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Top 10 things to do in Bangkok

Bangkok is a city that continues to fascinate all who visit the city. It’s an interesting mix of old and new that will stir excitement in travellers, no matter what you’ve come here for. Whether it’s the shopping, history, culture or food, there’s no end to what Bangkok can offer you as a visitor.

If this is your first time in Bangkok, you’ll want to know the places to visit and things to do in Bangkok to have the best experience ever. Here are some of our recommendations on the best things to do in Bangkok.

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1. Ride a water taxi on Chao Phraya

The roads in Bangkok can get very busy so if you would like see the city in a relaxed way, you can always take a ride of one of the water taxis that traverse the Chao Phraya.

There are many stops to choose from but going to Tha Chang Pier where you can visit the Grand Palace ( described below) at the same time is recommended. To get a water taxi, you have to get to Sathorn pier, also known the Central Pier and buy an express water taxi ticket worth about 13-15 THB (RM1.70-2). This is for the normal everyday boats that the locals take.

If you want, there is the option of taking one of the tour boats for a full guided tour along the Chao Phraya. These tour boats are offered at a different counter from the regular express boats, and are marked out with a blue line.

How much: 100-150 THB (RM13-20) for tour boats; 13-15 THB (RM1.70-2) for regular express taxi boats.

Getting there: Hop on the BTS Silom line and look for the Saphan Taksin station. Once you arrive, Sathorn Pier is just below the train station.

2. Learn history at the Grand Palace

Bangkok’s Grand Palace is the one place you can’t miss in Bangkok. The palace itself is beautiful and is a complex of many buildings, some of them more than a hundred years old. The palace consists of the outer court, the central court and the inner court. Only the outer court and a few throne rooms of the central court are open to visitors.

This palace is the perfect opportunity to see traditional Thai design and architecture at its most luxurious. Keep in mind that you have to dress decently when you visit the Grand Palace. Try to wear shoes and avoid sleeveless tops, shorts and tight or see through clothing.

How much: Entrance fee is 500 THB (RM 65)

Opening hours: Daily, 8am to 3.30pm

Getting there: Take a water taxi from Sathorn Pier in Bangkok and stop at Tha Chang pier. The palace is a short walk from here. Otherwise, any tuk-tuk or taxi drivers will know where this is.

3. Get a relaxing Thai massage

If you’ve spent an entire day shopping and sightseeing, the next best thing is a wonderful massage and spa. Thankfully, Bangkok is full of spas and massage parlours.

We recommend going for the chain massage centres with a good reputation like Health Land Spa and Massage, Arunda Oriental Massage, Body Tune Spa and Asia Herb Association. They offer ala carte massage treatments of 30 minutes to two hours, and you can choose to have a traditional Thai massage, feet spa, 4 hands massage, head and shoulder massage and many others.

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4. Shop ‘til you drop at Chatuchak Weekend Market

If you’re a shopping ‘kaki’, you’ll definitely feel at home in Bangkok. One of the must-go places for shopping in Bangkok is Chatuchak, a 35-acre area market that is home to about 8000 shops. You’ll be able to find a wide array of things here, including clothing, arts and craft, books, antiques, collectibles and food and drinks.

Where: 87/10 Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand

Opening hours:
Tuesdays to Thursdays, 7am-6pm
Fridays 6pm-12am
Saturdays to Sundays 9am-6pm
Closed on Mondays

Getting there: Take the Skytrain BTS to Mo Chit Station and follow the crowd. You’ll see rows of canvas shops and the entrance will be on your right.

5. Experience nightlife at Siam Square

Siam Square is a shopping and nightlife hotspot in Bangkok that is like Bukit Bintang or the Golden Triangle in downtown KL. There are an endless array of bars, clubs, cinemas, cafes, street stalls, boutiques and shopping malls for a great night out in town. Some of the best malls in Bangkok to check out here are MBK and Siam Paragon, that offers the latest products and brands.

Apart from the malls, Siam Square is famous for its rooftop bars, including Heaven Bangkok, Red Sky Rooftop and The Roof@Siam Hotel.

Where: 388 Rama I Rd, Khwaeng Pathum Wan, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand

Getting there: Hop on the BTS Skytrain and head for Siam station. This station is also the interchange station between the Silom and Sukhumvit BTS lines.

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6. Go on a food tour at Yaowarat

Yaowarat is also known as the Chinatown of Bangkok and is the perfect place to try street food and go restaurant hopping. Apart from modern cafes and artisanal ice-cream, you can try the Thai satay, cran noodles and Yaowarat toasted bread.

Where: Yaowarat Rd, Khwaeng Samphanthawong, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100.

Getting there: Take the MRT to the Hua Lamphong station and Chinatown is about 15 minute walk away.

7. Watch a traditional Thai puppet show

Unlike many other cultures where the puppeteers are hidden, traditional Thai puppetry has their puppet handlers in full view. Each puppet is handled by three people, and they incorporate dance elements into their performance, which consists of tales from Thai mythology. One place in Bangkok where you can watch these puppets are at the Aksra Theater.

Where: Aksra Theater, King Power Duty Free Complex, Soi Rong Nam

Getting there: Take the BTS Skyline to the Victory Monument stop. Get down and walk towards Century The Movie Plaza and turn left into Rang Nam Alley. You’ll see the King Power Duty Free Complex on your right.

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8. Dabble in a little mystery at Jim Thompson’s House

Jim Thompson was a successful American businessman known as the Silk King of Thailand. He was active in SouthEast Asia, settling down in Bangkok during the 1940s to 1960s. Interestingly, Jim Thompson has a connection to Malaya, as he went missing under mysterious circumstances in 1967 during a holiday in Cameron Highlands.

Currently, his house in Bangkok has been turned into a museum showcasing his spectacular collection of objets d’art from this region.

Where: 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Road, Bangkok 10330

Opening hours: Daily from 9am to 6pm, with guided tours

Entrance fee: 200 THB (RM25.70) for adults, 100 THB (RM12.90) for youths under 22 years old and free-of-charge for children under 10 years old

Getting there: Take the BTS Skyline Silom line to the National Stadium and walk 4 minutes to the house museum

9. Attend a free Muay Thai match

If you find yourself in Bangkok on a Sunday, make your way to the Channel 7 Boxing Stadium where the weekly live Muay Thai fights happen. Members of the public are allowed in for free and if you’re a foreigner, there will be a special section for you.

The fight starts around 2pm, so make sure you come at least 15 minutes to half an hour before that to get seats. After that, it’s all adrenaline and excitement as each round is fought

Where: Channel 7 Boxing Stadium, 998/1, 998/1 วิภาวดีรังสิต Chom Phon, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand

When: 2pm, every Sunday

Getting there: The Channel 7 Boxing Stadium is 10 minutes walk from the Mo Chit station on the BTS Skyline

10. Visit Wat Arun

There are more than 10,000 magnificent temples across Thailand, but Wat Arun truly stands out. The temple has existed since the 17th century, and its signature three spires were built during the early 1800s during the reign of King Rama II.

Being here gives one a real sense of Thailand’s artistry and their devotion to Buddhism.The main spire rises to 70 m high and is decorated is shining porcelain pieces.

Where: 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Khwaeng Wat Arun, Khet Bangkok Yai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10600, Thailand

Opening hours: Daily 8am to 5.30pm

Entrance fee: 50 THB (RM6.40)

Getting here: The fastest way here is by river taxi boats from Sathorn Pier (or any pier near you). Get off at the Tha Tien pier and take a ferry across the river to the Khun Mae Pueak pier and you’re on the steps of Wat Arun.

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Excitement and adventure awaits you in Bangkok. Book cheap flights, hotels and car rental for your trip on Skyscanner.