What makes Bangkok so popular
Bangkok: The Top Sights and Highlights
Stuffy streets with scurrying tuk tuks, colorful markets, magnificent temples, delicious and incredibly cheap street food everywhere and a vibrant nightlife - it's no wonder that Bangkok is one of the most visited cities in the world.
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We have been to Bangkok countless times and are always happy when we step out of Suvarnabhumi Airport and meet the humid heat of the city.
Especially when you come to Bangkok for the first time, the city can be really overwhelming.
With 8 million inhabitants and just as many streets and alleys, Bangkok is simply huge.
So that you don't run your feet unnecessarily sore (but you probably will anyway), we have put together our absolute highlights for you.
If you are looking for the most important sights in Bangkok, then you have everything here at a glance.
Read all of our articles on Bangkok
First overview: what you should know before traveling to Bangkok
Before we deal with the sights and highlights in Bangkok, we would like to give you a few general tips so that you can get along perfectly in Bangkok.
Before your trip
Bangkok is huge and public transport is not well developed in all areas. It is therefore important that you have accommodation with easy access.
We have written a detailed article about which districts are suitable for overnight stays and give you specific hotel tips for all areas for every budget:
Our Bangkok hotel tips
If you don't have to throw yourself into the fray alone, a guided tour is a good alternative. There are very good private tours with German-speaking guides.
Especially for the initial orientation and if your English is not that good, we can really recommend such a city tour. With the tips of your guide, you will be well prepared for the following days. There are not very many guided tours with German guides, but there are at least a few.
The following tours are a good choice to start with:
Private full day tour (English)
Half-day tour through Chinatown (German)
3-hour Bangkok bike tour
We give you an overview of other tours and special city tours in this article:
City tours and tours of Bangkok
Out and about in Bangkok
The most important sights in Bangkok are scattered across the city, so unfortunately you cannot reach everything on foot.
But there are different options to get from one attraction to the next:
MRT and Skytrain
There are two subway lines (MRT) and two overground Skytrain lines (BTS) in Bangkok.
With these lines you can reach many sights cheaply, quickly and comfortably.
Unfortunately not all sights are connected to the BTS or MRT, but quite a few.
Ferries and water taxis
Bangkok is divided in two by the broad Chao Praya River. The river is at the same time a lifeline and an important traffic route in Bangkok, because ferries run on it, which dock at many points in the city.
With the Chao Praya ferry you can get from one place to another quickly and very cheaply and you can ignore the traffic on the streets. This is super practical and you can also see a lot.
Taxis and tuk tuks
Taking a taxi in Bangkok is cheap, but unfortunately not always quick. Especially at rush hour you are often stuck in a huge sheet metal avalanche in a taxi and you don't make any progress.
Outside of these times, and especially in the evening, taxis are often the best means of transport.
Tuk Tuks are mainly used by the locals for very short distances and by tourists for fun. The prices are a matter of negotiation and it is not particularly convenient either.
But once everyone in Thailand should have taken a ride in a tuk tuk.
The main attractions on a map
Bangkok is big and confusing. In order to give you a first impression of where the most important sights are located in the city, we have marked them on a map.
Royal Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo
One of the main attractions in Bangkok is the Royal Palace (Grand Palace). The Thai kings lived here until the middle of the 20th century.
Today the huge facility is a highlight for Bangkok visitors. The complex includes more than 100 colorful buildings with golden roofs, wall decorations and detailed mosaics.
On the grounds of the Royal Palace is, among other things, the Wat Phra Kaeo (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha), which is considered the most important temple in the whole country.
The Emerald Buddha itself is only 75 cm tall and sits on a huge gold-plated throne. Photography inside the temple is not allowed.
Danger: The following applies to all temples in Bangkok: shoulders, knees and cleavage must be covered.
8:30 am to 3:30 pm
500 baht | 12.80 EUR
Take the express boat to Tha Chang Pier. Then it's just a few minutes' walk.
Wat Pho is the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok and houses the 46 meter long and 15 meter high statue of the reclining Buddha.
In addition to the statue, you will find over a thousand other representations of the Buddha - more than in any other temple in Thailand.
At the same time, Wat Pho acts as a national center for the preservation of traditional Thai medicine and massage.
You can book massages in nearby schools and let yourself be kneaded after your visit to the temple - the best way to end a long day comfortably.
Wat Pho is located right next to the Royal Palace, so you can combine a visit to the two sights very well.
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
100 baht | 2.60 EUR
The closest express boat dock is Tha Tien Pier.
Wat Arun is located directly on the Chao Phraya River. The temple not only impresses with its exceptional location, but also with the fact that its construction differs from other traditional temples.
Wat Arun's 70 meter high main tower is covered with thousands of reflective glass stones, which looks particularly beautiful at sunset.
8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
50 baht | 1.30 EUR
With the river ferry from Tha Tien Pier (in the old town) you can easily reach the temple on the other side of the river.
Wat Saket / Golden Mount Temple
The Golden Mountain is one of our all-time favorite sights in Bangkok. On the top of the hill is Wat Saket (or Golden Mount Temple), from where you can have a great view of the roofs of Bangkok.
The climb is almost as spectacular as the temple itself. It is built on top of an artificial mountain, and you reach it via steep winding stairs, which are lined with forests and waterfalls.
In general, Wat Saket is a little less crowded than other temples in Bangkok. So if you want to get away from the crowds, this is the place for you.
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Take an express boat on the Saen Saeb Canal to Phanfa Pier (one of the terminus). From there you just have to walk over the bridge and you will be at the temple in a few minutes.
Wat Traimit, whose full name is Wat Traimit Withayaram Woraiwihan, is located in the center of Chinatown.
At first glance, Wat Traimit looks like many other temples. The real attraction, however, can be found in one of the outbuildings.
Here is an image of the Buddha, which is almost completely made of pure gold and whose age is estimated to be around 700 years.
The Buddha statue is located on the top floor - on the first floor of the building is the Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Center, where you can learn something about the history of Chinese immigrants in Thailand.
On the second floor there is an exhibition about the origins and history of the golden Buddha.
09:00 to 17:00
Free (golden buddha)
10 baht | 0.30 Eur (museum)
The next metro station is called Hua Lamphong. From there it is only about 500 m to Wat Traimit.
Chinatown is one of our favorite districts in Bangkok and for us it is definitely one of the most exciting Chinatowns in the world.
The neighborhood stretches around Thanon Yaowarat and Charoen Krung Road to the Chao Phraya River.
In a tangle of chaotic streets you will find centuries-old Chinese temples, lively markets and countless shopping opportunities.
We recommend coming to Chinatown not only during the day, but also in the evening.
Because then Yaowarat Road in particular is brightly lit with Chinese advertising and characters and street food stalls are popping up everywhere.
If you are a fan of Chinese food, you should definitely come here for dinner and try one of the delicious cookshops!
How to get to Chinatown
There are two options: Take the express boat to Ratchawong Pier.
Then it's just a few minutes' walk. Alternatively, take the metro to Hua Lamphong station. From there it is only about 700 m on foot.
The backpacker district of Banglamphu and Khao San Road
Banglamphu is one of the oldest districts in Bangkok and is best known for its party and backpacker mile Khao San Road.
Khao San Road is loved by some and hated by others. In the 1980s, backpackers discovered the area and cheap accommodation and bars began to emerge.
In the meantime, Khao San Road has developed into a kind of ball man in the middle of Bangkok and is fully geared towards party tourism.
That means: lined up, cheap bars with deafening music, street vendors selling surprisingly good counterfeit clothes and lots of screaming party people from all over the world.
Soi Rambuttri runs parallel to Khao San Road. It's a little quieter here and the atmosphere is much more pleasant overall.
The winding street, which is wonderfully artfully illuminated in the evening, offers small bars, pretty restaurants and various small boutiques.
Directions to Khao San Road and Banglamphu
Unfortunately, the area around Khao San Road cannot be reached by metro or skytrain. Alternatives are a taxi or a boat trip.
Take the Chao Phraya express boat to the Phra Arthit stop. From there it is only a few minutes' walk.
Siam Square and the surrounding area
The area around Siam Square is the largest shopping mile in Bangkok. Those who enjoy walking from one mall to the next will be in their element here.
There are modern, glittering malls like Siam Paragon, but also more traditional shopping centers like MBK. There you will find more than 1,000 mostly very small shops.
Directions to Siam Square
You can easily reach Siam Sqaure with the BTS. The most central is the “Siam” station, where both the Sukhumvit Line and the Silom Line stop.
Car traffic in the area is one huge traffic jam, especially at rush hour. You should only take a taxi to Siam Square during off-peak times.
Silom Road and Patpong
Patpong is one of the red light districts of Bangkok and is world famous.
In addition to the many flashy go-go bars, there are also many restaurants, music and all kinds of entertainment.
In addition to nightlife, the district also offers all kinds of souvenirs and odds and ends, e.g. at the Patpong night market.
Patpong Road ends on cosmopolitan Silom Road.
This popular and busy street almost looks like a microcosm of Thailand - here opposites collide.
Here you will find luxury hotels and cheap street markets, bars, temples and a mixture of skyscrapers and traditional architecture.
Especially at lunchtime, there are numerous mobile food stalls here, which serve the hungry hotel and office workers in the area during their lunch break.
The prices are sometimes a bit higher than in other parts of the city, but here you can take a look at the "real" Bangkok.
Directions to Silom Road
You can also easily reach this area by train. You can take the metro to the Si Lom stop or the BTS to Sala Daeng Station.
With around 15,000 stalls and more than 200,000 visitors per day, the Chatuchak weekend market is the largest market in Thailand and one of the largest in the world.
It is not only a tourist magnet, but also a popular place for locals.
Are you looking for handmade jewelry or do you really need new clothes? Is there ... here. A traditional ceramic bowl as a souvenir for those who stayed at home? You can get it here, too, at low prices.
But that's not all - from furniture to plants and semi-precious stones to pets, this market has pretty much everything you can imagine. Chatuchak is an Eldorado for flea market freaks and everyone who likes to browse.
Conveniently, there are also a few parcel shops on the market so that you can send your purchases straight to your home.
Fr .: 6:00 p.m. to midnight
Sat - Sun: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Take the Skytrain to Mo Chit Station. There you leave the station at exit 1 and just follow the crowd. The clothes stalls start there.
Flower market: Pak Klong Talad
A feast for your senses that you shouldn't miss is the Pak Klong Talad flower market. Not too far from the Royal Palace, the market is a great photo opportunity for travelers and one of the city's most important markets for locals.
Pak Klong Talad is an explosion of colors and smells - here, among other things, the flower garlands and arrangements are made, which are used in thousands in temples and as decoration in hotels.
In addition to flowers, fruit and vegetables are also offered for sale here. For us, Pak Klong Talad was a highlight of our stay - a piece of authentic Thailand.
Around the clock
Take the Chao Phraya express boat to Memorial Bridge Pier. From there it is only a short walk to the flower market.
JJ Green night market
You've had enough of partying, but going to bed early is kind of boring? Then we recommend the JJ Green!
Here you can really let off steam while shopping at night. The market starts in the early evening around 5 p.m. and usually lasts until midnight, but sometimes longer.
Here you will not only find cool second-hand clothes (we hope you left some space in your suitcase!), Records and real antiques, but also a number of bars where you can stop for a drink or two.
Thursday - Sunday: 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Take the metro to Chatuchak Park station. There is an entrance to the market about 2 minutes away.
If clothes are your thing, then the pratunam market will make your heart beat faster - because only clothes, shoes and accessories are sold here. From t-shirts and other everyday clothing to bead-embroidered ball gowns - there is something for every taste.
Pratunam already opens its doors at 5 a.m., and around 9 a.m. it is often packed - so it's worth coming here early if you want to avoid crowds.
Market: open 24 hours
Shops: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
The next Skytrain station is called Ratchathewi. From there it is about a 15-minute walk to the market.
Floating market: Thaling Chan
The floating markets in Bangkok are now a real tourist attraction. One of them is the Thaling Chan market!
This market is a special culinary experience: grilled meat skewers and all kinds of fish and seafood are offered here directly from small wooden boats.
You will also find various exotic fruits and desserts here.
Sat - Sun: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
With the Chao Phraya express boat to the Phra Pinklao Bridge Pier. From there, take the bus or a tuk tuk.
Culinary discovery tour with street food delicacies
What would Thailand and especially Bangkok be without its range of delicious food that is available everywhere?
In addition to all kinds of international restaurants, it is above all the smaller stalls and cookshops that you should definitely not miss.
These are also incredibly cheap and you can really put your stomach off with prices of the equivalent of 1-2 euros. The classic dishes that we absolutely recommend include:
Flat rice noodles with, among other things, whisked eggs, tamarind paste, chili powder, dried crabs, spring onions and optionally meat.
Pad Kra Pao
Chicken seared with Thai basil and rice as a side dish.
Grilled pork or beef meatballs, which are served on a skewer and with a sweet and sour dip sauce. Perfect for a small snack in between!
Mostly it is freshly caught squid that is grilled over hot coal in front of the customers and served with a spicy dip sauce. Delicious!
These are just a few of the most famous street food dishes that you can get anywhere in Bangkok.
We often hear from travelers that they don't dare to eat something at the street stalls. This fear is almost always unjustified.
Even if the street food stands would of course fail every German hygiene test, the food there is always fresh.
The stalls mainly sell to locals and cannot afford to offer spoiled food as they would lose their regular customers.
Of course, a slight rumbling stomach can always occur. This is mostly due to the unfamiliar spices or too strong a spiciness.
We have been eating regularly at street food stands for years and everything has gone well so far.
Most of the time you get an upset stomach in restaurants that offer western food. Sounds strange, but that's how it is.
Street food tour of Bangkok
We can also highly recommend a guided street food tour through Bangkok. We can recommend the four-hour discovery tour of Yaowarat, which you can easily book online.
You will not only be accompanied by a licensed tour guide, but also by a chef who can tell you not only about Thai, but also about Chinese cuisine.
You will learn a lot on your tour and you will try a lot of things that you probably would never have come up with on your own. At least that's how it was for us.
Go to the street food tour through Bangkok
Bangkok's most beautiful rooftop bars
A visit to a rooftop bar is now part of a visit to Bangkok for many travelers.
Bangkok has some very chic rooftop bars that are well worth seeing. Of course, the prices are higher here than, for example, on Khao San Road, but you can enjoy an amazing view over the sparkling skyline of Bangkok. You can definitely do it!
Incidentally, there is a strict dress code in almost all bars, so it's best to have closed shoes and one or the other ironed shirt or summer dress in Bangkok. In this section we will introduce you to the best rooftop bars.
Dress code: You should be prepared for "smart casual" in all rooftop bars, so no flip-flops, shorts or the like. Better a shirt for him and a light summer dress for her. Many bars don't let themselves be talked about when it comes to exceptions, so it's best to play it safe.
Red Sky Bar
After an eventful day, you can discover the Red Sky Bar in the heart of Bangkok's shopping district, which is located on the 56th floor of the luxurious Centara Grand Tower.
The view of the city is really breathtaking and you will hardly miss it, because the walls of this bar are made entirely of glass.
In addition to a modern interior and an amazing panorama, the Red Sky Bar also offers a live jazz performance that starts every evening around 7 a.m.
17:00 to 01:00
Centara Grand at CentralWorld, 999/99 Rama I Rd, Bangkok, Thailand
The closest Skytrain stops are Siam Station or Chit Lom Station.
Vertigo and Moon Bar
The Vertigo and Moon Bar on the roof of the Banyan Tree Hotel is the highest bar on our list. It is located on the 61st floor of the hotel and is completely open to the sky. The prices are a bit higher here. In addition to cocktails, there is also very good food here. Our tip: Make a reservation in advance!
6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Moon Bar 17:00 - 01:00 (depending on the weather)
Banyan Tree Bangkok, 21/100 South Sathon Road, Bangkok, Thailand
Take the metro to Lumphini Station (then about 15 minutes on foot) or take the Skytrain to Sala Daeng Station (from there about 10 minutes on foot).
Long table bar
Well, we admit - the Long Table Bar in the Column Tower is not a real rooftop bar in the strictest sense, as it is located on the 25th floor of the building.
Nevertheless, this does not detract from the great view, whether with or without additional floors above you.
The Long Table Bar also serves excellent Thai fusion food that you shouldn't miss. Make sure to try the “Bangkok Cosmopolitan” - the bar's specialty par excellence.
5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. (food is served until 11:00 p.m.)
25th Floor, 48 Column Bangkok, Sukhumvit Soi 16
With the metro to Sukhumvit Station or with the Skytrain to Asok Station. It is a 10-minute walk from both of them.
The Sirocco Bar should look familiar if you've seen Hangover 2. The bar had cult status even before the 2011 comedy. No wonder, because it is considered one of the best rooftop locations in the world.
It is famous not only for the unbeatable view from the 63rd floor of the Lebua State Tower, the fourth tallest building in Thailand, but also for its very good Mediterranean cuisine. First of all: the Sirocco Bar is expensive.
18:00 to 01:00
Tower Club at Lebua, 1055 Silom Road, Bangkok, Thailand
The closest Skytrain stop is Saphan Taksin Station. Alternatively, you can take the Chao Phraya express boat to the Oriental Pier. Then it's only about 500m.
The Lebua State Tower not only houses the Sirocco Bar, but also the Breeze Bar, which is located on the 51st and 52nd floors.
The Breeze Bar convinces with its modern, almost futuristic design and its delicious cocktails (we recommend the Passion Fruit Mojito).
In addition, it offers a somewhat more relaxed atmosphere than the Sirocco Bar and convinces with modern Asian cuisine.
18:00 to 23:30
Tower Club at Lebua, 1055 Silom Road, Bangkok, Thailand
The closest Skytrain stop is Saphan Taksin Station. Alternatively, you can take the Chao Phraya express boat to the Oriental Pier. Then it's only about 500m.
Above Eleven Bar
If you don't feel like spending half a fortune on a few cocktails, we recommend the Above Eleven Bar on the 32nd floor of the Fraser Suites Sukhumvit.
Here you can catch a great view of Bangkok while you chill on one of the cozy sofas in the bar.
If you want a seat directly on one of the glass side walls of the bar, you should definitely reserve in advance.
Especially at the Above Eleven Bar: their delicious fusion cuisine from Japanese and Peruvian specialties ... Yes, you heard that right! What sounds like a strange combination at first, works surprisingly well in practice - we were thrilled.
6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
33th Floor, Fraser Suites Sukhumvit, 38/8 Sukhumvit Soi 11, Bangkok, Thailand
The closest stops are Nana Station (Skytrain) and Petchaburi Station (Metro).
Three Sixty Lounge
The Millennium Hilton, in which the Three Sixty Lounge is located, is located directly on the Chao Phraya River. If you like it a little quieter, then you've come to the right place, because this bar is not yet populated by crowds of tourists.
The Three Sixty Lounge deliberately dispenses with glaring lighting in the evening, so that you get a perfect view of Bangkok at dusk.
In addition, there is live jazz on many evenings, to which you can relax (with a cocktail, of course). You can reach the Three Sixty Lounge by boat from the Chao Phraya River.
17:00 to 01:00
Millennium Hilton Bangkok, 123 Charoennakorn Road, Klongsan, Bangkok, Thailand
The next Skytrain stop is called Saphan Taksin Station.
That was our overview of the most important sights and highlights in Bangkok. Do you have any questions for us? Which sight do you like best? We look forward to your comment.
If you want to discover even more of Bangkok, i.e. the typical sights, be sure to take a look at our article with real Bangkok insider tips:
Real insider tips for Bangkok
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