Thailand’s capital Bangkok is the world’s #1 most-visited city and it’s easy to see why. It’s filled with ornate temples, bustling streets, luxury malls, famous nightlife, urban gems and more! The contrast of old and new is enough to stimulate the senses.
How to Get to Bangkok
Most airlines offer direct flights from major cities to Bangkok. I usually compare flights and prices on Google Flights, Trip.com, Kayak, and Skyscanner. I’ve booked almost all my flights on Trip.com since starting my Asia trip, because their prices have been the cheapest. We took a Giant Ibis bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok, which I’d highly recommend if you’re coming from Cambodia. If you missed my blog post on Angkor, click here to take a read!
How Long Should I Stay?
First of all, Bangkok is a huge city and you can easily stay for a while. However, I think you can hit all the major highlights within 2-3 full days!
Where To Stay
Choosing the area you want to stay in Bangkok can be a little overwhelming, since it’s so massive! This article by Bangkok.com provides a really good breakdown of what each area has to offer. I strongly suggest picking a hotel that’s close to an MRT station. It’ll save you a lot of time and money.
We stayed at T-Hostel @ Rama4 in the Sukhumvit’s Khlong Toei neighbourhood, which is only about a 7-minute walk to the closest MRT station. I’d recommend this hostel, since the rooms were spacious, clean and affordable!
Use my discount code on Booking.com to get $25 CAD off your first booking on Booking.com!
How to Get Around
Using Bangkok’s MRT and the BTS Skytrain is the fastest and most efficient way of travelling around the city. It’s so easy to use and we were able to get to any destination within 15-25 minutes! Likewise, you can also use a Grab Car if your destination isn’t close to an MRT. Just be aware that there can be a lot of traffic! You can also take the metro to the closest station to your destination, then order a Grab car from there. Taxis and tuk-tuks are other options, but they can be expensive. They’re also notorious for overcharging.
Another quick way of getting around is hiring a taxi motorbike from the side of the road! You’ll see them wearing official vests on the side of the road. I’m not sure what the prices are like since we never took one, but I’ve heard they’re cheap!
What to Do During the Day in Bangkok
Visit Wat Arun Ratchawararam Temple
Hours: 8am – 5:30pm (Several sites state it opens at 8:30am, but the sign at the temple states 8am.)
Entrance Fee: 200 THB
Wat Arun, (Temple of the Dawn) is one of the most stunning temples you’ll visit. The structure sits at over 70 metres high and is decorated with the most intricate details. Visit in the early morning at 8am to beat the crowds and heat. Watch the sunset from the opposite side of the river for another stunning view!
If you’re coming from Wat Pho Temple (which is directly opposite Wat Arun), you can take a small shuttle boat from Tha Tien Pier. It only costs 3 THB. Ferries run from 6am – 8pm. We didn’t visit both temples in one day, because we wanted to visit them on two different mornings at opening time.
Also, don’t forget to dress respectfully by covering your shoulders and knees.
Visit Wat Pho Temple to See the Reclining Buddha
Hours: 8am – 5pm
Entrance Fee: 100 THB
Wat Pho is Thailand’s oldest and largest temple and is ranked in the top 25 landmarks in the world. This is due to the famous giant reclining gold Buddha measuring 46 metres long that sits inside the temple! The colourful details are enough of a reason to pop in for a visit.
Oddly enough, Wat Pho is one of the leading massage schools in Thailand. This would be a great place to get a massage if you’re looking to get one.
See the Abandoned Planes at the Airplane Graveyard
Hours: 9am – 6:30pm
Fee: 200 THB
I got so much interest and questions on Instagram regarding this unique attraction when I first posted the photos. Here lies 3 abandoned airplanes that includes a large 747 and 2 small jetliners. They act as a makeshift home and income source for a few Thai families, so be prepared to pay the entrance fee when you visit! As of January 2019, the entrance fee was 200 THB. Just be careful when you’re climbing and exploring the interior.
How to Get There
- Grab Car. Airplane Graveyard is located on one of the busiests roads approximately 19 kilometers outside the main city. Be sure to book a car early when you know you’re leaving the site soon. We left after sunset during rush hour. As a result, we waited 25 minutes for the Grab driver to arrive and it took an hour and a half to get back to our hostel.
- Bus. This is your cheapest option, but it’ll take you the longest (an hour and a half). From our hostel, you can take the Bus #173 all the way to the site.
Admire the LEGO Building
The MahaNakhon Building is Thailand’s most iconic and tallest skyscraper. The nickname is derived from its unique pixelated design! You can see it from most places in downtown Bangkok, which located is the Central Business District. We didn’t go inside this building, but it houses luxury apartments, a shopping mall, upscale restaurants, office space, and the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Get off at BTS Chong Nonsi Station for to see this building.
Visit Sathorn Square
Exit the MRT at Silom Station to see the Sathorn Square bridge surrounded by skyscrapers.
Visit A Floating Market
There are so many floating markets in Bangkok, but most of them are an hour and a half drive outside the city. The 2 most famous ones that you’ve probably seen in photos are Damneon Saduak Floating Market and Amphawa Floating Market. If you’re interested in visiting these, I’d recommend going with a day tour that includes round trip transportation, a longtail boat ride, and English-speaking tour guide.
We ended up not making the trek outside the city. Rather, we visited the Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market inside Bangkok. It’s not as big as the other markets, but it feels more authentic since it’s the most popular with the locals. Try the delicious sweets, snakehead fish, or buying fruit from one of the locals vendors sitting in a longtail boat! It’s a really great market to visit if you want to avoid all the tourists.
A fun thing to do here is to take a longtail boat ride that takes you through the water canals, where you’ll see many traditional floating houses. The ride costs 100 THB and it’ll also stop at an orchard farm.
Khlong Lat Mayom Hours: Open Saturdays & Sundays 8am – 5pm
Visit One of Bangkok’s Many Malls
Bangkok is not short of shopping malls, especially luxury ones! Visit any one of them for a break from the boiling heat! The malls we visited are CentralWorld, Terminal 21, and the Siam Malls.
What To Do At Night in BAngkok
Have a Drink at The Famous Sky Bar for Sunset
Award-wining SkyBar is located on the rooftop of Lebua Hotel and is widely regarded as Bangkok’s top rooftop bar. This is due to its incredible views and creative cocktails. It gained even more recognition when it appeared in a scene in “The Hangover 2” film.
It’s the best place to watch the sunset and see Bangkok light up after dawn. Drinks are expensive with prices starting at 900 THB. They didn’t enforce that you absolutely had to buy a drink when we were there, so you can visit just to see the views. I read reviews that it’s usually super crowded, but we went on a weeknight. Therefore, we had a comfortable atmosphere for taking photos and having a drink.
Dress Code: They are very strict with dress code and WILL enforce it. They told Alex to uncuff his jeans before entering the bar elevator. This is the dress code policy according to their official website – “We do not permit athletic or sports uniforms, torn clothing, slippers, beach sandals and flip-flops. Gentlemen must avoid any sleeveless clothing, shorts, and open shoes. Please note that our smart casual dress code applies to children.”
Hours: 4pm – 1am
Note: The scene that the Hangover was filmed was actually a few floors up from the bar we took photos at. The space is quite small, so stick to the first open bar that you first arrive at for the views!
Visit Khao San Road
Hours: 6pm – 4am
Khao San Road is often described as “the backpacking centre of the universe.” It’s packed with hostels, hotels, loud bars/clubs, street vendors, restaurants, tattoo shops, massage parlours, and more. The food here isn’t as delicious as other local spots, but it’s still a great place to try some Thai snacks. Khao San Road is a fun place to explore, grab a drink, shop, party and get lost in its rowdy atmosphere!
Eat at Weekend Night Market @ Rot Fai
Hours: Thursday to Sunday from 5pm – Midnight
Location: Close to Culture Centre MRT Underground Station
Rot Fai Market is the newer version of the Srinakarin branch, which is much larger and farther outside of Bangkok. The location is more central and easier for those wanting to experience this famous night market. You’ll see long avenues of clothing, Western bars, barber shops, antiques, and food stalls. If you’re taking a taxi, make sure to tell the driver that you want to visit Rot Fai at the Ratachada location!
Take a Trip to Chinatown
Take a trip to Bangkok’s Chinatown for street food, gold shopping, and market shopping. Personally, I didn’t think Bangkok’s Chinatown was anything special compared to other Chinatowns I’ve visited. However, the food at Yaowarat Night Market was cheap and delicious!
Where To Eat
Jeh O Chula
Hours: 5:30am – 2am
Location: Google Map
Jeh O Chula is the most popular late night street food restaurant, especially with university students. They are most famous for their Tom Yum Mama instant noodles with pork. Try their salmon salad (my favourite!) and other delicious seafood! Just be prepared to wait in line. We visited two different nights and had to wait 45 minutes to an hour for a table. It’s well worth it though! It’s listed as a Michelin-Guide Restaurant, awarded a Bib Gourmand for good value. “Bibs” are awarded for simple yet skillful cooking for under £28 or €40.”
Eat Phad Thai at Baan Phad Thai
Hours: 11am – 10pm
Price: 40-70 THB
Baan Phad Thai also made it on the Michelin Guide list. It serves only high-quality phad thai in different variations. The most popular versions are Phad Thai Boo (made with crab) and Phad Thai Moo Yang (made with grilled pork). The bold flavours combined with the charcoal stove’s smokiness makes it a killer dish! Expect to wait in a long line too!
Drink Thai Iced Tea from Cha Tra Mue
Cha Tra Mue is the original company that produces the thai tea mixture. I only bought thai teas from vendors who used the original Cha Tra Mue mix, because it’s the most delicious! I was thriiiiilled when I found there were shops all over Bangkok. They have a wide array of tea flavours, but try their Thai tea or green tea ice cream for a change. They even have a mix if you can’t decide!
Other Honourable Mentions
Finally, eat fried bananas, Thai nutella-banana pancakes, mango sticky rice, sweet Thai crepes, coconut ice cream, coconut pancakes, and fresh fruits!