Bangkok has a bustling nightlife, some of the best market shopping and is a backpacker hotspot. Plus its historical sites and vibrant culture make it a well-rounded and fascinating place to visit. This city also has some of the most varied, spiciest and tastiest street food I have ever tried. Here's my ultimate Bangkok travel guide to help you plan your Thailand experience!
What to Expect in Bangkok
Language: Thai is the local language, although all young people are taught basic English at school, and many signs are written in English.
Currency: Thai Baht is the local currency.
Credit Cards and Banks: ATMs are common. While most places accept credit cards, it is wise to use cash where possible as card fraud can be a big problem.
Climate: Bangkok is hot and humid throughout the year, with average highs above 90 degrees (Fahrenheit) and lows around 70 degrees throughout the year. April is the hottest month, September is the wettest, and December is the coldest.
Peak Season: Rain is most common between May and October, meaning most visitors come between November and April.
Culture: It’s considered crude to eat directly off a fork. It’s customary to use a fork to push food onto a spoon and eat from that. Also, be sure to cover up your elbows and knees when visiting temples out of respect!
Water: Don’t drink the tap water, stick to bottled.
Getting Around in Bangkok
Getting around Bangkok is easy using the BTS Skytrain—an elevated train system throughout the city. Keep the routes in mind when planning your itinerary for Bangkok!
Sukhumvit: Home to the upmarket business center of the city and many of the most popular nightlife venues. You’ll also find the best places to shop here, within Siam Square.
Riverside: You’ll find most of the more luxury hotels scattered along the river, offering stunning views, and a good base to exploring most of the tourist attractions.
Khao San Road: This is backpacker central in Bangkok, and is home to some popular cheap hostels, a range of bars, along with the historic Phra Sumen Fort (one of the oldest remaining fortifications in the city). Unfortunately, the Skytrain isn’t super accessible from this area, so keep that in mind.
Rattanakosin/Old Town: This is where many of the historic sights of the city are located, including the Grand Palace and the amazing Buddha statue at Wat Pho.
Silom: During the day this part of the city is a busy financial district, but at night it transforms, with vibrant and illicit nightlife. You can find great street food here, but you also might encounter some brothels.
Dusit: This part of the city is where King Rama V built his sprawling Dusit Palace complex. The district is home to most of the political and administrative buildings of the government, along with a wide range of museums and temples.
Where to Stay in Bangkok
Bangkok has a wide range of accommodations to satisfy any budget. If you’re looking for a budget stay, check out hotels, hostels, and rentals around Khao San or Banglamphu. While public transportation is as connected in this part of the city, you’ll find more budget to mid-range options and lots of things to do. If you’re looking for a mid-range to a luxurious stay, I prefer the neighborhoods of Silom, Sukhumvit, or along the river in Bangrak. Here are some of the top hotels in Bangkok, and my favorite places to stay!
A luxury hotel at the heart of the city, the Banyan Tree has wonderful views from the rooftop restaurant, luxury rooms, an amazing health center, and an outdoor swimming pool with its own great city views.
A spectacular luxury hotel with its own gardens, waterfront location, and sumptuously decorated rooms. The Mandarin Oriental is a top-end luxury hotel in Bangkok.
This modern, boutique hotel will fool you into thinking it will break the bank. With rooms starting at $50 USD per night, you can enjoy all the amenities you need in a sleek and comfortable space. It’s also in a great location to walk to some restaurants and bars but is slightly outside of central Bangkok (about a 15-minute walk).
This resort offers more amenities, restaurants, and services than you could believe! Situated on the Chao Praya river and just a short train ride away from downtown, the Shangri-La Hotel offers a grand and luxurious stay.
This modern and bright hotel has a beautiful terrace, garden, and pool area, in addition to super comfy rooms! The view is stunning and the location is perfect for exploring. Plus, they offer a continental breakfast and free WiFI. It’s high-rated for a reason!
Where to Eat in Bangkok
Bangkok has been voted the best in the world when it comes to street food, so you have to try some authentic dishes while you’re visiting. The best place to grab street food is from the local markets, high-rated street food stalls, or join a Bangkok food tour.
If you enjoy Asian flavors, hearty, and some spice, Bangkok will be heaven to you! If it’s your first time in Thailand, I recommend trying some of the classic dishes like Som Tam, Khao Soi, Pad Thai, Laab, Massaman Curry, or Penang Curry. I’ve outlined some of the best restaurants and street food stalls to eat from in Bangkok!
Street Food StallsFast Food
With countless food stalls and markets throughout the city, you can’t come to Bangkok without trying a few of the local favorites. Street food is a huge part of local culture and something not to be missed! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit intimidated by the offerings of street vendors upon arriving in Thailand. This street food guide will provide first-time travelers with some insight into Thai street food culture.
Some of the top street food stalls in Bangkok are:
Raan Jay Fai — Female-owned and the only street food vendor included in the Michelin-star guide to Bangkok! This place is always busy, but worth the wait.
Nhong Rim Klong — Plan to come outside of lunch hours, otherwise, you’ll be waiting in line for a while.
- Sukhumvit Soi 33 — Offering superb Thai food at great prices, this vibrant area of the city is where many locals mix with visitors to grab a bite to eat before hitting the town.
Lamphu Tree Thai RestaurantThai, Asian
Lamphu Tree is an amazing, hidden restaurant right along the Khlong (canal), serving delicious Thai food, curries, and more! I love the atmosphere here—perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Paii serves modern Thai seafood in one of Bangkok’s iconic landmarks, The House on Sathorn, which is a national heritage building, built in 1889. Paii’s amazing reviews speak for themselves!
Sirocco at LebuaMediterranean
While the international and Mediterranean cuisine here is especially tasty, it is a little on the pricier side (especially by Thai standards). But, the amazing views (it’s on the 63rd floor!) make this the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or two.
Mango Tree offers great Thai food and a full menu of wine, beers & cocktails, just steps from the bustling business district on Silom Road. Plus, the restaurant is surrounded by a garden of ancient mango trees—making for a special atmosphere!
Nang Gin Kui — Bangkok Private DiningFine Dining
Known by many as the best dining experience in Bangkok, this small and cozy restaurant is in a city apartment offering some great river views. It really feels like you are a guest at a friend’s house for dinner. It’s the perfect place to have excellent Thai food and meet other travelers.
What to Do in Bangkok
Bangkok is lively, eccentric, and traditional all in one—it is such a unique experience. There are a handful of captivating neighborhoods and hotspots to explore, dishes to be eaten, stalls to shop, and historic establishments to see. Plus, you’ll find luxurious spas and hotels here, if you’re into that kind of thing. Here are the top things to do when traveling in Bangkok!
With over 15,000 stalls, the Chatuchak Weekend Market offers everything from clothing and counterfeit football shirts to fresh food and souvenirs. It’s a great introduction to Thai shopping.
There is no better way to get a full tour of the neighborhoods in Bangkok than by taking one of the various sightseeing riverboat tours.
Established in 1972, the Ancient Siam or Ancient City is a large, outdoor museum park shaped to reflect the map of Thailand and has beautiful representations of the country’s oldest and most sacred buildings.
The home of the greatest American entrepreneur in Thailand from the 1950-60s, the house of Silk magnate Jim Thompson is now a museum and is surrounded by beautiful natural gardens.
The tropical surroundings of Bangkok are ideal for parks and gardens. The Lumphini Park in Silom is the largest in the city. Those around Phra Sumen Fort also offer a nice escape from the busy atmosphere of the city.
The Thai national sport is more than just kickboxing, it is an amazing blend of martial arts and fighting techniques. Muay Thai matches are regularly held in stadiums around the city. There are also classes offered for those looking to learn the basics.
At the heart of Bangkok’s historic attractions, these spectacular buildings show off the wealth and privilege enjoyed by old Thai kings. It also shows off some of the best architecture and ornate decorations in the country.
If you let your stomach dictate your travels, there’s no better way to explore Bangkok than with a guided food tour! I can’t recommend a Bangkok nighttime temples, markets and food tour enough — you’ll get to taste some of Thailand’s most iconic dishes and explore the city’s vibrant night markets.
While most visitors get to just taste the excellent Thai food, a visit to see Amita offers an insight into how to make the tastiest Thai dishes. She also has a lovely herb garden where fresh ingredients are picked for the dishes.
This is the best place to find vintage and pre-loved clothing and items in Bangkok. The Rod Fai Market has everything from antiques to vintage car parts and a great selection of street food stalls.
Home to some of the seediest bars in the city, this red-light district is near Sukhumvit Street and has a range of bars and cafes. It’s a great place to see the night life of the city go by.
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