Things to Do in Bangkok
There are so many sights to see, attractions to visit and things to do in Bangkok, it’s no wonder this one of the world’s holiday destinations that are so popular! Bangkok truly is a diverse city with seemingly endless opportunities for entertainment and tourist attractions. Bangkok is of course famous for its vivacious nightlife scene, but there are so many other appealing aspects of the city to take in as well. If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Bangkok – or Krung Thep as it’s called in Thai – you should plan to visit some of the “must see” attractions this city has to offer.
Address: Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, 10200
Constructed from the ruins of Ayutthaya, Thailand’s ancient capital, The Grand Palace is a grand sight to behold. Resources were stripped from the old capital brick by brick and shipped down the Chao Phraya river over one hundred kilometres to Bangkok, where they stand today. The Grand Palace was large and expansive, tended to by thousands of family members and staff, and was regarded as being a city within a city. In modern times the Royal family and groups of assistants have gone, but thousands of footsteps still echo in the Grand Palace daily – the footsteps of visitors to the Grand Palace who come to marvel at the architecture and design. The most awe-inspiring piece of the Grand Palace being Wat Phra Kaew, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The Emerald Buddha statue may have began its journey in India, but has been passed through Laos and Cambodia, finally resting in Bangkok Thailand. If you are looking for things to do in Bangkok, come see the Grand Palace. If you’re lucky you can catch the changing of the guard ceremony. It is brief but very impressive.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market -Daytrip, Bangkok
Thailand is famous for it’s unique style of floating markets – markets where everything rests in boats. Many of these floating markets are easily accessible from the capital, and are a must-see for anyone looking for unique and fun things to do in Bangkok. These lively markets are full of colourful merchants and boats, each paddling through the bustling waterways in full canoes laden with food – fruits and vegetables mostly – to sell to any of the shoppers along the banks. You’ll get used to hearing quite a lot of banter, bargaining is very common and it’s really all part of the game. Of all the floating markets, the most famous is Damnoen Saduak, southwest of Bangkok. In order to beat the heat and the crowds you’d need to be up early for this one.
Temple of the Dawn – Wat Arun, Bangkok
Address: Wat Arun, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok 10600
Taking its name from the Indian god of dawn, Aruna, the Temple of the Dawn is known as Wat Arun. Taking in some historic culture should definitely be on your list of things to do in Bangkok, and this iconic temple will not disappoint. It’s situated on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, an area chosen by King Taksin for his 17th century royal temple and palace. It was formerly known as Wat Makok and later renamed to Way Jaeng, before becoming Wat Arun. When you are standing on the west bank, the sun will set behind Wat Arun and it is a breathtaking sight to behold. And just because it’s called the “Temple of the Dawn” doesn’t mean it isn’t a spectacular sight to see in the evenings too! The Wat Arun is described as being a very stunning sight to behold night or day.
This temple had fallen into disrepair, neglected and abandoned for many years, until King Rama II began restoring it back to its former glory. The Temple of the Dawn, Wat Arun, is once again a very iconic and prominent structure along the west bank of the Chao Phraya. The temple is composed of one main spire or “Prang” rising 79 meters in height. This spire is surrounded by four lesser Prangs, each one representing the four different directions of the guardian gods. The famous Emerald Buddha was at one point housed at The Temple of the Dawn, until 1785 when it was relocated to the east side of the river at Wat Phra Kaew. While you’re looking for things to do in Bangkok, spend some times on the grounds of this temple – the grounds are beautiful and well maintained, and access to them is very easy from the ferry at Tha Tien pier across the Chao Phraya. Tourists must pay a 50 baht entrance fee. The Temple is open to the public from 8am to 6pm daily. You are able to access the top of the main Prang, but the steps are very steep relative to other temples in Thailand. Hold onto the railings. Wat Arun Temple definitely is a must see Bangkok attraction!
Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok
Address: Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok
If markets are on your list of things to do in Bangkok, make sure you take the time to check out Chatuchak Weekend Market! It might be the biggest market you’ve ever seen, with more than nine thousand market stalls offering curious market-goers any kind of item imaginable. If you’re going, plan to arrive early as it becomes pretty congested and unbearably hot in the summer’s midday. Cooler seasons aren’t quite as hot but still become awfully crowded by the middle of the day. Browse each of the stalls as they slowly open and come to life over the course of the morning, and if you’re a good haggler you might even get some great deals. Bargaining is common in the market, and you’re almost sure to get a deal if you’re buying multiple items from a stall. Make sure to bring water with you and stay hydrated, and keep your personal important belongings safe as the markets tend to have pickpockets. You can reach the Chatuchak Weekend Market easily via the Skytrain, the Mo Chit station is the last station on the route.
Wat Pho, Bangkok
Address: 2 Sanamchai Road, Grand Palace Subdistrict, Pranakorn District, Bangkok 10200
Wat Pho – also spelled Wat Po – is a Buddhist temple complex and is largely famous for its impressive Reclining Buddha statue housed within. It is recognized as being the largest temple in Bangkok at 20 acres, and quite technically the oldest temple as well. It was built approximately two hundred years before Bangkok was to become Thailand’s capital. Nevertheless, the temple that it is today actually bears little resemblance to the Wat Pho originally designed and constructed, as it was practically entirely rebuilt by Rama I back when Thailand’s capital was moved to Bangkok. It boasts the honours of having both Thailand’s largest reclining Buddha image, and the highest number of Buddha images in Thailand. The spectacular gold plated reclining Buddha measures 46 meters long by 15 meters high, and is created to portray the passing of the Buddha into nirvana. The Buddha’s feet and eyes are engraved with mother-of-pearl, and the feet display the 108 auspicious markings on the sole – markings of the true Buddha. Spend some time on the sprawling and lush grounds of the temple, they are generally very well-manicured and maintained. Be sure not to leave the complex without visiting the Thai Traditional Medical and Massage School – take advantage of the opportunity to get a terrific traditional Thai massage before you continue on your journeys through Bangkok. If visiting temples are on your list of things to do in Bangkok, don’t miss Wat Pho!
Daytrip – Ayuthaya, Bangkok
While you’re planning things to do in Bangkok, consider a joining a luxurious tour by one of the river tour companies by the Chao Phraya River. You can go as big as you want – or scale it down to your liking. There are plenty of different options of tours and boats available. Thailand is home to some very breathtaking riverside scenery, and these tours are designed to make the most of it! The tour will take you down the river and back again on an overnight cruise to enjoy all the sights the river has to behold. The Grand Palace, the Temple of the Dawn, all the way to Ayutthaya and its majestic ancient ruins, you can see them all from the comfort of your beautifully decorated boat. Delicious meals will be served on board, and a high powered speed boat trip into Ayutthaya will make your trip complete before heading back home again.
Baiyoke Sky Tower, Bangkok
Address: 222/186 Ratchaprarop RD Bangkok 10400
Also known as Baiyoke Tower II or Bai Yok Song, this impressive tower is an 85-storey, 304 m (997 feet) skyscraper hotel in Bangkok’s Ratchathewi district. As of today, it is currently the tallest building in all of Bangkok, however a newer structure being planned for the city will inevitably be taller. The Baiyoke Tower houses the Baiyoke Sky Hotel which is the tallest hotel in Southeast Asia and the seventh-tallest hotel structure in the globe. When measuring the building’s height with the antenna included, the height is 328.4 m (1,077 feet). A public observatory is located on the building’s 77th floor, a bar called “Roof Top Bar & Music Lounge” can be found on the 83rd floor, a 360-degree revolving roof deck resides on the 84th floor, and the rest of the hotel includes 673 guest rooms. Come strike this tower off your bucket list of things to do in Bangkok before it loses its title of being the city’s tallest building! A new structure is currently under construction, and will be 314 m (1,030 feet) tall measured, bumping Baiyoke down the list as being Thailand’s tallest building when construction completes.
Temple of the Golden Buddha – Wat Traimit, Bangkok
Address: Wat Traimit, Thanon Mittaphap Thai-China, Talat Noi, Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100
Wat Traimit, or the Temple of the Golden Buddha, can be found in Bangkok’s Chinatown district, which is about a 5 – 10 minute easy walk from Hua Lamphong MRT station. The reason tourists flock to the Temple of the Golden Buddha is very obvious – the golden Buddha itself! The Buddha is the world’s largest solid gold Buddha, and it stands three metres tall and weighs five and a half tonnes. That’s solid gold! The Buddha’s solid gold interior was a secret until the 1950s when an outer layer of its plaster began to peel off. The gold underneath was exposed, and people were shocked. It’s believed that it was plastered and made to look less valuable before the destruction of Ayutthaya kingdom by the Burmese invaders in 1767. The trick worked – the statue remained untouched among the ruins of Ayutthaya, attracting little attention. After the discovery of the gold Buddha inside, many other Buddha icons had their outer layers picked away, but none seemed to encase any solid gold figures like this one had. Make a visit to the solid gold Buddha one of your things to do in Bangkok, and see it for yourself!
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