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Looking for the best Bangkok attractions and what to do in the city?
I’ve visited Bangkok on my solo backpacking trip through the Indochina route. The megacity of Thailand never failed to amaze me with its character, buzz and its culture.
From the famous airport code BKK (Bangkok) to — Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit —Bangkok’s real name.
Bangkok holds this Guinness World Record of the longest name of a place. This is the capital and most populous city in Thailand.
There are so many places to go in Bangkok, from golden palaces, temple hoping to splurge in the street food of every corner, down to bargaining in the floating market. Bangkok is surely one of the best weekend getaways in Asia. Bangkok is also known to be the epicentre of backpacking culture in Asia.
Locals are fond of tourists, they are all (or maybe 90%) tourist friendly, they can assist you in budget-friendly best attractions in Bangkok too.
10 Best Attractions and Things To Do In Bangkok on a Budget Contents
- Looking for the best Bangkok attractions and what to do in the city?
- Here are our suggestions for amazing Bangkok attractions and what to do in the city!
- 1. The Grand Palace
- 2. Bangkok National Gallery and the Bangkok National Museum
- 3. Cruise the Chao Phraya river
- 4. Visiting various temples
- 5. Have fun in Khao San Road
- 6. Visit the Safari World
- 7. Be Entertained by the Lady Boys Show
- 8. Grab a bargain in the Floating Market and the Chatuchak Weekend Market
- 9. Visit the Mahanakhon Skywalk
- 10. Enjoy the delicious Thai food
Bangkok’s language is Thai, a little bit tongue-twisting at first, try to learn the basic greetings like Sawadee krap/ka (Hello) and Kap khun krap/ka (Thank You) as these can go a long way. Since it is located in the tropical area of the globe, the best Bangkok attractions can be more appreciated when you visit it in late October till February. It is peak season during the Yuletide, be mindful in spending your Thai Bhat (Bangkok currency) in food and shopping, as you can go gaga with all the cheap prices.
Bangkok is an amazing destination that has a massive number of attractions to offer, you will never run out of what to do in Bangkok, Thailand. What are you waiting for, book a flight and enjoy the famous places in Bangkok!
Read More: How to Plan A Thailand Cambodia Vietnam Tour
Here are our suggestions for amazing Bangkok attractions and what to do in the city!
1. The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace – located in the heart of the city, considered one of the best Bangkok attractions. It charms a lot of tourist around the globe. Built in 1782, home of the Thai King for 150+ years, this palace is truly a jewel for Thai people.
In modern times, the place is still in use for official and auspicious happenings. With its craftsmanship made of intricate details, elegance, The Grand Palace with The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is considered as Thailand’s most sacred site that is open for tourist (therefore, a modest dress code is strictly applied). Your 500 Thai Bhat (fee as of 2019) is worthy in this tourist attraction.
This 2.35 million sq. ft. tourist spot does not seem enough to accommodate every visitor (that is how famous this site is). Envision yourself, walking in Bangkok historical places like this, isn’t it mind-blowing?
My advice, be in The Grand Palace first thing in the morning, there is no “down time” when the gate opens, the crowd is non-stop. This is for sure one of the top places to visit in Bangkok! Also, don’t forget to bring your passport when you visit the palace as this is required when you enter and purchase the ticket.
2. Bangkok National Gallery and the Bangkok National Museum
Visiting the Bangkok National Gallery is one of the things to do in Bangkok for free! If you are looking for a little quaint time in your Bangkok tour, head to this gallery, a kind of peaceful-cool-down walk in the middle of the city.
You will be able to witness the paintings by the past and present Kings of Thailand, which permanently resides in this national gallery. The exterior or courtyard has an interesting display of sculptures by Thai artists.
The bonus is, this is a tick in your things to do in Bangkok on a budget as the entrance to the gallery is free.
There are huge collections of precious stones, Khon mask, textiles, woodcarvings and traditional musical instruments. Let your eyes be filled with enchantment when you come across the antiques and gifts from King Rama V which are given by his father. The dusty yet impressive collections will definitely haunt the artist in you!
This is considered as one of the romantic things to do in Bangkok (if you have your partner with you, of course!), imagine both of you appreciating art in a less crowded area, seems the place is all by yourselves or just simply being in one of the biggest museums in Southeast Asia! You can also add this place in your list as one of the cheap Bangkok attractions.
3. Cruise the Chao Phraya river
Are you a night cruiser or day cruiser? Well, cruising the Chao Phraya River (also known as the River of Kings) can give you both satisfaction in it. If you wish to have the ultimate experience in city sightseeing in Bangkok, be on a ferry (open air or not) at Chao Phraya. Book your Chao Praya river cruise
This river is the core water body of the city, one of the main tourist attractions in Bangkok. Many locals use the river to get to their workplaces, almost every day. For some, it is their way of life and mainly their source of income or livelihood.
Riding the ferry in Chao Phraya river is one of the best things to see and do in Bangkok!
4. Visiting various temples
400+ is being proclaimed the number of wats (temple) in Bangkok. There is no way to visit all of them but here are top 3 must-see temples, especially when you only have a handful time in this rich in culture place. And consider this as one of the prudent things to do in Bangkok during a layover. Book your Bangkok temple tours here.
While visiting various temples in Bangkok, locals expect you to comply with their simple rules and regulations when it comes to dress code, as these certain places are sacred for them. First to visit, Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of Emerald Buddha), where the Buddha is carved into a 66 cm tall block of jade (400 Bhat is worthy of this as of 2019).
Second, Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) with its unique architectural design and fine craftsmanship, it is named as the most stunning temple in Bangkok.
And last but not the least, Wat Pho (Temple Of Reclining Buddha), the house of the gigantic reclining Buddha image, covered with golden leaf and encrusted with mother-of-pearl (your 200 Bhat, as of 2019 fee, will never be in waste upon seeing this famous piece).
The amazing temples in Bangkok are part of the capital’s heart and soul, making the city more grounded and rich when it comes to spirituality. Paying a visit in the stunning temples are just a few things to do in Bangkok besides shopping. The beauty of it will mark your Bangkok tour extra special.
5. Have fun in Khao San Road
Things to do in Bangkok for backpackers? Hmmm, spend your first dinner, late coffee and after party in the very street of Khao San road.
Situated in the central part of Bangkok, described famously from the book “The Beach” as “The centre of backpacking universe”. Budget-friendly accommodations are in each alley so as the food, night bars, massage parlours and market stalls.
When the night falls, locals and foreigners blend well with a couple of beers, exchanging stories. The vibrancy of the atmosphere attracts youngsters, commoners and a lot of tourists. This is one of the best things to do and places to visit in Bangkok at night.
This should be in your Bangkok tourist attractions list- the fun, the carefree environment, that ‘anything-goes breeze’, such a pretty perfect experience in Bangkok. Load your backpacks and explore this tourist spot in Bangkok. Book your Hop-on, Hop-off Bus in Bangkok here.
6. Visit the Safari World
Safari World is a Bangkok tourist attraction. This spacious park (200 acres), where you can drive through and spot different kinds of wildlife is one of the most adventurous things to do when visiting Bangkok.
It has two parks, Safari Park and the Marine Park. The Safari Park is a 5 mile long, where hundreds of animals around the globe are present. You can see the animals up close, the over the fence height giraffes (you can feed them in just 100 Bhat per bucket as of 2019), humorous orangutan (walking safely towards the tour) and a small baby tiger fed by the guides (or you can too, with a fee of 400 Bhat as of 2019).
The Marine Park houses a wide range of water animals. There are dolphin shows, acting sea lions and crocodile garden. There are certainly a lot of activities to do in this place, plus if you travel with a kid, they will perfectly enjoy this.
What are you waiting for? Lace up your safari boots, tickle the zoologist in you and visit this best tourist spot in Bangkok, the Safari World.
7. Be Entertained by the Lady Boys Show
If you are looking for unusual things to do in Bangkok, watching a Ladyboy show is for you!
This is one of Bangkok attractions for adults, widely known locally and internationally. Ladyboys or Kathoey (where the man dresses up as a woman, having breast implants, reducing their Adam’s apple and some silicone injections, whilst retaining only their male genitals) offers the most extravaganza and highly artistic performance when at the stage. Watching them live is just a few best things to do in Bangkok at night (but for adults only!) Most of the performances are in Broadway-style.
Lady Boy shows can also be witnessed in the neighbouring towns such as Pattaya and Chaing Mai (tourist places near Bangkok). The spectacular sets and costumes bring you to a different dimension feeling, they are highly entertaining, jaw-dropping performance till the end of the show. Book this show to see the amazing show!
8. Grab a bargain in the Floating Market and the Chatuchak Weekend Market
The leading tourist attraction of Thailand are the floating markets in Bangkok. Shop locally, gorge on Thai food or have a relaxing massage, these are some things to do in Bangkok during the day when having a tour at the floating market. Bang Ku Wiang Market, Tha Kha, Taling Chan Market and Damnoen Saduak are the famous floating markets in Bangkok, which offers different types of products and services. Book this market tour to experience the Thai market culture!
They open as early as 4 am during the weekdays so you can bargain all you want from sunrise to sunset. Go over in this place and have a filled belly and bag on your Bangkok tour.
Things to do in Bangkok in 3 days, from Friday to Sunday? Craving for the weekend market? Chatuchak Weekend market is for you. Fridays are for wholesale hoarding, Saturdays and Sundays are an all-out open area, wherein you can discuss tags in surprisingly cheap price. The 35 acres, 10,000+ stalls with a broad range of Thai products (handicrafts, textile, souvenirs, pets, plants and household stuff) can make your visit one of a kind.
The sheer volume of the crowd can be challenging, be prepared and have your most comfy clothes. 2 tips to make the most of your market visit- be mindful with your belongings as pickpocketing is not uncommon and the more you haggle/bargain, the cheaper the price you get.
These are the few best things to do in Bangkok markets. That shop-till-you-drop feeling in Chatuchak weekend market and a visit to the famous Floating Market is an extraordinary experience.
9. Visit the Mahanakhon Skywalk
One of the best things to do and places to visit in Bangkok is to walk at the Mahanakhon Skywalk’s glass flooring, Thailand’s highest observation deck. Located at the financial district of Bangkok, King Power Mahanakhon building, where the terrifying yet exciting Glass Skywalk is installed. Having a selfie at 314 metre high, the panoramic view is one of the primarily unconventional things to do in Bangkok. Book your Mahanakhon Skywalk ticket admission here.
Take a sip of beer or wine that they offer just in case you need to tank up your courage level. This is the most advisable and romantic things to do in Bangkok for couples. Seeing the sprawling city beneath your feet is like taking a leap into the unknown. It is a nerve-wracking feeling yet the fun is unfathomable!
10. Enjoy the delicious Thai food
Thai cuisine is a fusion of strong exotic flavours and fragrances with a spicy twist. Bangkok is frequently called the “street food capital of the world” due to the abundance of choices, from the traditional meal down to the exotic ones.
Originally, Thai food is from the Chinese and Western (Portuguese to be exact) people combined. With the extensive influence of the neighbouring countries, rice and noodles became the dietary staple of Thai people. Also, coconut has a big role in most Thai food.
Pad Thai (Thai style fried noodles, the most famous Thai food in the world), Tom Yum Goong (a spicy shrimp soup, the soup of the Thai nation), Gaeng Keow Wan Gai (sweet green chicken curry, the non-burning Thai curry) and Khao Neow with sweet mango (sticky rice, Thai’s perfect dessert to end every meal)- the handful number food names that you will encounter once you get to indulge yourself in Thai food.
Thailand is known for its mouth-watering dishes, join this food tour and explore the sensational flavours of the Land of Smiles.
Enjoying Thai food is one of the unbeatable things to do in Bangkok for a day. Loading up your belly with scrumptious street foods down to sticking your tooth with mango sticky rice, whatever that fancy you, Thai food is best eaten when you are literally in Bangkok, Thailand.
Warning: You will definitely be coming back for more once you tried eating Thai food in Bangkok!
I hope that helped you in preparing for your amazing Bangkok trip!