In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared this guide of the 30 best things to do in Bangkok and its surroundings. You will find all must-see attractions in and around the city as well as itineraries to visit Bangkok in 1, 2, 3 days or more!
No matter if you want to discover the Grand Palace, visit the most beautiful temples, go shopping in the modern part of the city or visit one of the famous floating markets, you will for sure find many activities to enjoy during your stay.
And as usual, I will also give you all my best tips and my list of the best places to stay in Bangkok, depending on your budget.
So, What are the best things to do in Bangkok? Where to stay?
Let’s find out!
1. The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace (or Royal Palace) is the most visited tourist site in Bangkok and one of the must see attractions during a trip to Thailand.
It’s located on the edge of the Chao Phraya river and is surrounded by a 1.9 kilometers long wall.
Built in 1782, the year when Bangkok officially became the capital of the country after the fall of the Ayutthaya and Thonburi kingdom, the complex includes more than 100 buildings, palaces, and pavilions.
The sovereigns of Thailand lived there for many years in the past, but today the King only goes there for official ceremonies.
During your visit to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, don’t miss the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, a royal chapel. In the chapel, you can admire a jade statue of Buddha found in 1434 in Chiang Rai (in the north of Thailand). This statue is revered by all Thai people.
Another impressive building is Chakri Mahat Prasat palace, built by King Rama V to be his residence.
The palace is open everyday and the entrance fee is 500 bahts (plus 200 bahts for an audio guide).
Your ticket allows you to visit all the buildings (outside + inside) as well as the museums (textile museum and Royal Thai Decorations and Coins museums). Admission to a Thai dance show at the Royal Theater is also included.
2. Wat Pho
Wat Pho, the second main tourist attraction in Bangkok, is located not far from the Grand Palace and is easily accessible on foot.
It’s one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the country. Inside, you can admire the largest reclining Buddha in the city: 45 meters long and 15 meters high! The statue represents Buddha’s death.
During your tour don’t forget to admire the soles of the feet: they are encrusted with pearls and decorated with symbols.
In the temple complex, you can also discover:
- The Buddha Gallery and its 394 golden Buddhas
- The 4 royal Chedis covered in colorful ceramics
- The Phra Ubosoft, where the ashes of King Rama I are guarded by another famous golden Buddha statue.
Entry to Wat Pho costs 200 bahts and the visit takes around an hour and a half.
3. Wat Arun
Wat Arun completes the trio of temples to visit during your stay in Bangkok.
It’s located on the other side of the river from the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. To get there, you’ll have to take a boat shuttle (4 bahts) that drops you off right in front of the entrance.
Wat Arun is especially known for its 82 meters prang (a tower), entirely covered in tiny pieces of colorful porcelain. It’s surrounded by 4 smaller prangs, also encrusted with mosaics.
Recently renovated, the location is really worth the visit. And if you have the chance, come back in the evening to see it illuminated from the other side of the river.
Wat Arun is open everyday and the entrance fee is 50 bahts.
4. Chatuchak Weekend Market
If you’re in Bangkok during the weekend, you should really visit Chatuchak Market, the largest market in Thailand (more than 15 000 stands).
It’s so big, they even give you a map when you enter to help you get around.
The market is organized into sections: clothes, shoes, jewelry, souvenirs, and much more! And as you can imagine, there is a also a large part dedicated to food.
If you didn’t know what to do on Sunday in Bangkok, your problem is solved! However I should warn you, you won’t be the only ones to have the same idea, the place is super busy.
And to relax a bit, you should go to the large park located nearby. Lots of Thais go there with their family and friends to picnic by the lakeside.
Chatuchak market is really the city’s most famous market.
But don’t worry, if you’re visiting Bangkok during the week (not on the weekend), you only have to walk down the commercial streets or in the shopping centers to find the various products sold at the market, including the famous “I Love Bangkok” t-shirts and elephant key rings!
5. Wat Saket / The Golden Mount
Let’s continue our Bangkok travel guide with the Golden Mount.
Built on the top of a hill, the Golden Mount temple allows you to enjoy a 360 degree view over Bangkok. To get there, you will have to climb a few steps, but really nothing too insurmountable!
Along the path, you will find fountains and statues, as well as several gongs you can ring to attract luck, love, or money (your choice!).
The entrance fee is 50 bahts.