There’s plenty to see in this city of surprising diversity, along with some hidden gems that seem impossible in this sprawling Asian capital. Joining a tour is recommended since it can be frustrating and time consuming finding your way around, and public transport doesn’t always reach the popular sites.
A sightseeing tour of the capital invariably takes in the historic Rattanokosin Isle, the oldest part of the city and seat of royalty since the city’s founding. This pleasant low-rise district is typified by grand palaces, ancient temples, giant reclining Buddhas and souring gilded pagodas. They can easily take up a day or two and selecting the right tour in advance helps you get the most out of your sightseeing while in Bangkok.
Canals once criss-crossed the area and were the main means of getting about, today they still remain intact on the East side of the Chao Praya river in the older Thonburi part of the city. This is a popular means of seeing the traditional side of Bangkok, with a private hour-long tour of the quiet canals among older neighbourhoods, including a stint on the river to admire Wat Arun (temple of Dawn), Royal Barge boatyard and Grand Palace.
Surprisingly, a bicycle tour is a good way to experience the more genteel and quieter side of the city. These are offered commonly to the green lung of the sprawling mega-city, crossing the Chao Praya river to an island of mangroves, pretty parks and single story houses in an oxbow, for a delightful meander on raised concrete paths between the coconut plantations. Another option is to ride the back lanes of Banglamphu, in the Royal Quarter, to experience the original Bangkok.
Floating market Bangkok tours are another relaxing way to explore the city by boat. The biggest and most frequently visited Bangkok floating market may be Damnoen Saduak, but many Bangkok floating market tours also include Ampawa, Tha Kha, and several smaller floating markets. These tours are usually an early start since it’s a morning activity and may include stops for lunch at cultural centres.
Day trips are common from Bangkok, it’s a good base to discover some of Thailand’s most famous sites. Ayuthaya is the former capital of Siam that is now a World Heritage site of ruined excavations, a hour’s drive North of the city, a full day of photo-ops and interesting history along with other sites that include the Bang Pa In Palace and heritage market. Perhaps the best tour we can offer is the overnight trip up the river by convert luxury rice barge.
Kanchanburi is the site of the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai and Death Railway from WWII, and can also be seen on day tour from the city but we recommend one of the overnight excursions to truly appreciate the pretty scenery. A combo tour of Ayuthaya and Kanchanaburi is a good idea. Another suggestion is a trip to the Ancient City themed historic park South of Bangkok that includes replicas of all of Thailand’s most important cultural heritage sites.
Couples may also choose to enjoy romantic Chao Phraya River dinner cruises after dark. The buffet seafood meals on these cruises are often accompanied by live Thai cultural performances and floodlit temple views.