Touring Bangkok for First Timers
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is an incredibly popular tourist destination not just in Asia, but also around the world. Year after year, the amount of visitors the city gets seems to just be growing bigger and bigger, and with good reason. The vibrant, bustling city is filled with all sorts of destinations and activities of different varieties. With so many things to choose from, there’s something in Bangkok for just about anybody. Here are some amazing things to do and places to see while touring Bangkok, the cultural hub.
What to Do in Bangkok
Bangkok is known for its amazing food, among other things. Going around Bangkok and trying out the cuisine, both street food and restaurant-level food are one of the most favorite activities of tourists. The sad part is that once you get home, you won’t be able to buy and eat the delicious food Thailand has to offer any longer.
Cookly changes all of that, however. It is a company that offers cooking classes. They tour you around the Thai markets and teach you how to make authentic Thai cuisine which are skills you can take back home so you can make delicious Thai meals, anytime and anywhere.
There are lots of activities and cooking courses to choose from, so you can pick the one that interests you the best or suits your schedule. Another plus is that the instructors are locals who are very informed in their craft, so you won’t be steered wrong in your cooking endeavors. You can read more about our experience for Thai cooking class.
2. Take Me Tours (Mahasawat Canal)
Booking a tour with your usual tour websites and groups can be quite fun, but in the end you aren’t getting the essence of Thailand that can only be known, seen and found by the Bangkok locals. Take Me Tours is a tour website which allows you to see the country not just through a tourist’s view, but also through a local’s eyes.
There are many different tours in many different locations across Thailand to pick from, and the Mahasawat Canal tour is one of them–you’ll be able to go on boat rides, see rice crackers be made, and see the orchid and lotus farms which are vital to Thai culture.
You will be led through the different spots by a local guide who will show you the ins and outs, and give you a deeper understanding of Thailand that people rarely ever get to have. My favorite was the lotus farm and eating in a local’s house.
3. Terminal 21
Terminal 21 is a shopping mall which is a hit amongst locals and tourists alike. It has amazing, modern interiors, tall walls and glass windows. But the design isn’t what makes the mall unique.
You’ve heard of around the world in 80 days, but in touring Bangkok you can go around the world in one mall.
Terminal 21 is definitely one of the cool malls, because each floor and location is decorated in a way that they represent different countries.
Lower Ground Floor: On the lower ground floor, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to the fresh and relaxing Caribbean, complete with a large lighthouse you and your friends can snap a photo with.
Ground Floor: Rome is the country on exhibit on the ground floor, and this floor is also where all of the high-end shopping brands are located, so you can shop till you drop while feeling as if you’re walking through the streets of Italy.
Mezzanine: The Mezzanine is decked out with various shops and Parisian chick.
First Floor: The first floor is where you can find Tokyo, the hallways lined with Japanese-themed specialty shops as well as geisha statues, mannequins, lamps and lanterns which are also inspired by the land of the rising sun.
Second Floor: The second floor makes you feel as if you’ve transported to the streets of London, complete with a replica of a double-decker bus as well as an area reminiscent of the London underground. You can even find a red telephone booth here as well.
Third Floor: Istanbul is the country you’ll find on the Third floor, decked out in traditional lamps and lanterns which are meant to make you feel as if you’re in one of their famous street markets.
Fourth and Fifth Floor: Here you will find San Francisco, at the centre of which is a giant replica of the bright red Golden Gate Bridge, a great place to snap pictures.
Sixth Floor: Last but definitely not the least, on the sixth floor you will be able to find Hollywood.
Make sure to check out the toilets as well, because they are all designed according to the country on each floor.
4. Jim Thompson House
The Jim Thompson House is a museum in Bangkok which showcases many different Asian art pieces and displays inside a collection of Thai houses pulled together into one house, formerly owned by an American man named Jim Thompson who revived the silk industry in Thailand.
At this unique museum you can find all sorts of different, tasteful art displays and antiques which emanate Thai culture and are carefully handpicked by Mr. Thompson himself. You can go on a guided tour and walk through the house all while learning about the different art pieces up on display as well as the interesting and exciting life of Jim Thompson.
The Jim Thompson House is open from : 09:00-17:00
5. The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace in Bangkok is one of the country’s most important cultural and tourist destinations and is the city’s greatest landmark. It goes way back, from the year 1792 and was the home to Thailand’s king and royal government in the past as well as various ceremonies and events even in the present, so there’s no wonder why the palace is so significant to the country.
There are many different and interesting historical spots to visit inside the Grand Palace, such as:
6. Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew is the home to the renowned Emerald Buddha. Nobody is allowed near it or to see the Buddha itself except for the King, and it is covered with a cloth and replaced seasonally which is one of the most awaited Thai traditions. Other sights at the Wat Phra Kaew include a replica of the Angkor Wat which is a large religious monument in Cambodia and the balcony which contains the famous mural and story of the Ramayana epic.
The Wat Phra Kaew Temple is a very sacred area because of its religious significance, so visitors should be sure to wear proper attire: no shorts, sleeveless shirts, and bare feet–you must also make sure to take off your shoes before entering the Temple.
Cameras and picture-taking are allowed in the rest of the Grand Palace, but at the Wat Phra Kaew it is not.
7. The Central Court
Once you leave the Temple of the Emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Kaew, you will be able to find yourself in The Central Court of the Grand Palace, where the royals used to host visitors and diplomats. You will also find the Phra Thinang Boromphiman mansion (not open to visitors), the Phra Maha Monthien which is the oldest building in the location, as well as the Chakri Maha Prasat building which is closed to the public as it is still used for government affairs.
The Grand Palace is located at Thanon Na Phra Lan, Phra Nakhon District, Bangkok and is open from 8:30 am until 3:30 pm daily.
Entrance will cost you 500 baht.
8. Reclining Buddha
The Reclining Buddha, also called the Wat Pho, is a Buddhist temple located in the Grand Palace at the exit behind the Emerald Buddha. The main attraction is a giant gold sculpture of a reclining Buddha reaching 46 meters long and a whole 15 meters tall. A fun fact about the golden reclining Buddha is that it is decorated with 108 illustrations called laksanas which are prominent in Buddhist culture.
The Wat Pho temple is a revered area so tourists should wear clothing appropriate for the occasion and not expose shoulders and should wear pants below the knee.
The Wat Pho or Reclining Buddha Temple is open from 08:00 – 17:00 and the entrance fee will set you back 100 baht. It is located at the Maharat Road south of the Grand Palace.
Where to Shop in Bangkok
There are many places to shop in all over Bangkok such as street markets and the aforementioned Terminal 21 shopping mall but other than that, Thailand has lots of other shopping malls such as:
1. Central Embassy Shopping Mall
The Central Embassy Shopping Mall is the city’s first extreme luxury mall and is a great place to visit if you’re looking to purchase various high-end goods and designer items. Not only that, but it’s chock full of fine dining spots and lifestyle cinemas perfect for those who’d like to shop and splurge.
2. Siam Paragon
Siam Paragon is another luxury mall which not only has high end fashion brands but also top of the line gadgets, cars, as well as it’s very own aquarium.
3. Siam Center
If you want to shop local and support Thai brands and creators, then the Siam Center is the mall for you. They have wide selections of both Thai and international brands and couture for you to pick from, truly a haven for fashionistas and clothing enthusiasts.
It’s hard to get bored at the largest mall in Thailand. CentralWorld has everything you could possibly want and need from fashion shops to restaurants.
MBK is the perfect mall to shop if you’re on a budget. They have over a thousand shops and products of all categories at low prices.
Where to Eat in Bangkok
Bangkok is known for being a hub for all of sorts of delicious Thai food, and here are some places you can get your fix:
Bangkok is home to the famous Train Market, more popularly known as the Maeklong Railway Market which is called by its name because the market has a train track running through it. When the train is about to pass, the vendors pull back their goods simultaneously making a very awesome sight. Here you will be able to purchase local and fresh Thai fruits, vegetables, and fish.
Thip Samai – Best Pad Thai
One of Thailand’s most well-known and loved dishes is Pad Thai, and Thip Samai is said to be the best place in Bangkok to get it. Try and get there early, because their lines can get quite long given its popularity.
The Bangkok streets are littered with delicious street foods and the country has one of the best street food scenes in the country. Here are some great, affordable eats you can buy around the city:
- Grilled Pork
- Regular Tom Yum Goong – 250 baht
- Pik Kai Tod – 190 baht
- Spring rolls
- Pork omelette
Cabbages and Condoms
The name of this restaurant might seem a bit strange, but the money you’re spending here is actually going to population development programs in Thailand. Here you can eat a large variety of different authentic Thai dishes all while supporting a cause.
Cabbages and Condoms is open from 11:00 to 22:00 daily and is located at Sukhumvit Rd, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
You don’t always have to break the bank to get around touring Bangkok. The city has multiple transportation options you can choose from, from low, high, to medium budgets.
1. Ferry in the Canals
You can also get around Thailand via boat or ferry. Depending on how long the ride is going to be, it can set you back from 3 baht to 10 baht.
2. Tuk Tuk
Tuk Tuks are also a fast and convenient way to get around Bangkok, small tricycles that will cost 30 baht or more depending on the distance.
The BTS, also known as the SkyTrain, is another way to go touring Bangkok especially if you would like to visit multiple places in a short period of time. The starting fare is 15 baht.
4. Taxi – If you’re carrying a lot of things or would just like the convenience, Thailand also has taxis. If you’re coming from the airport and would like to go to your first destination, you can:
- Find the taxi queue outside the airport
- Get in line for the big taxi and get a queue number
- To get your queue number, print a ticket—it will give you your lane and queue number.
Pro Tip :
It’s best you get a simcard for touring Bangkok since it’s really cheap. Sim cards are great and convenient to have when in a new city, and you can get a new one from dtac at the airport or to make it easier you can also get it via this link, It saves you a couple of hundreds.