Bangkok offers a huge variety of activities to see and do. You can shop in huge shopping malls, go visit temples, experience amazing foods, or just tour around the city. Bangkok has a world-class zoo and plenty of interesting galleries and museums. Whatever your preference is, there will be plenty to do but also it’s recommended to do some homework before arriving. Here is a selection of most notable things to do on your first visit to Bangkok, whether it be museums, galleries or other activities.
DISCLAIMER: Always check the current prices and schedules from the establishment’s websites of facebook sites.
Museums and galleries
Bangkok has excellent museums and art galleries for a variety of cultural tastes. There are over 100 museums of different sizes in Bangkok which offer traditional arts and crafts, as well as specialty museums like “the Forensics museum” or “Corrections museum”, which offer quite a different kind of experience. Visiting museums in Bangkok is very affordable and it gives nice balance to otherwise hectic city. Remember that many of the historical or royal sights require you to be dressed properly due to their nature, meaning men must wear long pants and short-sleeved or long-sleeved shirts (no tank tops or sleeveless shirts). Women must wear skirts or pants extending at least over the knee and avoid bare shoulders.
Jim Thompson House
Jim Thompson’s story is a legend in Thailand. Once home to American, Jim Thompson, a former architect turned OSS agent and later Thai textile manufacturer. After the second world war, he moved into the Thailand and changed the whole silk industry. The Jim Thompson house is museum about his life, thai architecture and design and history. The area has six different wooden houses which are gathered from around Thailand and brought to this place. Jim Thompson’s history as well as his past with textile and silk manufacturing is nicely presented in this museum. This place is located in an old neighborhood, which gives the impression that you’re in a totally different time.
Open: Everyday 09.00-17.00
Entrance fee: 100 baht.
Location: Soi Kasem San 2, Rama I Rd. – BTS National Stadium – Google Maps link
This museum was established in 1939 and is all about prison and punishment in Thailand from the last 200 years. The museum itself is located in an old maximum-security prison built in 1890. This place is not for the weak hearted, because it houses life-sized examples of torture methods used years back. The museum is divided between two buildings around the park. The first building is the old prison itself and second is dedicated to exhibition of the prison, corrections in Thailand history and executions.
Open: Monday to Friday 09.00-16.00
Entrance fee: free
Location: 436 Mahachai Rd. No MRT or BTS nearby so taxi is your option to get there. – Google Maps link
The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace was built in 1872 by King Rama I after he moved the Thai capital from Ayutthaya to Bangkok and has been the home of the Thai King for 150 years. Wat Phra Kaew temple is also located on the grounds of the palace. The Grand Palace has temples, galleries and former royal residences, and is filled with sculptures, murals, thrones and other artiFacts. The different buildings, many built using both European and Thai design elements, are a beautiful cultural sight. Note that The Grand Palace ticket gives admission to Vimanmek Teak Mansion. The Grand Palace can be very crowded so schedule your visit to early morning.
Open: Everyday 08.30-15.30
Entrance fee: 400 baht
Location: Na Phra Lan Rd. No MRT or BTS stations nearby so taxi or Chao Phraya Express Boat is your option to get there. – Google Maps link
The National Museum
The National Museum is Thailand’s oldest museum, established in 1876. The National Museum is also the biggest museum in the whole of southeastern Asia and features amazing exhibits of Thai art and history. It was established by King Rama V, who originally established it around the private collection of antiquities of his father King Rama IV. Free guided tours are conducted by volunteers at 9:30 in English and French on Wednesdays and Thursdays, in Japanese on Wednesdays, and in German on Thursdays only.
Open: Everyday 09.00-16.00, except on Monday and Tuesday.
Entrance fee: 40 baht.
Location: Na Phrothat Road. No MRT or BTS station nearby so taxi is your option to get there. – Google Maps link
Vimanmek Teak Mansion
Vimanmek Mansion is the world’s largest teakwood building. It was built as a royal residence in the first few years of the twentieth century for the King Rama V. An interesting fact is that it was originally built on the small island of Si Chang, near Pattaya, but was moved piece by piece by the Rama V in 1901. This museum includes more than a dozen restored structures of the old Dusit Palace, displaying also ancient artiFacts of Thailand’s pre-history and contemporary photographs donated by the King.
Open: Everyday 09.30-16.00
Entrance fee: 100 baht (Grand Palace ticket gives you admission here too)
Location: Rajavithi Road, Dusit. No MRT or BTS station nearby so taxi is your option to get there. – Google Maps link
Forensics Museum (Siriraj Medical museum)
The Forensics Museum in Bangkok is one of those unique places, which you might not see in many places of the world. It is also part of Siriraj Medical Museum. If you are interested how real life “CSI” work was done in Thailand, this place is a must, for its Pathology room, parasites room and many other Facts about investigations. Here is also the body of famous serial killer, Si Ouey, who kidnapped Thai children, murdered them, and then ate their internal organs. He was captured in the 1950s and is now preserved in paraffin. The museum is located at hospital area and can be bit difficult to spot. Ask for guidance if you cannot spot information board on hospital grounds.
Open: Everyday 09.00-16.00
Entrance fee: 40 baht
Location: 2 Prannok Rd. Inside the Siriraj Hospital. No MRT or BTS station nearby so taxi or Chao Phraya Express Boat is your option to get there. – Google Maps link
This art gallery is currently the most popular in Bangkok. It showcases work by upcoming artists, both local and international, varying from street art, computer art, illustration, comic art, and pop surrealism. When visiting Art Gorillas, check the current gallery hours since they tend to change often.
Open: Weekdays 10.00-20.00, weekends 12:00-20:00
Location: 260 2nd floor Lido Multiplex Building Siam Square Soi 3 Rama 1 Rd. – BTS Siam – Google Maps link
Art Republic is a contemporary gallery representing Thai and selected Asian art, from young emerging and established artists.
Open: Tuesday-Saturday 11:00-17:00
Location: 3rd floor, Peninsula Plaza, 133 Ratchadamri Rd – BTS Ratchadamri – Google Maps link
H Gallery is curated by American H. Ernest Lee. H Gallery offers visitors an exciting and diverse range of exhibitions covering photography, painting, and sculpture.
Open: Daily 10:00-18:00 except Tuesdays.
Location: 201 Soi 12 Sathorn Rd. – BTS Nonsi or Surasak – Google Maps link
Bangkok has lot to offer for the younger people also, even a ride with a long-tail boat on the Chao Praya River or a tuk-tuk ride will be an an amazing experience. The food is not an issue since shopping malls are bursting with familiar tastes and some new, of course. The best part of the children’s Bangkok is listed here.
Siam Ocean World (Sea life Bangkok)
Siam Ocean World is located conveniently at the bottom floor of the Siam Paragon shopping mall and it is one of the largest indoor aquariums in Southeast Asia. The aquarium boasts with 30,000 species from around the world divided to seven zones. You can even take a glass bottom boat and explore the place in a totally different way.
Open: 10:00-22:00, daily
Entrance fee: 650 baht for children, 850 baht for adults
Location: BTS Siam (exit 3), bottom floor of Siam Paragon shopping mall – Google Maps link
Dream World theme park
This theme park is located outside of Bangkok city itself, near the Don Muang airport. The amusement park has over 40 thrill rides and attractions. With the cost of the ticket, children can experience all the rides in the theme park without limitations. The remote distance might be somewhat bothersome, because you need to add the taxi costs on top of everything.
Open: 10:00-17:00 weekends, 10:00-19:00 weekdays
Entrance fee: 850 baht
Location: KM. stone 7 on Rangsit-Ongkharak Road. Get here by taxi. – Google Maps link
Siam Park is a large water park boasting swimming pools, big water slides, whirlpools, fountains and a lake. The parks absolute highlight is the 400-meter long Super Spiral water slide. Siam Park has also traditional amusement park rides, gardens and playgrounds.
Open: 10:00-18:00 weekends, 09:00-19:00 weekdays
Entrance fee: 100 baht for children, 200 baht for adult
Location: 101 Sukhapibarn 2 Road. Get here by taxi. – Google Maps link
This Zoo is in the middle of the city at Khao Din Park in Bangkok next to the Parliament House and Chitrlada Palace. It has been established 65 years ago. It has more than 1,600 various types of domestic and international wildlife. The zoo covers a land area of nearly 50 acres. The zoo also has large green spaces and a pond with paddle boats. You will happily spend a full day here.
Open: Everyday 08.00-18.00
Entrance fee: 50 baht for children, 100 baht for adults
Location: 71 Rama V Road, Chitrlada, Dusit. Get here by taxi. – Google Maps link
The national sport of Thailand is Muay Thai aka Thai boxing. Muay Thai evolved from an older unarmed combat method, which would have been used by Siamese soldiers after losing their weapons in battle. Muay Thai might seem like a violent sport, but it has a long tradition in Thailand, which attracts more and more foreigners to learn the ways of it.
In Bangkok there are two main places to go see Muay Thai matches. Ratchadamnoen Stadium is located on Ratchadamnoen Nok Road, near Khao San Road. You might need to a take taxi to here. Another, and more famous place is New Lumpini Stadium. Lumpini Stadium was one of the few places in all of Thailand where gambling was legal.
Ratchadamnoen Stadium schedule:
Monday, Wednesday, Tuesday and Sunday 18:00-22:00. – Google Maps link
New Lumpini Stadium schedule:
Tuesday and Friday 18:00-22:00 and Saturday 18:00-20:00 and 22:30-midnight. – Google Maps link
Prices are between 200 – 2,500 baht.
After sunset, Bangkok’s image changes from a daytime bustling metropolis to a dark city with all exotics smells, sounds and sights. The heavy traffic subsides and the mad rush is over. Bangkok is the “Jekyll and Hyde” of all cities. Bangkok’s nightlife has a reputation for being exciting, wild, and diverse. Even though this “city of angels” has once-upon-a-time a sleazy and naughty image, there is more behind it all. On this part of the globe there is no better place to spend a night out with live music from ultra cool hi-so bars, trendy clubs and great restaurants. Nightlife in Bangkok is easier to separate by areas, so here is a list of places worth mentioning by area.
TIP: As usual, cover charge to nightclubs might be high, but a recommended option for 2-4 people is to order a bottle at the door, which includes all cover charges and mixers to go with the selected bottle of alcohol. For example a Bacardi bottle could be 2,500 baht whereas the cover charge might be 700 baht each person and drinks 250 baht each.
The Sukhumvit area is the home to the expatriate community, clubs, affluent tourists, pubs, bars and massage parlors. It offers great variety of daytime and nighttime entertainment for all tastes, and entertainment spills beyond the main road into the sub soi’s of this road. Sukhumvit offers you plenty of pubs where expats and tourists alike are having a pint of beer while watching the sports and enjoying familiar delicacies from back home. Small soi’s hide beer bars where you can start your night with a couple of drinks.
NARZ was originally established in 1992, with its old name, Narcissus Club. It still remains highly popular in Bangkok’s nightclub scene. NARZ a huge nightclub with amazing audio and lighting equipment. There are four floors and eight bars, which offer something for everyone.
Open: Everyday 19.00-02.00
Cover charge: varies from FREE to 300 baht
Location: 112 Sukhumvit Road Soi 23, BTS Station Asoke, Exit 3 – Google Maps link
Insanity club is set in one massive hall tucked in Soi 12. The entrance might be bit hard to find. At first glance it’s nothing more than a warehouse painted black with a queue at front. The crowd consists of local Thai people with some expatriates or other western tourists.
Open: Everyday 21.00-02.00
Cover charge: 200 to 500 baht
Location: 234 Sukhumvit Road Soi 23, BTS Station Asoke – Google Maps link
The sleaze element is mostly concentrated in select areas and the whole city is scattered with places where tourists let loose and have fun. Bangkok is known for its go-go bars and the prostitution that goes along with it. Some aspects of prostitution are illegal (e.g. soliciting, pimping), but enforcement is rare, and brothels are common. It’s not illegal to pay for sex or to pay a “bar-fine” (a fee the bar collects if you want to take an employee away).
Lower Sukhumvit (Soi 4) has the famous Nana Plaza which is a 3 story red-light district in Bangkok, and it is rumored to be the largest sex complex in the world. Along with Soi Cowboy and Patpong, Nana Plaza is one of Bangkok’s three red-light districts. While Patpong is the most famous red light district of these three it is no longer the biggest or most popular, because too many gangs, rip off merchants and basic thuggery going on at Patpong. At Nana Plaza there are no markets and no t-shirt salesmen, just an endless number of bars and go-go bars.