Bangkok is one of Asia’s most exciting cities and there really is something for everyone, whether you’re with the family, interested in culture, a shopaholic, foodie, backpacker or punter. Most visitors to Thailand spend a few days in the capital, often wishing they had more time to visit all the sights, pick up more bargains, wander the quieter neighbourhoods of this vibrant city, or indulge in the nightlife and dining. Sightseeing is usually first on most tourist agendas and plenty of information on amazing palaces, temples and attractions are included in this section.
Bangkok is also a shoppers’ paradise, with countless options, ranging from cheaper luxury goods through to street stall souvenirs. Day trips to outlying districts of cultural and historic importance are also worthwhile, while cycling tours, jungle zip lines, canal trips, family amusement parks and even cooking classes can all keep you entertained.
What do to in Bangkok
Bangkok is home to around eight million people (including about 100,000 expats) and is visited by more than 12 million people a year. It does offer plenty for tourists to do, and in addition to sightseeing and hospitality there is a good selection of activities and venues, including golf, amusement parks, galleries, concerts, cycling tours, shopping centres, markets, other sports facilities and festivals.
Sightseeing is perhaps the most popular visitor activity in Bangkok, with numerous impressive temples, mansions and landmarks, and walking or cycling tours of the older parts of the city are a great way to truly appreciate traditional Thailand in the capital. Canal rides, particularly across the Chao Praya River in Thonburi, are also worthwhile.
There are several day trips from Bangkok that reveal Thailand at its best, so a few extra days in the capital is useful. The World Heritage site of Ayutthaya ruins is only an hour north of Bangkok, while Kanchanaburi and its famous River Kwai lies two hours west. Another good day out for culture buffs is the Ancient City, 45 minutes south of the city. You can also arrange trips to the Floating Market and rural parts of Central Thailand with its rice fields and criss-crossing canals.
Sports, such as golf, rugby, football, biking and more, are offered at various venues, while Lumphini Park is ideal for jogging. More sedate is the chance to take one of several courses, from cooking to kick boxing, or else prowl the many shopping centres for bargains aplenty. For families, there are some interesting Asian-orientated attractions, including the Dusit Zoo, and several amusement parks out in the suburbs, not to mention the aquarium at Siam Paragon mall.