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What to see and do in Bangkok – a guide to notable attractions and landmarks

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Bangkok is a fast-paced city with high-rise buildings, lively markets, and elegant temples. As one of the most bustling cities in Asia, you can expect endless energy and vibrant nightlife with an oriental flavor, which makes Bangkok so attractive.

Andy Flynn

My Destination local expert on

Bangkok

Rattanakosin

 

Rattanakosin is between downtown Bangkok and the Chao Phraya River. Known as ‘Old Bangkok’, this area has the oldest and best-known attractions of the Thai capital. The most famous landmarks are undoubtedly the Grand Palace and the Wat Pho, which is a temple beside the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace covers a huge area and is full of courtyards, temples, and pavilions, so expect to spend a lot of the day looking around here.

 

Dinner Cruise

 

Cruise on a luxury liner through the Chao Phraya River and enjoy a candlelight dinner on the Grand Pearl Cruise. They serve a Thai and international buffet dinner after you’re welcomed on board with cocktails. The cruise sails by Thailand’s attractions by night, such as the Grand Palace, and returns back to its starting point – so you’ll have a chance to see everything again. A live band plays throughout, which creates the perfect setting for you to relax in the moonlight after dinner.

 

Khao San Road

 

Khao San Road is in the Phra Nakhon district, just north of Old Bangkok, and is a very popular area for travellers. Known as a ‘backpacker ghetto’, Khao San Road is full of cheap accommodation, quick eat-out places, local fruits, clothes, and useful items for travellers. It’s also a great base for travel, as coaches leave from here every day to take you to major tourist attractions. At night, Khao San Road transforms as the streets become bars and loud music is played until the early hours. 

 

 

Bicycle Tours

 

This is a great way to explore Bangkok. Thailand Green Ride offers rides through the Bangkok countryside, which makes for a very pleasant journey through the city’s less visited spots. Cycling with Co van Kessel takes you down a different route; through Chinatown, the canals of Thonburi, and the ‘Bangkok Jungle’.

 

 

Yaowaraj Road (China Town)

 

Yaowaraj Road is the heart of Chinatown in Bangkok. During the day, it’s mostly a commercial road, with gold shops, stores selling products imported from China, and food outlets; the road is said to be curved like a dragon’s body, which makes it a prosperous site for businesses. During the night, however, it becomes a massive ‘food street’ and attracts both tourists and locals from all over the city.

 

 

Spas and Thai Massage

 

Bangkok is a haven of relaxation as well as a thriving city. One of the main reasons for this is the Thai approach to massage and therapies, which can be experienced at spas or in one of the many massage shops dotted around the city. Their ancient healing knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation to give us spas like Spa  Athenée, which even offers treatments tailored to the main complaints of each blood type.

 

 

Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchaworamahawihan

 

In the Bangkok Yai district and on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River stands the most iconic image of Bangkok. Wat Arun was built 400 years ago by the King of Thonburi and was made part of the royal residence. This impressive temple looks over Bangkok at a height of 82 meters, so it’s well worth a climb and its distinctive spires can be seen from afar. At sunrise, the glow of the sun is reflected by the temple’s surface, giving it a heavenly shine.