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Best Weekend Getaways from Bangkok

Staying or living in Thailand and looking for the best weekend getaways from Bangkok? After living in Bangkok twice, both pre-covid and post covid I have visited many destinations near Bangkok and have done a lot of weekend trips outside of Bangkok.

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Most Thailand visitors find themselves in Bangkok at some point during their trip. I find many people have a love/hate relationship with Bangkok and it’s my mission to try to convert tourists to loving this crazy city that I call home. If you love the beach, nature or history, read this Bangkok blog to find out where to visit for a weekend trip outside Bangkok.

Khao Yai National Park

One of my favourite short trips from Bangkok is to spend the weekend in the jungle. Khao Yai National Park is one of Thailand’s oldest national parks. If you love nature and the wilderness then, this is the best weekend trip from Bangkok. It takes approximately 2 hours to travel there from Bangkok. You can see wild elephants, monkeys, gibbons, snakes, porcupines, deer and many more inside Khao Yai National Park.

My top recommendations are to book a jungle day trip with Greenleaf Tours, who have awesome, knowledgeable tour guides and I have been with many times before.

The best budget place to stay near Khao Yai is Wynnhouse. I stayed here in 2022 and it was fairly accessible to head into the park from there although there are not that many restaurants around.

If you love camping, consider camping overnight in the park by renting motorbikes and heading into the park independently.

Please note there is a National Park entrance fee of 400 baht. Once you have entered you will be required to pay again if you leave and re-enter but not if you camp overnight (information accurate at time of writing in 2022)

How to get to Khao Yai National Park from Bangkok: Minivans from Ekkamai take about 2/3 hours and will drop you in Pak Chong.

Read here for more information about Thailand’s National Parks

Bangkok day trips
Get back to nature and spot wildlife in Khao Yai!

Best weekend getaways from Bangkok: Koh Samet

Koh Samet is one of the nearest islands to Bangkok and is therefore very popular with Bangkok residents. It has some lovely white sand beaches, particularly Ao Prao beach which boasts clear, turquoise water. At the weekends, it can become crowded and turns into more of a party island although it hasn’t yet returned to its pre-covid party glory.

I have stayed at two fantastic mid-range accommodation in Koh Samet and would recommend both. Pre-covid I stayed at the lovely Tubtim Resort which has spacious wooden bungalows bang on the beach, with green lily pads growing everywhere.

In 2021, post covid I enjoyed a very quiet beach on Koh Samet and loved staying at Silver Sands Koh Samet. 

How to get to Koh Samet from Bangkok?

Take a minivan ride to Rayong from Bangkok and then either take the local ferry or a shared speedboat. Both can be booked  when you arrive at the pier. Please note these boats do not run into the late evening.

Bangkok day trips
Koh Samet – Bangkok’s famous weekend trip island getaway

Weekend Trips from Bangkok to Lopburi

A few hours on the train from Bangkok (costing approximately 40 baht) you can find yourself in the ancient city of Lopburi, famous for its monkeys and temples. It’s all slightly off the tourist trail which might be a welcome sight for many. I recommend collecting a map of the different temples from the temple opposite the station and deciding on where to visit. All temples that I visited were walkable and there are certain ones that are home to huge families of macaques. Please be aware of not feeding the monkeys any food that is not natural for them. They also will grab your sunglasses or anything else in range so be careful.

If you feel like renting a scooter then you can access the gorgeous sunflower fields (seasonal around November- January) and the Peacock temple is worth a visit as well. Along with the birds there is also a great viewpoint if you feel like some exercise up many stairs.

lopburi bangkok day trip

lopburi bangkok day trip
Monkeys in one of Lopburi’s temples
Whale Watching (seasonal Aug-Nov)

Only two hours from Bangkok, the enormous Bryde whales can be seen! Entering the Gulf of Thailand to feed on anchovies these gentle giants are incredible and one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in Thailand. Wildlife Encounters Thailand offer weekly trips for 2500 baht including transfer from Bangkok and lunch on the boat. An amazing day out and still possible post covid in 2022.

I have recently been on this trip twice to see both the Bryde whales and Irawaddy dolphins in Thailand and absolutely love this day trip from Bangkok.

I have a whole blog post dedicated to whale watching in Thailand so please read here for more information about seeing whales near Bangkok!

For more about other wildlife in Thailand, read this article

Bangkok day trips
A Bangkok day trip that was a whale of a time!

 

Another island near Bangkok: Koh Lan

One of my favourite weekend getaways from Bangkok is Koh Lan which is an island just off of Pattaya. Cheap accommodation and a couple of beautiful white sand beaches are there to welcome you. This used to get very busy (pre-covid) with huge tour groups. Jump in a songtaew (truck) or motorsi taxi for 20-30 baht and spend the day exploring lesser known beaches and taking in great views of the island! I really enjoyed my stay at Castello resort, it’s walkable to the pier. However, my last weekend trip top Koh Lan was pre-covid so I am looking forward to a Bangkok weekend getaway there soon!

Find out more about Thailand’s paradise islands and where to visit

Bangkok day trips
Monks on a beach in Koh Lan, Thailand. A lovely Bangkok weekend trip
A weekend trip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya

An interesting and cultural Bangkok day trip or weekend trip to experience some Thai history. Head to this ancient temple town, one hour by train or minivan from Bangkok. Rent bicycles cheaply and enjoy cycling around and soaking in the culture of these ancient temples and a former capital of Siam. Don’t forget to try my favourite dessert roti sai mai – kinda like a rolled up candyfloss.

Bangkok day trips
The ideal cultural Bangkok day trip: explore the ruins of Ayutthaya
Best Weekend Trips from Bangkok: Kanchanaburi

If you are interested in World War II history, then Kanchanaburi is a must visit as a weekend or slightly longer trip from Bangkok. Tourists come here to see the bridge over the River Kwai and understand more about the dark history of this area where prisoners of war were held by the Japanese during World War II. It is quite far for a Bangkok day trip but I have done it before in one day. I recommend staying one night though. Two hours by car/minivan or a little longer on the train.

Weekend Trips from Bangkok to Erawan Waterfall

You can combine this with a Bangkok day trip or overnight stay from Kanchanaburi. Visit these stunning, blue coloured waterfalls with 9 steps inside Erawan National Park. Around 45 minutes by car from Kanchanaburi, bring a picnic and spend the afternoon swimming in stunning pools, cliff jumping and getting back to nature.

Bangkok day trips
Bangkok Day trips: Swimming in blue waterfalls in Erawan National Park
Beaches near Bangkok – Hua Hin

One of Bangkok’s nearest beaches and very big for kite surfing, this is definitely possible as a Bangkok day trip or weekend getaway. A large stretch of yellow sand beach for hanging out on and a wide range of accommodation is on offer here. Swimming is not always recommended as there are jellyfish lurking! Cha-am is another beach stop just before Hua Hin. You can take minivans or the slow train to either place from Bangkok.

Bangkok day trips
View of Hua Hin from Takiap Beach, a good Bangkok day trip or weekend visit.
Bangkok Weekend Trips: Water Park

Water parks are a great Bangkok day trip and a fun day out. There are many both towards Pattaya or towards Hua Hin. I loved Splashdown, near Pattaya. It is more of an inflatable obstacle course, this brightly coloured water park will have you and your mates running around behaving like big kids, plus a few beers!

Bangkok day trips
Big Kids Day out in Splashdown – funnily enough no-one made it all the way across these giant floating obstacle courses!

Where are your favourite places for a Bangkok weekend getaway? I’m always looking for more inspiration!

Top Activities to Do in Bangkok, Thailand by a local!

I am not quite a local but three years here isn’t nothing! I also love tourist time and have lots of visitors passing through (you suddenly become very popular when you live in Thailand!) So I am always looking for activities to do here that isn’t the Grand Palace yet again…

Bangkok…gateway to hell or Southeast Asia or whatever Dicaprio says in The Beach! Crazy, overwhelming, polluted, noisy, hot, sticky, smelly, crowded, this is the place that I have called home for the last 3 years.

If limited on time, visit:

  • Temple Time – Wat Pho with the reclining Buddha is my favourite and only 100 baht entry. Get the river boat to Tha Thien.

Bangkok Thailand

  • Party on Khao San road – you haven’t been to Khao san if you haven’t drunk a bucket. Check out Golf Bar and then Da Club for dancing. They do charge entry but are open late so you can keep boozing until 5am.
  • Massage – if you’re brave enough to get a Thai massage, do it. But don’t say I didn’t warn you… Soi Rambuttri has lots of shops near Khao San that offer relaxing oil massages instead 😉
  • 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. BTS National Stadium or short walk from Siam BTS.Bangkok Thailand
  • Chatachak Weekend Market – Everything you could possible want to buy and more. You’ll need an extra suitcase (you can buy that here too!). BTS Mochit/MRT Chatachak
  • 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

Bangkok Thailand

  • 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.

Bangkok Thailand

  • Street food – Pad Thai, Noodles, Spring Rolls and fresh fruit or smoothies from the street and the ultimate dessert Mango Sticky Rice.
  • 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!

bangkok thailand

  • 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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