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6 Must Dos While Visiting Bangkok

A girl in a black dress and tan shirt stands before an intricately designed golden and white temple
Standing before Wat Hua Lumphong


Thailand is a land of sacred cultural landmarks, crystal clear beaches, and delicious food. Its capital, Bangkok, is just a small slice of the excitement the country has to offer.


Locals call Bangkok "Krungthep," or "City of Angels", and with its endless temples, it's not hard to see why.


As a native born Thai woman , I am excited to share all the cultural insights and beauties you must experience while visiting Bangkok. Here's a guide on how to truly experience Thailand's capital:





1. Loose yourself in the street food

After I told my U.S friends about Thai street food, I was met with a lot of concerns over how sanitary and safe it is. But the truth is, street food is basically a way of life in Bangkok, and there is certainly a reason as to why so many consider Thailand the best country for street food.

someone flipping meat kebabs over a grill, Thai street food
delicious fish balls

When you walk you certain Bangkok streets, you will be met with mouth-watering smells that fill the air. You will see cart after cart of pork, sticky rice, chicken, noodles, and more. It fills your senses in such a deliciously overwhelming way and after indulging in this experience, you might never look at Thai food the same way.



2. Ride a tuk-tuk

Tuk-tuks are unique form of transportation that has kind of become a symbol of Thailand. The three-wheeled, open, mini-car is a popular way of getting around the city. While cars, trains, buses, and taxis obviously exist in Bangkok, tuk-tuks are a cultural phenomenon that provide an authentic Thai experience.



3. Immerse yourself in the temples

There are so many temples around Bangkok, it would be impossible to create a post without including them. Not only are they beautiful expressions of architecture, but they provide an immersive way to learn more about Thai and Buddhist culture.


the roof of a Thai temple is filled with intricate floral designs, adorned with golds, greens, whites, and blues

Each time I am visiting Bangkok, I gain a wonderful memory inside one of the temples. I remember lighting a lotus flower shaped candle and letting it flow into a fountain for health and good luck. I remember shaking the container of fortune sticks until one falls out and I read my future. I remember passing through beautifully ornamented statues of Buddhist gods and goddesses and learning about their stories. I remember lighting incense sticks as a sign of respect for the Buddha.


The point is, there are so many little traditions that exist inside of these temples. While a big factor of visiting a temple is gazing in awe at all of its beauty, it should also a spiritual and educational experience. Temples are unique ways to dive into Thai culture and respectfully try to understand it.


The Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) within the Grand Palace is probably Bangkok's most popular temple destination, and with good reason. The Grand Palace is a historical treasure and architectural beauty within the city. It was the residence of many of Thailand's early kings, adorned with kingly gold and intricate ornaments. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha within the palace is considered one of the most sacred temples in Thailand, and it is truly unlike anything you've ever seen.



My personal favorite is Wat Hua Lamphong, a.k.a the Coffin Temple, because here you can donate a coffin to families who could not afford one for their loved ones. This one is my favorite temples because there are so many unique, spiritual traditions to explore and learn about, as well as statues of many Buddhist Gods to pay tribute to.



So do not miss out on temple exploring while visiting Bangkok, but make sure to learn the customs and dress code before entering.


4. Get a Thai massage

Nothing simultaneously gives me more fear and pleasure than a Thai massage. They are known to be extremely therapeutic, but oftentimes intense. Between the deep pressure and stretching, Thai massages are often uncomfortable at first but well worth the discomfort after. Each time I get one, I leave with an unparalleled feeling of bodily freedom.

Many consider Thailand the best country for massages and it's not hard to see why.


But if you're not excited about an extremely intense massage session -don't be scared. You should be able to communicate with your masseuse to lower the intensity at any time.


5. King Power Mahanakon Skywalk

This spot most definintely caters to tourists, but it's a mezmorizing experience nonetheless.



On the 78th floor of one of Bangkok's tallest skycrapers is a rooftop -the floor made of glass. To stand on top of this building, looking directly down at the city below is both a terrifying and awesome experience.


a woman kneels with her head down, overlooking. a glass floor that rises above Bangkok.
Me having a slight panic attack while looking at the view

 Make sure to research the best times to go though -when we went at sunset, there were giant lines of people forming outside just to get in. In addition, you will need to be able to drop around $30 USD for tickets to enter, but it's still a great way to really take in the enormous city of Bangkok from a unique perspective.


Plus, there's a rooftop bar so you can relax with a drink on top of the world!


6. Visit Bangkok's weekend market

a man sells meatballs on sticks on a stand. It is outdoors but there is a an umbrella and blue cloth above, indicating that it is an outdoor market.

The weekend market is certainly a can-not miss activity while visiting Bangkok. When the weekend comes, The Chatuchak market fills the streets of Northern Bangkok. It is considered the largest weekend market in the entire world, with over 15,000 vendors lining the streets and well over 200,000 visitors each weekend. This is the place to find absolutely anything your heart desires and to just admire the food and artesian crafts. Here, you can get everything from antiques to fruits to actual baby animals...


You'll need to block out around half a day if you'd like to truly explore and soak in the market, That sounds like a lot of time, but it'll be a fun walking activity for the day. All in all, Chatuchak market is chaotically astir with unique experience whether you're a shopaholic or not. Before you go , try to sharpen up your bargaining skills because negotiating is encouraged.


Conclusion

While there are endless things to do while visiting Bangkok, from ornate temples to bustling markets, the previous list highlights absolute necessities on your journey to the City of Angles. After appreciating these activities, you get a taste of the enchanting history, culture, and architecture that makes the city an unforgettable destination for any traveler. When you go, be sure to really take in all the beautiful, cultural details.


A woman kneels before a picture of her ancestors. There is a plate of food laying on a bench in front of her and she hold an incense stick in her praying hands.
My mother, despite being thousands of miles away, still keeps Thai traditions in her heart.

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