Bangkok Travel Guide
Bangkok is one of the most visited cities in the world with millions of international tourists visiting every year. View our travel guide to Bangkok which includes top rated sightseeing trips, packages, recommendations for cheap and free things do, tips for where to stay and how you can save money and visit on a budget.
Activities, Tours & Things to Do in Bangkok
Find the best trips, excursions & sightseeing activities in Bangkok.
Why Visit Bangkok
If you are planning a trip to Thailand, or other destinations in south-east Asia the chances are you will fly into Bangkok as this is an international hub with hundreds of flights arriving and departing daily. Bangkok is an amazing world famous city with so many attractions and options for things to do for short stop overs and longer breaks.
Whether you are travelling solo, with friends, in a couple or with your family you will be able find lots of activities and things to match your interests. From sampling amazing cuisine, seeing incredible temples, doing a sightseeing tour, staying in an modern accommodation or catching a riverboat you will be left spellbound.
With our recommended tips and trips and get inspired to explore this amazing destination today.
How to Get to Bangkok
There are several ways to travel to Bangkok including international flights or overland from other countries in south-east Asia.
British Airways, EVA Air and Thai Airways all fly direct from London to Bangkok.
Around 50 other airlines fly to Bangkok from other worldwide locations and there are also some great deals to be had with low cost airlines from countries in Asia.
To get the best deals we recommend searching flights on Skyscanner which is the best flight comparison website.
There are lots of options when it comes to places to stay in Bangkok including hotels, hostels, villas, apartments and AirBnB. If you are looking for somewhere cheap to stay, use Hostelbookers or Booking.com to search for budget accommodation and book well in advance to get the best prices.
If it is your first time in Bangkok and you are wondering what area to stay:
- Old City
Staying in Bangkok for more than a few days can get very tiring, especially during summer when it is very hot and humid. You can get some great deals on hotels in Bangkok if you book in advance and sometimes it can just be nice to relax by your pool if you have one to escape the noise and traffic outside.
If you are a backpacker on a budget we recommend staying on or near to the Koh San Road. This is quite an experience and you will see lots of stalls, shops, bars and the whole street lit up. This is a backpacker mecca. You might like to view our guide to the best hostels in Bangkok which includes amazing options for places to stay on a budget.
Top Places to Visit in Bangkok
Bangkok has a splendid history and retains many buildings, temples and statues that hearken back through the ages to a time of magnificent pomp and grandeur. Here are some top places to add to your Bangkok itinerary:
- Grand Palace
- Wat Arun
- Wat Phra Kaew
- Khaosan Road
- Jim Thompson House
- Lumphini Park
- Golden Buddha
- Wat Saket
- Yaowarat Road
- MBK Center
Bangkok Travel Tips
Budget & General Costs
Prices in Bangkok have risen in the past few years but you will still great value to be had especially compared to other cities in Asia like Hong Kong and Singapore. You can easily get by on a small budget and there are also so many things to do which are free like going to the river or exploring the city on foot. To save money you can avoid eating and drinking in the main touristy areas and try the backstreets for a more local and cheaper experience.
Transport & Getting Around
Bangkok has an extensive transport network and you can navigate the city by bus, taxi, tuk tuk, river boat or private transportation. You might want to consider walking if you are trying to save money, this will allow you to see a little of the city but distances can be long. If you do take a taxi or tuk tuk always agree a price in advance. Organised tours are also recommended.
Health & Safety
Bangkok is a very safe city and very few tourists encounter any issues. Always agree a price with taxi and tuk tuk drivers in advance. Be sure to buy travel insurance to make sure you are covered before departing, we recommend World Nomads.
Thai is a very complex language but you should be polite and make the effort to at least learn some basic words and phrases before arriving. This will also make exploring this city more enjoyable and not everyone speaks English so it will also make asking questions or getting around easier.
Bangkok has lots of amazing shopping centres, street markets and shops. At some of the large shopping centres like the MBK mall you can find hundreds of shops, cinemas, stalls and places to eat. At street markets and some tourists hotspots like the Khao San Road, you can haggle for prices and this can be tough, a lot of the times the local people will just give you a price and if you don't accept they really won't be bothered about getting a sale. It can be easy to get ripped off in Bangkok, always try to shop around for the best deals for everything.
Food & Drink
Bangkok has so many options when it comes to food including international and some of the best Thai restaurants. Prices vary depending on the location.
There are bars and nightclubs located throughout the city. If you are looking for a nightspot with a great view over Bangkok we recommend the Banyan Tree (Vertigo and Moon bar) on the 66th floor you can get drinks (cocktails are priced around 450 Bhat) and this is an experience everyone should try. The view of Bangkok is just amazing (if you get lucky and pollution isn't so bad)
Cultural Awareness & Responsible Tourism
Read up on cultural recommendations before arriving in Bangkok but common sense rules apply. Be kind and friendly, dress modestly and remember most Thai people you encounter will be very friendly. When visiting places like the Royal Palace and impressive Giant Sleeping Budha, remember to take your shoes off when entering. Avoid unethical animal experiences like having photos with exotic animals and riding elephants.
Bangkok Sightseeing Tours
Find the best day tours, sightseeing activities, excursions & things to do in Bangkok. You can also search tours which either depart from, visit or finish in Bangkok.
On a tour you can experience the highlights of Bangkok - Thailand’s incredible capital city. By booking in advance you can save yourself time, hassle and money meaning you will get to spend time enjoying more of this amazing city. Exploring Bangkok on an organised tours makes the whole experience easier and takes away a lot of the common hassles like where to go, what to do, where to eat - especially if you are on limited time.
A lot of tours are run by local guides which can take you to the very best places, hidden gems and also go off the beaten tourist track. There are so many tours and sightseeing activities available all year round, some last a few hours, 24 hours and some more than one day. There are also lots of tours from Bangkok available to book which will allow you to see more of the country / region.
Free Tours of Bangkok
Some tours in Bangkok are completely free! Really. Short and long tours are available. Don't be put off the by the free part of the title, these tours can be really good and they are very popular. The only catch is they are not usually totally free, usually you will be required (or suggested) to give a donation at the end of the tour to support the local guide.
If you are not happy with the tour, or you are really on a budget then you can just walk away without paying though. If you are not planning to book ahead on the internet be sure to get to the meeting point early, we recommend around 10-15 minutes in advance so you can find your guide and group.
Best Day Trips from Bangkok
Here are some amazing places to visit near to Bangkok all of which can be done in a day:
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
- Khao Yai Vineyard
- Koh Si Chang
- Hua Hin
- Talad Klong Suan
- Wat Saman Rattanaram
- Koh Kret
- Rose Garden Thai Village
- Khao Yai National Park
- Amphawa Floating Market
- Samut Prakan
Ayutthaya is one of our top rated day trips from Bankok home to lots of ancient temples. This city is around 100 km away from Bangkok, you can catch a bus or train which are very modern but quite slow, it takes around 3 hours to get there. Ayutiya is small old town full of temples and we recommend hiring a bike and cycling around for a day to see more.
You will get to see the nearly 400 year old Wat Chaiwatthanaram that sits beside the Chao Phraya River. This monastery was built in 1630 by King Prasat Thong. The layout and design is very similar to Angkor Wat in neighbouring Cambodia and it is believed to have been built as a memorial to the king's victory over that country.
Wat Phananchoeng is another must-see temple, because the origins of this edifice are lost in the mists of time and history: no-one knows exactly when it was built or by whom, but it was in existence when Ayutthaya became the capital. The temple contains a large image of Buddha that is said to have wept when the Burmese invaded Ayutthaya. The temple of Wat Traimit is the home to an opulent work of art that serves to remind us of the ingenuity of people when under imminent threat.
A three metre tall statue of Buddha made of pure gold; the statue is a miracle of engineering. The statue separates into nine pieces, with the help of an unlocking key, for ease of transport. This ability to come apart is vital, as the complete statue weighs a staggering 5 tons! The statue is thought to have been made in the 13th century, but was completely covered with a thick layer of plaster in order to prevent it being seized by the invading Burmese in the 1400s.
The statue was assumed to be of no value and was left untouched in the ruins of Ayutthaya. The statue was moved into another temple, still clad in plaster, where it remained until 1955 when it was decided to move the statue to a new temple that had been recently constructed. During the process of moving the statue, it was damaged, an occurrence that turned out to be a very lucky occurrence indeed. The old plaster chipped and began to fall off, revealing the pure golden gleam underneath! Rather than being an old plaster piece, the statue is worth approximately US$250 million!
The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery is worth a visit, to spare a thought for all the fallen soldiers whose story was immortalised in the movie 'The Bridge over the River Kwaii.' This is rather more modern history, but speaks to a time moving out of living memory, and, as such, deserves notice. Living comfortably side by side with the modern world are the Thai boat people. Be sure to visit the floating market and take the time to meet these people who live as their ancestors did, making their living on and by the water, plying their trade on the rivers and canals of Thailand.