Discover the Best of Bangkok- the Ultimate Experience Guide

Discover the Best of Bangkok- the Ultimate Experience Guide

Bangkok is a fast paced and buzzy metropolis with a vibrant street life, interesting historic sites with iconic Buddhist temples and incredible culinary experience. The city has been attracting visitors for centuries. It also is a perfect base destination for exploring the rest of beautiful Thailand. Most of travellers spend a few days here before adventuring to paradisiacal islands on the South. In this guide you will find all the essential sightseeing & most authentic Thai activities necessary to experience the best of Bangkok.

Bangkok Best Sightseeing Spots

The Grand Palace complex and Wat Pra Kaew

Your visit in Bangkok should start in the most iconic place in the city.

Built in the 18th century, it’s the most visited attraction of Bangkok. The complex is a stunning display of Thai art & architecture and a formidable sight. Within its walls, visitors can find Wat Phra Kaew – the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The most sacred image in the kingdom is just 66 cm tall and housed in a richly decorated hall. The temples wall are decorated with spectacular murals.

Practical info:

  • The entrance ticket : 500 Bath (15 EUR)
  • The opening times: 8.30- 16.30 (last entry 15.30)
  • The entrance is locate on Na Phra Lan Road.

TIP : You must be appropriately dressed to enter the site. Your shoulders and knees must be covered: that includes also men! If you wear shorts, you can buy typical thai pants (like the ones Hamilton is wearing) for 100 bath in the nearby shops. To enter Wat Phra Kaew you must remove your shoes.

Read : 15 Days in Thailand – the Complete Guide Covering the Country’s Highlights

The Wat Pho Temple

Located just a short distance from the Grand Palace, The Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is Bangkok’s oldest and largest temple. Built in the 16th century, it holds within its walls an impressive Buddha statue that’s 46 m long and 15 m high. Resident monks can be spotted on the site, as the temple has also a school.

Walk around the whole temple grounds, as there is more to it than the Reclining Buddha statue. There are beautiful chedis (below) as well as an impressive hall of gold Buddha statues.

TIP : Did you know that Wat Pho runs what is considered best massage school in Thailand? You can get a traditional Thai massage at the massage pavilion. Just be aware of long waiting queue.

Practical info:

  • The entrance ticket : 200 Bath (6 EUR)
  • The opening times: 8.00- 18.30
  • The entrance is located on Thanon Thai Wang or Soi Chetuphon.

Wat Arun

Built in the 19th century, also known as Temple of the Dawn, Wat Arun sits impressively on the western banks of the Chao Phraya River. All the towers (prangs) are decorated with impressive mosaics made from colourful broken porcelain.

TIP : The temple is specially beautiful in the late afternoon hours, when the light turns orange. After returning to the west bank, stay in one of the cafes facing Wat Arun for spectacular sunset views over the temple.

Practical info:

  • The entrance ticket : 50 Bath (1,5 EUR)
  • The opening times: 8.30- 18.00
  • To get to the temple you must cross the river. The ferry from Tha Tien Pier costs 4 THB and leaves every 10 minutes or so.

Note : If you are amazed by Bangkok’s temple, you might be tempted to read Temple chasing in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand

Golden Mount and the Wat Saket Temple

The Golden Mount is a 76 m high man-made hill erected in the middle on Bangkok. On top of the hill rests a small, yet beautiful temple. It’s the views from the top that attract most tourists: a spectacular panorama of the Old City .

Practical info:

  • The entrance ticket : 50 Bath (1,5 EUR)
  • The opening times: 8.00- 19.00
  • The Golden Mount is not located far from the Old City

Loha Prasat

Close by from Wat Saket is a kind of different type of temple. Loha Prasat is a Unesco Heritage Site since 2005. It’s a unique site and a great visit as its less popular with tourists. The pyramid-style structure is 36 metres high and covered in gold spires. Each floors of this temple represents the different stages of mediation of the Buddhist religion. It’s a journey through the process of a buddhist monk making it a more philosophical temple than any other.

TIP : Climb to the top floor for great views over the city!

Practical info:

  • The entrance fee is donation based
  • The opening times: 9.00 – 5.00
  • The entrance to Loha Prasat is located on Maha Chai Road

Jim Thompson’s house

Jim Thompson is an American businessman known for making Thai silk famous around the world. His traditional Thai house contains a fantastic collection of antiques, paintings unique art pieces. The museum is a complex of 6 Thai homes and is located in a lush tropical garden compound on the banks of a canal.

Practical info:

  • The entrance ticket : 150 Bath (4,5 EUR)
  • The opening times: 9.00- 18.00
  • The entrance to Jim Thomson Museum is located on 6 Soi Kasem San 2, Rama 1 Road . The easiest way to get there is by Sky Train getting off at the National Stadium stop.

Wat Traimit: home of the world’s largest solid gold Buddha

Located on the edge of Chinatown, it was until 1955 a rather regular temple. But during construction works, a 5.5 ton solid-gold statue was rediscovered under the plaster coating. The statue is dating back to 14th century and is worth a fortune.

Practical info:

  • The entrance ticket : 40 Bath (1 EUR)
  • The opening times: 9.00- 17.00
  • The entrance to the temple is located on Yaowarat Road.

Wat Benchamabophit, The Marble temple

Wat Benchamabophit, known by many as the Marble Temple is one of Bangkok’s most beautiful temples. The temple was designed in 1899 by Prince Narisara Nuvadtivongs. Today, it is admired for traditional Thai symmetrical architecture and European & Chinese influences. The temple is less popular with tourists as it’s located a Grab or tuk-tuk ride from the Old Town. It’s one of the most picturesque temples in Bangkok and there is a chance that even during the day, you will be the only one there.

Practical info

  • The admission ticket: 20 THB (0,5 EUR)
  • The opening hours: 8.00 – 5.30
  • The entrance to the temple is located on Nakhon Phathom Road.

Get the Real Thai Experience

Ride a long tail boat through the canals

Few know that Bangkok is known as the “Venice of the East”. Riding a typical long tail boat through out the canals connecting the whole city is a fun experience. It will also allow you to watch how the locals live and how the city changes from the busy centre to the more chill suburbs.

You can find a boat on any downtown pier. The ride takes about an hour and it costs about 700 THB per person (20 EUR).

Shop at Chatchak Weekend Market

The biggest market in Thailand is held each Saturday and Sunday. Even if it can be overwhelming, loud and crowded, if you happen to be in Bangkok over a weekend, it’s an attraction you should not miss. From clothing, famous Thai silk, to art and food stalls- this place has it all. Try to go in the morning: there is a higher chance of getting good deals as the sellers believe that the first sale of the day brings good luck.

TIP : Don’t forget to bargain. It’s typical thing in Thailand and you can lower your price even by 2/3 if you are good at making deals.

Stroll down Khao San Road

The mecca of backpackers, Khao San road is a street full with vendors, shops, food stalls and bars. It’s a famous place to come in the evening to witness some of Bangkok’s wild nightlife. But not only during the night- there is always something happening on Khao San road and you should see it for yourself.

TIP : If you are adventurous, try a fried scorpion from passing vendors. It is said that it gives a great energy and hype bust for a whole night.

Have a drink in one of the sky bars

Bangkok has many skyscrapers that offer astonishing views of the city from their sky bars.

One of the things we wanted to do most when coming to Bangkok is getting drinks at famous Lebua State Tower- the recognizable Sky Bar with a dome from “Hangover” movie. It was a thrill being on the 63rd floor and watching the metropolis moving below. Its definitely a must experience.

You can also try The Rooftop Bar on the 83rd floor of Baiyoke Sky Hotel in Pratunam or Red Sky Bar at Centara Grand at CentralWorld located on the 55th floor.

All of sky bars are pretty expensive. Be prepared to pay high European prices for drinks: 15-20 EUR. The views and the atmosphere makes it totally worth it though.

TIP : Dress appropriately, as all of the sky bars have dress codes casual/smart. Man must wear long pants, covered shoes and shirt/tshirt. Ladies should avoid flip-flops and beach and sport wear.

Don’t get mislead!

Note : When arriving at Lebua State Tower make sure to be directed to the right bar: The Sky Bar. There is another bar on the same floor called Alfresco 64 – A Chivas Bar. Straight from the elevator we were lead there by the hostess who didn’t even ask where we wanted to go. Little to say I was extremely disappointed when we walk into the very small rooftop space and all the cocktails were made with whiskey (its a whiskey bar). We decided to leave and I though I made a mistake, that the Sky Bar wasn’t in this tower.

But then I saw pictures of the Sky Bar on a table just outside the elevators. So I said out loud that I wanted to go there pointing at the picture. The hostess stayed quiet, but few men leaving simply told us that the Sky Bar is on the opposite side of the tower and pointed us to the right direction. Remember: turn left going out from the elevator on the 63rd floor. And don’t mind all the waiters / promotors trying to lead you to the wrong (and empty) bar.

Get the best massage ever

Next in this guide, another typical Bangkok experience apart from sightseeing: Thai Massage. In Thailand, massages are an ancient healing system that combines broad and targeted acupressure, stimulation and manipulation of energy lines and assisted by yoga postures. During the traditional massage your body will be pulled, twisted and stretched, so do not expect soft touches like during massages in Europe. It might even hurt a bit, but trust the hands of the masseuse and you will walk out like a ‘new born’.

You can spot countless places for massages all around the city. The truth is we don’t think you can get a bad Thai massage. But for sure some are better. We picked a place at random, but as it was busy. So we were lead from there though a few houses and couple streets to another one and ended up to Wat Po and Chetawan Traditional medical and massage school. And it was the best massage we ever had.

In one big room there were maybe 15 mattresses one next to another placed directly on the floor. There were actual monks getting a massage right next to us! You do not undress and they touch you through a sheet. Lying in different positions (on each side, on the back, on the belly, in a child pose), the masseuse was pressing points on our bodies, pulling our legs, stretching our backs and arms. His touch was very gentle yet strong and the whole experience incredible. We walked out with our backs feeling lighter and muscle leaner.

A 30 min massage costs 260 THB which is only 7,5 EUR. It’s consider as expensive massages for Thai people, but damn it felt good!

Walk through Chinatown

This wonderfully authentic neighbourhood is specially interesting in the afternoon. Walk through the small streets and see vendors selling the traditional medicine and other weirdly shaped objects. Brace yourself for the smell: the mountains of dry fish are kept on display outside of the shops.

TIP : Visit Wat Traimit, located just few minutes walking from the heart of Chinatown. It’s a home to the world’s largest solid gold Buddha statue.

Tuk-Tuk through the streets of Bangkok

Being in Bangkok and not riding a tuk-tuk is like being in Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. It’s a fast and fun way of transportation, also pretty cheap. For 30-40 min ride you’d pay 200 THB (5,5 EUR). Tuk-tuks might not be the most comfortable, but they are smaller than cars, thus can squeeze in the traffic easily. And that’s an important feature; the traffic in Bangkok is extremely heavy.

TIP : Make sure to agree on the price before the ride! It’s customary to bargain, but considered rude to do it after the service.

Eat the best street food in your life

Bangkok is famous for deliciously flavoured food. It’s also mecca of the street food vendors. The truth is you don’t have to eat at high end restaurants in Bangkok to taste some of the best food. A street food Pad Thai will even taste better, when you watch it being cooked right in front of you, on a moving stove by an elderly lady. It adds authenticity to dining experience, and the food will always be delicious!

TIP : Thai food is usually very spicy. Make sure to say before hand if you’d like yours this way, or would prefer it mild.

We wrote another article about Bangkok Best Food Spots. Check it out if you want to discover the best street food you can get! And if you have a chance, don’t pass out on Ms Jay Fai one Michelin ?star street food restaurant..!

Take a break from the city chaos in Lumpini Park

Bangkok’s ‘Central Park’ is a great place to take a break in a lush green scenario with views on nearby skyscrapers. You can lie on the grass and read a book, or watch locals do their activities like jogging, aerobic or even Thai-Chi. Who knows maybe you’ll be up for joining a class and learn few movements yourself?

Note : The park is open from 4.30AM to 9PM.

(this is Wat Arun gardens)

Experience the nightlife of Soi Cowboy street

Nightlife in Bangkok is one of the things that has to be experienced- if you like going out. The best place to do it, without a doubt is the lively neighbourhood of Soi Cowboy street. On 150 meters you’ll find countless bars, pubs and nightclubs. Be aware, it can get crazy at night and partying continues till the morning. But hey: what happens in Bangkok, stays in Bangkok, right? ?

Read : If you are planning your trip to Bangkok, make sure to read also Bangkok: everything you need to know for all the food recommendations & other useful informations.

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