- 1. Grand Palace
- 2. Wat Pho - Temple of the Reclining Buddha
- 3. Wat Arun - Temple of Dawn
- 4. Wat Traimit - Temple of the Golden Buddha
- 5. Bangkok National Museum
- 6. Jim Thompson House
- 7. Rooftop Bars
- 8. Street Food
- 9. Floating Markets
- 10. Day Trip to Ayutthaya
Bangkok’s most dazzling sight, the one that no visit to the city would be complete without, is a walled fairy-tale compound from 1782, housing a royal palace and Thailand’s holiest temple. Gilded chedi (pagodas) and ornate pavilions mix traditional Thai and European architecture, and the ostentatious temple houses the country’s most sacred image - the Emerald Buddha.
See the Grand Palace Visitor's Guide.
Thailand’s first university was established in this temple, teaching traditional medicine, literature and several other subjects. Today, it opens its doors to tourists, who head straight to the famous gigantic iconic statue of the Reclining Buddha (the country’s longest and most remarkable). The visit often ends with a Thai massage at the site’s much-respected traditional massage school.
See the Wat Pho Visitor's Guide.
One of Bangkok’s best-known landmarks, this riverside temple is also known as the “Temple of Dawn,” and is decorated with thousands of pieces of porcelain. It’s one that you can actually climb to the top of, for some of the most memorable views and best Instagram shots of the city. “Dawn” could actually be replaced with “sunset,” as that’s when many choose to visit for the colors of the temple as the sun sinks over the river.
See the Wat Arun Visitor's Guide.
This temple houses a huge, jaw-dropping statue made of solid gold that’s recognized as the world’s largest golden Buddha. It’s said to be worth a quarter of a billion US dollars, and attracts locals and tourists, who can also admire a view over the city.
See the Wat Traimit Visitor's Guide.
Home to the most extensive collection of Thai art and artifacts, this museum is made up of different buildings, each housing different types of art from every period of Thai history. In the chapel is the Phra Buddha Sing, one of Thailand’s most venerated Buddha images.
See the National Museum Visitor's Guide.
Six traditional teak houses make up the home of Jim Thompson, the American entrepreneur who revived the Thai silk industry in the mid-20th century. When he mysteriously disappeared, he left behind a small but superb collection of Asian art, which can be seen on a tour of the immaculately-preserved house(s) and garden.
See the Jim Thompson House Visitor's Guide.
Bangkok’s warm climate makes it the perfect city for outdoor dining and drinking, so almost every skyscraper is now topped with a breathtaking rooftop bar or restaurant offering panoramic views. They are some of the world’s highest and most spectacular, resulting in some of the city’s top must-see attractions.
See the Top 25 Rooftop Bars in Bangkok.
Bangkok is Asia’s street food capital and one of the world’s great food cities, so you’ll want to indulge in a variety of exotic flavors. The best places for that are the streets of Chinatown and the tourist-magnet Khao San Road.
See the Bangkok Street Food Guide.
Although they’re all located outside the city, and the closest ones are now mostly spectacles for tourists, floating markets are a quintessential Thai experience that tourists don’t want to miss during their visit to Bangkok. Get up early and enjoy the sights and smells of the boats lining rivers and canals, as they prepare food or sell colorful produce.
See the Floating Markets Visitor's Guide.
Easily reached from central Bangkok, Thailand’s former capital is home to the ruins of some of the country’s most magnificent ancient wonders, making it a must-see UNESCO World Heritage Site.
See the Ayutthaya Day Trip Guide.
10 OTHER POPULAR ATTRACTIONS
- Khao San Road
- Chatuchak Weekend Market
- Wat Saket - The Golden Mount
- Nightlife in Soi Cowboy and Patpong
- SkyWalk at the King Power Mahanakhon Tower
- Wat Suthat and the Giant Swing
- The Marble Temple
- Erawan Shrine
Bangkok’s most famous street was once a backpacker’s mecca, and today is a must-go destination for anyone visiting the Thai capital. Home to budget accommodation, it’s a cheerful and multicultural place with exotic street food, alternative fashion, and bars and restaurants serving cheap drinks and meals. It’s best experienced at night, but any time is a good time to watch and enjoy the East-meets-West spectacle.
See the Khao San Road Visitor's Guide.
This densely-packed neighborhood is one of the world’s largest Chinatowns. It’s known for its assault on the senses, with pungent food, neon signs of gold shops, noisy and crowded markets and hectic streets. At night, it’s Bangkok’s top street food destination and each year it hosts two of the city’s main festivals -- the Chinese New Year and the Vegetarian Festival. Add the many shrines and temples that combine Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, and you have a major cultural experience.
See the Chinatown Visitor's Guide.
Bangkok may have many of the world’s largest and most luxurious shopping malls, but its top shopping experiences are still its traditional markets. The biggest one in town (and said to be one of the largest in the world) is the one that takes place every Saturday and Sunday, covering over 28 acres with 15,000 stalls. It’s reason enough for you to arrange your itinerary to be in Bangkok on a weekend, as it offers a little of everything -- fashion, jewelry, antiques, art, souvenirs, food, and even pets in its never-ending maze of narrow alleys. It’s hot and noisy, but a market like no other, and you’ll enjoy the experience even if you don’t join the bargain-hunting and buy something.
See the Chatuchak Weekend Market Visitor's Guide.
This temple stands out for its distinctive golden tower and for standing at the top of a man-made hill representing the mythical Mount Meru. For tourists, it’s worth a visit for the climb via a circular staircase and the panoramic view of Bangkok, which takes in many of the city’s major monuments. For Buddhists, it’s a sacred site, as it’s believed to hold relics of the Buddha, given to the Thai king by the Viceroy of India.
See the Wat Saket Visitor's Guide.
Bangkok’s naughty nightlife is one of the city’s most talked-about attractions, and many tourists just have to see it to believe it. The two main areas for that are Patpong and Soi Cowboy, with themed adults-only bars and a carnival-like atmosphere. The bright neon lights attract attention from afar, and young women (and men) standing by the doors try to convince passers-by to go inside.
See the Bangkok Nightlife Guide.
Thailand’s second-tallest building has an observation deck with Bangkok’s highest bar, offering a 360-degree view of the city. Jutting out over the edge is a glass floor to make visitors feel like they’re walking above the city. Not everyone is brave enough to stand on it, but many enjoy the terrifying experience, even if just for a photo.
See the SkyWalk / King Power Mahanakhon Tower Visitor's Guide.
This riverside complex is composed of shops, restaurants and entertainment, spread over eight levels. There are luxurious and more affordable brands, the recreation of a small floating market, and an elegant food court, but the main attraction ends up being the public pier with a view of the city’s skyline and with what is said to be Southeast Asia’s largest dancing fountains.
See the ICONSIAM Visitor's Guide.
This is one of Bangkok’s ten royal temples, and its central Buddha dating from the 1300s is said to be the largest surviving Sukhothai bronze image. In the Ordination Hall are statues of dozens of monks, while outside is the Giant Swing, built in 1784 for Hindu ceremonies.
See the Wat Suthat Visitor's Guide.
Considered a masterpiece of Thai architecture, this temple also features Western, Neoclassical influences. It’s such an important monument, that it’s illustrated on the 5-baht coin. However, it doesn’t have a gigantic, revered image of Buddha. Instead, its elegant cloister has dozens of Buddhas collected by King Rama V, whose ashes were placed in the main ordination hall.
See the The Marble Temple Visitor's Guide.
Hoping for some good fortune? Pass by this beloved shrine that’s a pilgrimage site for Hindus and Buddhists, but that also attracts people of all faiths, the superstitious and people with no faith or superstition at all. The small golden statue is surrounded by offerings, and occasionally there are performances of traditional dancers honoring Indra, the Hindu god that’s also considered holy by Buddhist Thais.
See the Erawan Shrine Visitor's Guide.