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Things to do in Bangkok

Discussion in 'Thailand' started by Goretti88, Oct 2, 2016.

  1. Goretti88

    Goretti88 New Member

    I am making some plans to visit Bangkok with my friend. We are very well aware of the beaches there which is where we will be spending time just taking time out to relax.
    Other than that we would also like to do other things in Bangkok too, which we need some help with knowing about.

    I would like to get a list of the things to do in Bangkok, from which we would decide what to do and what to leave out.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello there, welcome to the forum!

    There are many things that you can do around Bangkok. It's a must to indulge in sightseeing first though and explore both the historical and cultural sites of the city. Embrace the chaos that is of Bangkok and relish in this once-in-a-lifetime experience that not everyone can have. Once you do, you'd understand why Bangkok has been one of the most visited cities in the world. Along with sightseeing, there are also plenty of activities that you can indulge in around the city, whether during day time or night time.

    Sightseeing around Bangkok

    • Wat Pho - Considered as the largest and oldest temple complex in Bangkok, the Wat Pho is also home to the famous 46-metre Reclining Buddha statue. Thus, it is sometimes referred to as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. There are two buildings within the complex, with the central one housing the Reclining Buddha and the first ever massage school in Thailand while the other one is a monastery and monk residence. Aside from the large Reclining Buddha statue, there are also over 800 smaller Buddha statues in the temple. Don't forget to see the stones here inscribed with the Thai alphabet and also the painted soles of the Buddha's feet.
    • Wat Phra Kaew - Located within the Grand Palace premises is the Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Temple of the Holy Jewel Image. It is a very simple even from the outside and it doesn't even have monks quarters. It houses though the auspicious Emerald Buddha, made with a single stone of jade. Only the king is allowed to be close to the almost 2-feet tall statue. There is a long history behind the statue, as it has come from different places like Chiang Rai, Lampang, Laos, Thonburi and finally, Bangkok. Along the main shrine, you can find plenty of murals depicting the life of Buddha.
    • Wat Traimit - With its golden spires and white facade, the Wat Traimit stands tall in the city. Literally as well since it has steps leading unto it that you first need to climb. The temple houses a pure gold Buddha statue which for a while was covered with plaster. It was when the statue was being moved to Wat Chotanaram that it was dropped accidentally. It was a monk who discovered the true value of the statue and the rest, as they say, is history. The statue gleams so brightly, because it was made purely just from gold. On the lower floor of the temple, you can also visit the Chinese history museum.
    • Wat Arun - Located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River is the Wat Arun. It is easily seen because of its central tower with its high spire, surrounded by four other towers with smaller spires. On the bottom part of these towers are sculptures depicting animals, Hindu deities and even Chinese soldiers. On the upper part of these towers are seashells and porcelains, which gleam during daytime. The main hall of the temple houses a statue of a Golden Buddha. You can also climb to reach the top of the central tower but the steps are a bit steep.
    Wat Arun (Image Courtesy of Asia Hotels)
    • Wat Saket - Located in the Golden Mount, Wat Saket's history can be traced back to the 13th century but it has undergone several renovations since then. It is distinguishable from a distance as its golden chedi sparkles along with its white dome. The hill itself was manmade and kind of soft so it was made harder by reinforcing logs unto it. Now, the temple is one of the most visited ones in Bangkok. You need to climb about 300 steps to reach the peak. The views from the top are stunning, as you get a panoramic view of the surrounding city. November is actually the best time to visit the temple, when the annual Loy Krathong Festival is held here.
    • Wat Suthat - With its white facade and brown sloping roof, the Wat Suthat is yet another cannot be missed religious site in the city. Outside the temple is the famous Giant Swing, with its two red towers, also a must visit location in the city. But going back to the temple, it houses the Phra Sri Sakyamuni Buddha statue in its main hall. The walls of the hall are covered with murals depicting the 24 incarnations of Buddha. Outside the main hall are smaller statues of Buddha too. While most temples have beautiful exteriors, the Wat Suthat is known for its intricately designed interiors.
    • Wat Benchamabophit - Featuring exquisite marble exteriors, interiors and even pavements, the Wat Benchamabophit is also known as The Marble Temple. The main hall of the temple houses the Phra Buddha Chinnarat. Outside the main hall are smaller Buddha statues in different styles and positions. Relatively smaller than its neighbours, the temple receives less visitors and even its entry fee is not that high. But its beauty is that it exudes serenity and has a unique architectural style, combining that of Thai and European.
    • Jim Thompson House - Set amidst lush greenery, combining Thai and Western architectural styles, is the Jim Thompson House. Jim Thompson is known as the reviver of the Thai silk industry. This house is where he lived once he settled in Thailand. More than just being a house, it is an architectural marvel, with its unique style and collection of traditional Thai artefacts. From its wooden walls, to its marble floorings and Buddha statues, the design of the house is eclectic and mesmerising.
    • Phra Sumen Fort and Mahakan Fort - These two forts are the only remaining ones out of the fourteen forts that once stood strong in the city. Unfortunately, you cannot access them from the inside and you can only enjoy the views outside. Architecturally, both have the same design, with their white facade and octagonal shapes. The Phra Sumen Fort is more well-maintained though as it has undergone renovation during the end of the 19th century. What's interesting about the Mahakaran Fort is that it has a community living inside it, which is believed to have stayed in the fort since the 17th century.
    • The Grand Palace - This is perhaps the most visited attraction in Bangkok. The Grand Palace was built around the 17th century by King Rama I. Its architectural style is more of Western than Thai though, which gives it that distinct look, especially as you compare it to the Wat Phra Kaew within its premises. It is comprised mainly of three parts, namely: Outer Court, Middle Court and Inner Court. Not all the sections are open for visitors though but you can still admire their beauty from the outside. While the palace is not the residence of the royal family anymore, it is still used for special ceremonies and events.
    • Museum of Contemporary Art - Comprising of six floors and located away from the city centre, this huge art museum is often missed by tourists. But the truth is, this is one of the best museums in the city, featuring both Thai artists' and international artists' paintings. Each floor has a different theme which takes you through different journeys. While the first floor features local artists with themes like Buddhism and humanity, and the second floor tackles supernatural themes in relation to religion. The third floor mostly has paintings made by Thawan Duchanee and the last three floors are dedicated to paintings of international artists.
    • Madame Tussauds - A fun place to take selfies with is the Madame Tussauds Museum in Siam Road. While incredibly touristy, it's also a nice break from the religious and historical places you have visited. Where else can you rub elbows with Oprah or Tom Cruise? But the main attraction of the museum is the Royal Section, where you can strike a pose with the Thai Royal Family. But the rules still apply here that you cannot touch the wax statues.
    • Art in Paradise - Located in Ratchada Road, Art in Paradise is an enjoyable attraction not only for friends but also for families. With 3D paintings such as riding a magic carpet or crossing a rickety bridge, you're bound to earn the most likes in Facebook with your posted photographs. The paintings shown here are also different from the ones in Pattaya so it's also worth a visit even if you've been to the other branch.
    • Siriraj Medical Museum - This museum is only for the brave ones as it contains real human specimens preserved as a means of study or reference for medical students. Now though, it has become one of the best kept attractions in Bangkok. Here you can find preserved bodies of babies with diseases like hydrocephalus and mermaid syndrome. Another section has preserved bodies of people who died from unusual deaths. But the most fascinating one is the section where skeletons of murderers and rapists are kept. There's a section for the 2004 tsunami in Bangkok which left hundreds of people devastated.
    • Lumpini Park - The largest park in Bangkok is the Lumpini Park, named after the place where Buddha was born, Lumbini. The best feature of the park? It is free of entry for all visitors! While you'd have to pay for the boating in the lake, everything else is free. Around the park are numerous attractions like jogging tracks, shades, statues, fitness weights and equipments, playgrounds and many more. You can also spot wildlife like birds and lizards within the park. Even locals enjoy visiting the park and you can spot aerobics or zumba fitness groups or even just men exercising using the equipments around the park.
    • King Rama IX Park - While the Lumpini Park is preferred by many tourists, the King Rama IX Park is set in its shadows. But the beauty of this park lies on its numerous well-manicured gardens, comprising of herbs, flowers, orchids and many more. At the centre of the garden is the Rajamangkhala Pavilion, surrounded by a manmade lake. This pavilion houses a collection of portraits of the royal Thai family. The lake also has giant lily pads which add to the greenery of the place.
    King Rama IX Park (Image Courtesy of Igor Prahin)
    • Benjasiri Park - This park is located near the Emporium Shopping Complex. It's a fairly large park with a swimming pool, skateboarding area, court and several green areas. The swimming pool though is only accessible by members. You can enjoy the park still as it has free entry to guests. At the end of the day, a musical fountain show plays here that can relax the guests.
    • Benjakitti Park - Located in Sukhumvit is the Benjakitti Park, yet another stunning park in Bangkok. In contrast with the Lumpini Park, this is quieter and less crowded. Yet it has the same facilities such a separate biking area, manmade lake and even playgrounds. It also has two fountains that add to the serenity of the place. While you won't need to visit all these parks, you can choose the Benjakitti Park if you want to avoid the tourists that throng to Lumpini Park.
    • Rot Fai Park - Near the busy Chatuchak Market is the Rot Fai Park. What sets it apart is that it has a few old trains around its premises which gives it a rustic look. It is popular amongst cyclers as there's a three kilometre long track here for them. The park also has a butterfly section as well as a manmade lake where you can indulge in boating. The park is also a hot spot for birds and even reptiles species such as lizards.
    • Safari World - The Safari World is a hit amongst families with small children. And why not? Where else in the city can you find wild animals living freely in their own small habitat? You can even take your own car and witness the majestic lions and tigers lazing around. There are also fun shows like the Cowboy Show, Sea Lion Show and Bird Show. A bit controversial is the Orang Utan Boxing Show, which has orang utans engage in a funny scripted show. The Eggs World is both interesting and informational too as the process of incubation is tackled in a fun way. The Safari World is located in Samwatawantok, in the Panya Indra Road.

    Other Things to Do Around Bangkok

    1. Shopping - Yes, first on the list is shopping because there's no better place in Thailand than Bangkok for that. Whether you're into branded clothes or affordable brands of clothes, you can certainly find a place for both in Bangkok. The most popular street market here is Chatuchak Market, where you can find all sorts of knick knacks. Did you know that there are over 7,000 stalls alone in this market? You can find items like clothes, jewelries, books, antiques and handicrafts which can be good souvenirs to take home. But if you're more into luxury shops, you can head on to places like Central World or Siam Paragon. Both are higher end malls in Bangkok with an assortment of luxury international and local brands. The Patpong Night Market is perfect for night owls, you can find trendy clothes and bags here. Another must visit shopping area is Terminal 21, where you can find a collection of both international and local brands.
    • Where to shop - Chatuchak Market, Central World, Siam Paragon, Patpong Night Market and Terminal 21.
    2. Muay Thai - Muay Thai has its root in Thailand and Bangkok has several venues for enjoying Muay Thai. No, I don't mean actually joining in a Muay Thai fight, unless you're up for that, but just watching a real Muay Thai fight. Although ringside tickets cost more, nothing can beat watching a Muay Thai fight from the sidelines. But even for those in a budget, you can opt for smaller stadiums like Sanam Muay Rangsit or Sanam Muay Samrong. If you have the money though, the best stadium for watching Muay Thai in Bangkok is the Rajadamnern Stadium. Here, rates are slightly higher but the vibe of the betting around adds to the authentic experience. Another good stadium is the Lumpinee Stadium where there are both economical tickets and higher end ones.
    • Where to watch - Sanam Muay Rangsit, Sanam Muay Samrong, Rajadamnern Stadium and Lumpinee Stadium.
    3. Cruise - The view of the Chao Phraya River along with the surrounding temples and skyscrapers is best during night time. Thus, it's a must to try cruising along the rivers, with your loved one or family while enjoying the food served upon you. There are some cruise operators that offer tours to guests and even hotels offer this activity to guests for a surcharge.
    • Must try cruise companies - Loy Nava and Royal Chao Phraya Princess.
    Chao Phraya River (Image Courtesy of Poom Learning)

    4. Surfing - Who knew that even in the urban area of Bangkok, you can try out surfing? Well, thanks to Flowhouse, this is now a reality and even tourists are flocking to this gem of the city. With pools regenerating artificial waves, you can try out surfing or even take part in a course to learn how to surf. There is also a swimming pool within the premises that you can use. If ever you get hungry, there's an in-house restaurant that can cater to your needs.
    • Where to go - Flowhouse.
    5. Floating Market - There are plenty of floating markets around Bangkok that you can visit. The most popular is the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, also the most crowded. But it is also the most authentic and lively, teeming with boats selling local handicrafts and even produce. You can take a long tail boat ride here to enjoy the whole area. Another less crowded market is the Taling Chan Floating Market, just 12 kilometres away from Bangkok's city centre.
    • Where to go - Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and Taling Chan Floating Market.
    6. Cultural Show - To experience the rich culture of Thailand, indulge in a cultural show at the city centre of Bangkok. Perhaps the most well known cultural show here is the Siam Naramit Show, held in Ratchada Theatre. It is exotic, over the top and entertaining, qualities that even Bangkok is known for. Take a glimpse back into the past of Thailand and also further into its future, just with this show alone. Another must visit is the Patravadi Theatre and here you can watch shows showcasing the rich heritage of Thailand. With the classical dances and music performed here, you are taken into the rich bygone era of the country.
    • Where to watch - Ratchada Theatre and Patravadi Theatre.
    7. Cabaret Show - It's no secret that Thailand is home to some of most beautiful ladyboys, as they call it. They are not only beautiful, they are also talented and their cabaret shows are another tourist attraction in the city. There's the Calypso Cabaret Show in Asiatique, probably one of the most famous places in Bangkok for watching a ladyboy show. With elaborate props, costumes and musical yet enticing themes, your money spent here is well worth it. A little less serious and less risqué is the Playhouse Cabaret, where shows are more hilarious but also quite elaborate. There's a mixture of both male and ladyboy performers here though.
    • Where to watch - Asiatique and Playhouse Cabaret.
    8. Food Trip - Bangkok is not only a treat for the eyes, it's also a treat for the taste buds. With the numerous street food stalls and restaurants lining the city, you are spoiled for choices. For a first timer though, it's best to keep it simple and try out restaurants first. For authentic Thai cuisine, try out the Issaya Siamese Club, with their authentic Thai dishes that are always well-presented. Another good restaurant is Bo Lan, ambience here is very much homely but food is that of authentic Thai, spicy yet flavourful. Around Bangkok, there are also plenty of multi-cuisine restaurants if ever you get tired of Thai food, most likely that won't happen. If you're ready, then head on over and sample the delicious street foods of Bangkok. There's plenty around Victory Monument, China Town, Petchaburi Soi 5 and Ramkamhaeng.
    • Where to dine - Issaya Siamese Club, Bo Lan and Street Food Stalls.
    9. Party - Bangkok is one of those cities that never sleeps, thus you'd find an assortment of night clubs and bars here. Usually, the most popular clubs are around the Khao San Road, where the likes of Lava Club and Brick Bar can be found. You can find various localities here and mostly backpackers partying the night away. A bit more high end is the Royal City Avenue, where you can find posh locals and tourists partying. There are plenty of clubs here with lively music and crowds like Route 66, Onyx and Mansion 7. Rates are a bit higher here though so definitely not appropriate for those in a budget. Lastly, there's Silom Road, although the crowds here are a bit varied, with expats, tourists and a mixture of all types of genders. The best bar here is Cloud 47, located amidst a rooftop with amazing views of the city.
    • Where to party - Khao San Road, Royal City Avenues and Silom Road.
    10. Massage - After all these activities, your body might be begging you for some relaxation time and so why not indulge in a massage? Cult favourite is the Chang Foot Massage and Spa, with several branches around the city. Rates are very affordable and they are open all day long. Health Land is another good one, very affordable rates yet their interiors are posh and luxurious. Number One is also a great option as they have many masseurs and their centre is very spacious. There are plenty more around the city and with their economical rates, you can indulge in a massage session even everyday.
    • Where to go - Chang Foot Massage and Spa, Health Land and Number One.
    Enjoy your trip to Bangkok!