The city of Bangkok is one of the best places to visit in Asia. It is vibrant, energetic, and always bustling with activity. Bangkok has so much to offer – frenetic shopping, exotic food, tourist attractions, and night life. But it is also loud, crowded, chaotic and overwhelming to first-time visitors.
Unknown to many, Bangkok is a city of contrasts. Beyond the looming mega-malls, it is an oasis amidst all the madness and chaos. Thailand’s capital city is so rich in culture and traditions that you need not go far to have a glimpse Old Siam’s majestic beauty and experience the true Bangkokian way of life.
When travelling to Bangkok for the first time, be realistic when planning your itinerary. Focus on getting the most out of your trip and experience the city the best way you can. Here’s a list of things to do when visiting this gem of a city for the first time.
Bangkok’s famous temples
Bangkok has hundreds of temples so if you can only visit a few during your trip, then it has to be Wat Arun, Wat Pho, and Wat Phra Kaew. Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is the most visited wat in Bangkok and is located within the Grand Palace compound. Wat Pho is the Temple of Reclining Buddha and located very near WatPhraKaew. The last wat, the majestic Wat Arun, is also called the Temple of Dawn. The temple is located in across the Chao Phraya river from Wat Pho.
Tip: When visiting temples, dress accordingly. Shoulder and knees should be covered.
The Grand Palace
Built in 1782, the Grand Palace is considered one of Bangkok’s top attractions and the capital’s most-visited landmark. It is a stunning complex of buildings that features impressive architecture. The palace also houses Wat Phra Kaew.
Tip: Just like the temples, proper dress code should be observed when exploring the palace grounds.
Your trip to Bangkok will never be complete without a full-body traditional Thai massage. Decent massage places are found all over thecity and you can have a relaxing massage for as low as 200 baht.
Tip:To keep your travel expenses down, skip the spas and check out the massage places in Bangkok’s smaller malls in Pratunam area, and those along Sukhumvit and Khao San Road.
Bangkok is street food heaven. Pad thai, mango sticky rice, som tam (papaya salad), grilled fish and meats, padkrapao (Thai basil chicken) and tom yum goong are just some of the delectable Thai dishes you need to try. Having street food instead of dining at restaurants and popular food chains is one way of keeping your travel expenses within budget.
Tip: For authentic Thai street food, check out Sukhumvit Soi 38 near BTS Thonglor station.
Weekend and night markets
Bangkok is a dream destination for shopaholics, especially for those looking for great deals and bargains. For the best Bangkok shopping experience, spend half a day at Chatuchak weekend market, one of the world’s biggest markets.You can find almost anything at Chatuchak. If you are looking for clothes and food, Pratunam market is a good option as well. For those who prefer to shop at night, Bangkok has a few night markets worth visiting like Rod Fai and Klongsan. Rod fai is famous for rare collectibles and quirky finds while Klongsan is popular among locals for its low prices.
Tip: To snag a good bargain, haggle with vendors but always keep a smile on your face.