Bangkok is the land of dynamic street life and glittering shrines, filled with revelers from all the latitudes and longitudes of the world. This is a weather-friendly destination with a tropical climate throughout the year with a wide collection of natural and architectural marvels that are worth witnessing. A trip to Bangkok is incomplete without an exclusive array of exciting experiences like wakeboarding, surfing, skydiving, rock climbing, and many more which are a plus to the enticing trip. Wildlife is another important aspect that the country is known for; one can plan a visit to the crocodile farm and zoo, butterfly garden, and Siam ocean world which has a wide variety of vibrant species.
Bangkok is also known for its amazing nightlife, tourists can witness a number of lively restaurants, bars, and cafes that welcome you with electrifying music. Other major reasons for planning a trip to Bangkok are street shopping, night markets, and its exceptional connectivity to various islands, cities, and countries.
Best Time to Visit Bangkok
Bangkok falls in the tropical zone and although it is a year-round destination, the best time to plan a trip to Bangkok is from November to February. It experiences three distinct seasons, namely, cold, wet, and hot season with a tropical monsoon climate. The cold season lasts from November to February, the wet season from July to October, and the hot season from March to June. September and October are the wettest months while the period from April to June is considered the hottest. If you’re a beach lover then you can visit anytime between December to March. Bangkok holds the title for being the hottest city in the world, wherein temperatures are expected to soar above 30c! Try to avoid planning a trip between May to October as the weather during this period is mainly unpredictable and the skies are dominated by clouds. If you’re someone who is sensitive to air pollution, avoid traveling from November through April as the worst months are the coolest, where pollution becomes some of the worst in the world.
Another aspect to think about is the major holidays like Chinese New year which falls on January 28th and Songkran which is Thai New Year and is celebrated on April 13-15th. Both these festivals draw lots of crowds which results in raised prices but with special food, parades, water fights, and more, it can be a memorable and incredibly rich time to visit the city.
Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
#1 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
Dating back to the time of ancient battles between Burma and the former Siam, Wat Arun is something of a triumphant complex. Ayutthaya had fallen to the Burmese and was reduced to ashes and rubble, but General Taksin along with the remaining survivors promised to march “until the sun rose again” so that the temple could be built there. The Temple of the Dawn, Wat Arun was that temple. Situated on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, the name of the temple has been derived from Hindu God Aruna. If you’d like to be rewarded with an unforgettable view as the sun sinks over the Chao Praya River, climb to the top of the prang just before sunset. Wat Arun holds a special place in the hearts of the people and is also counted among one of the best places to visit in Bangkok with family.
The temple was recently renovated and reopened to the public at the end of 2017. The temple is also home to five towering prangs (towers), which are covered with colorful ceramic tiles and vibrant porcelain and are visible from the river. The best time to visit the temple is when it opens around 8 in the morning so that you can avoid huge crowds.
#2 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
The popular Grand Palace is located in the heart of the city and is one of the most famous places to visit in Bangkok city, Thailand, showcasing the rich history of Bangkok. The palace is also the former residence of King Rama of the Rattanakosin Kingdom, now hosts enriching tours and royal ceremonies for every type of traveler these days. Apart from the king’s residence, travelers can also experience the grandeur of the ‘Temple of the Emerald Buddha’ or Wat Phra Kaew which is situated here. Built-in the year 1782, Wat Phra Kaew is one of the holiest Buddhist temples inside the palace. The emerald and gold-laden Buddha dons a cloak which is changed by the king with the passing of each season. The Palace is beautifully built with its white exterior walls keeping the priceless relics hidden from the public, but visitors are treated to views of stunning temples and towering spires across the grounds upon paying the entrance fee.
The Grand Palace has been the residence of royals for several generations and is still used for accommodating heads of state and other important ceremonies. When visiting the Grand Palace it is advised to dress modestly, which basically means covering your legs and arms and avoiding any sloppy attire.
Jim Thompson’s House
#3 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
Jim Thompson’s House is an offbeat yet intriguing attraction in the city and is often counted amongst the top places to visit in Bangkok. Jim was an American spy who stayed in Thailand after World War II ended and helped in reviving the lost art of the Thai silk industry. The grandeur of the traditional Thai architecture is reflected very well by the collection and construction of the six traditional Thai teak homes. The museum showcases unique art pieces and relics that Thompson had collected from different parts of Thailand. This museum has a unique mystery attached to itself as Thompson went missing in Malaysia back in 1967, never to be found again. Various theories about this unsolved mystery can be explored in a part of the museum. This “self-made American entrepreneur” was awarded an important honor given to foreigners who have made significant contributions to Thailand, the Order of the White Elephant.
The museum has a remarkable collection of art from Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia which is a must-visit for art and history lovers. Jim Thompson’s home is also filled with antique items he had collected in the past from all over the world. His room is decorated with things like Cambodian carvings, Burmese statues, Chinese blue-and-white Ming pieces, and a dining table which was once used by King Rama V of Thailand.
Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World
#4 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World is the largest underground aquarium in Southeast Asia, located two storeys beneath the Siam Paragon mall in the heart of Bangkok. It’s an aquatic wonderland with a size of 3 Olympic pools, sprawling over an area of 110,000 sq. ft. Home to various marine life from the remotest corners of the world, the aquarium houses over 30,000 fishes with over 400 species of sharks, penguins, octopuses, crabs, and fish. Tourists can explore the marine life around the planet by taking a tour of the 12 themed zones in the underwater glass tunnel. This is definitely among the best places to visit in Bangkok as a few hours spent here by solo travelers, groups of friends or members of the family including kids can be as educational as it is exhilarating and memorable.
Your tour into the Big Blue begins with the Weird and Wonderful zone, where you can see bizarre-looking and rare marine creatures, such as garden eel, gigantic spider crabs, striped frogfish, and nautiluses. Tourists get to learn about how sea animals survive in Living Ocean and also see displays of blind cavefish, ancient African lungfish, otters, and giant water rats in Rain Forest. If you’d like to learn how penguins survive under constant change in the unpredictable environment head to the Rocky Shore zone. There is so much to explore here that it may need an entire day of yours if you’d like to get the complete experience. On your way out, drop by the Sea Jellies zone to be amazed by the musical and light symphony with invertebrates floating about in LED-lit tanks.
#5 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
Wat Pho is located just south of the Grand Palace precinct and is an excellent addition to your palace tour as long as your feet are up for more walking. The temple is the oldest in Bangkok and was built by King Rama I. Wat Pho has built a reputation as a place of healing, especially because of its pharmacy which was famous centuries ago and as Thailand’s first “university”— both established during the rule of King Rama III. Today, the temple is popularly known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, which stands at forty-six meters long and fifteen meters tall, with the feet alone measured at over five meters. The statue is so huge that it cannot be viewed in its entirety and has to be appreciated in sections. The soles of the feet are particularly beautiful as they are inlaid with a myriad of precious stones. The lotus-bud configuration of the hand to symbolize beauty and purity while the long earlobes signifying noble birth. The whole statue looks incredible when you get up close as it is covered in gold leaf.
On the way into the temple, tourists can buy coins for the 108 bowls which are inside the temple, the reason behind this being that Buddha completed 108 positive actions on his way to becoming perfect. Wat Pho surrounds the 49-foot-high, 151-foot-long statue staring up at the ceiling with a gaze of enlightenment. In addition to a traditional Thai massage school, visitors can also find over 400 illustrations of colorful murals of the Buddha.
Bangkok National Museum
#6 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
Situated nearby the Grand Palace on the former grounds of the 18th Century Wang Na Palace, Bangkok National Museum is one of the best places to visit in Bangkok for history buffs. This was Thailand’s only museum until the mid-1970s, which explains why its collection is so diverse and big. From offering a good sneak peek into the country’s history to housing the largest collection of Thai art, this is also the perfect place especially for culture vultures! Lovers of Thai culture and art can enjoy spending hours admiring the treasures inside the Bangkok National Museum. The museum features regional crafts, religious works, Neolithic artifacts and is also home to one of the most enticing Asian art collections in the country. A guided tour of the collections includes learning about the religious history of the region and court traditions that continue to influence artistic expressions to this day.
The museum was first opened to the public by King Rama V with an intention of showing off all the gifts that his father had given him. Some interesting things to check out while at the museum are clothing and textiles, Chinese weapons, Khon masks, puppets, and precious stones. If you’d like to be given a tour in English so that you get a greater understanding of everything in the museum, try planning your visit on a Thursday.
Chao Phraya River
#7 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
Flowing south to the Gulf of Thailand, Chao Phraya River is an iconic river with innumerable experiences in store for you. While the enchanting ferry rides and the exemplary dinner cruise are reasons good enough for visiting here, its scenic beauty against the backdrop of spectacular buildings is a pleasing sight to the eyes making it one of the most picturesque places to visit in Bangkok. It’s a great idea to plan for a vacation here between December to February, as winter in Thailand especially in this region is very pleasant. Thailand has more than 31,000 Buddhist temples spread out across the country and this one is one that you really don’t want to miss! Standing at 79 meters tall on the bank of the Chao Phraya River, this beautiful temple is named after Aruna, the God of Dawn. The tower is covered in colored porcelain and ceramic tiles making for a magnificent sight when you catch it in the right light. It is believed that a pair of mythical giants keep watch over the temple grounds.
While here check out the ASIATIQUE: The Riverfront, which is a unique and trendy market located along the murky banks of the Chao Phraya River. Compared to the other Bangkok markets, Asiatique is more organized, cleaner, and completely devoid of counterfeit street-side stalls and goods. The market is chock-full of fashionable boutiques, high-end bars and restaurants, and one of the wildest cabaret shows in Bangkok. There is also a 200-foot-tall (61-meter-tall) Ferris wheel equipped with gondolas – this is the perfect spot to see the river and city from incredible heights.
#8 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
There are many top tourist attractions in Bangkok like the Wat Pho, Grand Palace, and many more which are quite popular in the tourist fraternity. The challenge arises in finding a place that would keep the kids occupied, no matter where you go. The Thai capital, however, has the perfect place to solve this conundrum! Located at an easy 50-minute drive from Bangkok in Thanyaburi, Dream World theme park offers a bustling, cheerful ambiance, complete with colorful parades, a snow park, waterworks, rollercoasters, flowering gardens, candy floss, and entertainment shows. With over 30 famous and thrilling rides such as Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Cable car, Hanging Coaster, Router, Super Splash, and Vikings, the park also has four themes in which you are sure to have the best time of your life. If you’d like to beat the heat and explore the world of snow at -8°C then head to Snow Town. You can never get bored of the Snow Town and its amusing and adventurous activities. Make sure to check out the buffet lunch (charges extra) while here.
Dream World ensures that the kid within you has a kick-ass day out by turning every fantasy into reality. The park is also called “The World of Happiness” and is Bangkok’s answer to Disneyland. From its sweet little attractions to its high-octane rides, it is among the best places to visit in Bangkok for kids to capture some fun memories and keep them occupied for a day or two!
#9 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
Safari World is a spacious Safari Park that gives both locals and tourists a chance to drive through and spot wildlife. Comprising of 2 themes – Safari Park and Marine Park, where you can indulge in local cuisines, watch entertaining live shows, and shop for souvenirs. The popular Safari World in Bangkok, unlike the other zoos, lets animals roam around freely at their own pace. This place is not only a hub for gathering knowledge about the way of life of wild animals, but also offers a host of entertaining activities and shows. The Safari World gives visitors a chance to meet more than 100 different animals from around the world while the Marine Park is home to animals from air, sea, and land. Some of the must-see thrillingly unique shows at Safari World Bangkok include the Orangutan boxing show, the dolphin show, the fabulous Hollywood Cowboy stunt show, and the sea lion show
Apart from the live shows, Safari World also has some really exhilarating attractions featuring tropical rainforest aviary, white tigers, and fancy carp garden. Also, be sure to make some time for the breathtaking lion & tiger feeding, which for sure you will enjoy! The main attraction here is the jungle safari experience which is an 8 km drive that lasts for 45 minutes, taking you past the scenic environment of Safari World and also giving you a chance to get up close and personal with some rare and endangered species. With so much in offering here, it is definitely among the best places to visit in Bangkok for wildlife enthusiasts or if you just want to spend a day of fun and excitement with your family.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
#10 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the largest flea markets in the world where you can buy almost anything provided you know where to look. Everything from northern handicrafts and rare art pieces to genitalia-shaped soap and kitchenware can be found in the nooks and crannies of this market. If you’d like to avoid crowds, you should visit first thing in the morning as during this time it is easier to maneuver through the aisles. Just a tip for while shopping here, every price is merely a suggestion, so barter at will. Although there I so much going on in front of the market, the most interesting section of the market is at the back! Fairly illegal things such as the availability of endangered species and activities like cockfighting take place here. So while here don’t get too flashy with the camera, as this may raise suspicion among the merchants.
The Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok is popularly called “the weekend market” or just J.J. Market, sprawling across more than 25 acres the market draws more than 200,000 visitors per week selling almost everything from pets to furniture to clothing. The best things to buy in the Chatuchak market include housewares, handicrafts, clothing, and Thai silks. Everything here is cheaper than at shopping malls. There are also plenty of outlets selling Buddhist art, hardware, antiques, furniture, dresses, and shoes that are cheap, fun, and colorful. Like other markets throughout Asia, Chatuchak Market has also been busted for doing illegal trade of reptiles, insects, birds, and other wildlife. As there is no easy way to verify the source, it is better to avoid anything made from animal products altogether. With so much going here in favor of the shopaholics, most visitors give themselves from a few hours to a full day to wander and shop, making Chatuchak Weekend Market among the best places to visit in Bangkok for shopping enthusiasts.
#11 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
If you’re looking for well-known tourist spots in Bangkok, Madame Tussauds definitely makes it to the list of top tourist attractions in Bangkok. The Madame Tussauds here is one of the first in South Asia, where fans not only get an opportunity to get clicked with their favorite celebrity but also get to touch and hug them! However, tourists are not allowed to touch any wax figure in the most decorated room housing the Thai royal family. This worldwide famous wax museum features many South Asian heroes who have brought the third world countries up on the world map and many globally famous people like Beyonce, Ariana Grande, Mahatma Gandhi, Will Smith, and Shahrukh Khan to name a few. The quality of craftsmanship that goes behind the 70 wax figures will surely take your breath away.
The wax museum has ten exhibit rooms each representing different theme zones. Out of these the most visited is the Royal Room that displays the wax figures of HRH Princess Srinagarindra and beloved HRH Prince Mahitala Thibed Adulyadej who have been deeply respected by the Thai people. The reverence is evident in the assiduous attention and elaborate design to every detail of the exhibition: even the music played here needs approval from the Thai Royal family!
#12 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
Lumpini Park, named after the birthplace of Lord Buddha in Nepal, was the first public park in Bangkok. Although the original aim was to exhibit flowers and Thai crafts, today, the park plays home to a wide range of flora and fauna species attracting tourists and locals to rejuvenate and relax. The trail at Lumpini Park is also a popular stomping ground for skaters, joggers, and cyclists. In addition to this, several sporadic aerobic classes are conducted in the park that visitors are always welcome to join. Water enthusiasts can explore the lake that sits at the park’s core by renting paddle boats for the day. The park has regularly scheduled events throughout the year, you never know what to expect while visiting this massive green space in the heart of the city.
If you are looking for places to visit in Bangkok away from the crowded streets to help you connect with nature, Lumpini Park provides tourists with a green oasis amid the chaos and traffic of Bangkok. The Park is also a great place to spend an afternoon with the family and enjoy the shade of a Chinese pagoda, or hang out on one of several lawn areas, or take a boat out on the lake. Some of the park’s onsite facilities include playgrounds, an outdoor gym, a basketball court, and paddleboats. Also, don’t miss out on the entertaining classical orchestra or local jazz often performed on late Sunday afternoons. If just strolling around the park is more your style, just stick to the maze-like pathways that overlook picnic areas, lush gardens, and an artificial lake with many sheltered niches where you can meditate, read, or have a picnic.
#13 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
The oldest zoo in Thailand, Dusit Zoo lies in the vicinity of Bangkok’s governmental headquarters and has been open for over 60 years. Boasting a heavy annual footfall, Dusit zoo has a wide range of animals inside (around 1600) including alligators, penguins, the albino barking deer, monkeys, lions, kangaroos, and the white Bengal tiger. The zoo also has an animal hospital (that takes care of all the inhabitants of the zoo) as well as the museum, an education center, and a train. The setup of the zoo is interesting, featuring a broad man-made lake on the inside with diverse animal zones put around it. Manicured greenery and significant trees line the two sides of the way, providing shaded resting zones on the entire path. After paying the affirmation charge, tourists receive a guide indicating all the workplaces and essential attractions. If you have limited time to spend at the zoo, try to choose your zones of energy using the guide and go straight to these spots
On the other hand, hop on the link auto ride, although the setup is smaller than normal it takes visitors around the entertainment focus in just 20 minutes! An interesting fact about the zoo premises is that it was a part of the private garden that belonged to King Chulalongkorn Rama V. The park was handed over to the government of Bangkok for the benefit of the public, after the death of the king. The zoo also has over 12 sprawling acres of water which can be used by the visitors to feed the fish or just take a paddleboat and cruise around it. With Dusit zoo offering so much for the entire family, it definitely makes a place for itself among the top places to visit in Bangkok for a family outing.
Bangkok Art & Culture Centre
#14 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
Bangkok Art and Cultural Center (BACC) offers a wide scope of contemporary workmanship, theater, music, and film in the city and is the center of Bangkok’s prospering craftsmanship scene. After 13 long years from when the idea was suggested, it finally opened to the public in 2008. This stunning center displays artworks both from Thai and International specialists and is located just a few meters away from National Stadium. Both the outside and the inside of the building are similar to the Guggenheim in New York, with its colossal white winding and facing walkways. The winding staircase takes guests around the center displaying stunning masterpieces on every floor of this 9-story building. Also, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday an art workshop is routinely held in front of the building. While entry to BACC is free, it hasn’t quite reached the caliber of the great art centers in New York and London, its evident potential makes it worth dedicating an hour or so for a visit.
The BACC often displays some fascinating sculptures in the front square which make it stand out on the corner of the Pathumwan intersection among the many shopping centers here. The exhibition space is huge and houses an art library, shops, and a couple of cafés serving snacks and coffee. The exhibits on display have an international feel to them with features like the bilingual staff on hand to enhance the experience and explanations in English! There is always something challenging and exciting to see here thanks to the rotating curators. Over the past few years, this has included the Young Thai Artist Award, The Mekong River Art Project, Asian photography, contemporary Japanese crafts, and many others.
#15 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
One of the liveliest places to visit in Bangkok to experience all things illicit is Soi Cowboy. The streets here will blind you with neon lights advertising strip shows, go-go bars, and generally everything else you could think of! The street gets its name from the man who opened up the first bar here in the early 1970s and as he was known for wearing a cowboy hat, the street got its name Soi Cowboy. Bangkok has grown pretty big and famous over the years for its nightlife scene which includes amazing rooftop bars, nightclubs, hip cocktail bars, and much more. One of the popular red-light districts, it embodies the true nightlife experience of Bangkok, with friendly staff members outside each bar. Located very close to Terminal 21, this red-light district has a more carnival-like and laid-back feel to it than Nana Plaza or Patpong. While here don’t be shy, as the people here are open-minded and easygoing, drink prices are fixed while the entry is always free.
Each go-go bar in Soi Cowboy is colorful and brightly lit, offering seats typically arranged around a UV-lit central stage, playing loud music all night. Bars usually close around 2 am, but most of them tend to extend until 3 am. Weekends can be really busy especially if you have plans to visit popular ones such as Baccara or Tilac. With drinks costing from 100 to 150 baht (approx $4-$5), Soi Cowboy is fairly straightforward with no scams or traps. So if you have plans of making your holiday in Bangkok wild, head straight to Soi Cowboy!
Suan Pakkad Palace
#16 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
The name ‘Suan Pakkad’ translates to ‘cabbage patch’, fits quite well for this private residence turned museum. This museum was once the residence of the Prince and Princess of Chumbhot, dating back to over 100 years. Before being converted into a private collection of homes by the royal family, the land was nothing more than a cabbage patch! The Palace is among the best places to visit in Bangkok to find visions of Thailand you thought vanished a long time ago. It’s a well-tended tropical garden with 8 traditional Thai houses surrounded by serene ponds, each of which is overflowing with oddities, antiques, and fine arts belonging to the Royals of Chumbhot. Their philanthropic rationale was that, although the treasures in their possessions are private property, they still are a part of mankind’s heritage and hence should be accessible to all.
Prehistoric Ban Chieng artifacts that can be dated back to the Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron Ages have found a home at the Chumbhot-Panthip Centre of Arts. These bronze weapons and rare items of painted pottery show us a Southeast Asian civilization that equals Stonehenge and Egypt in terms of social and technological advancement. The 4 Thai teak houses nestled between the garden and the front of the palace are the architectural centerpieces at Suan Pakkad Palace. Each of them is built like most traditional Thai houses, each 2 storeys high and interlinked by upstairs platforms, so that visitors can walk sequentially between buildings without taking the stairs. Tucked away quietly at the back of the tranquil grounds, the star attraction at Suan Pakkad Palace is the 17th-century Lacquer Pavilion which was originally located at a temple near Ayutthaya. With an interior filled with lively Buddha and Ramayana mural paintings drawn in gold and richly carved gilded wood walls, it’s an exquisite example of Thai architecture.
#17 in Best Places to Visit in Bangkok
An ideal place for cultural sightseeing and picnics, Rose Garden at Suan Sampran is a popular attraction in Bangkok especially if you are traveling with kids. To give you a beautiful glimpse of the way of life and their traditions, Thai cultural shows are organized every day in the park. The Rose garden is located 38 km west of downtown Bangkok and is part of a large cultural center in Nakhon Pathom, Interesting things to do at Rose Garden include enjoying traditional performances such as boxing, Thai folk dancing, and even sword fighting. The park also has several banquet rooms and restaurants overlooking a river and a 160-room riverside hotel, which helps in hosting traditional Thai weddings regularly. While planning your visit to Rose Garden try combining it with a visit to the famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market which is almost 60 km away. The Rose Garden is massive and stretches to more than 75 acres of perfectly manicured grounds with a lake at its center.
There’s also an elephant show for the kids and the site has its own spa and golf course for the adults! The garden is located about 30 kilometers out of Bangkok, given the distance involved, a trip here is going to be an all-day affair, so unless you have a lot of time to spare, a visit to the Rose Garden is unlikely to be on top of your list of priorities.