Located 25 — 30 minutes from the centre of town via the BTS system, the market is easily accessible for tourists. My advice, bring sunscreen and be prepared to get hot! A must-try is fresh coconut ice cream with a range of toppings.
Two must-visits are the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. The Grand Palace complex is breathtaking. The detail, colours and workmanship make this a truly amazing sight to see. A strict dress code applies, so be sure to follow the rules to enable a swift entry. Despite the crowds, if you have a good eye you can still get some incredible photos without another person in them.
A sight that will amaze you, a 46m long gold plated reclining Buddha. Wat Pho also houses the most Buddha images in the whole of Thailand. To learn more about Buddhism and the fascinating history of the temples I recommend you book a guided tour with a local guide. If you have time for a day trip, make sure to visit the ancient Ayutthaya Temples north of Bangkok.
10 Best Things to Do in Bangkok, Thailand | Road Affair
Here are our top recommendations of hostels and hotels in Bangkok. All are centrally located, highly rated and have excellent facilities. They have many accommodation options available in Bangkok, and many of them are cheaper than your average hotel. If you want to learn more about Bangkok and its attractions, make sure to check out our list of the best tours in Bangkok worth paying for.
Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Sarah is from Melbourne, Australia and after working in both the travel and fitness industries combined the two and created Fit Travels. She spends a lot of time in Southeast Asia for its warm climate, affordable lifestyle, beautiful beaches and amazing food! When home in Australia Sarah swaps her travel passion for quality time with family and friends.
Your email address will not be published. Five Things to Do in Bangkok. Best Time To Visit The short window of winter lasts between late December and early January, and these cooler temperatures coincide with peak tourist season. Bangkok Transportation Traffic is unavoidable if in a car or other vehicle. Trip Ideas What to do with Kids in Bangkok. Trip Ideas Top Temples in Bangkok. Numerous retail outlets and hotels also stretch along Sukhumvit Road leading southeast through Watthana and Khlong Toei Districts.
More office towers line the streets branching off Sukhumvit, especially Asok Montri , while upmarket housing span many of its soi s. Bangkok lacks a single distinct central business district. Instead, the areas of Siam and Ratchaprasong serve as a "central shopping district" containing many of the bigger malls and commercial areas in the city, as well as Siam Station , the only transfer point between the city's two elevated train lines. Ratchadaphisek is lined with businesses and retail outlets, and office buildings also concentrate around Ratchayothin Intersection in Chatuchak District to the north.
Farther from the city centre, most areas are primarily mid- or low-density residential. The Thonburi side of the city is less developed, with fewer high rises. With the exception of a few secondary urban centres, Thonburi, as well as the outlying eastern districts, consist mostly of residential and rural areas. While most of Bangkok's streets are fronted by vernacular shophouses , the largely unrestricted building frenzy of the s has transformed the city into an urban jungle of skyscrapers and high rises exhibiting contrasting and clashing styles.
Bangkok was ranked as the world's 8th tallest city in In there were over 1 million people living in about slum settlements. Bangkok has several parks, although these amount to a per-capita total park area of only 1. Total green space for the entire city is moderate, at In Europe, London has Bangkok's largest parks include the centrally located Lumphini Park near the Si Lom — Sathon business district with an area of The city of Bangkok has a population of 8,, according to the census, or Roughly half are internal Thai immigrants from other provinces.
Bangkok is a cosmopolitan city; the census showed that it is home to 81, Japanese and 55, Chinese nationals, as well as , expatriates from other Asian countries, 48, from Europe, 23, from the Americas, 5, from Australia and 3, from Africa. Immigrants from neighbouring countries include , Burmese, 63, Cambodians and 18, Lao. Although it has been Thailand's largest population centre since its establishment as capital city in , Bangkok grew only slightly throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Top 10 Things to Do in Bangkok
British diplomat John Crawfurd , visiting in , estimated its population at no more than 50, This growth became even more pronounced in the s, following the discovery of antibiotics. Although family planning and birth control was introduced in the s, the lowered birth rate was more than offset by increased migration from the provinces as economic expansion accelerated. Only in the s have Bangkok's population growth rates decreased, following the national rate. Thailand had long since become highly centralized around the capital. In , Bangkok's population was fifty-one times that of Hat Yai and Songkhla , the second-largest urban centre, making it the world's most prominent primate city.
The majority of Bangkok's population are of Thai ethnicity, [e] although details on the city's ethnic make-up are unavailable, as the national census does not document race. Their prominence subsequently declined as most of younger generations of Thai Chinese have integrated and adopted a Thai identity. Bangkok is still nevertheless home to a large Chinese community, with the greatest concentration in Yaowarat , Bangkok's Chinatown.
The majority 91 percent of the city's population is Buddhist. Other religions include Islam 4. Apart from Yaowarat, Bangkok also has several other distinct ethnic neighbourhoods.
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Ban Khrua on Saen Saep Canal is home to descendants of the Cham who settled in the late 18th century. Although the Portuguese who settled during the Thonburi period have ceased to exist as a distinct community, their past is reflected in Santa Cruz Church , on the west bank of the river. Likewise, the Assumption Cathedral on Charoen Krung Road is among many European-style buildings in the Old Farang Quarter, where European diplomats and merchants lived during the late 19th to early 20th centuries.
Nearby, the Haroon Mosque is the centre of a Muslim community. Bangkok is the economic centre of Thailand , and the heart of the country's investment and development. In , the city had an economic output of 3. Wholesale and retail trade is the largest sector in the city's economy, contributing It is followed by manufacturing Bangkok alone accounts for When the Bangkok Metropolitan Region is considered, manufacturing is the most significant contributor at Bangkok is home to the headquarters of all of Thailand's major commercial banks and financial institutions, as well as the country's largest companies.
A large number of multinational corporations base their regional headquarters in Bangkok due to the lower cost of the workforce and firm operations relative to other major Asian business centres. Seventeen Thai companies are listed on the Forbes , all of which are based in the capital,  including PTT , the only Fortune Global company in Thailand.
Income inequality is a major issue in Bangkok, especially between relatively unskilled lower-income immigrants from rural provinces and neighbouring countries, and middle-class professionals and business elites. Although absolute poverty rates are low—only 0. Bangkok is one of the world's top tourist destination cities.
MasterCard ranked Bangkok as the top destination city by international visitor arrivals in its Global Destination Cities Index , ahead of London with more than 21 million overnight visitors. Domestic tourism is also prominent. The Department of Tourism recorded 26,, Thai and 11,, foreign visitors to Bangkok in Lodgings were made by 15,, guests, who occupied Bangkok's multi-faceted sights, attractions and city life appeal to diverse groups of tourists. Royal palaces and temples as well as several museums constitute its major historical and cultural tourist attractions.
Shopping and dining experiences offer a wide range of choices and prices. The city is also famous for its dynamic nightlife. Although Bangkok's sex tourism scene is well known to foreigners, it is usually not openly acknowledged by locals or the government. Vimanmek Mansion in Dusit Palace is famous as the world's largest teak building, while the Jim Thompson House provides an example of traditional Thai architecture. Cruises and boat trips on the Chao Phraya and Thonburi's canals offer views of some of the city's traditional architecture and ways of life on the waterfront.
Shopping venues, many of which are popular with both tourists and locals, range from the shopping centres and department stores concentrated in Siam and Ratchaprasong to the sprawling Chatuchak Weekend Market.
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Taling Chan Floating Market is among the few such markets in Bangkok. Yaowarat is known for its shops as well as street-side food stalls and restaurants, which are also found throughout the city. Khao San Road has long been famous as a backpackers ' destination, with its budget accommodation, shops and bars attracting visitors from all over the world.
Bangkok has a reputation overseas as a major destination in the sex industry. Although prostitution is technically illegal and is rarely openly discussed in Thailand, it commonly takes place among massage parlours, saunas and hourly hotels, serving foreign tourists as well as locals. Bangkok has acquired the nickname "Sin City of Asia" for its level of sex tourism.
Issues often encountered by foreign tourists include scams, overcharging and dual pricing. In a survey of tourists visiting Thailand, 7. The culture of Bangkok reflects its position as Thailand's centre of wealth and modernisation. The city has long been the portal of entry of Western concepts and material goods, which have been adopted and blended with Thai values to various degrees by its residents. This is most evident in the lifestyles of the expanding middle class. Conspicuous consumption serves as a display of economic and social status, and shopping centres are popular weekend hangouts.
This has been accompanied by a degree of secularism, as religion's role in everyday life has rather diminished. Although such trends have spread to other urban centres, and, to a degree, the countryside, Bangkok remains at the forefront of social change. A distinct feature of Bangkok is the ubiquity of street vendors selling goods ranging from food items to clothing and accessories. It has been estimated that the city may have over , hawkers. While the BMA has authorised the practice in sites, the majority of activity in another sites takes place illegally. Although they take up pavement space and block pedestrian traffic, many of the city's residents depend on these vendors for their meals, and the BMA's efforts to curb their numbers have largely been unsuccessful.
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In , however, the BMA, with support from the National Council for Peace and Order Thailand's ruling military junta , began cracking down on street vendors in a bid to reclaim public space. Nearly 15, vendors were evicted from 39 public areas in The residents of Bangkok celebrate many of Thailand's annual festivals. During Songkran on 13—15 April, traditional rituals as well as water fights take place throughout the city. New Year celebrations take place at many venues, the most prominent being the plaza in front of CentralWorld.
Observances related to the royal family are held primarily in Bangkok. The present king's and queen's birthdays, respectively on 5 December and 12 August, are marked as Thailand's national Father's Day and national Mother's Day. These national holidays are celebrated by royal audiences on the day's eve, in which the king or queen gives a speech, and public gatherings on the day of the observance. The king's birthday is also marked by the Royal Guards' parade. The Red Cross Fair at the beginning of April is held at Suan Amporn and the Royal Plaza, and features numerous booths offering goods, games and exhibits.
Bangkok is the centre of Thailand's media industry. All national newspapers, broadcast media and major publishers are based in the capital. Its 21 national newspapers had a combined daily circulation of about two million in These include the mass-oriented Thai Rath , Khao Sod and Daily News , the first of which currently prints a million copies per day,  as well as the less sensational Matichon and Krungthep Thurakij.
Bangkok is also the hub of Thailand's broadcast television. With the exception of local news segments broadcast by the NBT, all programming is done in Bangkok and repeated throughout the provinces. However, this centralised model is weakening with the rise of cable television, which has many local providers. There are numerous cable and satellite channels based in Bangkok. TrueVisions is the major subscription television provider in Bangkok and Thailand, and it also carries international programming.
Likewise, Bangkok has dominated the Thai film industry since its inception. Although film settings normally feature locations throughout the country, the city is home to all major film studios.
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Bangkok has dozens of cinemas and multiplexes , and the city hosts two major film festivals annually, the Bangkok International Film Festival and the World Film Festival of Bangkok. Traditional Thai art , long developed within religious and royal contexts, continues to be sponsored by various government agencies in Bangkok, including the Department of Fine Arts ' Office of Traditional Arts. Various communities throughout the city still practice their traditional crafts, including the production of khon masks, alms bowls, and classical musical instruments. The National Gallery hosts permanent collection of traditional and modern art, with temporary contemporary exhibits.
Bangkok's contemporary art scene has slowly grown from relative obscurity into the public sphere over the past two decades. Private galleries gradually emerged to provide exposure for new artists, including the Patravadi Theatre and H Gallery. The centrally located Bangkok Art and Culture Centre , opened in following a fifteen-year lobbying campaign, is now the largest public exhibition space in the city. The city's performing arts scene features traditional theatre and dance as well as Western-style plays.
Khon and other traditional dances are regularly performed at the National Theatre and Salachalermkrung Royal Theatre , while the Thailand Cultural Centre is a newer multi-purpose venue which also hosts musicals, orchestras and other events. Numerous venues regularly feature a variety of performances throughout the city.
Modern Bangkok has developed a strong spectator sport culture. While muay Thai kickboxing matches at Rajadamnern and Lumpini Stadiums are regularly broadcast on television, the sport has mostly been overtaken in popularity by association football. Several foreign leagues and competitions, especially England's Premier League , have large followings in Bangkok as well as other Thai urban centres. In recent years, the Thai League has been gaining popularity.
While sepak takraw can be seen played in open spaces throughout the city, especially by the working class, football and other modern sports are now more of the norm. Western sports were introduced during the reign of King Chulalongkorn, and were originally only available to the privileged. Such status is still associated with certain sports. Golf is popular among the upwardly mobile, and while Thailand's more famous clubs are in the countryside, there are several courses in Bangkok itself. Horse riding takes place in a couple of exclusive clubs in the city. Horse racing is very popular in Bangkok and betting on horses is legal.
There are two racecourses in Bangkok: There are many public sporting facilities located throughout Bangkok. The two main centres are the National Stadium complex, which dates to , and the newer Hua Mak Sports Complex , which was built for the Asian Games. Bangkok had also hosted the games in , and Although Bangkok's canals historically served as a major mode of transport, they have long since been surpassed in importance by land traffic.
Charoen Krung Road , the first to be built by Western techniques, was completed in Since then, the road network has vastly expanded to accommodate the sprawling city. A complex elevated expressway network helps bring traffic into and out of the city centre, but Bangkok's rapid growth has put a large strain on infrastructure, and traffic jams have plagued the city since the s.
Although rail transport was introduced in and electric trams served the city from to , it was only in that Bangkok's first rapid transit system began operation. Older public transport systems include an extensive bus network and boat services which still operate on the Chao Phraya and two canals. Taxis appear in the form of cars, motorcycles, and " tuk-tuk " auto rickshaws. Bangkok is connected to the rest of the country through the national highway and rail networks , as well as by domestic flights to and from the city's two international airports.
Its centuries-old maritime transport of goods is still conducted through Khlong Toei Port. The BMA is largely responsible for overseeing the construction and maintenance of the road network and transport systems through its Public Works Department and Traffic and Transportation Department. However, many separate government agencies are also in charge of the individual systems, and much of transport-related policy planning and funding is contributed to by the national government.
Road-based transport is the primary mode of travel in Bangkok. Due to the city's organic development, its streets do not follow an organized grid structure. Forty-eight major roads link the different areas of the city, branching into smaller streets and lanes soi which serve local neighbourhoods. Eleven bridges over the Chao Phraya link the two sides of the city, while several expressway and motorway routes bring traffic into and out of the city centre and link with nearby provinces. Bangkok's rapid growth in the s resulted in sharp increases in vehicle ownership and traffic demand, which have since continued—in there were 3,, in-use vehicles in Bangkok, of which The extent of the problem is such that the Thai Traffic Police has a unit of officers trained in basic midwifery in order to assist deliveries which do not reach hospital in time.
The city's overall traffic conditions, however, remain poor. Traffic has been the main source of air pollution in Bangkok, which reached serious levels in the s. But efforts to improve air quality by improving fuel quality and enforcing emission standards, among others, had visibly ameliorated the problem by the s. Atmospheric particulate matter levels dropped from 81 micrograms per cubic metre in to 43 in Most of these bicycle lanes share the pavement with pedestrians.
Poor surface maintenance, encroachment by hawkers and street vendors, and a hostile environment for cyclists and pedestrians, make cycling and walking unpopular methods of getting around in Bangkok. Bangkok has an extensive bus network providing local transit services within the Greater Bangkok area. Buses, minibus vans, and song thaeo operate on a total of routes throughout the region. Known simply as the BRT , the system currently consists of a single line running from the business district at Sathon to Ratchaphruek on the western side of the city.
Taxis are ubiquitous in Bangkok, and are a popular form of transport. Motorcycle taxis operate from regulated ranks, with either fixed or negotiable fares, and are usually employed for relatively short journeys. Despite their popularity, taxis have gained a bad reputation for often refusing passengers when the requested route is not to the driver's convenience. Since , registration has been required for motorcycle taxi ranks, and drivers now wear distinctive numbered vests designating their district of registration and where they are allowed to accept passengers.
In addition to long-distance services, the SRT also operates a few daily commuter trains running from and to the outskirts of the city during the rush hour. Bangkok is currently served by three rapid transit systems: Although proposals for the development of rapid transit in Bangkok had been made since ,  it was only in that the BTS finally began operation. Although initial passenger numbers were low and their service area remains limited to the inner city, these systems have become indispensable to many commuters. As of [update] , construction work is ongoing to extend BTS and MRT, as well as several additional transit lines, including the Light Red grade-separated commuter rail line.
In addition to rapid transit and heavy rail lines, there have been proposals for several monorail systems. Although much diminished from its past prominence, water-based transport still plays an important role in Bangkok and the immediate upstream and downstream provinces. Several water buses serve commuters daily.