The 5 Best Ways to Explore Bangkok

ways to explore bangkok

Today’s post is all about the five best ways to explore Bangkok after we went on a short visit there in the spring.  Click through to see!

sausage in bangkok

street food bangkok

grilled chicken in bangkok

 

#1: At Night

Bangkok comes alive at night. During the day, it’s hot as blazes. The sun beats down on the concrete-filled city, and it seems like all anyone wants to do is run from one air-conditioned high rise to the next. But as lights flicker on and the sun sets, the streets get busier and noisier.  The hum of traffic turns into an outright growl as tuk-tuks and motor scooters vie for room on streets already crowded with cars. But the best part has to be the night markets. Stalls appear magically, as if in a pop-up book, selling everything from vacuum cleaner parts and plastic shoes to spiraled grilled calamari and half-split coconuts spilling over with their own water.  I dare you to resist a lemongrass chicken leg seared over hot charcoal. It’s impossible. 

For some of Bangkok’s most famous night markets, don’t miss the gigantic Rot Fai Market in Srinakarin or Asiatique, a family-friendly open air market by the river.

whole fish in bangkok
A fried whole fish in a plucky sweet, spicy and sour tamarind sauce, garnished with lemongrass, cilantro, shallots and crunchy hot chilies
fried chicken with garlic and shallots bangkok
The fried chicken from Soi Polo Fried Chicken, covered in crispy fried garlic and shallots

#2 Through Your Stomach

The night markets are a prime way to sample lots of treats in one fell swoop, but you don’t have to brave the crowds and narrow walkways between stalls to experience Bangkok’s culinary delights. Order a pitcher of cold Chang beer and something hot and fried — whether it’s chicken, a whole fish, or just a heap of dough (every country has their version, whether it’s a churro or a cruller or a donut). It’s a winning combination.

fried morning glory bangkok
Stir fried morning glory, a leafy green with edible stalks, in a base of soy sauce

tuk tuk in bangkok

#3 By Tuk Tuk

No trip to Bangkok is complete without a hair-raising, white-knuckling ride on a motorized tuk-tuk. Tuk tuks seat two comfortably and four treacherously, so if you’re traveling in a group, expect to take more than one and do a lot of shouting at traffic lights to figure out logistics over the dull roar of the tuk-tuk’s motor scooter based engine. Since we have a lot of kids in our life and were there to visit our friends, we booked a tour with Expique. Their tours offer a variety of experiences from night markets to food tours. We opted for the aptly-named Family Canal and Tuk Tuk Adventure. At 6,000 Thai baht per person (nearly $200 per person), it’s not cheap, but we quickly learned that it is superbly worth it. Every aspect of the tour was tailored for our children, which enabled us parents to relax and focus on more important things, like flagging down this lady who sells her satay, made to order by boat:

bangkok satay lady by boat

Speaking of boats, that leads us to the next of the five best ways to see Bangkok:

#4 By Boat

bangkok boat ride

Boarding a boat in Bangkok should be an absolute must-do on any visitor’s list. The Chao Phraya river, the city’s main thoroughfare, offers a different vantage point to see major tourist attractions like the Grand Palace and the many wats (temples) that dot the city. Our tour with Expique included a boat ride out to the city’s khlongs, or vast network of canals that used to serve as the city’s major means of transportation. A vibrant community still resides along the banks of these khlongs, one that is not to be missed to see both the highest and lowest points of Bangkok everyday life.

komodo dragon bangkok
A komodo dragon swims lazily along a khlong (canal) wall

khlong canal bangkok

#5: On Foot

bangkok market vegetables

street life in bangkok

Yes, it’s hot. Yes, it’s crowded. Yes, it’s noisy. But to really appreciate all that Bangkok has to offer, you’re going to have to hoof it a little. We stopped by the Bangkok Pak Klong Market, the city’s wholesaler destination for flowers. And boy, are there ever. Used primarily by suppliers for temples, the colorful sights and fragrant aromas are a must-see destination for anyone looking for an off-the-beaten path experience. Weave your way through cramped aisles brimming with flowers of all shapes and sizes, then catch a tuk tuk to another part of town, like Sukhumvit, the city’s central shopping district.

Like this post? Check out these other fantastic travel destinations:

Like this post? Pin the image below to save these tips for later!

ways to explore bangkok

 

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About me

I’m Ann, a mom / wife / lawyer / certified culinary enthusiast. I share recipes, travel guides and home life tips while living overseas. Currently based in São Paulo, Brazil.

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