Bangkok is nothing short of exciting and memorable, both for first-time tourists and returning visitors. A report by Statista reveals that tourism numbers were strong pre-pandemic, with over 40 million arrivals pouring in during 2019. This is no surprise because the city and surrounding areas are positively teeming with rich activities to participate in. Whether you’re looking to immerse in cultural sites or plan to get lost in the business of the city’s night markets, there’s something for everyone.
But with so much to do, it may be difficult to choose what to include in your itinerary. Here are the 5 must-have experiences in and around Bangkok that you can consider on your visit!
1. Pay a Visit to Wat Pho
One of the most stunning attractions visitors can’t miss when coming to Thailand is Wat Pho, the temple that houses the iconic Reclining Buddha. The statue itself is an impressive sight, measuring 46 metres long and 15 metres high; it’s almost impossible not to do a double-take when seeing it for the first time.
While the Reclining Buddha is the highlight of the temple grounds, there is plenty more to explore. Be sure to take your time and look at the colourful murals depicting hundreds of images of Buddha as well as the temple’s impressively built structures.
2. Explore Yaowarat (Chinatown)
The city experience wouldn’t be complete without street food and shopping centres, both of which you can find along with more attractions in Bangkok’s Chinatown.
One of the biggest of its kind in the world, the Chinatown in Yaowarat offers a buzzing selection of night activities. It boasts an impressive street-food experience, and a list of speakeasies by Culture Trip highlights the hipster scene growing in renovated back alleys. To get there, take the extended MRT subway up to Hua Lamphong or Wat Mangkon stations.
3. Experience Floating Markets
The floating markets of Bangkok are truly something to marvel at, capturing the heart and soul of local culture with its rich historical roots that are more relevant than ever today. The floating market has taken on different cultural meanings throughout the years, including its role as the local community’s waterways and a way of life for tourism.
This thriving tradition paints a picture that is quintessentially Thailand. Indeed, a guide to Thailand by Expat Bets points out that though the country is at the heart of Southeast Asia — bordered by Cambodia, Myanmar, and of course, Malaysia — the Land of Smiles has managed to preserve a way of life that is entirely its own. This unique culture and heritage is front and centre at floating markets like Damnoen Saduak, but if you want to avoid water-based traffic jams with other eager visitors, you may want to consider other markets, such as Bang Nampheung or the one we’ve detailed in our feature on the Amphawa Floating Market.
4. Watch and Learn Muay Thai
This ancient Thai martial art has become a popular spectator sport across the globe, and what better way to learn about it than right in the heart of Bangkok? You can watch matches in the Rachadamnoen Boxing Stadium and The New Lumpinee Stadium based on your schedule. To make your vacation a little more exciting, consider enrolling in a Muay Thai gym in Bangkok! Not only will you get a fantastic workout, but you’ll also get to experience the sport hands on.
5. Unwind with a Massage
A busy itinerary will surely leave you feeling a little worn out near the end of your trip, so making time for some relaxation is a must. Thai massage is well-known worldwide, and the country is a recognised destination for masseuses to complete their training. Look for reputable massage parlour chains such as Health Land and Let’s Relax to ensure you get a quality traditional Thai massage.
Finding a tourist destination with everything you could want in one place can be difficult, but with Bangkok, you’ll find what you want and discover even more adventures along the way. Whether you’re enjoying the nightlife scene or marvelling at historical temples, experiencing this place is an absolute must!