The bustling city of Bangkok can be overwhelming to some. However, if you know where to go the city is interesting, beautiful and a little less chaotic.
1. Visit the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha
Of course, your visit to Bangkok cannot be complete without visiting these (not so hidden) gems. Yes, you will be overwhelmed by hundreds of tour groups and thousands of people, but it is so worth it to take in the grandeur of these buildings. The mosaics are unlike anywhere else, and of course the Emerald Buddha is an absolute must see. Don’t forget to visit the Museum of the Emerald Buddha on the palace grounds as well: here you will see the three other Buddha’s up close. They change the Buddha every season. Some tips: don’t let any tuktuk driver tell you it is closed, take clothes that cover your body and remember your ticket also allows you to enter Vimanmek Mansion and Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall!
Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Grand Palace.
2. Take a boat ride on the Chao Phraya river
If you want to see a different side of Bangkok, take a boat ride on the Chao Phraya river. The local boats only cost 14 baht, and are an awesome Bangkok experience! Along the river you will come across riverside temples, luxurious hotels, but also self build wooden shacks and almost collapsed colonial buildings. You can also do a tour in a tourist boat, which allows you better views than in the packed local boats and costs around 40 baht. Personally, I liked sharing the boat with the kids in school uniforms and locals who had just finished their daily shopping. You will find the boat stops (piers) on a map, or if you have an iPhone you can download the Chao Phraya app.
3. Discover the wonders of the floating markets
4. Check out Jim Thompson’s house
An absolutely special house with a little of mystery added to it: Jim Thompson came to Bangkok during the Second World War, and decided (totally understandable) to never leave again. He bought six traditional Thai houses and transformed them into one. One day, in the late ’60’s, Thompson went to visit a friend in Malaysia. In the evening he went for a walk in the jungle, to never return. Nobody knows what happened to him that night, and after an extensive searching expedition they didn’t even find a trail. After a while he was declared dead, and his nephew inherited the house. He decided to transform it into a museum: next to the fact it is one of the only well preserved traditional Thai houses in Bangkok, Thompson also was an art collector. And his collection of incredible pieces remains in this house up until this very day.
Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Jim Thompson House.
5. Vimanmek Mansion: the largest teakwooden house
So, this was my third time in Bangkok, and for some reason I never checked out Vimanmek Mansion the first two times I was there. Huge mistake! Walking around in this house I’ve been wondering the whole time why I didn’t go here the first time. The architecture is absolutely stunning. Inside you will find old furniture and ancient photographs, mainly of the Thai Royal Family and some high officials. Most tourists seem to skip this sight, so it is really quiet, allowing you to take in everything. And for the largest teakwooden house in the world, it’s not nothing!
6. Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall
Another gem I skipped the first two times I was in Bangkok. Ananata Samakhom Throne Hall is definitely a royal building, which you will spot from a mile away. You can get a free audio tour with your ticket, which allows you to understand the amazing works of art displayed here. The main function of the Throne Hall is to display the wealth and greatness of the Thai Royal Family; and wealth they have! Every room is richly decorated with woven and painted pictures, and all the spaces have loads and loads of expensive presents given to the Royal Family on special occasions.
7. Enjoy views from a rooftop bar
Bangkok is famous for this. Try to get to a rooftop bar right before the sun sets: when it is clear, the views are spectaculair. The Skybar is probably the most famous, but it is terribly expensive and not the only one there is! Many big and luxurious hotels have one as well. I enjoyed the one on the Executive Lounge of the Amari Watergate Hotel (only access if you have one of the Executive rooms or the Corner Suite), and the views are absolutely amazing.
And if you’re not satisfied yet: I’ve always wanted to check out the Forensic Museum at the Siriraj Hospital. You’ve got to have a strong stomach, since it shows all kinds of medical deviations, but it should be interesting and a nowhere else to see sight.
EXTRA: Spoil yourself
Bangkok is a haven of luxury hotels, and this has to be one of the perfect places to absolutely spoil yourself for once. I stayed two nights in Amari Watergate Hotel Bangkok, which I highly recommend. Service here is outstanding, it’s beautifully furnished, and the rooms are just amazing. Their facilities are extensive, from a lovely swimming pool to a fitness area, a squash field, a lovely spa and an Executive Lounge with the best views over Bangkok you could get. The best way to make your holiday perfect is to spoil yourself a bit in a fancy hotel, and every now and then that’s just what a human body needs! You can book this place via booking.com or Agoda for cheaper rate.
Don’t know where to stay in Bangkok? Check out this list with the best hostels in Thailand!
Transportation Tip: If you’re looking for the cheapest way to book the Trains, Buses, Ferries, Transfers on this route, we use 12Go.Asia to compare the prices! Traveling from nearby countries is easy to like flights from Singapore to Bangkok, as Changi airport has amazing and cheap flights available.
Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Bangkok.
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