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Top Attractions in Bangkok

By Chris QuanUpdated Apr. 22, 2021

Bangkok – the city of angels – is not only the capital of the Kingdom of Thailand, but much more a center for arts, fashion and entertainment, with many cultural landmarks such as countless temples, and with a vivid street life at any time of day or night.

It is one of the world's top tourist destinations and one of the must-see cities in Asia. Find out more about Bangkok's attractions:

1. Grand Palace

The Grand Palace is the former residence of the kings of Siam, as Thailand was named before. When passing the two yaks at the entrance, you will find yourself in a different world of fairy tales. It is a must-see on your visit to Bangkok.

The Grand Palace consists of numerous buildings, halls and pavilions surrounded by open lawns, gardens and courtyards. It is used for official receptions of the King's guests, state guests, and other foreign dignitaries and still contains a number of royal offices and a museum.

Location: Thanon Na Phra Lan, Phra Nakhon District, Bangkok.

Opening hours: 8:30 - 15:30

Entrance fee: 500 Baht (together with Temple of Emerald Buddha)

You can take a boat to either Tha Tien pier or Tha Chang pier.

Best time to visit is probably morning time, before vast crowds of tourists appear.

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2. Temple of the Emerald Buddha

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Khaeo is situated right next to The Grand Palace, forming an ensemble with it and sharing the same entrance. Admire the wall paintings in the colonnades around the Emerald Buddha statue.

The whole scene is dominated by splendid colors and by gold. See the royal audience chamber in Phra Thinang Amarin Winitchai, with its gold overcharged throne. They say, you will find nothing alike in the whole of Thailand.

Location: Thanon Na Phra Lan, Phra Nakhon District, Bangkok.

Opening hours: 8:30 - 15:30

Entrance fee: 500 Baht (together with The Grand Palace)

Please dress modestly, cover upper arms and feet. Shorts and skirts should reach the knees.

You can take a boat to either Tha Tien pier or Tha Chang pier.

The best time to visit is probably morning time, before vast crowds of tourists appear.

3. Wat Arun

Situated on the bank of Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun is one of the visually most recognized attractions of Bangkok. The temple is in the center of an extensive garden with green trees and many statues. Its surface is covered with a million Asian pottery, shells and glass shards, making it unique and dazzling in the sunlight.

After restoration, this temple is fully accessible again, and one can climb the steep stairs from all four corners of the building. Alternatively, one can watch Wat Arun glow at sunset from the opposite side of Chao Phraya River.

Location: On the west side of Chao Praya River, opposite Tha Thien Pier

Opening hours: 8:30 - 17:30

Entrance fee: 100 Baht

The best time to visit is probably at sunset.

A tip for insiders is to enjoy a drink and the view from the bar "the deck" on the roof-deck of the Arun-Residence Hotel.

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4. Jim Thompson House

The Jim Thompson House, on the bank of the Saen Saeb Canal, is the garden-enclosed home of James H.W. Thompson, an American businessman of Thai silk industry. Consisting of six traditional teak-structured Thai-style buildings, this house is a museum, holding its owner's extensive art collection.

Take this trip into ancient Asian objects of art from Thailand, China, Cambodia and Burma, covering paintings, sculptures, porcelain and other collectable items.

Location: Soi Kasemsan 2, Bangkok

Opening hours: 9:00 - 17:00

Entrance fee: 100 Baht

Take the Skytrain to National Stadium Station.

5. National Museum

The Bangkok National Museum houses the largest collection of Thai art and artifacts of the country. It offers a wide range of decorative arts and an ethnological collection of Chinese weapons, gold treasures, precious stones, Khon masks, puppets, ceramics and clothing, and you can find textiles, woodcarvings and traditional musical instruments from around Southeast Asia.

One of the most remarkable exhibitions is the funeral chariots of the royal family, made of teak and gold-plated, some up to 15m high. Furthermore, find examples of Thai architecture including the Buddhaisawan chapel and various beautiful pavilions.

Location: 4 Naphrathat Road, Phra Nakorn District

Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday 9:00 - 16:00

Entrance fee: 200 Baht

If you take a boat, get off at pier 9 Tha Chang/Tha Phrachan

In order not to miss anything, take a guided tour.

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6. Chao Phraya River

It is also called the River of Kings, because all three cities where Thailand's kings had their residences, Ayutthaya, Thonburi and Bangkok, are on this river. It used to be the main transportation route of ancient Bangkok and, with a length of 370 km, of the whole of Thailand.

Three of Bangkok's attractions are on the bank of Chao Phraya River: The Grand Palace, Wat Arun and Wat Pho. You will also find some of the best hotels there. The river is the scene for several festivals, such as Loy Krathong, during which candles are set floating on the river. Take a boat tour or a dinner cruise to watch the skyline and endless number of illuminated temples pass by along the banks.

7. Erawan Shrine

Erawan Shrine is a Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Brahma – the Lord of creation – in Pathum Wan district of Bangkok. It was built after a number of casualties occurred during the construction of Erawan Hotel.

To support one's prayers to Brahma, a group of dancers is available to propitiate the God of creation, whom you can ask for money, love, health but also success in your career and satori.

Location: On Ratchaprasong crossing, across Central World Plaza

The best time to visit: Between seven and eight o'clock – morning and night.

You can buy a little gift from the small booths along Phloenchit Street to sacrifice to Brahma.

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8. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

As Bangkok's Khlongs (canals) have been filled up to build streets during the last decades, the hot spot for the floating markets today is Damnoen Saduak, a city about 80 km south-west of Bangkok. As a photographer you will enjoy the colorful motives there, known also from a James Bond movie.

In ancient times, the river carried the boats and their loads of fresh vegetables and other agricultural products from the countryside into the cities. These days it is still worth visiting the floating markets, especially in the morning between 6 and 9 a.m., before the tourists dominate the scene.

From Bangkok city you will have to take a car to reach this destination. We will be happy to organize an individual or a group tour for you.

9. Chatuchak Market

Chatuchak Market is said to be Thailand's biggest in-door market, covering a surface of 1.13 square kilometers. It contains more than 10,000 little shops and stores, the majority of which are only open on Saturdays and Sundays.

It is a paradise for those who love to bargain. You can buy almost anything from clothes and food to antiques and handicrafts. It attracts some 300,000 visitors on a busy day, being a good spot to pick up souvenirs and enjoy the local atmosphere.

Location: Kampendpetch 2 Road, Ladyao, Chatuchok

Opening hours: Saturday and Sunday 6:00 - 18:00

Take the subway (MET) and get off at Chatuchak Park

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10. Bang Krachao

Bangkok has a national park called Bang Krachao, which is directly in the center of the city. Most people do not know it is there because it is not heavily advertised, or just parts of the national park are advertised for tours so most people don't even realize they are visiting Bang Krachao. For example, Bang Nam Phueng Floating Market is a popular tour advertised by most tour operators and it is in Bang Krachao.

If you decide to spend a day there, you have a host of activities to enjoy and you can take your time getting through them because this is one part of Bangkok where life slows down to a snail's pace. There are no high-rise buildings, very few cars, lots of winding and narrow roads, cycle routes, small canals, orchards, scenic gardens, and plenty of trees there. It is literally as if you have left the city and are standing in the Thai countryside.

Bicycles are available for rent for as little as $2 per day, and you can get a bike with a baby seat if you have young kids. You should plan to head to Flower Road and Green Lane, the 100-acre Sri Nakhon Kuen Khan Park and Botanical Garden, the Ganesh statue, Bangkok Tree House, and visit all or some of the nine Chinese, Hindu, and Thai temples there.

Location: Bang Krachao

Open: all day

Entrance fee: free

11. SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World and Madame Tussauds

If you are looking to kill some time and you need an excuse to take the kids somewhere, or you like sea life and celebrities, then SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World and Madame Tussauds are the perfect venues.

SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World is in Siam Paragon and has an array of sea life from around the world. There is a huge aquarium in which you can book a diving experience with tiger sharks, manta rays, blacktip reef sharks, schools of tuna, and a range of other tropical sea life.

Madame Tussauds can also be booked with your SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World ticket. You will need to take a short walk from Siam Paragon to Siam Discovery. Once inside, you can marvel at wax replicas of world-famous celebrities from Asia, India, and across the globe.

At the end of the Madame Tussauds experience, there is a short 4D movie. During this movie, the seats move and snow is splashed into your face while you follow the squirrel from the movie Ice Age chasing his beloved acorn.

Location: Siam Paragon and Siam Discovery

Open: 10am–9pm

Entrance fee: 1,000 baht (US$30)

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12. Siam's Shopping District

If you are looking for a mixture of entertainment, dining, and high to low-end shopping, then Siam's shopping district is perfect.

You can visit MBK where you will find an indoor marketplace full of electronics ranging from originals to fakes, such as Bose speakers. There are also plenty of affordable T-shirts, sports goods, and shops that sell Thailand/Bangkok memorabilia. This is certainly one of the best shopping centers if you plan on a one-off shopping spree for all your gifts to take home.

A stone's throw away from MBK are Siam Discovery and Siam Paragon shopping centers. These shopping centers are not for the fainthearted. The shops there are nearly all designer brand stores in which prices are usually more expensive than in cities such as New York and London.

If you fancy a coffee, then Starbucks, Costa Coffee, and Coffee World can all be found in Siam Paragon. In addition to this, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from in all the aforementioned shopping centers. We highly recommend The Fifth Food Avenue, which is ironically on the fifth floor of MBK. There are a number of food kiosks there offering Japanese, Thai, Indian, Italian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and Greek cuisine, being just a small sample of what is on offer.

Location: Siam

Open: 10am–10pm

Entrance fee: free

13. Lumpini Park

One of Bangkok's most famous parks, Lumpini is easily accessible by both MRT and BTS. The park offers a number of activities and if you are lucky enough to visit while a festival is being held there, then you will also be spoilt for choice when it comes to food.

The park is a great place to relax in the shade. There are park benches and tabled seating areas surrounding a huge lake in the center of the park. The lake actually traverses through the park and on to the outer edges. While you are sitting around it, you will see turtles and some huge catfish, and you are guaranteed to run into a monitor lizard or two.

If you want to go out onto the lake, then you can hire a pedal boat that fits two adults and one child. You can buy bread and fish food to feed the turtles and fish, which will come right up to the riverbank or to the side of your pedal boat.

For those that like sport, there is a jogging track around the park and you can take part in group aerobics, tai chi, and yoga in the evenings, which are all free. There is also a free gym as well as basketball and takraw courts. Takraw is like volleyball but Thais impressively use their feet to play this game.

Location: Rama IV Road, Pathumwan

Open: 6am–9pm

Entrance fee: free

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14. Yaowarat Road (Chinatown)

Chinatown is known as Yaowarat Road to Thais but most taxi drivers that have dealt with foreigners will know where you mean.

It is best to visit Yaowarat Road either in the afternoon or after rush hour in the evening. You will find a large selection of Peking, Cantonese, and Hong Kong-style Chinese restaurants, as well as more Chinese restaurants from different parts of Chinese mainland. You will find a selection of noodles, rice, and duck dishes there, all being the main fare sold in many of the restaurants.

Aside from eating, there is also plenty of shopping to be done in Yaowarat Road. If you like Chinese puddings and snacks, there are numerous stalls to buy them from. Chinese herbal medicine is also widely promoted there and there is a handful of shops with Chinese medicine experts on hand who are willing to help you if you fancy giving natural remedies a try.

On top of this, Yaowarat Road has several small market areas where you can pick up just about anything for a decent price, but be prepared to haggle the price down.

Location: Yaowarat Road

Open: 10am–10pm

Entrance fee: free

15. ASIATIQUE The Riverfront

ASIATIQUE The Riverfront is one of Bangkok's new attractions. It is on the riverside just outside of the Silom area and a short walk from Central Pier and Saphan Taksin BTS. You can also get a boat there from Central Pier, which is underneath the BTS.

If you have kids, then start with the mini go-kart track, Ferris wheel, and carousel, plus there are always people walking around in costumes who are there to entertain children. Furthermore, there is a mini kids' cinema showing short cartoon movies.

This place is perfect for coffee, tea, shopping, and to unwind with alcoholic beverages in style at night. It is also known for having the trendiest market in Bangkok. You can wander around the small walkways where quaint little stores sell custom-made clothes, designer clothes, accessories, menswear, womenswear, eloquent dresses, and all kinds of other attire.

Once you have finished browsing the market, you can head to one of the many restaurants there. You can choose to eat seafood, Indian, Thai, Western, Japanese, Korean, barbecued, or Chinese food. There are both outside and inside air-conditioned dining options available.

Other features there are the many bars where you can unwind and drink the night away. There are several options from large to small bars with seating. If you like to have a drink, then you can visit as many bars as you please and have a drink at each of them.

Location: Charoen Krung Road

Open: 10am–midnight

Entrance fee: free

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Feel free to choose from the numerous attractions for your own personal trip to Bangkok. We from Asia Highlights will do our utmost to realize your dream trip to one of the most stunning locations in south-east Asia. We will follow all your requirements and tailor-make an itinerary you will remember. If you have any questions, please contact us.

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