Bubbly Bangkok is a city of extremes. Die hard clubbing, the sex industry in your face, traditional local life, delicious street food, high cuisine and spiritualism, they are all around your hotel room corner. I lived in Bangkok for half a year and I clasped the city to my heart. You cannot leave the city of angels without experiencing this top 6 of things to do in Bangkok. This is a short guide to make the most out of your Bangkok time. It answers your question: ‘what to do when in Bangkok?’ Our tips represent the extremes, and you will have a good time for sure. Please read your tourist guide too not to miss the more traditional advice on what to do in Bangkok.
Things to do in Bangkok – # 1 Koh Kret
When walking around on beautiful and intimately developed Koh Kret you wouldn’t think you are actually still in the city of Bangkok. Koh Kret shouldn’t lack in your Bangkok sightseeing list. The island is 20 km north from downtown Bangkok and can be reached by boat. Koh Kret arose from the river when they started digging a canal around 1700. It is quiet, it is creative, there is something to do but it is not too touristic at all. Walk the path at the edges of the island, try some sweets. See an old guy making and baking his potteries the way he does it for many years already. We even found a local beer brewery – close to the point where the ferry embarks – with some very interesting beers and good river views. So we suggest you end your visit to Koh Kret there.
What to do in Bangkok? – #2 escalator up to the rooftop bar of State Tower
You will be amazed by the splendid view once entering this beautiful sky bar of the Lebua Hotel at the 64th floor of the State Tower. Visiting one of the roof top bars – and especially the one of State Tower – is one of the amazing things to do in Bangkok. You will be rewarded with beautiful views of the river and the city. The best time to visit is just before twilight. Gradually the city changes from grey and concrete into a sparkling light see of millions of households, buildings and cars. Only here you will really able to grasp how big the city is. I am not going to give away what makes this bar extra special and why you will hold your breath for a moment once you exit the elevator. Experience it yourself. And let us know how you enjoyed your Bangkok sky cocktail.
Another interesting thing to do in Bangkok – # 3 KK weekend market
You will sweat like you have never sweated before. It is all part of the Chatuchak weekend market experience. I have visited many markets abroad over the years but no one can be compared to the famous thing to do in Bangkok the KK weekend market. This huge market is conveniently reachable by skytrain. Thousands of products and market stalls scream for your attention. You will amuse yourself with hugging cute kittens, buying artifacts, wondering about products you didn’t know existed, and much more. All presented to you in 15000 stalls at the mother of all markets. Don’t forget to rehydrate yourself in one of the food stalls. I highly recommend a traditional Thai sticky rice with mango dish. A new food addiction might start here.
What to do next in Bangkok – #4 Cheap Charlie’s
At this moment this ancient beloved bar is closed. It is sold to an Indian Capital Group and foreign investors. 34 years of history, laughs, drinks and unforgettable parties vanished. We still keep this number 2 up here because rumours tell us that the bar owners are searching for a new spot.
Cheap Charlie’s is an old Bangkok expat, traveler and local favourite. Literally nothing more than a hole in the wall. The favourites here are the Changs and Tigers in a holder to prevent them from getting warm. And the good old gin tonic. They poured the drink in liters per hour before the gin tonic started to become so trendy. Cheap Charlie’s is quite unique in Bangkok since there are not many bars where you have your drink and chat outside in the fresh air. Besides the numerous roof top bars of course. It is low key. Standing with your drink on the street of Cheap Charlie’s is one of the top things to do in Bangkok when you want to feel how it is to actually live in the City of Angels. You easily start a chat with other guests. And when the conversation bores you, the fantastical decoration of the bar will never bore you.
Do you want to become an expert budget traveler? Read our blog Travel on a budget – 10 budget travel lessons we had to learn too
Things to do in Bangkok – #5 Riding the river by boat
You don’t need to book a tour to see Bangkok from the river or to witness local life at the river banks. Simply hop on one of the river buses; the boats that cruise the river the whole day long. They bring you from Kao San Road area to the south and even go as far as Koh Kret up north! You cannot miss the sight of Wat Arun, one of the most iconic ancient temples of Bangkok, serenely nestled on the river bank around sunset. The boat ride will cost you only a few Bahts and will bring you one of your top experiences of your stay in Bangkok. You shouldn’t miss this boat trip while sightseeing Bangkok.
Things to do in Bangkok – #6 RCA for real Thai clubbing
You can go to Kao San Road, the most famous backpacker street in Asia, for your beer. Like all the others do. When you are in for a party, and you are interested to mingle with the locals, we suggest you tell your taxi driver to bring you to RCA. RCA (Royal City Avenue) is one big street filled with clubs where Thai go wild in the weekend. The live bands are extremely popular. And otherwise you will make your dance steps in harmony with the beats of a dj playing house and other dance music. Non-dancers sit down, and enjoy themselves watching the Thai crowds. Clubbing at RCA street is definitely in our Things to do in Bangkok list.
We wish you a good time in Bangkok. We love to hear how you liked our top 6. Which activities and spots do make it to your list of top things to do in Bangkok?
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