Blessed with a rich and ancient culture, the exotic Thai capital of Bangkok offers an adventure around every corner – perfect for adventurous honeymoon couples.
Experience a frenetic, larger than life metropolis famous for its cuisine, shopping and anything-goes nightlife.
The city is tamed only by the chanting of saffron-robed monks, colourful temples and quiet canals that bypass traffic-clogged streets.
Discover exotic temples in tranquil gardens that lie in the shadow of 5-star hotels, soaring office blocks and multi-level shopping malls. (Photo: Wat Benchamabophit – The Marble Temple)
Most of the major sights in Bangkok are in the Old City (Rattanakosin) and close to the Chao Phraya River.
Take a cruise and watch Thai life unfold against the imposing backdrop of Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the ornate Wat Phraw Kaew or along the fascinating klongs (canals) of Thonburi.
Relax with a Thai massage you’ll never forget; enjoy the spectacle of ancient tales from Thai literature told through the grace and beauty of Thai dance; and savour a smorgasbord of world cuisines.
Shoppers won’t want to leave without some of the local handicrafts, antiques and silks – don’t miss the former home of the American silk dealer Jim Thompson, where you can buy high-quality silks at reasonable prices.
Explore the hedonistic go-go bars of Patpong (between Silom and Surawong Roads), Soi Cowboy (Soi 23, Sukhumvit Road) and Nana Plaza (Soi 4, Sukhumvit Road).
Or sip cocktails with hip locals in countless trendy bars and nightclubs that lie scattered across the city – a certain recipe for a (potentially) sleepless night.
Must-see sights and attractions in Bangkok, include…
Explore the opulent and fascinating grounds of the Grand Palace, a vast compound of 21.84 hectares that sits in the heart of Old Bangkok on Rattanakosin Island on the Chao Phraya River.
The entire complex is home to more than 200 buildings showcasing some of the finest examples of Buddhist architecture, sculpture, painting and decorative arts in Thailand.
More about the Grand Palace, Bangkok…
Wat Phra Kaew (commonly known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha) is one of the most important structures in the Grand Palace.
Located in the centre of a series of walled cloisters, the central shrine dates to the very founding of the Grand Palace and houses the venerated Emerald Buddha.
A pair of majestic, 5m-tall yakshis (or mythical giants) guard the entrance to the ubosoth (main building), which is characterised by a roof of polished orange and green titles, pillars inlaid in mosaics and marble pediments.
More about Wat Phra Kaew…
(Temple of Dawn) – Originally known as Wat Makok (Olive Temple) and later as Wat Chaeng, the 82m-high prang (Khmer-style tower) was renamed the ‘Temple of Dawn’ by King Rama II after the Indian god of dawn (Arun) and to signify the rise of a new kingdom after Ayutthaya was sacked by the Burmese in 1767.
The original temple dates back to the 16th century, when it was known as Wat Makok (Olive Temple).
Renovation of the original temple including an increase to the height of the central spire began in the reign of King Rama II during 1809-1824 and was completed by King Rama III during the years 1842-1847.
More about Wat Arun Rajwararam (Temple of Dawn)…
(Temple of the Reclining Buddha) – Explore the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok, home to the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand as well as the largest Buddha image – the Reclining Buddha (Phra Buddhasaiyas) – in the country.
Renowned as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Wat Pho was built by Rama I in the 16th century on an older site that is considered Thailand’s earliest centre of education for traditional Thai medicine.
Admire the serene face of the Reclining Buddha – a truly impressive statue at 46m long and 15m high.
Built during the reign of Rama III in the middle of the 19th century, the statue is brick covered in plaster and decorated with gold leaf; the eyes and soles of the Buddha’s feet are inlaid with mother-of-pearl illustrations displaying 108 different auspicious laksanas (characteristics) of the Buddha.
The pose illustrates the passing of the Buddha into nirvana.
More about Wat Pho…
Join a guided tour of this remarkable wooden Thai-style house turned museum, a complex of six old teak and theng (hard wood) houses from Central Thailand that American businessman Jim Thompson had rebuilt (with a few Western facilities) in 1959.
Inside, you can admire his fascinating collection of Southeast Asian art from Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Laos, including Khmer sculpture, Chinese porcelain and Burmese carvings.
More about Jim Thompson House…
If you want to splurge, then try the elegant Mandarin Oriental hotel – one of the world’s grandest hotels and in many ways a tourist attraction in its own right.
For almost 130 years, royalty, dignitaries and distinguished travellers have made the Mandarin Oriental, located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, an essential stopover when visiting Bangkok.
Overall, Bangkok offers an amazing selection of hotels to suit every budget, including the following 5-star hotels…
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
Location: Bang Rak, Bangkok
Ave nightly price: AUD645 per room
Description: This luxurious property sits beside the scenic Chao Phraya River in downtown Bangkok. Offering rooms decorated in teak wood furnishings and Thai silk, it also has a large outdoor pool, Thai cooking classes and yoga lessons. Enjoying beautiful river views through floor-to-ceiling windows, all air-conditioned rooms at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok are equipped with a flat-screen TV and DVD player. Large en suite bathrooms present a separate bathtub and walk-in shower. The Oriental Spa provides relaxing massage treatments, hot tubs and herbal scrubs. For a refreshing workout, guests can exercise with a personal trainer at the gym or enjoy a game of tennis and squash. The famous Le Normandie restaurant offers fine French dining, while The China House offers authentic Cantonese cuisine in a stylish setting. International lunch buffet and fresh seafood can be enjoyed at Lord Jim's. Mandarin Oriental Bangkok provides a free shuttle boat to Taksin BTS Skytrain Station, River City Shopping Complex and Sala Rim Naam Restaurant. It is about 3.5 km from Chinatown and the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun).
Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok
Location: Pathumwan, Bangkok
Ave nightly price: AUD380 per room
Description: Luxurious stays await at Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok, with multiple pools situated within landscaped grounds. Steps from Siam Paragon shopping centre, it features free WiFi, fine dining and a world-class spa. The spacious rooms at Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok are contemporary and stylish. Each features tea/coffee making facilities with an electric kettle and a flat-screen TV with international channels. Complimentary soft drinks and local beer are available from the minibar. En suite bathrooms have slippers, free toiletries and a bath or shower. Siam Kempinski boasts 3 restaurants offering an international buffet breakfast, modern Thai cuisine and and all-day dining. Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok enjoys easy access to Siam BTS Skytrain Station through Siam Paragon Mall. Suvarnabhumi International Airport is about 24 km from the hotel.
The Okura Prestige Bangkok
Location: Pathumwan, Bangkok
Ave nightly price: AUD296 per room
Description: Located right next to Ploenchit BTS Skytrain Station, The Okura Prestige Bangkok offers stylish rooms with free Wi-Fi and breathtaking views of the city. This five-star property features a luxurious spa centre, a suspended outdoor pool and an authentic Japanese restaurant. Elegantly furnished with contemporary decor, rooms at The Okura Bangkok are located above 26th floor. Each modern air-conditioned room comes with a flat-screen cable TV, a seating area and a minibar. An en suite bathroom includes a bathtub, a hairdryer and free toiletries. Guests can stay active at the fitness centre or unwind in the sauna. Staff at the 24-hour front desk can assist guests with currency exchange, laundry and babysitting services. Other facilities include a business centre, meeting rooms and luggage storage. Yamazato, a well-known restaurant from Japan, serves traditional multi-course dinner as well as sushi and grilled dishes. Additionally, a range of Arabic Food is also available at Up&Above Restaurant during breakfast service. Refreshing cocktails can be enjoyed at the sky bar on 24th floor. The hotel is a 10-minute drive to Central Chidlom Shopping Mall and a 15-minute drive to Siam Paragon Shopping Centre.
Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok
Location: Pathumwan, Bangkok
Ave nightly price: AUD293 per room
Description: Towering over central Bangkok, Grand Hyatt Erawan is 5 minutes’ walk from historic Erawan Shrine and Central World Department Store. It boasts an award-winning spa and 13 dining options. Featuring stunning views of the cityscape, luxurious rooms offer spacious interiors, ample workspace and a marble bathroom. They come with a coffee maker, a flat-screen TV and free WiFi access. Guests can enjoy active workouts at the gym or take a dip in the outdoor sea-salt pool. Offering 24-hour concierge service, staff can attend to business and laundry needs. Dining highlights include Tables which features tableside cooking and modern Western dishes. Spasso offers Italian dining while The Dining Room serves up hearty buffets in a garden setting. Grand Hyatt Bangkok is steps away from Chidlom and Rajdamri BTS Skytrain Stations. Offering free parking, it is a 10-minute train ride from the Sukhumvit and Silom districts.
The Peninsula Bangkok
Location: Klongsan, Bangkok
Ave nightly price: AUD292 per room
Description: Located along the bank of Chao Phraya River, The Peninsula Bangkok features luxury guest rooms with full facilities and views of the Chao Phraya River. This disable-friendly hotel boasts an outdoor pool and a fitness centre. Free Wi-Fi is offered in the entire residence. Rooms are fitted with a dressing room, a sofa and a seating area. Other facilities include electronic curtain control, mood lighting and a cable/satellite flat-screen TV. En suite bathrooms are equipped with free toiletries, a bathtub and shower facilities. A daily fruit basket is provided in the rooms. Guests enjoy hotel’s facilities such as spa, sauna and business centre. Currency exchange, car rental and laundry services are available. There is a tour desk and a ticket counter to help guests with sightseeing arrangements. Dining options include The Lobby which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Enjoy fine Cantonese cuisine for lunch and dinner in stylish setting at Mei Jiang Restaurant. Thiptara Restaurant features authentic Thai dishes for dinner in an ancient Thai style decoration with river views. It is just a 5-minutes by free ferry transfer from Saphan Taksin BTS Station. Suvarnabhumi International Airport is a 45-minute drive from The Peninsula. Grand Palace and Wat Arun Temple are within a 20-minute ride from the property.
The best time to visit Bangkok is between November and February, when the city is mainly dry and not too hot, typically averaging 27°C (80°F).
Bangkok experiences hot and tropical weather all year with three distinct seasons:
Hot and humid – March to May – average 30°C (86°F);
Hot and wet – June to October – average 29°C (83°F); and
Warm and dry – November to February – average 27°C (80°F).
April is the hottest month in Bangkok with an average high of around 34°C (93°F). December is the coolest month at 26°C (79°F), and September is the wettest month with an average of 320mm of rain.
For more climate info: Bangkok Weather Guide…
Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Central Thailand, the Thai capital of Bangkok is well serviced by direct and one-stop flights from most of the world's capital cities.
The most convenient route to Bangkok is by air to Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) located at Samat Prakan around 35km (22mi) east of Bangkok and 60km (37mi) east of Pattaya.
Suvarnabhumi International Airport, commonly known as Suvarnabhumi or Bangkok Airport, replaced Don Mueang Airport as Bangkok's main airport in 2006.
More information about how to get to Bangkok…
On foot, but only when you reach your destination. Bangkok is not a pedestrian friendly city – hot weather, pollution and footpaths clogged with vendors and motorcycles make walking one of the least convenient ways to get around.
The convenient BTS (or Skytrain) – Bangkok’s efficient elevated rail line – and the MRT subway offer the best way to get around Bangkok’s main commercial centres and beat the city's often clogged roads.
Bangkok's taxis are reasonably priced and the best choice for door-to-door transportation outside of rush hour, and tuk-tuks (three-wheeled motorized open vehicles) are often the best way to get around smaller streets.
Bangkok’s public riverboats provide a great way to travel throughout the city, especially the Chao Phraya Express, which offers a frequent service stopping at several public piers along the river.
While the relatively slow, wide-bodied Chao Phraya Tourist Boats offer a relaxed way to cruise Bangkok's fascinating waterways and spy on the locals.
Alternatively, you can charter a fast long-tail boat to race along the river or cruise the narrow canals of neighbouring Thonburi. Boat charters are easily available at every pier and can also be booked at the riverfront kiosk at River City or at the Grand Palace.
More information about how to get around Bangkok…
Latest update: Bangkok: 5 May, 2022