at the hotel and explain you wish to take a bus, as they would most probably advise you to call a taxi.

Check out our comprehensive Thailand Travel Guide – How to Travel to Thailand Independently

Check activities and tours to do in Bangkok

  • Damnoen Saduak Floating Market & Maeklong Train Market Tour
  • From Bangkok: Ayutthaya Temples & Floating Market Day Trip
  • Flexi Walking Temple Tour: Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun

Change your money outside the airport

A wise option is to change a small amount of cash in your departing country so you can pay transport, first small refreshment, etc. But if you need to change your cash in Bangkok then we suggest to use Super Rich exchange company as their rates turned out absolutely great.

Get some great street food in Bangkok

Bangkok tips

Street food in Bangkok is absolutely safe, and we encourage you to explore the night markets in Bangkok and sample exotic dishes at different stalls.

Head to the Yaowarat district, check out JJ Green market, Suan Lum Ratchada, Siam Gypsy Junction, or new Talad Neon night market.

You MUST visit Chatuchak market with thousands of stalls and some great street food, too. Open on Saturday and Sunday from 9am-6pm and Friday from 6pm-midnight. Once you’re at the Chatuchak, don’t miss out the Or Tor Kor market with some good food.

Read more articles about Thailand

Where to Stay in Bangkok: The Best Hotels and Neighborhoods 15 Things to Do and Best Hotels in Koh Lanta What to Pack for Thailand: the Ultimate Packing List Discover the Marvels of Thai Massage Things to Do in Chiang Mai: Your Ultimate List of Awesome Experiences Where to Stay in Chiang Mai: The Best Hotels and Neighborhoods What to Pack for Thailand: the Ultimate Packing List

Get your first Thai massage

This will be sooooo good after a full day of walking or a long flight. Find a spa or massage parlor, and let the Thai professionals do their job. If it’s going to be your first Thai massage ever, ask for „bao bao”, which means gently. Read more about Thai massage in our article.

Explore the city independently

You don’t really need a tour guide in Bangkok. Check the landmarks you want to visit in advance, save them in your Google Map or in offline map Maps.me on your smartphone, and venture around the city by your own. The public transport will take you everywhere you want to go.

Go shopping at the Bangkok malls

In case you’ve forgotten something at home and you need it urgently for your vacation in Thailand, we recommend MBK Center, Central World, Siam Paragon, Platinum Fashion and funky Terminal 21.

Watch a Muay Thai boxing match

Great stuff! Get a ticket and watch a real Thai boxing match. The best place to do it is the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, Ratchadamnoen Stadium, or Channel 7 Stadium.

  • Bangkok by Night Tuk Tuk Tour: Markets, Temples & Food
  • SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World Admission Ticket
  • Ayutthaya: 5 UNESCO Temples Small Group Tour From Bangkok

Check out the real floating market

Bangkok tips

There are many floating markets in Bangkok, but only a few of them are real and not for tourists. We visited Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market and loved it!

You’ll be able to have some of the best Thai food here. Go for a short ride on a river with smiling local ladies selling fruits & veggies.

Avoid a trip on a bigger boat at the floating market. A cruise lasts nearly 3hr, they’ll take you to a place along the river to buy souvenirs, you’ll visit a random temple and they’d encourage you to eat at their friends. Not worth.

Go jogging or have a walk in the Lumpinee Park

If you come early in the morning, you might see locals and expats practicing yoga, tai-chi, or just running in the „green lungs of Bangkok“ as they call the park.

Have a drink on a rooftop bar

Sightseeing is perfect, but watching the city of angels from above is a must. You might want to check Sky Bar, Above Eleven, Vertigo or Octave.

Where to stay in Bangkok

Avoid scams

Generally, Bangkok and Thailand is a very safe country. But when visiting Bangkok first time, there will be situations when you’ll need to be more attentive.

Avoid getting on a tuk-tuk that approaches you as drivers charge insane prices. If you must take a tuk-tuk because there is no other option, agree on a price before you jump in.

Don’t agree on any guiding tour from a random person on a street. They tend to promise to show you the main landmarks, but will take you for a tour to souvenir shops instead. Needless to say, they would overcharge you for that.

In case you’ll need some professional legal advice, you can contact this law firm in Thailand .

Looking for more tips on how to travel to Thailand independently?

Check our Ultimate Thailand Travel Guide!

Get on a taxi only after a driver agrees to switch on the taximeter.

Be careful when buying gold in Yaowarat district as it might happen to be fake.

Hopefully these suggestions will help you to make your Bangkok trip great. Enjoy Thailand!

Like it? Pin it!

Bangkok Tips: How to Survive Your First Time in the Capital of Thailand. #Thailand #ThailandTravel #BangkokTips

Get inspired my more articles about Thailand

Need an escape from busy Bangkok? Visit Bang Krachao Island! Ayutthaya Day Trip from Bangkok Ecotourism in Southeast Asia: Tips on Destinations and Activities Digital Nomad Guide to Thailand: Taking Your First Steps What to Wear in Thailand: Tips for Your Urban and Beach Vacation

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which at no extra cost to you, will earn us a small commission and reduce the costs of running this site

Picture of Ivana Greslikova

Ivana Greslikova

  • Published: February 15, 2023

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27 thoughts on “bangkok tips: how to survive your first time in the capital of thailand”.

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Try to find any “free city tour” to save the budget but it’s seems much popular in European cities.

bangkok travel tips

Yes, that’s definitely one of the options, too, Richard. So far, we have not seen any free tour, but could be worth to seek for it 🙂

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Nice tips. I loved your pictures. Have never been to Bangkok but it is definitely on my list.

Thank you, Anwesha, nice to hear from you. BKK is worth to visit, especially if you are metropolitan lover 😉

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Thank you for the useful tips. Especially #1. Some people might forget to breath :O

Well, yes, one can be indeed breathless and speechless especially when coming from different and cooler season 🙂 Cheers!

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Is it worth it to go in august ?I want to go to Bangkok and Phuket

Hi Eli, you might get more humid weather and some occasional storms during the day during that period, but you’ll avoid high touristy season. Happy travels!

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My wife and I are flying to Thailand in three weeks. It’ll be the first time in that country and in Southeast Asia for both of us. These tips will sure come handy!

Happy to hear you found them helpful, Peter 🙂 I guess you will find many more discoveries on your journey here, as it is a country of beauty and surprises for “newbies” as we are 🙂

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Here are a few more tips: Don’t accept any tuk tuk rides where the driver claims that the government is paying for the gasoline and he promises to take you around the city for a very low fee. You will end up in high priced and high pressure situations where someone will try to sell you low quality jewelry or similar things with the claim that you can sell it in your home country for a huge profit. I met several people who lost lots of money this way. There are scams going on all over the world, but this one is one to watch out for in Bangkok.

Be aware that taxis are required to use their meters. If the driver does not turn it on, ask him to do so. Tuk Tuks (3 wheeler mini taxis) generally try to overcharge you a lot and you have to bargain vigorously. In general it will be cheaper to use metered taxis. Plus Bangkok has good and efficient public transport. Get yourself a public transport map at the airport. It will come in handy. A sky train or subway will get you to your destination a lot faster than taxis in general.

A great way to start sightseeing from a different angle is to hop on one of the public Chao Praya river boats and go for a complete round trip up and down the river. It only costs a few baht and you will get great panoramic views of the city. There are plenty of people who will try to sell you expensive tourist-only boat rides, but the public river boats will give you a great view for a fraction of the price.

If you are in a bind with something, try to smile. It will get you through many tight spots. Don’t get upset or angry since it will generally get you nowhere, and as far as the Thais are concerned you just lost face and their respect. Smiling works much better.

Oh, yes, tuk tuk might become the most expensive transport in BKK 🙂 It happened to us once, that a driver wanted to show us a beautiful place “around the corner”, but we insisted that our friend was waiting for us around the other corner, which was actually true. Luckily, we succeeded. You are right, smile is a good answer (or question) in many situations. This we mentioned in the other post, from Chiang Mai: https://nomadisbeautiful.com/travel-blogs/12-lessons-learnt-after-one-month-travelling-thailand/ Thanks for following up, Shama.

Hi Katie, nice to hear from you! I guess you have some good tips on how to keep on with the right diet when being on the road in particular 🙂

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Great info, love Bangkok. Been there 5 time’s since 2008! The last time we rented a apartment in business district, it was a different side of BK. We also spent New Years last year on khao san road. It was 100% what you think of Bangkok. There’s also some great unknown markets along the river that are not tourist markets but sill great to walk though and take photos!

Hey Dave, thanks for reading. Wow, NYE on Khao San Road, that mush have been epic! We do love the river markets too, especially those further from the center, for example Khlong Lat Mayom. Any plans for coming back to Asia any time soon? Cheers!

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going to bangkok with my wife . its very useful information and made us comfortable.

Thanks for the additional! Well, as the title says, being cautious with the food is good only on the first day 🙂 You’re right, getting out of the familiar zone of food is the core of authentic experience. Regarding taxi, we hardly ever had a problem with taxis (we were suggested to take only pink ones) since we always ask to put the meter on before we get on. Local buses rock, although we never tried one in Bangkok. Cheers and happy travels!

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I feel number 6 is very important! No matter where you go, I have always found that even attempting the language makes people happy and more inclined to help.

I have been seeing so much about Bangkok lately it has skyrocketed up my list of places to go. Thanks for the tips!

Hi Kayla, thank you for reading! Indeed, it’s worth trying to speak a few basic words in a local language, total icebreaker 🙂 Hopefully you’ll get to Bangkok soon so you can experience Thai hospitality yourself.

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Bangkok can be quite overwhelming. It is hard to go around town. I always stay in the Koh San area, because thats what I know. I would love to see other parts of the city, but I am not sure for some reason LOL.x x

Hi Steph, True, BKK can give you a bit of headache, but once you “go local” and detour from major touristy attractions and districts like Khao San, Bangkok can be a great city to explore or to live in. We’re actually going to publish an article about the neighbourhoods and hotels where to stay in Bangkok very soon, so stay tuned, you might find some inspiration there 🙂 Happy travels!

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Good tips, can you please tell me few names of budget hotels in Bangkok, and the best location in Bangkok where I can get budget hotels near to most of the sight seeing places? I am planning to visit Bangkok for 4 days in June middle, so give me some good tips which will save me from cheating and my tour economical,,,

Hi Dwijottam, Sure, you can check our ultimate guide to where to stay in Bangkok. There you can find tips on different ares and best hotels, including budget options and brief overview of things to do in the areas: https://nomadisbeautiful.com/travel-blogs/where-to-stay-in-bangkok/ Hope this helps. Enjoy Bangkok!

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Great tips . This article help for the first time visitors what to see,where stay. Bangkok is home for many cheap hotels

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I will be landing in Bangkok . from where I should start , From Bangkok or Pattaya ? Trip is of 6 Days . Kindly suggest.

Bangkok is definitely a better option, and you’re landing there, too, right? It’s more genuine when it comes to the Thai culture. Pattaya is more of a party town full of clubs. Although, depends what you’re looking for.

Cheers and happy travels!

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Hi Ivana, as my wife and I plan to visit BKK last week of February we are right now planning the stay (6 days) and in this context we find your blog very useful. Arriving approx. 9 PM at the airport, would you reccommend to take a taxi to the hotel (Lebua is one of the options we are looking at)?

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kate storm and jeremy storm at chatuchak weekend market during their first time in bangkok thailand

13 Essential Tips for Your First Time in Bangkok

If there’s one thing you’ll notice the moment that you arrive in the city for your first time in Bangkok, it’s that Bangkok is chaos.

It is sprawling, sweltering, smelly, sophisticated, and spunky. This is a city that has a vibe, an attitude, a life of its own.

It was hard for me to love it at first, but once you get the hang of Bangkok, there’s nothing quite like it.

We visited Bangkok twice during our time backpacking Southeast Asia.

By the time that we left on our second visit, I had gone from saying, “This is so overwhelming!” to “You know, I think I really like Bangkok.”

collection of gold buddhas wat pho bangkok thailand--be sure to check this temple out your first time in bangkok

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Want to make sure that you adore Bangkok by the time you leave?

These Bangkok travel tips will help you appreciate the city in all of its overwhelming magnificence.

Table of Contents

Bangkok Travel Tips for Your First Trip

Where we stayed in bangkok, proceed slowly..

The #1 trick to falling in love with Bangkok during your first trip? An old, simple strategy: one bite at a time.

We didn’t rush anything during our visits–a temple here, a movie there.

This was the city of jet lag, at least on our first pass through, and we wanted to keep it manageable.

Even without jet lag, though, Bangkok is inherently overwhelming and attacks all the senses.

Avoid exhausting and overheating yourself, especially if you only have a few days in Bangkok , and take it step-by-step.

As Bangkok is generally the starting point for most Thailand itinerary options, you want to make sure you’re not exhausted by the time you leave!

kate storm and jeremy storm in front of a collection of jars, wearing comfortable clothing--an essential bangkok travel tips

Don’t overload on temples.

Temples are amazing , and Bangkok has some incredible ones. Don’t waste your time trying to visit all of them, though: just like visiting churches in Europe, eventually, all but the truly remarkable ones will start to blur together.

We visited the temples at the Grand Palace and Wat Pho for our first visit to Bangkok. On our second visit, we climbed to the top of Wat Saket and received stunning views of the Bangkok skyline in return.

We highly recommend all of those, but three was enough: we had the rest of southeast Asia to look forward to!

If you want to squeeze in another temple, Wat Arun is also popular and located almost directly across the river from Wat Pho.

giant gold buddha statue in wat pho bangkok thailand

Concentrate on one section of Bangkok at a time.

Bangkok has great public transportation, including both the BTS Skytrain, the MRT subway, riverboats, and, of course, taxis and tuk-tuks.

Easy access doesn’t necessarily mean fast, though: Bangkok is gigantic.

To get from Khao San Road to the Chatuchak Weekend Market is more than an hour’s commitment, from the Grand Palace to the shopping mecca of Siam is about 45 minutes.

One of our best Bangkok travel tips is to keep this in mind when planning out your day, and try to group activities by geography.

small statue of buddha in bangkok thailand at a wat, a modest addition to our trip to thailand cost

Know that the Grand Palace is never closed.

The Grand Palace is open from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM daily. If you ask some tuk-tuk drivers, though–it’s never open.

This very common Bangkok scam is a way to get tourists to agree to let tuk-tuk drivers take them to “other” temples.

Unsurprisingly, this ends up being an expensive waste of time.

We were warned about this scam by an expat we sat next to on the plane into Bangkok, several internet articles, a masseuse, and the owner of our hostel.

We certainly weren’t in any danger of falling for it–but that sure didn’t stop a few dozen tuk-tuk drivers from trying.

kate storm and jeremy storm at the grand palace in bangkok during a 6 month round the world backpacking trip

Jump on a local boat.

There are two types of riverboats in Bangkok: “local boats”, which cost about $0.40 to ride, and “tourist boats”, which cost about 10x as much to take you to the same place.

The “tourist boats” have slightly better seating and a loudspeaker, but the local boats are perfectly comfortable and dirt cheap.

The tourist boats are more prominently placed, of course, but be sure to look around until you find the local one during your first trip to Bangkok–it’s worth it.

Don’t skip the malls of Bangkok.

Clustered around Siam station on the BTS Skytrain are some of Bangkok’s largest and best-known shopping malls: Siam Paragon, Central World, Siam Discovery, and MBK.

We visited all of them except for Siam Discovery, and for two people that normally avoid malls–we had so much fun.

MBK is the best for bargain hunting. It has some storefronts, but there are far more stalls and counters that were set up in the open space.

Siam Paragon is the fanciest mall that I have ever been in, perhaps with the exception of Milan. Jimmy Choo, Lamborghini, and Rolls Royce are among the storefronts there. Rolls Royce even had a couple of models of yachts, which apparently you could custom design on site.

Central World is the largest mall in Bangkok and the second largest in Thailand–which is saying something because both MBK and Siam Paragon could comfortably fit three or four standard US malls inside them.

mbk shopping mall bangkok with portrait of king of thailand in it. one of our bangkok travel tips is to cool off at the malls

Go see a movie.

I confess: we saw not one, not two, but three movies in Bangkok. It was a little excessive–but there’s no better way to enjoy some a/c and cool off between sightseeing stops.

Going to the movies in Bangkok was a fantastic experience–if you are short on time, it may not be worth it, but after a couple of months of traveling, Jeremy and I more than welcomed the air-conditioned break.

We saw a movie at MBK (Star Trek Beyond), Siam Paragon (Suicide Squad), and Central World (Jason Bourne). MBK was the best bargain ($13.76 for two tickets, a large popcorn, and a drink) and Siam Paragon was the fanciest.

Personally, my favorite thing about Bangkok’s movie theaters was the fact that they stocked flavored popcorn: your choice of cheese, caramel, or barbecue.

Wake up early and watch the monks.

From about 5:00 AM to 7:00 AM, the monks will be out and about in their orange robes, collecting alms.

On our very first day in Bangkok, the jet lag caused us to be outside at 6:30 AM, so we got to see the relatively quiet streets almost exclusively populated by monks. It was a fascinating sight.

Keep a respectful distance, and don’t touch them–but to see this vastly different, calmer side of Bangkok is worth getting up early at least once.

young monk in an orange robe that we saw walking down the street our first time in bangkok thailand

Explore some of the markets of Bangkok.

Markets are one of the best ways to explore the hustle and bustle of Bangkok’s city life.

You can find any number of them, from those that cater strictly to tourists to those that are almost exclusively for locals, and anything in between.

We skipped the famous floating market after multiple people telling us that it was more of a tourist trap than anything else these days–if we have more time in Bangkok one day, we may still check it out.

Our favorite market, by far, was the Chatuchak Weekend Market. If you’re in Bangkok on a Saturday or Sunday, this market should be at the top of your list.

kate storm in chatuchak weekend market holding a passion fruit shake--one of our favorite bangkok travel tips is to drink lots of passion fruit shakes

Devour the street food.

I fret a bit about food safety and definitely am not the world’s most adventurous eater (it took me until I was 17 to enjoy rice–feel free to judge), so street food took a little getting used to–but it is worth it.

Eat pad thai until you turn into fried noodles. Eat chicken on a stick. Eat spring rolls on a stick. Eat anything on a stick. Try noodle soup. Try curry. Try fried rice.

Drink more fruit shakes than you ever thought it was possible to drink and love every sip.

If you love passion fruit, get your fill of it here–it was nonexistent in Laos and has been much less common in Cambodia . 

If you’re anxious about street food, I love this article by Adam at Getting Stamped. He uses his history in the meat processing industry to help the rest of us decide what we should and should not eat on the streets.

collection of fried food on a stick, some of the street food of bangkok

Go to a rooftop bar for great views of Bangkok.

Sadly, we didn’t end up doing this, and it is my biggest Bangkok regret. 

Bangkok is a city worth viewing from the top, especially at night. Oodles of rooftop bars have opened up shop to take advantage of the opportunity to combine cocktails and ridiculous heights.

On our next trip to Bangkok, this is at the top of the list.

Get a Thai massage.

… Or, you know, four of them.

Massages are dirt cheap in Thailand (we normally paid about $6/person for an hour), and are incredibly relaxing after a long day of sightseeing in the hot weather.

Thai massages are a bit like assisted yoga–there’s a lot of pushing and pulling involved.

It is amazing, but if you go in expecting a Swedish massage, you’ll be a bit surprised.

purple flowers in a mansion in bangkok thailand

Know that you won’t be able to see it all.

We covered so much ground in Bangkok: from temples to shopping malls, markets to mansions, we learned tons about the city.

… And there are still so many things to do in Bangkok that we haven’t gotten to yet (we never even set foot on the popular Khao San Road !), not to mention the many possible day trips from Bangkok .

Don’t get overwhelmed trying to see everything your first time in Bangkok, and don’t take up precious space on your itinerary for something that you’re “supposed” to see if you would really rather be doing something else.

Whether you want to hit up the most iconic sites or get off the beaten path in Bangkok , you’ll have plenty of options of your first trip to the city.

One thing is certain: no matter where your interests lie, it is impossible to ever be bored in Bangkok.

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm Travel Couple in Bangkok, Thailand

There is no shortage of places to stay in Bangkok, from budget hostels to luxury skyscrapers to Bangkok hotels perfect for families –here were our picks for our first two trips to Bangkok.

One of our travel tips for Bangkok is to prioritize where you stay: choosing a far-flung neighborhood may seem like it will save money, but you could also end up spending hours (yes, literal hours) on public transport each day as a result.

We loved both of our hostels for different reasons, but ultimately, we loved staying in the Siam Square area and can see ourselves staying there again on a return visit to Bangkok.

At both of these locations, we stayed in a private, air-conditioned room with access to shared bathrooms.

two thai women dancing at jim thompson house in bangkok thailand

Chan Cha La 99 Hostel — On our first trip to Bangkok, Annie took great care of us at this hostel.

This lady knows what she is doing! The hostel is clean and efficient, and Annie is a wealth of information about Bangkok.

The hostel is roughly 5 minutes from the BTS. The downside? It’s a little out of the way–you’ll spend about 40 minutes getting to any major sites.

Check rates & book your stay at Chan Cha La 99 Hostel!

Lub D Bangkok — Siam Square — This hostel is actually one of several in a chain, and we adored it.

The rooms were clean, the bathrooms spotless, and the location was perfect for us–right in the heart of Siam, easy walking distance to MBK or the Jim Thompson House.

It doesn’t have the personal touch that Annie provided, but we wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again on our third visit to Bangkok.

Check rates & book your stay at Lub D Bangkok Siam!

photo of grand palace in bangkok thailand, green and pink text reads "13 ways to fall in love with bangkok"

About Kate Storm

Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

9 thoughts on “13 Essential Tips for Your First Time in Bangkok”

Excellent list! Definitely ate all the street food during my visit ;)

Amen to that, I miss the street food so much already! I’m still trying to find Pad Thai as good as the stall in front of the 7/11 on Koh Tao…

This is all really great advice. I went to Bangkok last year but didn’t end up falling in love as I had expected. I chalked it up to two things 1) not staying long enough and 2) staying in the wrong area (a friend of a friend chose this crazy luxury place out in the middle of nowhere – not my cup of tea or my usual price range at all….) I didn’t even get to really try the street food when I was there which is the biggest shame of all! So now I need to go back to Bangkok and do it properly :)

Thanks, Allison! Location really is key… on our first stay we were out in the middle of nowhere too (took an hour to get absolutely any of the major sites!), and I think that it had a huge impact on my initial lukewarm reaction. We stayed right across from MBK the second time, steps away from the BTS, and had a much better time.

Well written & wonderful points! Exactly what I tell friends & family when visiting Bangkok. Glad y’all had a great time during your visits in Thailand!

Thanks, Astra! We’ve been missing Bangkok lately–may be almost time for a third visit!

I like this review of Bangkok.

Thanks Gerry!

Good list, however I would still recommend the tourist river ferries (blue flag). They are only 50baht and cooler and less packed than the standard ferries (orange flag). They are still mostly used by locals who don’t want to be packed in tight.

There are now electric powered ferries (purple flag) and whilst are considerably better for the environment, are completely enclosed and provide a much less more diluted experience.

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Travel Happy

Bangkok Guide: 55 Tips To Help You The First Time You Travel To Thailand

If you’re travelling to Thailand for the first time, you’ll probably arrive and stay in Bangkok to begin with. Here’s a collection of useful Travelhappy links that will help you get the most out of Thailand’s amazing capital city.

Wat Arun - Temple Of The Dawn - Bangkok

Having lived in Bangkok for the last three years, I’ve written quite a lot here on Travelhappy about this fascinating and exasperating city. Here’s a handy list of links to all the info I’ve written up previously that will help you if you’re planning a visit to Bangkok.

Bangkok Holiday Essentials

  • Where To Stay In Bangkok: See our guide to the best areas and the best hotels to stay in Bangkok .
  • Things To Do In Bangkok: Check this huge list of Bangkok activities that you can book online.
  • Flights To Bangkok: Find the cheapest flights to Bangkok and flight times from scores of airlines with Skyscanner .
  • Bangkok Packing List: Don’t forget to take any of the essentials with our comprehensive Packing List For Thailand .
  • Travel Insurance: World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Claim online anywhere in the world.

This is definitely not a comprehensive guide of Bangkok tips and things to do – a Bangkok guidebook is still the best place to look for that – but hopefully you’ll find my own take on Bangkok useful for planning your travels. It’s also wise to arm yourself with a proper map of Bangkok , even if you’re using GPS on your phone – a paper map gives you an instant overview of the city.

Chillax Reosrt, Khao San, Bangkok

As ever, leave a comment to share your own Bangkok tips or if there’s something you need to know that’s not already been covered.

Before you arrive in Bangkok:

  • How much money will I need for travelling in Thailand
  • Thailand Backpacking: a quick guide
  • How To Budget For A Backpacking Trip
  • Bangkok On 30 Dollars A Day
  • Where to find cheap flights to Bangkok
  • Seven Reasons To Go Travelling Solo

Guidebooks and Maps

  • The best Bangkok map
  • Bangkok Scams and How To Avoid Them
  • Taxi and bus prices from Suvarnabhumi Bangkok Airport to downtown Bangkok and Khao San Road

Check Hotel Availability And Pricing

Destination, check-in date, check-out date.

Booking.com

Bangkok Itineraries

Fit the most into your days in Bangkok with Travel Happy’s carefully planned out Bangkok itineraries

  • 1 Day In Bangkok Must See Itinerary
  • 2 Days in Bangkok Itinerary
  • 3 Days In Bangkok Itinerary
  • One Week in Bangkok Itinerary
  • One Week in Bangkok and on the Beach Itinerary
  • One Week in Bangkok and the Mountains Itinerary

Bangkok Area Guide

There are numerous areas of interest to travellers in Bangkok – here’s my key highlights of each Bangkok area to help you figure out where to go

  • Bangkok Riverside
  • Rattanakosin
  • Khao San Road
  • Lower Sukhumvit – Nana And Asoke
  • Central Sukhumvit – Thonglor, Ekkamai And Phrom Phong
  • Upper Sukhumvit – On Nut, Phrakanong, And Beyond
  • Siam Square, Ratchaprasong and Ploen Chit
  • Silom And Sathorn
  • Victory Monument
  • Ratchadaphisek

Bangkok Hotel Info

  • Booking hotels in Bangkok online
  • The best cheap hotels in Bangkok around Khao San Road
  • Boutique Hotels In Bangkok and see the dedicated website Boutique Hotel Bangkok to easily compare Bangkok’s top 20 boutique hotels
  • The Sukhothai – review of my stay one of Bangkok’s super luxury hotels
  • The Davis – review of more affordable hotel my parents rated
  • Finding Cheap Long Term Accommodation in Bangkok

3Howw Hostel, Khao San, Bangkok

When you get to Bangkok:

  • Bangkok Airport Real Time Flight Information
  • Getting Around Bangkok
  • How to put a Thai SIM card in your mobile phone
  • Reading Email On Your Mobile Phone With Gmail While In Thailand

David Beckham Temple, Bangkok

Things to do in Bangkok:

  • Bangkok Longtail Boat Canal Klong Tour
  • Grand Palace of Bangkok
  • Giant Reclining Buddha of Wat Po
  • Vertigo – Highest Open Air Bar In Asia
  • Three Sixty Bar, Bangkok Millennium Hilton
  • The Mystery Of Jim Thompson’s House
  • Bangkok Markets
  • Bangkok Shopping Malls
  • David Beckham Temple
  • Visiting Prisoners In The Bangkok Hilton
  • Bangkok’s Green Spaces

Food In Bangkok

  • Thai Cooking Classes In Bangkok And Chiang Mai
  • Where To Find The Best Food In Bangkok
  • Bangkok Restaurant Guide
  • Thailand Wines Worth Drinking – Monsoon Valley
  • iPods in Bangkok – are they cheaper?
  • Buying digital cameras in Bangkok
  • Buying Computer Memory (RAM) In Bangkok
  • Bangkok Bookshops – A Quick Guide

Bangkok Day Trips

  • Bangkok Bike Rides
  • Tiger Temple
  • Ayutthaya, Thailand’s Ancient Capital

Guardian demons, Grand Palace, Bangkok

Leaving Bangkok

  • Bus To Bangkok Airport From Khao San Road – Where To Catch It
  • Thailand Airport Departure Tax (there is none anymore!)
  • Thailand Overstay Info (do NOT overstay your visa)
  • Angkor Wat from Bangkok
  • Budget Flights from Bangkok to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • How To Get A Vietnam Visa in Bangkok
  • How To Get A Myanmar Visa in Bangkok
  • Cheap Flights From Bangkok to Jakarta
  • Cheap Flights from Bangkok to Manila

Travelhappy Travel Guides

  • Bangkok Travel Guide
  • Living In Bangkok Guide
  • Cambodia Travel Guide
  • Hong Kong Travel Guide
  • Indonesia Travel Guide
  • Laos Travel Guide

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bangkok travel tips

Bangkok Starts Here

For a less nimble blogger, creating a Bangkok travel guide would be a difficult task, maybe even an unruly one. It’s easy for me, however, given that I’ve lived there on three separate occasions, to say nothing of my dozens of trips before, between and after those residential stints.

Intellectually, I approach my recommendations Bangkok attractions, day trips and restaurants from the standpoint of a quasi-local. On the other hand, I present and organize my suggestions in a way that reflects the time sensitivity necessary for your trip, which will almost certainly be a short one.

Although I’ll stop short of presenting a complete Bangkok itinerary, it will be easy for you to read between the lies of this post and create one. No matter what type of traveler you are, and whether you’re looking for things to do in Bangkok for three days or otherwise, Bangkok starts here.

Where to Stay in Bangkok

I’ve written a complete article about where to stay in Bangkok , but if you don’t feel like reading it, I’ll recommend a couple of areas and hotels convenient to my Bangkok travel guide here. In my more detailed article, I outline that you have two basic choices about where to base yourself in Bangkok: The Old City and the New City. (There are subdivisions within both of these, but I won’t go into them for a few more paragraphs.)

If you want to stay in the Old City (in particular on Rattanakosin island, on the east bank of the Chao Phraya), I recommend either the luxurious Chakrabongse Villas , or the simpler (but adjacent) Riva Arun . The best Bangkok hotels in the New City, meanwhile, range anywhere from the spartan Diamond City Hotel not far from the airport rail link, to the Eastin Grand Hotel in Sathorn, to the ultra-luxurious Rosewood Bangkok .

My Favorite Things to Do in Bangkok

Dig deep into bangkok’s old citi(es).

bangkok travel tips

Searching for the best temples in Bangkok? Famous ones include Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), in Rattanakosin and Thonburi, respectively. Lesser-known temples and shrines I also love include the Wat Pak Nam “space temple” deeper into Thonburi, Erawan Shrine just across from CentralWorld Mall in Ratchadamri and Wat Saket , aka the “Golden Mountain,” from which you can get one of Bangkok’s most enchanting sunset views. The Grand Palace , meanwhile, is home to Wat Phra Kaew , the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

Devote a full evening to Chinatown

bangkok travel tips

Whether you dine at Bangkok Chinatown restaurants like the understated dim sum joint Canton House , or brave the somewhat chaotic street food scene, Yaowarat is a logical place to continue exploring Bangkok once the sun has set on the old city. Hop in a tuk-tuk and head down to this exciting part of town, whether you have a cocktail at one of the many shophouses converted into gin bars, say your prayers at the magnificent Wat Traimit marble temple or practice your long exposure photography skills in front of the Chinatown Gate .

Embrace your inner shopaholic

bangkok travel tips

Earlier I mentioned CentralWorld, which is one of almost countless malls along Rama I and Sukhumvit Roads in the heart of Bangkok. To be sure, whether you visit relatively basic malls like MBK Center near National Stadium , classics such as Siam Paragon and Terminal 21 , or upscale retail establishments like IconSiam , Central Embassy and Phrom Pong area’s Emquartier , shopping is one of the most accessible things to do in Bangkok. It’s also a very practical choice to make, given that the free AC you enjoy inside malls saves you from the city’s unrelenting heat! No matter how many days in Bangkok you decide to spend, you’ll want to enjoy some retail therapy.

(And your inner foodie—duh!)

bangkok travel tips

Here’s a hack you might not be expecting: Much of the best street food in Bangkok is not on the streets. Rather, basically all the malls I listed above have their own food courts, where you can enjoy clean and safe versions of dishes you might otherwise only find on the street. You’re welcome! Of course, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can always enjoy street eats in spots such as Convent Road in Silom, Soi Suan Phlu 8 in Sathorn and of course, Chatuchak Weekend Market (which, in spite of its name, is actually located closer to Kamphaeng Phet MRT station than to the Chatuchak Park one).

Make a point of taking day trips

bangkok travel tips

The sheer number of day trips from Bangkok you can take is staggering, especially when you consider how much there is to do in the city. Obvious choices include the ancient city of Ayutthaya to Bangkok’s north and Pattaya , a coastal city (though not really a “beach” one) to the south and east. Other great places to visit on a day trip include various floating markets (the most famous of which is Damnoen Saduak in Samut Songkhram province) and Maekhlong Railway Market . Other destinations, such as the towering Buddha of Ang Thong , lush Kanchanaburi and Koh Samet island, are better seen on weekend trips.  

How Many Days Should You Spend in Bangkok?

For a long time, 3 days in Bangkok was my gold-standard answer for how long you should stay in Thailand’s capital. Now, having lived there (on more than one occasion), I can clearly see arguments why you might want to spend more or less time in Bangkok. On the low end, if you’ve only got a week or two in Thailand, it makes sense that two full days in Bangkok might be all the doctor ordered, at least to start with—you’ll likely need to come back here at the end of your trip.

Likewise, given all the things I’ve listed in this Bangkok travel guide (to say nothing of how delightful it is to discover Bangkok’s many neighborhoods), it makes sense that you would want to spend longer in Bangkok—and I’m not just talking about expanding your Bangkok 3-day itinerary into four or five. Staying in Bangkok for a week or longer is especially enjoying, because it allows you to feel as if you’re living there (even though—trust me on this one—living in Bangkok is definitely not for everyone).

Is Bangkok Underrated or Overrated?

This segues perfectly into the next question some of you are asking yourself, namely “is Bangkok worth visiting?” While, as I’ve just expressed, I don’t necessarily think living in Bangkok if for everyone, I do think every traveler to Thailand needs to visit Bangkok at least once. I’m biased in saying this: During my first trip to Thailand, more than a decade ago, I’d had no intentions of setting foot in the capital. It was only because my crappy point-and-shoot camera busted when I was on Koh Mak that I stopped in Bangkok at all. (I immediately fell in love, in case you couldn’t infer that.)

In general I would say that Bangkok is underrated, primarily because most people travel there either with wrong instructions or wrong intentions—usually both. For example, there is a certain subset of tourists that just wants to go wild, be it along foreigner-infested Khao San Road or on seedy Soi Cowboy, which is probably my least-favorite street of Sukhumvit Road. Even people who arrive in Bangkok wanting to have the best experience are often seriously misguided about where to go in Bangkok. You’re here, however, so that thankfully won’t include you.

Other FAQ About Travel in Bangkok

What can you do in bangkok for 3 days.

With three days in Bangkok, you can spend one day in the “old” cities of Rattanakosin and Thonburi, another exploring modern districts such as Siam, Silom, Sukhumvit and Sathorn and a third taking day trips, whether to ancient Ayutthaya, or the sprawling Chatuchak Weekend Market. Have a longer amount of time to spend? Thankfully, many of the things to do in Bangkok in three days can be spread out to four, five or longer.

Is Bangkok worth visiting?

Absolutely! Whether you prefer modern experiences like shopping malls and skybars, or visiting ancient temples like Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, Bangkok is one of the most dynamic cities in the world, and the indisputable hub of Southeast Asia. If you’re searching for what to do in Bangkok today, the possibilities are basically endless!

Is Bangkok safe for tourists right now?

Bangkok is safe in the sense that violent crime is relatively rare—petty theft is another story. As as certain other dangers, including traffic accidents, respiratory irritation from constant pollution and even occasional political demonstrations. With all this being said, Bangkok is much safer than most cities in the United States and Latin America.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’ve come here seeking a general Bangkok travel guide, to decide how many days to spend in Bangkok or wanting a complete itinerary for Thailand’s capital, I’m confident you’ve now found what you’ve needed. I’m biased—I lived here on several occasions after all—but I think Bangkok is one of the best cities in the world, and certainly among my favorites. Focus your energy on the city-center, divided between ancient Rattanakoskin or Thonburi and futuristic Silom, Siam and Sukhumvit, or take day trips to destinations like spiritual Ayutthaya and lush Kanchanaburi. Don’t want to leave your Thailand trip to chance? Commission a custom Thailand itinerary today!

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14 Expert Tips For Visiting Bangkok In 2023

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Visit Bangkok 2023: Check out even more Thailand travel tips for visiting the country's capital!

Recognized for its chaotic streets, incredible culinary delights, vibrant wildlife, and iconic tourist attractions, Thailand's capital city offers a lot to see and could take travelers a few days or more to explore. No matter how many times one visits Bangkok, it is the one city that never gets old, and vacationers will always discover more of its unique features every time they explore it. The city has plenty of fun adventures awaiting, but travelers should be well-prepared, especially when visiting for the first time. With that in mind, here are fourteen tips for visiting Bangkok in 2023 to ensure travelers enjoy a fun, safe vacation.

UPDATE: 2023/04/06 21:23 EST BY ROBYNNE TRUEMAN

To provide readers with accurate information that remains current, this article has been updated to include additional tips to enhance the travel experience in Bangkok in 2023.

Related: Take These 10 Stunning Day Trips From Bangkok For The Ultimate Thailand Experience

14 Adhere To Thailand Travel Restrictions

Bangkok is full of delightful attractions, including some of the most enchanting temples in Thailand. To enter Bangkok and enjoy what it has to offer, tourists need to have a passport, flight itinerary, and hotel booking confirmation. Travel insurance isn't mandatory; however, it's highly recommended (still, some travelers coming from certain countries may require proof of insurance - see this page for more information).

Any legit Bangkok travel 2023 guide will also state that some tourists will also need a visa; Thailand visas are issued by the Thai embassy in one's own country, although some foreign nationals from approved countries may enter Thailand without a visa between 30 and 90 days - again, see this page for more information. If vacationers miss or have incorrect documents, the entry screening process may be delayed, which can affect their smooth trip to Bangkok.

  • Bangkok travel requirements 2023 : Thailand visa (some countries are exempt), passport, travel insurance (recommended), flight itinerary, and hotel booking confirmation. Note that most travelers no longer need a COVID-19 vaccination certificate or RT-PCR/Pro-ATK test result.

13 Use A Map To Navigate Through Bangkok

Like other big cities in the world, Bangkok's routes can be confusing. While asking questions is one good way of interacting with the local people who are known to be friendly, approaching strangers can be challenging for shy travelers. That's where a map can be handy.

The Bangkok map has the city's main monuments, squares, churches, museums, and most of its iconic landmarks - one of the most famous being Bangkok's Grand Palace . With the map, travelers may not need a lot of information to find their way through the city’s attractions.

Navigation Tips Bangkok Travelers Will Find Useful

  • Here's a useful interactive map of Bangkok featuring many of its top landmarks and attractions
  • Here's a printable map of Bangkok showcasing many of its famous areas and attractions

12 Beware Of Bangkok Scams

Bangkok is easily the most chaotic city in Thailand, and in a place like that, tourists could be targeted for scams. One of the most important travel tips to Bangkok bound travelers is this: it is important to beware of these scams to avoid falling for them. This doesn't mean that Thai's capital isn't safe. It has a high level of safety and is widely considered by many to be one of the safest cities in the world . But like any other touristy place, these scams happen.

Like in most places around the world, it's wise to avoid outright trusting any stranger that approaches, especially those that sound too kind. (Yes, some people are genuinely friendly and helpful, but it's always best to err on the side of caution, no matter which country one is in). In addition, boarding any taxi parked by the hotel is one of the rookie mistakes first-time travelers make when visiting Bangkok . So, avoid taking any taxis parking by the hotel unless it’s confirmed that it’s assigned by the hotel.

Related: Thailand's Dragon Temple Is Real, & Here's How To Get There

11 Rely On Public Transportation In Bangkok, Especially During Peak Hours

Public transport is not only a cheaper option to get around Bangkok, but it is also the fastest way to escape the sometimes frustrating traffic in the city. Between 7:00 am and 9:30 am & 5:00 pm and 7:30 pm, the traffic can be heavy, and the roads are packed with motorbikes, cars, tuk-tuks, and buses. To avoid being stuck on the road, tourists can use the Bangkok subway or the BTS Skytrain . They can also use the city’s incredible network of boats and ferries, which is part of the public transportation.

Try to avoid getting around by taxis on roads such as Petchaburi, Sukhumvit, Silom, Sathorn, Rama IV, Ratchadamnoen, and the Ratchaprasong area. Traffic can be heavy along these routes.

10 Stay Safe When Taking Longer Journeys Or Traveling Outside Bangkok City Limits

Tuk-tuk and taxis are the best options for vacationers visiting places further afield or outside the city limits. Still, when this is the only option, it is important to be aware of a few things to ensure a smoother trip. Make sure the driver has their meter turned on or agrees on the cost of transportation before embarking on the journey. Also, use Google Maps to ensure the driver follows the exact route. Sometimes, some tuk-tuk or taxi drivers take a longer route to increase the meter billing.

9 Check Bangkok Hotel Reviews And Avoid Asking Taxis For Recommendations

Accommodation is a significant part of planning a trip to Bangkok, and every traveler wouldn’t want to have a bad experience, even when on a budget. That’s why vacationers should ensure they pick safe areas, especially if planning to stay for three days and sample the must-do activities in Bangkok .

Reviews from previous visitors help determine the best hotels in Thailand's capital. If a hotel or hostel has consistently poor online reviews, it's best to avoid it and choose one with good guest feedback. Tourists must also ensure they receive everything offered in their booked package and report if something is missing.

Furthermore, some travelers claim that tourists should avoid asking taxi or tuk-tuk drivers about accommodation options in the city. According to a number of travelers who have been to Bangkok many times before, some drivers get a commission from hotels by taking tourists to them, which means the tourist may pay a higher fee and not the true price.

Related: Two Days In Bangkok: Here's What To See In This City In Only 48 Hours

8 Stay Safe When Shopping In Bangkok

Many visitors go to this bustling city for its incredible shopping culture. Every traveler who's been to Bangkok can tell how amazing its markets and other shopping spots are. Visiting these markets offers tourists a chance to meet the local people and learn some words in their dialect. The markets also let vacationers get an insight into the local culture and expose them to some of its most impressive products.

There are cool things worth buying in Bangkok that many vacationers would want to take home. To keep one's wallet safe in Bangkok's markets, though, it is crucial to ensure that one is paying the right amount for a product. Avoid purchasing jewelry unless from a genuine jeweler store with experts within. This is to avoid exchanging money for fake jewelry.

7 Learn A Little Thai Language Before Visiting Bangkok

Ideally, travelers should be familiar with a few words before visiting the city. This will allow them to trade a little more confidently and freely in the local markets and even talk to the hotel staff in the local dialect. Learn a few words like how to say "thank you", "hello", "goodbye", "cheers", and any other word that would be useful for tourists during their stay.

Here are a few Thai language tips:

  • ‘ Sawatdee ’ means "hello". Males say "Sawatdee Khrap". Females say "Sawatdee Khun Kha".
  • Lar Korn means "goodbye".
  • Khawb Khun means "thank you". Males say "Kahwb Khun Khrap", while females say "Kahwb Khun Kha". Both mean 'thank you kindly.'
  • When drinking, the locals say " Chok dee " to mean "cheers!"

Related: Budget Guide: This Is How Much Money You'll Need Per Day In Thailand

6 Bangkok Tours Are The Best Option For Exploring The City

While there are many options for exploring this city, tours are typically the best way because they take tourists to various areas that many tourists might not reach without the help of a local person in the know. They can even take vacationers to some of the secret places in Bangkok that are full of fun, unforgettable adventures.

Many tourists rely on guidebooks, which are great for those who enjoy following these types of books and don't mind putting in the effort to find the city's attractions by themselves. For some, though, that task can be a bit stressful. However, Bangkok tours are affordable and convenient and remove the hassle of navigating the city and finding the spots tourists want to visit. All visitors need to do is book and then show up at the meeting point. Ultimately, tours of Bangkok reduce the stress of planning and the fear of finding it difficult to navigate through the busy streets.

5 Exchange Money At Bangkok Airport (Get Coins And Notes)

Among the numerous Thai money and currency exchange tips , one that comes top is that vacationers should have some of their money changed into Thai Baht at the airport. It is wiser to do it there since some exchange booths in Bangkok can be expensive.

Also, have small change and a few coins to help pay for transport or have meals at the local restaurants. Of course, vacationers will want to spend some of their small change trying some delicious and authentic Thai dishes while in the city. Filling one’s pocket with a bunch of coins may be discomforting, but since many local eateries and food stalls may not have the exact balance for a 1,000 baht note, it is better to have plenty of coins and small notes.

  • Where to exchange money in Bangkok Airport: For the best exchange rate at Bangkok Airport, visit the Suvarnabhumi Airport Exchange Zone on the B Floor, which is located underground and just next to the Airport Rail Link Suvarnabhumi Station. The money exchanges here offer decent rates that tend to be much fairer than at banks. There are several exchange booths, so check them all to find the best rate.

4 Show Respect By Removing Shoes

When visiting Buddhist temples in Bangkok (and Thailand in general) it's important to respect religious protocols. One of these practices is removing shoes before entering the temples. In some cases, travelers may also be asked to remove their shoes before entering a person's home or even a shop if they visit Bangkok in 2023 - while this practice is old, it's still prevalent and highly important to the Thai people, and it is polite to respect it.

3 Enjoy Bangkok Street Food (Selectively)

Street food is an exciting part of the culinary experience Bangkok travel 2023 has to offer (or any year, for that matter). There are street food stalls, floating markets, and night markets to explore. Travelers should not shy away from trying the street food in Bangkok but choose where they eat from selectively. Best practice is to ensure the food is being cooked right in front of you to avoid consuming something that has been sitting out for hours. Choosing spots that are clearly popular with long lineups (which also means the food supply is constantly being refreshed) is also a great option.

2 Bring Clothing That Covers Shoulders And Knees

Visiting the many Buddhist temples in Bangkok and near the city is an essential part of Bangkok travel in 2023. However, travelers must remember to bring clothing that is appropriate for entering temples. This includes shirts that cover the shoulders and skirts, dresses, or pants that fall below the knee. Of course, if travelers forget to pack something like this, it's a great excuse to go shopping in the markets!

1 Go With The Flow

Bangkok travel in 2023 can be overwhelming at times, especially for travelers who are visiting Thailand for the first time. But they'll quickly become accustomed to the hectic traffic and busy streets, finding moments of peace at the temples and connection with fellow backpackers at hostels. Being flexible and understanding that plans are sure to change when exploring Bangkok will help travelers make the most of the experience and live in the moment.

  • Destinations

Love and Road

Love and Road

Ultimate Travel Guide For Your First Time in Bangkok: What to do & Where to Stay 

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Ultimate travel guide for first time in Bangkok: what to do & where to stay.

Feeling overwhelmed while planning a trip to Bangkok? No worries. We are here to help you out!

Visiting Bangkok for the first time can be overwhelming, and planning a trip to this bustling city is a real challenge. Thailand’s capital is a mix of ancient culture, food paradise and shopping heaven, but to get it right is not that simple.

After so many emails from readers asking us to help them plan a Bangkok itinerary, we decided to list the best travel tips for your first time in Bangkok: what to do and where to stay.

This is the ultimate travel guide to Bangkok [a long one], with all the top attractions, the best places to stay in Bangkok, how to get around, scams to avoid, and local experiences.

B angkok has been our “home” in Southeast Asia for more than a year, and every time we stay there we discover new things to do in Bangkok. But we also love to visit the traditional attractions, places that make Bangkok such an iconic city.

There are tons of things you need to do to organize your first trip to Bangkok.

Have you booked your flights to Thailand? Not yet?! You can find the best prices and connections at  Skyscanner .

Did you organize your travel documents? No!! Before flying check all the  documents you must have for an international trip to avoid any problems.

Now back to our travel guide to Bangkok, what to do on your first trip to Thailand! We are going to start with things to do in Bangkok, attractions that you can fit in a 4 or 5 days itinerary. So sit back, relax, and let’s plan your first trip to Bangkok!

When is the best time to travel to Bangkok?

First of all, it’s always a good time to travel to Bangkok, but some seasons are better than others, and here is why.

Plan your trip to Thailand during the dry months, from November to February.

From March to June it is the hot, super hot season, but if you have the chance to be in Thailand around April go for it! A festival called Songkran (the Thai New Year) happens around this time of the year and it is an amazing celebration!

The rainy months last from July to October which is called the monsoon. The monsoon is not so bad, we have been in Bangkok during all seasons and the hardest one was the summer. The only thing is that gonna rain every day, but not the whole day. If you are planning to go South to the Thai islands then it might not be the best time.

It's not easy to choose the best hotel for your first time in Bangkok, there are plenty of good options around town.

First time in Bangkok: Where to Stay?

Before we talk about what to do on your first time in Bangkok and places to visit, let’s talk about accommodation, another challenge for your Bangkok itinerary.

The city is huge and offers a wide range of hotels, hostels and apartments for rent. How to choose the best place to stay in Bangkok for the first time? Don’t panic, we are here to help and to point out the best areas to stay in Bangkok:

> Silom – Sathorn Area

This is the business area of Bangkok, with good restaurants, shopping malls and close to Lumpini Park. It’s one of the best places to stay in Bangkok for the first time because it’s close to many attractions and it’s connected by the BTS (Skytrain) and MRT (underground metro). With all these facilities and a premium location, hotels in Sathorn tend to be a bit more expensive, but great!

Two of my favorite 5-star hotels in Bangkok are located in Sathorn. No words to describe the impeccable service and classy décor of  Oriental Residence Bangkok, we had a romantic stay there and loved it.

Another great option is the  So Sofitel .  With a design that mixes French haute couture and Thai heritage, So Sofitel is artistic, fashionable and funky. It’s not your regular 5-star hotel, it has a unique twist and one of the best views from Bangkok.

To help you choose the best place for your first trip to Bangkok we put together some  good options for mid-range hotels and also  some boutique hostels in Sathorn, check them out and book your favorite.

Pratunan area is one of the best places to stay in Bangkok. It's close to the attraction and places you need to visit on your first time in Bangkok.

> Pratunam Area  

This is the best place to stay in Bangkok for shopping! All the malls and streets stalls are at your doorstep. It’s one of the most touristic areas in Bangkok, and also a place you can find any type of accommodation, from luxurious hotels to budget rooms.

Around Pratunam, we loved  Amari Watergate Hotel , it is modern, super comfortable, surrounded by shopping malls, near the BTS line and even closer to the Airport Link train. It’s a perfect option if you want to be in the middle of the action and still have a perfect place to relax. We stayed in the  Executive Suite , and enjoyed the happy hour with free drinks and food at the Executive Lounge. Wasn’t enough to convince you? Check out the post we wrote about our  experience at the Amari Watergate .

Here is a list we made with more options of hotels in Pratunam area .

> Sukhumvit Area

Sukhumvit is a huge avenue that goes from West to East in Bangkok, but there is a particular area that is famous for shops, restaurants, bars and good hotels. We are talking about the area between the Nana and Phrom Phong BTS stations.

There you can find thousands of hotels from luxury to budget, from international brands to local boutique hotels. If you fancy a local hotel with a comfy and modern style,  Citrus 11 (book here with  Booking.com or  Agoda ) might be a good option. 

Novotel (book here with  Booking.com or  Agoda ) also has a superb location at Sukhumvit 20, right off Ekkamai BTS station with stylish rooms.

If you are looking for a spacious and fancy stay, S31 Hotel (book here with  Booking.com or  Agoda ) has double-floor apartments overlooking the city. We made a list of the  best hotels in Sukhumvit area, pick your favorite and book now .

> Chinatown

It’s not a common option for travelers visiting Bangkok for the first time, but it can be an incredible experience if you choose the right hotel.  Shanghai Mansion Bangkok is a good example of a unique experience in the middle of multicultural Bangkok. 

Chinatown is also the address for many 3 and 2 stars hotels , you can save up on accommodation and spend on the delicious food you will find around the neighborhood.

How to book the best hotels for your first time in Bangkok.

> Chao Phraya Riverside

This is the premium address in Bangkok, the banks of Chao Phraya River are filled with top hotels and boutique guesthouses. It’s one of the best areas to stay in Bangkok, and also one of the most expensive. 

The Peninsula ,  Shangri-La ,  The Siam ,  Mandarin Oriental ,  Royal Orchid Sheraton ,  Chatrium and Sala Rattanakosin are just a few of the international hotels lined up on the riverside.

> Khaosan Road

Khao San Road and Rambutree Street are known for being the cheapest area to stay in Bangkok. I agree and disagree, I would say that Khaosan Road is the best place to stay in Bangkok if you want to be surrounded by bars, and street food, close to the historical attractions and experience the backpacker scene. It’s not only about budget because you can find cheap and good hotels all around Bangkok.

The problem with Khaosan is that not all the hotels are as good as they seem on the website. What looks like a cozy & clean room, can be a dirty cubicle, without windows and full of cockroaches. Of course, there are good places in Khaosan,  our favorite is A&A Homestay , clean, comfy, and good value for money, and breakfast included.

Need more options for budget places to stay? Check out our  suggestions for hotels for your first time in Bangkok, and in Khaosan Road .

On your first time in Bangkok you must visit the temples and the top attractions in BKK.

First time in Bangkok: what to do?

Most of the top attractions in Bangkok are temples or religious sites, my advice for your first time in Bangkok is to visit the main temples and the Grand Palace on the same day.

The sights are quite close to each other, and as you need to dress respectfully [cover your shoulders and wear long skirts or pants] it makes sense to schedule them on the same day of your Bangkok itinerary.

There are hundreds of temples in the city, we will recommend the most famous and most beautiful ones, attractions that you need to visit on your first trip to Thailand.

A quick tip to help you enjoy Bangkok safely and save money :

To see different sides of Bangkok and SAVE MONEY on the way, get your  Bangkok Day Pass !

It’s a digital pass that gives you access to attractions (like the incredible Mahanakhon Skywalk), restaurants, boat transportation, tuk-tuk- tours, massages and more. It’s way cheaper than if you would pay for each activity separately.

We used the Bangkok Pass and loved it ( here is a video of our itinerary ).

If you like the city pass idea, they also have the Phuket Day Pass ( here is our video traveling with it) , Chiang Mai Day Pass , Chiang Mai Premium Pass , Ayutthaya Day Pass , and Pattaya Day Pass.

The activities, attractions, restaurants and benefits in each city are different, so it’s worth checking them out.

Now let’s go back to our Bangkok Guide. 

The Grand Palace is one of the top attraction in Bangkok. You need to put it on your first time in Bangkok itinerary.

> Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew

This is the number 1 attraction in Bangkok. To avoid tourist crowds you better wake up early in the morning. The complex is huge, inside the Grand Palace you can visit the famous Wat Phra Kaew and the Emerald Buddha, plus the gardens, the Royal offices, amazing statues and Thai designs.

The Grand Palace is open daily from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM, and a quick visit can take more than two hours, so be prepared for long walks. Check the Grand Palace website for prices, location and about the dress code. If you want to make your first visit to Bangkok a learning experience, you can rent an audio guide at the entrance and follow the history behind each temple and building of the Grand Palace.

Travel tips for first time in Bangkok, visit the Wat Pho early in the morning.

> Wat Pho and the Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho is right beside the Grand Palace, and it’s one of Bangkok’s main attractions. If you wake up early, you can visit the Grand Palace and Wat Pho on the same morning, it’s a smart way to save time on your first trip to Bangkok.

Wat Pho is another vast complex, with many corridors, stupas, statues, and a nice garden. The biggest attraction is the Reclining Buddha, 15 meters tall for 46 meters long, all covered in golden leaf, impressive!

The Wat Pho Temple is open every day from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, for more info on how to get there, the entrance fee, and about the Thai Massage University that is located inside the temple, check the Wat Pho official website.

> Wat Arun

On your first time in Bangkok, you must visit Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of the Down. You will be mesmerized by the beauty of the temple. On the banks of the Chao Praya River, Wat Arun is almost in front of Wat Pho, and to get there you need to catch a public ferry that crosses the river.

It’s a great experience, especially if you climb the 67 meters high pagoda. The stairs are steep, but the view from the top is simply stunning. The Wat Arun is open daily from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM.

If you are tired of walking but still want to admire the beauty of Wat Arun, grab a table at the  Sala Rattanakosin Rooftop bar and relax while watching the sunset. The sun sinking behind the temple will be a highlight of your first time in Bangkok!

> A personal recommendation:  Wat Ratchanatdaram

It’s not the most famous temple or attraction in Bangkok, but in my opinion, it should be. I love the architecture and design of this temple, especially at night-time when it is all lit up. The temple opens daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and it’s free entrance.

Visiting a traditional floating market is one of the best local experience you can have on your first time in Bangkok.

> Floating Market, the real one, not the tourist trap!

Boats full of fruits and veggies, people trading on the banks of the canals, the smell of Thai food in the air… This is what you get when visiting a traditional floating market in Bangkok . But not all the floating markets are worth the visit, some of them are real tourist traps. As all the floating markets are outside Bangkok, you must go on a tour or use a guide to take you there. The problem is that most of the tours will take you to most tourist markets, with boats full of tourist groups, souvenirs, and selfie sticks.

We have visited some floating markets in Bangkok, and I was kind of disappointed, until my last experience. We choose a tour called  A Perfect Floa ting Market Day with TakeMeTour [click on the tour name to see the details], and we loved it. The name of the tour set some high expectations, but Maitree [our guide] and his family didn’t disappoint us. If you are traveling to Bangkok for the first time, this is the type of experience you need to have, a proper introduction to Thai culture.

Maitree is an enthusiast for Thai culture and food. We met him at the BTS station and headed together to the Klong Lad Mayom floating market. After a few minutes’ drive, we parked on a dirt road, full of people carrying shopping bags, kids playing and enjoying their Sunday.

On your first time in Bangkok don't forget to try the local food, it's delicious!

The smell of food, the color of the fruits, and the sizzling sound coming from the wok pans were amazing. It was a sensorial experience, delicious in every sense, perfect for a first time in Bangkok. The wet market on the canal banks was just the beginning. After tasting some Thai sweets we caught a longtail boat and started a tour through the canals. Our first stop was on a temple, where we witnessed a ceremony and even received a blessing from a monk!

Our guide explained everything about the ritual, how we should behave, and what the monk would do. So we took off our shoes, grabbed an offering to the temple, and got down on our knees. A unique moment that made me feel close to the Thai culture, a moment while we didn’t feel like tourists, but actually like locals, surrounded by friends and families.

Then the boat kept navigating through the narrow canals, with twists, turns and some water splashing. Our second stop was in an Orchid Garden and then we headed back to the market. On the way, we passed by boats with monks, people selling food along the canal, and some wooden Thai houses that were truly masterpieces.

Book your floating market tour in Bangkok here!

Back at the market we bought takeaway food and headed back to Maitree’s grandma’s house, a traditional Thai house overlooking one of the many rivers in Bangkok. And there she was, Grandma, 81 years old, wearing a big smile and eyes full of wisdom. I didn’t speak any Thai, she couldn’t speak English, but we got along very fast.

She heated up the wok, and started cooking Pad Thai [one of my favorite Thai dishes], showing me the ingredients, how to maneuver the pan, and stir fry the prawns and noodles. She made everything looks so easy and yummy.

Learn how to cook Thai food, what a great experience on my first time in Bangkok!

Then it was my turn at the wok, and show that a Brazilian girl can also cook Pad Thai. The heat from the fire, the hot pan that I had to hold, the endless stir-frying moves made me sweat. But yes, I cooked a Pad Thai, not as fast as grandma, but delicious. We recorded a  video of my cooking skills , check it out! We had a feast: Pad Thai, grilled fish, papaya salad, fish tartar, tropical fruits and Thai sweets. A table full of flavors and laughs, an amazing experience.

So now you know, on your first trip to Bangkok, you must do it right, visit a real floating market, and learn how to cook a Pad Thai. Book a tour that will be worth your money and time, and that will give you memories for a lifetime.

During your first time in Bangkok visit the Chinatown and enjoy the street food.

The address for delicious food, interesting shops and a truly Chinese vibe. Chinatown is a different world , especially if you venture beyond Yaowarat Road. Explore the streets and alleys, visit the temples, try street food and desserts. Visit the shops to buy tea, herbs and a lot of strange stuff that you can only find there. Arrive in Chinatown before 5:00 PM and visit the Wat Traimit Temple , there you can see the largest gold Buddha in the world, 3 meters wide and 3.91 meters tall. It’s beautiful! Check out this video:

> Jim Thompson House

A travel guide for the first time in Bangkok won’t be complete without a visit to the Jim Thompson House. In the middle of the busiest area of Bangkok, the house/museum is like an oasis, full of green, arts, and legends. Go there to admire the silk work and legacy of Jim Thompson, and also to discover the conspiracy story behind his life in Thailand.

Add on your first time in Bangkok travel guide a quick visit to Lumpini Park, one of the top attraction of Bangkok.

> Lumpini Park

In the heart of Bangkok, Lumpini Park is a green escape for locals and tourists. My suggestion is to go there early in the morning, around 7:00 AM, so you can admire the groups doing Tai Chi Chuan with swords, yoga classes for all ages, people exercising in the middle of the garden, and the huge monitor lizards strolling around the park.

On your first time in Bangkok: what to do? You must cruise on the Chao Phraya River.

> Chao Phraya River

On your first time in Bangkok, you must cruise on the Chao Phraya River. There are plenty of ways to do it: private longtail boat tour , dinner cruise , or even on a normal  public transportation boat . It all depends on how much you want to spend and what kind of experience you want to have.

If you are looking for something more romantic on your first time in Bangkok, go on a private longtail cruise. The best is to book it in advance via GetYourGuide, or you can go to the Sathorn-Taksin Pier [Central Pier], where you will find many boats waiting for tourists. Don’t forget to negotiate the price.

Another option is to hop on the Chao Phraya Express Boat and commute along the river with other tourists and locals. The blue flag boat is the tourist route, and the yellow or orange flag is the regular public transportation.

> Muay Thai, The Thai Boxing

More than a sport, Muay Thai is a tradition in Thailand. If during your first time in Bangkok, you want to watch a real Muay Thai fight go to Lumpinee Stadium or Rajadamnern Stadium. Check on their website the dates/time of the fights, and book the ticket online. Please, don’t buy tickets from any vendor in front of the stadium, only at the ticket booth. There are plenty of scams happening there, you can end up paying twice as much or getting a fake VIP ticket.

A good suggestion for party is Khaosan Road, you must schedule at least one night there on your first time in Bangkok itinerary.

> Khao San Road

This is one of the most famous addresses in Bangkok. Khao San Road is known for the backpackers’ scene, the bars, cheap drinks and street food. Some people love it, others hate it, that’s why on your first time in Bangkok you must go there and see it by yourself.

If you want to buy souvenirs this is one of the best places to go in Bangkok. During the day the street is packed with shops selling all types of crafts, clothes, tours, tattoos and much more.

At night time, the bars stretch their tables and chairs over the street and Khao San Road turns into a big party.

> Rooftop Bars in Bangkok

Bangkok has fine dining, international cocktails and views to die for. My recommendation for your first time in Bangkok is to go to a rooftop bar at least for one night. Be prepared to spend more than usual and dress nicely.

The best rooftops in Bangkok are Vertigo and the Moon Bar at Banyan Tree Hotel, Sky Bar – Lebua at State Tower [that became famous after the movie Hangover 2], Octave Rooftop Bar at Marriott Hotel, and the traditional ThreeSixty at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok. You must book a table in advance if you want to have dinner at one of them.

On you first time in Bangkok you must go to a rooftop bar to admire the city skyline.

There are plenty of rooftop bars in Bangkok that are less famous, less crowded and less picky with the dress code than the ones I mentioned above. I love the Park Society at SO-Sofitel . It has a jaw-dropping view of Lumpini Park and the Bangkok skyline, a beautifully decorated place and great cocktails.

We are halfway through our first-time guide to Bangkok. Now it’s time to talk about markets and shopping malls, because on your Bangkok itinerary, you will be able to shop till you drop!

First time in Bangkok: where to shop?

In Bangkok, you can find shopping centers and markets for all tastes and pockets. From vintage clothes and antiques to trendy Asian designers and international brands. Bangkok is a shopping paradise. But before hitting the modern shopping malls, there are two traditional Thai Markets that you need to visit on your first time in Bangkok.

> Chatuchak, the biggest market in Thailand

Chatuchak is one of the biggest weekend markets in the world, a complex that covers a 35-acre area, with more than 8 thousand stalls, and on normal days over 200,000 visitors will be shopping there.

A visit to Chatuchak Market is a must on your first time in Bangkok. What to do when you arrive there? Try not to get lost and buy a lot of cool stuff! Clothes, furniture, crafts, food, and home wear, they even have a section for plants and a place to sell animals.

Chatuchak is insanely huge! It’s open on Saturdays and Sundays, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM , go early in the morning to avoid the crowds and the heat.

For your first time in Bangkok Travel Guide be complete, you need to visit the local street markets.

> Pak Klong Talad, The Bangkok Flower Market

A universe of colors and scents, the  Flower Market in Bangkok is an intense experience, but sadly many travelers that visit Bangkok for the first time don’t go there. The market is open 24 hours, but it gets really busy after midnight. If you don’t want to miss your bedtime, go to the flower market around 7:00 PM and you will be able to see the ladies working on the bouquets and garlands.

> Siam Paragon, MBK, EmQuartier and much more…

The best places in Bangkok for shopping are around Sukhumvit Road. There you will find  Siam Paragon , Central World , MBK [the electronic paradise], and the super posh EmQuartier . Sukhumvit is also the address for bars and nightclubs, so keep in mind that during your first trip to Bangkok, you should spend a couple of hours there.

> Asiatique

Asiatique is a complex of restaurants, shops and fun, all in a trendy open-air mall built on the south banks of the ChaoPhraya River. To get there the best option is to go to Sathorn – Taksin Pier and from there get the free shuttle boat to the mall.

First time in Bangkok: what to do when you arrive?

You’ve made it to Bangkok and arrived at the airport safe and sound, so what now?? The first thing you need to do after passing the immigration is to buy a local SIM Card. Believe me, you will need an internet connection to explore Bangkok, get taxis, check the public transportation and find on Google Maps the nice places I recommended.

Look for a DTAC shop, there you can  get the Happy Tourist SIM card , it’s easy, fast and reliable. The staff from the shop can help you with the settings and you are ready to go. Choose between the 7-days plan or 15 days, both with unlimited internet plus calls. You’ll get great coverage all around Thailand

Travel tips for your first time in Bangkok, how to get around and use the public transportation.

> How to get around Bangkok

Bangkok has two airports. Suvarnabhumi International Airport is the biggest one and from there you can get a train that brings you to the heart of the city where you can connect with other public transportation, or get a taxi to your hotel.

Don’t get a taxi straight from the airport to your hotel, you will get stuck in traffic for ages and that is something we don’t want for your first time in Bangkok.

If you land at Don Muang Airport, you can get the train that goes to Bang Sue Train station or you can get a taxi from the terminal to the BTS Station Mo Chit [ask the driver to take the tollway, it will be a 50 bath more expensive, but you will save time]. From Bang Sue Station or Mo Chit BTS station, you can reach almost everywhere in Bangkok.

If your hotel is in the Sukhumvit or Sathorn area you can definitely go by train. If you are staying at Khao San Road, Chinatown, or somewhere along the riverside, then a taxi might be the best option. Use the map on your cell phone to find your way.

The  BTS ,  MRT , taxis, buses, boats and tuk-tuks are the transports available in Bangkok, and you can use all of them, just be careful.

Taxi drivers tend to not use the taximeter [they ask for outrageous flat rates] and most of the time they don’t have a clue about the address. So download the GrabTaxi App on your phone, it’s fast, and safe and you will save time and energy.

Are you planning to travel around Thailand by bus or train?

Find all the routes, prices and book your tickets here on 12Go Asia.

First time in Bangkok: where to eat? What to eat?

Thai food is delicious but can be a challenge for first-time travelers, especially if you are not used to spicy food. It’s hard to suggest places to eat as we all have different tastes, some of us are vegetarian, and others have food allergies [as me].

We never had a problem eating street food in Bangkok, and we loved it. Before ordering have a look around the food stalls, if it looks clean enough, if you see locals eating there and if the food looks good, then give it a try.

Our favorite street foods are: Pad Thai, Som Tam [papaya salad], Massaman Curry, Braised Pork Noodle Soup [the best ones are the food charters in front of the 7-11 shops], Fried Rice, Chicken Satay, Tom Kha Gai Soup, Tom Yum Soup, and for dessert Sticky Rice Mango and Roti. Here is a  list explaining all the Thai dishes we mentioned and many more.

Don't be afraid to try street food in Thailand, it's safe. Visit Chinatown during your first time in Bangkok for serious food extravaganza.

Chinatown, old town, Khao San Road and Sukhumvit are the best places to try street food on your first time in Bangkok.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, my favorite places are Ethos Restaurant or May Kai Dee , both close to Khao San. Also, don’t forget to try the fruits and juices, it’s safe to buy them from the stalls on the street.

For Western cuisine, the options are endless too, especially in Sukhumvit, Sathorn, and Thonglor areas.

First time in Bangkok: what to do to be safe?

Thailand is a safe country, but as in any other big city, in Bangkok, you must look after yourself.

So, what to do to be safe during your first trip to Bangkok? Before even arriving in Thailand you must purchase travel insurance to protect yourself and your belongings. We always have good insurance, so when I got really sick and was rushed to the hospital in Thailand, they covered all my expenses.

Travel Advice:

Don’t forget your Travel Insurance! You don’t want anything to ruin your trip, right? So don’t take the risk! Reliable travel insurance can help you in case of travel issues, from accidents to health problems, travel delays, and lost luggage.

There are many insurances in the market, our picks are  HeyMondo  and  SafetyWing . We used both and always had a good experience. Click on the insurance names to get a quote.

Also, don’t be too flashy, keep your money and passport in a safe place. We  use a money belt for our passports, big money and bank cards. If you need to exchange money, do it in a bank, it’s safer and they have good rates.

Another travel tip for your first time in Bangkok: ask the hotel reception to write in Thai the name, address and phone number of your Hotel, so you can show it to a taxi driver or to any local in case of emergency.

But is Bangkok really safe for travelers? Yes, but you need to be careful. We wrote a comprehensive guide about safety in Bangkok, read it here !

First time in Bangkok: how to avoid scams?

If you feel that something is wrong, or if the offer is too good to be true, pay attention! This is the moment your scam alarm should ring! Thai people are really nice and lovely, but if they are trying too hard to convince you about something, it might be a scam. On your first time in Bangkok try to avoid these common scams:

> “Today it’s closed, but I can take you to a better place!”

You stop a taxi or a tuk-tuk, tell the driver you want to go to the Grand Palace, or any other attraction in Bangkok and the driver tells you the place is closed. “It’s closed today my friend, but I can take you to another beautiful temple, and you can go shopping”. Those are the magical words, immediately get out of the car and walk away. This is one of the most common scams in Bangkok, every day dozens of tourists end up going to jewelry shops, tailors and being forced to purchase any kind of products.

Photo by Skye Travels

> Super cheap tuk-tuk ride

Thailand is a cheap country, so if someone offers you a super cheap tuk-tuk or taxi ride you should run away [again]. The driver will probably take you to a tour operator, a shop or restaurant instead of driving you to the destination you asked for. They do that so they get a commission from the shops and restaurants.

>  “ I have a friend that can help you, very very cheap! ”

Again, be careful! Thai people are genuinely nice and helpful, but too many promises should make you think twice. If you have problems or any doubts about the city, ask at your hotel reception or call the Tourist Police at 1155, it’s free from any number.

>  “ You need to buy pants! ”

In front of the Grand Palace and other tourist attractions, you will see street stalls selling pants, scarves, sarongs and offering “official” tour guides. They will tell you that to enter the temple you need to wear proper pants and cover your shoulders, and you MUST buy from them because there is no other option inside the temple.

Part of this statement is true, you must dress respectfully to get inside the temples in Bangkok, but the other part is a lie. Inside the temples, you get FREE sarongs and scarves to cover yourself, and at the Grand Palace, you need to rent it, around 30 to 50 Bath per piece.

How to avoid scams on your first time in Bangkok. Follow our tips and travel guide.

> “I can take you to a good and cheap ping pong show”

Every year hundreds of tourists get scammed in the red light district and ping pong shows. There is nothing wrong to enjoy the naughty nightlife of Bangkok, but do it in a safe way.

So, it’s your first time in Bangkok, what should you do to see a ping pong show? First: never trust a taxi or tuk-tuk driver that approaches you in the middle of the street offering a good and cheap ping pong show. Scam Alert! He will take you to a dodgy place, and you might get yourself into trouble.

To go to the girls’ bar, the best option is to get a normal taxi [Grab Taxi works fine] and ask the driver to take you to Soi Cowboy [the most organized red light district in Bangkok], Patpong [the most touristy one], or Nana Plaza [in the heart of Sukhumvit, famous for Ladyboys]. Before entering the bar check the entrance fee, the prices, and the rules.

Now you know almost everything! How to plan the itinerary for your first time in Bangkok, what to do, attractions, where to stay in Bangkok, safety issues and even how to avoid scams.

This is the longest post we wrote on our blog and believe me, we didn’t cover all the things to do in Bangkok. If you are staying more than 5 days and have the energy to explore further, we have one more travel guide for you:  uniq u e and cool things to do in Bangkok , like the second step from your first-time guide to Bangkok.

If you want to plan your travel budget, we have another post for you:  how much you need to travel in Bangkok and in Thailand , check it out.

Looking for more travel tips to Thailand? Read all our guides to Thailand here!

Still have doubts about how to organize your first trip to Bangkok, what to do and where to stay? Don’t be shy, leave a question in the comments below. And don’t forget to book your hotels and tour through our links, doing that you help us to keep writing great travel guides like this one!

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The best travel tips for your first time in Bangkok, what to do, where to stay and what to eat. The ultimate travel guide to Thailand’s capital, with local experiences and insider's tips.

64 thoughts on “Ultimate Travel Guide For Your First Time in Bangkok: What to do & Where to Stay ”

What an incredible post! Really comprehensive, it definitely has everything you need for your visit to Bangkok. Makes me miss SE Asia even more. I’ll be back in January, but it’s not soon enough.

Hey!! Good to know you are coming back!! I believe we can’t get enough of Bangkok!!

Thanks for your comment! Nat

You’re right that Bangkok can be overwhelming. It’s a massive and busy Asian city. We really enjoyed visiting the Taling Chan floating market, which definitely didn’t have any tourists. We just took a taxi, which wasn’t very expensive, there and ate our way through whatever looked good. We also enjoyed Asiatique and going on the big ferris wheel.

Hi Jennifer!! We didn’t go to the Ferris Wheel, but it seems that you can have an amazing view from there. Thanks for stopping by! Happy Travels, Nat

Thanks for the great guide with so much good information! We haven’t been to Bangkok yet, but this will be super helpful for when we finally visit. Everything looks fantastic–the details at Wat Pho are amazing, the floating market looks so cool and the rooftop bars look great, too!

Hi Jenna!! You need to come to Bangkok, it’s such a unique city! Thanks for stopping by!

Holy cow!! What a wealth of information. This is awesome guys so useful for first timers in Bangkok!

Hi Anna, This is the longest post on Love and Road, and took me a few days to up all the info and details together, but I believe it was worth it. Bangkok is one of my favorite cities in Southeast Asia and I would love to inspire people to travel more and better here… Cheers, Nat

Awesome guide! I have been to Bangkok a few times and those were definitely the places and things I did as a first time tourist. Great tips for those planning their trip!

Hey Darlene, I’m glad that you liked the post! Great compliment coming from someone that already visited Bangkok! Cheers, Nat

Thankyou for the uber helpful post! We’ve been considering Bangkok for a trip next year – we’ve settled down in Australia now so it’s quite close to get to Asia. Though as you mentioned, it can be really intimidating knowing where to start and what to take in, because there’s just so much!! And I suffer from fear of missing out syndrome lol so I get very anxious if I can’t cram everything into one trip 😀 This really helps 🙂

Hey Megan, We are quite alike, I also try to see and visit as much as possible, I hate that feeling when I arrive home and discover that I have missed an important attraction during the trip… When you decide to come to Bangkok give us a shout, I’m more than happy to share more info! Cheers, Nat

Natalie, this is a great guide! We’ve never been to Thailand, but definitely want to soon. The Pad Thai feast looks amazing! Thanks for covering a little bit of everything – very handy. Safe travels and keep writing! -Carrick

Hey Carrick! Thanks for stopping by! Bangkok is a huge city, we tried to cover and show as much as possible. I’m glad you liked the post!! Happy Travels, Nat

Great tips, I couldn’t agree more on most of them. I’m heading back to Thailand for my second time soon but am flying directly yo Phuket but I’ll definitely keep this blog in mind for the future as it’s always great to re-read for inspiration!

Thanks!!! 🙂 Enjoy Phuket, I love that Islands, so many beautiful beaches and hidden places. Safe Travels,

This is such a useful travel guide. I have never actually been to Thailand but thinking a trip next year might be in order. Will be bookmarking this!

Thailand is an amazing country Anita, for sure you need to come over to explore Bangkok and the islands. Cheers, Nat

This is the ultimate guide to Bangkok and perfect for me because I will be a first timer when I eventually get chance to go! I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Thailand but Bangkok in particularly, especially the floating food market and Khao San Road. I want to go and see everything and then finish my time in that epic rooftop bar for a relaxing drink to enjoy the chaos below 🙂

Hi Mel, Sounds like you have a plan! Enjoy BKK! Cheers,

I’ve been to Bangkok a few times, but I think that is a very useful guide to a first-timer. I guess I wouldn’t stay in Khao San Road again though – it was quite ok when I was younger and newer to the world of backpacking, now I’d definitely look for something away from all that noise.

Hi Monika! Rambutree is a quieter road just beside Khao San. Although there are so many great places to stay all around BKK. Cheers!

Incredible guide of Bangkok! It’s high on my list – I so want to go to the floating market! Actually, all of their markets sound great. And I LOVE Thai food. Great post and photos, thanks for sharing 🙂

Hi Carmen, Tks!!! Hope you make to BKK soon 😉 Cheers!

Great post guys!! It will definitely help me during my next trip BKK. So many thing that I didn’t cover in the first one.

Glad to help Pericles!!!!

Awesome post. I have been 7 times in Bangkok and it’s one of my facorite city in Asia. Loved read again about şt.

Thanks Kemal!! Bangkok is one of our favorite cities too!! We learned to love it!

Cheers, Nat

The great thing about Bangkok is that every time you go there, you can have a totally different experience depending on where you’re gonna stay or what you’re gonna do. I love it and I can never get enough of it even though I’m not a fan of big cities. Great article!

That’s true, Bangkok is HUGE and offers everything 😉 Safe travels!

This is an awesome post. Definitely something I wanted to read since I will be traveling for the first time to Thailand. I do have a question on the sim cards, what type of phone did you guys use. I have apple iPhone and wanted to see if the sim card is compatible.

Hi Lily!! Rob has an Iphone 6 and I have a Huawei P9 (Android), but in any shop you can get all sizes of SIM Card, they even instal it on your phone for you. The only think is that your phone needs to be unlocked to work with a Thai SIM card. Happy travels, Nat

Awesome city, nice article. I wanted to go again after reading 🙂

Thanks Gezi

Awsome i bean to phuket thew month ago time to try bangkok looks great city

Enjoy! Bangkok is a great place!!!!

Hi Natalie, Travelling to Bangkok with my teens to see Coldplay. Thanks for the hints. Tourist SIM card fab! Will limit shopping to EMQuarter, AsiaTique… anywhere else? Catuchak market sounds amazing, giant buddha… any other musts??

Hi Donna, I’m so happy you liked the post! I’m sure it will be an amazing trip! I think you and the teens would love a nice bike trip to Bang Krachao, one of the islands in the middle of ChaoPraya River. You can find more info about this island and other cool things to do in Bangkok in this post . About shopping, Central World and Siam Paragon are other good options.

Have a great trip, enjoy Bangkok! Cheers, Nat

I am so glad I found your site! going for a 2 week holiday at the end of May to Bangkok and thinking of going to Krabi. Any suggestions for a cool place to stay at the beach for a solo female traveler over the age of 40? Where would you recommend if I wanted to hear some good house music during my travels?

Hello Nan, 9 Bar at Khao San Road has great DJs playing house & techno. We love 2 places in Aonang(near krabi) Alisea Boutique and Aonang Cliff Beach Resort . Both hotels are great! Enjoy Thailand!!!! Cheers, Rob

Hi Natalie, This is such an awesome and informative post. Exactly what i needed. We leave to Bangkok in two days and after reading your post it makes me feel a little prepared. Thank you.

Vrithi Pushkar

Hi Vrithi, Glad you liked! Enjoy Thailand! Cheers,

This was just SO HELPFUL! Thank you for putting some order in the chaos (:

Hi Noa! You are welcome, we are happy to help! Cheers, Nat

hey Natalie, thank you very much for such useful info…….Me and my friends (girls only) we going to Phuket for 7 days (end of November) but have decided to spend at least one day in Bangkok……we dont want to miss out…..any suggestions around airlines to use from Phuket to Bangkok and places to see and accommodation for one night……many thanks

Hi! Air Asia, Scoot, Bangkok Airways, Thai Lion Air have direct flights from Phuket to BKK. Our tips on what to do and where to stay are on the article above and on this one: https://loveandroad.com/unique-cool-things-to-do-in-bangkok-thailand/ Cheers!

Hi. Thanks for such informative post. This is by far the best post I read on Thailand travel. It would be great if you could answer a few questions of mine- 1) How do we bargain while shopping, since there is a language barrier? 2) For first time travel, is it fine to plan by ourself or plan via some MMT or thomas cook etc? 3) How much currency should we carry from India? How much does it cost to withdraw money there from ATM? Which is better?

Hello Mansi, Happy to help 😉 1 – Most of the vendors do speak English. The necessary to negotiate a deal. 2 – It’s pretty easy to organise the trip by yourself. We recommend Agoda for booking hotels, Skyscanner for flights and TakeMeTour for tours. 3 – On this post we give an idea of the costs in Thailand: https://loveandroad.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-travel-in-thailand-guide/ Enjoy your trip!

So much info. Great sit. Question Is there a site that you recommend that does package deals eg. air/hotel/guided tours?

Hi Sharon, Sorry can’t help on that one… we always book our hotels, flights and tours by ourselves. Cheers,

Bangkok is my favorite place in the world. I am very happy with the text.

Great advice!! Still a bit overwhelmed …We will be in Bangkok for only 2 days then off to Krabi and Koh Lanta. Do you recommend booking internal flights sooner then later? Do you have a printer friendly version we can take with? Leaving this Tuesday! So excited!!

Hi Doron, I would recommend the internal flights in advance. Keep an eye on Air Asia, Nok Air and Scoot, usually they have good rates. We don’t have a PDF or printer friendly version of the post but you can save it on Pocket , and read it later even offline. BTW, we just published an article about Krabi 😉 Enjoy Thailand!

Loved this blog! It will be our first trip to Asia and could not be more excited! We are staying at the Lamphu Tree Hotel for 4 nights at the beginning of our 6 week trip (2 weeks each in Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka) and will have one afternoon at the end of our trip (shopping!). I have not booked our last night yet as I am not sure which part of the city I should stay in. I was looking at the Shanghai Mansion Hotel in Chinatown but not sure if that will be around any good shopping? When I say shopping I don’t mean big malls! I would be interested in local art, unique gifts. I don’t know how often you update your blog, wondering if there are any things you would suggest for a January 2019 trip that are not currently in your blog? Thanks! Your blog was the most comprehensive article I could find on what to do in Bangkok.

Hi Judy, Tks for the kind words! Chinatown is definitely a great area to do some shopping. There you will find everything, from cheap fake stuff to antiques. This year I’ve visited Lhong 1919 and loved it. Old warehouses turned into shops and restaurants facing the river, there are a few local designer shops there. Another place that I like is the Rod Fai Market near Esplanade Shopping Mall, some local designers tons of food and a nice atmosphere. If you stay in Chinatown, Siam or Silom areas you can easily take a tuk tuk to Lhong 1919 or Rod Fai Market. Enjoy Asia!

Since my one and only day in Bangkok (on a cruise ship), I’ve been longing to return. Looking at the pictures in this guide makes my yearning to return even stronger. I just posted this to Flipboard and will retweet and save on both Pinterest and G+ as well. Thanks from

Hi Stacy! For sure Bangkok deserves more than 1 day 😉 Cheers,

Hi, Your post is really informative for first time travellers. We will be reaching Bangkok around afternoon around 3pm. Can you guide us on what should we plan for that day. We will have another two days on our way back from Krabi.

Hi Mona, All the main attractions are listed in the article, suggest to pick the ones you like the most and plan from there. We have more articles about Bangkok, Krabi and other cities on this page: https://loveandroad.com/category/destinations/asia/thailand/ Have a great trip!

What caused you to get ill in Thailand? I know you have to be careful with the food, but was that ever an issue for you or your partner?

Hi Jana, No, nothing related to food. In fact, during those 5 years of traveling the only time we got ill because of food was in a fancy restaurant in Istanbul. We ate our way in the streets of Asia and never got bad food 😉 Enjoy Thailand!

Due to my previous need for Visa Run from Myanmar have visited so many times Bangkok and found the area of Ekkamai one of the best in terms of hotels price & restaurants and easy to go. And while in Bangkok the Chao Phraya River it’s a must as you mentioned; did mine with Shangri-la Boat:

Love Ekkamai too!

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Under the shadow of the Bangkok’s skyscrapers you’ll find a heady mix of chaos and refinement, of frenetic markets, snail’s-pace traffic jams and hushed golden temples, of dispiriting, zombie-like sex shows and early-morning alms-giving ceremonies. A first-time visitor to Bangkok will be blown away by the sights, sounds and smells bursting from the city. Return travellers come back to stay in the capital for that very same reason.

Places to visit in Bangkok

Top things to do in bangkok, best time to visit bangkok, where to stay in bangkok, where to eat in bangkok, traditional massage and spas in bangkok, going out in bangkok, bangkok travel advice, a brief history of bangkok, around bangkok.

One way or another, the place is sure to get under your skin. With our Bangkok travel guide we’re confident you’ll enjoy every challenge Thailand’s capital city throws at you.

Travel ideas for Thailand, created by local experts

Chiang Mai Safari Adventure

Chiang Mai Safari Adventure

The perfect trip for some family fun and adventure, lovely Chiang Mai with its lush valleys and national parks ticks all the boxes. Expect majestic cliff-top temples, sprawling national parks and exciting safari adventures.

Thailand's Islands and Highlands

Thailand's Islands and Highlands

Experience the best of Thailand as you discover glitzy Bangkok's temples, markets and waterways. Compare the bustling, lively capital with the glorious rolling hills and lush interior of mountainous Chiang Mai before heading south to beach bliss and unexpected cultural delights in hedonistic Phuket.

Thailand Discovery

Thailand Discovery

A great way to discover Thailand, take in the Central Plain and Bangkok, the north with Chiang Mai and the south at the lively resort of Phuket.

Bangkok-Pattaya Explorer

Bangkok-Pattaya Explorer

The perfect trip for adventurers, sun seekers and lovers of island life: take in cosmopolitan Bangkok’s wats or temples, street markets and waterways. Witness the excitement of Bangkok before heading to Thailand’s east coast for island-hopping in the sunshine.

Pattaya Sun

Pattaya Sun

The sandy beaches and tiny offshore islands, dense forests and hidden waterfalls are a natural draw to Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard. Pattaya abounds with activities – from watersports to international-standard golf courses.

Chiang Mai Sustainable Trails

Chiang Mai Sustainable Trails

Chiang Mai offers a balmy escape from Bangkok’s humidity. Regarded as the cultural heart of the country, come here for nature, lovely Lanna-style temples, museums and the infamous night bazaar.

Ratanakosin

Any Bangkok city guide worth their salt will tell you that the place to start is Ratanakosin, the royal island on the east bank of the Chao Phraya, where the city’s most important and extravagant sights are located.

They include: the Grand Palace and adjoining royal temple, Wat Phra Kaeo; the Wang Na (Palace of the Second King), now the National Museum; Wat Pho, which predates the capital’s founding; Wat Mahathat, the most important centre of Buddhist learning in Southeast Asia; the National Theatre; the National Gallery; and Thammasat and Silpakorn universities.

Banglamphu and the Democracy Monument area

Immediately north of Ratanakosin, Banglamphu’s most notorious attraction is Thanon Khao San, a tiny sliver of a road built over a canal in 1892, whose multiple guesthouses and buzzing, budget-minded nightlife have made it an unmissable way-station for travellers through Southeast Asia.

There is plenty of cultural interest too, in a medley of idiosyncratic temples within a few blocks of nearby landmark Democracy Monument, and in the typical Bangkok neighbourhoods that connect them, many of which still feel charmingly old-fashioned.

Chinatown and Pahurat

When the newly crowned Rama I decided to move his capital across to the east bank of the river in 1782, the Chinese community living on the proposed site of his palace was obliged to relocate downriver, to the Sampeng area.

Two centuries on, Chinatown has grown into the country’s largest Chinese district, a sprawl of narrow alleyways, temples and shophouses packed between Charoen Krung (New Road) and the river.

For fifteen years between the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767 and the founding of Bangkok in 1782, the west-bank town of Thonburi stood in as the Thai capital.

Its time in the spotlight was too brief for the building of the fine monuments and temples, but some of its centuries-old canals, which once transported everyone and everything, have endured. It is these and the ways of life that depend on them that constitute Thonburi’s main attractions.

The most popular way to explore these old neighbourhoods is by boat, but joining a bicycle tour of the older neighbourhoods is also very rewarding.

The spacious, leafy area known as Dusit has been a royal district since the reign of Rama V, King Chulalongkorn (1860–1910). The first Thai monarch to visit Europe, Rama V returned with radical plans for the modernisation of his capital, the fruits of which are most visible in Dusit, notably at Vimanmek Palace and Wat Benjamabophit, the so-called “Marble Temple”.

Dusit is also the venue for the spectacular annual Trooping the Colour, when hundreds of Royal Guards demonstrate their allegiance to the king by parading around Royal Plaza. Across from Chitrlada Palace, Dusit Zoo makes a pleasant enough place to take the kids.

Downtown Bangkok

Downtown Bangkok is central to the colossal expanse of Bangkok as a whole, but rather peripheral in a sightseer’s perception of the city. In this modern high-rise area, you’ll find the main shopping centres around Siam Square.

Travel further east, you’ll find yet more shopping malls around the noisy and glittering Erawan Shrine, where Rama I becomes Thanon Ploenchit, an intersection known as Ratchaprasong. It’s possible to stroll in peace above the cracked pavements, noise and fumes of Thanon Rama I, by using the elevated walkway that runs beneath the Skytrain lines.

The city outskirts

A handful of places that make pleasant half-day escapes, principally Chatuchak Weekend Market, the cultural theme-park of Muang Boran, the upstream town of Nonthaburi and the tranquil artificial island of Ko Kred.

Thinking of travelling to Bangkok? Start planning by learning about how to get to Thailand .

A Bangkok city guide boiled down into nine brilliant things to do

  • The Grand Palace

Admire the Reclining Buddha and the lavish architecture, and leave time for a relaxing massage.

The National Museum

The central repository of the country’s artistic riches.

Thanon Khao San

Legendary hangout for Southeast Asia backpackers; the place for cheap sleeps, baggy trousers and tall tales.

The canals of Thonburi

See the Bangkok of yesteryear on a touristy but memorable longtail-boat ride.

  • Jim Thompson's House - An elegant Thai design classic, can be discovered on a guided tour including a weaving community visit.

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Eight thousand open-air stalls selling everything from triangular pillows to secondhand Levis.

63rd-floor sundowner

Fine cocktails and jaw-dropping views, especially at sunset, at The Sky Bar and Distil.

  • Thai boxing - Witness a fight in style with a VIP ticket to Rajadamnern Stadium or try it yourself by taking a class .

The climate of most of Thailand is governed by three seasons: rainy (roughly May–Oct), caused by the southwest monsoon; cool (Nov–Feb); and hot (March–May).

The cool season is the most clement time to visit Bangkok, although temperatures can still reach a broiling 30°C in the middle of the day. Bear in mind, however, that it’s also the busiest season, so forward planning is essential.

If your time in Bangkok is limited, you should think carefully about what you want to do in the city before deciding which part of town to stay in. Traffic jams are so appalling here that easy access to Skytrain, subway or river transport can be crucial.

In this travel guide on where to stay in Bangkok , we explore its various districts, picking out accommodation options that are notable in one way or another, from the best value for money to those with the prettiest views.

As you’d expect, nowhere in Thailand can compete with Bangkok’s diversity when it comes to food: it boasts an astonishing fifty thousand places to eat, almost one for every hundred citizens.

The best gourmet restaurants in the country operate from the downtown districts, proffering wonderful royal, traditional and regional cuisines that definitely merit a visit.

At the lower end of the price scale, one-dish meals from around the country are rustled up at the food courts of shopping centres and department stores, as well as at night markets and street stalls, which are so numerous in Bangkok that we can only flag the most promising areas.

Chinatown naturally rates as the most authentic district for pure Chinese food; likewise neighbouring Pahurat, the capital’s Indian enclave, is best for unadulterated Indian dishes.

From the best pad thais to eating insects , here’s the lowdown on where to eat in Bangkok .

Thai cookery classes in Bangkok

8/91 Soi 54, Thanon Ngam Wongwan. Thorough, four-hour classes in a quiet, suburban house in northern Bangkok. B2200, including transfers from central hotels. Closed Sun.

233 Thanon Sathorn Tai (BTS Surasak). In a grand building, courses that range from B3300 for a half-day to a five-day private course for professional chefs for B90,000.

Klong Toey. A chance to experience the slums of Klong Toey and spend a morning learning to cook. B1200, including a market tour and free transfers from next to Phrom Pong BTS station. Closed Sun.

You can also book a Thai cooking class that includes a trip to Bangkok's largest market, Khlong Toei, to choose and buy your own ingredients before cooking them up.

Bangkok has a good reputation for shopping, particularly for antiques, gems, contemporary interior design and fashions, where the range and quality are streets ahead of other Thai cities. Silk and handicrafts are good buys too, though shopping for these in Chiang Mai has many advantages. As always, watch out for fakes: cut glass masquerading as precious stones, old, damaged goods being passed off as antiques, counterfeit designer clothes and accessories, pirated CDs and DVDs, even mocked-up international driver’s licences (though Thai travel agents and other organizations aren’t that easily fooled).

Downtown is full of smart, multi-storey shopping plazas like Siam Centre, Siam Paragon and Central World on Thanon Rama I and Emporium on Thanon Sukhumvit, which is where you’ll find the majority of the city’s fashion stores, as well as designer lifestyle goods and bookshops. The plazas tend to be pleasantly air-conditioned and thronging with trendy young Thais, but don’t hold much interest for tourists unless you happen to be looking for a new outfit.

Shopping centres, department stores and tourist-oriented shops in the city keep late hours, opening daily at 10 or 11am and closing at about 9pm; many small, upmarket boutiques, for example along Thanon Charoen Krung and Thanon Silom, close on Sundays, one or two even on Saturdays. Monday is meant to be no-street-vendor day throughout Bangkok, a chance for the pavements to get cleaned and for pedestrians to finally see where they’re going, but plenty of stalls manage to flout the rule.

If you're into shopping but not that much into haggling or doing the research, you can take a private driver and guide to take you to the best malls and plazas in Bangkok. The guide will help you haggle and find the best deals for your desired items and having a private car means never having to worry about dragging your shopping bags around the public transport.

Shopping for everyday stuff

You’re most likely to find useful everyday items in one of the city’s numerous department stores: seven-storey Central Chidlom on Thanon Ploenchit (daily 10am–10pm), which boasts handy services like watch-, garment- and shoe-repair booths as well as a huge product selection (including large sizes), is probably the city’s best. For children’s stuff, Central Chidlom also has a branch of Mothercare, as do the Emporium and Siam Paragon shopping centres. Meanwhile, the British chain of pharmacies, Boots the Chemist, has scores of branches across the city, including on Thanon Khao San, in Siam Paragon, in Central World, in Emporium and a late-night branch at the Thanon Suriwong end of Patpong 1.

The best place to buy anything to do with mobile phones is the scores of small booths on the third floor of Mah Boon Krong (MBK) Shopping Centre at the Rama I/Phrayathai intersection. For computer hardware and genuine and pirated software, as well as digital cameras, Panthip Plaza, at 604/3 Thanon Phetchaburi, is the best place; it’s slightly off the main shopping routes, but handy for Khlong Saen Saeb boat stop Tha Pratunam, or a longer walk from BTS Ratchathevi. Mac-heads are catered for here, including authorized resellers, and there are dozens of repair and secondhand booths, especially towards the back of the shopping centre and on the upper floors.

Having clothes tailor-made

Bangkok can be an excellent place to get tailor-made suits, dresses, shirts and trousers at a fraction of the price you’d pay in the West. Tailors here can copy a sample brought from home and will also work from any photographs you can provide; most also carry a good selection of catalogues. The bad news is that many tourist-oriented tailors aren’t terribly good, often attempting to get away with poor work and shoddy materials (and sometimes trying to delay delivery until just before you leave the city, so that you don’t have time to complain). However, with a little effort and thought, both men and women can get some fantastic clothes made to measure.

Choosing a tailor can be tricky, and unless you’re particularly knowledgeable about material, shopping around won’t necessarily tell you much. However, don’t make a decision wholly on prices quoted – picking a tailor simply because they’re the cheapest usually leads to poor work, and cheap suits don’t last. Special deals offering two suits, two shirts, two ties and a kimono for US$99 should be left well alone. Above all, ignore recommendations by anyone with a vested interest in bringing your custom to a particular shop.

Prices vary widely depending on material and the tailor’s skill. As a very rough guide, for labour alone expect to pay B5000–6000 for a two-piece suit, though some tailors will charge rather more (check whether or not the price you’re quoted includes the lining). For middling material, expect to pay about B3000–5000, or anything up to B20,000 for top-class cloth. With the exception of silk, local materials are frequently of poor quality and for suits in particular you’re far better off using English or Italian cloth. Most tailors stock both imported and local fabrics, but bringing your own from home can work out significantly cheaper.

Give yourself as much time as possible. For suits, insist on two fittings. Most good tailors require around three days for a suit (some require ten days or more), although a few have enough staff to produce good work in a day or two. The more detail you can give the tailor the better. As well as deciding on the obvious features such as single- or double-breasted and number of buttons, think about the width of lapels, style of trousers, whether you want the jacket with vents or not, and so forth. Specifying factors like this will make all the difference to whether you’re happy with your suit, so it’s worth discussing them with the tailor; a good tailor should be able to give good advice. Finally, don’t be afraid to be an awkward customer until you’re completely happy with the finished product – after all, the whole point of getting clothes tailor-made is to get exactly what you want.

Gem scams are so common in Bangkok that TAT has published a brochure about it and there are several websites on the subject, including the very informative w2bangkok.com/2bangkok-scams-sapphire.html, which describes typical scams in detail. Never buy anything through a tout or from any shop recommended by a “government official”/“student”/“businessperson”/tuk-tuk driver who just happens to engage you in conversation on the street, and note that there are no government jewellery shops, despite any information you may be given to the contrary, and no special government promotions or sales on gems.

The basic scam is to charge a lot more than what the gem is worth based on its carat weight – at the very least, get it tested on the spot, ask for a written guarantee and receipt. Don’t even consider buying gems in bulk to sell at a supposedly vast profit elsewhere: many a gullible traveller has invested thousands of dollars on a handful of worthless multicoloured stones, believing the vendor’s reassurance that the goods will fetch at least a hundred percent more when resold at home.

If you’re determined to buy precious stones, check that the shop is a member of the Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association, by visiting their website which has a directory of members (w thaigemjewelry.or.th ). To be doubly sure, you may want to seek out shops that also belong to the TGJTA’s Jewel Fest Club (wjewelfest.com), which guarantees quality and will offer refunds; see their website for a directory of members.

Thai massage sessions and courses are held most famously at Wat Pho, while luxurious and indulgent spa and massage treatments are available at many posh hotels across the city, as well as at the following stand-alone places.

Divana Massage and Spa 7 Soi 25, Thanon Sukhumvit t 02 661 6784, w divanaspa.com; map. Delightful spa serving up Thai massages (100min for B1150), foot, aromatherapy and herbal massages, as well as facials and Ayurvedic treatments. Mon–Fri 11am–11pm, Sat & Sun 10am–11pm.

Nicolie Sun Square, a small shopping arcade on the south side of Thanon Silom between soi 21 and 23 t 02 233 6957, w nicolie-th.com ; map. Superb Thai (B1600/90min) and other massages, as well as facials and scrubs, in a soothing environment decorated with Asian objets d’art. Daily 11am–10pm.

Pian’s Soi Susie Pub, which runs between the east end of Thanon Khao San and Thanon Ram Bhuttri t 02 629 0924; map. Uninvitingly clinical-looking but highly rated a/c massage centre, offering Thai massages (B200/hr) as well as foot, oil and herbal massages; you can also study Thai massage here. Daily 7.30am–12.30am.

Returning visitors to Bangkok will notice that its drinking and nightlife scene has thoroughly grown up in the past ten years, leaving notorious Patpong – and its neon-light sex bars – behind. Visit Bangkok now and you’ll find it offers everything from ‘illegal’ microbreweries (strictly speaking small-batch brewing is verboten) and rooftop cocktail bars to achingly cool clubs and dance bars, hosting world-class DJs.

Drinking and nightlife

The high-concept bars of Sukhumvit and the lively, teeming venues of Banglamphu, in particular, pull in the style-conscious cream of Thai youth and are tempting an increasing number of travellers to stuff their party gear into their rucksacks. During the cool season (Nov–Feb), an evening out at one of the seasonal beer gardens is a pleasant way of soaking up the urban atmosphere (and the traffic fumes). You’ll find them in hotel forecourts or sprawled in front of dozens of shopping centres all over the city, most notably Central World Plaza.

Among the city’s club nights , look out for the interesting regular events organized by Zudrangma Record Store at venues such as Cosmic Café , which mix up dance music from all around Thailand and from all over the world. Getting back to your lodgings should be no problem in the small hours: many bus routes run a (reduced) service throughout the night, and tuk-tuks and taxis are always at hand – though it’s probably best for unaccompanied women to avoid using tuk-tuks late at night.

As long as you keep your wits about you, you shouldn’t encounter much trouble in Thailand. Pickpocketing and bag-snatching are two of the main problems, but the most common cause for concern is the number of con-artists who dupe gullible tourists into parting with their cash.

Personal safety

On any bus, private or government, and on any train journey, never keep anything of value in luggage that is stored out of your sight and be wary of accepting food and drink from fellow passengers as it may be drugged.

Drinks can also be spiked in bars and clubs; at full moon parties on Ko Pha Ngan this has led to sexual assaults against farang women, while prostitutes sometimes spike drinks so they can steal from their victim’s room.

Gay and lesbian Bangkok

Buddhist tolerance and a national abhorrence of confrontation and victimisation combine to make Thai society relatively tolerant of homosexuality, if not exactly positive about same-sex relationships.

Although excessively physical displays of affection are frowned upon for both hetero-sexuals and homosexuals, Western gay couples should get no hassle about being seen together in public.

Thailand’s gay scene is mainly focused on mainstream venues like karaoke bars, restaurants, massage parlours, gyms, saunas and escort agencies. The bars, clubs and café-restaurants located around the east end of Thanon Silom and especially in the narrow alleys of Soi 2 and Soi 4, are the most notable of Bangkok’s gay nightlife venues.

Thailand’s sex industry

More than a thousand sex-related businesses operate in the city, but the gaudy neon fleshpots of Patpong and Sukhumvit’s Soi Nana and Soi Cowboy give a misleading impression of an activity that is deeply rooted in Thai culture. The overwhelming majority of Thailand’s prostitutes of both sexes (estimated at anywhere up to 700,000) work with Thai men, not farangs (Europeans).

The farang sex industry in Bangkok is a relatively new development, having started during the Vietnam War, when the American military set up seven bases around Thailand. Sex tourism has since grown to become an established part of the Thai economy.

Despite its ubiquity, prostitution has been illegal in Thailand since 1960, but sex-industry bosses easily circumvent the law by registering their establishments as clubs, karaoke bars or massage parlours, and making payoffs.

Inevitably, child prostitution is a significant issue in Thailand, but NGOs such as ECPAT say numbers have declined over the last decade, due to zero-tolerance and awareness campaigns.

Bangkok is a relatively young capital, established in 1782 after the Burmese sacked Ayutthaya, the former capital. A temporary base was set up on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River, in what is now Thonburi, before work started on the more defensible east bank.

The first king of the new dynasty, Rama I, built his palace at Ratanakosin, within a defensive ring of two (later expanded to three) canals, and this remains the city’s spiritual heart. This remains the best place to start your exploration, where the city’s most important and extravagant sights are located.

Initially, Bangkok was largely amphibious: only the temples and royal palaces were built on dry land, while ordinary residences floated on thick bamboo rafts on the river and canals.

A major shift in emphasis came in the second half of the nineteenth century, first under Rama IV (1851–68), who as part of his effort to restyle the capital along European lines built Bangkok’s first roads.

Modern Bangkok

Since World War II, and especially from the mid-1960s onwards, Bangkok has seen an explosion of modernisation. Most of the canals have been filled in, replaced by endless rows of cheap, functional concrete shophouses, high-rises and housing estates.

The benefits of Thailand’s economic boom since the 1980s have been concentrated in Bangkok, attracting migration from all over the country and making the capital ever more dominant.

Every aspect of national life is centralised in the city, but the mayor of Bangkok is not granted enough power to deal with the ensuing problems, notably that of traffic.

The Skytrain and the subway have undoubtedly helped, but the competing systems don’t intersect properly or ticket jointly, and it’s left to ingenious, local solutions such as the Khlong Saen Saeb canal boats and side-street motorbike taxis to keep the city moving.

Visiting Bangkok's outskirts isn’t particularly popular as it harbours few attractions. However, there are a handful of places that make pleasant half-day excursions.

  • Mainly Chatuchak Weekend Market (which has over 8,000 stalls), the cultural theme-park of Muang Boran (explore one of the world's largest museums with your private transport here ), the rather more esoteric Prasart Museum, the upstream town of Nonthaburi and the tranquil artificial island of Ko Kred.
  • If you want to go a little further, visit Ayutthaya for the day: there's excellent private tours that leave from Bangkok and take in no fewer than five UNESCO -sited temples.
  • If you’re travelling with children, you may want to visit the Mahanakhon SkyWalk where you can scale Bangkok’s highest building for panoramic views, or visit Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World to experience sharks and rays swimming over your head in the under-ocean tunnel.

Top image © Chatchai Somwat/Shutterstock

This page contains affiliate links; all recommendations are editorially independent.

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16 Jul 2024 - 4 min read

Bangkok to Chiang Mai Train: A Complete Travel Guide

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If you’ve visions of traversing through picturesque Siam, mounting the Bangkok to Chiang Mai train is an indispensable excursion. Holidaymakers might sneak a peek at the nation’s heart on a prominent route, passing through exquisite landscapes and artistic treasures.

Organising your railroad voyage is less complicated than you would imagine. We’ve put up a thorough traverse reference to assist you in cruising this transportation from the metropolis to Chiang Mai. For an effortless and pleasurable voyage, we present whatever you require, including pass expenses plus reservation advice. So, dive into our road map now!

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How Long is the Train Ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai?

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The railroad voyage takes about 10 to 13 hours, but the exact hours fluctuate according to the services and tracks chosen. No. 7 is the swiftest alternative; with this, the venture is merely 10 hours plus 25 minutes.

However, the standard span of nearly all ventures is about 12 hours and 21 minutes. Nevertheless, the ride may occupy up to 13 hours and 16 minutes at its lengthiest. The prolonged voyage factors could be rail timetables plus breaks across the course.

Bangkok to Chiang Mai Train Classes

There is a spectrum of service grades for which you can opt for railroad ventures. Each features unique pleasures catered to individual tastes. These classes include various accommodations to fit distinct funds and likings, from affordable sitting options to opulent berth cabins.

To assist you in selecting a suitable class according to your specifications and interests, we have already incorporated the following comprehensive specifications:

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1st Class Single Sleeper

This is the priciest plus most opulent alternative. After dark, the individual cabins turn into loft mattresses. Every room has a cooling system, window, secure entrance, sink, electronic outlet, cushions, and covers.

This is accessible on express and special express railroad routes. Moreover, many holidaymakers highly seek it. Thus, making arrangements beforehand is advised.

2nd Class Air-Conditioned Sleeper

During the darkness, the chairs become top and bottom cots. The bottom bunk is more expensive than the top one. The primary reason is that the bottom bed has windows, privacy curtains, and air conditioning.

Most long-distance rapid, express, and special express railroad ventures feature this grade.

2nd Class Air-Conditioned Seat

This is a cool room with chairs similar to those on an aeroplane. It features retractable stations and armchairs. The special express service usually offers this grade.

Bangkok to Chiang Mai Train

bangkok travel tips

A railroad excursion is suitable if you hope to have a comfortable venture. So, you construct a solid decision; the commute offerings that are accessible for the voyage are:

1. Special Express No. 9

If you’re wondering, ‘Is there an overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai?’ The answer is yes, and it is the special express no. 9. This railroad vehicle features sleeping compartments with cooled-air amenities.

And, with the newer Chinese-crafted wagons, the amenities are more pleasant than those in earlier versions.

Express no. 9 offers first—and second-grade resting quarters. A two-bed cabin with top and bottom compartments is available with first-class reservations. Conversely, shared cabins with top and bottom compartments are available with second-grade passes.

Bangkok to Chiang Mai train prices for express no. 9’s first and second grade are:

Facilities: Some amenities guests could use include a cooled-air resting quarter. This eatery serves meals and nibbles for guests to purchase, plus a cargo carriage to move passengers' belongings.

Arrival and Departure:

Since this vehicle is in high demand, we urge you to secure the pass a quarter year beforehand. The return path vehicle is the no. 10 special express train.

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2. The No. 13 Train

The railroad vehicle's compartments are older than other trains. Nevertheless, it provides nice sleeping mattresses at a somewhat inexpensive rate. First- and second-grade resting spaces are accessible during this air-conditioned sleeper commute. Each class has an expense of:

Facilities: The primary amenities include sleeper compartments and a freight car. We advise you to carry meals, nibbles, or beverages as the eatery wagon is nonexistent during the commute.

Passes could be secured up to a quarter year in advance. Because these modes of transport are popular, arrangements ought to be made ahead of time. You can also secure the return trip; the train is special express no. 14.

How to Book a Train From Bangkok to Chiang Mai?

Holidaymakers are capable of attaining the reservation by utilising the webpage of the Thai Railway. Consequently, you’ll be able to decide on the seating plan, pay, and obtain the passes in a matter of minutes. This is the walkthrough of attaining the pass:

That concludes our comprehensive manual for ventures utilising the Bangkok to Chiang Mai train. Ahead of embarking on this scenic excursion, arrange your flights to the nation, plus reserve lodgings within the territory with Traveloka. With Traveloka, you can attain a fair price and exclusive deals.

For all your travel needs, Traveloka is your trusted companion. Book your Singapore to Bangkok flight Bon voyage!

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7 of the best places in Southeast Asia for solo travelers

Morgan Awyong

Jul 12, 2024 • 11 min read

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Stay safe, stay on budget and experience Southeast Asia solo at these welcoming destinations Jackyenjoyphotography / Getty Images

One day you're staring at waterfalls; the next, skyscrapers. As one of the smaller subregions in the world, Southeast Asia is incredible, with diverse cultures and landscapes that stand vividly distinct once you cross borders.

For the solo traveler – both aspiring and seasoned – the region has all the appealing hallmarks of a satisfying destination. Firstly, there's all that life-changing food. From the invigorating kick of tom yum soup to the alluring wok-y smokiness of char kway teow (stir-fried thick noodles), each day is already a win with delicious eats.

Then, a dense network of flights, trains and buses gives you access to the smallest of provinces, encouraging free-spirited exploration. Sometimes luxurious, other times rickety, it all adds to the checkerboard experiences that make trips memorable. 

And while expenses and safety are often concerns for solo travelers, Southeast Asia proves to be welcoming in those aspects. It's not difficult to find single rooms in boutique hotels to save on costs, especially for hot spots like Thailand and Vietnam. Hostels are also plentiful and provide a great way to meet people and share activities with. Local transportation and street food remain affordable, and crime rates are low in most cities. More often than not, it is the feeling of unfamiliarity that travelers confuse as being unsafe.

Admittedly, with so many cities to choose from, narrowing down your options can be a challenge. Bearing in mind the cornerstones to successful solo travel – reliable wi-fi, ease of communication, and accessible transportation – here are the best places to travel solo in Southeast Asia.

A path lined with palm trees leads to a golden domed mosque

1. Singapore

Best for first-time solo travelers

With skyscrapers that kiss the clouds and gardens that seem AI generated, the island state of Singapore is commonly relegated as a layover "bucket list" destination in Southeast Asia, famous for its magnificent attractions but also eye-watering price tag . 

Ignore the latter. One can circumvent this deliciously by dining at its hawker centers , where the UNESCO-approved heritage comes in the form of savory Hainanese chicken rice, peppery Bak Kut Teh (pork spare rib soup) and other local delights. Travel anywhere around the island on the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), and expect to pay S$2 for an average trip. And while it's easy to dismiss the country as just a place to eat and shop, the country's trading hub history means cultural remnants are sprinkled everywhere, including in some of its busiest, modern zones.

Thian Hock Keng , the oldest Chinese temple, sits right at the fringes of the business district, an everyday sight for the suits passing by. Just two streets from the golden dome of the Sultan Mosque , is the gothic Parkview Square tower and chart-topping lobby bar, Atlas . The best part – these places are free to visit. This stark contrast combined with easy accessibility is what makes Singapore compelling for solo travelers who want to ease themselves into the region, supported by outstanding infrastructure and safety, English-speaking locals and densely-packed easy-to-reach attractions.

A hawker prepares a noodle dish in a wok at a street food market

2. Penang, Malaysia

Best for vibrant street food and creative local culture 

Penang itself is divided into two parts – that of the mainland and Penang Island. The latter is where the UNESCO-listed streets of George Town reside, a treasure trove of decorated pre-war shophouses and clanhouses intermixed with cute cafes and a street art scene that adds whimsy to the sleepy city. And because of its humble appeal, operators accept smaller numbers, which means individual travelers will find it easier to be confirmed for activities such as cooking classes and walking tours.

The relaxed atmosphere is only happily disrupted by one thing – the street vendors. The meal-centric hawkers often operate for short hours only, with some showing up for breakfast, and others for dinner. These seasoned masters will quickly whip up a bowl of wonton (dumpling) noodles or Penang Laksa (spicy noodles) for hungry diners. Popular venues include New Lane, Kimberly St and Chulia St. Solo diners can enjoy budget meals as low as RM10, and the makeshift seatings encourage tables to be shared, so it's a great opportunity for some chat with fellow diners. 

Other than its melting pot of Malay, Chinese and Indian influences, the Peranakan culture is also evident in the city, with a museum and hotels such as Cheong Fatt Sze and the Edison George Town capitalizing on its intricate designs. While there are no single rooms, with rooms starting from under RM600, those into affordable luxury can consider these a heritage treat. Just a few steps away, the new the George Penang offers the same but in a more colonial setting.This, when stacked next to the random murals and weekend maker markets, such as Hin Bus Depot , give Penang an artsy vibe and endearing appeal. For the solo visitor who loves serendipitous street discoveries, the city rewards with its pretty (and delicious) surprises.

A long sandy beach, with a solo figure walking along, shrouded in mist

3. Danang, Vietnam

Best for an idyllic coastal escape and gateway to varied experiences

Danang 's graceful arc of a coastline is as stunning as they come, punctuated at the end by the majestic Lady Buddha statue on the Son Tra peninsula. The hotels by the bay recognize this, often maximizing room views with large windows, balconies and infinity pools. Gazing out to the endless blue is therapy on its own. Solo travelers on a budget needn't worry about missing out as rooms here average 1,000,000d.

As the gateway to the more bucolic central Vietnam , the city is far less hectic than the two other "capitals". For those unused to the country's hectic moped culture, this can be a lifesaver, as the traffic here is easier for pedestrians to navigate. And for moving about, the Grab app offers motorbike and car options, with fares as low as 20,000d.

The beaches are free of touts and particularly good for hassle-free solo strolls. It's also a great stretch for people watching, with the odd chance to witness live catches by local fishers. Solo travelers who love to connect with locals will find them especially amenable to sharing their stories here – and sometimes even their bounty. Otherwise, the southern stretch invites one to linger with its food trucks and photogenic spots.

It's easy to take a break with the amount of cafes in town, serving up excellent Vietnamese coffee and fruit juices. And when one needs to connect home or check on some emails, they act as ideal hot spots for the roving traveler or digital nomad.

But when one wants to switch it up, there's the quaint town of Hoi An with its old-style architecture an hour away south, and the ancient imperial fortress complex of Hue less than two hours to the north. You can even opt in for some cooler weather (and some spectacular cable car rides) by heading up Bana Hills, a French colonial resort that's been integrated into a theme park.

Large stone heads line a walkway towards an ancient gateway

4. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Best for intimate small city vibes and ethical tourism

The fame of Angkor Wat , and other temples like Ta Prohm and Banteay Srei , can sometimes eclipse what Siem Reap is all about. Past the world-famous sites, the humble city, in its small craft markets and leisurely street-side dining, offers an authentic look at its people who have lived in the heritage site's shadow.

When shopkeepers or tuk-tuk drivers hawk their services in Cambodia , it is often a gentle invite that can be easily declined. Often clustered in the town's Old Market, this means the solo traveler can comfortably pick and choose any of these services and be spontaneous in their planning. And when you wish to connect with other travelers, Pub St's many eateries and bars are a great place to hang out, with tourists gathering after a day of temple-hopping. 

If conscientious travel is a priority, then Siem Reap offers plenty of opportunities to give back to the community. Phare Circus funds education for underprivileged children and Haven restaurant provides free training for young adults to boost their job prospects, while Lotus Farm offers employment and fair wages to local women and farmers.

Tourists walk along a street lined with neon signs

5. Bangkok, Thailand

Best for inclusivity

If diversity is what you crave, then Bangkok is the place to visit – and the capital doesn't hold back in the slightest. As you stroll down the streets, you'll be met with constant human and vehicle traffic, waylaid by vendors selling anything from fresh-cut fruits to cheeky slogan tees. Behind them, gleaming malls tempt you in for some air-conditioned relief.

And yet, this doesn't feel chaotic at the least, which is perhaps the magic of Bangkok. In its kaleidoscope of people and attractions, it balances itself out. The riotous Khao San Rd is met with tranquil temples like Wat Pho and Wat Arun. The frayed nerves from catching a ride on a moped is easily soothed by a massage. And after being soaked with perspiration from a steaming tom yam hotpot, an elegant rooftop bar and its fancy cocktails welcome you just the same. With its evocative platter of offerings, spontaneous solo travelers who hate to plan can still easily fill their itinerary in this city.

The popular destination has seen intense competition from operators, so expect to find rooms at a steal and without single supplements. Hostels are sprinkled all about town, and although many are concentrated around Khao San Rd, the noise and crowds can be overwhelming. Instead, head to Chinatown or Silom for more relaxed vibes, with options like Silom Space Hostel , Kinnon Hostel , and Prince Theatre Heritage Stay offering themed experiences at incredible value.

Having just legalized same-sex marriage, the city continues to be the region's leading champion in LGBTIQ+ rights. The secret, perhaps, lies with the country's warm people, easily felt through their easy smiles and open spirit. This tolerant and inclusive atmosphere makes Bangkok an undeniably electric destination for all travelers, regardless of their background or identity, whether they're traveling alone or as part of a group.

People walk over a red bridge leading to a temple on a lake

6. Hanoi, Vietnam

Best for its unpretentious vibes

Despite decades of attention from tourists, Hanoi is one of the few cities in the region that has remained relatively unchanged by its popularity. Sure, certain cafes may have gotten a fresh coat of paint, and hotels took the chance from the pandemic to renovate, but by and large, most of the businesses remain the same, speaking to the resilience of the Vietnamese and their slow but steady ways.

More importantly, the city isn't trying to be something it's not. Locals go about their daily lives with a genuine, unpretentious spirit that keeps Hanoi feeling refreshingly authentic; which to casual observers might seem aloof, but is largely not personal. It is this unvarnished appeal that has won it fans, including from the late Anthony Bourdain .

Once you've mastered the traffic crossings (pro-tip: when the traffic thins, walk at an even pace and the vehicles will avoid you), the city opens up for easy exploration. Wander through the enchanting Old Quarter, a colorful maze of narrow streets lined with shops and street food stalls. Take a break at one of the local cafes and order a strong coffee with condensed milk, best enjoyed on a short stool as you watch the world go by. Or hover around Hoan Kiem Lake , especially on the weekends, when the roads close and residents spill into the streets, letting visitors witness buskers, dancing troops and impromptu skipping groups as a slice of local recreation. Feel free join in anytime – Vietnamese people are a sociable lot, and solo travelers will find themselves making transient connections easily. Don't be surprised if you're approached by local youths when walking about – they often just wish to practice their English skills and are more than happy to make recommendations. 

Hanoi also serves as a springboard for neighboring attractions in northern Vietnam. Sail between the dramatic limestone pillars of Halong Bay , or opt for the less crowded beauty of Lan Ha Bay , an emerging sister site. Ninh Binh 's picturesque mountains and hidden caves are similar to Halong's but on land. And for those who love to trek, Sapa 's cooler climate, breathtaking rice terraces, and local ethnic groups like the Hmong, will certainly add to a fuller Vietnam experience.

People in a standing tree pose at an outdoors yoga class

7. Bali, Indonesia

Best for wellness, beaches and digital nomads

Depending who you speak to, Bali 's transformation from small spiritual island to global mecca for alternative therapies is as much a curse as it is a gift. After Eat, Pray, Love , both the book and 2010-movie, highlighted the destination, its popularity has seen rapid developments from an international set, adding beach clubs and pool villas stretching northwards from Kuta Beach .  

But despite what some might think, the "Island of the Gods" remains a paradise for nature lovers and spiritual seekers. The opportunity to trek through lush rice paddies in Ubud , relax on pristine beaches in South Kuta, or climb Mount Batur to witness a breathtaking sunrise are still entrancing, and Bali's rich Hindu culture is very much present in its ornate temples and daily shopfront offerings.

For solo travelers seeking like-minded individuals, meet them easily through the many activities, including ubiquitous wellness retreats and yoga classes. Furthermore, the demographic has also evolved into one welcoming of digital nomads – often clustered in the Canggu area – so those wishing to network with others can easily form connections and friendships at a local business, while sipping on cocktails or tucking into a vegan poke bowl.

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Cathay Pacific

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We spoke to Flight Purser Elodie Lee about her top things to do see and eat in her favourite city, Bangkok.

“ Bangkok has everything. It combines the convenience of a modern, global city – an efficient metro system and huge malls – with the character and charm of a small, local neighbourhood. I’ve been many times and I still love it.”

Ittha Boutique Cafe interior

Credit: Elodie Lee

What to do in Bangkok

Café culture is really taking off in Bangkok. You’ll find nice little coffee shops all over the city. Of course, there are the “Instagram cafés”, designed with novel themes so that people can go to take pictures, but there are also more understated spots. Ittha Boutique Café , just outside the city centre, is really gorgeous. It’s like being inside a Renaissance palace – and the coffee is excellent.

A green fish dish at Le Du

What to eat in Bangkok

While you can never go wrong with the local eateries and street food stalls in Bangkok, the city also has a number of Michelin-starred restaurants. Unlike in other big cities where these establishments are usually very expensive and have months-long waiting lists, the ones in Bangkok are very accessible, with a broad price range. During my last trip, I went to Le Du , a one-Michelin-starred restaurant that serves Thai fusion dishes, and it was amazing.

Elodie Lee smiling at the camera

What to pack for Bangkok

Although you can pay for most things in Bangkok with your phone or credit card, it’s always a good idea to carry a little bit of cash around with you. It’s more convenient for making small purchases at street stalls or leaving a tip. So, I’d recommend packing a light coin wallet . Of course, you can find all of your travel essentials and more on the Cathay Shop.

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  1. 2024 BANGKOK TRAVEL GUIDE with Sample Itinerary & Budget

    How to Get to Pattaya: By bus, go to Bangkok Eastern Bus Terminal, then take the bus bound for Pattaya. The travel time is about two and a half hours. The one-way fare is ฿130-200 per person. By train, go to Hua Lamphong Station and get on a train to Pattaya. The travel time is 2-3 hours, depending on the type of train.

  2. Bangkok Travel Guide (Updated 2024)

    Bangkok Travel Costs. Hostel prices - Dorm rooms with 6-8 beds start around 170-220 THB per night on Khao San Road, where accommodation is cheapest. A bed in a 4-6-bed dorm in more upscale hostels (with air conditioning) costs around 300-500 THB.

  3. Bangkok Travel Guide & Tips

    A comprehensive travel guide and a collection of tips for visiting Bangkok, Thailand, from the experts at Condé Nast Traveler.

  4. BANGKOK TOURISM GUIDE

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  5. Bangkok Travel Guide

    Bangkok Tree House . Address: 60 Moo1, Petchaheung Rd soi 26, Bang Nampeung, Phra Pradeang. Samutprakarn, 10130 Bangkok Phone: 082-995-1150 Book Now

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    Bangkok Travel Guide. This Is the Best International City for a Luxury Vacation on a Budget. How to Spend 48 Hours in Bangkok, According to a Travel Expert.

  7. The best things to do in Bangkok

    Bangkok is the Asian megacity incarnate. Its vast urban sprawl - home to 22% of the Thai population - is studded with gleaming golden wat (Buddhist monasteries), towering skyscrapers, teeming markets, multi-lane highways, and clusters of village-style houses that show just how far Bangkok has come over the last 50 years. Needless to say, there's a lot to see and do!

  8. Bangkok Travel Guide

    See our complete guide to the best areas to stay in Bangkok for more tips. Thankfully recent years have seen improvements in the public transportation system. BTS Skytrain & MRT Subway. The quickest and easiest way to travel around Bangkok is by using the BTS Skytrain, which is an elevated train system, and the underground MRT Metro system.

  9. 19 Best Things to Do in Bangkok

    Our top recommendations for the best things to do in Bangkok, Thailand, with pictures and travel tips from the editors at Condé Nast Traveler. Find fun things to do, best places to visit, unusual ...

  10. Experience Bangkok

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  11. Visiting Bangkok: My Suggested 3-5 Day Itinerary for 2024

    Day 1: Grand Palace, Khao San Road, & more! Day 2: Floating Market, Muay Thai Fight, & more! Day 3: Chatuchak Weekend Market, Lumpini Park, & more! Day 4: Bangkok Art and Culture Center, National Museum, & more! Other Things to See and Do: Museum of Siam, Lake Taco, & more!

  12. Bangkok Itinerary: The Best 5 Day Trip Guide for Reference

    Day 3 in Bangkok. On day 3 of this Bangkok travel itinerary, start with a visit to Thailand's largest market for an immersive shopping experience. Afterwards, explore the art and history at a heritage house. Then enjoy a leisurely massage to relax before continuing your adventure. 9:00 AM: Chatuchak Weekend Market; 12:00 PM: Lunch at ...

  13. 42 Bangkok Tips For First Timers: Must-Read Guide

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  14. Bangkok Travel Guide

    Get information on Bangkok Travel Guide - Expert Picks for your Vacation hotels, restaurants, entertainment, shopping, sightseeing, and activities. Read the Fodor's reviews, or post your own.

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    Table of Contents. Day 1 - Old Bangkok. Day 2 - Ayutthaya and Bang Pa-In Excursion. Day 3 - New Attractions & Less Common Attractions to Include in Your Bangkok Itinerary. Day 4 - Shopping Day. Day 5 - Family-friendly Attractions. Extra Savings for Bangkok Tourist Attractions. Helpful Tips for Bangkok. Where to Eat in Bangkok.

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  17. 13 Essential Tips for Your First Time in Bangkok

    Wake up early and watch the monks. From about 5:00 AM to 7:00 AM, the monks will be out and about in their orange robes, collecting alms. On our very first day in Bangkok, the jet lag caused us to be outside at 6:30 AM, so we got to see the relatively quiet streets almost exclusively populated by monks.

  18. Bangkok Guide: 55 Tips To Help You In Bangkok

    There are numerous areas of interest to travellers in Bangkok - here's my key highlights of each Bangkok area to help you figure out where to go. Bangkok Riverside. Rattanakosin. Khao San Road. Chatuchak. Lower Sukhumvit - Nana And Asoke. Central Sukhumvit - Thonglor, Ekkamai And Phrom Phong.

  19. 10 Useful Bangkok Travel Tips

    Here are some useful Bangkok travel tips that we hope can help you in traveling to and around the Thai capital easier. More than just, "Don't talk to strangers" or "Look both ways when crossing the road", when you're starting out in life - or a new city - there are a whole heap of tips worth remembering. But we've...

  20. The is the Ultimate Bangkok Travel Guide

    Obvious choices include the ancient city of Ayutthaya to Bangkok's north and Pattaya, a coastal city (though not really a "beach" one) to the south and east. Other great places to visit on a day trip include various floating markets (the most famous of which is Damnoen Saduak in Samut Songkhram province) and Maekhlong Railway Market.

  21. 14 Expert Tips For Visiting Bangkok In 2023

    Visiting the many Buddhist temples in Bangkok and near the city is an essential part of Bangkok travel in 2023. However, travelers must remember to bring clothing that is appropriate for entering temples. This includes shirts that cover the shoulders and skirts, dresses, or pants that fall below the knee.

  22. Ultimate Travel Guide For Your First Time in Bangkok: What to do

    A travel guide for the first time in Bangkok won't be complete without a visit to the Jim Thompson House. In the middle of the busiest area of Bangkok, the house/museum is like an oasis, full of green, arts, and legends. Go there to admire the silk work and legacy of Jim Thompson, and also to discover the conspiracy story behind his life in ...

  23. Bangkok Travel Guide

    This site is owned by Apa Digital AG, Bahnhofplatz 6, 8854 Siebnen, Switzerland. Rough Guides® is a trademark owned by Apa Group with its headquarters at 7 Bell Yard London WC2A 2JR, United Kingdom. Plan your visit to Bangkok, Thailand with Rough Guides. Read about travel essentials and get inspiration from the best guide to Bangkok.

  24. Bangkok to Chiang Mai Train: A Complete Travel Guide

    Bangkok to Chiang Mai Train: A Complete Travel Guide If you've visions of traversing through picturesque Siam, mounting the Bangkok to Chiang Mai train is an indispensable excursion. Holidaymakers might sneak a peek at the nation's heart on a prominent route, passing through exquisite landscapes and artistic treasures.

  25. 7 of the best places in Southeast Asia for solo travelers

    4. Siem Reap, Cambodia. Best for intimate small city vibes and ethical tourism. The fame of Angkor Wat, and other temples like Ta Prohm and Banteay Srei, can sometimes eclipse what Siem Reap is all about. Past the world-famous sites, the humble city, in its small craft markets and leisurely street-side dining, offers an authentic look at its people who have lived in the heritage site's shadow.

  26. Cathay Pacific crew member Elodie Lee's guide to Bangkok

    Ask the crew: Elodie Lee's guide to Bangkok. Cathay Pacific crew member Elodie Lee shares her favourite things to do in Bangkok. By Charlotte Ames-Ettridge / 10 Jul 2024 / 1 minute(s) read. ... Bangkok travel information. Asia / Thailand / Bangkok / Cathay Stories / Guides / Interviews. Select language and location. Close. China - the ...

  27. Go City Bangkok Closures

    Go City® Bangkok is no longer operating . We will no longer be selling All-Inclusive or Explorer passes in Bangkok. Thank you to all those who chose to explore Bangkok with us and to our attraction, tour and business partners who helped us to create incredible travel memories! Already purchased a pass?