If you enjoy walking alot, you’ll be glad to know that many of the city’s key attractions are located within walking distance of each other.
1. Grand Palace
The Grand Palace complex was established in 1782 and it consists of not only royal and throne halls, but also a number of government offices as well as the renowned Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It covers an area of 218,000 square metres and is surrounded by four walls, 1900 metres in length. After King Rama I ascended to the throne in 1782, the palace was built. Prior to this, the royal palace and centre of administration had been located in Thonburi, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. For various reasons, the new King considered the former capital to be unsuitable and decided to establish a new capital on the other side of the river.
Download the map here
Dress Code: The rule is to have your shoulders, knees, and heels covered. The following are not allowed: Shorts, short skirts, mini-skirts, tight fitting trousers, torn trousers/pants, vests, sleeveless shirts, see-through shirts, sandals.
At the entrance to the Grand Palace, you’ll be approached by vendors selling pants, telling you that you won’t be able to enter if you don’t buy from them. Ignore them. You can borrow pants inside, but you will have to make a deposit of 200 THB. You will get it back on your way out.
How to get to Grand Palace?
2. Floating Markets
The floating markets in Bangkok are among the city’s star attractions. Almost every traveller has a visit to at least one on their first trip here. The colours, chaos, flavours and atmosphere make it a unique experience, and the novelty of buying a snack from a passing boat takes some beating. Even so, many will be discouraged by the distance, the price of the tour and definitely the ludicrously early wake-up time needed to get there early enough to enjoy the experience properly.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Damnoen Saduak has been Thailand’s best known floating market for a very long time, but that also makes it one of the most touristy ones. It’s popularity comes, in no small part, from its use as a setting in the 1974 James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun.
It’s huge, lively, full of boats selling food and fruits, and it’s colourful – exactly how people imagine a floating market would look like, with the opportunity to capture the perfect photo to show off once back home. It’s also about 100 km away from Bangkok and, being a victim of its own success, it often seems to lack the authentic atmosphere, feeling more like a theme park than a real local market.
Address: Damnoen Saduak, Ratchaburi 70130, Thailand
Open: Daily from 7am to 5pm
Phone: +66 (0)87 969 3428
Amphawa Floating Market
Amphawa is a very popular floating market in Thailand, located 90 km south-west of Bangkok. It’s cute and fun and very authentic, with many little wooden houses neatly lined up along the canal, selling souvenirs, snacks and sweets. Don’t miss the amazing little temple swallowed by a giant tree located across the river.
On the downside, it gets incredibly crowded! Past midday, it feels like half the population of Bangkok has moved to Amphawa! To avoid that, make it a morning trip, have an early seafood lunch on the river banks and get a little longtail boat cruise when the rest of the crowd just starts eating.
Address: Amphawa, Samut Songkhram 75110, Thailand
Open: Friday–Sunday from 11am to 9.30pm (closed Monday–Thursday)
Taling Chan Floating Market
Taling Chan is one of our favourite floating markets near Bangkok as it has just the right amount of everything you could ask for from an iconic Bangkok attraction. Located only 12 km from downtown Bangkok, Taling Chan is open all day and has just enough boats to be called a floating market, plus a large local market attached to it.
There are small longtail boat cruises to take you around the nearby khlongs (canals) and get a relaxing glimpse of the surrounding area. It perhaps lacks the old-world charm of other markets, but it has the more genuine feel to it.
Address: Village No 15, 30/1 Bang Ramat Rd, Bang Ramat, Taling Chan, Bangkok 10170, Thailand
Open: Saturday–Sunday from 8am to 5pm
Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market
Khlong Lat Mayom is a medium-sized floating market located really close to Bangkok. It’s a really local market and you might be one of the very few foreigners around. The main market itself is on solid ground but it’s very interesting with the chance to sample all kinds of fun sweets and fruits. As it’s located just near Taling Chan Floating Market, it is better to combine both markets on the same morning.
On the downside, not being a major tourist attraction, the Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market lacks the size of the more famous ones. You might only see 10 floating vendors at the most, with no option for a longtail boat cruise to explore the area.
Address: 15-30/1 Bang Ramat Rd, Bang Ramat, Taling Chan, Bangkok 10170, Thailand
Open: Saturdays–Sundays from 8am to 5pm (closed on weekdays)
Bang Nam Pheung Floating Market
Bang Nam Pheung floating market is one of the smallest but also one of the closest to central Bangkok – only about 20 km away. But closest doesn’t mean most accessible and a taxi might be the only way to get there. Despite its modest size, the market has a very interesting choice of food to sample and a lovely location in ‘The Lung of Bangkok’: a relatively untouched sanctuary of nature protected by a curve in the river.
On the other hand, with only about 6 boats, the market can barely be described as “floating”. You can’t get the chaotic and kaleidoscopic photos here that you would at the larger markets.
Address: Bang Nam Phueng, Phra Pradaeng, Samut Prakan 10130, Thailand
Open: Friday–Sunday from 8am to 2pm (closed Monday–Thursday)
Tha Kha Floating Market
Tha Kha Floating Market is the smaller sibling of the nearby Damneon Saduak market. It attracts a much smaller amount of tourists and, with a canopy of natural surroundings, it’s protected from overdevelopment, so its modest size and local atmosphere are likely to remain.
The market has a number of elderly Thais in their rowboats selling fruit, vegetables, local food, and delicious sweets. The main buyers here are the Tha Kha natives (also in rowboats). People here seem to know each other very well and there are often very few tourists around.
Address: Tha Kha, Amphawa, Samut Songkhram 75110, Thailand
Open: Saturday–Sunday from 6am to 3pm
3. Take a Tuk-Tuk
Riding in a tuk tuk is a ubiquitous experience while in Bangkok. Get ready for a fast ride with a few bumps, flashing lights and face full of fumes.
Tip: Unlike taxis, there is no meter. Determine the price before getting into the tuk tuk. Bartering is acceptable and it’s a good idea to know about how much your ride should cost so you know if you’re getting ripped off. Ask you’re hotel/hostel staff what an acceptable rate should be.
4. Try street food in Chinatown
Bangkok’s Chinatown is vibrant and engages all senses. During the day, Chinatown is bustling with stores, shophouses and street vendors. You see food vendors selling produces, Thai desserts, fruits and juices. Many stores and shophouses loudly display their wares, everything from gold, clothing to Chinese medicinal products.
When night falls, street food vendors come out to light up Chinatown’s sidewalks and dark alleys. Hundreds of food stalls tempt and invite you with delicious smells from their cooking pans. Sizzling woks, chopping boards and the sights of cooking flames will compete for your attention.
5. Experience Bangkok’s malls
Things to buy in Bangkok are countless in variety and endless in quantity. It is possible for any of us to get an item that captures our hearts as Bangkok is a sophisticated businessman. The city offers many wallet-friendly shopping hubs with character for us to find our right place.
Bangkok is known for multi-level malls that boast 4-D movies, hip restaurants and luxury brands. But even if you find shopping to be more torture than pleasure, we think there may be a mall even you enjoy.
The MBK Center, located just off the National Stadium BTS Station, is a sight to see. There are some “normal” stores like you’d expect to find in a mall, but the 2nd and 3rd floors are more like a market.