This is a city which draws travelers from across the globe, prepare to be awed, shocked and mystified by this wondrous place. The streets of Bangkok are both a mix of the modern, and the archaic. A place where ancient temples rub shoulders with giant shopping malls and traffic congested streets. From golden temples to ladyboys, Bangkok has it all. In no particular order, here are the 21 best things to do in Bangkok. Try to tick off as many as you can to make your trip an awesome one.
21 things to do in Bangkok
1. Watch A Muay Thai Fight
Muay Thai is more than a sport in Thailand. In England there is a famous saying “Football is more important than life or death”, In Thailand it is Muay Thai. Watching a fight is one of the best things to do in Bangkok to catch a glimpse of Thai culture.
You can find this incredible combat sport everywhere in the country. Thai’s learn Muay Thai at a very early age, and it is not uncommon to see children as young as seven fighting it out. This is probably why Thai kickboxing is one of the most prolific combat sports ever created.
When in Bangkok, head to either the Lumpini or Ratchadamnoen Stadiums to catch some of these incredible displays of martial arts.
2. See The Reclining Buddha
No trip to this ancient city would be complete without seeing the world famous Reclining Buddha. Lying within the Wat Pho Temple, this incredible 150 foot long golden statue of Buddha is one of the royal temples of Bangkok.
Everyday hundreds come to marvel at this stunning work of art and also walk around this enchanting temple complex. Wat Pho, as well as housing the Reclining Buddha, is also the birthplace of the traditional Thai Massage. Which leads us onto number three on the list of the best things to do in Bangkok.
3. Get A Thai Massage
Thai massages are famous the world over… but we are not talking about the happy ending massages. A traditional Thai Massage is a work of art. For those that are unprepared, they can be a brutal experience but if you tell your masseuse to take it easy it will be a delight. Costing only $4 or $5, a Thai massage is a great way to spend a relaxing hour.
4. Visit The Grand Palace
Thailand’s most famous palace, the Grand Palace is a stunning display of Thai architecture. Home to some amazing buildings, this is also where Wat Phra Kaeo, the temple of the Emerald Buddha is located. A walk around the ancient royal residence will leave you in awe.
5. Watch A Ping Pong show
For those who have never heard of the world famous Ping Pong Show, you are in for a little surprise. Imagine woman who have seen better days working in a back alley bar, “inserting, extracting and blowing from”, their downstairs region. To see this show once is enough. It is amazing the people that you see at the bar.
This is a place where backpackers rub shoulders with middle aged western couples, chinese businessmen and holidaying wedding parties. The mystical red lights of Bangkok draw all walks of life. For a little taste of the seedier side of Bangkok, this is a good way to dip your toes into the darkness.
However, do be warned beforehand of the scams which could be pulled. Here is an article to read to avoid any mishaps. Ping Pong Show, Scams to be aware of (by hippie in heels)
6. Ride In A Tuk-Tuk
You have probably seen them on TV, Tuk-Tuks are the great transport of Asia. However, they are most prominent in India and Thailand. Also know as an Auto-Rickshaw, Tuk-Tuks are bright, fun and entertaining way to whizz about the city and one of the many things to do in Bangkok that you will never forget.
7. Visit Khao San Road
If you are a backpacking through Thailand, this is the place where you need to visit. Khao San is Bangkok’s travelers hub, drawing tens of thousands to its bright neon lit streets each year. On Khao San Road you will find people from countries all around the world, drinking, eating, shopping and pretty much just having a good time. On this bright and bustling road you can buy anything from tailor made suits to fake passports, traditional Thai food to Mcdonalds, Khao San has it all.
8. Eat Street Food
The cheapest way to survive in Asia is by eating street food from the vendors and markets, and in Bangkok it is no different. Street food in Thailand is so delicious and cheap that many of the locals choose to eat here also. This food is part and parcel of life when traveling through Thailand, so be prepared to try many new delicious dishes.
9. Eat a Scorpion
Insect stalls can be found in most of the travelers hangouts around the country. Tasty little delights like tarantula, scorpion, crickets and beetles are just waiting for you to try them. Although they look quite awful, suck it up and try one, even if it is only for the photo op.
The best way to describe how they taste … crunchy nothingness. The European Governments are beginning to push the insect line a lot more, so who knows in twenty years we may all be tucking into a tasty dish of horrid little nibbles.
10. Visit The Floating Markets
Floating markets are located throughout Bangkok and are a wonderful extra to any trip to the city. Try to stay away from the markets which are geared towards tourists, and look for the more authentic ones which are located around Bangkok itself.
The biggest and most touristy of the markets lies 60 kilometers to the south of the city and is called Damnoen Saduak. This is a floating market which is aimed solely at tourists, it is still a good place to visit, just not very traditional.
11. Try The World’s Smelliest Fruit, Durian
This is a fruit which is banned from most restaurants as it is just too smelly. Not to be mistaken with Jackfruit which is very similar in looks, Durian is a killer on even the strongest of pallets. The fruit is not hard to find, so if you would like to try it or just have a smell, you will not have to travel too far.
12. Watch A Ladyboy Show
Known throughout the world for beautiful beaches, stunning temples and Ladyboys. Ladyboy shows have become a huge draw in Thailand in recent years and are one of the more famous things to do in Bangkok. They have nothing to do with the sex trade, although these ones are easy to find. Ladyboy shows have grown solely for entertainment. These cabaret shows are entertaining and a fun way to spend a few hours in the evening.
13. Take A Motorcycle Taxi
These little motorbikes are a quick and easy form of transport in Bangkok. For those who are not used to the thousands of bikes of Asia, they can seem quite dangerous. In fact they are safe and are an exhilarating ride, sat on the back, dodging in and out of traffic. If you are traveling only a short distance, jump on the back and get a different perspective of Bangkok.
14. Songkran water fights
Number 14 on our list of things to do in Bangkok is one that can only be done if you happen to be there at the right time. Songkran is the Thai New Year and is on the 13th of April, although celebrations typically last a few days more, this is when Bangkok comes alive in huge water fights. Songkran is a great time to visit the city and one which unfortunately many miss out on. Try to schedule your trip for April 13th to join in the party.
15. Have A Drink At Nana plaza
Nana Plaza is Thailand’s biggest red light district. This three story, neon lit building in the middle of Bangkok is something that has to be seen. Even if you do not wish to sleep with a girl, sitting and having a drink is something that you will never forget. Nana Plaza is one of the craziest places that you will ever people watch.
16. Spend The Day At Siam Park City
Spend the day Bangkok’s waterpark Siam Park City. This is Bangkok’s biggest waterpark and is packed with slides, flumes and rides. If you are traveling with kids this is a great place to take them. Or even if you do not have kids, visit the park and let your inner child run free.
17. Visit Wat Arun At Night
Situated on the bank of the Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun is one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand. Each night this Buddhist temple is illuminated with golden light and crowds of tourist flock to take photos. Once the sun goes down, make your own way to the river to see this beautiful temple for yourself.
18. Take A Ferry Down The River
Another of the many things to do in Bangkok is to take a ferry down the river. Ferries travel up and down the Chao Phraya River all day long and are a great way to side a differant of the city. Floating down the river, you get to see a clash of the archaic and the modern. Modern day highrises rub shoulders with crumbling ancient shacks and beautiful Thai temples. Have your camera ready on this trip.
19. Visit Ocean World
This is Southeast Asia’s biggest sea life centre and is home to a thousand different species of marine life. Take a walk through the underwater tunnels or take a dive within the shark tank, Ocean World is a great way to spend the afternoon.
20. Explore Chinatown
Packed with market stalls, cheap restaurants and trinket shops, Chinatown is a place that you just can’t help but love. The energy flowing in this area is contagious, vendors selling their wares, locals buying their groceries and tourists looking for the best deal, all add to the enjoyment of Chinatown. The best time to visit is at night, when the night time food markets begin. However, if you are looking for the best deals in the markets, catch the river ferry and visit during the day.
21. Ride The Rollercoasters Of Dream World
Finally, number 21 on our list of things to do in Bangkok, spend the day at Dream World. This theme park is packed to the brim with rides, theatre performances and food stalls and restaurants. There are both thrill rides and children’s rides which will keep the family entertained all day long.
If you visit on the weekend you will also be able to catch the colourful parades which march through the park, all in all this is a “Dream” way to spend the afternoon with your family.
So there you have it, our list of 21 things to do in Bangkok. Try to tick as many off of the list as possible to make your trip an incredible one.