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What to do in Bangkok for first timers
Bangkok is a vast city full of many different activities. It can be overwhelming for new visitors and difficult to know the best place to visit in Bangkok for first timers. Most Bangkok activities involve a mix of culture and adventure activities in Bangkok as well as eating in local markets and sampling amazing Thai cuisine.
Here are my must do and must see activities in Bangkok for first timers, after 5+ years of living in Bangkok and welcoming visitors.
Must See Bangkok 2 days : Temples
- Temple Time – Wat Pho with the reclining Buddha is a solid favourite and only 200 baht entry. Get the river boat to Tha Thien pier.
- Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn is opposite Wat Pho by the river and you can take a little boat across the river for 10 baht to see both temples in a one day Bangkok itinerary.
Must See Bangkok 2 days : History & Tours
- Jim Thompson’s House Museum – Visit the house belonging to former CIA agent who revived the Thai silk industry, small but worth doing. Near MBK. 100 baht entry approx. BTS National Stadium or short walk from Siam BTS.
- A bike tour – Get a guided tour around Chinatown on a bicycle, see the flower market and cycle along the Chao Praya river. CoVanKessel company are your guys. Depart: Chinatown
Must See Bangkok 2 days : Shopping & Markets
- Chatachak Weekend Market – Everything you could possible want to buy and more. Only open on Saturday and Sundays – this is the world’s biggest outdoor weekend market. BTS Mochit/MRT Chatachak
- Street food – Pad Thai, Noodles, Spring Rolls and fresh fruit or smoothies from the street and the ultimate dessert Mango Sticky Rice.
Must See Bangkok 2 days
- Massage – get a Thai massage if you are brave or an oil massage if you are feeling delicate
- A skybar – my personal favs are Octave and Vertigo. Lebua from the Hangover 2 movie has a fantastic view too but prices to match. Above 11 on Soi 11 near Nana BTS is also a good shout.
- Party on Khao San road with the backpackers, enjoy a ‘bucket’ drink
- Rent bicycles and cycle around Bang Krachao/Prapadaeng. Take a small wooden boat across the river, rent your bikes and head into one of Bangkok’s last green areas, known as the Green Lung. Narrow elevated paths snake through the jungle and even on the main roads there are very few cars around. Avoid Mondays as most things are closed.
If here for longer and can explore more:
- Wat Pra Kaew or the Grand Palace. 500 baht entry but it also includes the Ananta Throne Hall with a lot of gold and bling inside!
- A manicure&pedicure for 300 baht on Soi Rambuttri
- Vimanmek Mansion – museum, an interesting insight into how the Royals lived. Near Victory Monument
- Lumpini Park – a green area of Bangkok and great place for spotting the impressive Monitor Lizards that roam around…don’t get too close!
- Chinatown – large main street to stroll down, avoid the shark fin restaurants and go for some ‘sala pao’ buns by the side of the road!
- Party like a local at RCA (Royal City Avenue) where a collection of bars and Thai clubs are. Route 66 is a popular one!
- Explore Asiatique. Take the free boat from Saphan Taksin and eat at fancy restaurants, shop and go on Bangkok’s wheel!
- Drink at a fancy interior designed bar such as Maggie Choos or Iron Fairies. Not backpacker prices but this is where you can find the hi-so’s of Bangkok.
- Shop at MBK if you can’t make Chatachak’s weekend market. Similar idea with reasonable prices if you haggle! Great for technology but be warned of the fakes! BTS National Stadium or walk from Siam.
- Try Muay Thai boxing. Take classes at RSM and be prepared to get sweaty! BTS Asok
- Go wakeboarding at Thai Wake Park at Lake Taco. BTS Bang Na then a taxi
Any activities or places you think are missing from my list?
For exploring beyond Bangkok if you have longer and fancy a day trip or weekend getaway, check out beaches and national parks here
For the Ultimate List of 50 Things to Do in Bangkok, read more here
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