The sprawling city of Bangkok is known for its street food, temples, markets and nightlife so the question of what to do is never an issue in the City of Angels. If you have a week in Thailand’s buzzing capital, allow us to inspire your holiday itinerary and ensure you return home with a few tales to tell.
Credit: Apriwach Supateerawanitt
Bangkok is home to a diverse food scene, from prestigious restaurants to street food stalls such as Jay Fai, the only one in the city to hold a Michelin star. It’s best known for its crab omelette, cooked al fresco over a charcoal stove.
Outdoor markets are also a great place to experience Bangkok’s foodie scene. The 600-odd vendors at the new Jodd Fairs – formerly known as Talad Rot Fai Ratchada – offer classics such as pad Thai and papaya salad alongside newfangled creations such as mala barbecue skewers and truffle mayo sandwiches.
Jay Fai, 327 Maha Chai Road, Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, 10200, Thailand
Jodd Fairs, Rama IX Road, Huai Khwang, Bangkok, 10310, Thailand
Pak Khlong Talat, Bangkok’s largest flower market, is on the banks of the Chao Phraya river in the historical district Rattanakosin, and a sensory overload of smells and sounds.
As chaotic as it is charming, it is packed with Thai jasmine, sweet rambutan and red chilli peppers, while artisans thread needles through buds to create phuang malai garlands*.*
The market is open 24 hours, but for a glimpse of local life, visit before dawn when the vendors receive their goods for the day.
Chak Phet Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, Thailand
Credit: Elwynn, Shutterstock
A visit to Bangkok is not complete without experiencing Thailand’s largest market, Chatuchak Weekend Market.
Home to 15,000 stalls, its 11,000 vendors sell everything from food and clothing to handmade crafts. It’s a great place to wander, haggle and people watch.
Wat Phra Dhammakaya, north of Bangkok, is a pilgrimage site for Buddhists who visit to seek enlightenment and practice meditation. Set on 405 hectares – the size of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park – it has 300,000 gilded bronze Buddha statues outside, and 700,000 inside.
Another noteworthy temple is Wat Arun Ratchawararam, dubbed the Temple of Dawn. It dates back to the 1700s and derives its name from the Indian god of dawn, Aruna. Its central prang, a stupa-like pagoda covered in porcelain tiles and seashells, glistens in the sunlight.
Wat Phra Dhammakaya, 23/2 Moo 7 Khlong Sam, Khlong Luang, Pathum Thani, 12120, Thailand
Wat Arun Ratchawararam, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok, 10600, Thailand
The Children’s Discovery Museum next to Chatuchak Weekend Market will keep little ones occupied as they dig up dinosaur bones on an archaeological site, create bubbles in a science gallery and build a city with giant building blocks.
Meanwhile, Baan 1000 Mai Cafe & Farm is a laidback riverside plantation in Bangkok’s suburbs with a 1,000-year-old farmhouse owned by a Thai family – the only one of its kind in the area. It offers family-friendly activities for children to row boats, feed chickens or get their hands dirty watering crops and planting rice.
The Children’s Discovery Museum, Queen Sirikit Park, Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Khet Chatuchak, Bangkok, 10900, Thailand
Baan 1000 Mai Cafe & Farm, Soi 48 municipality, Village No 6, Bang Toei, Sam Khok District, Pathum Thani, 12160, Thailand
Hire a bike from Khun Noom Jakrayan and explore the temples and wood craft shops on Koh Kret, a man-made island in the Chao Praya River in the north of Bangkok. Refuel at Lung Daeng restaurant with khao che, a dessert of cooked blue rice in cold jasmine-flavoured water.
The island is home to a settlement of Mon artisans originally from Myanmar, renowned for their terracotta pottery made with skills passed down through the generations. Watch them carve intricate designs with shards of coral or take part in a workshop at a kiln in Koh Kret Pottery Village.
Pottery village, Pak Kret, Nonthaburi, Koh Kret, 11120, Thailand
Take your dining experience to the next level and soak up city views at one of Bangkok’s many swanky rooftop bars and restaurants. Dine at the grill-and-bar Vertigo, and finish the night sipping cocktails at Moon Bar with a 360° view of the city sparkling at night.
Nestled on South Sathorn Road, all-suite Banyan Tree Bangkok is in the central business and embassy district, close to some of Bangkok’s most popular landmarks.