Bangkok, the city of Angels or Krung Thep Maha Nakon, as the Thais themselves refer to it, draws travelers from every corner of the world. The very name conjures up exotic images of street markets filled with spices and food, and ancient temples whose golden spears sparkle in the sun.
It’s what first drew us to Bangkok, way back in 2004, and since 2014 we’ve been coming here almost every year, often staying for months, before reluctantly saying goodbye. So when the borders of the world started opening up in 2022, and we could finally go traveling again, Bangkok had to be our first stop.
There we started work on this travel guide to Bangkok. It ties together everything we know about Bangkok, including our favorite things to do, the best sights and attractions, as well as tips on how to find your perfect Bangkok accommodation.
We’ll cover everything you need to know for a trip to Bangkok – including what to pack, when to visit, how to get there, and much more. And you’ll find links to all our Bangkok articles for further reading. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in.
Hopefully, you’ll discover Bangkok as we did, and fall in love with her just as we have. For us, Bangkok has become our home away from home.
We hope you find this Bangkok travel guide helpful when planning your trip. Have a fantastic time in Bangkok!
Important: None of the tours and hotels recommended here are paid placements or have sponsored this site in any way. If you book through any of our links, we earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps keep our site going – so thank you in advance for your support! ♥
- Spectacular ancient temples and historical sites
- Lively markets day and night
- World-class shopping
- Fantastic food scene from street food stalls to exclusive restaurants
- A fascinating blend of the modern and the traditional
- World-class hotels, hostels, and boutique accommodation
Travel Guide To Bangkok – Thailand
Bangkok is the heart of the orient, with a proud and long history that has inspired writers and artists for centuries.
The Ratanoksin Island / Banglamphu river area, with its spectacular temples and historic sites, should be a part of any visit to Bangkok. Here you can explore the beautiful Royal Palace, the majestic towering Wat Arun Temple, and the spectacular Wat Pho Temple with its enormous reclining Buddha statue.
Explore the world’s most famous street food market along Yaroawarat street in Bangkok’s legendary Chinatown. On the weekends, this is where everyone comes to feast on delicious street food, socialize, and people-watch.
Or take a riverside walk through the Talat Noi area, where coffee shops, artist galleries, and small boutique hotels are breathing new life into Chinatown’s oldest neighborhood and its once-abandoned Chinese shophouses.
Language: Thai, but you can get by with English, especially with the younger generation.
Currency: Thailand’s currency is the Thai Baht.
Drinking Water: Tap water is not considered safe to drink, but bottled water is widely available.
Population: Uncertain, but most estimates put it at about 10-12 million inhabitants.
Maria exploring Bangkok’s spectacular Royal Palace
Close by, you’ll find the world’s most famous backpackers’ street, Khao San Road.
For decades it has attracted backpackers on their way through South East Asia with its lively street life, cheap hostels, and relaxed vibe. Here the party goes on till the early morning hours.
Along seemingly endless Sukhumhvit street, you can join ex-pats and locals in Bangkok’s lively nightlife, restaurants, and bars. End your evening with a drink at a rooftop bar and enjoy the spectacular view of the city’s skyline.
Modern-day Bangkok is a city where the historic and modern live side by side, and in areas such as Siam and Silom, you’ll find world-class shopping malls, cinemas, and top-end restaurants.
A longtail boat tour through the Thonburi neighborhood with its canals will transport you back in time.
This is the oldest part of Bangkok and having escaped much of the modern city development, many people live their lives here in much the same way as they have for generations.
Bangkok is an endlessly fascinating city that, on the first visit, can feel quite intimidating, even chaotic. The dust, the crowds, and the traffic can be overwhelming.
Our goal with this travel guide to Bangkok is to help you find your bearings, inspire you, and provide you with all the practical information you need to explore Bangkok.
You can find all our travel articles about Bangkok here.
A great place to start planning your Bangkok trip is with our 3-Day Bangkok Travel Itinerary. Packed with all of Bangkok’s highlights and organized into suggested itineraries for each day, including what to see, how to get around, and much more…
Popular Bangkok Guides
Where To Stay In Bangkok
Bangkok has so many cool neighborhoods, hotels, hostels, and guesthouses that we have written a detailed guide on what we believe are the best places to stay in Bangkok.
Keep in mind that the city is very big and getting around can be slow, so it’s worth staying close to the sights and activities that you’ll be spending the most time on. If you’ll spend most of your time exploring the temples of Ratanoksin, it pays to base yourself in the area or at least close to the Riverside ferry route.
However, if you’re in town for shopping, then Siam or nearby Sukhumvit will be a good base.
We go into much more detail on what we think are the best areas to stay in Bangkok and why in our “Where To Stay in Bangkok Guide.” I’d recommend doing some research on what neighborhood is right for you, before booking a hotel.
The good news is that Bangkok has fantastic hotels and guesthouses for any budget!
If you don’t have time to do the research and want our top favorite places to stay in Bangkok, then we can wholeheartedly recommend the following hotels based on personal experience (yes, we have stayed at them all):
Top 10 Things To Do In Bangkok
1. Have Fun At Bangkok’s Markets
Few things are more typical of Thailand than its markets. There seems to be a market for most things, from the fresh markets selling food and fruits to flower markets selling fanciful flower arrangements and everything in between.
While the everyday markets are vital places to stock up on goods and do the shopping, the night markets are where the fun really is.
Night markets are all about having a fun night out with friends and family with street food, snacks, drinks, and live music. Here you can shop everything imaginable, from the latest fashion to old vinyl records, mechanical robots, cell phone covers, antiquities, and art.
It’s a fantastic opportunity to rub shoulders with the locals, try lots of unique Thai dishes and snacks that you won’t find on the restaurant’s menus, and pick up some cool souvenirs along the way.
Bangkok has some amazing night markets, and our current favorites are the Jodd Fair Night Market and Srinakarin Train Market.
2. Marvel at Bangkok’s Ancient Temples
Bangkok is home to more than 400 Buddhist temples, many of them exquisitely beautiful and you could literally spend months exploring them.
Of course, most of us don’t have time for that, so here are three temples in Bangkok you should not miss:
- Wat Pho – Thailand’s most sacred temple for Buddhists. It is home to the 16-meter-long reclining golden Buddha statue and stupas where the ashes of Thailand’s former kings are kept. Wat Pho is also the center for the teaching of Thai Massage, and a great place to get a Thai massage. A beautiful temple to visit in the afternoon (arrive before 5 p.m) and stay until sunset when the stupas glitter in the last rays of the afternoon sun.
- Wat Kaew – Wat Kaew is part of The Royal Palace and Bangkok’s most visited and sacred temple. It’s a beautiful temple with colorful gilded rooftops and three large white stupas. A replica of Angkor Wat is on display from when Cambodia was a part of the kingdom of Siam. Its main attraction is the green Jade Buddha statue.
- Wat Arun / Temple of The Dawn – Wat Arun is our favorite temple in Bangkok. With its tall sparkling spire reaching for the sky, and beautifully located on the riverbank, it is stunning day and night.
3. Explore Bangkok’s Rivers and Canals
Bangkok can initially feel overwhelming, and if you need a little break from the crowds and traffic, head for the Chao Praya river. This wide river runs straight through Bangkok and has for centuries been a vital transport and trade route.
Chao Phraya River is also very beautiful, especially around sunset when the majestic temples lining the shores glitter in the sun. There are many ways to explore the Chao Praya river. We like to catch the local ferry from the Central Pier (accessible from Saphan Taksin BTS station) and stop along the way whenever something catches our eye.
There are several nice cafes and restaurants along the river, too. We particularly love Hong Sieng Kong Cafe (see the photo above) and Nam 1608 Restaurant.
Bangkok, much like Venice in Italy, used to have a lot of canals. The oldest part of town, the Thonburi area, west of the Chao Praya river, still has a network of canals.
You can charter a longboat from the Wat Arun or Wat Pho ferry stations and explore the canals – the Klongs, as they are called. It’s a fantastic way to catch a glimpse into everyday life in a non-touristy part of town.
Another popular way to experience the river and temples is by joining an evening dinner cruise on the Chao Praya River.
4. Enjoy Bangkok’s Famous Street Food
Bangkok’s Chinatown is world-famous for its fantastic street food. Along Chinatown’s main street, Yaowarat Road, and inside its many little side streets, there are hundreds of small restaurants and carts cooking up food based on family recipes handed down through generations.
From mouth-watering traditional Thai dishes and treats such as noodle soups, braised pork knuckle stews, and crispy duck to more exotic dishes such as the infamous bird’s nests.
5. Get Lost In Chinatown
But Chinatown is much more than its street food. Head here to explore ancient temples, narrow market lanes, old Chinese shophouses, and some of Bangkok’s hippest coffee shops, boutique hotels, and clubs.
Wander down to the Chao Praya River to the old Talat Noi neighborhood, and you’ll discover the roots of Bangkok and see how the young generation is putting its mark on these old neighborhoods.
There is so much to see and discover in Chinatown, so go explore and find your favorites.
6. Explore Modern Bangkok
Bangkok today has developed into a modern-day mega city. In fact, the city has more than 1000 skyscrapers (!), and more shopping malls than almost anywhere. The city has become hugely popular with shoppers, almost surpassing Singapore as Asia’s number one shopping destination. There is hardly an international fashion designer or luxury brand that isn’t available somewhere in Bangkok.
Bangkok’s huge shopping malls aren’t just about shopping. In fact, most people come here for restaurants, food courts, cinemas, and entertainment like the huge Sea Quest aquarium. Personally, we love the modern comfortable cinemas, the enormous bookstores, and the fantastic supermarkets with food from every corner of the world.
The area around Siam is generally considered the shopping center of Bangkok, with malls such as Paragon, Central World, MBK, and Discovery Center, but you’ll find them all over Bangkok. Icon Siam is Bangkok’s newest mall addition, located by the river.
Another modern Bangkok marvel that is well worth experiencing is the 320m high King Power Mahanakhon skyscraper, Bangkok’s highest building.
The entire rooftop is an open-air observation deck with fantastic views across Bangkok’s skyline. The most popular attraction is the glass skywalk, where you can walk seemingly suspended in mid-air with only a layer of glass beneath your feet and the ground hundreds of meters below. There is also a small rooftop bar if you get thirsty.
7. Take a Tuk Tuk Tour of Bangkok
Although you’ll find the iconic three-wheeled Tuk-Tuk in many parts of Asia, it is most closely associated with Bangkok. It has become a Bangkok icon, and speeding along the city’s streets in a Tuk- Tuk is one of our favorite things to do in Bangkok.
You’ll find a Tuk-Tuk just about everywhere in Bangkok, and in tourist-heavy places, you’ll constantly be bombarded with offers. Make sure to agree on a price before getting in and make it clear that you want to go straight to your destination and not stop at a gem shop or tailor or similar. Tuk Tuk drivers get commissions for bringing foreigners to these places.
Another quick tip is to avoid taking a Tuk Tuk during rush hours. Getting stuck in traffic behind a truck or bus pumping out the exhaust for twenty minutes is not much fun when you’re in an open-air Tuk Tuk.
A more hassle-free option for exploring Bangkok with the iconic three-wheeler is to join a Bangkok Tuk Tuk Tour. We went on Expique’s Tuk Tuk Experience by Night Tour a few years ago, and it was great fun!
Not only did we get to ride in a Tuk Tuk a lot, but we also got to explore some of Bangkok’s best sights along with a knowledgeable guide that told us a lot about the places we visited. We also got to try some local food that we probably never would have tried on our own.
8. Admire Bangkok’s Skyline From A Roof Top Bar
Bangkok’s skyline is stunning at night, and where better to enjoy the view than from a rooftop bar with a cool drink in hand?
The Hangover II movie made the Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower famous, and while it is a fantastic sky bar, our favorite Bangkok sky bar is the open-air Moon Bar on top of the Banyan Tree Hotel. At 63 floors above Bangkok, you can feel the wind in your hair while enjoying the most delicious drinks and spectacular 360-degree views.
You can also have dinner at the Vertigo Restaurant (located just next to Moon Bar) like we did to celebrate Maria’s mum’s 70th birthday a few years ago. The food was great, and the view was unbeatable!
Other popular Bangkok sky bars include the Speakeasy on top of The Muse Hotel, Red Sky, Cielo Sky Bar & Restaurant, Mahanakhon Bangkok SkyBar, the Octave Rooftop Bar & Lounge, and the new SEEN Restaurant & Bar, which sits on top of one of our favorite Bangkok hotels – Avani Riverside.
9. Sit Ringside At A Thai Boxing Match
Thai boxing, or Muay Thai as it is called in Thailand, is Thailand’s national sport and a source of great national pride. The art of the eight limbs has a long history and is widely considered one of the world’s most effective fighting styles.
While you can see Thai Boxing all over Thailand, Bangkok is where the champions fight. The largest and most prestigious fights are held in one of Bangkok’s two premier Thai Boxing stadiums. And sitting ringside or even in the stands, experiencing the spectacle along with hundreds of ecstatic fans is quite an experience.
10. Relax in Bangkok’s Green Parks
Any big city needs some green parks to escape and relax. Thankfully Bangkok has a couple of fantastic parks that are perfect for an afternoon walk or a little break from the traffic and noise.
Lumphini Park is Bangkok’s largest green park, with a beautiful lake at its center. It is centrally located in Bangkok’s Silom area and well connected by the BTS Skytrain and MRT Metro lines. The park is at its liveliest in the afternoon when people come to run, join the group aerobics classes, or use the free exercise machines.
Benjakitti Park is another one of our favorite parks in central Bangkok, and its new Forrest Park expansion that just opened is simply spectacular. With raised walkways above the carefully constructed green forest and spectacular views of Bangkok’s skyline, this is fast becoming the place to enjoy an afternoon walk and see the sunset. Avoid the weekends if you want to escape the crowds.
Practical Information – Know Before You Go
When To Go
The best time to visit Bangkok is during the winter months, from December to March when it’s sunny and not too hot, and the air humidity is low. December and January are the peak season for tourism, and Bangkok’s attractions are usually pretty packed with visitors. Expect temperatures from 25-35 degrees celsius.
As summer approaches, April to June is shoulders season with a rise in humidity and generally very warm weather. You can still travel during this time, but it will be hot and humid.
From July till September is the monsoon season, and while it won’t rain every day or all day, you won’t have many sunny days with clear skies.
Towards the end of the rainy season in September, Bangkok often sees a lot of flooding, and we generally try to avoid Bangkok during this time.
In October / November rainy season is coming to an end. The odds for sunny weather are much better, and there are still few tourists. This is our favorite time to visit Bangkok.
Safety & Insurance
Bangkok is generally considered a safe city with little serious crime. But, like in any large city, take good care of your belongings. There are instances of bag snatching and pickpocketing in tourism-heavy areas.
Much more common are financial scams, and if you spend some time in Bangkok you’ll no doubt come into contact with one of the many tourist scams.
These scams range from relatively harmless such as overpaying for a sub-quality shirt at a tailor, to people investing their life savings into gems that are basically worthless.
Keep an open mind when meeting friendly locals offering to help, but never forget that if something sounds too good to be true it is most likely a scam. When that happens, walk away.
Thailand is an extremely expensive city to be hospitalized in, and travel insurance is cheap. So why not get it? You’ll sleep better!
What To Pack
Bangkok has a tropical climate and is hot and humid. We try to pack as little as possible (but often fail and bring way too much).
Light, loose-fitting clothes will generally be most comfortable in the tropical heat. A good pair of walking sandals or comfortable shoes are a must. Shorts. skirts and t-shirts are fine for everyday use, but bring a long-sleeved shirt and trousers for visiting the temples.
A jacket that can double as a raincoat for the occasional rain shower is always a good idea. As is a cap/ hat and sunglasses to protect you from the mid-day sun.
Dress up if you plan on visiting upscale restaurants, or some of Bangkok’s hip clubs and rooftop bars (some have a dress code).
How to Get There
Bangkok has two international airports. The main one is Suvarnabhumi Airport, located south of the city center (a 30-min taxi ride). It’s a large, modern airport and one of Asia’s main transport hubs, well connected from just about any corner of the world.
If you’re flying in from Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, or on any long-distance flight then this is where you will land.
Suvarnabhumi has an efficient immigration system, modern facilities, and plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafes. It is also well connected to the city center by express train, busses, and taxis.
A standard metered taxi from Suvarnbhumi to a hotel in the center will generally cost you 4-500 THB depending on how many large bags you have (yes, they actually charge extra for bags now) and the hotel’s exact location.
Bangkok’s other airport is Don Mueang Airport, north of Bangkok (a 20-min taxi ride). Don Muang was Bangkok’s main airport until Suvrabhumni was opened in 2006.
It was then closed down for about a year and reopened as a transport hub for low-cost carrier airlines such as Air Asia, Nok Air, and Tiger Air. Don Muang is used mostly for domestic and short-haul international flights from neighboring countries.
Don Muang airport is connected by both train and bus to Bangkok.
A quick tip: If you don’t feel like dealing with public transportation and slow taxi queues after a long international flight, you can pre-book your airport transfer. That way, your driver is already there waiting, ready to take you to the hotel when the plane lands.
How to Travel Around
Bangkok is a very large city, and traveling around the city can be fairly time-consuming. It’s one of the reasons we recommend putting some thought into where you base yourself when visiting Bangkok. See our complete guide to the best areas to stay in Bangkok for more tips.
Thankfully recent years have seen improvements in the public transportation system.
BTS Skytrain & MRT Subway
The quickest and easiest way to travel around Bangkok is by using the BTS Skytrain, which is an elevated train system, and the underground MRT Metro system. They don’t go everywhere, however, and the Skytrain, in particular, does get crowded in the rush hours, but they are reliable, modern, and fast (and best of all, have air conditioning).
The MRT subway system is steadily expanding, and two new stations were just opened in Chinatown.
Using the river ferries is a great way to escape the traffic and explore Bangkok along with the locals. Many of Bangkok’s attractions are located along the Choa Praya river, and local and express ferries run up and down several times an hour.
There are also some canal ferries running on the smaller canals.
Taking an air-conditioned taxi may sound like the best way to get around, but Bangkok’s traffic jams are frequent and notorious. Taxis can often get stuck in traffic for quite a while. Sometimes it is the only choice, and when we do take a Taxi, we like to use the Grab app (Thailand’s answer to Uber) to book and pay.
Thailand’s iconic three-wheeler is a really fun way to get around town, but it’s better avoided during rush hours. Being stuck in a traffic jam behind an exhaust-guzzling bus is not much fun. Make sure to agree on a price before getting in, and expect to haggle.
Bangkok has an extensive network of local busses, but figuring out the routes can be pretty difficult for anyone here on a short holiday.
There are also motorcycle taxis, which is a fast, cheap, and slightly scary way of navigating Bangkok.
What & Where To Eat in Bangkok
A large part of the experience of visiting Bangkok is the delicious Thai food. Thailand has a worldwide reputation for its excellent cuisine, and Bangkok is food central.
Thais love to eat and typically eat many small meals a day, so it’s no wonder that few cities on earth can match Bangkok when it comes to the number of places to eat.
You’ll find high-end five-star restaurants alongside family-run eateries that have existed for generations perfecting their one specialty dish.
Night markets are terrific places to sample many Thai dishes and snacks that are otherwise hard to come by, and street food stalls serve up affordable mount watering dishes any time of the day. There is no need to go hungry in Bangkok!
Money & Costs
Thailand is not as cheap as it used to be, but it is still an affordable destination compared to much of western Europe and the US.
Most of your budget will go towards accommodation and transport.
As for food, you can eat very cheaply or splurge on five-course meals, so it is really up to you. A bowl of noodles at a street food stall costs about 40 THB, while a high-end meal can cost hundreds of dollars.
Cash is still the most widely used form of payment, but mobile payment platforms are increasing in popularity.
ATMs are available just about everywhere in Bangkok. For foreign cards, there is usually a fee of 220B for withdrawal.
Prices in Bangkok
We’ve included some examples below to give you a rough idea of what to expect price-wise when visiting Bangkok. Be aware that prices tend to vary by season and that some areas of the city are more expensive than others.
Food & Drinks
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Hey team just FYI Jeib Jo Dee det isn’t in Siam anymore. Haven’t confirmed their new location in Sathorn but definitely no in Siam when I tried on 2/1/23.
Hi Maria, thanks for sharing this. Your article is the most helpful one I’ve found! Quick question for you, we’re deciding between staying at Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit or Marriott Hotel…
Hi Maria! Thank you for your article where to stay in BKK. I am passing by BKK for two nights. After reading your tips I am torn between Hotel Muse and…
If you haven’t yet seen our Bangkok Itinerary, I recommend starting there. It has all of Bangkok’s highlights, including tips on what to see, the best activities, where to stay, attractions, and much more, all organized into a three-day itinerary.
As for guidebooks, we travel with the Lonely Planet guide to Thailand, which does have a fairly extensive chapter on Bangkok. There are also some dedicated Bangkok guidebooks, but most of them are a little out of date right now.
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Thailand´s capital Bangkok is obviously one of the world’s best place to eat tasty Thai food. There are so many restaurants and street vendors selling Thai food that it can sometimes be difficult to spot the really good ones. Some restaurants cater mostly to tourists, and the food might not be top quality, since tourists are usually easier to satisfy than the locals. What we want is places that serve authentic and delicious Thai food, Thai food that the Thais themselves love to eat. Here are our top 7 Thai food places in Bangkok!
The beautiful Golden Mount (Wat Saket) is one of our favorite temples in Bangkok and a must-visit when in Bangkok. To reach the temple, you have to walk 344 steps up a hill. The 360-degree view of Bangkok from the top is fantastic, and it is the perfect place to watch the sunset. Golden Mount is not as famous as many of the other Bangkok temples, so it is less crowded with a peaceful atmosphere.
Being a popular tourist destination, Bangkok is packed with hotels and places to stay at all budgets. It can, however, be a bit overwhelming choosing where to stay in Bangkok, as there are so many options available. Having spent a lot of time in Bangkok, we have put together this guide to our favourite Bangkok areas and accommodations.
Beneath the dust and chaos, Bangkok is packed with things to do and places to see. From street-side restaurants with plastic chairs and road side amulet stalls, to top-notch restaurants and the hippest rooftop bars. From exploring ancient temples to taking a crazy tuk-tuk drive through the Bangkok night, to Muay Thai boxing at the gigantic new Lumpini Stadium, or visiting a colourful flower market. Bangkok has it all and there is never a dull moment when you hit the streets of this city! Here is our ultimate 3 day itinerary with some of our highlights of what to do in Bangkok.
Lumphini Park is a must-visit in Bangkok. It has a lovely atmosphere and is the perfect place to go for a picnic or just relax and watch people work out. Lumphini Par is also a great place to go for a run, walk, weight lifting, or aerobics.