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Bangkok is as intoxicating as it is diverse; a melting pot of glamorous aromas, interesting sights and visual delights. It's a city with infinite layers which you need to explore to reveal its hidden mysteries. If you're planning a trip to Bangkok - or Krung Thep as it's called in Thai - make sure to allow enough time to see some of the treasures that has given this city iconic status. At least three to five days. In this section we feature some of the highlights and traditional must-see attractions.
Find the best Bangkok attractions by area or pick the topics that interest you, whatever it is you are looking for we have covered just about all of the attractions in Bangkok so you can be sure you won't miss a thing.
This is a park that is opened Opening Hours: 06:00-21:00 daily. You can rent out bikes for around 50 baht per hour. There’s also cute swan peddle boats for rent – great for the kids or a romantic date as the sun sets over the water. Other city-distractions include some playgrounds, skate ramps, a central pavilion with fountains, and an impressive half-circle courtyard that makes an ideal spot for picnics and people watching.
5 Islands near Bangkok
These 5 islands near Bangkok are all within a few hours’ drive (and quick boat trip) from the Thai capital, offering a convenient tropical escape for when you just want to get away from it all, but still want to be within touching distance of the big city.
Whilst Thailand is famous for its white sandy beaches and tropical paradises, most of the more famous islands are found way down south, and the only way to get the is by flying or spending a full day on the road. However, with our handpicked selection of the best islands near Bangkok, you’re never too far away from that picture-postcard beach. These islands include:-
1) Koh Larn (140km, 3 hours)
Many visitors to Bangkok find themselves making a line for Pattaya in search of sun, sea and sand but are left dissatisfied by the lack of pristine white sands in the main town centre. The best solution, if you want a taste of tropical paradise, is to jump on a boat to nearby Koh Larn. Often referred to as Coral Island, this is probably the best island near Bangkok in terms of offering soft white-sanded beaches and amenities, such as restaurants and watersports. Koh Larn is quick and easy to reach, and you could even make it a daytrip from Bangkok if you get up early enough. Seafood restaurants hug the picturesque coastline on the eastern side, and you can always grab a songtheaw taxi to the quieter (and prettier) western coast for a rest bite from the crowds on the weekend.
2) Koh Si Chang (110km, 2.5 hours)
As the nearest island to Bangkok, Koh Si Chang – or Sichang - gets its fair share of local and foreign visitors, many who make the day trip or weekend outing from Bangkok or nearby Pattaya. Beach fanatics might not be overwhelmed by the quality of the sand on Koh Si Chang, but what it lacks in sandy beaches, it certainly makes up for with its quaint fishing-village vibe, as well as plenty of small temple visits, secluded jungle pathways, a lively port area and snorkelling opportunities. Eating options here are cheap and delicious, with the choice dish, of course, being barbequed fish or squid.
3) Koh Samed (220km, 4.5 hours)
Famous among Thais for being THE place for teenagers and students to party on the weekends, Koh Samed – or ‘Samet’ – is by far the most fun-filled island near Bangkok. However, it does take a little more time and effort getting there, meaning it’s probably doesn’t fall into the daytrip category. Aside from young, single Thais in the mood to party, the island boasts plenty of white-sanded beaches - nowhere near as spectacular as the islands in Southern Thailand, but then again you’re only a few hours away from Bangkok. Koh Samed is also statistically the driest island in the whole country, enjoying its own mini-weather-climate that escapes prolonged periods of rain even during wet season. Expect the hotels, bars and clubs to fill up on weekends.
4) Koh Kret (10km, 45 mins)
The small islet of Koh Kret isn’t your typical Thai island. Measuring 2 km by 1 km, this small patch of land sits in Chao Phraya River and is famous for the Mon Tribes who have habited this island since it was created in the 18th century during the construction of a canal.
You won’t find pristine beaches and turquoise water gently lapping at the shore here; however, it is still does present a worthwhile daytrip to escape the capital. Just a few kilometres outside the city centre, the landlocked Koh Kret offers a glimpse of what Bangkok used to look like, with an abundance of greenery, makeshift pathways and precarious wooden housing.
5) Koh Khram Yai (170km, 3.5 hours)
Although only a few kilometres off the Pattaya coastline, arriving on the almost-deserted Koh Khram Yai feels like being washed up from a shipwreck. No hotels, no restaurants and no bars; this really is about as secluded as it gets. The geography of the place has prevented any development, as most of the island covered in sharp rocks and cliffs. The intrepid travellers that do make it to this little-known spot can enjoy the small, clean and picturesque beaches all to themselves. Do bring your own food and drink and note that access is prohibited during certain times due to an ongoing turtle breeding program.
Most Popular Attractions in Bangkok
The Grand Palace
If there is one must-see sight that no visit to Bangkok would be complete without, it's the dazzling, spectacular Grand Palace, undoubtedly the city's most famous landmark. Built in 1782 - and for 150 years the home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government - the Grand Palace of Bangkok is a grand old dame indeed, that continues to have visitors in awe with its beautiful architecture and intricate detail, all of which is a proud salute to the creativity and craftsmanship of Thai people. Within its walls were also the Thai war ministry, state departments, and even the mint. Today, the complex remains the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom.
Jim Thompson House
The lovely garden-enclosed compound sitting on the bank of the Saen Saeb Canal would have gone completely unnoticed, had it not been for a legacy left behind by a middle-aged American man named Jim Thompson. His elegant residential enclave, comprising six traditional Thai teakwood houses transported from Ayutthaya and Bangkok’s Ban Krua community, echoes Jim Thompson’s 30-year love affair with Southeast Asian art and cultural heritage.
An architect by training and an avid collector of Asian objets d’art, Jim Thompson’s keen eyes and flair for design breathed life into everything he touched. After his discharge from military service in 1946, Jim Thompson decided to settle down in Thailand, where he dedicated over 30 years to reviving Thai silk – then a dying cottage industry – and introduced it to the world’s most respectable fashion houses and catwalks in Paris, New York, London and Milan.
The same goes for his Thai house, which was no ordinary teakwood villa complex filled with incongruous collections of antiques, but a breathing museum – even then – that embodies Jim Thompson’s life-long passion and whimsical design choices. One day in 1967, while at the height of his success, he mysteriously disappeared into the Malaysian jungle, and thus began the legacy of Jim Thompson…
Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (officially known as Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram) is regarded as the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand. Located in the historic centre of Bangkok, within the grounds of the Grand Palace, it enshrines Phra Kaew Morakot (the Emerald Buddha), the highly revered Buddha image meticulously carved from a single block of jade.
The Emerald Buddha (Phra Putta Maha Mani Ratana Patimakorn) is a Buddha image in the meditating position in the style of the Lanna school of the north, dating from the 15th century AD.