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Bangkok Bucket List | 20 Best Things to Do in Bangkok

Bangkok Bucket List | 20 Best Things to Do in Bangkok

We have visited Bangkok more than a dozen times during the last decade. It’s a city like no other, and it always draws us back in. No matter how many times we visit, we always find new things to do in Bangkok.

Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and it also holds the distinction of the most visited city in the world. Bangkok is on most travelers’ bucket lists, and we totally understand why!

From the culture, historic temples, Thai cuisine, and floating markets, there is never a shortage of things to do in Bangkok. Before going off to some of the other best places to visit in Thailand, spend some time in Bangkok.

If this is your first trip to Bangkok (or even your tenth), planning a trip to Bangkok can be overwhelming. So we put together this list of the essential must-see and try activities in Bangkok!

We think the perfect amount of time in Bangkok is 3 Days. We also have a 3 Day Bangkok Itinerary if you want even less work planning. However, the following list is a round-up of our favorite attractions, most of which we visit on just about every trip to Bangkok.

Best overall hotel in Bangkok – The Westin Grande Sukhumvit

Below is a short list of tours in Bangkok that we have personally taken and recommend to all of our friends visiting, especially for the first time in Bangkok.

These are the best tours in Bangkok that cover a lot of ground in a short period of time and really help you get a taste of Bangkok.

Blue and Red Tuk Tuk motor taxi in Bangkok during a night tour of Bangkok - must do activities in Thailand

#1 – Night Tuk Tuk Tour of Bangkok
Essential Experience
This great tour of Bangkok packs several “must-dos” into one fun night of food, culture, and sights aboard a quintessential & colorful Tuk Tuk!

view of Bangkok Skyline at sunset during a private tour guide tour of Bangkok

#2 – Private Guide to Bangkok & Nearby
Short on time? This is the BEST way to see Bangkok. A private guide will take you to a list of attractions you pick. Get a true glimpse into Thai culture in this one-on-one experience.

Pan of Thai street Food at night on a Food tour in Thailand

#3 – Street Food Tour
You can’t visit Thailand and not try the delicious street food. A local guide will bring you to the best spots & help you dive into Thai food culture! Book this one early in your trip!

Bucket List Bangkok Attractions

busy afternoon at the Grand Palace with golden tile covered traditional Thai architecture - Top Things to do in Bangkok

1. Grand Palace

The Grand Palace is the official home of Thai royalty and one of the most beautiful attractions in Bangkok. Although the royal court has not lived in the Grand Palace since 1925, it still hosts different royal events throughout the year.

Sprawling over 218,400 square meters, this complex is comprised of multiple architectural styles. The eclectic patterns and designs are the result of reigning Kings adding to the palace over the course of 200 years.

When visiting the Grand Palace, you can see the outer court, inner court, middle court, and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Plan to spend the good part of a day at the Grand Palace, as there are plenty of sites and buildings to visit. We strongly recommend going early in the morning to beat the heat and the crowds. Make sure to read our best temples in Bangkok article.

  • Na Phra Lan Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
  • Daily 8:30 a.m.  –  3:30 p.m.
  • 500 baht entrance, there are TONS of tours in Bangkok that visit the Grand Palace click here to see them all HOWEVER unless you are a history buff you can easily visit the Grand Palace on your own without a tour
  • Grand Palace Dress Code: Shoulders & Knees must be covered for both women and men, clothing is available to rent.

View of a busy canal full of boats at the damnoen saduak floating market - Top Bangkok Day Trips

2. Bangkok Canals & Floating Markets

Appropriately nicknamed the Venice of the East, Bangkok is filled with narrow waterways and flowing canals. Centered around the city’s three main rivers – Chao Phraya, Klong Saen Saeb, and Klongs of Thonburi – Bangkok’s canals are best explored by boat. Click here to book a Bangkok canal tour online. You can cruise by river taxi or crossing ferry, float by on a long tail boat, or splurge on a private river cruise.

Most tours also take you to one of Bangkok’s lively floating markets. At the markets, you’ll see individual boats selling everything from fresh seafood to hot boiling soups. Check out the Amphawa, Damnoen Saduak, or Taling Chan floating markets for an authentic Thai experience.

Giant statue of reclining buddha located in Wat Pho - Bangkok top sights

3. Wat Pho

Located on Rattanakosin Island, Wat Pho is known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Built by King Rama I, Wat Pho is one of the holiest and most royal temples in all of Bangkok.

Not only will you find the largest collection of Buddha images, but you’ll also see a 46-meter long gold statue of Buddha laying on his side. The temple complex has dozens of colorful stupas and shrines, and even spacious gardens to walk around.

The temple is also believed to be the oldest public university in Thailand, as well as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage. After a day of wandering through Wat Pho, you can unwind with a relaxing on-site massage.

  • Daily 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • 100 baht

View of Wat Arun at sunset from the river boats in Bangkok - Top attractions

4. Wat Arun

Also known as the Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun is one of Bangkok’s most iconic landmarks. It’s situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, which is easily accessible from the main city center of Bangkok.

Built in the 17th century, the focal point of Wat Arun is its towering, colorful porcelain pagoda. According to Buddhists, this structure represents the three levels of life.

Although it’s worth touring the inside of the ornate temple, one of the best ways to view Wat Arun is from the opposite side of the river. From there, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views as the temple illuminates the night sky.

  • Daily 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • 100 baht

Thai Woman making Phad Thai on the strrets of Bangkok - Must Try Street food

5. Eat Street Food in Bangkok

Bangkok is a foodie destination, and one of the best places to eat is the street. In every corner of the city, you can find vendors serving up tasty traditional Thai dishes. Make sure to read our What to Eat in Bangkok Guide to discover the best Thai foods to try. 

Always head to the food carts that appear popular, especially with locals. And before you’re put off put the safety of the food, Thailand is one of the best and safest places to try street food,.

We also put together a guide on how to eat street food and not get sick, you can find that here.

Adam getting his first tattoo by a monk in Thailand

6. Get Sak Yant Tattoo

Get a souvenir that will last forever! We each got a Sak Yant tattoo when living in Thailand. We have such a deep connection with the country we wanted a piece of Thailand with us at all times. Read our Sak Yant tattoo article here.

We highly suggest booking with a reputable company. We booked a Lanna Ink Experience and highly recommend booking with them.  We both plan on getting another Sak Yant in the near future.

Click Here To Your Book & Get A Sak Yant Now

Golden sunset over the city of Bangkok viewed from a rooftop Sky Bar

7. Bangkok Sky Bars

Made famous by the movie The Hangover 2, rooftop sky bars have been popping up all across Bangkok. It’s a must while visiting Bangkok. The city views from the top of a skyscraper at sunset are gorgeous. There are plenty to choose from, so we made a guide to our favorite sky bars in Bangkok.

Woman sitting on the glass floor on the Mahanakhon Skywalk - Tallest building in Bangkok

8. King Power Mahanakhon Glass Skywalk

Raised 310 meters over the Bangkok skyline, the King Power Mahanakhon Glass Skywalk is not for the faint of heart. Located on the roof of Thailand’s tallest building, the King Power Mahanakhon, this glass-bottomed floor gives you unparalleled views of the city below you.

You might feel your heart beating out of your chest as you carefully step onto the completely see-through floor. Just remember to bring your camera, as you’ll get once-in-a-lifetime photos standing high above the city of Bangkok!

  • Daily 10 a.m. – 12 a.m.

Long exposure photo of a Blue tuk tuk parked in Bangkok

9. Ride in a Tuk Tuk

While visiting Bangkok, it’s a must to take at least one ride in Thailand’s quintessential transport, the tuk tuk. In general, we find it much easier to use taxis and the BTS Skytrain to get around, but for shorter trips, tuk tuks are a lot of fun!

One of our favorite areas to take tuk tuks is between the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Khao San Road. Here, the rides are shorter, and finding a taxi can be chaotic sometimes. Before taking a ride, be sure to agree on the price first, or you’re setting yourself up to overpay.

This is our favorite tour in Bangkok, and it is by tuk tuk! It’s a night tour, so the city is all lit up, and you visit temples, flower markets, Chinatown, street food, and more.

Two men in a Muay Thai Fight in Thailand

10. Muay Thai Fight

While you’re in Bangkok, don’t miss the chance to watch a traditional Muay Thai fight. As one of Thailand’s most extreme sports, Muay Thai is an intense and exhilarating form of ring fighting.

Although it might be hard to understand the scoring, it’s the buzzing atmosphere that makes Muay Thai fun to watch. You can even place bets on who will win, as Bangkok is one of the only cities that allows gambling at the events.

There are many stadiums in Bangkok where you can watch Muay Thai fighting. However, two of the city’s most popular arenas are Rajadamnern Stadium and Lumpinee Stadium.

View of the interor of the busy and crowded Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok

11. Chatuchak Market

Shop until you drop at Chatuchak Market, the world’s largest weekend market. With over 15,000 stalls, the indoor and outdoor market sells everything you could possibly imagine. There are stores for clothes and electronics, home accessories and decor, jewelry and art, and even pets!

Come hungry, because you can buy snacks and street foods to keep you satisfied during your shopping trip. Don’t forget to try chewy Pad See Eiw noodles, crispy Kluay Tod bananas, and vegetable Poh Pia Tod spring rolls.

Even if you’re not in the shopping mood, you can still venture to Chatuchak Market to enjoy the lively and slightly chaotic atmosphere. Attracting over 200,000 visitors each weekend, Chatuchak Market is a great place to spend a few hours.

  • สวนจตุจักร Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
  • Wednesday – Sunday 8- a.m. – 10 p.m.

People working in the Patpong District of Bangkok - Nightlife and Entertainment

12. Bangkok Red Light Districts

No trip to Bangkok would be complete without a night out in one of the city’s bustling red-light districts. Although Thailand is famous for its red-light districts, the ones in Bangkok are considered some of the largest and most entertaining. The drinks are cheap, the music is loud, and the women (and many of the men) are barely clothed.

Soi Cowboy is arguably the most famous nightlife district in Bangkok. Catering to tourists and expats, Soi Cowboy is worth seeing, even if just for the people watching. This bright street is lined with go-go bars, nightclubs, and pubs to keep you entertained until the early hours of the morning.

Nana Plaza may be a bit raunchier than Soi Cowboy, but its location in the middle of Bangkok means it’s packed at all hours of the day. While you’ll find plenty of go-go bars and brothels, Nana Plaza is also home to a variety of international restaurants and hotels.

It’s important to stay alert while you walk through the red-light district. Scammers and pickpockets tend to target tourists, especially after a long night of drinking.

  • Khwaeng Khlong Toei Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand

Large group of people playing at the Chiang Mai Tei Phe Gate during songkran in northern Thailand

13. Songkran Festival

If you are lucky enough to be in Thailand in mid-April, be sure to participate in one of the most fun festivals in the world. During the Songkran Thai New Year, the streets break out into a giant water fight. In Bangkok sections of major roads will be closed and the celebration will happen right on the streets.

Songkran is so much fun, but don’t plan on being dry for a few days during the celebration. Tourists are welcome to participate, even if you aren’t actively participating you will still be hit with water, so embrace the fun.

Red exterior of the Jim Thompson House Silk museum - Top Tourist sights in Bangkok

14. Jim Thompson House

Although this unique museum sits in the heart of the city, its lush jungle setting makes it a fascinating attraction in Bangkok. It houses the vast art collection of architect Jim Thompson, who also built and designed the museum itself.

Inside the Jim Thompson House, you’ll find stunning examples of Southeast Asian art. There’s an extensive collection of Buddhist statues, Chinese porcelain, and wood, cloth, and paper paintings. As you walk from room to room, you’ll find the beautifully decorated building covered head to toe in antique arts.

The architecture and design of the house are also worth noting. Surrounded by tropical plants and rainforest trees, the Jim Thompson House is a modern spin on a traditional Thai home. The red wooden facade and bamboo walls are stunning examples of classic Thai architecture.

  • 6 Rama I Rd, Khwaeng Wang Mai, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand
  • Daily 9 a.m – 6 p.m.
  • 100-200 baht

reflection of buildings in the lake in Lumpini Park - Outdoor activities in Bangkok

15. Walk Through Lumpini Park

Escape the hectic city life with a peaceful stroll through Bangkok’s Lumpini Park. Built in the 1920s by King Rama VI, Lumpini Park is considered the first park to be built in Bangkok. Nowadays, it’s home to a variety of attractions and sites where you can easily spend a few hours of your vacation.

Several paths wind through the park, often used by walkers, cyclists, and joggers. Located in the middle of the park is an artificial lake where you can rent a boat or picnic on the shores.

The park also hosts different events throughout the year, like concerts, Buddhist dharma activities, and Western music festivals.

  • Daily 4:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Thai food tour guide leading a group through a Bangkok Market - Top Tours

16. Food Tour

Indulging in local cuisine is one of the best ways to soak up the culture of a new city. Since it might be challenging for a tourist to find good restaurants, we recommend taking a food tour of Bangkok.

A local guide will take you to the tastiest and most mouth-watering places around the city. You’ll dine in family-run restaurants, sample local street foods, and even discover hidden hole-in-the-wall places!

In Bangkok, there are hundreds of tours to choose from. We recommend this 5-star reviewed food tour in Bangkok with 15+ tastings. Depending on your budget and time commitment, there are street food tours, bicycle and tuk-tuk tours, and even floating food market tours. Essentially, there’s a tour for every palette!

17. Get a Massage

Thai massages are the most common and cheapest massage in Bangkok, often for $5-10 an hour. If you are used to nice, relaxing, and peaceful massages, this is NOT that type of massage. You will leave feeling better for sure, but there will be some pain and cracking involved in getting there.

You will have the Thai masseuses walking on your buck, jabbing her elbow in places, most likely giggling when you crack,

Woman cutting food duing a Thai Cooking class - Top activities in Koh Phangan Thailand

18. Thai Cooking Class

Roll up your sleeves and sharpen your knives because a Thai cooking class in Bangkok is another excellent way to immerse yourself in Thai culture.

Not only will you learn new cooking skills, but you’ll also gain a deeper appreciation for the food and ingredients of the country. Besides, you can always impress your family and friends with your newly learned recipes once you return home.

There are plenty of classes to choose from in Bangkok. Try your hand at making pad thai, or crush your own curry paste for a deliciously spicy meal. No matter what type of food you cook, a hands-on class will be one of the highlights of your Bangkok trip.

19. Airplane Graveyard

For one of the more unique things to do in Bangkok, visit the Airplane Graveyard. Since 2010, this sprawling open area is filled with multiple deteriorating aircraft. You’ll find scrap parts, broken wings, and graffitied airplane bodies scattered throughout the graveyard.

You’ll also get the opportunity to rummage around the inside of some of the broken planes. They may be challenging to climb into, but you’ll see remnants of many everyday items, like plane seats, oxygen masks, and even left behind personal belongings.

The strangest part about the Airplane Graveyard is that it’s home to several Thai families. These once homeless families sought refuge inside the empty planes and have decorated the aircraft with the comforts of home. They are the ones that charge an entrance fee to enter the plane, which means the exact price will vary from day to day.

  • Ramkhamhaeng Alley 103, Khwaeng Hua Mak, Khet Bang Kapi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10240, Thailand
  • Daily 9 a.m.  – 6:30 p.m.

View from inside the Abandoned Skyscraper Bangkok Sathorn Unique Tower looking out on to the city

20. Abandoned Sathorn Unique Tower

If you’ve ever wanted to explore the urban ruins of a skyscraper, then visit the abandoned Sathorn Unique Tower. Initially planned as a 47-story condominium, the construction of Sathorn Unique Tower stopped when the building was only 80 percent finished. This was due to the Asian financial crisis that impacted Thailand in 1997.

Nowadays, the mysterious Sathorn Unique Tower is just a shell of what it could have been. Many locals believe it’s haunted and that entering the building will leave you cursed for eternity.

Technically, entering the ruins is completely forbidden. However, it’s believed that you can easily bribe security guards to let you venture through the tower on your own. Enter at your own risk!

  • Soi Charoen Krung 51, Yan Nawa, Bangkok 10120, Thailand

White and Blue Exterior of MBK Shopping Mall in Bangkok - Things to do

21. Shopping in Bangkok

From traditional floating markets to modern mega-malls with Lamborghini dealerships inside, Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise. You could spend a week and not make it to all of the amazing markets and malls in the city. One of our favorites to visit is the MBK mall, which has a wide range of items; you can usually find a bargain – we like the top few floors, which are filled with unique and cheap electronics.

If you are a shopper, you might consider staying in the Siam area of Bangkok, close to many of the top shopping malls. Check our guide on where to stay in Bangkok which breaks down all of the areas of the city!

  • Westin Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok Affordable Luxury on Sukhumvit Check Prices
  • Maduzi Hotel Boutique Hotel on Sukhumvit – Check Prices
  • Lub’d Hostel Budget Siam Hotel/Luxury Hostel Check Prices
  • W Bangkok Luxury Silom Hotel Check Prices

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