DESTINATION GUIDE

Bangkok: a complete guide

Sander & Mariska - Go To ThailandBangkok is a city of extremes. Thailand’s capital is as busy, chaotic and overwhelming as it is surprising, unique and lively. Though the city might not be every traveler’s cup of tea, one thing’s for sure: Bangkok is a city you’ll never forget!

Over 8 million residents call Bangkok their home. However, the total population is estimated at 15 million inhabitants; which makes Bangkok Thailand’s biggest city. Every year more than 16 million people visit the city. Soon you’ll be one of them!
– Sander & Mariska

Sights in Bangkok

Besides more than 400 (!) temples, Bangkok has a lot of beautiful sights, like its bustling Chinatown area, the floating markets, and the mega shopping malls. However, the most remarkable ‘sights’ unfold right before your eyes on the streets. So be sure to keep your eyes open! Here are 15 sights & attractions you can’t miss in Bangkok!

Grand Palace in Bangkok

The Grand Palace is the king’s former residence. The palace is magnificent, with roofs decorated in gold, large elephant statues, and a perfectly manicured lawn. These days the Grand Palace is only in use on holidays and during ceremonies.

Khao San Road in Bangkok

Khao San Road is a long chaotic street, through which you should walk at least once. Restaurants playing loud music, ladyboys in short dresses, a bustling market with souvenirs and street food, bars playing live music – On KSR, anything goes!

3. Chinatown

Chinatown in Bangkok

Just try and not to get lost in the oldest and largest Chinatown in the world! It’s a maze of small, narrow streets with bustling markets, small food stalls, car repair shops, traditional medicine shops and hidden temples.

4. Chao Phraya River

Chao Phraya River in Bangkok

Chao Phraya River is Bangkok’s main artery. From its riverbank, you can take a taxi boat which will take you for next to nothing to different landmarks, such as Wat Arun, the Grand Palace, and Chinatown.

5. Floating Market

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Bangkok

Around Bangkok, there are several floating markets. Wooden boats at the riverbank serve as market stalls, and Thai meals and souvenirs are sold at the riverbank. The most popular among them is Damnoen Saduak. A local and authentic floating market is Amphawa.

6. Lumphini Park

Lumphini Park in Bangkok

Escape the hustle-bustle and visit beautiful Lumphini Park, a green oasis with perfectly tended lawns, trees and a big lake where you can take a ride in a pedal boat shaped like a swan. Even better are the huge monitor lizards that live along the riverbank.

Cycling in Bangkok

A bike ride is the best way to get to know Bangkok. You’ll bike through small streets and discover places you wouldn’t usually see. We recommend Co van Kessel and Follow Me Bicycle Tours.

8. Klong Tour

Klongs of Thonburi in Bangkok

The old Thonburi-district (“Venice of the East”) is a jumble of klongs; canals and streams of various rivers. Take a boat ride around to see how the people live here.

9. Baiyoke Tower II

Baiyoke Tower 2 in Bangkok

Baiyoke Tower II has 84 floors and is 309 meters tall; you can’t miss it. Unfortunately, Bangkok’s highest building is a little bit dated, but that won’t matter once you’re on top of it!

10. Chatuchak Weekend Market

Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok

From clothing to canaries: at Chatuchak Weekend Market you can buy absolutely everything. This weekend market is Thailand’s largest and contains over 10,000 shops and stalls. The perfect place to go souvenir shopping!

11. Lumpinee Boxing Stadium

Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok

You can’t visit Thailand and not attend a Muay Thai boxing match! Lumpinee Boxing Stadium is the best place to see a real fight. You’ll be among the locals, who’ll be completely absorbed by the match while howling and yelling.

12. CentralWorld Shopping Mall

CentalWorld Shopping Mall in Bangkok

With over 500 shops and 100 restaurants and bars, CentralWorld is the largest shopping center in Thailand. Not only is it a great place to go shopping, but it also has a cinema with 15 screens, a rooftop bar where you can have a drink and an ice skating rink.

13. Bangkok Art & Culture Centre

Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC)

The Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (BACC) holds exhibitions of both contemporary and traditional art is an absolute must for art lovers and creative spirits. Go all the way to the top floor for a look down. Afterward, have a coffee in one of the sweet little coffee shops on the ground floor.

14. Jim Thompson’s House

Jim Thompson's House in Bangkok

The teakwood house of Jim Thompson, a former architect, and silk merchant is gorgeous. Take a tour and marvel at the architecture and the unique mix of Thai, Oriental and western art.

Airplane Graveyard in Bangkok

Just outside of Bangkok you can visit a final resting place for old planes, which you can admire from up close. You can take a look inside an old Boeing 747 from the seventies, for instance.

Temples in Bangkok

Bangkok is known for its beautifully decorated temples. We’ve found these 8 temples to be the best!

Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok

Bangkok’s most important temple, with a compound full of sparkling temples, home of the holiest of all Buddha statues in Thailand: the Emerald Green Buddha, measuring 66 centimeters in height.

Wat Arun in Bangkok

The Temple of Dawn is a beautiful temple, located equally beautifully on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. A unique landmark is the 82-meter high prang, entirely decorated with thousands of flower mosaics.

Wat Pho in Bangkok

The Temple of the Reclining Buddha is the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. On the temple complex itself, you’ll find more than 1,000 images of the Buddha, including the enormous Reclining Buddha.

4. Wat Traimit

Wat Traimit in Bangkok

This temple has something none of the others have: a solid gold Buddha statue that’s 3 meters high, weighs 5,500,000 kilograms and has an estimated worth of 250 million dollars – making it the world’s most expensive Buddha statue.

5. Wat Saket (Golden Mount)

Wat Saket in Bangkok

Climb the 318 steps to the top of the famous “Golden Mount”. Along the way you’ll pass beautiful flower beds, little waterfalls and temple bells – and once on top, you’ll be treated to a 360-degree view of the city.

6. Wat Benchamabophit

Wat Benchamabophit in Bangkok

The “Marble Temple” is one the most modern temples in Bangkok. At the entrance, you’ll encounter four impressive marble pillars. Even the large inner courtyard is made out of glistening, white marble.

Wat Samphran in Bangkok

A unique temple just outside of Bangkok with an enormous dragon wrapping itself around a tower. There’s also a lot to explore in the gardens, as the huge animal statues. Great fun for families with kids.

8. Wat Chakrawatrachawat Woramahawihan

Wat Chakrawatrachawat Woramahawihan in Bangkok

This temple complex in Chinatown has a small pond with three gigantic crocodiles. Next to the pond is their mounted buddy: the story goes that he ate a young monk and was mounted as a form of punishment

Hotels in Bangkok

Bangkok has an abundance of hostels, guesthouses, hotels, and resorts. The competition is stiff, which means you’re more than likely to get value for money. It’s difficult to pick an absolute favorite, but we did manage to compile a list of our 10 favorite hotels. We wish you a lovely stay!

SO Sofitel Bangkok

1. SO Sofitel Bangkok

Infinity pool 5-star luxury Next to public transport

$$$ – SO Sofitel Bangkok is a luxury, 5-star hotel located in the heart of Bangkok near Silom and Sathorn. It features an infinity pool overlooking Lumpini Park, two restaurants, and three bars – including a rooftop bar. If you’re looking for a first class hotel with Bangkok’s sights right at your fingertips: this is the place to stay.

iSanook

2. iSanook

Spacious apartments Kitchenette Large bed

$$ – iSanook lies just outside of Chinatown and has the best price-quality ratio. The rooms are small apartments equipped with a fridge, a flat-screen TV, and a massive bed. There’s also a swimming pool, a gym, and a rooftop bar. Reception staff service can be a bit slow sometimes.

Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort

3. Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort

By the river Luxury suites Kids club

$$$ – This resort lies on the bank of the Chao Phraya River and is an oasis of calm. You’ll be staying in a luxury suite, in a perfectly manicured garden with swimming pool. The staff are very friendly and always at the ready to help out with anything.

Rambuttri Village Plaza in Bangkok

4. Rambuttri Village Inn & Plaza

Quiet location Swimming pool Family friendly

$$ – Though a mere 5-minute walk from Khao San Road, you won’t experience any noise pollution at Rambuttri Village Inn & Plaza. It’s located in a calm and picturesque little street. There’s a swimming pool on the roof, and their breakfast is very nice as well!

Chillax Resort

5. Chillax Resort

Near KSR Very romantic Private bubble bath

$$$ – The Chillax Resort is located in the backpacking district of Banglamphu (walking distance from KSR). It’s a perfect place for couples; it’s got a jacuzzi in the middle of the room and a swimming pool on the roof with a view of the city. How romantic!

The Warehouse

6. The Warehouse Bangkok

Nice location Nicely furnished Friendly staff

$$ – The Warehouse is a great place to stay if you want to explore Bangkok. It’s five minutes away from Khao San Road and ten minutes away from the Grand Palace. Besides that, it’s furnished very nicely, the bathrooms are good, and the rooms are equipped with all the modern conveniences.

Here Hostel

7. Here Hostel

Clean Common rooms Beds with curtains

$ – Only a 10-minute walk from Khao San Road, Here Hostel is a backpacker’s paradise! It offers private, shared or female only dorms and is equipped with a wifi connection, air conditioning, warm showers, clean towels, a shared kitchen, lockers and a slide (!). Breakfast is included in the rate!

NapPark Hostel @ Khao San

8. NapPark Hostel @ Khao San

Central location Delightful atmosphere Chill zone

$ – While staying at the pleasantly busy NapPark Hostel @ Khao San, you’ll get to meet backpackers from all over the world in no time. The rooms are tidy and spotless. There’s also a very nice communal space, and Khao San Road is practically around the corner.

Green House

9. Green House

In the heart of KSR Fantastic restaurant Nice terrace

$ – The rooms in the Green House are basic but tidy, and the restaurant is AMAZING! The only downside is that it can get quite noisy at night. But that’s the price of staying in the heart of Khao San Road; Bangkok’s number one nightlife venue.

BangLuang House 2 Bangkok

10. BangLuang House 2 Bangkok

Unique, local experience Family run Thai breakfast included

$$ – BangLuang House 2 truly is something special. This beautiful, local home is run by a warm-hearted Thai family and is located on the river, where you wake up to an amazing Thai breakfast while witnessing catfish swimming by. It’s a bit far from the center (25 minutes), but the extraordinary local experience more than makes up for it!

You can book your stay at BangLuang House 2 via Airbnb. Not yet a member of Airbnb? Then click here for $ 38 off your first booking!

Restaurants in Bangkok

In Bangkok, you’ll never be hungry for long, as in this megacity there’s something cooking on – literally – every street corner. You can’t miss the simmering woks, fruit stalls, plastic chairs and tables right on the pavement. And in case street food’s not your thing, you can also try one of the thousands of restaurants. These are our 17 favorite places to eat, in alphabetical order.

1. Above Eleven

33rd Floor, Fraser Suites Sukhumvit, Sukhumvit Road, Soi 11
Feel like sushi? This rooftop restaurant on the 33rd floor serves Japanese and Peruvian culinary delights and also has a fantastic view of the city!

2. Ban Chiang

14 Soi Srivieng, Surasak Rd., Bangrak
Ban Chiang isn’t just any Thai restaurant, but a small eatery in a great location where Thai classics are prepared. A dining experience!

3. Cabbages & Condoms

10 Sukhumvit Soi 12, Klongtoey, Bangkok
“Condom themed” Thai restaurant with an outside terrace, trying to raise awareness on family planning and STD’s. You get condoms instead of breath mints upon leaving.

4. Chinatown

Yaowarat Road
For street food, go to Chinatown. It has hundreds of eating stalls, markets, and restaurants. Wander through the small streets and discover the best places yourself.

5. Crêpes & Co

59/4 Langsuan Soi 1, Ploenchit Rd., Lumpini
Excellent restaurant for breakfast and brunch at the heart of Bangkok’s business district, within walking distance of Lumphini Park. Perfect for a lazy Sunday morning.

6. Eat Me Restaurant

20m from Convent Rd (in Soi Pipat 2), Silom
International restaurant with a casual but elegant vibe. The right place for a romantic dinner with your significant other or a special dinner on Saturday night.

7. KONNICHIPAN

182 Chakrapong Road, Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon
This small coffee place comes highly recommended to everyone that wants to have a fresh sandwich for breakfast instead of rice or noodles. Also a great take away place.

8. Loy Nava Dinner Cruise

Si Phaya Expressboat Pier, Captain Bush lane, Charoen Krung Road, Klongsan
For a nice dinner cruise on an illuminated Chao Phraya River. Includes a traditional dance performance and you can choose between different Thai menus.

9. MBK Food Court

Phaya Thai Road, MBK Building, 5F & 6F, Bangkok
In between shopping at the MBK shopping center, you can have some great food. There are two food courts: one with international cuisine on the 5th floor and one where you can eat Thai/Asian food, on the 6th.

10. Nahm

27 S Sathorn Rd, Thung Maha Mek, Sathon, Bangkok
This elegant restaurant is one of Bangkok’s finest. For connoisseurs that want to taste authentic Thai dishes.  A reservation is required.

11. My Friend’s Bar

59 Soi Ram Butri, Khwaeng Chana Songkhram, Khet Phra Nakhon
This fun little street bar in Soi Ram Butri sets up every evening – complete with an old Volkswagen T1, sticky tables, music and cheap cocktails.

12. New York Style Steak & Burger

Park 22, Sukhumvit Soi 22
Admit it – sometimes you crave it; delicious fries, rib eye steak, NY cheesecake and a heavenly burger. This is the place to be!

13. River Vibe Restaurant & Bar

768 Soi Panurangsi, Songvad Road Talad Noi Samphantawong
Eat at the top of the River View guesthouse with a view over Chao Phraya River. At night it will be jam-packed with locals. A great place to go after a Co van Kessel bike trip.

14. Sirocco & Sky Bar

The Dome at Lebua 63rd floor, 1055/42 Silom Road, Bangrak
This bar/restaurant is on the 63rd floor, and its main claim to fame is that it featured in “The Hangover 2”. For a swanky night out with a beautiful view over the city.

15. Steve Café & Cuisine

68 Sri Ayudhaya Road, Soi Sri Ayudhaya 21 (Devet), Vachiraphayabaan, Dusit
Hard to find, but worth looking for! This Thai restaurant is loved by locals and is on the water. Go here if it’s your first time in Thailand.

16. Tham Na Hometaurant

175 Samsen Rd, Wat Sam Phraya, Phra Nakhon
This tiny restaurant serves lovely vegetarian dishes with a Thai twist. Very nice, fresh, original and cheap as well!

17. Tom Yum Kung Restaurant & Superflow City Beach Club

9 Khaosan Rd., Taladyod, Pranakorn
Friendly place at the bottom of Khao San Road with “beach vibes”, yummy food and good music. At night the music gets louder as the party starts!

Transport in Bangkok

Air

Bangkok has two airports: Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Mueang International Airport. The airports are located at opposite ends of the city. There is a shuttle service between the two airports (50 baht, 5:30 AM – 5:00 PM). Please be aware that the transfer time could be at least an hour, depending on the traffic. So if you have a connecting flight, make sure your plane departs from the same airport.

  •  Most international flights operate from Suvarnabhumi International Airport. On top of that, all flights to major domestic destinations leave from here. Click here for information on how to get from the airport to the city center (Khao San Road).
  • Don Mueang International Airport is where most of the budget airlines operate on for destinations within Thailand and Asia.

Bus

Bangkok has four large bus stations for long distances:

  1. Ekkamai (Eastern Bus Terminal) – From/to Pattaya, Rayong, Chanthaburi and other eastern destinations.
  2. Mo Chit (North & North Eastern Bus Terminal) – From/to destinations in the north and the north east.
  3. Sai Thai (Southern Bus Terminal) – From/to destinations in the south, the west, and Kanchanaburi.
  4. Suvarnabhumi Public Transport Centre – From/to Koh Chang, Pattaya, Trat and destinations in the east and the north east. There’s a free mini bus shuttle service (3 km) connecting this bus station and Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Train

From Hua Lamphong you can take trains from and to the south, the north, the north east and the east of Thailand. Sleeper trains also depart here (click here for more information). Important routes are:

  • Bangkok – Chiang Mai
  • Bangkok – Nong Khai (for Laos)
  • Bangkok – Ubon Ratchathani
  • Bangkok – Aranyaprathet (for Cambodia)
  • Bangkok – Kanchanaburi – Bridge over the River Kwai – Nam Tok
  • Bangkok – Ayutthaya
  • Bangkok – Samut Songkhram – Mahachai Mae Khlong Market (for the railway market)
  • Bangkok – Hua Hin – Chumphon – Surat Thani – Hat Yai – S. Kolok
  • Bangkok – Penang – Kuala Lumpur – Singapore (for Malaysia and Singapore)

Getting around in Bangkok

Taxi

Taxis are everywhere in Bangkok and can be recognized by their bright colors. It’s a cheap way to get from A to B, especially if you’re traveling with one or more persons. Do make sure you ask the driver to turn on the meter before you get in.

Tuk-tuk

Tuk-tuks are small taxi carts on three wheels that will take you across town in a speedy manner. Tuk-tuk drivers don’t work with fixed fees, meaning they’re a lot more expensive than regular taxis. Still, you should take a ride at least once when in Bangkok!

Taxi boat

From Khao San Road it’s a ten-minute walk to pier N13 (Phra Arthit), from where a taxi boat will take you along Chao Phraya River and past the famous temples of Wat Arun and Wat Pho, but also to Chinatown. Buy your tickets on the boat, not on the pier.

BTS

If you’re staying in the Silom area (the shopping area) or Sukhumvit (the business district), then the BTS or Skytrain is a fast and cheap way to explore Bangkok. If you buy a day ticket, you can travel the whole day for only 120 baht.

MRT

Bangkok’s underground metro is ideal if you’re staying in Chinatown, Silom or Sukhumvit. The metro will take you past several tourist attractions (Chatuchak Weekend Market, Lumpini Park) and connects with the BTS.

Motorbike taxi

The fastest, but also the most dangerous way to make your way through Bangkok’s busy traffic is by motorbike taxi. You’ll recognize the drivers by their orange jackets. Don’t forget to wear a helmet!

Weather in Bangkok

The best time to visit Bangkok is during the cool season from November – February.

November – February

The cool season, especially December and January, is the time to be in Bangkok. The city is relatively cool and gets a welcome break from the unrelenting heat and high humidity.

March – May

The hot season is not the best time to be in Bangkok. Afternoon temperatures sometimes reach 40 degrees Celsius. The high humidity causes it to be very clammy and hot – and it’s also very stifling because of the smog.

June – October

The rainy season will see the weather in Bangkok turn dramatically, sometimes with 300 mm of rain in a month’s time. Floods are common. The good news is that it seldom rains all day.

Map of Bangkok

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Ayutthaya
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