3 June, 2024
Bangkok main image
Bangkok main image

Your Insider’s Guide To Bangkok

3 June, 2024
Bangkok main image

Explore Bangkok like a true insider with our comprehensive guide, packed with must-visit spots that are worth every baht, crafted by an editor who calls this vibrant city her second home.

Bangkok is a city brimming with life, culture, and a blend of the old and the new. If you’re planning to visit this vibrant city, make sure to bookmark our comprehensive travel guide (written by an editor who proudly calls Bangkok her second home). Whether you’re looking to use the public holidays for a quick getaway or planning a destination wedding, Bangkok is just a direct flight away. With years of experience navigating its streets and uncovering hidden gems, we share our top recommendations on where to stay, eat, drink, and what to do.

Read More: 8 Direct Flight Destinations From Hong Kong You Might Not Have Thought Of

Jump To:
Travelling To Bangkok
Where To Stay In Bangkok
Where To Eat & Drink In Bangkok
Things To Do In Bangkok

Bangkok What To Know

Travelling To Bangkok: What To Know & When To Go

Travelling through Thailand is a breeze, especially between November and March when the weather is cool and dry. After landing, you can easily hop into a Grab or pre-book a car (before your flight, of course) through Klook, where you can also purchase a tourist SIM card for a fair price.

In general, Grab is a must-have app for your trip, making it easy to get around safely, with everything documented for peace of mind. For the adventurous, Grab bikes are an efficient option, especially during peak hours when Bangkok traffic can drive you mad – but stay safe! The BTS Sky Train and MRT are also fantastic options: clean, efficient, and easy to navigate.

Sassy Tip: If you’re planning a longer stay or future visits, grab a rabbit card at any BTS station – it’s just like Hong Kong’s Octopus card, making your travels even smoother!

Other Things To Know Before Your Trip

  • If you’re planning to visit the temples in Bangkok, bring a pair of long trousers, and carry a sarong to cover your shoulders, ensuring you’re comfortable and respectful.
  • Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to show your ID at least once – whether you’re hitting up the clubs or exchanging money at reputable banks (please only go to these). To make things smoother, be sure to make copies of your passport or ID before you fly.
  • Alipay and FPS are your secret weapons in Bangkok, working like magic in loads of restaurants and vendors. So, set everything up before you travel and you’ll be all set to feast and shop! Otherwise, Bangkok is impressively tech-savvy, and you’ll find credit card machines in most established places.
  • Hop on a wild tuk-tuk ride in Bangkok at least once for the thrill, but be sure to haggle the fare!

Where To Stay In Bangkok: Hotels & Residences

Ah, Bangkok, where the hotel game is strong enough to satisfy even the most discerning wanderlusters! From riverside retreats that’ll have you basking in laid-back vibes to glass skyscrapers flaunting rooftop infinity pools and Michelin-starred menus, this city’s hospitality scene has it all. With hundreds of spots scattered across the city’s neighbourhoods, finding your perfect Bangkok hotel base is an adventure in itself. But what’s travel without a little thrill? To make it easier for you, here are our personal recommendations (tried-and-tested)!

Bangkok Four Seasons Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok

A no-brainer (we know it’s pricey, but it’s worth it), the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River is a riverside gem where opulence and modernity meet in the most enchanting way. The rooms and suites exude a minimalist-luxe sheen, infusing local character into the spacious layouts (the most basic ones span a whopping 50 square metres!). Our editor has stayed here multiple times and can confirm it offers the best breakfast buffets in town – with stone baked pizzas! Dining here will leave your taste buds doing a happy dance, from the Cantonese Yu Ting Yuan to the Italian lakeside vibes of Riva del Fiume Ristorante. When you need a break, head to the Urban Wellness Centre for body treatments, a heated vitality pool, and personalised fitness programmes.

Sassy Tip: We also love the complimentary boat shuttles (they’re more like yachts) to Icon Siam mall – it’s a trip in itself!

Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, 300/1 Charoen Krung Road, Yan Nawa, Sathon, Bangkok 10120, Thailand, www.fourseasons.com

bangkok The Siam Hotel

The Siam Hotel

If you’re after a one-of-a-kind experience in Bangkok, check out The Siam hotel in the cultural Dusit district. With just 38 rooms, this boutique spot feels both cosy and otherworldly. The rooms give off major vintage vibes (cue the wanderlust), thanks to retro posters, old-school gramophones, and nostalgic travel treasures. Outside, the courtyards and infinity pool are surrounded by lush greenery, making it a perfect chill-out zone.

And it’s not short on experiences either. For the wellness junkies, The Siam has yoga sessions, Muay Thai classes, and massages to keep you relaxed. The super-friendly staff take it up a notch with neighbourhood walking tours and sunset cruises on a traditional rice barge. And if you’re looking for something truly unique, you can even get a sacred Sak Yant tattoo (permanent holiday souvenir, anyone?).

The Siam Hotel, 3/2 Thanon Khao, Vachirapayabal, Dusit, Bangkok 10300, Thailand, www.thesiamhotel.com

Read More: 11 Unique Hotels In Asia To Book In 2024

Bangkok 137 Pillars Suites & Residences

137 Pillars Suites & Residences

Craving a slice of luxury without the sky-high price tag (yes, you can have it all)? Located in the thick of the action, 137 Pillars Suites & Residences offers the comforts of a traditional hotel with the homey perks of an apartment share. Whether you opt for one of the 34 suites or go all-in with a fully-equipped residence (complete with kitchen, laundry, and private balcony), you’ll be living in unapologetic luxury. From the panoramic rooftop pool to the spa on the 28th floor, every corner oozes indulgence. But what really seals the deal? Location, location, location. With the city’s pulsating heart just steps away, you’re perfectly positioned to dive headfirst into the electric Bangkok scene.

137 Pillars Suites & Residences, 59/1 Sukhumvit Soi 39, Klongton-Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand, 137pillarshotels.com

More Hotels & Residences In Bangkok

  • The Sukhothai Bangkok – Features old-world charm with colonial-era suites, a central location, and amenities like a large swimming pool, gym, spa, and an attractive garden. www.sukhothai.com
  • Park Hyatt Bangkok  Fantastic city views, minimalist design, a large saltwater pool, and an excellent spa. www.hyatt.com
  • The Mustang Blu Boutique hotel that combines the feel of a film set, natural history museum, and dandy bachelor pad. www.facebook.com/themustangblu
  • The Standard Bangkok Adds a fresh vibe with its sci-fi film set-inspired design, funky décor, world-class art, and fine dining. www.standardhotels.com
  • Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok – A favourite amongst shopaholics for its location next to upscale shopping malls, rooms with private terraces and direct pool access. www.kempinski.com

Where To Eat & Drink In Bangkok

Bangkok’s food and drink scene is an absolute wild ride, from street stalls dishing out Thai classics to the hottest haute restaurants helmed by culinary celebs like Alain Ducasse. There’s also the rise of local chefs putting their own spin on traditional flavours, and mixologists shaking up Bangkok’s craft cocktail game to new heights. Get ready to pat your happy belly from morning coffee to late-night tipples. These are the restaurant, bar and cafe gems that need to be on your Bangkok hit list, stat!

Restaurants In Bangkok

Bangkok Nawa Thai Cuisine

Nawa Thai Cuisine

This is definitely the best Thai restaurant we’ve ever tried (and we’re still dreaming about the food)! Nawa Thai Cuisine embraces the concept of “Nawa” – Thai for innovation – using modern techniques to craft central Thai cuisine that’s bold and authentic. From the moment you step into the low-lit dining room, you know you’re in for a treat. The menu features finger foods, small bites, and reimagined main courses that will have you questioning everything you thought you knew about Thai flavours. Case in point: its signature tom yum kung – easily the best we’ve ever had, with a depth and heat in the broth that’s nothing short of transcendent.

Nawa Thai Cuisine, Park Lane Ekkamai, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand, www.tablecheck.com

Read More: The Best Thai Restaurants In Hong Kong – Where To Eat Thai Food

Bangkok Aunglo by Yangrak

Aunglo by Yangrak

A hole-in-the-wall that’ll have you feeling like a Bangkokian from the moment you step inside, Aunglo by Yangrak is an izakaya-style joint that’s shaking up the Thai dining scene – and it’s got a Michelin Bib Gourmand to prove it. The star of the show here is the aungloa traditional Thai charcoal stove that infuses the modern street food-inspired fare with an addictive smoky depth. Snag a seat at the counter for a front-row view of the open kitchen action as they work their magic, charring skewered meats like honey-glazed pork to absolute perfection. Even humble veggies like stir-fried kale with fish sauce get the aunglo treatment, emerging as crave-worthy stars.

Aunglo by Yangrak, 6/8 Decho Road, Khwaeng Suriya Wong, Khet Bangrak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand, Instagram: @aunglo.by.yangrak

Bangkok Baan Tepa

Baan Tepa

We sure don’t get a lot of fine dining experiences in villas in Hong Kong, so if you have the opportunity, visit Baan Tepa. The moment you step through the doors of this elegant villa, you’re instantly transported back to 1980s Bangkok. But before the nine-course tasting menu journey commences, you’ll want to wander the organic garden and try some palate-prepping appetisers. Then, make your way into the main dining space that was once Chef Tam’s (owner/chef) grandmother’s home, now transformed into an ode to farm-to-table Thai cuisine – complete with an open kitchen humming with frenetic energy. Despite the modern makeover, the original charm remains intact, from the wide teak floorboards to the soaring ceilings and that sweeping staircase leading up to a lounge area. As for the food, Tam’s creations fuse new flavours with deep-rooted traditions, like the squid ink noodles that zing with lemongrass spice. Plus, her commitment to sustainability means many ingredients are foraged from her own garden or sourced from local farms and artisans.

Baan Tepa, 561 Ramkhamhaeng Rd, Hua Mak, Bang Kapi District, Bangkok 10240, Thailand, www.baantepabkk.com

More Restaurants In Bangkok

  • Potong – A 20-course tasting menu by award-winning chef Pichaya ‘Pam’ Utharntharm, blending Thai, Australian, and Chinese influences in a historic five-storey building that once housed her family’s four-generation Chinese herbal medicine business. www.restaurantpotong.com
  • Charmgang – Stylish fit-out, contemporary art, and an open kitchen where dishes like blue swimmer crab wafers, sugar cane smoked pork jowl, and complex curries blend Thai heritage with unique produce. www.facebook.com/charmgangcurryshop
  • Jay Fai – A street food institution known for its signature crispy crab omelette and phad kee mao drunken noodles. www.instagram.com/jayfaibangkok
  • Gaa – Redefines fine dining with a 16-course tasting menu that blends Indian cooking techniques and Thai ingredients, inviting diners to roll up their sleeves. www.gaabkk.com
  • Le Du – Reinterprets Thai cuisine with a rotating menu, featuring organic rice cooked with shrimp paste and pork jam, served with river prawns, all in a relaxed ambience. ledubkk.com

Read More: Michelin Guide 2024– Hong Kong Restaurants Awarded Michelin Stars

Bars & Cafes In Bangkok

Bangkok Tropic City

Tropic City

Nothing screams “holiday” quite like a rum-soaked tropical cocktail bar – and Tropic City is bringing those vacation vibes! This one-of-a-kind spot was Thailand’s first fully tropical bar concept, and it made such waves that it landed on the 50 Best Bars list. The fun, fruit-forward cocktail menu is loaded with house-made infusions, reductions, and tinctures that’ll make you feel like you’re sipping straight from a swaying palm tree. While there are shareable options and an impressive non-alcoholic selection, you’re here for the rum – and Tropic City delivers big time with an ample selection of tropical rum cocktails.

Tropic City, 672/65 Soi Charoen Krung 28, Bang Rak, Bangkok, Thailand 10500, www.tropiccitybkk.com

Bangkok A Coffee Roaster by Li-bra-ry

A Coffee Roaster by Li-bra-ry

A perfect day (for us at least) involves checking out local art and having a great cup of coffee – and Coffee Roaster by li-bra-ry ticks both those boxes. Tucked away in Bangkok’s trendy Warehouse 30 precinct – a converted art gallery and warehouse that was once part of the Portuguese Embassy – this café and roastery has earned a reputation for brewing some of the best coffee in the entire city. It ethically sources beans from around the world and roast them on-site, ensuring the freshest cups around. Don’t miss its signature cranberry cold brew – a cocktail-like blend that highlights the bean’s natural fruity notes. The small-but-stellar food menu also features brunch bites like the must-try pandan waffle – a pyramid-shaped beauty that’s soft and springy on the inside, crisp on the outside, and just heavenly.

A Coffee Roaster by Li-bra-ry, 6 Charoen Krung 32 Alley, Charoen Krung, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand, www.facebook.com/acoffeeroasterbkk

Read More: The Best Cafes In Hong Kong 2024 – Wifi, Study Spots & Hidden Gems

Bangkok Crimson Room

Crimson Room

Anyone a fan of the Roaring ’20s? Crimson Room is bringing all the glamour of that iconic era to Lumphini’s Velaa Sindhorn Village. This upscale cabaret-style jazz and cocktail destination launched with one mission: to recreate the raucous vibes of last century’s speakeasy bars and dance halls. From the moment you lay eyes on the Art Deco-inspired interior – think plush red velvet booths, dark timber paneling, and gleaming brass accents – you’ll be transported back in time. Grab one of the coveted velvet booth seats for optimal views of the intimate stage as talented crooners belt out soulful hits.

Crimson Room, 87 Lang Suan Rd, Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand, www.crimsonroombkk.com

More Bars & Cafes In Bangkok

  • Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar – Creative cocktails featuring unusual ingredients like blue cheese air and squid ink. www.facebook.com/Mahaniyom-Cocktail-Bar
  • Blue Whale Local Eatery – Modern three-story cafe space with all-day dining options. www.facebook.com/bluewhalebkk
  • Vesper – A friendly yet refined atmosphere with low-lit romance, serving sophisticated signature cocktails like yuzu sake with saffron sorbet. www.vesperbar.co
  • Shades Of Retro– Transforms from a cafe full of retro relics during the day to a bar at night, serving outstanding drinks like top-notch caipirinhas, with indie tunes and vintage decor—all of which is for sale.
  • Lennon’s – Resembles a mid-century home recording studio, featuring a vinyl shop with 6,000 records, a cigar lounge, and deco lounges. www.rosewoodhotels.com

Things To Do In Bangkok

Bangkok Jodd Fairs

Flea & Street Markets

Bangkok’s sprawling bazaars are a shopper’s utopia, mazes brimming with the most eclectic treasures imaginable. From vintage finds to handicrafts and snack stalls as far as the eye can see, these markets are a bona fide feast for the senses. But even more than the loot, it’s the buzzing atmosphere that’ll lure you in – a carnival of colors, aromas, and smiling vendors hawking their wares amid the organised chaos.

The Best Flea & Street Markets In Bangkok

  • Chatuchak Weekend Market – The world’s largest outdoor market, boasting over 15,000 stalls, attracting more than 200,000 visitors each weekend. www.chatuchakmarket.org
  • Jodd Fairs – A well-organised market that’s open daily from 11 am to midnight, offering fantastic food and drinks, seating areas, and live entertainment on weekends. www.facebook.com/JoddFairs
  • Asiatique – Blends a historical open-air market and a modern mall with around 1,500 shops and 40 restaurants housed in renovated early 1900s warehouses. www.asiatiquethailand.com
  • Pratunam Market – A wholesale market in a popular tourist area of Bangkok, offering a wide variety of clothes, shoes, accessories, and knick-knacks at exceptionally low prices.

Read More: Your Guide To Outlet Malls In Hong Kong

Bangkok EmQuartier local brands and malls

Malls & Local Brands

If fairs are overwhelming for you, Bangkok’s mall scene offers a more controlled (but no less exhilarating) shopping experience. Beyond the lure of international brands, the real draw lies in discovering Thailand’s local labels. Cult-favorite carry-alls like the Gentleman tote (which we’ve been spotting everywhere on the MTR) prove that these labels have their finger on the pulse of the latest global fashion trends. Even if you’re shopped out, the malls themselves are architectural exhibitions worth admiring!

The Best Malls & Local Brands In Bangkok

  • EmSphere – A massive 200,000 square metre mall focused on high-street fashion, lifestyle brands, casual dining, and a standout home decor section showcasing local artisanal talents like Swoon Space’s handcrafted Thai textile designs. emsphere.co.th
  • CentralWorld – The world’s sixth largest shopping mall, housing two department stores and stores for Thai brands like Gentle Woman, Pomelo, and Lyn Around. www.centralworld.co.th
  • Marche Thonglor – An eco-friendly design with vertical gardens, waterfalls, preserved trees, and a distinctive white spiral ramp, housing trendy local brands like Fabrique’s flagship store. www.facebook.com/marchethonglor
  • Siam Square – Dubbed the “SoHo of Thailand,” is a trendy youth hangout featuring LED screens, the iconic all-pink Matchbox multi-label fashion store, and an array of bookshops, record stores, and cinemas. pmcu.co.th
  • MBK Center – Renowned for its affordable selection of clothing, electronics, handicrafts, souvenirs, and a bargain shopping experience. www.mbk-center.co.th

Bangkok temples and cultural sites

Temples & Cultural Sites

Bangkok may be famous for its vibrant street life, but the true soul of the city lies within its ancient temples and shrines. Beyond just admiring their beauty, many of these temples welcome visitors to participate in centuries-old rituals and customs. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience Bangkok’s rich history in full color.

The Best Temples & Cultural Sites in Bangkok

  • The Grand Palance – Features some of the city’s oldest and most beautiful buildings, including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, home to a sacred 15th-century Buddha that only the Thai king is permitted to touch. www.royalgrandpalace.th
  • Wat Arun – Iconic Khmer-style central prang, featuring striking elements like giant chapel guards and Chinese-style pavilions. www.facebook.com/watarunofficial
  • Wat Pho – The largest and one of the oldest temples in Bangkok, with over 1,000 Buddha images, including the Reclining Buddha. www.watpho.com
  • Erawan Shrine – Pay respects to Phra Phrom, the four-faced Thai version of Brahma, and leave an offering for good fortune.
  • Jim Thompson House – Where American businessman Jim Thompson showcased his Southeast Asian art and artifact collection within a series of 19th-century Thai houses he relocated in the 1960s. jimthompsonhouse.org
  • The Ancient City – The world’s largest open-air museum located just outside Bangkok, is a sprawling complex featuring replicas of ancient Thai temples from various regions. www.muangboranmuseum.com

Read More: Your Neighbourhood Guide To Happy Valley

Bangkok calypso cabaret

Shows, Performances & Artistic Experiences

Like other major cities with a strong cultural heritage, Bangkok also has a thriving art & culture scene that captivates visitors both day and night. During the day, explore craft workshops and immersive artistic experiences and when the sun sets, sign up for the captivating shows and performances that showcase Thai culture through breathtaking skill and boundless passion.

The Best Shows & Performances in Bangkok

  • Calypso Cabaret Show – Performances by Thai ladyboys, featuring music, dance, comedy, and burlesque, with options for authentic Thai dinner and traditional dance shows. calypsocabaret.com
  • Muay Thai Boxing – Authentic Muay Thai boxing at Bangkok’s legendary Rajadamnern Stadium, where skilled fighters deliver adrenaline-packed performances that showcase strength, athleticism, bravery, and masterful technique. rajadamnern.com
  • The Artist’s House – A serene and creative retreat where visitors can enjoy traditional Thai puppet shows, partake in art workshops, and mingle with local artists in a charming, art-filled setting. www.facebook.com/BaanSilapin
  • Stella Art Cafe – Where you can paint your own Benjarong, a traditional Thai ceramic craft resembling glittering jewellery. www.facebook.com/StellaArtCafe
  • Bangkok Art and Culture Centre – Enjoy movie screenings, live music, art workshops, and exhibitions by global and local artists. en.bacc.or.th

Bangkok RAKxa Wellness

Spas & Wellness Experiences

After all that exploring, you’ll definitely need to rejuvenate. Luckily, spa and wellness treatments in Bangkok are affordable and plentiful enough to make even the most seasoned guru weep with joy. No matter which option you choose, the therapists in Bangkok will soothe away all your city stresses, leaving you feeling refreshed and realigned – mind, body, and soul.

The Best Spas & Wellness Centres In Bangkok

  • RAKxa Wellness & Medical Retreat – Personalised wellness programmes combining DNA testing and cryotherapy with traditional treatments such as singing bowl healing and acupuncture. rakxawellness.com
  • Health Land Spa – With 8 branches in Bangkok, it combines traditional Thai wellness with affordable Ayurvedic treatments and high-quality aromatherapy products. www.healthlandspa.com
  • Dii Wellness Med Spa – State-of-the-art facilities and unique blend of traditional massages, advanced skin treatments, and medical technology. www.divanaspa.com
  • Panpuri Wellness – Treatments with organic ingredients and a standout feature of Japanese-style hot springs, including five unique pools. panpuriorganicspa.com
  • Loft Thai Spa & Massage – Uses 24-karat gold flakes to provide anti-aging, brightening, and detoxifying benefits. www.loft-thai.com

Read More: The Best Spas In Hong Kong – Massages, Facials And More

Main image courtesy of fokkebok via Getty, image 1 courtesy of  Florian Wehde via Unsplash, image 2 courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok via Facebook, image 3 courtesy of Payal Shah, image 4 courtesy of 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok via Facebook, image 5 courtesy of Nawa Thai Cuisine via Facebook, image 6 courtesy of Aunglo by Yangrak via Instagram, image 7 courtesy of Baan Tepa via Instagram, image 8 courtesy of Tropic City via Facebook, images 9, 12 and 13 courtesy of Catherine Pun, image 10 courtesy of Crimson Room via Facebook, image 11 courtesy of Jodd Fairs via Instagram, image 14 courtesy of Calypso Cabaret via Instagram, image 15 courtesy of RAKxa Wellness via Instagram.

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