Thailand is nowadays one of the preferred tourist destinations in the world, and that shouldn’t be a surprise. As one of the biggest economies in the world and with one the most populated capitals as well, Thailand has nothing to envy in any another popular tourist destination, and if you haven’t thought seriously about visiting it, we hope that this article gives you all the information that you need to book a flight, or know what to do in case you already bought it and are just waiting for the date.
There are plenty of things to do in Thailand, starting with its capital Bangkok. Contemplate the magnificent architecture of the temples, eat in the best restaurants, go shopping in the most incredible outlet centers, or simply appreciate nature, rest in parks or experience the peculiarities of the Thai culture. You can do everything and more.
So check the list below, and we are sure you will find a category that fits with your plan. Whether it is family outings, shopping, visiting temples or monuments, or the best options for eating, our list has it all!
1. Boat Trips on Chao Phraya River
Service Hours: From 5:30 to 20:30
Boat trips on rivers and canals are one of the most memorable and photographic experiences in Bangkok. It’s a convenient and easy way to experience city sightings, and sometimes it’s an acceptable way to get to another tourist spot, as amazing as that sounds. Also, what kid doesn’t enjoy riding a boat? Don’t dismiss this for the way it sounds or looks from outside. It is worth your time and it’s also interesting to appreciate how locals have embraced this kind of transportation.
2. Chao Phraya River
The Phraya River it’s all over the city, so you are definitely going to visit it, but it is required that you really experience all its splendor. There are many ways to do this. One of them is doing boat trips through several canals and even taking public water transportation. The other is to climb the stairs at Wat Pho and get one of the best views of the river’s basin.
3. Wat Traimit (The Temple of the Golden Buddha)
Temple visitation is kind of unavoidable upon arriving in Thailand. Regardless of your mood about this, the Temple of Golden Buddha is one of those places that you can’t avoid. The highlight of the temple is the 5.5-tonne statue of a seated Buddha. There is also a museum in the temple in which you can get interesting facts about the temple itself, the golden Buddha, and the history of Thailand.
4. Patpong Museum
The Patpong museum is a small exhibition dedicated to reviewing the story of Patpong’s red lights district. This district is mostly known for being the hub of adult entertainment in Bangkok, even though there are several others in the city. In the museum over more than 100 original items are displayed and also have a lot of games, interactive screens, and even an X-rated show. This tour can be a unique way to experience the district, understand what is about, without even going in.
5. Grand Palace
The definitive landmark of the city, no one can just skip the Grand Palace, so let’s just review some of its many highlights. Home of many Thai dynasties until 1925, the Grand Palace comprises many buildings in which there is even a temple that houses one of the most recognizable monuments of Buddha in the world: The reclining Buddha. Visiting the palace is to get in touch with Thailand’s history and also an incredible way to appreciate Thailand’s traditional architecture in all its splendor.
6. Giant Swing
One of the most photographed religious structures, despite its simplicity, the Giant Swing has become the mandatory spot for telling people that you were in Bangkok, with the license of the reclining Buddha. Many cities have monuments with their name in it. Bangkok has the Giant Swing.
7. King Power Mahanakhon
Certified as the tallest building in Thailand, no visit to any major city skips the mandatory stop to its famous skyscraper. Mahanakhon was opened in 2016 and showcases an unconventional spiral form. Featuring hotel, retail, and residences, perhaps a condo here is the most expensive in all of Thailand. It also has an observation deck (which pretty much is the primary reason to visit) and several shops.
8. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
One of the largest floating markets in the world, Damnoen is nowadays mostly a tourist attraction and is often named the most famous floating market as well. As you can imagine there is plenty to do and shop here, but you have to be careful and expect to bargain for everything. Lately being accused of lacking cultural appeal, the sole existence of the market makes it one of those unavoidable places, even though it is just for a photo.
9. Jim Thompson House
Jim Thomson was a prominent figure in the country’s economy and development of Thailand’s silk reputation. He disappeared one day while traveling to Malaysia. An American entrepreneur and serviceman around the end of WWII, he established himself in Thailand after the war and quickly became notorious in the business scene. Many years after his disappearance, they turned his house into a museum that celebrates his accomplishments and reviews Thailand’s silk history.
10. Wat Suthat
Next to the Great Swing, The Wat Suthat is another temple that you can’t leave behind. Its incredible architecture and wall paintings make it a unique place for those who are interested in art and buildings. Because it isn’t as popular as other temples, inside you really will have a quiet peaceful time.
11. Supanniga Eating Room
Supanniga is something we can call “Fusion Cuisine”. While the chef Thanaruek Laoraowirodge is inspired by his passion for various cuisines, his true goal is to introduce the most traditional recipes of Thai food, the ones that got lost in prior generations, and introduce them again to the public with a modern take. This makes this restaurant very special for local consumers and foreigners that want high Thai Cuisine, unlike anything they know or have tasted in other restaurants in Thailand before. Here you will find all kinds of diners from trendy thirty-something locals to whole families.
12. Prachak Pet Yang
The specialty of Prachak is Cantonese-style duck and you have to be aware: upon entrance, you will see how the butcher takes the ducks from a rack and prepares them for cooking. We know this description doesn’t sound delicious, but if you don’t mind passing by that preparation, you will taste the best duck dishes above all the restaurants in Bangkok. The companion foods for the duck are mostly noodles or rice. This is an unpretentious dining place and you will see many eating here, which is always a good sign.
Unlike Prachak, Chef Dan Bark’s Cadence is all about fine dining, and we mean it. Coming to Thailand after working in America at Michelin-starred restaurants, he also won his own Michelin star at “Mikkeler”, another restaurant of his property. The chef describes Cadence’s menu as a personal culinary project, and his goal is to “share his memories” and personal experiences through food and drinks. The key idea is to try a 15-course tasting menu, starting with a walk on the beach (seafood) and end it with the land: with beef and even chocolate.
14. Karmakamet Conveyance
The chef of Convenyance is all about making you receptive to the unexpected (talking about restaurants, for sure). She might now have a fine dining place but she is willing to tell you how she made it through her food. While the menu changes from time to time to adapt to seasonal ingredients, normally they offer a 10 course tasting menu, with brief descriptions in it. You only need to sit, enjoy, and leave your questions for the end. Embrace the unexpected, but if you want a spoiler: It’s mostly fusion Asian cuisine.
Haoma is two things: a garden and an excellent restaurant in Bangkok. At the entrance, you can appreciate a hydroponic ecosystem with crops that are used for preparations in the kitchen. Amazing, right? The Menu consists mostly of the best Thai dishes but adds other interesting features, which is the offering of vegan and no vegan version of every plate. Only because of the latter Haoma is an excellent choice above many restaurants if your travel group has different preferences regarding protein in their meals.
16. Maze Dining
Not that it matters for the purposes of this list, but Chef Phattanant Thongthong was a contestant in Top Chef Thailand. It’s good to know, but we don’t recommend Maze Dining only because of that. This restaurant is amazing and has incredible dishes comparable with the best restaurants in the city. The style combines traditional foods from the north of Thailand (the most recognizable for the western diners) with other techniques from around the world.
17. La Bottega di Luca
An Italian option could not be missing, but since we aren’t in Italy if you are looking for the best Italians restaurants in Bangkok, La Bottega di Luca is the only option. The style of food is traditional Italian with a splash of Mediterranean style. They are very proud of not being “pretentious food” and the Chef claims to use the recipes he grew up with. Something to consider is the always-changing menu, so even when a friend recommends this place, maybe you can live a unique experience in a good way.
Sorn is very close to being the best restaurant in Bangkok and maybe in all of Thailand. In only two years they have won two Michelin stars and several accolades. The two chefs, Ice Jongsiri and Yod U-Pumpruk have made the attention to details their trademark. For example, everything is mostly slow-cooked, even the most “simple” soup is boiled for 6 hours just to make sure it developed all the flavors. The style is prominently southern Thailand so you may not be that familiar with the dishes, which in this case, is good.
It might be odd to recommend a German food restaurant in Thailand, but Sühring it’s not just any restaurant. You can expect that Chefs Mathias and Thomas Sühring will delight you with very traditional german recipes which they grew up with. Despite its relaxing setting, the food is very polished and for several years Thais considered Sühring the best dining place in Bangkok, which is amazing considering that it isn’t traditional Thai cuisine.
Finally, if you are up for very traditional and even old-fashioned dishes, Bo.Lan is the best place for a Thai in Bangkok. That doesn’t make this place bad, unlike that, this is the place to experience traditions and try the original recipes with little foreign influence or techniques. They only use local and organic ingredients.
21. Wat Arun
In the basin of the Chao Phraya River, you will find “The Temple of Dawn” or Wat Arun. Arguably one of the most famous of this bunch and one of the most photographed temples in the world, it’s also a well-known landmark in Bangkok. It has a long story of changing names, restorations, and disputes. Besides its incredible architecture, one of its coolest features comes from climbing the very narrow and vertical stairs to the top of the temple. An adventure not suitable for those who are afraid of heights.
22. Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha)
World-famously known as the reclining Buddha Temple, you can’t go to Thailand and not visit it. And of course, everyone comes here to see the amazing reclining Buddha covered in gold, but there is more here to see and experience. For Thailand’s government, this is the first in the list of royal class temples. Today is considered an educational center, and UNESCO recognized the marble illustrations and inscriptions around the temple as part of its Memory of the World Programme which acknowledges the importance of these as a heritage for humanity.
23. Wat Phra Kaew (The Emerald Temple)
Perhaps, together with the temple of the reclining Buddha, this is one of the most famous temples in all Thailand, but let that not fool you: The Emerald temple is also considered the most sacred place in all of Thailand, so it’s not exactly a touristic landmark only. Located in the vicinity of the also interesting Grand Palace which houses the equally famous Emerald Buddha, this is considered the most sacred image of Buddha in the country. It’s a must-visit place to see, pay your respects for having survived and grown with all the dynasties in Thailand since its construction in 1783.
24. Wat Saket
As one of the brightest points of the Bangkok skyline, Wat Saket is one modern-looking temple compared to other buildings on this list. It’s named this way because after returning from war and prior to entering the city King Rama I (1737–1809) stopped here to take a bath and wash his hair. Wat Saket roughly translates “wash hair”. It’s one of the oldest temples in Bangkok, without many visitors, which makes it perfect for photos.
25. Wat Suthat
There are only 10 Royal temples in Bangkok and Wat Suthat it’s perhaps one the most beautiful and impressive on the list. Everything in the temple, from the ground to decorations, feels exquisite, and another unique feature is its hand-carved teakwood door panels. The visit is super easy because it is near the Grand Palace and the temple of Emerald Buddha, so it’s practically on your way.
26. Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit
This temple is ideal for the ones who are looking for a more spiritual experience because this is a full meditation center and also a Buddhist practitioner center. Here you can learn the secrets and principles of Vipassana meditation taught by monks of the Mahanikai School of Buddhism, known for their Theravada teachings. Another interesting fact is during several reigns this temple was used to celebrate royal ceremonies and funerals.
27. Wat Traimit
For sure Wat Traimit will be one highlight of any trip to Bangkok. Mostly known for its seated Buddha that measures 5m (16ft) in height and weighing 6 tonnes (6.6 tons), it also has a museum with interesting facts of what the temple has lived and all about the aforementioned Buddha figure. As incredible as it sounds, this figure wasn’t discovered being made in gold until 1955 when restorers accidentally removed a plaster facade that was covering it. Since then, the temple is perhaps one of the most famous and visited in Bangkok.
28. Wat Ratchanatdaram (Loha Prasat)
Definitely one of the architectural wonders of Bangkok and perhaps all of Thailand, this “Iron Monastery” has five towers with three of them reaching higher with iron spires. The main domain contains 37 gold spires which represent the 37 seven virtues necessary for enlightenment, and this is only one of its many significant details and beauty. Incredibly they modeled this Thai wonder after other similar structures’ existent in India and Sri Lanka, that are currently destroyed. Today it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005.
29. Wat Prayoon
Perhaps one of the lesser known temples on the list, but it shouldn’t be. What makes this temple unique is the combination of nature with traditional temple halls and structures. This mixture gives the place a mystical air and at the same time a sense of peace. This temple is also interesting to see a lot of Buddha relics.
30. Wat Benjamabophit
One favorite for photos, there is nothing like seeing the sunset from this temple’s main hall. Known as “The Marble Temple” as well because of its external walls, this is the temple that you can see in the 5 baht coin, is highly revered and quintessential classic Thai architecture. It has been a feature in multiple movies, series, photos, and even in reality shows like “The Amazing Race”. Don’t doubt for a second about a visit to this temple and wait for the sunset.
31. Take a Thai Cooking Class
Prices: Around USD 40 per/person
Ages: Six and up
We know, maybe your kid is a picky eater, most of the kids are. But one of the best ways to get them to eat something is to let them prepare it themselves. That could be great and fun because one of the must-do things to do in Bangkok is to try the local food, so you won’t want your kids to miss something, right?
There are a lot of options regarding taking a cooking class, and most of them take only three or four hours where you will prepare two or three traditional dishes that you will find later are also popular street food, so it’s a complete experience for all the family. We highly recommend taking the class on Khao San Road, which is another great place to visit.
32. Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World
Prices: From USD 22 per/person (regular tours and visit) / From USD and up
Ages: All ages regular tours and visit / 13 years and up for VIP packages.
Languages: English, Chinese, and Thai.
Sea Life Bangkok is a great place for kids, even if they have visited Aquariums in the past. They possess a lot of Aquarium zones and other habitats, like a rainforest and iced playgrounds where you can see penguins doing a lot of gimmicks. In a world when having captive animals is not as well-received as in the past, at Sea Life Bangkok take it as a big goal to preserve the environment and animal health, so you can be sure that by choosing them you aren’t supporting an unsustainable organization. We highly recommend considering the VIP Packages, where you will find incredible experiences like “walking in the ocean” or swimming near sharks, to name a few. Just read carefully what preparation you will need to make ahead of time.
33. Museum of Siam
Booking: N/A. Opens from 10am to 6pm, except on Mondays.
Prices: Around USD 4 per/person!
Ages: All ages, but is better from 10 years old and up.
Languages: English, Chinese, and Thai.
We know museums aren’t preferred activities for kids, but the Museum of Siam (Thailand) is worth a try. What makes this museum different for others is here you wouldn’t find a selection of historic artifacts and dusty stuff. The aim is to showcase Thailand’s history using a lot of high-end technology and get visitors to interact with it. So, it is definitely a modern take on the museum experience and very interesting for kids and families because it offers a lot more than walking and seeing.
34. Pantip Plaza
Booking: N/A. Opens from 10 am to 9 pm.
Ages: All ages, but preferably 13 years old and up.
Languages: Most of the sellers talk Thai and English.
Pantip Plaza is a busy, busy, busy mall. But it is arguably one of the best electronic markets in Bangkok. However, it is important to approach this experience carefully. While initially it might seem that sellers are trying to scam you, the reality is that you can bargain and ask for legit technologies or cheap alternatives. It’s not uncommon to ask for deals or negotiate with the seller when you offer to buy something. Of course, this is an experience for families and kids interested in buying technologies.
35. Khao San Road
Ages: All ages
One of the most famous streets in Bangkok and perhaps Asia overall. The family appropriate or adult experience will depend on what time you visit. The best thing to do here is eating, seeing people from all around the world, shopping and taking pictures. Because it is a major tourist spot here you will find a lot of tours and booking opportunities.
36. Malls: MBK - Center and Siam Paragon
Booking: N/A. Opens from 10 am to 9 pm.
Ages: All ages, but preferably 13 years old and up.
Languages: Most of the sellers talk in Thai and English.
MBK Center has everything that a big mall can offer and more. They claim to be one of the best tourist destinations in Bangkok and not without reason. The list of things to do inside is endless and goes from the availability of souvenirs from all the regions of Thailand, the possibility of trying a lot of traditional Thai desserts and the famous “Mon Nomsod” (a milkshake), to shop “till you drop”, literally.
37. Lumpini Park
Lumpini Park is a popular spot for locals and tourists. Founded in the ’20s is the largest green park in Bangkok and offers perhaps a necessary relaxation moment between a tour and prior to shopping craze. Besides being your regular park with benches and water fountains, there is some fun stuff that can be done here, like paddle boat or taking a quick outdoor gym class.
38. Siam Niramit
Prices: Around USD 40 per/person, depends on the seat selection
Ages: 10 and up
Languages: English and Thai
Siam Niramit is one of the most famous shows for a tourist in Bangkok and a great way to immerse in the culture with a full experience. They divide it into three parts, with the first two being optional. First, they serve traditional Thai food carefully thought out for foreigners, so you won’t find anything spicy here, ideal for kids. Then, at the theater courtyard, they host several activities to engage with and are ideal for taking photos in traditional settings. Kids will enjoy it a lot. Finally, the show is presented in English and Thai with 80 minutes of non-stop performances and great special effects. Time will fly watching this.
39. Dream World Thailand
Booking (But you can also buy tickets at the main gate)
Prices: Around USD 36 per/person. Some shows are priced separately.
Ages: 8 and up
Languages: English and Thai
No travel with family would be complete without visiting the local Theme Park. Out of the several options in Bangkok, Dream World is the best and the safest, just because it has the best attractions and also offers dedicated spaces for photos inspired in traditional Thailand’s landmarks and several shows. There is a lot to do and see here, so we recommend arriving early and have nothing else in your plan.
40. Chatuchak Market
Undoubtedly the biggest market in Thailand and perhaps one of the biggest of its type in the World. Here you will find any kind of goods that you can think of, from plants to electronic goods, to food, drinks, and even pets! There is a stand in Chatuchak Market for everything. This market is a shopping spot but also a cultural landmark, one unique way to experience Thai culture.