Bangkok is a full-flavored city full of personality where awe-inspiring golden temples sit next to towering skyscrapers. A multifaceted mix of contrasts, the city is bursting at the seams with culture and tradition. Here visitors will find bustling local markets next to luxury shopping complexes combined with locals serving mouthwatering cuisine from both humble street stalls and 5-star rooftop venues, creating an exotic destination that is suitable for all types of travelers. From historical grandeur to vibrant nightlife, read on to discover the top things to do in Bangkok.
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Explore the Grand Palace
Living up to its name, the Grand Palace boasts stunning Thai architecture, art, and artifacts that are a must-see on a visit to Bangkok. The top attraction in the entirety of Thailand, the Grand Palace was a Thai royal residence constructed in 1782. Here visitors can explore the complex filled with historic buildings, intricate pavilion, and the sacred Emerald Buddha. Considered to be the most important temple in the country, soak in the ornate details and admire a place that epitomizes Thai culture.
Visit the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho
Home to the famous 50 foot Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is a gorgeous temple with a rich history. Covered in gold leaf and towering over its visitors, the iconic landmark is an impressive sight, to say the least. In addition to the golden Buddha, visitors can explore the collection of historic Buddha murals, inscriptions, and sculptures that highlight topics like archaeology and astronomy. Visitors can easily spend a day wandering through the maze-like temple strolling through the picturesque landscaped gardens, browsing the souvenir shop, or visiting the College of Traditional Medicine.
Get a bird's eye view at Wat Arun
One of the most famous temples in Bangkok, Wat Arun is known as the “Temple of the Dawn.” Towering over Bangkok’s skyline and most impressively seen when the sun is setting behind the horizon, Wat Arun is located just opposite of the Grand Palace. With impressive spires towering at 260 feet and gorgeous ceramic tiles covering its exterior, the temple is not only a feast for the eyes but offers visitors a spectacular view for those who want to climb to the top. Visitors who want to explore the grounds will also find golden Buddha statues, murals, and mythical statues adorning the temple.
Check out a Floating Market
Considered the pioneer of floating markets, Damnoen Saduak offers visitors an authentic snapshot of the chaotic splendor of how things used to be in Thailand. Soak in the sights, smells, and dozens of wooden row boat action and get ready to indulge in fresh fruit, vegetables, and bowls of “boat noodles” at this unique Thai attraction. In addition to being a top attraction for photo opportunities, a visit to the floating market is an adventure in itself, as visitors are encouraged to arrive early in the morning to beat the crowds. Visitors can then hop on a long-tailed boat and paddle their way through hundreds of boats eager to sell them their goods.
Soak in lush greenery at Lumpini Park
Considered Bangkok’s Central Park, Lumpini Park is an expansive green space filled with locals soaking in the lush landscape views in the midst of Bangkok’s concrete jungle surroundings. The largest public park in the city, visitors will find an abundance of locals playing sports, walking, cycling, and practicing Tai Chi. Away from the chaos and congestion, Lumpini Park is a tranquil oasis right in the heart of the main business district. Take a break from the city action and rent a boat to paddle the lake, stroll the lined pathways, or simply sit back and people-watch.
Shop ’til you drop at Chatuchak Weekend Market
A must see for bargain shoppers, the Chatuchak Weekend Market is a worthy attraction for those who like a deal. With over 8,000 stalls covering 27 acres of space, this market only held on the weekends is one of the largest in the world and considered a once in a lifetime experience. Here visitors will find anything and everything, all affordably priced with vendors ready to haggle. From designer clothes to electronics to movies and kitchenware, you’ll be spoiled for choice at this beloved pastime attraction.
Explore Thai silk at Jim Thompson House
A unique attraction situated in six traditional Thai-style teakwood buildings, the Jim Thompson House offers visitors an insight into the life of Jim Thomson, an American businessman and silk merchant in Thailand. Even without knowing who Jim Thompson is, his dedication to The Thai Silk Company, formerly a dying art, the museum is worth exploring as it is said that he changed the industry forever. Here visitors can tour through his expansive collection of Thai art and antiques and gain valuable knowledge on the history of the silk industry and why Thais design their homes the way they do. Take one of their informative and fun tours offered, explore the lush gardens, or relax at the nearby fish pond.
Step back into history at Bangkok National Museum
Home to the largest collection of Thai art and artifacts and one of the largest museums in Southeast Asia, the Bangkok National Museum is a must visit for those interested in Thailand’s unique history. Situated on the former grounds of the 18th century Wang Na Palace, visitors can explore exhibits covering historical artifacts, ancient sculptures, and interesting collections from Southeast Asia, giving visitors more insight into the intricate details of the Thai culture.
Indulge in luxury shopping at Siam Paragon
After indulging in all the attractions Bangkok has to offer, locals and visitors alike enjoy visiting the Siam Paragon mall to indulge in some retail therapy and soak in the cool air conditioned shops. One of the biggest shopping centers in Asia, this shopper’s paradise is hugely popular for its high-end stores, aquarium, and multiplex movie theater. The attached MBK complex is popular with bargain shoppers with its 2,000 shops, boutiques, and stalls throughout its 8 floors selling souvenirs, electronics, fashion, and Thai food.