If you’re wondering what to do in Bangkok, this is your guide. Bangkok is a whirlwind of exciting tourist attractions and things to see. From temples, to nightlife and night markets, river rides and roller coasters, and even performances, Bangkok has you covered no matter what you’re in the mood to do.
Bangkok is home to 8.21 million residents, making it one of the most densely populated cities in Southeast Asia. You’re most likely going to begin and end your Thailand travel in Bangkok, so enjoy your time while you’re there.
I love visiting areas like Khao San Road, the backpacker mecca. There are other great areas in Bangkok worth visiting like Sukhumvit, Silom, and Siam. Take a look at Google Maps before you go, and familiarize yourself with the rough layout of the city.
Before you visit Bangkok, it is also a great idea to familiarize yourself with the BTS system – the easiest and cheapest way to get around the city. When you take the BTS, you will purchase a one time coin or a pass, and use it to get in and out of the stations.
A lot of Bangkok points of interest are along the BTS system. If you’re going somewhere that isn’t near a BTS station, grab a tuk tuk or take an Uber or taxi. There are so many ways to get around Bangkok, you shouldn’t run into any issues.
Things To Do In Bangkok
1. Bask In The Glory Of The Grand Palace
Arguably the most beautiful temple in Bangkok, this historic location is a must-see while you are in Thailand. The Grand Palace is a series of buildings located right in the center of all the action. It actually was home to the King and his Government until 1925, but it is now a museum and open to the public. The entrance fee for foreigners is 500 Baht.
If you’re visiting the Grand Palace (or any palace), you must cover your knees and shoulders when you enter as a sign of respect. On temple days, I like to wear light pants and a long sleeve shirt (I talk more about syling for the temples in my Thailand Packing List).
2. Go Shopping At Terminal 21
Right along the BTS is one of the largest malls in Bangkok, Terminal 21. The architecture inside is enough to visit alone, your view of all the shops is absolutely insane.
The very first time I visited in Thailand, I stayed a 5 minute walk from Terminal 21. I think it was the very first place I actually visited in Southeast Asia!
It is definitely pricier than going to a market, but you will find designer labels and delicious food in every corner of this mall. Watch out for performances while you’re there too!
3. Make An Offer To The Golden Buddha
If you’ve looked for images of Thailand before, this temple has probably come up. It is famously known for its intricate white and gold architecture, Golden Buddha can be found in the Wat Traimit temple, also close to a BTS station.
As with The Grand Palace, you will need to have your shoulders and knees covered to enter the temple.
4. Drink A Bucket On Khao San Road
If you’ve ever backpacked before (or been to Thailand before), you have probably heard of Khao San Road. This short and sweet backpacker mecca is located in the Silom region of Bangkok, and is home to hostels, tourists, insane parties, and nightlife.
Come to Khao San Road for some insane bucket-fuelled nightlife, try a scorpion, or just come to sample the Thai street food and meet some new people. It’s a whirlwind of fun on Khao San Road, so come prepared!
My favorite bucket combo is SangSom and Pineapple. SangSom is Thailand’s national rum distilled from sugarcane. It is so delicious with pineapple juice. Warning: Buckets are strong, so pace yourself with them.
4. Bargain Shop At Chatuchak Market
The markets are insanely fun in Bangkok, and a must do if you want to get your shopping on. From cheap eats to discount labels, it’s definitely a must to barter at the different markets like Chatuchak which has over 15,000 stalls.
Chatuchak is open on weekends and accessible from the BTS, making it a great market to get lost in. I got a lot of my souvenirs at this market!
One very important thing: it is illegal in many countries to import counterfeit goods. This means if you find a knockoff Louis Vuitton wallet you love, it may be illegal to bring it home. Read up on your countries’ laws regarding the importation of goods to make sure you’re in the clear.
5. Ride The Ferris Wheel At Asiatique
This market is located right on the water, and it is SUPER fun. We took a taxi boat along the river that splits Bangkok, which is very beautiful. I definitely suggest it!
When we visited Asiatique, we learned that it’s a bit more upscale and expensive of a market than say, Chatuchak Market.
We visited Asiatique during Songkran, so they had a fun festival happening at the market. This included dancers, live music, and other cultural performances throughout the evening.
Asiatique is known for its ferris wheel located right along the water, which I definitely suggest doing while you’re there. It is very scenic and romantic.
6. Take A Street Food Tour
The street food in Bangkok is unlike anywhere else in the world. Indulging in all the delicious varieties of of food offered by vendors is a past time that is thoroughly enjoyed by both the locals and the tourists.
I have an entire post on where to get the best street food in Bangkok, so check that out and plan out a day or evening full of street eats.
I suggest getting an Uber home, you’re not going to want to walk while you’re in a food coma.
7. Stroll Through Soi Cowboy
No trip to Bangkok is complete without going to the red light district at least once. The 3 most popular red light districts in Bangkok are Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza, and PatPong.
Walking through Soi Cowboy is like being in Vegas on steroids, it’s seriously insane. Strip clubs line the streets, and the women advertise ping pong shows in the street. Each red light district is famous for something different, but I find that Soi Cowboy is the perfect balance of all things red light nightlife in Bangkok.
Remember when you are in the red light district to understand what the sex industry is like for many women and LGBT people in Thailand, and the struggles they have faced. I talk about this in my Ladyboy Guide, but check out other resources like The Lonely Planet and Ruters. Educated travel is ethical travel.
8. See A Ladyboy Cabaret
The ladyboy cabarets are some of the best you’ll see in the world, and a super fun thing to do in Bangkok. Obsessions Nightclub in Nana plaza is one of about 8 ladyboy bars in the plaza that hosts amazing cabaret shows.
Soi Cowboy also has a few ladyboy cabaret shows if you happen to be in the area. I love Cockatoo, a cute but small ladyboy bar.
Other ladyboy bars to check out in Bangkok:
- King’s Corner
- Cascade Ladyboy Bar
- Kings Castle ll
- Chili Bar
- DC 10
- Temptations Ladyboy Bar
9. Float Down The Water At Khlong Lad Mayom Floating Market
I am sure you have heard of the floating markets, they are something you just can’t miss in Bangkok. The Khlong Lad Mayom floating market will take up a full day, as it’s a bit out of the way of the rest of Bangkok.
Basically, you sit in a boat with a guide who winds you down the river as you pass merchants in boats who offer you items for sale. If you see something you like, the boat owner will stop and let you purchase it. The floating market is extremely popular among tourists as well as locals. You can find a lot of delicious fresh produce at the market!
Pro Tip: While you’re in Thailand, it’s time to get adventurous. Try some durian while you visit the Khlong Lad Mayom floating market!
10. Ride A Roller Coaster At Dream World
Okay this may be just me, but I LOVE going to amusement parks in other cities and countries. I had so much fun at Gröna Lund Amusement Park in Stockholm, and who doesn’t love Disneyland?
I saw Dream World and knew I HAD to pay a visit. They also have a ton of restaurants, theatre performances, and other fun things to do!
11. Ratchada Rot Fai Night Market
This night market is outdoor, which is perfect for peak season in Thailand. We had so much fun grabbing a beer and roaming the many stalls at this market.
To get to Ratchada Rot Fai, the easiest option would be an Uber. If you decide to take the BTS, you’ll want to get off at Thailand Cultural MRT station to get to this market.
While you’re visiting Bangkok, make sure you cross some of these things to do off of your list. I like to do the markets closer to the end of my trip, so my backpack isn’t so full while I visit the Thailand islands and northern Thailand cities like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai (home of the iconic White Temple).
What are your favorite things to do in Bangkok? Let me know in the comments below!