Bangkok is a vibrant, 24-hour city with plenty of sites and attractions to explore well beyond a transit stay. Make the most of the sights by beginning with the opulent palaces and grand Buddhist temples. Or just enjoy the hectic street life, barter for bargains in the markets, and wander from snack to snack at the street stalls.
Getting to know Bangkok
The banks of the Chao Phraya river are home to Bangkok’s historic centre, Phra Nakhon, revolving around the Grand Palace and stunning temple complexes. With lavish gold statuary, jewel-like mosaics and distinctive Thai architecture, they’re a feast for the eyes. Wat Pho, the spectacular Temple of the Reclining Buddha houses a 45 metre long reclining Buddha. Wat Phra Keow with its shimmering golden spires and sacred Emerald Buddha is in the same district, as well as the imposing towers of Wat Arun.
Further up river is the Dusit district, which includes Dusit Palace, the current home to the Thai royal family. Vimanmek Mansion, a former palace, is now a museum of Thai heritage. The Dusit Zoo is also nearby.
In the Siam district of central Bangkok, look for Jim Thompson House, the former home of the American silk entrepreneur. Built in traditional Thai Style, it’s now a museum and art gallery.
Plenty of things to do
Bangkok may also be the world capital of shopping. If you don’t get your shopping fix from the shops, markets and shopping malls, you’ll find street vendors proffering wares on every street. Plus, Thailand’s incredible cuisine is one of the delights of any visit to the country. Like many locations in Asia, Bangkok’s street food is often as good or better than restaurant fare – and cheap!
Visitors get around metropolitan Bangkok by tuk-tuk. Water buses are a great way to escape traffic. They’re also an economical way to travel between some of the city’s best attractions. Stay aboard in the evening for a leisurely sightseeing tour along the Chao Phraya River.
Thailand celebrates festivals throughout the year. Celebrate Chinese New Year on the first new moon of the calendar year. Mid-April, Thailand shuts up shop for the Songkran water festival. The whole nation shuts up shop, holds a street party, and douses everyone with water, including tourists. Prepare to meet bucket loads and the odd hosing. Lastly, Thais celebrate the traditional Buddhist festival, Loy Krathong in November. Beautiful balloon lanterns fill the sky, and the locals float offerings on nearby rivers and lakes.
Bangkok travel facts
Read our Thailand traveller information guide for info on visas.
There are numerous flights to Bangkok daily from Australia’s international airports. The city has two international airports, Suvarnabhumi (BKK), and Don Mueang. Check your ticket to make sure you go to the correct one when departing on international or domestic flights.
Bangkok’s daytime temperatures are hot year round. Night time temperatures November to March are occasionally cool enough to need a jacket or sweater. Nights are hot the rest of the year. The rainy season lasts from May until October, with tropical heavy falls in May, September and October. The best months to visit are November to April when it’s driest and relatively cool.