Places to Visit in Bangkok
- The Grand Palace (Wat Phra Kaew)
- The Floating Market
- Chinatown Night Market
- Chatuchak Weekend Market
- Wat Pho (see the reclining Buddha) and Wat Arun
- Khoa San Road (aka ’backpackers pub crawl”)
Unique Things to See and Do in Bangkok
- Take a Thai cooking class
- Eat exotic fruits like durian
- Sample Thai street food
- Watch a Muai Thai fight
- See the Maeklong Railway Market (a train runs over/through it)
- and for those who know how strange Bangkok can be… check out the Phallic Shrine, Shrine of Goddess Tubtim.
Shopping in Bangkok for the Traveller
Shopping at Chatuchak Weekend Market
Trying to avoid shopping in the city of Bangkok is nearly impossible and really, why would you want to? You can pick up great souvenirs, Thai handicrafts, and clothing for really good prices, but navigating what types of things to get can be daunting for some. One of the famous markets, Chatuchak Weekend Market, has over 8000 stalls and covers 35 acres!
Here are some tips:
- Take a map with you and remember the exit you want.
- Practice your negotiating skills before making your first purchase. You’ll find the next stall over will almost always beat the last one’s price, and smile while making a deal. Friendliness is rewarded.
- Take cash with you as most vendors only accept cash.
- Wear sunscreen, take a hat, bottled water, and a bag for your purchases (beware of pickpockets!)
- Go in the mornings when it’s cooler and less crowded.
Thailand’s Speciality Goods
Ceramics & Pottery
Sangkhalok stoneware and Bencharong porcelain are the most sought after. Finding replicas is much easier, and don’t expect vendors who say it’s “genuine” to be completely honest. Take an expert on antiques if you’re in the market for that.
After WWII, Thai silks became known for their shimmering textures. Thai silk is hand woven and sold in sheets, shawls, bags, handkerchiefs, and more. Remember that silks must be hand washed and not rubbed or wrung out.
Tailor Made Clothes
Bangkok is a great place to look for a tailor made suit. Most tailors can imitate designers styles too.
Here’s a list of other Thai specialities to look out for:
- Wood carvings
- Yan Lipao (wickerwork – rattan, bamboo, sedge, bulrush, and yan lipao (handbags))
- Silverware – an ancient art form in Thailand
- Pewterware – some of the best in the world - 97% pure and lead-free
Did you know…?
That in Thailand it is against the law to criticize the monarchy, and it is strictly enforced!
Did you ALSO know…?
That the Reclining Buddha is 15 meters high and 43 meters long! A 6ft man measures in at 1.82m.
Getting around Bangkok City
There are several ways to get around the city of Bangkok: BTS, ferry boats, skytrain, MRT Metro, bus, taxi, and Tuk Tuk.
Using the BTS line is fairly simple. Purchase your tickets at the vending type machines located at the terminals (there is English on most of the signs along with route maps) – simply select your destination, put in your change and the ticket will dispense. Proceed through the turnstile gate, where you put your ticket in the front and it shoots out the top. Grab it and then go through the turnstile. You need your ticket to exit once you get to your destination too, so be sure to take it with you.
Ferry boats are also a great way to see the city. The boats have sign boards letting you know the routes and fares. If there isn’t a ticket booth there will be a person with a “coin can” who will give you your ticket. All the ferry boat are identified by their route (stops) with a triangular coloured flag that sits on the top of the boat. For example, if you are looking at the route map and it is on an orange line, then you will see a orange coloured flag on the top of the boat. If another colour comes along that is a different route.
Best time of year to travel to Bangkok
The best months to travel to Bangkok are from November through February, when the weather is a little cooler (still plenty warm though). Overall, Thailand’s dry period runs between mid-November through to May. In March, April, and May the temperatures rise considerably but the country sees less rain. When the monsoon season comes in between May and June, the rains begin. Typically it is rainiest during August and Septermber.
Coinciding with the better climate – you will find far more tourists in Bangkok during the months of November to March. Although the city is big, if you are in Thailand around this time you will be inundated with other travellers. This can be handy if you’re looking for some fellow traveler’s advice along the way. One really popular festival time is the Songkran New Year celebration in April, which lasts three days and involves a city wide, friendly water dousing. Everyone participates in it, whether they want to not! If you are looking to reduce costs, travelling through the low season offers better prices for flights and accommodations, but if you want to go during the high season book your accommodations ahead of time (target 6-8 months ahead).
Ready to plan your visit to Bangkok? Check out these popular guides and trips.