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10 Things to Do in Bangkok

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Being in Bangkok is like being on sensory overload. Dogs are barking and roosters are crowing all amidst the incessant honking of horns and tuk tuks hurtling through the streets. The urban metropolis is an odd mixture of old decaying temples and shiny new shopping malls. There is certainly no shortage of things to do and sights to see! And if like us, you’ve left sightseeing in Bangkok for the end of your Thailand trip, you’ve probably already seen enough ancient temples to last you a lifetime. You may be looking for some things to do that are just a bit different than the exhaustive list of ancient temples, notorious districts, and endless food options. Take a look at our list of 10 things to do in Bangkok to get you started:

Golden Buddha

The Golden Buddha at Wat Traimit

1. Marvel at the world’s largest solid gold statue

Officially named Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon (I can’t pronounce it either!) or the Golden Buddha, the world’s largest solid gold statue is located at the Wat Traimit temple. The egg-shaped head of the statue indicates it comes from the Sukhothai Dynasty and is thought to made sometime in the 13th or 14th century. The 18-karat gold in the statue is estimated to be worth $250 million dollars and holds the Guinness Book of World Records record for the most valuable religious relic!

Wat Traimit is open daily from 8am – 5pm.

Pak Khlong Talat

Thais stringing flower garlands at Pak Khlong Talat

2. Buy a bouquet at the Pak Khlong Talat (Flower Market)

The Pak Khlong Talat is the flower market in Bangkok. Many five-star hotels get their flowers here and many local florists stock their own shops for the day from the wide variety of blooms. Pak Khlong Talat is open 24 hours per day and though it is in guidebooks, not many tourists actually visit. Even if you’re not in the market for a bouquet, it’s still interesting to stroll through. You’ll be amazed at how inexpensive the flowers are and you’ll see many Thais stringing and selling phuang malai (flower garlands).

Located Chak Phet Road and adjacent side-streets close to Memorial Bridge.

Taling Chan Floating Market

Taling Chan Floating Market

3. Eat your way through the Taling Chan Floating Market

Floating markets were once a way of life as it was just easier to sell and buy things right out of the boats. They’re now more of a novelty, but really fun for both locals and tourists to visit. We visited the further afield Taling Chan Floating Market, which is famous for its selection of grilled seafood. You’ll see rows upon rows of tables on floating barges devouring huge piles of crab legs and grilled fish purchased right from the canal boats floating below.

Taling Chan Floating Market is open on weekends from 8am – 5pm. It is most easily reached by taxi.

Asiatique Riverfront Market

Looking down on the Asiatique Riverfront Market from the Asiatique Sky

4. Shop until you drop at Asiatique Riverfront Market

Located in the old warehouse of the East Asiatic Company, Asiatique Riverfront Market pays homage to Bangkok’s past as a riverside trading post. An upscale market, there are more than 1500 small shops in the old warehouses selling fashion, handicrafts, furniture and design items. Whereas I couldn’t get out of Chinatown and the rows upon rows of junk fast enough, Asiatique could have held me captive for hours.

Asiatique is open nightly from 5pm – midnight.

Asiatique Sky5. Watch the sunset from Asiatique Sky

I think there’s something romantic about ferris wheels. Watching the sun dip into the Chao Phraya River from atop Thailand’s tallest ferris wheel while snuggling up with your special someone will leave you smiling for the rest of the night.

Asiatique Sky is open nightly from 5pm – midnight.

Chao Phraya River6. Take a romantic river dinner cruise

Indulge in a bit of old world glamor as you cruise the Chao Phraya River on a restored rice barge. Enjoy a cool breeze as you float by Bangkok’s riverside sights while dining on a multi-course Thai dinner with dishes like Tom Yum Goong (a spicy prawn soup) served in a coconut, massaman curry, and mango sticky rice.

Anantara Manohra Cruises are nightly from 7:30 – 9:30pm. Make a reservation online.

Bangkok rooftop bar Zoom

Zoom at Anantara Sathorn

7. Have a drink at a rooftop bar

The urban metropolis becomes a glittering rainbow of lights and the best place to take it all in is from a Bangkok rooftop bar. There are no shortage of them, including Sky Bar which was featured in The Hangover II. We tried a few and our favorite is Zoom at Anantara Sathorn (opened November 2013), the only rooftop bar with 360° cityscape views.

Yaowarat Heritage Center

An exhibit on the porcelain import at the Yaowarat Heritage Center

8. Learn about the history of Chinatown

While Chinatown itself had just about no interest to me what-so-ever, it was interesting to learn about what is dubbed the “Junk Trade” at the Yaowarat Heritage Center. The museum is located on the first level of the same building that houses the Golden Buddha, so it’s worth a visit while you’re there. The exhibits take you through the history of early Chinese immigrants to Thailand and the growth of Chinatown in Bangkok. If you do wander through the nearby Chinatown afterward, you’ll see that the Junk Trade is still going on.

The Yaowarat Heritage Center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9am – 5pm.

Wat Yannawa

Tim making an offering with the instruction of our Anantara Street Guru at Wat Yannawa

9. Make an offering at a Buddhist temple

Making an offering at a Thai Buddhist temple can be a really interesting and educational experience. This act is known as wai phra. You don’t have to be Buddhist to make an offering and the offerings can even be purchased at the temple. Go with a local who can walk you through the process, as there is even a proper position to sit in ensuring that your feet are never pointed toward the Buddha.

Feeding fish in the Chao Phraya River

Fish in a frenzy in the Chao Phraya River

10. Feed the fish for good luck

Many Thais believe it is good luck to feed the fish and you can do it many places around Bangkok. You’ll find vendors selling food or loaves of bread for about 10 baht at the piers along the Chao Phraya River or at the floating markets. Whether it brings good luck or not, I’m not sure, but it is fun to watch the fish go absolutely berserk!

 

Have you been to Bangkok? What would you add to our list of things to do in Bangkok?

Jennifer Dombrowski

Jennifer Dombrowski is a location independent globe trotter who is based in Prata di Pordenone, Italy. She works as a social media and communications strategist and is an award-winning travel writer. She is also a travel correspondent on Traveling on the American Forces Radio Network. Jdomb's Travels was named one of the top travel blogs to watch by the Huffington Post and has been featured by top publications such as CNN, Buzzfeed , and The Telegraph. Her iPhoneograpy has also been featured on publications such as USA Today and Travel + Leisure. Google+

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18 comments

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  1. marlene

    great article lots of fun and interesting things to do

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Yes, there are a lot of different things to see and do in Bangkok and this list really only scratches the surface!

    [Reply]

  2. Val-This Way To Paradise

    Great suggestions. You are making me miss Thailand!!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Thanks, Val! I’d definitely like to get back to see more of the Thai islands, which would no doubt leave me with at least a day or two to explore more in Bangkok.

    [Reply]

  3. Clarissa

    Great Article! Be sure to check out the Dynamic City Skyline Views, including the boats lit up at the Chao Phraya River, LIVE, 24/7, from our EarthCam at the Millennium Hilton in Bangkok –> http://www.earthcam.com/world/thailand/bangkok/
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  4. Carina

    My favorite place in Bangkok was Wat Prayoongong (not sure of actual spelling, that’s as close to phonetic as I can get). It was a small temple with so many live turtles. I have no idea why, but I felt like I could have stayed there for hours.

    [Reply]

  5. Devlin @ Marginal Boundaries

    I need to get over there soon!

    [Reply]

  6. Sand In My Suitcase

    Bangkok is a great city! Especially if you stay in one of the river-front oases like the Shangri-La or the Mandarin-Oriental (you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city, then retreat to your hotel and relax by the pool overlooking the Chao Phraya River).

    [Reply]

  7. Stef

    Great list. I think my favorites would be all the market-related activities.

    [Reply]

  8. Arianwen

    Wow, that is a lot of hungry fish!! Reminds me of a time I went snorkelling in Thailand and when I tried to get back on the boat, the guys kept throwing bread in and making all the fish go crazy around me! It was pretty funny, but I freaked out at the time!!

    I’d also recommend Jim Thompson’s house in Bangkok. It’s really interesting!

    [Reply]

  9. Weltreise

    whats up with the Khoasan Road! if you want to make party and enjoy the nightlife, go there! nothing special, but many backpackers are there! ;-)

    [Reply]

  10. Kae Lani

    That gold statue is so rad! The food looks delicious too. What a well rounded to-do list!

    [Reply]

  11. Sam | Travelling King

    Great article!
    Bangkok is probably one of my favourite places in the world!
    We saw a few fish almost jumping out of the water now and then but didnt know what it was about

    [Reply]

  12. PurpleTravelKate

    There are no sweeter ways than eating your way through a food market! Nyom nyom, that’s definitely on my list for this year. Great post!

    [Reply]

  13. Abby

    I went to Bangkok my second trip to Thailand. I thought I’d want to get out as fast as possible, but I liked it! Great list!

    [Reply]

  14. Lori

    Great recommendations – and lovely photos! – as always!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Thanks Lori!

    [Reply]

  15. Deb

    You know, we have yet to take a dinner cruise down the Chao Phraya, I must add that to my list next time we go to Bangkok. I think that would be fabulous. I’ve hired a private longtail boat to take us around though and it was awesome to go deep into the back canals. It’s so quiet and life goes on as it has for decades. I love Bangkok

    [Reply]

  1. Bangkok's Taling Chan Floating Market - Jdomb's Travels

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