I'm an Australian living in Thailand. I like to read, write and travel. I'm currently working on my (commercial) travel website skedaddlecarhire.com.au to make more moolah for my trips.
Published November 29th 2012
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Bangkok is a city that frequently graces magazine rankings and "Top Ten" lists worldwide. But with so much advice on where to go and what to do, how do you know what's really worth your time? Here are a few suggestions for things to do in Thailand's most infamous city.
Traditional Thai puppet theatre. Image by flydime from Wikimedia Commons.
The arts are alive and well in Bangkok. Siam Niramit, a local theater, offers plays and productions every single day, and the Traditional Thai Puppet Theatre is a must-see for anyone interested in a rather unique spin on classic Thai culture. Aksra Theatre offers stadium seating and a live orchestra for all its performances. Playhouse Theatre is home to dazzling shows that wouldn't be out of place on Broadway. Even the cabarets get in on the fun, with Calypso Cabaret playing host to some of the most flamboyant, one-of-a-kind productions in Thailand!
Say Hello to the Animals
There are some things you can only truly experience in their homeland, and Thai wildlife is one of them. Check out the Dusit Zoo for more than 1,500 animals, including green pit vipers and white tigers, or drop by Siam Ocean World for an ethereal experience of glass tunnels and shimmering coral. There's also the Bangkok Aquarium, home to everything from giant carp to Siamese tigerfish, and the Bangkok Butterfly Garden, a gentle oasis with over 500 species of nature's most beautiful creatures. You also won't want to miss Safari World, where Thailand's famous elephants put on coordinated stunt shows and will even eat out of your hand.
Dusit Zoo. Image by Ahoerstemeier from Wikimedia Commons.
No trip to Thailand is complete without a taste of its beautiful, bizarre and long-standing culture. For example, have you ever seen a giant golden Buddha? Stop by Wat Pho, also known as "Temple of the Reclining Buddha," for an architectural icon that needs to be seen to be believed. There's also Wat Arun, or "Temple of Dawn," so named for the delicate pink light that shimmers on the temple's surface every morning. And of course you can't forget the Grand Palace! Occupying a massive 2,350,000ft right in the heart of Bangkok, the Palace is an enduring testament to Thai royalty and more than five hundred years of culture.
Shop 'Til You Drop
With more than a half-dozen major markets operating at any given time, Bangkok is an incredible shopping hub for anyone with a few extra baht in their pocket. The Chatuchak Weekend Market, for example, is the largest in all of Thailand, and the Talat Rot Fai offers everything from silk sbai to tasty dumplings. Looking for souvenirs? Try the Tha Chang Market, where you'll find quaint carved frogs along with jewelry and semiprecious gems. Minding your budget? Try Khao Sarn Road, also known as "the backpacker's paradise" for its cheap, no-strings accommodation and wide variety of street vendors and on-the-go food stalls.
Chatuchak Weekend Market. Image by edwin11_79 from Wikimedia Commons.
If there's one thing the Thai people love, it's a good party. Plan your trip around a national holiday and you'll be in for a real treat! Loi Krathong (or the Festival of Lights) takes place in November and is celebrated with food, fireworks and floating lanterns released by the earthbound. A few weeks later is the king's birthday, observed with public patriotism and the Thai Royal Guards Parade. After that you have your choice of either New Years or the Chinese New Year, which are separate events nonetheless bound with the same spirit of fresh beginnings and goodwill. If you're looking for a good time in Bangkok, these are the places you'll want to be!