Bangkok is hot all year round, so much so that Thais have the art of staying cool down to a science; motorcyclists take cover in any shady spots when at red lights, crowds shuffle along at a snails’ pace under the protection of umbrellas, and there’s no point in even trying to get the table closest to the air conditioning in a busy restaurant – it’s already taken.
Arrive anytime between March and October and you can expect average daily highs of around 35 degrees, with the hottest days topping almost 40 degrees (100°F). For many, these scotching temperatures can become a bit too hot to handle, but walking around the city dressed as though you’re on the beach isn’t the only answer. Beat the heat with these 10 cool things to do in Bangkok.
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour
- Banyan Tree's Apsara Dinner Cruise
- Vertigo & Moon Bar Rooftop Dining
- Ayutthaya Ancient Capital Tour with River Cruise
- Shangri-La Hotel's Buffet Dinner Cruise
- Bridge on the River Kwai & Historic Railway Tour
- Siam Niramit Dinner Show
- Calypso Bangkok Cabaret Show
- Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise
- Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha Half-Day Tour
Statistically, Bangkok is the hottest city in the world, so naturally most of the partying here is done after the sun goes down. Pool parties, however, are an exception. Around four or five events run across the capital, and the best of the bunch is the once-a-month So Pool Party, overlooking the greenery of Lumpini Park at Sofitel So Hotel. Ocean Lounge is another pool party institution that holds special parties most weekends – or you can just turn up any day between 10:00 and 01:00 for a refreshing dip, tapas snacks or a cocktail by the water. Read More...
Bangkok’s rooftop bar scene needs little introduction; there’s now literally dozens of places to drink and enjoy good food high above the city streets. Of course, Lebua’s Sky Bar remains the most famous, most visited and most expensive, whilst top competition has come in the form of Vertigo (Sathorn Road), Above Eleven (Sukhumvit 11) and Cloud 47 (Silom). These are all great spots to cool off in Bangkok too, as the refreshing breeze takes the temperature down from boiling to just-a-bit-hot. Read More...
Put ice in your beer
Putting ice in your beer back home might be considered a borderline-criminal offence, but in Bangkok it’s quite the norm. Sure, your trusty bottle of Chang, Leo or Singha will arrive at your table chilled, but wait ten minutes and it’ll be lukewarm – and there’s nothing worse than lukewarm beer on a hot day.
Surf in the city
One fun activity in Bangkok that will leave you drenched in water, rather than sweat, is watersports. By far the most popular place for this is at Flow House (Sukhumvit 26), where you can surf artificial waves along an inflatable ramp which has a thin sheet of water pumped up and over it. For a more authentic extreme sports experience, head to Taco Lake where you can wakeboard around the entire perimeter – and watch as the planes come in to land at the nearby Suvarnabhumi Airport.
It might seem like a waste of precious holiday time, but heading to the cinema is a guaranteed way to cool down in Bangkok. In fact, most of the cinemas here crank up the air conditioning so much that locals often bring along jumpers and scarves so they don’t freeze to death. From your standard ‘Major Cineplex’ in malls, to luxury V.I.P treatments and old-school Art Deco theatres, Bangkok’s cinema scene is booming. Read More...
When the heat and humidity gets too much, don’t forget that there’s some surprisingly good islands near to Bangkok that are good for a few days’ break, or even a day-trip. The best of the bunch is Koh Samed, offering pretty white-sanded beaches (although nothing compared to the islands in the south) as well as a lively beach-party atmosphere, especially on weekends and holidays. Closer to Bangkok is Koh Larn off the coast of Pattaya and Koh Si Chang, just two-and-a-half hours’ drive from the capital. Read More...
Great for the kids, and the big, heat-ravaged kid inside you, the city’s modest selection of waterparks are another obvious way to cool down in Bangkok. Siam Park City is a golden oldie, but still has enough fun slides, rides and pools for the best part of a day, and there’s also Fantasia Lagoon – a mini waterpark on top of the Mall Bangkae that only cost 100 baht to get in! Read More...
There’s nothing like stepping into the air-conditioned haven of a mall after a sweaty afternoon of sightseeing, and luckily Bangkok has one on just about every street corner in the city centre. But this doesn’t mean you’re restricted to just browsing the shops; malls in Bangkok offer so much more, such as cinemas, bowling, karaoke, ice skating (particularly great to cool off), art exhibitions, bars, restaurants, cafes, spas and a whole lot more to keep that scorching sun off your back. Read More...
Freeze at Titanium Ice Bar
Temperatures in Titanium’s ice bar drop to minus 10, making this literally Bangkok’s coolest bar. Then venue is located on Sukhumvit Soi 22, and there’s also a regular, non-frozen bar downstairs which proves more popular with an expat crowd and live bands and DJs every day. A huge range of vodka can be found in their special ‘frozen room’; you can pick out which one you want either for a round of shots or let the bar tender use it to mix you up a cocktail.
High up on the list ‘must-do’ activities in Bangkok is to experience a traditional Thai massage - an opportunity to get a welcome blast of air conditioning at the same time. Don’t forget that your masseuse is your own personal temperature control: get too cold and she’ll wrap you up in a nice warm blanket; too warm and they’ll happily crank up the air con for the optimum levels of bliss. Read More...