The capital and most populous city of Thailand, Bangkok, is known for its beautiful temples, unbearably spicy food, and chaotic nightlife. While it can be an overwhelming city at first, our guide will help narrow down the most important sights and necessities.
5 Great Sites:
- Grand Palace and Wat Prakeaw: Known as the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom, this dazzling complex is a must see during your stay in Bangkok. The detailed temples, abundant gold decorations, and famous Emerald Buddha make this the premier attraction of Bangkok.
- Wat Pho: An easy walk from the Grand Palace, this is the largest and oldest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. Not only does this temple house the giant Reclining Buddha stretching 151 feet long, but Wat Pho is also famous for its traditional Thai massages, which are said to be some of the best in the city.
- Khaosan Road: Often referred to as the “backpackers road,” Khaosan is a destination for all Bangkok travelers to check out. This road is sometimes overwhelming as it’s full of energy all day long and is packed with hotels, bars, street food, tattoo shops, clothing and more.
- Floating Markets: Escape the city life for a day and check out one of these markets where vendors sell souvenirs, fresh local fruits and even full meals from their boats.
- Chinatown: Chinatown is a food haven for tourists, lined with market stalls and restaurants. It’s always buzzing with tourists and good energy.
- Chatuchak Weekend Market: This market is one of the largest in the world selling everything from vintage clothing and furniture to homemade pad thai to kittens and puppies! It would be easy to spend a full day here; remember that all prices are up for negotiation and the vendor rarely expects you to pay the asking price.
- Lumpini Park: This inner city gem offers a breath of fresh air with lots of green space, playgrounds, and a pond.
- Siam Ocean World: Hidden underneath the Siam Paragon shopping mall, this large aquarium makes for a great family outing.
- Mansion 7: One of Bangkok’s more bizarre attractions, this shopping mall’s theme has a dark, spooky twist. A variety of shopping and dining can be done in this “haunted” mall.
- Samutprakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo: This crocodile farm features elephants, lions, snakes and of course, crocodiles.
- Temples, temples, temples: Although some of the more famous temples require a ticket of about $3- $10, there are countless beautiful and free temples to see as well. A few recommendations are Wat Mangkorn Kamalawat in Chinatown and Wat Patum Wanaran in central Bangkok.
- Art Galleries: Bangkok is a city full of Thai culture, both modern and ancient. Check out the Queen’s Gallery which features young Thai artists’ work.
- View from Wat Saket: 318 steps up, lies this temple, a large golden Buddha, and stunning views over the city of Bangkok.
- Siam Paragon: This is one of the largest shopping malls in Asia and a sight to see itself. Although you could easily spend a few hundred to thousand baht here ($3- $60), the mall is worth walking around even just for window-shopping or an escape from the brutal humidity.
- Meditation at Wat Mahathat: Yes, another free and amazing temple to see. But this one is even more special; here the monks who reside in the temple organize free walk-in meditation practices daily.
5 Great Restaurants:
- Issaya Siamese Club: This renovated mansion surrounded by a luxurious garden is known for some of the best Thai food in Bangkok.
- Vertigo Rooftop Bar at Bayan Tree Hotel: A bit pricier, the tasty food and cocktails paired with the spectacular view of Bangkok make this restaurant a great choice.
- Lueng Pha Pad Thai: An authentic, inexpensive joint that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.
- Took Lae Dee: Offers a variety of Thai and Western dishes. The name actually means “Cheap and Good”.
- Street food: You can find any kind of food you desire in the restaurants in Bangkok, but make sure you don’t leave the city without trying your fair share of street food. This won’t be hard to find as you wander through the city.
5 Great Nightlife Spots:
- Sky Bar: Made famous thanks to the Hangover II, this rooftop bar lies 63 stories above the city and is a must-see to catch the sunset.
- Ku De Ta Bangkok: This complex is made of elegant restaurants, a central cocktail bar, and a nightclub.
- The Bamboo Bar: Located in the Mandarin Oriental, this jazz club is a great place to enjoy cocktails and catch some live music.
- The Club: Located in the heart of Khaosan Road, this underground club usually picks up around midnight and parties long through the night on any day of the week.
- Royal City Avenue: This avenue is lined with a number of bars, pubs, and nightclubs. Ask any taxi driver to take you here and explore what Bangkok has to offer.
- The Oriental Spa: Enjoy top notch spa treatment at Mandarin Oriental for a day.
- Yunomori Onsen: Enjoy an afternoon in a hot spring at this new Japanese bathhouse.
- Ko Kret Island: This small island houses a community known for their its pottery. It makes for a great weekend getaway.
- Chaopraya River Dinner Cruise: Escape the city for a few hours and embark on this elegant dinner cruise.
- Rossini’s at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit: What better way to spend a romantic evening than at this award-winning Italian restaurant?
- Baiyoke Sky Hotel: 222 Rajprarop Rd Rajthevee, Bangkok 10400
- Novetel Siam Square: 392/44 Siam Square Soi 6 Rama Road Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
- Suk 11: 1/13 Sukhumvit 11, Bangkok 10110
- D&D Inn: 68-70 Khaosan Rd, Talad Yot, Bangkok 10200
- Imm Fusion Sukhumvit: 1594 Thanon Sukhumvit, Bangkok 10260
- Pad Thai: Not hard to come across, try pad thai everywhere. Tip- Experiment with the condiments that are placed on the tables; usually three very spicy flakes or oils and sugar.
- Mango Sticky Rice: A Thai staple, this dish combines white rice, coconut milk, and fresh mango for a delicious, sweet treat.
- Papaya Salad: A refreshing change from noodles and rice. Beware; this salad is excellent but very spicy.
- Green Curry: Herbal spices and coconut milk are paired with vegetables and meat to create this traditional curry. Make sure you ask for a side of rice.
- Insects: Crispy, fried insects of all sorts can be found at every corner of the street! Give it a try!
Climate: Thailand experiences three seasons, which are the following: Rainy Season: From June through September, Bangkok experiences what is known as “wet season.” Rain will usually fall in the afternoon for a few hours at a time. Don’t let this scare you away; there is still plenty of sunshine to be found in the humid 80- 90° weather. Pack lots of tank tops and shorts; you won’t be able to wear anything more than this. It’s recommended that you buy a rain poncho once you arrive for about $0.70! Cool Season: Between October and February is probably the best time to travel to Bangkok. Temperatures can still get high, but usually range between the high 60’s and low 80’s. Be sure to pack summer clothing but also a light jacket or sweatshirt for nighttime. Dry Season: March to September is the hottest time of the year with constant high temperatures in the 80’s, high humidity, and little rain. Pack appropriately with light, summer clothing. Cultural Differences: Often referred to as the “Land of Smiles,” the Thai people are usually extremely polite, accommodating and happy to befriend you. Remember this and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation, although not everyone speaks English. Another important thing to remember is that almost all vendors selling souvenirs on the street can be bargained with. This includes things like taxis, Thai massages, shoes, clothing, and more. If you’re unsure, just ask. Transportation: Taxis, “tuk-tuks” (a Thai version of a rickshaw), and open-air trucks are common and cheap in Bangkok. Just remember to agree upon a price before entering the vehicle. Often the driver expects less than the initial asking price, so be sure to bargain if possible. The Skytrain is a modern, high-tech, elevated train that runs through major parts of the city. It is inexpensive and easy to use. Also, there is a subway and bus system, but these are less accessible to tourists. Another great option if you’re having trouble finding a taxi is to use Uber. Trip Highlights: Don’t leave Bangkok without exploring lots of temples, grabbing a drink on a rooftop bar, and relaxing with a Thai massage. Paperwork Needed: To travel outside of the U.S., you will need a valid passport with sufficient blank pages. Before traveling we recommend that you consult your local consulate of the country you are visiting to ensure you obtain the proper documentation and identification. A stay of more than 30 days in Thailand requires a tourist visa. Electrical Converter Information: Most electrical outlets throughout Thailand are best for 220-volt appliances. Although the standard outlet in Thailand is not the same as the American outlet, many outlets now are equipped for the American 2 prong bladed plug. Be sure to bring an adapter for chargers and an electrical converter for some appliances. Airport Information: Bangkok is serviced by two major airports: Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang International Airport (DMK) Both airports have ample public transportation and taxi services to carry you to and from your destination. Nearly all major airlines fly to these airports such as: JetBlue, United, Delta, American Airlines, and more. Best Luggage to Use: Wheeled luggage is the way to go because often in the city you are walking from block to block for a taxi or subway. Also, a small over the shoulder bag or backpack would be useful for daily travels. Must Have Travel Accessories: As with any city, it is best to carry your money and credit cards in your front pocket. To accommodate this, try using a small money clip to keep in your pants pocket. Also, these garment bags maybe useful if you plan to bring a suit or dress for a night on the town check out our garment bags. We also recommend looking at our packing accessories.