What’s not to love about Thailand? Dubbed as the Land of Smiles, it—indeed—tugs one’s lips from ear to ear with the wealth of experiences it offers—from sunbathing on the shores of Phuket to exploring the lush mountains of Chiang Mai. And, its capital Bangkok is an amalgamation of everything that makes Thailand awesome. Steeped in history and culture, the dynamic city bustles with life and unique things to try.
Here, we round up seven things you should definitely do on your first Bangkok trip:
Tour the Temples
Known as “wat,” temples are the most sacred places of worship in Buddhist-centric Thailand, and they’re specked all over the country, with some of the grandest in the capital.
Among the most-visited temples in Thailand are” Wat Pho, home to the country’s biggest reclining Buddha statue; Wat Benchamabophitr, also known as the picturesque “Marble Temple”; and Wat Arun, “The Temple of Dawn” which can be found on the West Bank of the Chao Phraya River.
*Tip-off: Make sure you’re dressed conservatively when visiting temples.
Visit the Grand Palace
If you’re in Bangkok, it’s simply a must to see the Grand Palace, which is the nation’s most recognizable landmark. It’s a complex of ornate buildings that used to house the royal family of Thailand (then Siam) from 1782. Today, it is used mainly for special ceremonies.
Like when visiting temples, visitors are required to wear long-sleeved tops and long trousers or skirts as an expression of respect when going to the Grand Palace.
Shop Till You Drop
What’s a trip to Bangkok without shopping? This shopper’s paradise of a city is awash with malls and markets that will absolutely put you on a retail high. Test your bargaining skills at Pratunam Market or splurge on luxury finds at CentralWorld Siam, the largest shopping mall in the country. Visiting on a weekend? Don’t miss the Chatuchak Weekend Market, which boasts 15,000 stalls across 27 sections.
Sample Street Food
Thailand is well-revered for its delectable cuisine and it would be a shame for you not to give it a try. Try local delights like pad Thai, a noodle dish mixed with an assortment of meat, prawns, and vegetables with a kick of sourness from tamarind; khanom buang, a type of crepe filled with coconut; mango sticky rice; and fried quail eggs—among many others.
Looking for some excitement? Book this Midnight Food Tour that will take you around Bangkok on a tuk-tuk!
Check Out Chinatown
One of the best and biggest Chinatowns in the world can be found right in Bangkok. Founded in 1782, it has since been a cradle of Thailand’s Chinese influences and heritage. The main road of Chinatown is Yaowarat Road, which is lined with restaurants and shops, where you can give Thai-Chinese specialties a try or pick up several souvenirs.
Get on a Boat and Paddle Away at a Floating Market
Thailand’s shopping scene is incredibly unique, but perhaps, the most fascinating aspect of it are the country’s famed floating markets. You know—boats packed with a variety of things to sell (from fresh produce to clothes), peddled down busy rivers. To experience this from Bangkok, you may take a day tour to a nearby floating market.
Try The River Cruise
Cap off an amazing day in Bangkok with a dinner buffet while cruising down the Chao Phraya river. Enjoy the sights as you savor local flavors prepared fresh.
*Featured image from Luciano Mortula – LGM on Shutterstock