Since I moved to Bangkok I have taken it upon myself to become acquainted with the city. And it is my mission to explore and find new places. Here are my top 10 alternative things to do in Bangkok.
1. Take a trip on the Chao Phraya River– this has to be my favourite way to travel in Bangkok. Not only will you get a different viewpoint of the city, you will see many sights that exemplify just how diverse Bangkok is. It is also the cheapest and quickest way to get to most destinations.
Click here for more information on things to do near each pier.
How to get there: The best way to get to the river is to take the BTS to Saphan Taksin pier, or if you are staying near Khao San Road the closet pier is Phra Arthit.
Open: Daily 6.00am-7.30pm
The Diversity of Bangkok, as seen from the Chao Phraya River
2. Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre– For anyone who needs a little culture fix whilst in Bangkok, visit the BACC. It is a huge place full of cafes and coffee shops, book shops and stalls selling crafts and homemade jewellery. There are 9 floors, all exhibiting art in different genres from paintings and drawings to film and theatre. You could easily spend the whole day there if you wanted to. A real must for art lovers.
Click here for what’s on at the BACC.
How to get there: National Stadium BTS, exit 3.
Address: 939 Rama I Road, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
Open: Tuesday to Sunday 10.00am to 9.00pm
Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre
3. Visit Wat Po at night-Fed up with hoards of people? Then visit Wat Po at night. There is no-one there, save the odd security guard or monk. The main temple with the reclining Buddha is not open but you are free to wander around the grounds in the shadows of the illuminated temples and statues. It’s something that most people don’t do when they visit Bangkok but they definitely should. It’s a very calming experience.
How to get there: The simplest option is to take a taxi but that can work out expensive due to its location and the traffic. Another option is to take the ferry. The pier for Wat Po is Tha Tien (N8). Once off the ferry it is a 10 minute walk from the pier, or 2 minutes in a tuk-tuk or taxi.
Address: 2 Sanamchai Road, Grand Palace Subdistrict, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200
Wat Po at night
4. Go to Koh Kret– Koh Kret is a small island in the Chao Phraya River and located in Nonthaburi. It is a bit of a trek to get there but well worth the visit. The best way to see Koh Kret is on foot. There is a pathway that goes all the way round the island and a leisurely walk, through local villages, will take you around 1 ½ to 2 hours. There is also a market to browse and buy local Mon pottery, or countless restaurants to sit and have lunch while you gaze out over the river.
Click here for more information on Koh Kret.
How to get there: Take the once-weekly Chao Phraya Express, which leaves Saphan Taksin every Sunday at 09:00 and visits a number of attractions before returning at 15:30. The cost of the cruise and guided tour is 300 baht (no lunch).
Public bus 166 from Victory Monument, which travels all the way to the market in Pak Kret. From there, you have to walk about 500 metres, or take a taxi, to the ferry pier, located behind Wat Sanam Neua.
The Chao Phraya “green flag” express boat offers a direct service from BTS Saphan Taksin to Pak Kret (pier N33), from 06.15am to 08.00am. Return journey from 3.30pm to 6.00pm with no service on Sundays. The trip costs 20 baht and takes just over an hour.
Koh Kret, Bangkok
5. Go to Talad Rot Fai Market– Translated as train market, this little gem in Srinakarin will give you more of a local experience than the more touristy places such as MBK and Khao San Road. Jam packed with stalls, selling everything you could think of, bars, actual bars to cocktail cars, and plenty of restaurants and places to eat. It’s also known as a vintage market, so if you want to find anything retro then this is the place. It will provide you with a lively and fun-filled evening.
How to get there: The best way to get there is by taxi but the traffic can get very busy so you should consider getting the BTS to On Nut and then get a taxi from there
Address: Srinakarin Road Soi 51, Nong Bon, Prawet, Bangkok, 10250
Open: Thursday to Sunday 4.00pm-1.00am
Talad Rod Fai, Srinakarin, Bangkok
6. Have dinner and drinks at Hemingway’s– You like Thai food right? But sometimes it’s just nice to eat some food that reminds you of home, right? Hemingway’s is the place to go. A little oasis in the heart of Sukhumvit, the bar is a beautiful old colonial style building with a tree filled garden area and water fountain. They do a delicious range of Western food and an all-day happy hour on certain drinks. It feels like you are a million miles away from the busy Sukhumvit Road.
Click here for their menu.
How to get there: 1 minute from Asok BTS and Sukhumvit MRT
Address: 1 Sukhumvit Soi 14, Sukhumvit Road, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110
Open: Monday to Sunday 11.30am-1.00am
7. Take a stroll through Little India– Locally known as Phahurat this is the place to go if you are looking for a bargain. The myriad of stalls and shops sell everything from jewellery to fabrics and costumes. There are tons of places to eat and I particularly recommend The Royal India restaurant, on Chakphet Road. The restaurant has won many awards for their delicious and cheap food. It’s a really nice way to spend an afternoon, wander around the little alleys and see an alternative part of Bangkok.
How to get there: From Hua Lamphong train station take a tuk-tuk or taxi to Chakphet Road. Alternatively, the nearest pier is Yodpiman Pier (N6)
Little India, Bangkok
8. Hang out on Samsen Road and Phra Arthit Road– There is much to be discovered near to the infamous Khao San Road. Both Samsen Road and Phra Arthit Road are full of cafes, bars and restaurants that are definitely overlooked by their more well-known neighbour. Get an art, movie, and drinks fix at Chomp and Cinema Winehouse on Samsen Road. Or get a more authentic experience on Phra Arthit Road where you can sample some delicious curries with roti bread at Roti Mataba. Drink premium beer at Good Story or rest a while in the shade of a tree while enjoying the river views at Santichaiprakan Park.
How to get there: Take the ferry to Phra Arthit Pier. (N13) Leave the pier and turn left onto Phra Arthit Road. However, if you are staying on Khao San Road, Samsen Road is located at the police station end. Turn right. For Phra Arthit Road walk through Soi Rambuttri until you reach an alleyway which will lead you there.
Chomp, Samsen 1 Alley, 63-65 Samsen Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200
Open: Daily 9.00am-11.00pm
Cinema Winehouse, 61 Samsen Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200
Open: Wednesday to Monday 5.00pm-12.30am
Roti Mataba, 136 Phra Arthit Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200
Open: Tuesday to Sunday 09.00am to 10.00pm
Good Story, 72 Phra Arthit Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200
Open: Monday to Sunday 11.00am to 1.00am
Santichaiprakan Park-Phra Arthit Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200
Open: Daily 5.00am-10.00pm
Santichaiprakan Park, Phra Arthit Road, Bangkok
9. Have Thai food on the street– As much as I love eating in restaurants and drinking in bars, you can’t quite beat sitting on the pavement, amidst all that chaos that comes from living in a busy city, eating freshly prepared Thai food. It is, by far, the cheapest way to eat and the best way to experience Thai food. The food stalls are everywhere, just look for the places where the locals hang out. If it is busy, be warned that some places sell out very early on in the day, but you can be sure that the food is very popular and very delicious.
How to get there: These places are everywhere but I have a couple of favourites.
Soi Convent for Khao Man Gai (Chicken and rice) 40 baht. Off Silom Road, nr. Sala Daeng BTS
Udomsuk Soi 103 for Somtam (Papaya salad) 35 baht. Sois 18 and/or 19, nr. Udomsuk BTS
On the corner of Atsadang Road and Trok Sake for Pad Krapow Moo (Stir Fry Pork with Holy Basil and rice) 50 baht. Round the corner from The Royal Hotel, Ratchadamnoen Klang Road (Nr. Khao San Road)
Street Food, Bangkok
10. Go to Dasa Books– For all those book worms in need of a place to just chill the hell out, Dasa Books on Sukhumvit Road is the perfect place to relax with a coffee or two. They have a wide range of books in store, some of which are on sale for under 50 baht. I dare you not to buy anything.
Click here for their website
How to get there: Take the BTS to Phrom Phong and from there it is a few minutes walk. It is located in between sois 24 and 26.
Address: 4 Sukhumvit Road, Khlong Toei, Bangkok, 10110
Open- Daily 10.00am-8.00pm
Dasa Books, Bangkok
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