Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, was the most popular tourist destination on the planet 2016 with more than 21 million visitors. From impressive temples and skyscrapers — some of which boasts the most incredible rooftop bars in the world — to markets and street food. Here are 13 things you must do to get a taste of this megacity.
1. Visit the impressive Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is the number one must-see attraction in Bangkok. This impressive complex with more than 100 buildings representing 200 years of royal history is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Thailand.
2. Get a drink at a rooftop bar
When it comes to rooftop bars, Bangkok is probably the coolest city in the world! There are plenty of spectacular rooftop bars like Vertigo and Moon Bar and CHAR Rooftop Bar (pictured above). The most famous, however, is Sky Bar at Lebua thanks to the Hollywood movie The Hangover Part II.
Recommendation: Best price on Hotel Indigo Bangkok with CHAR Rooftop Bar
3. Take a Chao Phraya River Cruise
A cruise along the majestic Chao Phraya River is the most enjoyable way to explore Bangkok’s historical landmarks. Even better is to enjoy the cruise with delicious food like Loy Nava.
4. Explore Chinatown
Chinatown is located in one of the oldest parts of Bangkok. This vibrant district with market stalls, street-side restaurants, and gold shops has been a center of Chinese settlement since 1782. The 1-km long strip with neon signs in Chinese, tuk-tuks and wooden buildings provides many great photo opportunities.
5. Pay a visit to Wat Pho and the reclining Buddha
Wat Pho, or The Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is a temple complex located in Bangkok’s Old City on Rattanakosin Island just south of the Grand Palace. The complex has the largest collection of Buddha statues in Thailand with the 46 meters long reclining Buddha as the big attraction.
6. Visit a floating market
One of the most popular things to do in Bangkok is to visit a floating market. Damnoen Saduak one and a half hours drive away is the most famous in Thailand, known all over the world from movies such as the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.
7. Do some world-class shopping
Bangkok is a shopaholic paradise with mega shopping malls such as Siam Paragon, CentralWorld, and MBK. Here’s more than enough to suit all kinds of lifestyles.
8. Experience Soi Cowboy
Soi Cowboy has a more easy-going, laid-back atmosphere than other famous red-light districts in Bangkok. The 150-meter long strip with pink-red-purple ultraviolet lighting and loud music is packed with go-go bars and girls in revealing clothes standing outside trying to attract customers.
9. Check out Wat Arun
Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) is situated by the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok’s Old City. The 70 meters high temple derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna and is easily one of the most stunning temples in Bangkok.
10. Eat street food
From Pad Thai to Som Tam to all kinds of BBQ; in Bangkok, you can munch on the best street food in the world. And it’s cheap!
11. Discover Lumpini Park
If you’re tired of Bangkok’s traffic jam, you should spend a day in Lumpini Park which is one of the largest urban parks in Thailand. The park is located in the center of Bangkok, near the main business district with top hotels and luxury shopping venues — much like Central Park in New York City.
Also read: 5 Unique Urban Adventures in Bangkok
12. Go on a day trip to Ayutthaya Historical Park
UNESCO has granted the spectacular ruins of Ayutthaya World Heritage status. Located about 80 km from Bangkok, Ayutthaya has surprisingly few tourists.
13. Riding a tuk-tuk
Riding a tuk-tuk is a fun experience but can also be a practical way to get through the traffic jam over short distances. For long distances, I recommend the BTS Skytrain.
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