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Bangkok travel guide

Bangkok: so much more than just an overnight stop

For many of our travellers, Bangkok will be the first stop on their Southeast Asian adventure. Sure, Thailand's capital may be seen as a busy transport hub, but stay a little longer and venture beyond the markets and nightspots of Khao San Road; you'll find a complex city that is in part charming olde-world, and part modern, cosmopolitan metropolis. Stuff your face in Chinatown, explore Bangkok's temples, canals and water markets, and discover mind-blowing mega-malls in Sukhumvit. 

What to do in Bangkok

  • The Grand Palace
    'Blingin' would be an understatement. This amazing complex of sparkling shrines, mansions and crazy statues has been the official home of Thailand's royal family since 1782. 
  • Wat Pho
    Another big tick on the Bangkok bucket list lies right next to the Grand Palace, and comes in the form of a gigantic reclining buddha. Cover up, take off your shoes, pose for a few photos and pay special attention to the elements engraved into the soles of his feet. 
  • Chatuchak Weekend Market

    Prepare to get lost in one of the world's largest markets. Saturdays and Sundays see nearly 10,000 stalls descend on the city, peddling everything from incredible food and interesting 'domestic' pets, to hip artwork and some pretty amazing vintage garments. Tip: bring an extra suitcase; shopaholics will go crazy!
  • Thai street food
    You won't have to search far, or pay a lot, to find delicious street food in Bangkok. Head over to Chinatown for Chinese dumplings, noodles and seafood, or check out the stalls and alleys around Banglamphu for classic Souteast Asian fare. Pad Thai and fresh spicy papaya salad are amazingly cheap, but there's plenty of interesting options for those who want to be a bit more adventurous. Creepy crawlies, or 'dancing' shrimp, anyone? 
  • Wat Arun
    Otherwise known as The Temple of Dawn, this imposing structure sits on the banks of the Chaophraya River. Arrive early to avoid the crowds all competing with one another to climb the super-steep steps to the top, which offers amazing views over Bangkok. The walls are covered in intricate, colourful carvings but post-sunset, Wat Arun is illuminated gold. A popular nighttime activity is to take a dinner boat cruise past it. 
  • Life on water
    "Another Asian market?!" You say... But Damnoen Market and Amphawa amongst others in Bangkok bring a certain kind of Southeast Asian magic to the table. The vendors, shoppers and all the wares float entirely on water. Arrive early, as many shut up shop after the morning's up. An alternative to a tour of a floating market is to take a ride through central Bangkok's colourful canals, drifting past some fascinating local life. 
Bangkok temple

Bangkok Neighbourhood Guide

Grand Palace statues, Bangkok
Bangkok's 'Old Town' of Banglamphu is full of colour, charm, history and famous monuments like Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, offering the best insight into what Bangkok's all about. It's centrally located, and home to Khao San Road, where you'll most likely be staying!
Khao San Road Neighbourhood
Khao San Road
Banglamphu's most buzzing street, Khao San Road is Bangkok's backpacker hub. It's just a kilometre from the Grand Palace, and is packed full of bars, small nightclubs, restaurants, shops and hostels.You're guaranteed to have a ball here, and make some great new friends!
Chinatown Bangkok
Stroll half an hour southeast of Banglamphu to see, smell and taste Asia at its best. In this neighbourhood, you'll be able to snap colourful pictures of the hundreds of signs along the main road, get completely lost in the colourful mess of market stalls just off of it, and of course, stuff your face with noodles, dumplings, curries and more... 
Bangkok night
Khao San Road might be Bangkok's must buzzing street but Sukhumvit is Thailand's longest. You'll find Bangkok's craziest red-light district, the most futuristic shopping malls, rooftop bars, hotels and drinking spots such as Soi 11 all along here. Boycott the taxis (stand-still traffic jams are the norm along the length of Sukhumvit), and instead hop on and off the BTS Skytrain, which runs the length of it. 

Bangkok Day Tours & Mini Adventures


Bangkok Adventure Tours

Bangkok Starter Pack
Bangkok can seem a little daunting to visitors, especially if it's your first time in Asia. So get organised and make sure that your first few nights are hassle-free. Grab this smart little starter pack and you'll get your accommodation in a central hotel, airport transfer, half-day 'City & Temples' tour and 'Thonburi Klongs' apin along the city canals.
3 days from £160
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Floating market and boat tour
Floating market and boat tour
Enjoy the buzzing atmosphere of the market as your local host shows you local products, crafts and food. Take in the atmosphere, taste the bites the local vendors will be offering you, you’re in for a treat.
1 day from £61
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Elephant tour on River Kwai
Babysit an Elephant on the River Kwai
During this four-day package enjoy spending your time washing, feeding and caring for sick, retired and orphaned elephants at the Elephant World Project. You'll also spend a night in Kanchanaburi learning about this fascinating town's history and culture, explore Bangkok's highlights and visit the River Kwai Bridge.
4 days from £254
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Thai cooking
Thai Cooking Class
Make like Thai's and master the art of cooking up Pad Thai, Tom Yum, green curry and more. Go authentic from start to finish, hunting for ingredients at the market, before stirring it all up at a hands-on cooking class. Round the day off by feasting on your fruits of labour.
1 day from £78
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Magical Ayutthaya day trip
Magical Ayutthaya day trip
Ride to the ancient capital of Siam or Thailand as we know it now. Stop at the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace, also known as the Summer Palace and many other temples guided by a local.

1 day from £226

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Our favourite Bangkok hotels and hostels

Lub D Silom
Lub D Hostels
Choose from either Lub D Silom which is centrally located in the dibrant Silom disctrict or Lub D Siam Square, near to big name stores, market stalls and local food carts. Either way, both hostels are fun, social and friendly with bars, cinema rooms and Backpacker by STA Travel stores.

Dorms from £9pppn

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Buddy Boutique
Buddy Boutique
Located just around the corner from Khao San Road and walking distance from the Thai palaces, museums and temples, Buddy Boutique has an excellent position. Guests also have free use of the rooftop pool at Buddy Lodge to cool off after a long day exploring the city.

Privates from £17pppn

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Bangkok Remembrandt
Remembrandt Hotel
A big favourite of ours (err hello, rooftop pool and bar) just off the cosmopolitan Sukhumvit Road, the Rembrandt is a classy inner-city sanctuary. Elegant rooms and plush suites have huge windows onto the Bangkok skyline. Relax in the hotel spa or dine at one of the many restaurants.

Privates from £28pppn

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When is the best time to visit Bangkok?

The busiest months in terms of tourism in Bangkok are between December and April, when the climate is driest and the sun nearly always shines. British summertime is actually Bangkok's rainy season, so expect high humidity and short, sharp afternoon storms from late May through until October. Bangkok is rainiest in September.

How do I keep safe in Bangkok?

Despite its business (it's estimated Bangkok is now home to over 10 million people), the city is relatively safe, and the biggest danger is traffic. Like in any city, you should stay alert, keep expensive belongings such as phones and jewellery out of public sight, and don’t do anything to attract unnecessary attention to yourself.

It's also a good idea to read up on Bangkok's most common scams before you venture out to explore: ignore drivers who tell you the attractions you want to visit are closed for prayer so they'll take you somewhere else (usually on a tour of shops they get commission for bringing footfall to), and always ask for your taxi or tuktuk on the meter.

Get more Bangkok inspiration from travel bloggers!

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