Let’s say you’re coming to Bangkok, Thailand for a long weekend (basically three days). With the city being one of the largest in the world, any visitor usually finds it completely overwhelming when choosing the must see places in Bangkok, especially if time is short. As a long-time resident of the City of Angels, however, I can immediately tell you there are five places I always recommend any of my visitors to see. Places that, if you miss them, you truly will be sorry.
Wat Phra Kaew/The Grand Palace – The Grand Palace complex, which also incorporates the temple Wat Phra Kaew, not only has the most beautiful buildings in Thailand but some of the most beautiful in the world. If you are looking for the top must see places in Bangkok on a weekend and only have time to see one — this one is it.
Lumphini Park – Lumphini is officially the biggest piece of greenery in the city. It’s a massive park located right in downtown Bangkok, and is a wonderful place to visit if you want to see true Thai culture. The park becomes incredibly busy early in the morning when, at 6am, the runners, the joggers, the weightlifters, the Muay Thai fighters, the aerobics fanatics, and the Tai Chi obsessed head to the park for their daily exercise. You can even hire a paddle boat and get out on the lake.
Lumphini Park is an awesome place to join a free outdoor fitness group (and they are sometimes massive), work out on the outdoor weightlifting equipment or just have a quick stroll before your day really gets started. Or, if early morning exercise is not your thing, pick up breakfast at a nearby food stall, grab an iced coffee and get yourself comfy on a park bench. It’s an amazing way to see true Bangkokians just living their lives and a fun way to start your day.
Take a Boat on the Chao Praya River – The quintessential Bangkok experience involves a boat on the Chao Praya River. Packed full of ferry boats, you can hop on one for as little as 10 baht (33 cents) and go for miles. Spend a couple of hours getting on and off ferry boats, and explore the Bangkok neighborhoods they take you to. You’ll see the real life of the people who live close to one of the world’s largest rivers — a life that hasn’t changed for some families in more than 100 years.
Chatuchak Weekend Market – No visit to Bangkok is complete without shopping at South East Asia’s biggest outdoor market. Estimates differ on how many stalls, but it’s easily between 12,000 to 15,000, plus another 1,000 or so in the indoor J.J. Mall right next to it. No matter what you are shopping for, there’s a market stall at Chatuchak that sells it and for a dirt cheap price.
Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the must see places in Bangkok on any weekend when it comes to shopping. Nothing else compares. They’re only open on Friday evenings and Saturday and Sunday until 6pm, so don’t miss it.
Shopping and Eating in Chinatown– Bangkok has one of the world’s largest and most authentic Chinatowns, with hundreds of thousands of Thai-Chinese living there. It’s an awesome place for shopping but even better if you want great food. At night especially, all the street food stalls open up massive sidewalk restaurants and serve some of the freshest food in the city.
Chinatown is specifically known for its fresh seafood, and is one of the must visit places in Bangkok if you are a seafood lover. If you enjoy eating fish, crab, shrimp, prawns, squid, mussels, octopus and a whole slew of other fishy things, you can get one of the best seafood meals of your life in Bangkok’s Chinatown for less than $10 a person. The ambience is cool too.
Finally, don’t miss the 101 Things to Do in Bangkok EBook — it really is a must buy if you want to see everything Bangkok has to offer.