What to see and do in Bangkok: Must-do's


February 20, 2022

Thailand's chaotic capital is a place where you're not likely to be bored. Generally, people either love or hate Bangkok. Being a mega city, modern and chaotic, it's often not a city you like at first, but once you get carried away, its charm grabs you. It is the place where most travellers start their journey through Thailand or Asia. With all the things it has to offer you can easily stay for 3 days. If you are planning a trip to Thailand we leave you a practical guide with everything you need to know before you travel.

How to get around Bangkok?

To find out how to get from the airport to the city, here you have a guide with all the possible transfers ;).

Bangkok offers a great variety of transportation to move around: tuk tuk, subway, Skytrain(BTS), bus, cab and Grab/ Bolt (Asian Uber). If you go to areas near the river or you are staying near the river another good option is to move by boat, you can see the docks on google maps. It is a super cheap and fast way to move from one side of the river to the other, we use it a lot.

Most of the city is within walking distance but there are some areas that are far away. For us the best way to get around was with the sky train and Grab as the prices are very affordable.

As we have been telling you and advising you, in Asia cabs do not usually use a taximeter, but the price is agreed in advance. As they know that you are a tourist they will inflate the price a lot, so for us the best option to move around is Grab as it is super transparent. What you can also do is to see the price in Grab to know how much the cab or tuk tuk has to charge you and negotiate. Unlike what you would think, tuk tuks are usually more expensive than cabs.

Where to stay in Bangkok?

Finding the ideal place to stay in Bangkok can be difficult due to the amount of offer there is. To simplify your search we have put together a short list of the best neighborhoods to stay in during your visit to Bangkok. 

Chao Phraya River (Riverside): This area covers both sides of the Chao Phraya River. Most of the tourist sites are located here.

Sukhumvit: It is one of the main avenues of the city and offers a wide variety of accommodations, shops and restaurants.

Khaosan Road: Famous for being one of the most popular streets in the city, it is a favorite place for many backpackers. It offers a unique mix of nightlife and street culture. If you want to get away from the chaos but still be close to this famous street you can look for accommodations nearby.

Siam, Silom and Lumpini: This is the shopping area par excellence and may be a bit far from the center, but it has excellent public transport connections. 

What to do in Bangkok?

1. Bangkok Grand Palace

This first stop is a must on your visit to Bangkok. It was built in 1792 after Thailand's capital was moved to Bangkok and was the official residence of the royal family until the mid-20th century.

It is an architectural complex that leaves no one indifferent. It occupies an area of 200,000 square meters and is composed of various temples (Temple of the Emerald Buddha among others), a museum, the former royal residence and gardens. A mini walled city.

The dress code is very strict. Both women and men must cover their shoulders and knees. Be careful, sometimes even with a scarf to cover your shoulders they don't let you pass.

  • Price: $500 Baths ($16 USD)
  • Schedule: 8:30 to 15:30hs

TIP: As one of the most touristy places in Bangkok, avoid midday. Go early in the morning or close to closing time.

If you want to take a guided tour of the palace in Spanish we recommend you to book here.

grand palace bangkok
grand palace bangkok
grand palace bangkok
grand palace bangkok

2. Wat Pho or Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Another essential stop near the Grand Palace is Wat Pho with the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand. It measures 46 meters long by 25 meters high and is bathed in gold.

Besides the Reclining Buddha the temple grounds are quite large with stupas full of details, it is a beautiful temple!


  • Price: $300 Baths ($8.5 USD)
  • Opening hours: 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Wat Arun

To get here you will have to take a public boat to cross the Chao Phraya River from Tha Tien Pier. It costs $4 Baths ($0.10 USD) and takes 5 minutes. It's the cheapest, local and quickest way to get here. Otherwise, you can take a grab or tuk tuk.

It is one of the main Buddhist temples in Bangkok. Its name means Temple of Dawn or Temple of Dawn. It has a central tower of more than 75 metres, which is impressive. The beauty of the temple lies in its decoration, Chinese porcelain mosaics and seashells. During its construction in 1650, the King of Thailand called on citizens to donate their broken pottery for the construction of the temple. Many came from merchant ships that used the Chinese ceramic plates to make counterweight. The king was several centuries ahead of the idea of recycling.


  • Price: $50 Baths ($1.5 USD)
  • Opening hours: 8:30 to 17:30hs

Next to Wat Arun there is another temple with free entrance and it is usually empty, I recommend you to take a look, it is very nice too! I couldn't find the name of the temple (in google it's in Thai) so I'll leave you the location.

Pro-tip: You can visit them a while before sunset, then cross to the other side of the river and see how the sun falls on the temple and how beautifully it is illuminated.

Wat Arun

4. Browse through the Pak Khlongflower market.

When you return to the Tha Tien Pier very close you will find the Pak Khlong flower market. You will find all kinds of flowers and you will be able to see how they assemble the famous floral garlands that Buddhists use as offerings. It is a different walk to do in Bangkok. In front of this market, you will find another food market that also deserves a stop.

5. Chinatown

Chinatown in Bangkok is a real chaos. This old neighborhood, with its two main streets Charoen Krung and Yaowarat Road, is completely transformed day and night, so it is good to go at different times.

Before the sun goes down, take a stroll through Sampeng's bustling clothing market and pop into a Chinese Buddhist temple such as Mangkon Kamalawat Temple. When night falls, the vibe changes to street food stalls taking over, with restaurant lights and tuk tuk headlights illuminating everything.

Spending some time in Chinatown is worth it to discover this other side of Bangkok. If you want to understand more about the history of the neighborhood and not to miss anything fun, you can book a free walking tour in English through Chinatown.

6. Have fun at Khao San Road and Soi Rambuttri

A night out not to be missed is the markets and nightlife of Khao San Road. A street full of bars, food stalls, shops and even fried scorpion vendors. It has a very cool atmosphere for a fun night out.

Soi Rambuttri is the parallel street to Khao San. It is a bit quieter and has more restaurants.

Tip: This is the quintessential backpacker area with plenty of cheap accommodation.

7. Wat Benchamabophit

Another temple to visit is Wat Benchamabophit, also known as the marble temple. As I'm sure you've noticed, the word Wat in Thai means temple.

It's on the outskirts of Bangkok's old town and, because it's not well known (yet), you're likely to be one of the few to visit it. It was built with Italian marble. The interior of the temple mixes traditional Thai elements with touches of European palaces of the time.

  • Price: $50 Baths ($1.5 USD)
  • Opening hours: From 6am

8. Floating markets

The whole city of Bangkok is connected by different canals, which is why it has several floating markets. Visiting these markets is a very authentic experience: see how they cook on boats, how they move from one point to another to buy all kinds of products, etc.. The most famous are: Damnoen Saduak, Thailing Chan and Khlong Lat Mayom.

floating market
floating market

‍DamnoenSaduak: It is located 80km from the city. It is the most famous of the country and therefore the most touristic. If your intention is to see the authenticity of the place probably this is not the best one to visit. The good thing is that being the most touristic there are many excursions that also include the Mae Klong market (the one on the train tracks) on the same day. We recommend you to go as early as possible to the floating market to avoid the tourists. Here we leave you to book the excursion to ambor markets in advance.

Thailing Chan: Unlike the previous one, this one is only 20 minutes by cab (or Grab) from the center of Bangkok. It is a good option if you do not have much time, it is also a little less touristic than the previous one and you will be able to appreciate much better the local life. This market is only on weekends from 8 am to 6 pm.

Khlong Lat Mayom: It is located 20 kilometers from the capital and is one of the best floating markets in Bangkok. It is small and much more authentic. It is open every day from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. If you plan to visit Chatuchak market it is a good option to go the same day.

9. Mae Klong Market

Mae Klong Market is famous for being crossed by the railroad. The market is on the train tracks themselves and the vendors have to gather their stalls every time the train passes. It passes 8 times a day: 6:20h, 8:30h, 9h, 11:10h, 11:30h, 14:30h, 15:30h and 17:40h.

The market is located 90 km from the city. You can go on an excursion that combines the Mae Klong market with the Damnoen Saduak floating market. You can book it here.

Our recommendation is that if you can you go to see the trains that pass in the morning when there are local people shopping in the market, we went at noon and there were not many local people, only tourists on the side of the tracks with cameras in hand, like this:

train market
train market

10. The Siam area and its huge shopping malls.

Bangkok is one of the cities with the largest number of skyscrapers. The more modern Bangkok can be found in the Siam, Silom and Sukhumvit areas.

It also has some spectacular shopping centres such as Siam Paragon (luxury brands), Central World (more affordable brands) or MBK (imitations of all kinds).

11. Wat Ratchabophit

This temple was not on our itinerary, we found it on our way back from the flower market to the hostel. As you can see, when we get lost and go off the planned route we can find amazing places! This is what we like the most about Bangkok, there are things to discover in every corner of the city.

We loved it and we were alone. After a little more research we found out that it is the place where the ashes of the Thai Royal Family are still kept, so it has a great significance for the history of the country.

wat Ratchabophit entrance
budda and man
Wat Ratchabophit
Wat Ratchabophit

12. Escape for a while from the chaos in Lumpini Park or Chatuchak Park.

After a day of walking around the chaotic city, what better way to escape to a park for a while and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. Bangkok has several, including Lumpini in the modern area, and Chatuchak near Chatuchak Market.

13. Chatuchak Market

It is one of the largest markets in Bangkok. It is only open on weekends. It is located on the outskirts of the city but can be easily reached by BTS (Mo Chit stop) or Grab. It has more than 10,000 stalls selling EVERYTHING: clothes, accessories, technology, souvenirs, etc.

14. Walking through the little streets of Talat Noi

It is considered one of the oldest neighborhoods in Bangkok. Talat Noi is a corner that combines the rich Portuguese and Chinese heritage. 

With streets full of life and color, this old neighborhood on the banks of the Chao Phraya River is ideal for wandering through streets and alleys to find auto parts stores to modern cafes and vibrant street art. You can also visit the So Heng Tai mansion, an architectural gem that fuses Chinese and Thai influences, a testament to 20th century opulence.

If you are interested you can also take a guided tour.

15. Jim Thompson House

The Jim Thompson House is a fascinating museum located in the heart of Bangkok. Jim Thompson, an American businessman with a passion for Thai silk, built this house in the 1950s with the intention of preserving traditional Thai architecture. The house, surrounded by a lush garden, features an impressive collection of antiques and Asian art.

It is possible to tour the well-preserved rooms and learn about the life and mysterious fate of Thompson, who disappeared in Malaysia in 1967.

  • Price: $200 Baths ($5.7 USD)
  • Schedule: 10 to 17hs 

16. Visiting a terrace in Bangkok

Bangkok is a city of contrasts where the modernity of the skyscrapers coexists with the tradition of the old houses. Many of these have terraces with bars and restaurants, where you can go to enjoy the sunset.

Some of the most famous viewpoints in the city are:

  • Mahanakhon: It is an Observatory on the 78th floor at 314 meters high offering 360 degree panoramic views of the city. It has a glass floor and its architecture in the form of glass boxes are truly impressive. You can buy your ticket here.
  • Baiyoke Tower: With the highest hotel in Southeast Asia offers panoramic views of the entire city from its 84th floor. It is open from 10:00 to 02:00 in the morning. You can buy your ticket here.
  • Sirocco: Famous for appearing in the movie Hangover, this restaurant stands out for its spectacular outdoor terrace at the Lebua at State Tower Hotel. It has a dress code.
  • Vertigo: Located on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel, it offers breathtaking views of Bangkok from its open-air terrace.

17. Srinagarindra Night Market or Train Market

Srinagarindra Night Market, known as Train Market, is an open-air night market in Bangkok, a bit far from the center but worth exploring to escape the hustle and bustle. Located on Srinakarin Soi 51, near the Seacon Square shopping mall, it offers a unique atmosphere with lively locals on weekends.

This huge market is noted for its great atmosphere, with open-air bars, live music, vintage clothing and dining options.

  • Hours: Thursday to Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

18. Wat Samphran Temple

It is the famous 17-storey pink building which is surrounded by a dragon whose head ends up crowning the building. It is a kind of monastery inhabited by nuns. Usually on weekends the nuns open the access door to the upper floors, which gives you the possibility to go upstairs, otherwise you can only visit the ground floor.

Temple Wat Samphran dragon building
Photo by @travellermoodnesia
Wat Samphran dragon building
Photo by @travellermoodnesia

How to get to Wat Samphran Temple? It is located on the outskirts of Bangkok in the Sam Phran District, 40km from the centre. The easiest way is by taxi or grab. You can also take a minivan from the Pinklao Road minivan station.

The temple gate is located exactly here.

19. Aircraft graveyard

If you are one of those who like to explore this is a place you can't miss, the aircraft graveyard in Bangkok. You can climb around aeroplanes and see how huge they really are.

How to enter? From the street you will see the giant boeing. It is just off the busy street. The entrance gate looks quite intimidating with drawn signs warning you to stay away. But that's OK, you'll probably be approached by a local family and allowed in for a little money, about 200 Baths.

How to get there? The exact address is as follows. The cheapest and fastest way is to take a boat. From Pratu Nam (near Siam Station and next to the Premium Mall) you can take the boat across the river. The trip takes 30 minutes and costs only 20 baht ($0,60USD).

abandoned airplane
Photo by @onceuponjourney
abandoned airplane
Photo by @onceuponjourney

20. Day trip to Ayutthaya

A visit to the temples of Ayutthaya is a must during your stay in Thailand. It was once considered the most spectacular city on earth. In the 16th century the kingdom extended into what is now Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. It was a regional power for 417 years.

It is located 1 hour from Bangkok so you can go there during the day and come back, or spend the night there. For us it is best to go on your own but there is also the possibility to go with an excursion and you can book it here. book it here.

See all the things to do in Ayutthaya here

ayutthaya bangkok temple
ayutthaya buddha tree

21. Erawan Waterfalls

It is a national park located 265km from Bangkok. It is a waterfall made up of 7 different levels. In total it is a 2 km walk, surrounded by trees and vines until you reach the last level. We loved this national park, the colour of the water, the nature, 100% recommendable.

If you have little time the ideal is to go with an organized tour from Bangkok, in Khao San Road many agencies offer it and if not you can book a private tour here. If you have a little more time it is best to go on your own, you will probably have to spend the night in Kanchanaburri.

We put together a post exclusively about Erawan Falls, how to get there and more tips!

erawan falls kanchanaburi
erawan falls kanchanaburi