Bangkok – Our Tips on The Capital of Southeast Asia

This post was last updated on February 18th, 2020 at 06:17 pm


If you are in Thailand you cannot escape from Bangkok. Bangkok is also called the capital of Southeast Asia. First, because all international flights land in Bangkok. Secondly, because almost all tours and or traffic run from or through Bangkok. Bangkok can rightly be called “the backpacker’s capital” of Asia and perhaps also of the world. If you walk through Khao San Road in Bangkok you will immediately understand why.

 

We could set up a separate website just for Bangkok; there is so much to tell about this city. Still, we will try to tell you as much as we can on this page. Here are some of the things we will tell you about the capital of Thailand;

 

Akisoto’s Experience in Bangkok

You either hate it or you love it. Not everyone likes Bangkok as much as we do. We cannot even count the number of times we have been to Bangkok. We just love this city! And we are not the only ones who feel this way, but why? We will explain that as well as possible!

 

First; the food is delicious! It really doesn’t matter where you eat or what because you will always be surprised in a positive sense of the word. In addition, the atmosphere is great! Fair is fair; you have to be able to see through the chaos, the scammers, and the masses of tourists.

 

Once you see through its chaotic exterior, you will find a beautiful city with sky bars, cafes, restaurants, crazy tuk-tuk rides, and friendly locals.

 

Image of: Lumpini Park in Bangkok
Lumpini Park is a great distraction from the busy city around it

 

Our First Time

The first time we arrived in Bangkok we also had to think twice if we wanted to stay here. But when you spend a few days here, you start to appreciate the city more and more, if only because of the great transit possibilities; but there is much more. Beautiful temples, coziness, nice accommodations and the many activities you can do here, we definitely love it!

 

7 Best Sightseeing Spots in Bangkok

Many tourists travel to Bangkok because this city has a huge number of sights. We have made a list of these well-known sights that you cannot miss when you are here! They are the most beautiful sights in Bangkok.

 

1. Explore the Temples of Bangkok

This city has a huge number of temples to visit. As you know, Buddhism plays an important role in the daily lives of the Thai people. Even today Buddhist temples are still being built.

 

Temples are also called “Wat” in Thailand. Most temples are characterized by the fact that they are beautifully decorated with golden accents that immediately stand out. Here are some of the best temples to visit Bangkok:

 

The Wat Pho

One of the best-known temples in all of Thailand is the temple with the Reclining Buddha, also called “Wat Pho“. Wat Pho is the oldest and largest temple in the city and houses more than a thousand Buddha statues, this is more than any other temple in the country.

 

In addition, the largest Buddha statue can also be found here: the reclining Buddha (Phra Buddhasaiyas), see the picture below.

 

Image of: Golden reclining Buddha in Wat Pho, Bangkok
The golden reclining Buddha statue in the Wat Pho temple, Bangkok

 

TIP – Read more about the Wat Pho here!

 

Wat Pho, a Buddhist temple complex in Bangkok - Thailand

The beautiful Wat Pho temple

 

The Wat Arun

It is a cliché to say that it is one of the most beautiful temples in Bangkok since there are quite a few of them. But together with the Wat Preah Keaw, this is certainly the most beautiful temple. It is opposite the Wat Pho on the Chao Phraya River.

 

The temple is extra beautiful during the sunset! You can also climb the Wat Arun. At the top you have a view of the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.

 

TIP – Read more about the Wat Arun here!

 

Image of: Wat Arun Temple during sunset in Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Arun temple during a sunset

 

Wat Phra Kaew or Royal Palace

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha or the Wat Phra Kaew is the main attraction within the Royal Palace; a highlight within a highlight. Although it is always and everywhere referred to as a temple, it is, in reality, a royal chapel.

 

This confusion is not entirely unjustified since the Wat Phra Kaew has all the characteristics of a temple. Although the temple is called the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Buddha is made from green nephrite.

 

TIP – Read more about the Wat Phra Kaew here.

 

Image of: Wat Phra Kaew in the Grand Palace complex in Bangkok
Wat Phra Kaew in the Grand Palace complex in Bangkok

 

Wat Saket

At the Wat Saket, you can visit the golden Chedi or “Phu Khao Thong”, also known as The Golden Mountain. You first have to climb 300 steps. Inside the temple, you will find a 58-meter chedi. The temple also organizes an annual temple fair in November, which lasts a week during Loy Krathong.

 

The hill that this temple is located on is not a natural hill; it was laid out. At the end of the 18th century, this served as the Bangkok crematorium and the dump site of around 60,000 plague victims. A bizarre thing to think about!

 

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace is the most famous attraction in Bangkok. Among the Thai residents, it is also called Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang. Words that will probably produce triple word value in Scrabble.

 

Fortunately, most tuk-tuk drivers speak English and the palace is referred to everywhere as the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace in Bangkok is a beautiful building, and one of the most popular sights of Thailand.

 

TIP – Read more about the Royal Palace here.

 

Image of: Sideview of the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

Side view of the Grand Palace in Bangkok

 

2. Visit the Floating Market

The city is located on the Chao Phraya River. Because of this, there are many small canals running through the city, also called Khlong. The city used to be called the “Venice of Asia”.

 

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing floods and the need for building space, more and more of these channels are being closed. There are Floating Markets on many of these channels, also known as the Floating Market.

 

Make sure you book the right tour because there are several markets; Damnoen Saduak Market and Amphawa Market are the best known.

 

Although it has become very commercial and the usefulness of the Floating Markets has somewhat disappeared, the Floating Markets are still definitely worth a visit! You can sail on a small boat through the khlongs (canals) and see Thai people sail back and forth with their boats packed with all kinds of fun products.

 

TIP – A tour costs around US$23 per person.

 

Image: Ampawa floating market
The cozy Amphawa floating market

 

3. Taste Delicious Food in Chinatown

Chinatown is not only in China but also in Bangkok. This is one of the many famous attractions and the best place for people who love good food. After sunset, this place turns into a mecca for food lovers.

 

They also call it Yaowarat. It is a pleasantly busy region with many small streets, shops, Chinese temples, market stalls, food stalls, and facades decorated with gold. This makes Chinatown a true tourist attraction.

 

It is no less busy during the day, as hordes of shoppers settle down on this long street and the adjacent Charoenkrung Road. The many market stalls, gold shops, and restaurants in the street make Chinatown an experience not to be missed.

 

If you come here during major festivals, such as the Chinese New Year, you won’t know what you are experiencing. Together with the Weekend Market, this is one of the nicest places in Bangkok.

 

Chinatown was established in 1782 when there were many Chinese workers in Bangkok working in the city. In addition to many stalls, you will also find the “Wat Trimit” temple. This temple houses a five meter high golden Buddha.

 

Image of: Many cars on the road in Chinatown, Bangkok
There were many cars on the road in Chinatown, Bangkok

 

4. Shopping at the Chatuchak Market (Weekend Market)

The Chatuchak market cannot be compared with any other market. This market is considered to be one of the largest markets in the world. Among the Thai people, this market is also known as the “JJ” market, because it is close to the JJ Mall.

 

The market has around 8,000 stalls so “Shopaholics” can fully enjoy themselves here. Real shoppers agree that almost everything is for sale here, although not at the best prices (as many people seem to think).

 

If you have a weekend in Bangkok, make a stop at the Chatuchak Weekend Market and you will not be disappointed.

 

TIP – Ask if they have a card or map. It is so big that you can easily get lost!

 

The Chatuchak market is also called the Weekend Market because it is on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Around 300,000 people visit the market every week! In the market itself, you will find many local products such as art, live animals, books, clothing, etc. Opening times are;

 

  • Friday – 6:00 pm to midnight.
  • Saturday and Sunday – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

Bargaining

The Chatuchak Weekend Market is the perfect place for bargain hunters. If you want to test your negotiation skills, you must come here. Bargaining has become a kind of sport and you can bargain for everything, to a certain extent of course. Always stay classy and do not embarrass a Thai local during your negotiations.

 

TIP – A tuk-tuk costs around 200 baht (US$6.50), the bus about 18 baht (US$0.58).

 

5. Rod Fai Market

The Rod Fai Market, which actually means the Train Market, is located in Bangkok. Not very many travelers go to this market and that’s because the Weekend Market is better known. We also always went to the Weekend Market but noticed that this market is getting busier. It is mainly many tourists who walk there.

 

Someone told us about the Rod Fai Market, an authentic open-air bazaar. They may sell something different here than at the Weekend Market and the market is a lot smaller, but that is also the power of this market.

 

Image of: Talad Rod Fai market in Bangkok

Colorful stands in the Rod Fai Market

 

If you are looking for an authentic experience in Bangkok, the Rod Fai Market is a must!

 

TIP – Want to know more? View our blog post about the Rod Fai Market.

 

6. Khao San Road

If you want to meet backpackers you have to be on Khao San Road. Some find it too touristy, and we agree with that, but the atmosphere is always good and pleasant. There is little to do during the day; locals start setting up their stalls towards the end of the afternoon. They sell clothing, bracelets, CDs, tattoos, and much more.

 

If you are traveling for a long time and you are looking for some new clothes for on the road, Khao San Road is a very handy place. What we do is we pack as little as possible and then buy what we need on Khao San Road! Khao San Road is also called the “nerve center” for travelers in Thailand. You can really arrange everything here; bus tickets, train tickets, tours and visas are for sale on every corner. This makes continuing your journey extra easy.

 

Read more about what you can do here on our Khao San Road page!

 

TIP – Besides Khao San Road you also have Rambuttri Road. This is near Khao San but is a bit quieter.

 

Tourists at Khao San Road in the evening

It can get very busy at Khao San Road!

 

7. Trip to Hua Hin

Hua Hin is not one of the most beautiful cities in the country or the city with the most beautiful temples, but that is not the reason why you should come here.

 

This city is a wonderful mix of city, sea, lively markets, cozy restaurants, bars, and wide beaches. The city is only a three-hour drive from Bangkok, making it an ideal “get-away” for locals and tourists alike!

 

This resort has been popular for years among travelers in Thailand who want to enjoy the sun, sea, and beach not too far away. You could even go back and forth to Hua Hin in one day.

 

TIP – Combine a Hua Hin beach holiday with a few days in the bustling metropolis of Bangkok. This is how you can make your holiday special and varied. Read more about Hua Hin here!

 

Image of: Morning view of Pranburi Beach
Morning view of Pranburi Beach, it’s very pretty!

 

7 Fun Things to Do in Bangkok

There is so much to do in this city that you will never be bored. In fact, we have been to Bangkok more than 8 times and we have still not seen and done everything. It is no secret that this is our favorite city. We have made an overview with 7 fun things to do in this city, check it out below!

 

1. Take a Cooking Course

If you travel through Asia, chances are (we hope) that you like Asian food. Wherever you go, we believe that you will always be served the most delicious dishes everywhere. And what could be more fun than making those dishes yourself?

 

In Bangkok, you can follow cooking courses everywhere. And that is nice for when you are back in your home country! Various courses are offered near Khao San Road.

 

2. Go Cycling!

It is becoming increasingly popular! In our opinion, cycling through Bangkok is the best way to discover the city. Many people travel with minivans or tuk-tuks in or to Bangkok. Because of this you unfortunately only see the asphalt and the city center.

 

It seems crazy to ride your bike between 12 million inhabitants and thousands of scooters and cars, but don’t worry! In all our time here we haven’t seen any accidents yet, just be careful and you will be fine 🙂

 

Image: Cycling in Benchakitti park
Cycling in Benchakitti park, a pretty environment!

 

3. Enjoy the View from Lebua Skybar

If you have seen the movie The Hangover you know how beautiful the view of Bangkok is from a skyscraper. And you can look out over Bangkok in exactly the same place as the actors from The Hangover.

 

The film was recorded in the Lebua State Tower. With a sloppy 247 meters, you have a spectacular view of Bangkok, especially in the evening!

 

TIP – Make sure to wear proper clothing because you are not allowed in if you wear shorts and short sleeves. A cocktail will cost you around $15. Be prepared!

 

4. Book a Meditation Course

If you are tired from cycling, making your own green curry, or looking at the view with a cocktail on the roof of a skyscraper, it is time to relax. You can follow a meditation course the next day.

 

In Asia you cannot escape Buddhism and meditation is a good way to relax and unwind after all those beautiful impressions.

 

5. Visit a Kickboxing Match

If you are looking for action after your meditation, you can visit one of the many kickboxing or Muay Thai competitions. It is always a big spectacle and the competitions are great.

 

You can often check with your hotel or hostel when and where the next matches will be. Find fellow travelers and make it a spectacular evening!

 

TIP – Of course you can also go kickboxing or practice Muay Thai yourself. Count on around 1,000 baht per lesson (US$32.50).

 

Image of: Two traditional Muay Thai fighters
Two traditional Muay Thai fighters

 

6. Spend a Day at the Zoo

Are you tired of all the temples, markets, restaurants or the crowds? Then the Dusit Zoo might be a nice trip. It is located in the center of Bangkok and with the tuk-tuk you can be there in no time. You can easily spend a few hours there.

 

They have all kinds of animals. It is a fun and varied outing!

 

7. Boat Trip on Chao Phraya River

The first thing you notice when you are in Bangkok is perhaps the river. The Chao Phraya River flows through the city like a snake and much happens around the river.

 

There are temples, floating restaurants, the famous Floating Market, water taxis, etc. That is why a boat trip on the river is so much fun! You can unwind and see everything passing by.

 

Image: Panorama view of the Chao Phraya River
Panorama view of the Chao Phraya River from the Grand Palace

 

5 Unknown Things To Do in Bangkok

Although you should definitely visit the highlights above, there are many more unknown things to do in Bangkok. These highlights are also worth a visit. Check out our list of 5 lesser known things to do in Bangkok.

 

Where to Stay in Bangkok

In Bangkok, you will probably find the most accommodations in the whole of Southeast Asia. There are thousands of places to sleep, in all shapes and sizes. From low-budget hostels for $6 per night to the most luxurious hotels with rooftop bars and pools for $330 per night.

 

We have been to Bangkok dozens of times and have seen many hotels and hostels. Check out our comprehensive guide – The 30 Best Hotels in Bangkok.

 

Khao San Road

Khao San Road is the best-known street in Bangkok. It is a great street to stroll around during the day and in the evening, but spending the night here? We’ve never done it. It is mainly the low-budget backpackers who spend the night here. If you don’t mind loud music and a lot of crowds in the evening, it’s fine, but we’d rather sleep in a quiet neighborhood.

 

TIP – Check our tips on Khao San Road.

 

Rambuttri Road

We prefer to stay the night at the nearby Rambuttri Road. Not only is it a slightly quieter street, but it is also often more pleasant. Here you can relax in one of the restaurants or bars and you will not be deaf from listening to the loud music and the shouting.

 

Best Time to Visit Bangkok

If you decide to come here you might want to have nice weather. You will walk a lot in the city and visit temples or markets. You’d rather not do that in the rain. The best time to visit Bangkok is from November to April. In these months the least rain falls and the temperature is pleasant.

 

TIP – If you want to know more about the weather in Thailand, check out our page on the best time to visit Thailand.

 

Average temperature and rainfall in Bangkok
Average temperature and rainfall in Bangkok

 

Flight Tickets to Bangkok

If you travel to Thailand you cannot escape this city. Almost all flights to Southeast Asia go via Bangkok. From here you can easily fly to Phnom Penh, Hanoi or Yangon. In addition, you can easily fly from Bangkok to cities such as Chiang Mai, Phuket or Koh Samui. And where airline tickets used to make a big hole in your budget, you can already book airline tickets for less than $650.

 

TIP – Check out Skyscanner for cheap tickets to Thailand!

 

Cheap Flights to Asia

A ticket to this city is cheaper than any other city in Southeast Asia. They call this city the Gateway to Southeast Asia for a reason. What we often do is book a ticket to Bangkok and travel from there to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia or Myanmar. This often saves you hundreds of dollars.

 

Continue Traveling in Thailand

Bangkok is the “central station” of Thailand. All routes to other destinations run via Bangkok. Hundreds of buses, boats, trains, and planes leave here every day to every corner of the country.

 

Are you looking for information about costs or departure times for destinations from / to Bangkok? Then check out 12GoAsia and view prices, routes and transportation options immediately. Here is an example for all options and prices from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

 

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