With Buddhist temples, floating markets, world-class shopping and a vibrant nightlife, it’s no surprise that Bangkok is one of Southeast Asia’s top tourist destinations. Although, there’s so much to see and do, it’s possible to experience the city’s main attractions and sights in just a couple of days. In fact, Thailand’s capital often acts as a gateway to the northern jungles and south islands, meaning weekend stop-offs are common. To help you make the most of your time, I’ve put together a Bangkok travel guide with some pointers on where to go and what to do.
Where to stay
When it comes to places to stay, you certainly won’t be short on choice. Travellers on a budget can take advantage of the city’s many cheap and cheerful hostels and guest houses, while those looking for something more upmarket can make a base in one of the boutique inns or sleek hotels.
Airport transfers to the city take around 30 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic and the location of your accommodation. For a central location near the main attractions, opt for areas such as Sukhumvit Roach, Siam and Silom Road, which are known for their nightlife and shopping. Alternatively, Bangkok riverside or the Old city are ideal if you want a taste of traditional Thai culture. Alternatively, if you’d like to stay by the beach, but close enough to make day trips into Bangkok, nightlife-heavy Pattaya is a great option.
No trip to Bangkok is complete without a visit to the city’s famous temples. Head to the Grand Palace to marvel at the collection of elaborately-decorated buildings, before making your way to Wat Pho to see the iconic reclining Buddha in all its glory. At sunset, take a scenic ferry ride across the Chao Phraya river to admire the impressive Temple of Dawn.
After visiting these elegant religious sites, head to Chinatown and immerse yourself in the colourful chaos of streetside stalls and gold shops. When you need a break from the hustle and bustle, take refuge in the tranquil oasis that is Lumpini Park.
Bangkok’s world-famous markets are not to be missed. Thailand’s largest market, the Chatuchak Weekend Market, is especially worth visiting to browse the eclectic range of goods and local produce on offer. Meanwhile, the Damnoen Saduak floating market offers a completely unique experience, where you can watch vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers from wooden boats.
Shopaholics won’t be disappointed by the city’s selection of multi-storey malls lined with boutiques and departments stores selling everything from the latest fashion to cheap electronics.
When the sun goes down, Bangkok’s streets come alive with neon-lit restaurants and 24-hour nightlife. Head to Sukhumvit for fine dining and rooftop bars with panoramic views of the city, or enjoy the live music venues along the riverside. Partygoers congregate in the backpacker haven of Khao San Road, where food vendors sell everything from Pad Thai to fried tarantulas, and the lively clubs pump music into the early hours.
Alternatively, visit the Siam Niramit Grand Theatre for an unforgettable evening of traditional dance, song and costume.
The variety of transport in Bangkok makes travelling around quick and easy. You can choose from taxis, buses, the BTS (Skytrain) and the MRT (underground train). There’s also the famous Tuk-tuks, but don’t forget to haggle with the drivers before you climb in.
*This is a collaborative guest post