Heaped in culture and tradition, there are countless things to do in Bangkok for first-time visitors.
Whether it’s from Hollywood movies playing out the quirky bits and nightlife of this city, by word of mouth, or having been there themselves, most travelers you meet in Southeast Asia will at least have one incredible detail to tell you about Bangkok.
It’s the capital of Thailand – otherwise known as the Land of a Thousand Smiles – and the people couldn’t be friendlier.
However, many people don’t stay more than a few days before they move on to another city. Therefore, you need to have a plan of attack.
The following tips for what to see and do in Bangkok are brought to you together with Withlocals, but I curated each of them.
This list should get you going, but remember to always keep your eyes open in Bangkok or you’ll miss your favorite part (or have to dive out of the way of one of the crazy scooter drivers).
See also: The Best Hostels in Bangkok
Top Bangkok Attractions
1. Khao San Road
Khao San Road is the most famous road in all of Southeast Asia – have one stroll down it, and you’ll soon find out why.
Beer, bugs, and buckets; the three B’s of Khao San.
The bugs, of course, are fried and for sale and the buckets are filled with liquor.
All party life in Bangkok starts and ends on Khao San Road.
2. The Grand Palace
There are thousands of Buddhist temples in Bangkok.
You can hardly walk the street for more than a few blocks before running into one.
However, if you’re only going to see one temple, make it the biggest in the entire country – The Grand Palace.
3. Chatuchak Weekend Market
The Chatuchak Market is the biggest market in Thailand where you can find just about anything you can imagine being sold by one of the thousands of street vendors.
Whether it's food or trinkets or clothes – everything is for sale.
Chatuchak is only open on weekends, unfortunately, so make a day out of it and see a Muy Thai fight across the street (#8 on this list) too.
4. Floating Market Tour
Any tour agency in Bangkok will sell you a floating market tour at a fairly reasonable price.
Expect to pay anywhere from $12-15 for a tour that will last the majority of the day and usually include a meal.
Floating markets are fun and another unique Bangkok experience.
5. Thipsamai Pad Thai
Pad Thai, a noodle and veggie-based dish, is far and away the food to try in Thailand.
There are so many Bangkok food tours to join, but we recommend finding one that takes you to Thipsamai Pad Thai located near the heart of the old part of town.
On the walls, you’ll see rave reviews from the BBC, CNN, Lonely Planet, The Times – and the list goes on and on.
In short, Thipsamai is the best place for Pad Thai in the entire world.
For example, check out the Gordon Ramsey’s Bangkok food tour by Withlocals.
You can find many alternatives available on the market, but in our opinion, this one offers a good combination of authentic tastings and city attractions, with a local guiding you around.
6. Take a Tuk-Tuk Tour
There’s no better way to travel through Bangkok than in the open-air motor tricycles known as tuk-tuks.
Typically, you can negotiate with a driver to take you around for a few hours to any number of Bangkok attractions at a reasonable price.
You won’t ever have to look long for a tuk-tuk either; they’re everywhere!
7. River Cruise
The Chao Phrya River flows through the entire city, and it’s bustling with all kinds of traffic: river taxis, crossing ferries, cargo ships, fishing boats.
Fortunately, you can choose from a plethora of dinner cruises that will take you down the river and past some of Bangkok’s other top attractions.
8. See a Muay Thai Match
Muay Thai is huge in Thailand; it's the most popular sport.
There are matches happening routinely throughout the city on any night of the week.
It’d be better to ask your hotel or hostel reception where to go for the best fight happening during your visit.
Alternatively, check out Channel 7 Stadium (across from Chatuchak Market).
9. Day Trip to Ayutthaya
Staying in Bangkok for a few extra days?
Ayutthaya, an hour's train from Bangkok, is an ancient temple city that's listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Rent a scooter while you’re there for the full experience.
10. Sukhumvit Road
Whether it’s the MBK, Siam Center, Central World, or any number of other shopping malls – Sukhumvit Road can keep you entertained for days.
Easily accessible with the BTS sky train above, you should be able to visit many of the most exciting places of this flashier part of Bangkok.
Bangkok is one of the most visited cities in the world.
More than 21 million people pass through Bangkok every year.
Many don’t stay their entire trip – there are many more places to see in Thailand as well, but a few days in this crazy city will prepare you for the rest of your trip.
This story was brought to you in partnership with WithLocals.
Adam is the Community Manager at Go Backpacking. You can find more of his writing on his own blog, Wanderway. Read his debut travel fiction novel, Summer of '92, on Amazon now!
Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:
- G Adventures for small group tours.
- World Nomads for travel insurance.
- Hostelworld for booking hostels.
- Rail Europe for train passes.