Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, is a melting pot of cultures, flavours, and experiences. This vibrant city has something to offer for everyone, from ancient temples and bustling street markets to mouth-watering street food and vibrant nightlife. If you’re planning your next vacation, here are the top 10 reasons why Bangkok should be at the top of your travel list.
- The Temples: Bangkok is home to some of the most stunning and revered temples in the world, including the famous Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Arun.
- The Food: From street food to high-end restaurants, Bangkok is a foodie’s paradise. Try the famous pad Thai, green curry, or mango sticky rice.
- The Nightlife: Bangkok has a buzzing nightlife scene with everything from rooftop bars and nightclubs to night markets and street performers.
- The Shopping: Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise with a range of options from high-end luxury brands to street markets selling everything from clothing to souvenirs.
- The Culture: Bangkok has a rich and diverse culture, from its traditional Thai customs to its modern art scene and street art.
- The People: The locals in Bangkok are known for their warm and welcoming nature, making visitors feel right at home.
- The Festivals: Bangkok hosts a range of festivals throughout the year, including the Songkran water festival, Loy Krathong, and the Chinese New Year celebrations.
- The River: The Chao Phraya River runs through Bangkok, offering scenic views and a range of activities, from river cruises to water sports.
- The Parks: Bangkok has a range of parks and green spaces, including the popular Lumphini Park, offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
- The Day Trips: Bangkok is a great base for exploring nearby destinations such as Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand, or the beautiful beaches of Pattaya and Koh Samet.
Where is Bangkok and how can I get there?
Bangkok is the capital and largest city of Thailand, located in the central part of the country. It is situated on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River, near the Gulf of Thailand.
Bangkok is served by two major airports: Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang International Airport. Suvarnabhumi Airport is the main international gateway to Thailand, while Don Mueang International Airport primarily serves low-cost airlines and domestic flights. Both airports are well-connected to the city centre by public transportation, including buses, taxis, and trains.
There are also several ways to reach Bangkok by land, including trains, buses, and private cars. The city has a well-developed transportation system, including a modern metro system, which makes it easy to get around and explore all that Bangkok has to offer.
Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, is renowned for its magnificent temples, which reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage and deep Buddhist roots. Here are some of the top temples in Bangkok that you shouldn’t miss on your next visit:
Wat Phra Kaew
Also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Phra Kaew is considered one of the most sacred temples in Thailand. It is located within the grounds of the Grand Palace and houses a revered Buddha image made of emerald.
Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun is a stunning temple known for its Khmer-style tower, which is adorned with colourful glass and Chinese porcelain.
Also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is home to a giant reclining Buddha statue, which is 46 metres long and covered in gold leaf. The temple is also renowned for its traditional Thai massage school.
Also known as the Golden Mount, Wat Saket is a hilltop temple that offers panoramic views of the city. Visitors can climb to the top of the golden chedi to enjoy the views and pay their respects to the Buddha image enshrined there.
Also known as the Marble Temple, Wat Benchamabophit is a magnificent temple built from white Italian marble. It is renowned for its elegant architecture, which blends Thai and European styles.
Wat Traimit is home to the world’s largest solid gold Buddha statue, which weighs an astonishing 5.5 tons. The temple is located in the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown.
Located in the historic district of Bangkok, Wat Mahathat is a 14th-century temple known for its impressive Khmer-style prang (tower) and intricate stucco carvings.
Visiting these temples is not only a spiritual experience, but it also provides a glimpse into Thailand’s rich cultural heritage and stunning architecture. Make sure to dress appropriately when visiting these temples, as they are considered sacred places of worship.
Eating in Bangkok
If you’re a food lover, then Bangkok is the perfect destination for you! The city is famous for its mouth-watering street food, flavorful curries, and aromatic soups. Here are some of the best dishes and places to eat in Bangkok:
- Pad Thai: A classic Thai dish made with stir-fried rice noodles, bean sprouts, egg, tofu, shrimp, and peanuts. You can find this dish almost everywhere in Bangkok, but some of the best places to try it are Thip Samai and Pad Thai Pratunam.
- Tom Yum Goong: A spicy and sour soup made with lemongrass, galangal, shrimp, and chili peppers. You can find this soup at almost any Thai restaurant in Bangkok, but some of the best places to try it are Tom Yum Kung Banglamphu and Tom Yum Kung Mae Varee.
- Massaman Curry: A mild and flavorful curry made with beef or chicken, potatoes, and peanuts. You can find this curry at almost any Thai restaurant in Bangkok, but some of the best places to try it are Massaman Curry by Chef Ian Kittichai and Khua Kling Pak Sod.
- Som Tam: A spicy and tangy salad made with shredded papaya, tomatoes, chili peppers, and fish sauce. You can find this salad at almost any street food stall in Bangkok, but some of the best places to try it are Jay Fai and Som Tam Nua.
- Mango Sticky Rice: A sweet and creamy dessert made with sticky rice, coconut milk, and ripe mangoes. You can find this dessert at almost any Thai restaurant in Bangkok, but some of the best places to try it are Mango Tango and Mae Varee Mango Sticky Rice.
In addition to these dishes, Bangkok is also famous for its street food scene. Some of the best places to try street food in Bangkok are Chinatown, Sukhumvit Soi 38, and Chatuchak Weekend Market. Make sure to try some of the local favourites, such as grilled pork skewers, fried chicken, and mango sticky rice.
Night time Bangkok
Bangkok is known for its lively nightlife scene, with a range of options for party-goers, foodies, and culture-seekers alike. Bangkok offers a range of options for those who love the nightlife. Whether you want to party, eat, shop, or experience the city’s culture, Bangkok has something to offer at night. Just be sure to stay safe and have fun!
Bangkok is home to some of the most spectacular rooftop bars in the world, offering breathtaking views of the city’s skyline. Some of the popular rooftop bars include Vertigo and Moon Bar, Sky Bar, and Octave Rooftop Lounge and Bar.
Bangkok is famous for its bustling night markets, where you can shop for everything from souvenirs and clothing to street food and live music. Some of the popular night markets include Asiatique The Riverfront, Rot Fai Market, and Patpong Night Market.
Bangkok offers a range of cultural shows, including traditional Thai dance performances, puppet shows, and cabaret shows. Some of the popular cultural shows include Siam Niramit and Calypso Cabaret.
Bangkok’s street food scene comes alive at night, with a range of food stalls offering delicious and cheap eats. You can find street food stalls in almost every corner of the city, with some of the popular areas being Chinatown and Khao San Road.
Bangkok is home to a range of nightclubs, offering a variety of music genres and party scenes. Some of the popular nightclubs include Levels Club & Lounge, Onyx Bangkok, and Ce La Vi Bangkok.
Some of Bangkok’s temples are open at night and offer a unique and serene experience. You can visit Wat Pho and Wat Arun to see the temples lit up at night, creating a magical atmosphere.
What to buy in Bangkok and where?
Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise, with a range of shopping options, from luxury malls to street markets. Here are some of the best things to buy in Bangkok and where to find them:
- Thai Silk: Thai silk is a luxurious and high-quality fabric that is famous for its softness and shimmering texture. You can find Thai silk products at Jim Thompson House, a museum and shopping centre that showcases Thai silk products.
- Thai Spices and Sauces: Thailand is known for its flavorful cuisine, and you can bring a taste of it home with you by purchasing Thai spices and sauces. You can find them at markets such as Chatuchak Weekend Market, Or Tor Kor Market, and Pak Khlong Talat.
- Thai Handicrafts: Thailand has a rich tradition of handicrafts, including pottery, woodcarvings, and handwoven textiles. You can find a wide range of Thai handicrafts at shops such as Nang Loeng Market, the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, and the Thai Craft Fair.
- Thai Snacks: Thai snacks are a great way to bring home a taste of Thailand. You can find a wide range of snacks, such as dried fruits, roasted nuts, and crispy rice crackers, at markets such as Khlong Toei Market and Chatuchak Weekend Market.
- Jewellery and Gemstones: Bangkok is a hub for jewellery and gemstones, with a range of shops selling high-quality pieces at reasonable prices. Some of the popular places to buy jewellery and gemstones include the Gem and Jewelry Trade Association of Thailand and Silom Road.
- Electronics: Bangkok is also a great place to buy electronics, with a range of malls and markets selling the latest gadgets at competitive prices. Some of the popular places to buy electronics include MBK Center, Pantip Plaza, and Fortune Town Mall.
The people of Bangkok are known for their warm and welcoming nature, making visitors feel right at home in this vibrant city. Here are some interesting facts about the people of Bangkok:
Thai people are known for their respect for tradition and their strong family values. These values are reflected in their daily lives and interactions with others.
The people of Bangkok are a diverse mix of ethnicities and religions, including Thai, Chinese, Indian, and Muslim communities. This diversity is reflected in the city’s rich culture and cuisine.
Buddhism is the predominant religion in Bangkok, and the city is home to some of the most beautiful and revered Buddhist temples in the world. Visitors can learn about Buddhism and its influence on Thai culture by interacting with local people and visiting the temples.
The people of Bangkok are known for their love of food, and the city’s street food scene is one of the best in the world. Visitors can sample a wide range of delicious and affordable dishes from street vendors and markets.
Thai people are generally very friendly and hospitable towards foreigners, and many locals are happy to help visitors with directions or recommendations. Learning a few basic Thai phrases can go a long way in making connections with the locals and experiencing Thai culture.
The people of Bangkok are also known for their love of entertainment, with a range of activities and events taking place throughout the city. From music festivals and cultural shows to sporting events and nightlife, there is something for everyone in Bangkok.
Bangkok is home to a range of festivals throughout the year, celebrating everything from religious holidays to cultural events. Here are some of the most famous festivals in Bangkok:
Songkran Water Festival
Held in mid-April, the Songkran Water Festival is Thailand’s traditional New Year celebration. People splash water on each other to cleanse away bad luck and welcome the new year.
Held in November, Loy Krathong is a beautiful festival where people float small banana leaf boats with candles and flowers on waterways, symbolising the release of negativity and welcoming good fortune.
Chinese New Year
Celebrated in January or February, Chinese New Year is a festive time in Bangkok’s Chinatown, with dragon and lion dances, firecrackers, and delicious food.
Royal Ploughing Ceremony
Held in May, the Royal Ploughing Ceremony marks the beginning of the rice-growing season in Thailand. The ceremony is steeped in tradition and is attended by members of the royal family.
Celebrated in October, the Vegetarian Festival is a colorful event where participants abstain from meat and participate in street processions and rituals for good luck and blessings.
Bangkok International Festival of Dance and Music
Held annually in September, this festival showcases performances by international dance and music troupes, including ballet, opera, and jazz.
Bangkok Street Show
This festival is held annually in November and features street performances by artists from around the world, including circus acts, magic shows, and acrobatics.
Enjoying the Chao Phraya River
The Chao Phraya River is the lifeblood of Bangkok, flowing through the heart of the city and providing a source of transportation, commerce, and recreation.
One of the most popular ways to experience the Chao Phraya River is by taking a river cruise. There are a range of options available, from short sightseeing trips to longer dinner cruises, which offer spectacular views of Bangkok’s skyline and famous landmarks such as Wat Arun and the Grand Palace.
Bangkok is known for its vibrant floating markets, where vendors sell a range of goods from their boats. Some of the popular floating markets include Damnoen Saduak, Amphawa, and Taling Chan.
Bangkok is also known for its network of canals, known as klongs, which were once the main mode of transportation in the city. Visitors can take a long-tail boat ride through the canals to see a different side of Bangkok and its traditional way of life.
Bangkok has a range of riverside restaurants that offer great views of the Chao Phraya River while you dine. Some of the popular restaurants include Sala Rim Naam, Blue Elephant, and Supatra River House.
Some of Bangkok’s most famous temples are located along the Chao Phraya River, including Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew. Visitors can take a river taxi to these temples to see them from a unique perspective.
Enjoying nature in Bangkok’s parks
While Bangkok is known for its vibrant city life and bustling streets, there are also several beautiful parks and green spaces that offer a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Here are some of the best parks to enjoy nature in Bangkok:
Located in the heart of Bangkok, Lumpini Park is the city’s largest and most popular park. It features lush greenery, a large lake, and plenty of walking and jogging paths. Visitors can also enjoy outdoor activities such as tai chi and yoga, as well as paddle boats on the lake.
Chatuchak Park is located in the northern part of Bangkok and is known for its beautiful landscaped gardens, lakes, and open spaces. The park also features a large weekend market, where visitors can browse local handicrafts and souvenirs.
Benjakitti Park is a beautiful green space located in the centre of Bangkok’s business district. It features a large lake, jogging and cycling paths, and a scenic skywalk that offers great views of the city.
Queen Sirikit Park is a large park located near the Chao Phraya River. It features beautiful gardens, a lake, and a butterfly garden, as well as an outdoor fitness centre and jogging paths.
Suan Rot Fai, also known as the Railway Park, is a large park located near the Chatuchak Weekend Market. It features beautiful gardens, a lake, and a cycling track, as well as a vintage train that offers rides around the park.
Going further afield
While Bangkok is a fascinating city with plenty to see and do, there are also many beautiful destinations that are worth exploring outside of the city. Here are some of the best places to visit near Bangkok:
Ayutthaya is a UNESCO World Heritage site located about 80 km north of Bangkok. It was the capital of Siam from the 14th to 18th century and features beautiful ruins of temples and palaces, including Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Wat Mahathat.
Kanchanaburi is located about 130 km west of Bangkok and is known for its beautiful natural scenery, including waterfalls, rivers, and national parks. It is also home to the famous Bridge on the River Kwai and the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum.
Pattaya is a beach resort town located about 150 km southeast of Bangkok. It is known for its beautiful beaches, nightlife, and water sports activities, including jet skiing and parasailing.
Hua Hin is a seaside town located about 200 km south of Bangkok. It is known for its beautiful beaches, golf courses, and luxury resorts, as well as the Hua Hin Railway Station, which is one of the most beautiful train stations in Thailand.
Khao Yai National Park
Khao Yai National Park is located about 160 km northeast of Bangkok and is Thailand’s oldest and most visited national park. It features beautiful mountains, waterfalls, and wildlife, including elephants, tigers, and gibbons.
Where to stay in Bangkok
Bangkok is a large and diverse city with a range of neighbourhoods and accommodations to suit every budget and taste. Here are some of the best areas to stay in Bangkok:
Sukhumvit is a popular neighbourhood for tourists, known for its lively nightlife, shopping, and restaurants. It is also home to many luxury hotels and high-end serviced apartments.
Silom is a central neighbourhood with easy access to public transportation, making it a convenient base for exploring the city. It is also known for its street food, nightlife, and shopping.
The Riverside area along the Chao Phraya River is a scenic and luxurious neighbourhood, with many high-end hotels and restaurants. It offers great views of the river and easy access to the city’s temples and historic sites.
Khao San Road is a popular area for budget travellers, known for its backpacker scene, street food, and cheap accommodations. It is also within walking distance of many of the city’s tourist attractions.
Siam is a popular area for shoppers, known for its high-end malls and shopping centres, including Siam Paragon and CentralWorld. It is also home to many luxury hotels and restaurants.
Popular hotels and restaurants
Bangkok is known for its diverse range of hotels and restaurants, from budget-friendly street food stalls to luxurious high-end dining establishments. Here are some popular hotels and restaurants in Bangkok:
- Mandarin Oriental: One of Bangkok’s most luxurious hotels, located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, known for its beautiful rooms and world-class service.
- The Siam: A boutique hotel located in the heart of Bangkok, known for its elegant rooms and beautiful art deco design.
- Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort: A beautiful resort located on the Chao Phraya River, offering beautiful views and easy access to the city’s temples and attractions.
- Amari Watergate Bangkok: A popular hotel located in the shopping district of Pratunam, offering comfortable rooms and easy access to shopping and dining.
- Banyan Tree Bangkok: A luxurious hotel located in the Sathorn area, known for its beautiful rooms and breathtaking views of the city.
- Gaggan: A fine-dining restaurant that offers innovative Indian cuisine and is frequently ranked as one of the best restaurants in Asia.
- Nahm: A Michelin-starred restaurant that offers traditional Thai cuisine in a stylish and elegant setting.
- Bo.Lan: A restaurant that offers organic and sustainable Thai cuisine, with a focus on traditional flavours and techniques.
- Issaya Siamese Club: A restaurant that offers modern Thai cuisine in a beautiful colonial-style house, with a focus on using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.
- Jay Fai: A popular street food stall that has been awarded a Michelin star, known for its delicious and affordable Thai seafood dishes.
What are the top 20 must see sights in Bangkok?
- The Grand Palace: A stunning complex of royal buildings that includes the famous Wat Phra Kaew temple.
- Wat Phra Kaew: A magnificent temple known for its Emerald Buddha statue and intricate architecture.
- Wat Pho: A temple complex that houses the famous Reclining Buddha statue and is known for its traditional Thai massage school.
- Wat Arun: A beautiful temple known for its stunning riverside location and unique architecture.
- Chatuchak Weekend Market: One of the world’s largest outdoor markets, offering everything from food and clothing to antiques and souvenirs.
- Khao San Road: A popular backpacker destination known for its lively atmosphere, street food, and affordable accommodations.
- Chinatown: A vibrant neighbourhood with a rich history and a range of street food stalls and markets.
- Jim Thompson House: A museum and traditional Thai-style house that showcases the life and work of the famous silk entrepreneur Jim Thompson.
- Lumpini Park: Bangkok’s largest public park, featuring beautiful gardens, a lake, and plenty of outdoor activities.
- Baiyoke Tower II: One of Bangkok’s tallest buildings, offering panoramic views of the city.
- Siam Paragon: A luxurious shopping mall with a range of high-end brands and restaurants.
- MBK Center: A popular shopping mall known for its affordable prices and wide range of goods.
- Erawan Shrine: A famous Hindu shrine located in the heart of Bangkok’s shopping district.
- Bangkok Art and Culture Centre: A contemporary art museum that showcases the work of local and international artists.
- Bangkok National Museum: A museum that features a range of artefacts and exhibits related to Thai history and culture.
- Yaowarat Road: Bangkok’s main road through Chinatown, known for its street food and traditional Chinese shops.
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market: A famous floating market located outside of Bangkok, where vendors sell goods from their boats.
- Safari World: A popular theme park that features a range of animal shows and exhibits.
- Wat Saket: A temple that is also known as the Golden Mount, offering beautiful views of the city from its hilltop location.
- Bangkok Art Biennale: A bi-annual international art festival that showcases the work of artists from around the world in venues throughout the city.
In conclusion, Bangkok offers a range of must-see sights that reflect its rich culture, history, and contemporary life. From magnificent temples to vibrant markets, luxurious shopping malls to beautiful parks, there is something for everyone in Bangkok.