If you are visiting Thailand, you really need a list of things to do in Bangkok. The capital of Thailand offers so many tourist attractions that it is hard to see them all on one holiday. Because of this, we have prepared a list of our favorite things to do in Bangkok that might help you decide easier on what to visit on your holiday.
The capital of Thailand, Bangkok, or the City of Angels as the locals call it, is a mixture of chaos and beauty combining colors, lights, ethnicities, and cultures in a unique way. The way the traditional combines with the modern is fascinating, sometimes giving the impression that you have traveled through time.
The days are hot and the humidity is two factors that create the perfect conditions for a rich and lush tropical vegetation. Because of this, the city abounds in species of orchids, fruits, and other tropical plants.
The city is famous for the variety of tourist attractions and points of interest you can see, which is why Bangkok is the most visited metropolis in the world.
Things to do in Bangkok
If you visit Thailand, Bangkok is a city you should not miss. Although it seems chaotic at times, the large number of tourist attractions makes it a perfect destination even for the quietest tourists.
The capital of Thailand offers the most varied tourist attractions such as temples, museums, parks, gardens, palaces, zoos, and even skyscrapers. All this being different from anything you’ve seen before. This is why most tourists prepare a list of the most important things to do in Bangkok.
The architectural elements, the decorations, the colors, and even the materials from which the temples are made make them stand out from the temples in other countries.
The way the old merges with the new and the tranquility merges with the chaos is special and makes Bangkok a unique destination in the world.
Bangkok Temple of Dawn
If you are in Bangkok, a tourist attraction that you should not miss is the temple dedicated to the Goddess of Dawn, Wat Arun. Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, it is at the top of tourists’ preferences and due to the fact that it is an impressive landscape, both at sunrise and sunset. The Buddhist temple symbolizes Mount Meru, considered the center of the universe by Buddhists.
The traditional Thai architecture can be seen even on the 80 m high tower, which is decorated with ceramic and porcelain tiles. The tower is surrounded by four other smaller towers. The five towers symbolize the terrestrial representation of the 33 heavens.
Besides the Thai architectural elements, the temple is also famous for the Buddha statues, representing him in various poses. Another impressive statue inside the shrine is the statue of the Hindu god Indra with its 33 elephant heads.
If you want to take a walk in nature, one of the best things to do in Bangkok is to visit the Zoo Dusit. It was set up in a huge park, housing over 1500 species of animals. You can see, among others, gorillas, alligators, tigers, lions, or even hippos. Besides the many species of animals, the zoo also has an artificial lake, on which you can take a relaxing boat ride.
In order to manage your time as well as possible, you can buy a map of the zoo from the entrance. If you want, you can take a special tour on a train that will take you to all the interesting places in the zoo.
Temple of the Inclined Buddha – Wat Pho
At the top of the list of things to do in Bangkok is the Temple of the Inclined Buddha, Wat Pho. The temple is one of the largest in Bangkok and houses a statue 46 m long and 15 m high. The statue is completely covered with gold leaf. This place is near the Emerald Temple, another attraction worth visiting.
The complex comprises four chapels that include 394 statues representing the Buddha, and the first public university in Thailand with specializations in religion, literature, and science.
If you want to visit the temple, keep in mind that access is only allowed to decently dressed people, so avoid provocative or too short clothes.
Bangkok Marble Temple
Another entry worth seeing on the list of things to do in Bangkok is known as the Marble Temple or Wat Benchamabophit. The temple will surprise you from the beginning, considering that it is entirely decorated with Carrara marble. Wat Benchamabophit is considered one of the most beautiful royal temples. It was built in 1899 by Prince Narai. The inner courtyard is also covered with white marble, and the windows of the temple are decorated with elegant stained glass windows. The interior includes numerous statues representing the Buddha in various settings.
If you are ready to spend some money on souvenirs or various goods, do not hesitate to visit Chatuchak Square, famous among tourists visiting Bangkok. During the weekends, the place becomes too small for the 200,000 people who come to do their shopping. Do not hesitate to negotiate, because the sellers will ask you high prices at the beginning, but they will drop a lot so as not to let you leave empty-handed.
Given the size of the market, it would be advisable to spend an entire day visiting Chatuchak Square.
Baan Krua neighborhood
If you are a history buff or you like picturesque places, you should not miss the Baan Krua District, one of the oldest places in the city. The first inhabitants, Muslims from Cambodia and Vietnam, settled here at the end of the 18th century and were made land-owners by the king of Thailand. The new inhabitants brought with them Muslim customs and culture and have preserved them to this day.
Another impressive temple not to be missed if you visit Bangkok is the Suthat Temple. It is one of the oldest temples in the city, being built by King Rama I (1782-1809) in the 19th century, it was intended to house a bronze Buddha statue. The chapel, the beautifully carved gates, and the murals are just some of the attractions of the temple. The place is located in the historic center of the capital near the Grand Palace and the Emerald Temple.
Siam Underwater Museum – Sea Life
One of the most spectacular sights in Bangkok is the Siam Underwater Museum, one of the largest in Southeast Asia. The museum is spread over two levels, totaling 10,000 square meters. Siam Underwater Museum is one of the most desired tourist attractions on the list of things to do in Bangkok.
The exhibition is divided into 7 sections, arranged on different themes. The museum is home to a wide variety of marine species such as fish, whales or sharks. If you want, you can venture on a submarine tour to see the marine animals more closely. The museum also offers 3D projections with information about the world of the oceans.
Chitralada Palace is another tourist attraction that is good to include in your travel itinerary. The first king of the Chakri dynasty established his official residence here, after the suspicious death of his brother, Rama VIII, who lived in the Grand Palace. The palace also houses the famous Chitradala school, which was initially reserved only for the children of the royal family.
Loha Prasat Temple – Wat Ratchanatdaram
At the northeast entrance of the historic center you can visit the Ratchanatdaram Temple, also called Loha Prasat (Metal Castle). The design is inspired by Burmese architecture and preserves the influences of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The temple was built in the 19th century by King Rama III.
The upper part of the temple consists of high and thin towers made of iron. The walls are decorated with various images that highlight the country’s past. You can climb to higher levels to have a wide perspective with the Golden Mountain and the surrounding landscapes of the temple.
Baiyoke Tower II
If you are a fan of thrills and you like heights, do not hesitate to visit the famous Baiyoke II Tower. The tower is located in Pratunam Square, a square well known by tourists passionate about shopping. The skyscraper has a dizzying height of 344 m, 84 floors, and is considered the tallest building in Thailand. The building was completed in 1988 and houses numerous shopping malls, restaurants, and a 4-star hotel called Baiyoke Sky Hotel.
You can visit the tower even if you are not staying at the Baiyoke Sky Hotel. If you wish, you can dine at the Bangkok Sky Restaurant, located on the 78th floor. The strong point of the tower is the observation platform on the 77th floor or the rotating observation point on the 84th floor. The view is one of the main reasons why Baiyoke Tower is on the list of things to do in Bangkok.
Or Tor Kor Market
If you want to experience traditional Thai food, you can’t miss Or Tor Kor Market. This is where you can buy fresh food, vegetables, and fruits. If you want to dine in the market, you can try the traditional vegetarian or seafood fast-food menus.
A special park that you can visit in Bangkok is Chuvit Kamolvisit. The story of the park is quite twisted because the person who donated the garden to the municipality also owned a large massage parlor 15 years ago. The owner was arrested in 2003 for demolishing houses and evacuating residents who lived on the land where the park is today.
Royal Garden Saranrom
If you are a nature lover, visit the Saranrom Royal Garden, located behind the Grand Palace in the historic center of Bangkok. The park was opened to the public in 1960, previously part of the Saranarom Palace. The park is decorated with countless trees and plants that highlight the monuments and sculptures.
To avoid congestion, you can visit the park in the morning because in the afternoon the garden is crowded with locals. The municipality has arranged with fitness equipment a special space for sports lovers.
Temple of the Golden Buddha
The Temple of the Golden Buddha or Wat Traimit houses a huge golden statue depicting the Buddha. Wat Traimit is located near Hualampon Station in Chinatown. The Buddha statue is 5 m high and weighs half a ton. This is one of the main reasons why the Temple of the Golden Buddha is present on our list of things to do in Bangkok.
In the past, Buddha statues were covered with a layer of cement to protect them from thieves. Initially, this statue was covered with cement, but during the transport the cement cracked, revealing the gold statue.
Near the Temple of the Goddess Arun is the Prayoon Temple, built in the 19th century by King Rama III. This is one of the most elegant temples and houses a sloping Buddha statue. The place is located on a 60 m high platform, making it visible from a great distance.
Temple of the Emerald Buddha
The most important Buddhist temple in Thailand is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha named Wat Phra Kaew by the locals. It is one of the most admired tourist attractions in the country, so it would be good to reserve time to visit it. The Buddha statue dates from the 15th century, being located above several steps. Except for the king, no one is allowed to approach her.
The statue is covered with a cape to protect it. This cape is changed 3 times a year, each change symbolizing a season in Thailand: summer, winter, and rainy season. At each change of mantle, a religious procession is organized. The procession, which is led by the king, is considered to bring well-being and good luck to the country and its inhabitants. For this reason, the action is viewed with great respect by both locals and tourists.
Sri Mariamman Temple
This temple is dedicated to several Hindu deities, being a favorite tourist attraction of tourists of Indian origin. The place, built in 1860 by immigrants arriving from India, is highlighted by various shapes and decorations in the strongest shades.
Thanon Maharat Square
A picturesque place in Bangkok where you can buy souvenirs is located in the northern part of the capital and is called Maharat Square. Many tourists visit the market to buy lucky charms.
Besides the souvenir stalls, the stalls with aromatic herbs, medicinal plants, flowers, and even traditional Thai dishes will attract your attention.
Also in Bangkok is the largest zoo in the country, called Safari World. If you are a lover of nature and animals and you like walking, do not hesitate to visit this tourist attraction. You can take part in safari expeditions or swim among dolphins. If you are a fan of thrills, you can visit the park of big cats or even the crocodile swamp.
This zoo is different, the animals are not kept in cages. This makes Safari World an attraction for all animal lovers. Also for this reason it is very important to follow the instructions of the guides in full.
Safari World, the only zoo on our list of things to do in Bangkok, is located in the northern part of Bangkok, covers an area of 800,000 square meters, and consists of a zoo, a water park, and an area dedicated to birds.
Wat Bowonniwet – Photo by POL TATHAM
Bavorn Niwet Temple
Bavorn Niwet Temple is one of the most famous temples in Bangkok due to the fact that many of the kings of Thailand were monks here before they came to rule the kingdom. The shrine was built in 1982 and houses the headquarters of the Thammayut Buddhist Sect. The beautiful altar and the gate of the temple are true works of art, astonishing the tourists who visit the temple.
Museum of Ethnography
If you are a fan of Thai art, do not miss a visit to the Museum of Ethnography, located in the middle of a beautiful park. The buildings were erected in 1937 and belonged to the Sarawadee family. Although not very large, the museum illustrates the domestic life of a Thai family in the 1950s.
Bangkok National Boat Museum
The Chao Phraya River, which runs through Bangkok, was used by many boats that connected various parts of the city. In the National Boat Museum you can admire the beautiful royal boats that are used only in religious and military ceremonies. In the last 50 years, they have been used only 15 times. The boats are elegantly decorated with gold leaf symbolizing characters from Thai mythology.
On each of the eight boats is engraved the year of manufacture and the name. The star of the exhibition is a vessel with a length of 46 m that needs a crew of 14 members and 50 vessels in order to be controlled.
Over the years, certain ships have been destroyed by wars, and to form a complete vision, visit the photo exhibition. Although not as spectacular, the photo exhibition details the entire construction process, as well as the techniques used, of the boats.
Chao Phraya River, Full Moon – Photo by Nagaraju Hanchanahal
Raul Chao Phraya
You can have a unique experience in Bangkok if you book a boat trip on the Chao Phraya River. The river is appreciated for its ever-changing natural beauty, which is constantly crossed by tourist boats.
Chao Phraya and his channels made the Thais call Bangkok the Venice of the East. In 1782 Bangkok became the capital of Thailand and this increased the demand for goods. Due to this, river traffic has increased over the years. On the banks of the river you can see traditional houses with unique architecture. Although Bangkok is a modern city, you can travel back in time by enjoying a boat ride on the Chao Phraya River
The List: Things to visit in Bangkok, Thailand
- Bangkok Temple of Dawn
- Dusit Zoo
- Temple of the Inclined Buddha – Wat Pho
- Bangkok Marble Temple
- Chatuchak Square
- Baan Krua neighborhood
- Suthat Temple
- Siam Underwater Museum
- Chitralada Palace
- Loha Prasat Temple – Wat Ratchanatdaram
- Baiyoke Tower II
- Or Tor Kor Market
- Chuvit Garden
- Royal Garden Saranrom
- The Temple of the Golden Buddha
- Prayoon Temple
- The Temple of the Emerald Buddha
- Sri Mariamman Temple
- Thanon Maharat Square
- Safari world
- Bavorn Temple Niwet
- Museum of Ethnography
- Bangkok National Boat Museum
- Raul Chao Phraya
To sum things up, if you are visiting Thailand, make sure you visit Bangkok and reserve a good amount of time to visit as many tourist attractions as possible. Remember to take your time and enjoy the walks through the parks and gardens and also to admire the natural beauties that Bangkok has to offer.
If you don’t know when it’s the best time to visit Thailand, January is a great month to plan your trip to Thailand. If you are interested in other great travel destinations that have great weather at the beginning of the year, check out my list of the best places to travel in January.
Even if the city may seem chaotic from time to time, take a step back and enjoy it at your own pace. It is certainly one of the most unique cities in the world.