Thailand. Bangkok. So exotic, right?! I love getting travel requests for this amazing destination! In this article, I’m talking about Bangkok and Thailand generally, and my next Thailand article will be all about a specific wellness property, so stay tuned!
Considered the most popular tourist destination on the planet, Bangkok receives more than 20 million visitors a year! This exciting, vibrant city has more to explore than you could ever imagine. So, to make the trip one that you'll always remember, here are some great not-to-be-missed experiences in Bangkok!
What to do in Bangkok
Cruise down the Chao Phraya River
Take a river cruise down the Chao Phraya River for more beautiful views of Bangkok. Night or day, the views are bound to be majestic. Plus, you'll get to see some of the city's historical sites along the way.
Visit the Grand Palace
This impressive palace is a must-see. Not only is it Bangkok's most famous attraction, but it represents over 200 years of royalty.
Wander the streets of Chinatown
One of the oldest parts of the city is Chinatown, a lively district with great shopping, restaurants, bars, and entertainment.
Check out the reclining Buddha
Visit Wat Pho to see the reclining Buddha and the most extensive assortment of Buddha statues in the country.
Go to a floating market
Floating markets are common in Bangkok. Most of the vendors are women, and they sell items such as produce, jewelry, and flowers from their boats.
Check out a rooftop bar
Bangkok is full of great clubs, pubs, and rooftop bars. The rooftop bars have some of the most magnificent views of the city, especially at night. Whether you’re a drinker or a non-drinker, you should definitely check out the view from a rooftop in Bangkok!
Try the street food
The street food in Bangkok is some of the best and most unique! From fried chicken to fried scorpions, you never know what you will find.
Go shopping at a mall
Bangkok has some impressive shopping malls, including the Siam Paragon, MBK, and Central World.
Visit the Temple of the Dawn
Near the Chao Phraya River, visit Wat Arun. It is one of the most beautiful temples in Bangkok, with a spire reaching over 250 feet tall! It is also one of the oldest and most revered of Thai temples.
Go to Ayutthaya Historical Park
Located right outside of Bangkok, the Ayutthaya Historical Park ruins are kind of a magical secret that don't receive many visitors. This park consists of the ruins of temples and palaces of the capital of the ancient Ayutthaya Kingdom. It is located on an island, surrounded by three rivers, where the old capital of Thailand used to be.
Ride a Tuk-Tuk
Tuk-tuks, mini taxis on three wheels, are a fun way to get around the city. The small size of a tuk-tuk makes it possible to avoid traffic jams and get to wherever you need to go in a hurry.
Explore Lumpini Park
Lumpini Park, one of the largest city parks in Thailand, is a great place to unwind a little and is a beautiful green escape.
A great Thailand itinerary including Bangkok, Phuket, and elephants
I recently put together a fun Thailand trip for a family of four, two adults and two kids for a spring break trip:
Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok
Check in at U Sathon Bangkok Hotel - 2 nights
Luxuriously appointed U Sathorn consists of 86 rooms featuring Superior, Superior Garden, Deluxe Garden and Suite accommodation in three low rise wings set in a courtyard style surrounded by restful green areas with a swimming pool as the centerpiece. The hotel is built in the French Colonial style.
Day 2: Half-day Grand Palace and Wat Pho - Bangkok
This morning, you'll be collected from your hotel at 8:00am to go behind the scenes for a closer look at Thailand's Buddhist culture. Start the morning with a trip to Wat Pho which is one of Bangkok's most enchanting temples. Arrive just as the resident monks gather for their morning chants and witness this deeply spiritual ritual to gain a better sense of Thailand's Buddhist heritage.
Day 3: Explore Bangkok on your own
Do some of the activities I listed above!
Day 4: Check out from hotel - fly to Phuket
Phuket is Thailand's largest island lying off the country's southwest coast and is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Imagine a combination of long powdery white sandy beaches, an azure sea, sincerely hospitable people and a backdrop of forested hillsides to delight the senses - just everything necessary for a truly memorable holiday.
Watersports abound and for the scuba diver or snorkeler, this is a haven waiting to be explored and, what's more, Phuket boasts the best seafood in the country.
Check in at The VIJITT Resort Phuket - 1 night
Escape to a heavenly corner of earth at the Vijitt Resort Phuket where the pace of life is slow and the scenery is simply breathtaking. Situated on a tranquil beach away from the bustling tourist crowds, this luxury all-villa Phuket resort offers a rejuvenating retreat that exudes Thai charm.
Elephant Hills Jungle Safari - 2 nights
Award-winning Elephant Hills is Thailand's first luxury tented jungle camp, located in Khao Sok National Park in Southern Thailand. Tours are inclusive of accommodation, activities, meals as well as the services of a full-trained and licensed tour guide. For ethical reasons, elephant riding is not offered; instead, you will get to feed, wash and interact with Asia's largest land animal when visiting the elephant sanctuary. In addition, explore the breathtaking landscape of rivers, jungle lakes, mangrove swamps and primary rainforest.
This morning, transfer to Elephant Hills Camp, catching glimpses of tropical rural life along the way. Upon arrival at the camp, enjoy a delicious Thai buffet lunch. After lunch, relax on a jungle river canoe trip down the Sok River, passing limestone mountains and cliffs covered with exotic tropical vegetation. Continue to the elephant sanctuary, where you can see, touch and learn about the life of Thai elephants and about the Elephant Hills elephant conservation project. You will prepare and feed them one of their daily meals, including their dietary supplements that help with their digestion and overall well being, then watch them bathe.
Afterward, enjoy some time at leisure in your luxury tent. Optional evening entertainment includes a movie presentation, a traditional Thai dance performance from local school children and a cooking demonstration. At 8:00pm, dinner will be served amidst the sights and sounds of the surrounding rainforest.
At night, an outdoor campfire creates a warm atmosphere.
Day 6: Elephant Hills - Cheow Lan Lake
Wake up to the sounds of nature and birds calling from the bushes next to the tent. Tea and coffee-making facilities are available in your tent for early risers; breakfast is at your leisure. Later this morning, explore Cheow Lan Lake by local long-tail boat. Surrounded by Limestone Mountains, the lake has more than a hundred small islands. Bring your swimwear; towels are provided at the local raft house, where you will stop over for lunch and relaxation. In the late afternoon return to Elephant Hills for dinner and overnight in your luxury tent.
Day 7: Elephant Hills - Jungle Trek
Start the day with a wholesome breakfast before setting out to explore the jungle on foot. This is an opportunity to explore the ecology of one of the world's oldest rainforests, including hardwood trees with huge roots, orchids, palms, ferns, bamboo and mosses. Gibbons can often be heard calling to their mates, you might spot macaque or leaf monkeys swinging through the branches, and beautiful butterflies abound. You will have the chance to walk slowly and really listen, to discover the secrets of the rainforest. Lunch will be served in the rainforest (weather-dependent), cooked in bamboo - an old tradition of jungle explorers from past centuries.
Return to your tent for a refreshing shower, then get your transportation back to your hotel in Phuket.
Check in at The VIJITT Resort Phuket – 1 night
Day 8: Flight departs for home.
Are you wondering what the weather is like in Thailand, and when would be the best time to visit? The driest months are November through March. April through June are generally the hottest months, and the rainy season usually lasts from October through December. Anytime is a good time to visit Thailand, however! Even during the wet season, there are short afternoon showers but the rest of the day is usually sunny. The average coldest temperatures overnight in Bangkok are in the 70-‘s, and the highs are in the low to mid-90’s. Phuket is usually a little milder because of the sea breezes.
Bottom line: anytime is a great time to visit Thailand!