I love it when a city has so much to do that it’s hard to decide what to do. That’s a good problem to have and, for Bangkok, that’s certainly the case.
With an abundance of malls, markets, parks, and bars, things can get a little overwhelming. To help ease the burden I’ll share 12 things to do in Bangkok that I’ve personally tried and enjoyed. These places are well-rounded experiences and not entirely touristy.
In no particular order:
1. Thai Cinemas
Image credit: Andrew
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Why am I recommending movie theaters while you’re on vacation in Bangkok? Because the theaters here are on a whole different level!
Paragon Cineplex, for example, is extremely luxurious. There are chandeliers, red carpets, plush, reclining seats with pillows, blankets, candles, and more. There are different room types with each one being a certain degree of luxury. They have the latest movies in English with Thai subtitles.
Watching movies in Thailand is an entire experience in and of itself.
1. Go on Wednesdays, movie tickets are cheaper.
2. At the beginning of every movie a video tribute to the Thai king is played. Stand up to show respect. Once it’s done, you can sit down and enjoy the movie.
2. Chatuchak Market
Image credit: Sean
Welcome to the world’s largest market.
Also known as the JJ Market, The Weekend Market, or The Bangkok Market, this place is opened fully only during the weekend. It’s 35+ acres of land dedicated to 15,000 shopping stalls. You can find anything here for dirt cheap. While shopping, don’t forget that you can negotiate the prices.
1. Bring a backpack for your new items.
2. Bring cash as most stalls won’t accept credit cards.
3. Watch out for pickpocketers.
4. Go early in the mornings to avoid the crowds and heat.
6. Grab a free map at the info kiosk.
I always enjoy going to the Chinatown areas of different places. The one in Bangkok is locally known as “Yaowarat” and is the largest Chinatown in the world. During the day you can find all sorts of products being sold at the cheapest in the city. At night it transforms into a vibrant, chaotic food heaven for both tourists and locals. If you like Thai and Chinese food, come here and try their pork and seafood!
Aside from the delicious and cheap eats, you can do plenty of shopping. Visit at night and watch the district really come to life. The sounds, the smells, and the tastes will stimulate your senses.
4. Asiatique the Riverfront
One of my favorite places to go to. It’s a night market/riverwalk with a fantastic ambiance. There’s plenty of diverse restaurants, stores, dessert stands, as well as their iconic Ferris wheel, a mini-carnival, fishes that eat the dead skin off your feet, an area where you and your boo can hang a love lock on a fence, and live events every now and then. You can take a free boat to get there or use GrabCar or Uber.
5. Flow House Bangkok
If you like something more adventurous head over to Flow House Bangkok! It’s a small surf park that has a wave machine so you can do boogie boarding or surfing. It’s about $20 bucks (or if you go on Fridays it’s $12 bucks) for an hour. The atmosphere is fun, the instructors are friendly, and there’s food, drinks, and live music. If you don’t want to hit the waves they also have a pool, ping pong, darts, and foosball. Make sure to call and make a reservation in advance.
For more info head over to their website: Flow House Bangkok.
6. Lumphini Park
Image credit: Anna
This is the Central Park of Bangkok. It’s big, beautiful, and unique. People go here for a run, leisurely stroll, Tai Chi, or chill out with picnics. There are kiosks at the entrance so you can grab a snack or drinks. You can rent bikes, paddle boats, or check out the playgrounds-gym setups they have.
Be careful though, there are MONITOR LIZARDS. I saw one during my visit. Pretty crazy. Keep your distance and use a selfie stick to take pictures if you really want one. They are generally calm and won’t bother you.
Lumphini Park is a peaceful escape from the bustling city life of Bangkok.
7. Above Eleven Rooftop Bar
Above Eleven is located on the 33rd floor. This rooftop bar has a breath taking view of the city. The deejays here are usually pretty good and it’s a wonderful place for dinner with friends on a night out. The friendly staff really takes care of you. Dress nice and arrive early if you didn’t book as it’s usually busy.
Visit their website for more info: Above Eleven Rooftop Bar & Restaurant
8. Mangkorn Seafood Buffet
AMAZING seafood buffet experience. There’s an outdoor eating area with a long table filled with an assortment of sea creatures ready for you to grab and grill. You get 90 minutes to eat so go at it quick. After 90 mins you’ll need to pay extra. There’s also veggies, meat, drinks, and ice cream.
1. Go after 11 pm and it’s 100baht off the price (about $9 instead of $12)
2. Ask for 2 charcoal grill to cook twice as fast and get twice as fat.
9. Route 66 Club
I don’t party or club as often anymore, but one of the spots I like is Route 66. There are 3 zones that play different type of music, the crowd is young and lively, the restrooms are big and clean, and the drinks are affordable.
Last year I went to one of the clubs (Onyx), went to the urinal, did my thing, and midway, oh what’s this? Hands on my shoulders. What? They’re man hands. They’re old man hands. The old man hands are massaging my shoulders. OKAY. Well, that’s enough. Can’t concentrate. Please no more…
Apparently, some restrooms are staffed with these guys to give you massages while you pee. Cool. Not really my thing, but don’t be surprised if that happens to you.
10. Terminal 21 Mall
Image credit: Terrazzo
This mall act as if you’re at a terminal, hence the name. Each floor represents a new theme (Rome, Paris, London, Istanbul, etc.). At the top is San Francisco and they have a cool miniature Golden Gate Bridge. Shops consist of many international brands as well as small boutiques. The food court here is one of the cheapest and tastiest.
11. True Love Husky Cafe
This place is for all of my dog lovers out there! Especially if you love Huskies! Buy a ticket for $10 which will get you a slice of cake, a drink, and 1 hour play time with the Huskies. The dogs are really friendly and fun to interact with. The staff is very helpful with getting the dogs to cooperate while you take selfies. If you stay to the very end they have a special little show for you. 😉
12. Dialogue in the Dark Exhibit
If you want to experience life in a completely new way, this is it. Dialogue in the Dark is an incredible exhibition that shows you what life is like if you didn’t rely on sight. It is a one of a kind guided tour where you must rely on every other sense and interact with many different environments. I had a wonderful time and I highly recommend it.