There are many reasons Bangkok is one of our favourite cities. The food is to die for, the people are friendly, there’s great shopping to be done and it’s exceptionally good value. There’s also lots to do for free there, be it enjoy local musicians belt out their rendition of ‘American Pie’ or join in an aerobics class.
1 Check out the Erawan Shrine
This absolutely stunning shrine actually has a bit of an interesting back-story – it was built in 1956 by the then-Erewan Hotel to allay the bad karma of having laid the foundations of the hotel on the wrong date. It was heavily vandalised in 2006 and was replaced the same year. As a bonus, traditional Thai dance troupes often perform here, hired by worshippers looking to have their prayers answered.
2 Take in the views from The Golden Mount (Wat Saket)
Not far from the Khao San Road is The Golden Mount Soi Borommabanphot Ban Bat. Here you will find 318 steps to a temple at the top housing a large golden Buddha. Additionally, you’ll also be treated to stunning views over the rooftops of Bangkok. While you’re here, pay a visit to the vine-covered on site cemetery – during a plague epidemic in the 19th century, some 30,000 bodies were cremated here.
3 Stroll through the Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
Set on the pretty grounds of Queen Sikit Botanical Garden in Rot Fai Park is this leafy dome, home to more than 500 butterflies and other species of insect. Bring your camera and keep an eye out for some colourful, fleeting photo opportunities. This is a relaxing place to go after being in the nearby Chatuchak Weekend Market.
4 Watch the sun set over Wat Arun
Of all the temples along the Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun is the most visually stunning. While it’s great to visit it close up, make sure to head across the river it to relax and watch as the sun sets behind it. And if you don’t mind spending a bit of cash you can even have dinner or drinks at the Deck By the River at Arun Residence and get a stunning, uninterrupted view of the lit-up temple.
5 Embrace the new town at Siam Paragon
This giant shopping centre is where upper-class Thais come to shop and show off their style. It’s also a great place to take advantage of some air-con. It is one of the largest malls in Asia and each level is themed, so you can watch people as they shop for luxury items, technology, fashion and more. There’s also an aquarium on the bottom floor and Southeast Asia’s largest cinema on the top floor, if you feel like splashing out.