Things to Do in Bangkok - page 3
Hugging the Chao Phraya River and home to some of the city’s best hotels, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife, Bangkok’s Bang Rak is a blend of international and local culture. Particularly famous for the commercial shopping district around Silom Road, Bang Rak covers a huge area, although most locals usually consider it to be the area surrounding the river.
Aside from its shopping centers and high-rise hotels, Bang Rak is home to a number of attractions, including the Bangkok Folk Museum, plus the religious sites of Wat Hua Lamphong and the famous Hindu temple, Sri Mahamariamman.
The area between the Saphan Taksin Skytrain station and the junction of Charoen Krung and Silom Road is well worth a stroll along. It’s a teeming melting pot of local life and home to a number of hawker food stalls serving delicious and traditional local cuisine.
CentralWorld, Bangkok’s largest shopping complex, comprises 5,920,000 square feet (550,000 square meters) of space with 500 shops, 50 restaurants and 21 movie theaters. The retail offerings include a mix of international and local designers and flagship specialty stores, all spread across eight floors. Popular tenants include H&M, Uniqlo, Toys R Us, Zara and Forever 21.
While most certainly a shopper’s paradise, CentralWorld has plenty of non-retail attractions to boot. Visitors will find indoor and outdoor Activities Zones, an education center for kids, a food court and an ice skating rink.
The kinetic city of Bangkok has plenty of transportation options. Whether it’s balancing aboard the back of a moto or relaxing in the air-conditioned comfort of a minibus with music blasting, this is a city that’s made to move. Travelers agree that the easiest, safest and cheapest way to traverse the city is aboard the BTS Skytrain (Bangkok Mass Transit System). This elevated subway system allows visitors to take in the view and skip the traffic jams. More often referred to as “BTS,” the clean and convenient Skytrain fills up during rush hour, but tends to be easy to board all other times of day.
Bangkok’s Dream World is a family-friendly attraction that is popular with locals and sees very few international visitors. The amusement park offers a variety of entertaining live performances, dozens of thrilling rides, and lots of places to try traditional Thai cuisine.
One of Southeast Asia’s biggest aquariums, SEA LIFE® Bangkok Ocean World is home to more than 400 marine and freshwater species, from tropical fish to otters. Visitors can explore the interactive themed areas, including a Shark Walk and penguin-filled Antarctic zone, and enjoy family-friendly marine activities and 4D movies.
Situated on a bustling canal lined with teak storefronts opening onto the water, Amphawa Floating Market comes alive each afternoon as Thai locals come to shop or grab a bite from one of many boats-cum-floating restaurants. While smaller than the more famous Damnoen Saduak, this floating market offers a more authentic experience.
Siam Park City is a large theme park located in the Khan Na Yao district of Bangkok. It opened in 1980, and although it underwent a complete renovation in 2007, certain areas may still seem a little old-fashioned to international visitors. However, some of its newer attractions are impressive, including the Vortex ride, which is one of just two of the world's largest suspended looping roller coasters.
With both an amusement park and a water park, Siam Park's amusement area is separated into four sub-zones that include X-Zone for adrenaline junkies; Fantasy World aimed at teenagers; Small World for the kids; and Family World for everyone to enjoy.
The water park features the world's largest wave pool, along with a spa area and various sized swimming pools. There are small, gentle slides for the younger kids, as well as a seven-story speed slide for thrill-seekers and older children.The park also has a wide range of facilities to keep visitors replenished throughout the day, including restaurants, food stalls and a convenience store.
Situated 150 kilometers north of Bangkok, Lopburi is one of the oldest cities in Thailand, dating back to the Dvaravati period when it was known as Lavo. The influence of the Khmer empire is particularly evident throughout the city, but it reached the peak of its commercial, cultural, and political importance when the seventeenth century Siamese King Narai made it his second capital.
The ruins seen in Lopburi today are mainly from this era, including the large palace on the Lopburi River. Narai was also responsible for restoring many of the Khmer temples, as well as various monuments that he restored and transformed into Buddhist shrines.
Today, hundreds of monkeys have made some of the major ruins of Lopburi their home. These macaques have become as much a part of the city as the ruins themselves, but it’s wise for visitors to stay on their guard as they will steal cameras, small bags, and, in particular, anything that remotely resembles food!
This 320-acre outdoor museum filled with lush gardens and historic structures showcases the art, architecture and culture of Thailand’s rich and diverse heritage. In a single stop, travelers can explore replicas of the nation’s most iconic buildings, including 116 pavilions, temples, floating markets and shrines all laid out to scale in their accurate geographic positions.
Visitors should plan to wander through the garden of stupas, which showcases the significance of Buddhism on local traditions, as well as the Garden of the Gods, where Hindu deities are on display. While structures housed in the Ancient City Museum are no substitute for the real thing, they certainly provide travelers on a tight schedule with a taste of what Thai life, culture and art is like.
More Things to Do in Bangkok
Bangkok’s Sky Bar is one of the highest rooftop bars in the world, and one of the most exclusive bars in the Thai capital. It’s located on the 63rd floor of the State Tower. For a special date, to celebrate an occasion, or just to enjoy a sophisticated evening with delicious drinks in an unforgettable location, the Sky Bar is a good option.
One of Thailand’s most extraordinary structures, the 144-foot-tall (44-meter-tall) Erawan Museum features a 275-ton (250-metric-ton) copper statue of a 3-headed elephant. Inside, there’s a ceramic museum, a pavilion with art, and a replica heaven, all richly decorated. You can climb or ride the elevator right up to the elephant’s tusks.
The Tha Kha Floating Market offers a peaceful respite from the crowds of Bangkok and the throng of tourists attracted to the larger floating markets closer to the capital. The market takes place each weekend in a tranquil, rural setting amid the canals and fruit plantations of the Samut Songkhram province.
Among the rural scenes and local traditions, visitors to Tha Kha will find locals punting along the waterways in wooden boats filled with fragrant flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables, colorful spices, and dried fish. Despite being only 10 kilometers from the larger and more famous Amphawa Floating Market, this is a wholly relaxing affair, where you can get an insight into rural village life and drift along the sugar-palm-lined waterways with a friendly local guide.
Perhaps the most popular of Bangkok’s street markets, Sampeng Market—known by locals at Yaowarat—is an energetic and eclectic space in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood that’s jam packed with food, fabric, jewelry and other random items. Locals flock to crowded stalls in search of wholesale items, while tourists can be found sampling spicy dishes and combing through collections of t-shirts, handbags, jewelry and artwork. Travelers are encouraged to barter for lower prices, although most items are tough to find cheaper. Those who prefer a more typical shopping experience can head to nearby Terminal 21, a well-known shopping mall with fewer crowds and standard international offerings.
The Flow House urban beach club concept involves packaging a slice of California surfer culture and serving it up to travelers as a one-stop destination for dining, shopping and, of course, surfing. Flow House opened its Bangkok location in 2012, with a FlowRider at its heart. The FlowRider projects a thin sheet of water over a hill-shaped surface to mimic the shape of a perfect ocean wave, allowing surfers to practice without having to rely on Mother Nature.
At Flow House Bangkok, Flowboarding is the sport of choice — an amalgamation of skateboarding, surfing, bodyboarding and snowboarding. Experienced boarders can practice new maneuvers while kids and newbies can learn a new skill. No matter your level, Flow House staff are always on standby to help out. Travelers can participate through session riding, lessons, competitions and special events, even the cautious traveler can enjoy the action while eating, drinking and hanging out.
Besides the FlowRider, Flow House Bangkok facilities include a kid’s pool, viewing deck, sun loungers, surf shop and Flow Bar, where you can purchase snacks, beers, cocktails and sodas.
Created by a Korean messaging app, the LINE FRIENDS cartoon characters are the focus of LINE Village Bangkok. Divided into 23 zones with features such as interactive games and selfie kiosks, the large indoor digital theme park attracts kids and anime enthusiasts and makes a good rainy-day activity.
A part of the Dusit Palace Complex in Bangkok, the Vimanmek Mansion is former royal palace built by King Rama V at the beginning of the 20th century and the largest building in the world built using only golden teak.
Recently renovated by Queen Sirikit into a museum honoring the departed King, many rooms of the mansion remain untouched and are still adorned with furniture and other antiques from its early design.
Visitors can now take guided tours through the mansion grounds and see the work of several national artists of the time and even old portraits of the royal family. Open on most days, the mansion often holds traditional dances and sometimes state functions. The mansion is located near the National Assembly on Ratchawithi Road.
Please note Vimanmek Mansion is currently closed indefinitely for renovation.
Located in the heart of Bangkok, shopaholics will be in their element in Siam Square. An open-air shopping complex surrounded by huge malls and alleyways lined with street stalls and small boutiques, Siam is a baffling contrast of creativity and commercialism. The area, which runs from Rama 1 Road down to Chulalongkorn University and from Phayathai Road to Henri Dunant, is particularly popular among students and expats.
Towering over the square are a number of five-star hotels, as well as the city’s major shopping malls: Siam Center, Siam Discovery, MBK and Siam Paragon. Siam Square One, a seven-story mall that takes up almost half of the market area, is the most recent addition. All of the venues feature the famous designer outlets and department stores that make Bangkok something of a shopping mecca.
Siam Square's dining offerings are as eclectic and contrasting as its shopping, with an array of international restaurants and cafes filling the malls and local Thai food served from the streets outside. For a unique way to visit the area, take a Bangkok city tour that incorporates visits to the capital’s major sights via various modes of public transport.
Siam Niramit, or the Enchanted Kingdom of Siam, is a music and dance performance held in a 2,000-seat theater and entertainment complex in Bangkok. The show features acrobatics, traditional costumes, pyrotechnics, and more, and offers an immersive journey into Thailand’s history and culture.
The Baipai Thai Cooking School in Bangkok provides a unique approach to Thai cooking that differs to most other classes across Thailand. Using a hands-on teaching method, it offers a home-style learning environment and teaches dishes not usually covered by other cooking schools for tourists.
The main focus of the cooking here is on traditional Thai techniques and innovative use of ingredients, as well as style and presentation. Professional staff are on hand to guide students as they prepare, cook, (and consume!) the food they make.
Despite being taught by professionals, the Baipai Thai Cooking School is refreshingly laidback. A two-storey wooden house filled with plants, the building features an open-plan cooking area on the lower floor and a rustic dining room upstairs, making for a relaxed environment in which to learn.
Just outside Bangkok, along the banks of the Tachine River, the community-style resort of Sampran Riverside has been welcoming visitors since the 1960s. Sign up for a workshop, treat yourself at the spa, or check out the organic farm—there’s something for everyone at this ecocultural park.
Forget everything you imagine a Thai palace to look like before visiting the Dusit Palace. Built in the early years of the 20th century by the first Thai king to visit Europe (King Rama V), the European influences are immediately clear. Dusit Palace is a whole complex rather than a single building, however, and there’s a lot to explore.
A fun and unusual amusement center, KidZania Bangkok includes a large replica indoor city where children can role-play more than 100 different careers. Kids can choose the activities and professions that interest them most—from working at an airport, bank, hospital, theater, and more—and try them out in costume.
The Banglamphu district of Bangkok is located to the east of Ko Rattanakosin. Amid its bustling wet markets and old-style shophouses, the Bangkok of yesteryear is still alive and well in certain parts of this region.
At the heart of the old-fashioned neighborhoods and bustling streets, a 24-meter tall structure, the Democracy Monument, dominates the busy Ratchadamnoen Klang Road. Built to commemorate Thailand's 1932 revolution that led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy, this was also the spot where many Thais were killed protesting against a military coup in 1992.
The surrounding Banglamphu area, which is also awash with temples, is well-known for one famous street in particular. Despite the nearby backstreets retaining an authentically Thai feel, not too far away is the world-famous backpacker haunt, Khao San Road. This is home to a lively travelers’ scene, with a mass of budget accommodation, food and clothes stalls, and, of course, a range of bars and other nightlife spots.
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