The Old City district in Bangkok is home to a glittering array of temples, palaces and ancient architecture, representing the cultural and historical centre of the city. For anyone interested in the history and origins of this bustling city, a visit to the wide, tree-lined avenues of the Old City is a must.
This district is dominated by the most famous structure in all of Thailand – the unforgettable Grand Palace – and scattered around it is a bountiful collection of ancient structures that will impress even long time visitors to the city. Museums and art galleries are also prominent in the Old City with several of the best making our Top 10 list, while the many market places, themselves many generations old, are a fascinating glimpse into the past whether you are interested in purchasing or not. Here are our 10 not-to-be-missed attractions in Bangkok Old City:
- 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
If there is one must-see sight that no visit to Bangkok would be complete without, it's the dazzling, spectacular Grand Palace, undoubtedly the city's most famous landmark. Built in 1782 - and for 150 years the home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government - the Grand Palace of Bangkok is a grand old dame indeed, that continues to have visitors in awe with its beautiful architecture and intricate detail. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily 08:30 - 15:30
- Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Old City (Rattanakosin)
- Price Range: Tickets sold from 8:30 - 15:30 and cost 400 baht! One ticket includes entry to Vimanmek Palace and Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall.
Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha), or Wat Phra Chetuphon, is located behind the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and a must-do for any first-time visitor in Bangkok. It's one of the largest temple complexes in the city and famed for its giant reclining Buddha that measures 46 metres long and is covered in gold leaf. It’s an easy ten minute walk between here and the Grand Palace, and we recommend coming to Wat Pho second, because even though the golden Buddha here is just as popular many people don’t take the time to wander around the rest of the complex so the experience tends to be far more relaxing. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily 08:00 - 17:00 (Massage available until 18:00)
- Location: Maharat Road. Close to the river (about a half mile south of the Grand Palace), Old City (Rattanakosin)
- Price Range: The entrance fee is 100 baht
The popular book 'The Beach' famously described Khao San Road as "the centre of the backpacking universe". Judging by the truth-seeking travellers who converge here to shop, exchange tales and prepare for their next stint on the backpacker trail, it's a phrase that sums it up pretty much perfectly. Packed into a 1km long strip are countless budget guesthouses and mid-range hotels, internet cafes, swanky bars and clubs, restaurants, massage parlours, travel agents, bookshops, market stalls, tattoo shops and much, much more. Read More...
While the Museum of Siam is set inside a very large neoclassical house, it is definitely not the usual display of historical artefacts and dusty mannequins you would expect to find in such an antique building. A huge bronze ‘ribbon’ coiling and looping in the front garden is the first clue of things to come inside... In the reception area, wooden stairs, ceramic tiles and old-fashioned columns contrast with resolutely modern art and advanced technology. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Tues - Sun 10.00 - 18.00
- Location: Phra Nakorn District, Rattanakosin Island, south of Wat Pho
- Tel: +66 (0) 2 225 2777
Built in 1846 on request of King Nangklao (Rama III) and inspired by two other similar temples found in India and Sri Lanka, Loha Prasat is a 36 m high construction supporting 37 metal spires representing the 37 virtues toward enlightenment. The temple is erected in a very unusual way with multiples concentric square levels built on geometrically aligned pillars. A relic of lord Buddha is kept at the highest level. Read More...
- Location: Maha Chai Road | Bowon Niwet, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
- Tel: +66 (0) 2 221 0903
In the former grounds of the 18th Century Wang Na Palace, The Bangkok National Museum houses the largest collection of Thai art and artifacts in the country. It's definitely worth a visit, especially if visiting nearby Wat Phra Kaew or the Grand Palace. Opened by King Rama V to exhibit the antiques and gifts bestowed to him by his father, it once held a reputation for being an ill-organised gathering of dusty relics. That has now changed, with exhibits now arranged into three areas consistent with Thai history, and good English-language descriptions available. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Wed - Sun 09:00 - 16:00
- Location: Na Phrothat Road, near the Grand Palace
- Tel: +66 (0) 2 215 8173
- How to get there: Taxi is probably the best way to go. Or embark the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Maharaj Pier, then walk about 20 minutes.
Wat Saket, popularly known as the Golden Mount or ‘Phu Khao Thong’, is a low hill crowned with a gleaming gold chedi. Within, the 58-metre chedi houses a Buddha relic and welcomes worshippers all year round. The temple also hosts an annual temple fair in November, which lasts a week during Loy Krathong. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 17:00
- Location: Between Boriphat Road and Lan Luang Road, off Ratchadamnoen Klang Road
The Queen's Gallery opened in 2003 in response to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit's initiative to create a permanent public space to exhibit and promote the works of both established and up-and-coming Thai artists. Set in a five-storey building, the gallery covers 3,700 square metres of minimalist space to showcase permanent as well as changing exhibitions. This gallery is highly recommended for art lovers.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 - 19:00; closed on Wednesdays
- Address: 101 Ratchadamnoen Klang Road (near Phan Fah Bridge)
- Tel: +66 (0) 2 281 5360-1
Bangkok Flower Market (Pak Klong Talad) is the biggest wholesale and retail fresh flower market in Bangkok. The market has all kinds of popular flowers and flora-related items, including roses, forget me nots, orchids, lilies and more. Most of them sold in packs of 50 or 100 flowers in each, and prices are amazingly cheap. Part of the Old City, Bangkok Flower market is located on Chak Phet Road near Saphan Phut or the Memorial Bridge. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 24 hours, more popular during nighttime
- Location: Chak Phet Road, the Memorial Bridge or Saphan Phut Chao Phraya pier
- How to get there: Taxi or Tuk Tuk
Bangkok’s old town has an interesting history, and the most entertaining way to discover more about it is with a visit to the Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall. Here you will get to experience the many things that make Bangkok great through a series of film, music, computer displays and a guided tour. If you have ever wanted to have more understanding of the palace, temples and neighbourhoods that make up Rattanakosin Island, this is the exhibition to visit. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Tues - Fri 11:00 – 20:00 and Sat - Sun 10:00 – 20:00
- Address: 100 Ratchadamnoen Klang Road
- Price Range: Entrance Fee: 100 baht, free for students