Bangkok Guide

When people think of a weekend getaway, Bangkok jumps to the top of the list – and for good reason. The city’s easy access, affordable lifestyle, vibrant culture and famously delicious food make it a no-brainer for when you want a quick change of pace.

Thailand’s four regions, Northern, Northeastern, Central and Southern, all have so much to offer in vastly different cultural experiences. In this guide, we’ll share some must-visit destinations for modern-day Bangkok at the heart of Thailand’s Central Region, where monarchical influences from royal traditions, past and present, have paved the way for the exquisite craftsmanship seen in all areas of life in the city today.

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Best Time To Visit Bangkok

If you’re a culture buff, Bangkok’s holiday celebrations are a great excuse to book a trip and join the festivities. April is Songkran month, where the Thai New Year is celebrated each year from 13-15 April with country-wide water-splashing to wash away bad luck. Although it’s also one of the hottest months in the year, most locals also take the time to go to the countryside, leaving Bangkok free of the heavy traffic experienced year-round.

Another important celebration is Loy Krathong, celebrated on the night of a full moon in November. The city’s waterways are filled with banana leaf lanterns, carrying candles and wishes gently downstream.

The off-peak months to visit Bangkok are March and October, where you won’t be competing with as many international or local holidays and the weather isn’t weighed down by torrents of rain and humidity. If you’re looking for a quiet and affordable getaway to simply enjoy the city, do some shopping and indulge in eating, early Spring and mid Autumn are great times to go to Bangkok.

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Places You Should Visit In Bangkok

The Grand Palace
ICONISM
Chatuchak Weekend Market
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The Grand Palace might be Bangkok’s top attraction, but despite the tourist crowds, dress code and sweltering heat, the palace grounds are still every bit worth a visit. The artisanal craftsmanship of the architecture is stunning, down to every detail, encasing over three hundred years of royal history in delicate gold and mosaics.

While you’re in the area, you can also visit Museum Siam, a discovery museum housing interactive exhibits that span Thailand’s development throughout the centuries. Take a walk to the Chao Phraya riverside to watch the sunset over the Wat Arun temple and grab dinner and dessert around Hua Lamphong MRT Station, where the nearby Thammasat and Chulalongkorn University campuses make it a vibrant hotspot for eating and shopping among the student crowd.

Bangkok’s newest landmark for lifestyle and shopping experiences was born in November 2018 on the banks of the Chao Praya River at ICONSIAM. The shopping mall, hotels and residences at the site are not only home to two of Thailand’s tallest buildings, the country’s first Apple store and an impressive collection of local and international brands, they are also connected to a picturesque riverside promenade, complete with one of Southeast Asia’s longest fountains. 

Inside the mall, SookSiam is the modern-day traveler’s answer to the floating market experience, without the long drive, canal bottlenecks and inconvenient bathroom access while sitting in a boat. Culinary representatives from all of Thailand’s provinces are present here, so you can immerse yourself in a dining experience along the waterside without ever leaving the comfort of air-conditioning. 

The creativity of Thai people, combined with a high regard for craftsmanship, results in never-ending surprises. The Artbox Bangkok night market is an ode to this creativity, bringing together all kinds of local vendors to showcase their wares in a trendy outdoor space, complete with live music performances. 

If you’re looking for Muay Thai shorts and Red Bull tank tops, you won’t find them here. The Artbox night market scene is for local apparel brands, customized mobile accessories, vintage shoes, and unusual experiments in food and beverage. (Try salted banana fries or Thai-Taiwanese fusion rice rolls.)

While Artbox Bangkok is currently situated at Chuvit Garden, the market’s location may be subject to change, so make sure you check before you go. 

If you’re looking for a more classic market experience, you can’t miss shopping at Chatuchak. Be prepared to get hot as you browse through the winding alleys, taking a break to cool down with a traditional coconut ice cream or fresh orange juice. Some of the best scores here are handcrafted wooden furniture and kitchenware and funky T-shirts. If you’re lucky, you can find great vintage apparel, bags and shoes too.

Take a break at Chatuchak Park and enjoy a bit of rare greenery in central Bangkok as you enjoy freshly sliced tropical fruits. A local favorite, also a must eat at beverage stalls is an icy yogurt smoothie blended with Pipo fruit jelly to take away some of the heat.

It’s hard to avoid this area, especially if you’re taking the BTS sky train around the city. The popular interchange station is lined with shopping malls, boutiques and hotels – a one-stop shop for all your lifestyle needs while on holiday. Dining at Siam Paragon or Siam Center opens up a wide range of options to satisfy your palate, whether it’s quick and simple food court fare, mid-range local chain restaurants or high-end culinary experiences. 

Across the street at Siam Square is where teenagers hang out. Don’t miss the chance to check out the Scala Theatre, an art deco single-screen attraction surviving since the 1960s. The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre is also nearby, and if you wake up early enough, the area around the Tesco Lotus down the Rama I Road hosts a small local morning market selling mouthwatering food and basic household needs.

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Bangkok Travel Tips

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How To Get Around Bangkok

The city’s extensive sky train (BTS) and metro system (MRT) is constantly updating itself with new stations, making it the easiest way to avoid Bangkok traffic and get around.

If you’re visiting the old city or any of the temples along the Chao Praya river, there are fast ferries that transport you on the river and through the canals at an unbeatable speed (there isn’t much traffic on the water).

Other than the cute photo opportunity it provides, Tuk Tuks should be your last resort for transportation unless your destination is literally down the road. Foreigners are prone to being scammed by Tuk Tuk drivers who charge way beyond the average taxi meter price for short trips.

When traveling, Uber is your best friend. However locals prefer using Grab, which connects you to both Grab cars, local taxis and motorcycle taxis through a similar platform. Grab allows you to pay by cash as well. Using apps instead of hailing a taxi on the street saves you the hassle of trying to communicate your destination with the driver and helps you avoid being scammed by drivers who refuse to go by the meter.

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