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Plan Your Trip to Bangkok: Best of Bangkok Tourism

About Bangkok
There's no getting around it: Bangkok is intense. Temples swarm with crowds. Street food sizzles into the early hours. The heat doesn't quit. And the nightlife—from the Patpong entertainment district to ritzy rooftop bars—is nonstop. For travelers craving local secrets and 24/7 energy, there’s nowhere like it. Marvel at Wat Pho's enormous gold Buddha and Wat Arun's epic view, or spend a Saturday souvenir-hunting at Chatuchak Weekend Market. Come evening, hit Chinatown's food stalls for khao geng or kuay jab, then bar-crawl your way through hipstery Soi Nana. It can be a lot, so if you need to recharge, book a traditional Thai massage or relax in Lumpini Park, one of the city's only green spaces. It doesn't stop there—we've got lots more recs below.

Travel Advice

Essential Bangkok

How to do Bangkok in 3 days

Streetside noodles, luxury spas, and stunning temples
Read on

Shopping guide to Bangkok

Even before I made Bangkok my home a decade ago, I visited often with the sole purpose of spending a whole lot of baht on clothes, homeware, and snacks in its dozens of malls. And shopping in the Thai capital has only gotten better. Here are six of my favorite shops from the little black book I always share with visiting friends.
Etty L, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Warehouse 30
    46
    Back in 2017, this cluster of World War II-era warehouses was one of the first projects to blow new life in the historic Talad Noi district, which, since then, has grown into one of Bangkok’s hippest hoods. Different galleries and restaurants have taken residence inside the big storage halls over the years. Seek out concept store Horse Unit for quirky homewares and retro toys, and stop by Carnival for rare sneakers and one-of-a-kind streetwear.
  • Another Story
    1
    Whether I need to score a unique birthday gift, this exceptionally well-curated concept store in the EmQuartier mall hits the spot. On its shelves you’ll find everything from coffee table books to clothing by international indie brands. Some of my favorite local finds include tote bags and posters by their in-house design collective, Bangkokian, and Monsoon Tea’s beautiful tins of loose-leaf tea grown in northern Thailand.
  • Thai Home Industries
    1
    At first glance, the gold-trimmed pointy roofs of this 60-year-old shop in Bangkok’s Charoenkrung district make it look like yet another temple. Inside, though, it’s a treasure trove of high-quality finds for the home. Teakwood vitrines display the finest Thai crafts, including lacquered bamboo baskets. And while most of the wares are pricier than the cheaper copies you’ll find elsewhere, the superior quality makes them worth the splurge.
  • Chatuchak Weekend Market
    18,136
    Whether you’re looking for vintage jeans, teakwood salad bowls, or Thai good-luck amulets, you’ll find it at the Chatuchak Weekend Market—in every shape, size, and color. Because whatever isn’t sold in this mega-maze of more than 15,000 different stalls simply doesn’t exist. Make sure to arrive early (most stalls open around 9 a.m.) to beat both the soaring midday heat and the tourist throngs, and don’t forget to bust out your best haggling skills.
  • Siam Discovery
    355
    As one of the latest arrivals in the shopping mall-lined Siam district, this retail hub designed by Japanese studio Nendo zeroes in on the work of young and homegrown designers. The first two floors are a great spot to pick up fashion and accessories from emerging Thai brands, while I often stop by concept store O.D.S. (short for Objects of Desire) to shop for crafts and homeware by some of Bangkok’s best artists and designers.
  • Kad KoKoa
    10
    When it comes to edible souvenirs from Thailand, chocolate doesn’t usually come to mind. The lawyers-turned-chocolatiers behind Kad Kakao aim to change that. Using cacao grown in farms around Thailand, they make single-origin bars and bonbons with mix-ins such as salted tamarind and chrysanthemum petals. Fascinatingly, each region produces a different taste (just like fine wine)—you can try before you buy at their flagship store and cafe in the Sathorn district.

Browse collections

If you’re feeling fancy-ish

Luxurious experiences worth the splurge

Bangkok on a dime

Cheap eats and budget-friendly activities

Over-the-top pampering

Incredible spas with next-level treatments

Temple-hop through the city

Sacred sites and ancient wonders

Hit the markets

From street food to souvenirs

Bangkok Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips or experiencing Bangkok

LouiseBlakemore

Book a boat and take a ride around the khlongs. We did this on our own so we were able to stop and take pics and chat with locals. Walk. Walk. Walk. This is the way to see the city, and it's safe.

deepak4ualways

The place has some of the biggest and crowded malls where you can get all sorts of products like electronics, clothing, etc. A definite place for shopaholics.

madushi101

Bangkok is popular for its culinary diversity among many. Which you see will be a true fact once you step out walking. There are mouth-watering food stalls everywhere you go.

Chris S

A large bustling city with many very varied neighborhoods each offering something different for people of all tastes and pockets. Exciting and vibrant with a lot of great cultural sites for those that like history and culture. Foodies will be spoiled for choice with everything from fantastic cheap street food and food courts to top-end restaurants as well.

Shaligram

Bangkok is a busy city. It's also very friendly and an excellent place for food lovers. No need to mention the nightlife. They wrote songs about it and have made hit movies catering to bizarre imaginations and sometimes a not-so-bizarre reality, that is Bangkok at night. Mostly though, it's a safe and friendly place.

Suanphlu

Bangkok, the other City of Angels that never sleeps. Bangkok is full of things to do and see from ancient monuments to great restaurants. Easy to get around by Skytrain, underground, tuk-tuk, taxi or a trundling ancient bus. Bangkok is a must-visit city that caters for all tastes and lifestyles.

What is the best way to get there?

flying

Bangkok is served by two airports, the Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and Don Muang Airport (DMK). The latter is a hub for low-cost carriers including Air Asia and Nok Air and mainly offers domestic and regional flights.

Do I need a visa?

Thailand has many bilateral agreements in place with other nations that allow visa-free travel. To see if your country is on that list please check here.

If your country is not listed, you will need to apply for a visa at your nearest Thai embassy. You can check here for more information on types of visas.

When is the best time to visit?

November through January: Bangkok is hot and steamy no matter what time of year you visit, however, the very best time to visit is late November to mid-January. Known as the “cool season,” the temperatures sit around 90 Fahrenheit (36 Celsius).

Get around

ferry

The ferry on the Chao Phraya river is also convenient — if and only if — you are heading somewhere close to the river.

motorcycle taxi

Motorcycle taxis are cheap, fast but can be scary for the uninitiated. Tuk Tuks are used by both tourists and locals alike; please bargain before jumping on.

skytrain and subway

The BTS Skytrail and the MRT subway provide another inexpensive way to get around town. Both train systems are limited and only cover portions of the city, so definitely map out your route before setting out. Also note that these two lines of public transportation run separately and don't share a ticketing system. However, they do have a few connecting stations—which is helpful if you need to cross from one to the other.

taxis

The easiest way into the city is through a metered taxi. Do not use the limo or taxi services offered by touts. They can tend to swarm around you once you have cleared customs. These touts will charge rates that can be as much as 200% to 300% of normal metered taxi rates.

For more detailed information on getting around, you can refer to this article.

On the ground

What is the timezone?

Indochina Time

What are the voltage/plug types?

220 Volts / 50 Hz. Plugs are Type A, B, C, F (https://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/)

What is the local currency?

Thai Baht

Are ATMs readily accessible?

Yes

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Yes and no. Cards are accepted very widely but if you intend to visit street stalls or use tuk tuks/motorcycle taxis, it is useful to have cash on hand.

Is it easy to find a bank?

Yes

How much do I tip?

Restaurants

Waiters get the loose change left in the plate unless there's a special service reward of 20 baht in the hand.

Taxi

Get the fare rounded up to the next even number.

Spa/Salon

Only massage therapists get a substantial tip between 50-100 baht.

Hotel porters

Porters and others giving small services may get a standard 20 baht gratuity.

Are there local customs I should know?

The King

The king is very highly regarded in Thailand, as evidenced by the pictures displayed everywhere. Do not say or do anything disrespectful of the king or the royal family, even to the extent of stomping on a Thai coin or banknote which has been dropped and is rolling/blowing away. (It bears an image of the King's head, and is highly insulting to be touched by your feet.)

Royal Anthem

Before each performance at movie theatres, the Thai Royal Anthem - known as Phleng Sansoen Phra Barami (เพลงสรรเสริญพระบารมี) or sometimes more simply as "Kha Wora" is played. It is mandatory to stand up during the playing of this Thai royal anthem.

Hailing taxis

When hailing taxis, it is common to keep your hand horizontal, fingers facing down. Holding your hand with fingers up is considered rude.

Temples and Monks

When visiting temples, dress conservatively. Women particularly should wear long skirts or trousers and cover their shoulders and knees. Many temples state as you enter that photography is not permitted. Even if there is no sign, please be respectful and consider whether it is appropriate to be taking flash photographs in a place of worship. Even more so if monks are present worshipping.

Shoes

Always remove your shoes when entering temples (the same rule applies when entering a person's home), and do not sit with your feet towards the Buddha. Sit either cross-legged, or with your feet tucked behind you.

Hygiene

One of the most important points of etiquette often overlooked by some travellers is basic personal hygiene. Thai people take their personal hygiene and appearance very seriously. Since Thailand is a hot, humid, tropical country, showering frequently is essential.

Cool heart

Loud or abusive expressions of anger and temper tantrums should be avoided at all costs. Many things in Thailand often don't go according to plan, and visitors are advised to take a very calm attitude to various nuisances. Try to remain calm and smile despite your annoyance, and in the end you will probably get what you want.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bangkok

We recommend staying at one of the most popular hotels in Bangkok, which include:


Bangkok is known for some of its popular attractions, which include:


If you're a more budget-conscious traveler, then you may want to consider traveling to Bangkok between September and November, when hotel prices are generally the lowest. Peak hotel prices generally start between June and August.