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The Best Things to Do in Bangkok

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Thailand's capital moves at a dizzying pace. A modern city, Bangkok maintains a strong connection to its ancient culture through its waterways, markets, and temples. Most of Bangkok's iconic sights are concentrated in the Old City near the Chao Phraya River. That's where you will find the Grand Palace and Dusit Palace as well as ornate temples such as Wat Pho, home to the world’s largest reclining Buddha, and Wat Phra Kaew, the most sacred temple in Thailand. But make the most of your time in Bangkok by exploring other areas as well. Getting around the city is an adventure in its own right, with options ranging from tuk tuks to taxis to trains both underground and up in the air.
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Na Phra Lan Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand

Bangkok’s most iconic site is a massive palace complex that served as the royal residence until 1925. Of its many buildings, the one with the most architectural interest is Chakri Mahaprasat. It was designed in 1882 by British...

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2 Sanam Chai Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
If you only see one temple in Bangkok, make it Wat Pho: home of the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand. The 141-foot-long statue is an artistic masterpiece plated in gold leaf and inlaid with mother of pearl. You could easily spend all day...
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22, 200 Nakhon Ratchasima Rd, Khwaeng Dusit, Khet Dusit, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10300, Thailand
I come often to this wat, also known as the Marble Temple. It was built by King Rama V in 1899. It’s one of the loveliest in the city, but it’s less crowded with tourists than wats farther south in Bangkok. —Tanongsak...
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2 Sanam Chai Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is revered as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. The temple is located on the grounds of the Grand Palace at the historic center of Bangkok, and it is a highly important site to the Thai...
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158 Thanon Wang Doem, Khwaeng Wat Arun, Khet Bangkok Yai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10600, Thailand
Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) is a Buddhist temple in Bangkok's Yai district. It is situated on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The temple is one of the best known Thai landmarks. The mosaics which cover the temple create a pearly sheen during...
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Chao Phraya River, Thailand
In my opinion the heart of Bangkok is the mighty Chao Phraya River. The first time I visited I stayed at a hotel on the banks of the river and I got to know the area well through daily riverboat rides. Even though Bangkok can be chaotic, there’s a...
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499 Kamphaeng Phet 6 Rd, Chatuchak, Khet Chatuchak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10900, Thailand
MOCA (the Museum of Contemporary Art) makes a worthy detour from the center of Bangkok. The museum, which opened in 2012, is the brainchild of art-loving telecommunications billionaire Boonchai Bencharongkul, who envisaged it as the Thai...
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1871 Rama IV Rd, Khwaeng Pathum Wan, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand
With its wild, lush wetlands, Thailand is home to numerous species of snakes: pythons, cobras, and kraits, to name just three. While many of the country’s snake farms are not what you would call prime examples of animal rights at work, the...
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238 SOI SAINAMTHIP 2 SUKHUMVIT 22 ROAD KLONGTOEY BANGKOK 10110 THAILAND, แขวง คลองเตย เขต คลองเตย กรุงเทพมหานคร 10110, Thailand
One of Bangkok’s most forward-thinking art institutions is named after founder and director Piyatat Hemmatat’s grandmother, who once owned the building, and you’ll find a suitably homey atmosphere here—in large part because it...
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European influences are very much in evidence at Dusit Palace Park. Inspired by his first trip to Europe in 1897, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) transformed these styles into a uniquely Thai expression. The neoclassical Ananta Samagon Throne...
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Chao Phraya,, แขวง คลองต้นไทร เขต คลองสาน กรุงเทพมหานคร 10600, Thailand
Lately there’s been a tangible shift toward cyclists in Thailand. Several tour companies now offer itineraries to enclaves such as Bang Krachao—a verdant, undeveloped area on a bend of the Chao Phraya that's known as Bangkok's "green lung"—...
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10120 23/1 ซอย สาธร 1 Khwaeng Thung Maha Mek, Khet Sathon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10120, Thailand
Known as the "art of eight limbs," Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, was developed as a form of close combat that utilizes the entire body as a weapon: fists, elbows, knees, shins, and feet. The sport is extremely intense, which is why a match consists...
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64 Sukhumvit 31 Yaek 4, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand
The unofficial world capital of massage, Bangkok has no shortage of choice venues for kneading, pummeling, and pampering. Nonetheless, some places stand out above others. A case in point is the Oasis Spa, which offers one of the most idyllic spa...
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Kamphaeng Phet 3 Rd, Khwaeng Lat Yao, Khet Chatuchak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10900, Thailand
The mother of unique Bangkok retail experiences is undoubtedly Chatuchak Weekend Market, Thailand’s largest outdoor bazaar. Known as Jatujak or simply JJ, it has 15,000 stalls spread over 35 acres and sells almost everything under...
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Phaholyothin Road, Khwaeng Samsen Nai, Khet Phaya Thai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10400, Thailand
This residence was built for a son of King Rama V and is one of many royal properties in the center of Dusit. If you’re lucky you’ll come across a palace festival, an exhibition, or a market selling Thai snacks and handicrafts here....
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5/1 Ratchawithi Rd, Khwaeng Dusit, Khet Dusit, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10300, Thailand
I like to come here to get off the noisy street—it’s great for an evening stroll along the canals. The leafy park holds the world’s largest teakwood house, completed in 1901 and once home to King Rama V. The mansion gives an idea of what Bangkok’s...
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60 Moo1 Soi Bua Phueng Pattana, Bang Namphueng, Phra Padaeng, Samut Prakarn, Greater Bangkok, อำเภอ พระประแดง สมุทรปราการ 10130, Thailand
This is the island of Khung Bang Krachao. The New York Times called it “the Green Lungs of Bangkok.” It's about 20 minutes from downtown on the sky train (45 minutes in a cab) and it's a wild, lush, floating island in a curve of...
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In a city where gold-spired temples are much more ubiquitous than green space, Lumphini Park is a veritable oasis in the heart of Bangkok. Established by King Rama VI in the 1920s and completed after his death, the 142-acre chunk of tropical...
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Bangkok Yai, Bangkok, Thailand
Experience the khlongs, or canals, of the "Venice of the East" on a longtail boat and you'll get a special look into the heart of Bangkok. Most of Bangkok's waterways were dug in the 18th and 19th centuries, and while some have been...