What happens in Bangkok, stays in Bangkok. The capital city of Thailand offers everything you can wish for: From ultraluxurious resorts, incredibly tasty street food, glittery temples to unleashed entertainment. Are you wondering why we love the city so much and keep coming back? Here are our favorite things to do in Bangkok.
Visiting local markets
Markets are a part of the Thai identity and culture. They are not only a place where you can buy anything you need. It is also a place where you socialize or have a meal with your friends. Thai markets are colorful, vibrant and cheap. Our favorite one is maybe surprisingly the New Rot Fai market. There is a huge number of food stalls offering things that we had never seen or heard of before. It’s very hard to choose from all those goodies. The second part of the market offers clothes, cellphone accessories, shoes or bags at really low prices. We have never left with empty hands.
Apart from eating and shopping there are also a few bars with live music or tattoo studios. The New Rot Fai market is super easy to reach. You will find it right behind the Esplanade shopping mall (Thai Cultural Center metro station).
Exploring the beauty of the Grand Palace
Every big city has a sight that you simply cannot avoid. In case of Bangkok it is the monumental Grand Palace. Let us mention a few important things before describing the qualities of this impressive sight. The entrance fee is pretty high but it is worth it. Be prepared for huge crowds of tourists visiting the complex every day so it’s gonna be hard to take undisturbed picture. Try to be there right at the opening. There is a slight chance you won’t have to push your way through hundreds of people. Last but not least: Your body has to be covered, otherwise the guards won’t let you enter. This means no shorts (dudes included), mini skirts and bare shoulders.
Formalities sorted, let’s get to the more pleasant part. The Grand Palace is huge, beautiful and you will not know where to look first. A lot of gold, gems and decorations make the complex a perfect place to spend a few hours at. You can hire a local guide or simply follow the brochure that you can take at the entrance. It explains everything that you’ll see around you. Still not convinced? Check the pics :).
Admiring the Reclining Buddha
Just one boat stop from the Grand Palace literally lies the enormous statue of the Reclining Buddha. You will find far less people at this monument. However, it definitely deserves your attention not only because of the amazing Buddha but also because the complex is full of remarkable temples. Most people just check the statue and leave. Don’t make the same mistake.
Walking around Wat Arun
Ok, you have probably understood that checking temples is one of our favorite things to do in Bangkok! The problem is that the Grand Palace can be a little suffocating on an extremely hot day with a lot of people around you. Wat Arun feels refreshing with just a few curious explorers wandering around. In the near future there are gonna be even less visitors since the main temple is under construction.
Favourite things to do in Bangkok: Eating street food
Like anywhere and anytime. The streets of Bangkok are like a gallery of culinary art. The street cooks can make miracles and we had the tastiest meals sitting on a plastic stool right next to the road. Different kinds of soup, seafood or stir fried meat: Just name it. Soups are probably what we like the most. Just imagine a delicious fishball soup or a perfectly prepared tom yum. The best places for street food are definitely in Chinatown!
Going to the cinema
We are big fans of small club cinemas. In Bangkok we discovered Scala, which has a really vintage feeling. The interior looks like a beautiful theater or opera place. Not only can you go see the latest movies, but Scala also gives space to old or independent movies. For example, recently there has been a festival of silent movies accompanied by a photo exposition.
Becoming kids again at Art in Paradise
If you want to do something unusual, crazy and childish, then Art in Paradise is the perfect place for you. You can find this gallery of optical illusion on the third floor of the Esplanade shopping mall. It is full of paintings that are only waiting for you to be complete. You can only enter barefoot and prepare for some floor sweeping with your body. There are graphics that tell you or inspire you how to position yourself to be a part of the optical illusion. It’s actually more fun than you think.
Chilling at the Lumphini park
Lumphini is one of the places that offer a quiet retreat from the crowds and noise of the city. There are many things to do: You can go jogging, exercise in the park gym, take a boat trip around the lake or have a cozy picnic. Or you can just find a nice spot, sit on the grass, read a book and chill. It’s very surprising to find an oasis like this in the middle of Bangkok.
That’s right, more shopping! Many shopping malls offer unique experience. Even if you don’t buy anything, you will simply awe at all the things you can find there. When it comes to clothes, accessories and souvenirs you can find some insane stuff for you or the ones you love.
Letting the Forensic Museum scare the hell out of us
It is actually called the Siriraj Medical Museum and you can find it inside the Siriraj Hospital. The museum is divided into more parts. For sure all of them are interesting and most of what you’ll find inside is available in English. The receptionist will give you a device with headphones and you can point at what interests you. There are interesting things about pathology or anatomy, but the most exciting is definitely forensics.
When we say that it is nothing for weak nerves we mean it. You will have a chance to see how the forensics team work, hear the stories of famous Thai murderers (and see their preserved dead bodies) and see the examples of butchered bodies. We were not able to look at several pictures. Unfortunately, it is strictly forbidden to take pictures but no worries. You will remember some of the images for a long time!
Visiting the Turtle House
This is an example of unusual things to do in Bangkok. The Turtle House used to be a place where Tiziano Terzani lived for 5 years. You have no idea who Tiziano Terzani is? Big mistake! He was a journalist, writer and passionate traveler. Only few Europeans know/knew Asia as well as he did. Terzani wanted to discover the true soul of Asia and he wrote a number of books about his travels. The one that we recommend is “A fortuneteller told me”.
So back to the house. It’s not easy to find this beautiful wooden structure surrounded by a tropical garden and hidden behind a high fence. There are skyscrapers and new resident buildings everywhere around and the chance that the Turtle House will be demolished to make space for something modern is very high. The guardian Kamsing will happily show you around. He still keeps a few photographs of Terzani. We really hope the house will stay where it is!
So these were our favourite things to do in Bangkok. What are yours? Let us know in the comments.