First Time in Bangkok – What to Do

Bangkok Survival Guide

If it’s your first time in Bangkok, this page gives you a snapshot of what to do and where to go when you first touch down in Thailand’s enigmatic capital. We've accumulated a lot of facts and useful information about Bangkok - everything the first-time visitor needs for a wonderful and memorable trip.

Your tickets are booked, the excitement is mounting... You're coming to Bangkok! It's a fascinating, intoxicating and chaotic place, brimming with sights, smells, thrills, gracious people, contradictions, cultures, cars, noise and bedlam. As with any teeming metropolis, however, it's also got its fair share of potential disappointments and frustrations. Get ready for the good news though...

To steer clear of the negative experiences during your first time here, dust off that sage old adage: Knowledge is power! Use our years of hard earned knowledge so your first experience of tourism in Bangkok will be an unforgettably great one.

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Bangkok At a Glance

Here’s a summary of what we like about this area, and also what we don’t like. We have tried to give a balanced view so you can decide in seconds if this is the right place for you. This is genuine first-hand information.

WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT BANGKOK:
  • Bangkok is a vibrant city with something to see around every corner
  • Different neighbourhoods have their own unique vibe
  • Awesome party city
  • Traditional Thai culture mixes well with modern life
  • Thai food!
WHAT IS LESS GOOD:
  • Traffic sucks
  • Not as clean as other cities in Southeast Asia

The Best Things to Do in Bangkok

First time visitors should definitely soak up a bit of heritage by visiting a couple of cultural landmarks. The Grand Palace is simply majestic, as are many of the temples which surround the palace. For something more modern, head to Asiatique or slow things down with a romantic dinner cruise.

  • The Grand Palace

    The Grand Palace

    If there is one must-see sight that no visit to Bangkok would be complete without, it's the dazzling, spectacular Grand Read More»

  • Wat Pho

    Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha), or Wat Phra Chetuphon, is located behind the Temple of the Emerald Buddha Read More»

  • Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)

    Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)

    The spire (prang) of Wat Arun on the bank of Chao Phraya River is one of Bangkok's world-famous landmarks. It sits on Read More»

  • Asiatique

    Asiatique The Riverfront

    Asiatique The Riverfront is an expansive open-air theme mall with panoramic river views and a delightful fusion of Read More»

  • Apsara River Cruise

    Travelling the Chao Phraya River at night, with the temples lit-up along the banks, is one of the must-do experiences in Read More»

  • Thonburi Khlongs Tour (Review)

    The best way to get a taste of Bangkok’s past is to explore the klongs (canals) on a long-tail boat. On the west side of Read More»

The Best Restaurants in Bangkok

The dining scene in Bangkok could give any world city a run for its money. From freshly cooked street food to hide-to-find local joints and an ever-growing collection of ultra-luxe fine dining options, Bangkok has a five-star culinary scene. Below are three of our favourite Thai restaurants: a fancy one, a street food one, and an all-rounder.

  • Le Du Restaurant

    Le Du Restaurant

    Le Du restaurant is a new shining star of Bangkok, bringing a new creative cuisine that was definitely missing in town. Read More»

  • Lek and Rut Seafood

    Lek & Rut Seafood

    Lek-Rut seafood in Chinatown is the most interesting mix of culinary worlds: really great food in the most unlikely Read More»

  • Cabbages and Condoms

    Cabbages and Condoms

    Cabbages and Condoms in Bangkok is a restaurant with a difference. Using a quirky name to highlight a serious issue, it Read More»

The Best Shopping in Bangkok

Don’t pack much before you come to Bangkok because you can buy it all here and save money in the process. Below is a small selection of our go-to shopping spots in Bangkok. Paragon is best for brand-names, MBK for souvenirs, and Chatuchak for anything and everything in between.

  • Siam Paragon Shopping Centre

    Siam Paragon

    From a sporty yellow Ferrari to a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, Siam Paragon is a shopping mall without rival when it comes Read More»

  • Chatuchak Market

    Chatuchak Weekend Market boasts over 15,000 stalls selling everything imaginable, from clothing, fresh and dry food, Read More»

  • MBK Shopping Mall in Bangkok

    MBK

    The multi-storey MBK is probably Bangkok's most legendary shopping mall, popular with both tourists and locals. Eight Read More»

The Best Things to Do at Night in Bangkok

Hit all three of these spots for the ultimate night out in Bangkok. Start at the swanky Sky Bar, head on to Soi Cowboy (go go bars optional), and then finish the night at Bangkok’s designated party street, RCA, home of pubs, clubs and late-night shenanigans.

  • Sky Bar Rooftop

    Sky Bar Rooftop at Lebua

    Made even more famous by hosting the Hangover II boys during filming in Bangkok, Sky Bar rooftop at Lebua State Tower Read More»

  • RCA & Ratchada Clubs

    RCA is the epicentre of Bangok's clubbing scene and one of the officially designated nightlife zones. Favoured by local Read More»

  • Soi Cowboy

    Soi Cowboy

    Named after the cowboy hat-wearing American who opened the first bar in 1970, this red-light district has a more Read More»

Three of Our Favourite Bangkok Hotels

Just in case you landed in Bangkok without a place to sleep, here’s a selection of some of our favourite hotels in Bangkok. We’ve made sure to pick places in different parts of the city.

Anantara Bangkok Riverside

Set on a massive plot of land along the banks of the Chao Praya River, Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa provides enough Read More...

Grande Centre Point Terminal 21

With a prominent use of glass throughout the hotel and a minimalist white colour scheme, Grande Centre Point Hotel Sukhumvit Read More...

Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn

Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn is a prestigious, glass fronted property that suits the surrounding business area perfectly yet still Read More...

 

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We try to provide free information that is as up-to-date and accurate as possible. However, if you are planning to travel it's a good idea to double check specific dates and information to avoid surprises.

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