Bangkok, the vibrant capital of Thailand has been a hot sport of South East Asia visitors for a while now. There are hundreds of epic things to do in Bangkok, while many people associate the city mainly with wild parties, red light district and crazy traffic which are all true. But we see Bangkok in a different light.
We like to travel with style, search for culture, uniqueness, and self-growth thanks to each of the places we visit. So during our recent trip to Bangkok Thailand and weeks living there, we’ve been looking for just that.
So here’s everything you should know about Bangkok, from our favorite Insta perfect places to trendy chill spots, our favorite Thai street food places. As usual, we’ve got some stylish recommendations for you.
But first, did you know that…
BANGKOK FUN FACT: People outside Thailand call the Thai capital Bangkok, but Thais themselves actually call it Krung Thep Maha Nakhon. It’s shortened from “Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahinthara Yutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchaniwet Mahasathan Amonphiman Awatansathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukamprasit”, making it the longest name of the city in the world.
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THE WEATHER IN BANGKOK AND WHEN TO GO
Bangkok is a great summer destination to visit all year long. The hottest months in Bangkok are from March to May. All other will be hot as well, just with lower levels of humidity which makes it easier to survive the heat.
December to February is so-called “cold months” when it’s especially nice to be in the city and explore it by foot. Being outside will not make you covered in sweat and that’s a nice feeling. The temperature during daytime will always be above 20 degrees C (68 F) anyway.
March to end of April is the “hot months” when the temperature goes well above 30 degrees C (88 F). Even though it’s hot and sometimes makes it difficult to be outside, it’s a great time to visit Bangkok and Thailand in general, as they celebrate Thai New Year then, with water fights on the streets and other fun activities taking over the whole country.
May to November is considered the “rainy season” so prices on hotels, tours, and flights drop according to “low season”. However, we see it as the best season to go to Bangkok. Not only that everything is cheaper and less crowded, you can spend time indoors whenever it rains and have just as much fun. Also, from the experience, it rarely rains the whole day. I’ve only seen it once. So when the weather clears, you’re good to go again!
BANGKOK FUN FACT: Bangkok has not only the longest name in the world, but it’s also the hottest city on our planet. There are places in the world like Dubai or Death Valley, California where the heat tends to skyrocket and then cool down, but Bangkok remains hot all year long, with the average temperature of 28 degrees C (83F).
10 STYLISH THINGS TO DO IN BANGKOK
Whether you’re looking for things to do in Bangkok in 3 days, which is the typical amount of time people tend to spend in this city, or 1 day or a week, we have some great recommendations for you. The first time we visited Bangkok, we were doing mostly touristic stuff, which was great, but we didn’t fell in love with the city.
The second time this year we got to live in Bangkok for a longer time and our idea about this city fully changed. Turns out it’s no different from big metropolitans like, for example, New York, with an awesome skyline, trendy restaurants, cool photo spots, different cultures. You name it!
Now, with this new found love for Bangkok, we present you our “ must do in Bangkok ” list.
If you’re a first-timer in Bangkok, you shouldn’t skip the top Bangkok attractions and only do the lesser known one, as they are really impressive and popular for a reason. So here are some of these:
1. Visit The Grand Palace
This complex of buildings might be the most impressive and beautiful one you’ll see in Bangkok. It used to be a residence for the Kind of Thailand, but now it’s used for different royal rituals.
The whole complex is surrounded by almost 2000 meters long walls, covering Royal residence buildings, throne halls and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. As it’s considered the center of the Kingdom, it’s being kept spectacular.
2. Admire Wat Pho
This is the oldest and biggest temple complex in Bangkok. It’s a home of the huge 46 meters long golden Buddha figure in a reclining position. One of the most impressive Buddhist sites I’ve seen. There are also smaller statues and different buildings in the complex, making it a very meaningful and memorable spot to visit.
The line of statues at the back of the complex actually reminded me a bit of the statues lined up before the Oscars. Have you ever noticed that, if you’ve been there?
3. Visit Wat Intharawihan
The Wat Intharawihan temple is unique as it holds the statue of 32-meter-tall (more than 100 feet) Big Buddha covered in glass and gold mosaics. When sunlight hits the statue, it almost looks like it’s sparking in a magical glory.
The people doing up to the statue are not taller than this Buddha’s big toe. That’s a pretty unique feeling to see it and just to imagine, how something that bid was even built.
Now that you’ve covered some of the important first-timer must do in Bangkok, let move on to our other favorites.
READ ALSO: Why there are so many temples in Thailand?
4. Visit the worlds biggest Chinatown
The whole area is full of streets and alleys covered with shops, restaurants, and countless street food vendors.
During the day it’s an awesome hot mess, where you make your way through the Chinatown labyrinths of clothing, food and other stalls selling all the Chinese production you might need.
Starting at 6 pm in the evening, the sides of the main street (Yaowarat Rd.) turns into a street food paradise. They close off one street lane on each side of the road and hundreds of food stalls are set up for a bust evening of delicious food extravaganza.
5. Explore the Chatuchak Weekend Market
It appears so that markets in Thailand is a big deal. There are so many of them. Maybe even as many as temples in Thailand? We’re talking thousands here.
The Chatuchak Market has about 8000 stalls and is the biggest one in Asia and one of the biggest in the world. Each weekend more than 200 thousand people walk through this maze to shop for all kinds of good or just to see the buzz.
6. Go on the Bangkok canal adventure
It’s no secret that part of Bangkok is considered as Venice of Asia. It’s for the reason that parts of Bangkok consist of a canal system instead of roads. These parts have remains unchanged for more than 100 years and people still have to move around in boats. Most of the houses seem really old and in a poor condition. It’s definitely not your usual Bangkok image.
Being able to look into this, lesser visited part of Bangkok is such a unique experience. We definitely suggest going on a boat tour that will take you around this area. There’s pretty much no other way how to experience it.
7. Surf in Bangkok
I’m sure you know that Bangkok has no coastline of any sea or ocean, so this might seem quite a weird suggestion. But know this – Bangkok is an insanely creative city where they come up with solutions to pretty much anything.
Make sure to try out the Flow House Bangkok’s urban beach club. They offer a simulated wave surfing machine to get your surf on and totally feel the beach vibes in the city.
8. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok
We’re totally not the biggest fans of museums, so this is a rare case when we suggest one. We do love art and style though, and that’s why this Bangkok spot is a must visit. You’ll get a chance to see and learn about Thai art, as well as to take some epic photos of all the cool geometry and figures you’ll see there.
9. See the unique Asian dance show or a cabaret
Dance shows are well known to be spectacular entertainment all over the world. As they originally come from Havana, Cuba and with the Caribbean rhythms, Asian have done their own versions, that’s just as impressive, if not even more.
One of the most colorful experiences is Siam Niramit Show introducing the Thai history with hundreds of dancers, lights, music, extraordinary outfits taking you on a journey thru history. It’s suitable for adults and kids both.
The other option is the grandiose Asian cabaret with transgender performers, for example, the Calypso Cabaret Show. These shows present Thailand in a whole new light.
Another cool way how to get to know Thai culture is through the Muay Thai Boxing performance. Acrobatics, martial arts and sword fights at the show really make you feel like you’re seeing a Jacky Chan movie life.
10. Do a day trip from Bangkok to see worlds most epic markets
Here I’m talking about to phenomenal markets that could really be one of the most unique things in the Bangkok area and whole Thailand.
The first on the list is the Maeklong Railway Market. That’s the iconic market sells everything from fresh fruits, veggies, flowers, sweets, and clothing. To this point, it might sound like every other market, but the unique part of it is the location on the active railway tracks.
The train runs through the market several times a day, just inches away from cutting fruit and veggies in half. The market pauses for a few seconds to let the train pass, as everything goes back to normal the second it’s gone.
As the Meaklong Railway market is a couple of hours away from Bangkok, the best way how to visit the pace is by taking a tour. Even though we are not big on tours but always try to visit places by ourselves, there are really not many doable options for this one and tour is the best choice.
The other epic market experience is visiting the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. This is one of the biggest and most popular floating markets in Thailand.
While it’s mostly not so appealing to go to something “the most popular” in the country as it’s probably going to be packed with tourists, this market is an exception. Sure, it’s going to be lots of tourists, but it’s unique enough experience and such a cool vibe, that smaller markets will not provide.
While it’s also a couple of hours outside Bangkok, booking a tour that will take you there and back is your best and most comfortable option. Plus, it’s super convenient to combine these two markets in one trip.
BANGKOK FUN FACT: Bangkok Chinatown is home to over a million Chinese people.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN BANGKOK
Bangkok, being the huge metropolitan with influences from many different cultures, is home to a variety of food, Thai food being the most popular one, of course.
From very delicious and cheap Bangkok street food to creative variations of popular Thai dishes, different food classics, and the international influences, here are our absolute favorite places where to eat in Bangkok and where to be amazed by creativity in terms of food.
Like, have you ever had a menu based on your blood type or your face printed on your latte? Keep reading and you’ll understand what I’m talking about here.
◽ Street food
It should be no surprise that street food is pretty much number one go-to food in Thailand. Everyone from locals to visitors (including us) eat it daily, as it’s super cheap, delicious and always accessible. Just a reminder to those how are not used to spicy Asian food, always remember to ask how spicy is the dish.
The first things you should start with are the traditional Pad Thai (Thai noodles) and my personal favorite Tom Yum (spicy coconut soup). If you are in Northern Thailand, for example, Chiang Mai, definitely give Khao Soi a try.
However, a choice for street food will be so huge, from fresh cut fruit, ice cream sandwiches, iced coffee, milk tea and main dishes with unfamiliar names, that you should just go with your gut. Another cool option is to go on a food tour with a local and get to know the Thai cuisine much closer.
Choose your Bangkok food tour here! Or how about learning to cook Thai food yourself?
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◽ Sushi & Japanese cuisine
Some people say that sushi is as easy to find as pad Thai. With the huge Japanese influence and the population living in Bangkok, sushi is now as easily findable as the traditional Pad Thai.
Bangkok is scattered with Japanese bars, ramen places and a variety of small cheap cafes to fancy restaurants. Sushi is one thing that I was really looking forward to coming from Europe to Asia, and Bangkok is the right place for it if you’re not going to Japan.
The go-to area for Japanese food is on Sukhumvit Soi 31 to 55 on the odd side of the street. That’s a real Japanese foodie paradise, offering a variety of whiskey and sake bars for your treat.
◽ Edible insects – a real fine dining experience
Having bugs in your food that you just got served in a restaurant is never acceptable, right? Except in Bangkok! There’s a place “Insects in your backyard”, where they have developed the concept of eating insects and a restaurant experience, putting an incredible attention to food decoration and appearance.
This is definitely an experience worth having, to try out new tastes you probably haven’t tasted before.
◽ Selfie Coffee Bangkok – drinking your own selfie
This might be every selfie lover’s dream – to have an edible or drinkable image of you. This might sound weird, but in Bangkok, you’re actually able to have your selfie printed on coffee foam in your cup and drink it.
It works in the way that you send your selfie to them and they print it on your coffee with a special ink, made of food colors. It’s perfectly safe and edible.
◽ “The Flying Chicken” restaurant. Literally!
This is the ultimate food experience for chicken and acrobatics lovers. In the Suan Aharn Kraton, your chicken order is cooked right before your eyes. You order it, they set it on fire and toss it above everyone’s heads to a waiter, who catches it on the spike of his spiked helmet. Oh, and he’s on a unicycle while doing that.
The acrobatics show makes the place so much more than just a dining spot where you come for good food.
The Vistakitchen might be the most on point healthy food experience to have in Bangkok. Not only they serve their customers with lots of healthy dishes and snacks, the go even further, by offering you a menu that’s specifically created for each blood type.
So eating here will not just take you on a food adventure, but will make you learn something new about the right best diet fitting your blood type.
A great place for all unicorn fans, as everything from the decorations to food is colorful and unicorn themed.
Rainbow-Colored drinks, ice cream desserts, and even rainbow cheeseburgers is an extra special experience for grownups and kids both.
Read more about the Unicorn Cafe here and watch the video to see what it was like.
BANGKOK FUN FACT: The popular energy drink Red Bull was actually created in Bangkok in 1976 by Chaleo Yoovidhya, the third richest man in Thailand at the time of his death in 2012.
BANGKOK NIGHTLIFE & BEST BARS
Being named as the best sky bar in the world year by year, the Lebua Hotel Sky Bar 820 feet up in the sky is a must-do place. The killer city views from above and the colorful cocktails makes it an awesome party place as well as one of the most Instagram-perfect photo spots in Thailand.
Above Eleven is a spectacular skyline bar, inspired by Central Park in New York. It’s designed with features like custom-designed structural trees, a maze in the entrance area and awesome bathroom skyline observatories overlooking Bangkok.
This is the top place for all skyline view lovers and foodies looking for Peruvian Japanese cuisine.
Calling all beer lovers! HOBS is an awesome beer cafe with differently themed branches all over Bangkok. This is not your typical beer garden though. Expect more than 150 different international and local beer that you’ll be able to sip with style in a contemporary and stylish atmosphere. By the way, HOBS stands for House of Beers.
BANGKOK FUN FACT: There are different unexpected rules you should know about when visiting Bangkok, as breaking them might land you in jail. It’s illegal to leave your house without underwear. No one is allowed to drive a vehicle without a shirt on. Also, it’s forbidden to step on Thai Bath (the currency) as it holds a portrait of the king of Thailand. So you’ll be definitely breaking the law if you attempt that.
WHERE TO STAY IN BANGKOK | The Best Hotels for any budget
Bangkok is diverse in culture, in food, in creative ideas and so on. So there’s no surprise, that Bangkok has some pretty creative and awesome and budget-friendly places to offer for your next stay in the city.
So here are our suggested places where to stay in Bangkok starting from Budget accommodation all the way to some epic Bangkok luxury. And the best part is the prices – a budget level place in London costs just as much as an awesome luxury hotel in Bangkok.
This place offers a decent stay for as cheap as it gets. Cooper hostel is located right on the Silom Road in between all the luxury skyscraper hotels. There’s a street food alley 2min walking distance away, where I had the best Tom Yum in the whole of Bangkok.
Cooper is a great choice for Digital Nomads, as they have an excellent WiFi signal and a convenient big table in the common area, which kinda looks like a co-working space.
This place will be perfect for all of those who have a low key curiosity what it’s like to live in the prison. So Sook Station offers exactly that. Their rooms are designed as prison cells. Oh, and you also get a pajama with prison stripe.
The only difference from a real prison will be that you’re actually allowed to go outside.
Shanghai Mansion Bangkok
This is a true golden finding! Shanghai Mansion Bangkok is a stylish boutique in the hearth on Chinatown. It’s designed in Chinese style, featuring traditional elements like an indoor water garden, that can be found in Chinese homes.
While staying there I couldn’t help but listen to “Princes of China” by Rihanna&Coldpay over and over again. That’s how I felt there.
Oh, and you wouldn’t believe the cheap prices for such a stylish place.
This hotel will give you Arabian vibes in Asia. This Arabic style hotel is located in the old town area of Bangkok, letting you enjoy the famous Khao San road just a 5 minute walk away. It offers a nice outdoor area and a plunge pool, which is an extremely useful feature during the hot Bangkok life all year around.
Dewan Bangkok feels like a total steal if you consider the level of comfort, amenities, pool and the central location.
Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn
Eastin in Bangkok might easily be your new favorite place in Bangkok. With epic skyline views from your room with full-length mirrors, a bathtub overlooking the city from above, an infinity pool and a customer service styled to perfection, is what you can expect from this hotel.
All of it rounded up in a perfect romantic getaway or a trip with friends comes at extremely affordable prices and time well spent. We stayed here and can safely say that this is our favorite luxury hotel in the city.
Lebua at State Tower
Lebua is one of the most popular and Instagrammable hotels in Bangkok like many popular Instagrammers have proved that. For example Aggie in her Instagram photo above.
Lebua has been voted as the best hotel in Bangkok by different travel publications, as well as voted as the best rooftop bar that you can find in the city.
Their suites are decorated to fulfill all the needs of their guests if it’s a business trip, a luxury vacation or a honeymoon. The fine dining, relaxation at the 360 rooftop bars and open-air restaurants, the lounges and Lebua’s attention to every detail makes it a spectacular place to stay and enjoy your time in Bangkok.
GETTING AROUND BANGKOK
Even though it might seem difficult and confusing, as the Bangkok traffic quite often seems like, it’s actually super easy to move around the city. Bangkok public transport system is very well developed, with several options to choose from.
1. MRT, Bangkok underground train
This is an underground train line, with many useful connections throughout the city. It starts near the Bangkok Chinatown and Central Railway Station. The route crosses 20 km of the city, passing Lumpini Park all the way to the Chatuchak Weekend Market area. From MRT you can easily transfer to BTS at Chatuchak Park/Mo Chit, Sukhumvit/Asok, and Silom/Sala Daeng stations.
Quite similar to the BTS, it runs from 06:00 to 00:00 daily. It costs around $0.40 to $1.20 (15 to 40 Thai Bath) depending on the travel distance.
The Bangkok Airport Rail link is easily the fastest and most convenient way how to get from Bangkok to the Suvarnabhumi International Airport and back. Even though there are express buses and taxi services between the city and airport, the ARL is a favorite by many, as the way takes only 30 min.
The Bangkok Airport Rail link connects it’s passengers to MRT underground at Makkasan City Interchange Station and to BTS Skytrain at Phayathai Station, which is the final stop for the ARL.
It runs from 06:00 to 00:00 daily. A full way cost is around $1.40 (45 Thai Baht).
3. BTS, Bangkok Skytrain
This is an elevated train system, that consists of two lines: BTS Sukhumvit Line and BTS Silom Line. It’s well-developed train system with easily understandable routes and stops. Using the Skytrain is always comfortable and fast, and especially good in comparison to other modes of transportation during the rush hours.
Bangkok BTS map can be found here.
It runs from 06:00 to 00:00 daily. The cost is around $0.40 to $1.21 (15 to 42 Thai Bath) depending on the travel distance.
4. Bangkok Express boat service
These boats easily connect many parts of the city, allowing you to avoid the heavy traffic on the streets during the rush hours. The tickets for these boats can be bought right on board when a ticket officer will approach you.
The most useful route we’ve found is down the Chao Phraya River going from Chinatown to Khao San road, with many important stops like the Grand Palace or Wat Pho on the way. This is a smart option if you’re out exploring these areas.
It runs every day from 06:00 to 19:00, and it costs $0.43 (15 Thai Bath) per trip.
5. Bangkok ferry boat services
This option is basically just the river crossing service for people just wanting to move from one side of the river to the other. As part of Bangkok is covered with water canals, this can come quite in handy, so there a 6 routes on this service.
It runs every day from 06:00 to 20:00. The cost is $0.10 (3 Thai Baht).
Using a GRAB app is an easy way how to use taxi services for pretty pre-agreed prices. It works exactly like UBER. You order a car, set your destination, see the price per trip. The best part – you don’t have to deal with cash, as the app charges your credit card. This is by far the most stress-free way how to navigate Bangkok.
7. TAXIS, TUK-TUKs and Motorbike Taxis
All these options are good for getting around Bangkok an get a reel feel of the Bangkok traffic. They are all cheap and reliable, however, some bargaining skills can come in handy, as the prices are not set.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN BANGKOK
The only currency in Thailand is Thai Baht. (1 USD = 32 THB; 1 EUR = 37 THB). Once you arrive in Thailand, change some of your cash to THB right in the airport. There are plenty of currency exchange points with quite ok rates.
ATMs and credit cards
There are ATMs everywhere in the city, so taking out cash from the ATM is no problem. Just the commission of withdrawal is usually around 5-8 USD. That is quite a lot if you want to use ATM often.
The most profitable option is to bring your local currency in cash from home and exchange it once in Thailand. Carrying large sums of cash is never good, but in terms of profitability, it’s the best option.
Also, be aware that some shops, for example, the popular 7-eleven doesn’t accept Mastercard. Otherwise, the use of credit and debit cards are quite common, except such places as markets, street food stalls etc.
Thai is the official language in Thailand. However, all the main things like metro stops, food menus etc are mostly written in both, Thai and English. Also, the English efficiency level of locals is good enough, to always manage any situation.
It might actually be very useful to get an English – Thai phrase book before you leave for your Thailand adventure. Easier to communicate with locals and learning something new for yourself.
In order to easily navigate through the city, it’s always great to have a GPS map on your phone. In most parts of the world, we use Google Maps offline version, but it doesn’t seem to be working in Thailand. So as a great alternative get the MAPS.ME app which makes finding places in Bangkok super easy.
Dress Code for temples
All the sacred places in Thailand require a proper dress code. This means no short pants, no shirts without sleeves, no bare feet. In any temple in Thailand and also people homes, it’s necessary to take off your shoes.
Some of the popular temples have clothing booths by the entrance of the temple. Proper clothes for a temple visit are provided there if needed.