You’ve got a free weekend in the beautiful and bustling city of Bangkok, how should you spend it? One thing’s for sure you won’t have any shortage of things to do. There’s more than enough culture, excitement and life around to keep you entertained on a weekend in Bangkok.
Everyone has a different personality, and different tastes to go with it. To some extent, this is going to dictate the activities you choose. We’ve produced a list of some of the best things to do on a weekend in Bangkok; we’re sure there will be something to appeal to everyone.
1. Asiatique The Riverfront
This shopping and dining experience lies on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. There are 2,500 shops and 40 restaurants spread over 12 acres at this venue, which is open from 5pm to 12 midnight every day. Arguably, the location of the venue is its major attraction. After you have shopped to your heart’s content, or wined and dined in the Waterfront District zone, you should take a stroll along the waterside pathway; the longest in Thailand. At any time of day the views over the river are amazing but in the evening they are truly spectacular. Getting to Asiatique is straightforward. You can take a train to Taksin Bridge BTS from where you can catch the venue’s service boat. You can also travel by bus to Rama3 station, and continue your journey by taxi.
2. Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya River
If you are looking for something to do on a weekend in Bangkok then a dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya River makes for a relaxing yet entertaining end to the day. The food is delicious and you will get to see a Thai show as entertainment. Prices for dinner cruises vary but you should certainly be able to secure one which includes transport to and from your hotel for around 1,000 baht.
If you want to see the Chao Phraya River, but you don’t want to do the dinner cruise, you can catch regular boats up and down the river all day, and enjoy the views of some of Bangkok’s best known temples. The fare for travelling on the public boat is 15 baht, and on the tourist boat it is 40 baht.
3. The Grand Palace
You really can’t visit Bangkok without going to the Grand Palace; it’s an amazing sight. It’s often a good idea to visit the palace by organized tour as you learn more about this historic site, and you also have the advantage of securing transport to and from your hotel. Although the Grand Palace is located pretty centrally it’s not easy to get to, and aside from an organized tour the next best option is to get a taxi. Make sure you agree a fare for the journey. One thing to be aware of is that the dress code for the Grand Palace is strict; your arms and legs must be covered. If the guards at the palace don’t think you are suitably attired then you will have to queue to hire additional clothing. It takes approximately two hours to see the whole palace, including throne rooms and royal chambers, and the entrance fee is 500 baht.
4. Chinatown Heritage Center and the Golden Buddha
Located at Wat Traimit, 661 Thanon Charoen Krung, the Chinatown Heritage Center is a must see on a weekend in Bangkok. It’s easy to find from Hualumphong MRT and while the heritage centre and temple are free to enter, you’ll need to pay 200 baht to see the Golden Buddha which is the largest in the world. The 200 baht also gets you entrance to the exhibition which shows you the history of the Buddha. One thing to remember if you’re visiting is that ladies must have their shoulders covered. The centre is open from 9am to 5pm each day.
5. Jim Thompson House
If you’re looking for a little haven of tranquility without leaving Bangkok, Jim Thompson House is it. If you’re a fan of architecture, Thai artefacts or silk then all the better. Jim Thompson was an American businessman and ex member of the OSS (now the CIA) who helped to save the Thai silk industry from extinction. He constructed the impressive house from parts of six traditional Thai homes, and housed within it his impressive collection of Thai artefacts. Thompson last lived in the house in 1967 prior to mysteriously disappearing while on a trip to the Cameron Highlands. A trip to the Jim Thompson House is good value, with entrance and a guided tour available for 100 baht. The house is open from 9am to 5pm each day.
6. Ban Bat: Monk Bowl Village
Almost every monk in Thailand uses a bowl to collect alms each day at sunrise. Whereas all of these bowls were originally made in local villages they are now often produced in factories. In Bangkok you can visit Ban Bat, the Monk Bowl Village; the last of the bowl producing villages remaining. You can see the bowls being made and savour watching a truly dying art first hand. The village is located at Bamrung Meuang Rd, Soi Baan Bat, Bangkok, and is not the easiest place to find. It’s worth travelling by taxi to the area. At the end of your visit to this amazing place you can even buy your own bowl for around 30-60 baht; a permanent reminder of your weekend in Bangkok.
7. The Nahm Experience
If you want a dining experience during your weekend in Bangkok, then Nahm can provide it. This Thai restaurant is home to Australian celebrity chef, author and broadcaster, David Thompson. The emphasis is on strong flavour, and the experience is very popular. So much so that it’s highly recommended to book if you want to eat at Nahm. The restaurant is open for lunch Monday to Friday 12 noon to 2pm, and for dinner each day from 7pm to 10:30pm (last order). It is located at 27 S Sathorn Rd, Hotel Metropolitan by COMO, Bangkok 1012. There is an option to book a private dining room for an extra special experience.
8. Tawandang German Brewhouse
If you’re out with a group of people on a weekend in Bangkok then this is the place to go. Located at Rama III, Bangkok 10110 this brewhouse has a great, fun atmosphere and some excellent craft beers at a reasonable price. The venue is open from 5pm to 1am each day, but you really want to be there for the shows which take place each night from Monday to Saturday, from 7pm to 1am (on a Sunday a band plays for the same period). The shows are really something else; imagine Godzilla meets Ladyboys and Elvis and you probably still won’t be close. If you want a fun night out in Bangkok then step into Tawandang German Brewhouse.
9. Shop, shop, shop
You cannot possibly have a weekend in Bangkok without hitting the shops and markets, and we cannot possibly just pick one store or street cart for you to visit, because there’s something great around every corner in this thriving metropolis. From the chic Kai Boutique at 187/1 Bangkok Cable Building, if you want to treat yourself to huge shopping areas like Siam Square and the ever popular Chatuchak Weekend Market. The latter takes place every Saturday and Sunday from 5am to 6pm, at Thanon Phahon Yothin, and you can spend the entire day exploring the eclectic collection of over 8,000 stalls.
10. Relax with a massage
The Thai massage is renowned the world over, and a weekend in Bangkok wouldn’t be complete without one. There are opportunities to experience Thai magic fingers everywhere you look, with the Health Land series of venues providing an efficient service at a reasonable cost. There are several of these locations throughout the city that also provide services including reflexology and aromatherapy. Venues are usually open from 9am to 11pm each day. If you want to pamper yourself a little more, then it’s worth taking a trip to one of the two Oasis Spa venues located at Sukhumvit 31 and Sukhumvit 51. You can arrange a full half day of therapies including a massage and maybe a dip in the Jacuzzi. The venues are both open from 10am to 10pm each day.
There’s so much to do on a weekend in Bangkok that you’ll probably need a massage to relax after all the activity! We hope we’ve given you some useful ideas to really ignite your imagination and ensure you have a great time.