Bangkok Travel Guide & Tips

October 19, 2023

Bangkok’s got it all – bustling streets, mouthwatering street food that won’t break the bank, a wild nightlife scene, and the incredible energy that never seems to run out. It’s like the travel world’s ultimate debate club: you’ve got passionate lovers and fervent haters of this vibrant city.

To be honest, I was one of those who hated Bangkok on my first trip here. But, as I got to know it more, I started to change my mind. Funny enough, I ended up moving to Bangkok a few years ago, and can now say, I am madly in love with the place.

Most travelers pass through here on the backpacker route, or as a quick stopover while heading to vacation on one of Thailand’s beautiful islands. But, they are missing out! There is so much to see and do in Bangkok that it’s worth staying here for at least a few days. When you look beyond the chaos, the city comes alive with endless things to do, see, explore, eat, and drink. If you’re willing to do some exploring, you’ll find the mightiest temples, the coolest bars, and the craziest sights.

In this Bangkok Travel Guide, you’ll find out what to do, where to sleep, how to save money, and how to make the most of your trip to this fascinating city! So let’s get started!

A view of Bangkok

What to See & Do in Bangkok

1. Visit the Grand Temple & Wat Pho

The stunning architecture of the temple combined with the beautiful location, makes this place one of the most spectacular in all of Bangkok. It’s truly an experience not to be missed! Go see Wat Pra Kaeo, home to a 15th-century Buddha, with plenty of temples, sculptures, and beautiful artwork. Afterward, go to Wat Pho to see the famous Reclining Buddha. Admission to the Grand Palace costs 500 baht and 200 baht to enter Wat Pho.

2. Chatuchak Market Tour

Bangkok’s weekend market and the world’s largest market is where you can buy everything under the sun! It has over 15,000 stalls, making it the best place to find gifts, shop, and eat amazing street food. The market is open on Saturday and Sunday, from 9:00-18:00.

3. Take a Walk in Lumpini Park

Nature lovers will fall in love with Bangkok’s Lumphini Park. With jogging paths, bike trails, pastoral picnic areas, chess tables, tai chi lessons, exercise equipment, and rowboats for rent – there’s plenty to do and see there. Alongside the tall trees and nature, the park offers a pleasant respite from busy Bangkok.

4. Go to Jim Thompson’s House

Jim Thompson was an American spy and trader in Thailand during the 50s and 60s. His house is a monument to traditional Thai architecture, decorated with beautiful teak wood and wrapped in a lush garden. The entrance fee is 200 baht and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

5. Admire the View From Wat Arun

This gorgeous Buddhist temple sits on the Chao Phraya River in front of the Grand Palace. From up top, you can get a spectacular view over the city – totally photo-worthy! Admission costs 100 baht.

View From Wat Arun

Bangkok for Travelers – More Ideas

1. Visit Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

The floating market is just outside Bangkok. While it exists mostly for the benefit of tourists, I still love to give it a visit. The tours that run here last about half a day and leave early in the morning. It’s not the best place to shop, but is worth trying the food (and of course taking photos). Open 7 am – 12  pm daily.

2. Go Temple Hopping

Bangkok is full of Thai history and plenty of temples to match. There are about ten main temples in the city, all with different buildings and architectural layouts. If this is your first time, I recommend taking guided tours that will take you to see all the temples in one day.

If you don’t have that much time, other than the Grand Palace and Wat Po, be sure to check out Wat Arun, The Temple of the Dawn. Just make sure you are dressed appropriately and modestly (shirt and closed-toe shoes).

3. Walk Around Khao San Street

Khao San Road is a notorious tourist street in Bangkok. All roads lead to and from here. However, it’s more than just a transit hub for travelers, offering fun nightlife, delicious food, plenty of shopping stalls, tons of people, and bustling activities during the day and night. 

Khao San Street

4. Visit the Temple of the Golden Mount 

Just a short distance from Khao San Road is the Temple of the Golden Mount (Wat Saket).  Featuring an enormous chedi, a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, this is one of my favorite temples in the city. Not only are there amazing structures, but also wonderful views of Bangkok from above. At the base of the mountain is a cemetery for victims of the plague from the 18th century. The entrance to the temple itself is free.

5. Take a Day trip to Ayutthaya

Close to Bangkok is the old capital of the Kingdom of Siam. This historic city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has a summer palace and plenty of breathtaking temples. Since it is so close to Bangkok, it is a very popular destination for day trips. A lot of tour companies offer tours, but honestly, it’s so easy to get there, that I recommend doing it solo. Train tickets cost 130 baht round-trip.

6. Enjoy Bangkok’s Famous Nightlife

Looking for nightlife? In Bangkok, you will not be lacking. Khao San Street and Silom are two of the most vibrant nightlife areas in the city. As for specific recommendations, one of my favorite bars is Brick Bar, a huge space with live reggae music. I also love Smalls, a cool cocktail bar, and Whisgars, a whiskey bar.

7. Eat in Chinatown

First, walk among the vibrant lilies, birds of paradise, and orchids at Klong Thalad Park, the flower market at the northern end of Chinatown. From there, grab a few bites at one of the many delicious food stalls there. Street food in Bangkok is very cheap and I recommend not to be afraid and try as much as possible!

8. Watch a Puppet Show

A huge part of traditional Thai culture revolves around puppet theater. Two types are common – Nang (shadow puppets) and Hun (marionettes). If you’re lucky, you can see a show as part of one of the festivals. If not, head to Joe Louis’s traditional Thai puppet theater, founded in 1985 by Sakorn Yang-keawsot, where tickets cost around 700 baht.

9. Spend an Evening at Thong Lo

The best restaurants and nightlife in town can be found in the Thong Lo neighborhood. It is very popular among Bangkok’s young middle and upper classes. Popular spots include Beer Belly, an excellent beer bar, and Rabbit Hole, a luxurious bar with specialty cocktails unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Thong Lo

10. Cruise the River

Known as the “Venice of the Far East”, you can cruise through the waterways and canals of Bangkok. Although many no longer exist, you can still see some of the old bridges. Sail along the Chao Phraya River to see what’s left.

11. Wander Through Rot Pai Night Market

Rot Pai Night Market is an authentic open-air bazaar that sells a variety of vintage collectibles and souvenirs, from antique furniture to fashion items. Open Thursday night through Sunday.

12. Visit Bangkok’s Butterfly and Insect Garden 

This garden has over 500 colorful butterflies flying around, as well as a wide variety of stunning flowers. Admission is free.

Important tips for traveling in Bangkok – The Dos and Don’ts

When traveling in Bangkok, there are important things you should know to respect the locals.

The Dos

Dress modestly: When visiting temples or other holy sites in Bangkok, it’s important to dress modestly out of respect for local customs. Both men and women should avoid wearing clothing that exposes the shoulders, knees, or cleavage. I recommend always carrying a scarf with you, so you can quickly cover up if needed. 

Respect Local Customs & Traditions: Thailand is a country with a rich cultural heritage, and it is important to respect all local customs and traditions. For example, when entering temples, it is customary to remove your shoes before going inside. Also, be careful not to point your feet at people or sacred objects, as this is considered disrespectful. I recommend learning a little about the local customs before your trip, as this will improve your experience and help you connect with the local culture.

Try Street Food: Bangkok is known for its amazing street food. A tour of the street food stalls is not only a great way to taste authentic Thai cuisine but also fall in love with the local culture. Don’t be afraid to try new dishes and flavors. Some popular street food options to try include Pad Thai, Green Curry, and Mango Sticky Rice. Pro tip – choose food stalls where there are always lines as this testifies to freshness and quality.

Explore Local Markets: Bangkok is world-renowned for its vibrant and bustling markets. Offering a wide range of goods, from clothing and accessories to fresh produce and local art, you can find anything and everything at these markets. Popular spots, like the Chatuchak Floating Market, are great places to buy unique souvenirs.

Use Public Transport: Bangkok has a well-developed public transport system that includes the BTS train, MRT subway, and boats along the Chao Phraya River. It’s an effective way to navigate the city and avoid traffic congestion. It’s affordable, reliable, and a great way to experience the local way to get around. You can also take a tuktuk of course, but keep in mind that sometimes there are traffic jams and chaos on the roads.


Don’t Underestimate the Monarchy: Thai royalty is highly revered in Thailand, and it’s important to show respect. Avoid making negative comments or engaging in any disrespectful behavior towards the monarchy. Criticizing or insulting the royal family can lead to serious consequences, including legal risks.

Don’t Touch People’s Heads: In Thai culture, the head is considered the most sacred part of the body, and touching someone’s head, even in a friendly way, is considered impolite. Similarly, avoid ruffling children’s hair or patting them on the head, as this may seem disrespectful.

Don’t Engage in Illegal Activities: It is important to remember that engaging in illegal activities, such as drug possession or trafficking, can have serious consequences in Thailand. The country has strict laws, and the penalties for violating them can be severe. It is best to know the local laws and abide by them during your stay to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Don’t Forget to Carry Cash: While credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants, and malls, many smaller shops and street food stalls will only accept cash.

Be Careful: Like any big city, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas, and watch out for pickpockets. Use decent transportation options, especially at night, and avoid walking alone in areas you are not familiar with.

Don’t Disrespect Buddhism: Buddhism is deeply ingrained in Thai culture, and it’s important to show respect when visiting temples or encountering religious symbols. Avoid climbing statues or touching sacred objects.

Set Up a Data Package Before Your Arrival in Thailand

When traveling to Thailand, it is important to consider the dilemma of cellular packages abroad. Thailand has a variety of call and data plans, but from my experience, the service offered is not great and there has been a wave of price increases. So if you’re looking for a solution, I recommend purchasing an eSIM for Thailand – activation is simple and done using a QR code.

I made the switch to an eSIM and I don’t regret it. The app is easy to use, the service is reliable, the plans are affordable, and the company is super helpful with any questions or concerns. Plus, it takes away the hassle of having to constantly switch physical SIM cards in and out of my phone. Give it a try on your next trip!

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