Urban Adventures. Quite simply, the Best. Day. Ever.
From world class street food and gold Buddhas to exhilarating tuk tuk rides and the best Thai massage of your life. Get the lowdown on the best things to see and do in Bangkok from our local guide , Nancia…
Discover the hidden gems of Wat Ratchanatdaram and Loha Prasat
Despite a location close to Khao San Road (one of Bangkok’s most popular streets) and next to the well-known Wat Saket, Wat Ratchanatdaram and the impressive Loha Prasat are something of a hidden gem in the city. Built in 1846 during the reign of King Rama III, Wat Ratchanatdaram is best known for Loha Prasat. This impressive (and Instagrammable) sight is a 36-metre-tall, multi-tiered structure featuring 37 metal spires, signifying the 37 Buddhist virtues toward enlightenment. Only three similar constructions ever existed in the world, and only this one in Bangkok is still standing. So, if you’re in Bangkok and looking for something different to see, we recommend making your way here.
Take a stroll through Rod Fai Market
Rod Fai Market (Train Market) is a night market in downtown Bangkok on Ratchadaphisek Road and offers a good chance to explore, shop, eat, and experience local Thai life. The market got its name from the original Rod Fai market located next to the train tracks on the outskirts of Bangkok. This new offshoot of the market (though smaller than the original) is much more accessible thanks to a location close to Cultural Centre MRT Underground Station. The market runs Thursday to Sunday from around 6pm to midnight and features an eclectic mix of antiques, vintage toys, clothing and kitschy one-of-a-kind finds to browse. And let’s not forget about the food — something most Asian night markets are synonymous with. If you’re hungry, fill up on everything from fried noodles and seafood, to grilled meat skewers, fried chicken and roti (just to name a few). There are also bars set up if you want to have a beer in between browsing the rows of stalls.
Ride a tuk tuk
A trip to Bangkok without a tuk tuk ride is like a trip to Bangkok without Pad Thai. It’s the quintessential Asian transport that you have to embrace while you’re in the city! Tuk tuks are available on every street corner but to elevate your journey into one you won’t forget, why not turn it into a tour with us? Our Urban Adventures’ Tuk Tuk Experience includes stops at Phra Sumeru Fortress, Wat Pho and the Amulet Market and there’s plenty of time for photo opportunities next to your trusty three-wheeled steed.
Fill up on street food near Khao San Road
Bangkok (like much of Thailand) is a street food paradise. Khao San Road is known as a mecca for backpackers making their way through Thailand — but that’s not all. One of the most famous things that visitors love to do on this iconic street is eating. And we don’t blame them. But while the main road is jampacked with options, you can get a much more authentic experience just a few streets away. Let our local Bangkok city guides show you the best dishes and street food stalls that you might not stumble upon on your own. They know the best spots for everything from pork noodle soup to the best tom yum in Bangkok.
Spend an evening at Yodpiman River Walk
Take a scenic stroll by the water with a visit to Yodpiman River Walk, an open-air mall with a wide promenade offering amazing views of the Chao Phraya River. Here you’ll find shops, restaurants, and snack stalls, as well as a large beer garden with nightly entertainment. The River Walk also puts you in close proximity to some of Bangkok’s most popular historical and cultural attractions like the Grand Palace.
Visit the Jim Thompson House
Thompson founded the Thai Silk Company in 1948 after working all over Asia as a serviceman in the aftermath of WWII. He became rather wealthy from his business endeavours and began to collect artwork. Today the Jim Thompson House has been turned into a museum and it’s like a glamourous, 1950s Bangkok time capsule, all rattan furniture and yellowing portraits of ruined temples and tiger hunts. Next door there’s an impressive art gallery that’s previously exhibited works by Pinaree Sanpitak, Arahmaiani and Christian Lacroix. The gardens, with their oversized ficus and rubber plants, are well worth a stroll too.
Book a Thai Massage
You will find massage salons on almost every corner of the city but to experience the absolute gold standard in Thai massage, in its spiritual home, look no further than Wat Pho’s Chetawan Traditional Medical & Massage Centre, where Thai massage has been practised and taught for centuries. Prices start at £10 per hour.
See the world’s largest gold Buddha at Wat Traimit
Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha) is home to world’s largest gold seated Buddha, measuring three metres in height and weighing a whopping five and a half tonnes. Located at the end of Chinatown’s Yaowarat Road, near Hualampong Railway Station, the Buddah isn’t just gold in colour — it’s the world’s largest solid gold statue. This fact came by way of an accident, since prior to being accidentally dropped from a crane, the statue had been covered in plaster. On the second floor of the building you’ll find exhibits on how the statue was made and discovered, while the third floor houses Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Center.
Explore the city through the lens of the New York Times
Urban Adventures and New York Times Journeys have partnered up to bring you a series of specially curated tours around the world inspired by the newspaper’s famous ’36 Hours In’ column. Our Bangkok guides worked closely with the New York Times team to design an exclusive Bangkok tour that showcases the very best of what the city has to offer. You’re invited to go behind the scenes access at Mae Prapa shop, one of the oldest and most famous makers of Thai crispy pancakes for a private tasting, taste Thai herbal cocktails, listen to traditional Thai music in a contemporary bar and there’s even an exclusive chance to practice mindfulness techniques with an expert Buddhist monk. Book your Bangkok’s Hidden History and Food Culture tour today.
Dodge the typical tourist traps and adventure Bangkok with our local guides as they show you the unique sights, hidden gems, and busy back streets of the ‘Venice of the East’. Our tours in Bangkok explore the back streets by bike, the markets of Chinatown by foot, and canals by longtail boat. You’ll leave the city filled with local Bangkok knowledge, and know more about this dynamic metropolis than any other tourist in town.