Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand has again garnered the top spot for the 2018 most visited cities in the world according to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index. The ranking measures the number of visitors and their daily spending.
According to the data, about 20.05 million visitors visited Bangkok in 2017 with an average spending of US$173 per day.
This is not surprising. Bangkok is one of my favourite vacation destinations aside from Paris, New York and Hong Kong. Anyone can enjoy Bangkok’s rich culture, delicious food, limitless shopping and fine hospitality regardless of budget.
Here are ten top things that you can do while in Bangkok:
1. Visit Temples
A visit to Bangkok will not be complete without a visit to at least one of the well-known temples in Thailand. With 95% of the population Buddhist, it is not surprising that you will find many temples or “wats” with historical and cultural significance in and out of city.
Famous temples in Bangkok include the Wat Pho, home of Thailand’s biggest reclining Buddha, the Wat Phra Kaew which is the home of the emerald Budda and the Wat Arun, the temple of Dawn.
2. Eat Street Food
The best place to taste authentic and delicious Thai cuisine is on the streets. You will find food carts literally in every street and every corner in Bangkok. They are safe and insanely cheap. They use fresh ingredients and sometimes they will cook the food right in front of you. Try their signature dishes like the Pad Thai, Tom Yum, sticky rice and the salads. Don’t be scared. Be adventurous.
3. Take a Cruise on the Chao Phraya River
The Chao Phraya River, also known as the River of Kings is an important waterway for Thailand. For hundreds of years, it served as the main thoroughfare for the people who settled in the riverbanks. It also provided the people with livelihood and food with its abundance supply of fish.
Many of Bangkok’s attractions can be found along the Chao Phraya River including the Grand Palace and the Wat Arun. A cruise along the river is one of the best way to explore Bangkok’s rich history and culture.
4. Go on a Day Trip to Ayutthaya
Located 80 kilometres from the city of Bangkok, Ayutthaya was once the capital of the Kingdom of Siam, the old Thailand. Founded in 1350, it used to be the centre of global trade and diplomacy until it was destroyed by the Burmese army in the 18th century. Its remains are now a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
5. Have a Thai Massage
Where else can you get the best Thai Massage but in Thailand? They are very affordable and can be quite relaxing. The Thai Massage is a traditional healing technique developed by the Buddhist monks from 2,500 years ago. It is a dry massage that focuses on pressure points and combines certain yoga postures. It is the best way to unwind while in Bangkok. You will find many spas and massage parlours that suit any budget anywhere in the city.
6. Experience the Floating Market
Bangkok was once considered the Venice of the East because of its vast canals and waterways. No wonder the winding waterways were once the way of life for the people of Thailand. If you want to know how the Thais used to live, visit a floating market. You will see how they cook food and sell items from their boats.
There are many floating markets at the outskirts of Bangkok. Once you get there, take a traditional long-tailed boat ride to witness and experience first-hand how trading was done in the past.
7. Shop at Chatuchak Market
The Chatuchak Market is one of the largest flea markets in the world. It has more than 10,000 stalls with 27 sections covering an area of 35 acres of land. It is both an indoor and outdoor market. You can literally buy almost anything made in Thailand from clothing, antiques, accessories, handicrafts, food and plants at bargain prices. It will be difficult to leave the place empty-handed. It is only open on weekends.
8. Watch the Siam Niramit
Want to know more about Thailand’s rich history and culture? Then, you must watch Siam Niramit. It is a cultural performance of the history of Thailand for the past seven centuries brilliantly captured in a 90-minute stage production shown in a state-of-the art theatre, which is recorded in Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Highest Stage. Be amazed with the world-class performance and the beautiful costumes set amidst a stunning set design.
9. Explore the Nightlife
Bangkok is famous for its nightlife. If you want to have some fun and drink the night away, you can go to the numerous rooftop bars, exciting nightclubs and hip cocktail bars around the city.
10. Ride the Tuktuk
It will be nice to experience riding the local tuktuk especially if you are a first-time traveller to Bangkok. The Tuktuk is a motorised version of the pulled rickshaw. It is a convenient way to go around the city because they can go anywhere and drop you off right in front of your destination. It is the number one mode of transportation for the locals. Remember though that Tuktuks are unmetered, thus, it is advisable to negotiate the price first before boarding one.