Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...
Bangkok is a city that's constantly buzzing, full of energy and never short on things to do. If you find yourself in this bustling, cosmopolitan capital, we've put together a list of some can't-miss activities.
Whether you're traveling solo, as a couple or with your family, you're bound to find something interesting on our list of must-sees.
Hit the Chatuchak Weekend Market
No matter what you're shopping for — from housewares to vintage clothes to books — you're bound to find it at this bustling, sprawling market. Despite its size (peruse more than 8,000 stalls), the market is well organized and easy to navigate if you're paying attention. Once you see something you like, simply ask "how much?" to start the bargaining. The initial price is usually high so feel free to offer something lower. Bargaining is half the fun of market shopping! We found two great pairs of shoes, adorable dresses and many T-shirts. Oh, and don't miss out on the coconut ice cream.
Get a traditional Thai massage
You can't go to Bangkok without getting a traditional Thai massage. Trust us; after all that walking and sightseeing, your muscles will need it. Thai massage focuses on circulation and pressure points, promoting overall wellness as well as muscular flexibility and it's impossible to leave not feeling revived yet totally relaxed. Ask at your hotel or guesthouse for a recommendation.
Get lost in Chinatown
Colorful, chaotic Chinatown is a must-stop on any tour of Bangkok. Food stalls, markets and masses of people give this fascinating part of the city a unique energy that makes it worth the trip. Whether you want to shop, slurp up some delicious street side noodles or simply people watch among the throngs of tourists and locals, this is one of our most memorable Bangkok experiences.
Shop till you drop
Bangkok is a shopper's paradise. Between the markets, boutiques, street stalls and mega malls, you can find anything you might ever want. The malls especially are jaw-dropping in their size and array of goods. Head to Siam Paragon Mall for all the luxury designer brands you can imagine (plus Siam Ocean World, the biggest aquarium in Southeast Asia and a must-see all on its own), and CentralWorld Siam for more affordable, but on-trend, brands (plus a skating rink).
Eat street food — lots of it
Delicious (and cheap) street food abounds in Bangkok and delving into it is one of the most enjoyable things about the city. Grilled meats, spicy soups, stir-fries and numerous hand-held snack foods of all kinds are available at all hours of the day. We couldn't stop eating fried bananas and fried taro root (kind of like a starchier French fry). Bring your appetite and dive into something tasty.
People watch on Khao San Road
One of the most popular and infamous areas in Bangkok for travelers is Khao San Road. Tourists, locals, rich, poor, young, old — you'll find a varied cross section on this busy stretch making it a prime people-watching location. Grab a cold drink at one of the countless bars and cafes and relax as you watch Bangkok unfold around you.
Have a rooftop cocktail
One of the quintessential Bangkok experiences is enjoying a cocktail — with a view. There are several hotel bars, restaurants and lounges that are on upper floors so patrons get a panoramic view of Bangkok from above. Try Sky Bar or Vertigo and Moon Bar.
Ride on the Chao Phraya River
A ride on the Chao Phraya River is a great way to spend an afternoon and a fun way to get around various parts of the city that are more easily accessible by water taxi. The Chao Phraya Express Boat Company offers a day pass that allows you hop on and hop off at any of the 10 piers (each with its own attractions).
Climb Wat Arun
Wat Arun (or the Temple of Dawn) is an awe-inspiring sight worth checking out. The Bangkok landmark is as impressive in the distance as it is up close. Climb up for a panoramic view of the city. It has an imposing spire more than 70 meters high, intricately decorated with tiny pieces of colored glass and Chinese porcelain. Note: Expect crowds and dress respectfully (no sleeveless tops or short skirts).
Visit the reclining Buddha (Wat Pho)
The largest temple in Bangkok is home to a majestic reclining Buddha, which is truly a sight to see. The gold leaf-covered deity is a whopping 46 meters long. The Buddha's feet alone are three meters long and decorated with mother-of-pearl illustrations.