Bangkok, known in Thai as Krung Thep or “City of Angels”, is the capital of Thailand. It is 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the sea. The city sprawls 1,500 sq km (58 square miles), on both sides of Thailand's main river, the Chao Phraya. Bangkok is the hub for most of the commercial and economical activities of the Kingdom. At the same time, the City is very famous and appreciated by visitors for its versatility and multiple points of interests. Bangkok definitely has what it takes to entertain visitors from all origins, either first time or return travelers. Whilst Taxi fares are very reasonable, most of the sightseeing can comfortably be reached by Skytrain (BTS) or Underground train (MRT). Aside of the sightseeing and shopping, Bangkok has developed into a magnet for food lovers of all origins. The same range of choice applies to the accommodation options all over town, from high end international chain hotels to family run guesthouses, demands of all travelers are met. In terms of wellness and relaxation – Bangkok has recently seen a huge development of city Spas and Wellness centers, in addition to the long established Thai massage centers.
1. The Grand Palace
If you only visit one major historical tourist attraction in Bangkok, this should be the one. The royal compound lives up to its name, with spectacular structures that would put the most decadent modern monarchs to shame. It’s also the home of Wat Phra Kaeo, which houses the Jade (or Emerald) Buddha.
Built in 1782, the grand palace was the royal residence for generations and is still used for important ceremonies and accommodating heads of state. Dress modestly when visiting the Grand Palace, which basically means covering your arms and legs and avoiding any sloppy attire.
To avoid any hassle and to make the most of your visit, take the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew Tour. This is a half-day sightseeing tour, either morning or afternoon, with pick up from your hotel and a local guide to put what you are seeing in context. Without a guide, it’s easy to miss important features or not fully understand the relevance of what you are seeing, and the hotel pick up makes the whole experience that much simpler.
Hours: 8:30 – 15.00 daily
Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon
2. Chatuchak Weekend Market
Bangkok’s sprawling weekend market is the largest in the world. Here shoppers find everything from jewelry and religious icons to animals and delicious street foods. There are 15,000 stalls, offering just about anything you can dream up. This is a great place to mingle with locals and immerse yourself in everyday Thai life, so arrive early and clear your schedule for the rest of the day if you want to do this place justice. Chatuchak Weekend Market,is very popular shopping centre to Thais and has become a popular place to tourists and foreigners who stay in Bangkok, has over 200,000 visitors each day(SAT-SUN) 30% is foreign. There are almost everything can be found here at a bargaining local price (not a tourist price), and most vendors actually come from local factories, like antique wood carving, clay handicrafts, local souvenirs from every parts of Thailand, Buddhist amulets, wooden funitures, hand made decorated flowers, plant, ceramic wares, dools, Thai Bejarong, Chinese wares, graden decorated plants, stones, trendy fashions, silk, hill-tribe outfits, fluffy dogs and more miscellaneous, etc.
Hours: Friday : 12.00 – 22.00 Saturday – Sunday: 10.00 – 17.00.
Location: Adjacent to the Kamphaengpecth Station (MRT), about 5 minute walk from Mochit Skytrain (BTS) Station and Suan Chatuchak (Chatuchak Park) Station (MRT)
3. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
For an even more interesting market experience, you can arrange a tour to Damnoen Saduak, a famous floating market located in Ratchaburi (about 1.5 hours outside Bangkok). The popularity of floating markets once earned Bangkok the nickname “Venice of the East”, bear in mind that this has now become something of a tourist trap, so don’t expect an exclusive morning of shopping by boat. But you will be able to buy fresh and delicious foods and interact with locals in an authentic way.
The best tour option is a Floating Markets Cruise Day Trip from Bangkok, which takes about six hours and includes pick up right from your hotel and offers transport in an air-conditioned coach. This tour guarantees the lowest price.
Hours: 06.00-noon daily
4. Khao San Road
This is Bangkok’s infamous backpacker district, a neighborhood jam-packed with guesthouses, food vendors, clothing stalls, and travelers from every corner of the globe. You’ll need to tap into your patience when hanging out here because, while it is colorful and exciting in its own way, the crowds and scents and blaring music can test even the calmest soul. But it is a great place to pick up a few pairs of the baggy fisherman pants – the perennial staple of every backpacker’s wardrobe when trekking through Thailand, browse the treasures in a used bookstore, and dig into some delicious Indian food from a neighborhood restaurant.
5. Chinatown (Yaowarat Road)
Bangkok’s Chinatown is a popular tourist attraction and a food haven for new generation gourmands who flock here after sunset to explore the vibrant street-side cuisine. At day time, it’s no less busy, as hordes of shoppers descend upon this 1-km strip and adjacent Charoenkrung Road to get a day’s worth of staple, trade gold, or pay a visit to one of the Chinese temples. Packed with market stalls, street-side restaurants and a dense concentration of gold shops, Chinatown is an experience not to miss. The energy that oozes from its endless rows of wooden shop-houses is plain contagious – it will keep you wanting to come back for more. Plan your visit during major festivals, like Chinese New Year, and you will see Bangkok Chinatown at its best.
Location: Pathumwan Intersection, diagonally opposite Siam Discovery Centre
BTS: National Stadium
Tel: +66 (0)2 620 9000
Location: Ratchaprasong Intersection, opposite Gaysorn and Erawan
BTS: Chidlom, Siam
Tel: + 66 (0) 264-7000
Address: 991 Rama 1 Road, Puthumwan Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0)2 610 8000
Location: Next to Siam Centre, Pathumwan
BTS: Siam Address: 979 Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0)2 658 1000
The Emporium Bangkok
Location: Sukhumvit Soi 24/26
BTS: Phrom Phong (direct access)
Tel: +66 (0) 2 269 1000
BTS: Ploen Chit
Address: Ploenchit Road, Bangkok, Thailand 10330
Tel: +66(0)2 119 7777
Location: Sukhumvit Road (between Soi 19 and 21)
BTS: Asok (direct access via Skywalk)
Platinum Fashion Mall
Location: Petchburi, Ratchathewi (next to Pantip Plaza)
BTS: The nearest Skytrain station is Chidlom (but not really walking distance, you wll need a taxi or tuk yuk)
Asiatique The Riverfront
Location: Chareonkrung Soi 74-76
BTS : Saphan Taksin
How to get there: The easiest and fastest way to get there is via boat. Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and jump on the free shuttle at the end of the pier. It only takes ten minutes, and the boat runs until 23:00. Taxis are not recommended as the traffic can be terrible in this area.