Bangkok, the city of angels, is currently one of the most visited capitals on the planet and there are plenty of reasons why. This vibrant and colorful city has a smile around every corner and something to please all visitors, from flashy malls to historic temples. Here are our top 10 suggestions of what to do in Bangkok.
1. The Grand Palace
This is one of the top attractions in Thailand, a large historic complex that has played an important role throughout the country's history since 1782. It has been home to numerous kings and while it is not the official residence of the present king, it is frequently used for state functions and royal ceremonies. Arrive by boat for the best entrance and great views of the Grand Palace.
2. Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
Arguably the best temple in the city, Wat Arun is a must see for visitors. The temple is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and is named after the Hindu god Aruna. The best time to visit is at dawn when the temple catches and reflects the first rays of sun light in a spectacular way. The temple is also lit beautifully in the evening, another good time to visit.
3. Wat Pho
Wat Pho, also known as the temple of the reclining Buddha, is located behind Wat Phra Kaew. It’s one of the largest Temple in Bangkok and famous for its reclining Buddha that measures 46 meters long. Wat Pho is well known as Thailand’s center for traditional Thai massage. Inscribed on stone in the walls of Wat Pho is all that is known about Thai massage dating from the reign of King Rama III
4. Khao Sarn Road
Located on the edge of the city’s historic quarter, Khao Sarn (pronounced “Cow Sarn”) Road is a small street with a big reputation. Backpacker’s flock here for cheap accommodation, cheap beer and bargains from the street vendors. Despite the crowds, there is a laid back vibe and plenty of entertainment that goes on well into the night. It may not be your cup of tea, but worth the experience if you can spare a few hours one evening.
5. Yaowarat (Chinatown)
One of Bangkok’s most vibrant and colorful neighborhoods, Yaowarat (or Chinatown) is one of the city’s best locations for charming old shophouses and a food haven for new generation gourmands who flock here after sunset to explore the vibrant street-side cuisine. Bangkok’s Chinatown is not to be missed.
6. Jim Thompson House
American businessman Jim Thompson established a large Thai silk company throughout his time in the kingdom during the 50's and 60's. The company is still thriving today and the former home of Jim Thompson has become a tourist attraction in itself due to its fine architecture, art and antiques. If you have time, take a look around this sanctuary in the city with pleasant gardens and an on-site restaurant.
7. Chao Phraya River & Waterways
Winding through the heart of Bangkok, the Chao Phraya River adds calm to this hectic city. Take a break from the crowds and the cars by hopping on a river ferry or long tail boat and enjoy sightseeing along the way. After dark, the scenery is quite spectacular as the temples and palaces are beautifully lit up, a great reason to go on a sunset dinner cruise.
8. Jatujak Weekend Market
Bangkok is well known as a shopping haven with numerous malls and markets catering to all of your shopping needs, but there is one place that offers a very unique shopping experience. Jatujak Weekend Market is a village in itself with a staggering 8,000 stalls where local vendors sell everything from antiques to domestic animals. A map is used to navigate the different sections and there are some great bargains to be found for those who can haggle. The outdoor market does get steamy during the day so an early morning or evening visit is recommended.
9. Lumpini Park
Whether you like to jog, walk or sit quietly among nature, Lumpini Park is the best place in Bangkok to go. Akin to New York's Central Park, Lumpini is the biggest park in the city and located in the CBD where locals and visitors go for respite from the traffic jams and built-up streets. The artificial lake adds to the oasis of calm, a great place for a scenic picnic.
10. Shopping Malls (Siam Paragon, Emquartier, Central World & Platinum Mall)
Bangkok - The ultimate shopaholic’s paradise. From the newly opened Emquartier, to the well-established Central World, Siam Paragon and Platinum Fashion mall, Bangkok’s shopping malls accommodate every taste, pocket and style. Everywhere you go, there's a new shopping mall being built. From global brands to book shops, fashion stores, luxury goods, specialty stores and gourmet markets, you name it and Bangkok has it. While the heat and humidity may be oppressive, the modern shopping malls offer a complete contrast with plenty of cool air and lots of places to relax within the malls.