Best Tourist Attractions in Bangkok, Thailand


A group of people standing in front of a crowd

Bangkok is everything you’d expect from the capital of Thailand: it’s noisy, crowded, colorful, exciting, infuriating, and smile-inducing. There are temples, ancient sites, and other attractions to be visited, as well as modern shopping malls that have a kitschy yet high-end ambience. Bangkok can be overwhelming, but it’s also a fascinating city that represents Southeast Asia’s tension between the developed and developing worlds.

Bangkok also serves as a gateway to many other parts of Thailand. From here, you can hop a short flight to Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and other popular destinations. You can also board a train or hop on a bus for little money, and visit national treasures such as Ayutthaya, Lopburi, and many other gems around the country.

1. Admire the Beauty of the Grand Palace

A group of people sitting in front of Wat Pho

If you only visit one major historical tourist attraction in Bangkok, this should be the one. The royal compound lives up to its name, with spectacular structures that would put the most decadent modern monarchs to shame. It’s also the home of Wat Phra Kaeo, which houses the Jade (or Emerald) Buddha.

To avoid any hassle and to make the most of your visit, take the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew Tour. This is a half-day sightseeing tour, either morning or afternoon, with pickup from your hotel and a local guide to put what you are seeing in context. Without a guide, it’s easy to miss important features or not fully understand the relevance of what you are seeing, and the hotel pickup makes the whole experience that much simpler.

2. Wat Pho

A sunset over a body of water

Located immediately south of the Grand Palace precinct, Wat Pho makes an excellent addition to your palace tour, provided your feet are up for more walking.

Today Wat Pho is best known for the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, where you’ll find a statue so big (45 meters long and 15 meters high), it cannot be viewed in its entirety but only appreciated in sections. The soles of the feet, inlaid with a myriad of precious stones, are particularly beautiful. Look also for the long earlobes signifying noble birth, and the lotus-bud configuration of the hand to symbolize purity and beauty.

3. Wat Arun

Wat Arun is something of a triumphant complex, dating back to the time of ancient battles between the former Siam and Burma. Having fallen to the Burmese, Ayutthaya was reduced to rubble and ashes, but General Taksin and the remaining survivors vowed to march “until the sun rose again” and to build a temple here. Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, was that temple. It is where the new king later built his royal palace and a private chapel.

If you climb to the top of the prang just before sunset, you will be rewarded with an unforgettable view as the sun sinks over the Chao Praya River. Even if you don’t plan on doing any climbing, sunset is really the time to take in this place in all its glory.

4. Wat Traimit, Temple of the Golden Buddha

Sheer luck (or lack thereof) makes this attraction special. During the 1950s, the East Asiatic Company purchased the land around the temple.

A condition of the sale was the removal of a plaster statue of Buddha, but the statue proved too heavy for the crane being used. The cable parted and the figure was dropped, being left overnight where it fell. It happened to be in the rainy season, and when next morning some monks walked past, they noticed a glint of gold shining through the plaster. The coating was removed, revealing a 3.5-meter Buddha cast from 5.5 tons of solid gold.

These are the main tourist attractions worth a visit in Bangkok, Thailand.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter