5 things to do in Bangkok beyond the guidebook.
By Epicure & Culture staff

Bangkok is a popular destination among digital nomads, party animals and backpackers.

It is the pulsing heart of Thailand, where culture meets nightlife and sacred buildings blend with modern architecture. Whether you’re looking for unusual attractions or just want to immerse yourself in local culture and cuisine, there’s plenty to see and do in this vibrant city.

Recently, we were asked us to help travelers explore Bangkok beyond the popular Grand Palace. From shopping for amulets at street markets to sipping some of the city’s best brews, we’ve picked out five of the best things to do in Bangkok.


Want even more suggestions for travel in the city? Check out this first time in Bangkok travel guide by our friends over at Love and Road!

And make sure you book some safe and memorable Bangkok accommodation before setting off on your trip. 

1. Visit The City’s Offbeat Markets

Markets offer insight into local lifestyles and traditions. You’ll find several markets scattered across Bangkok, including a few unusual ones like the Rod Fai Market and the Amulet Market.

The latter is made up of stalls loaded with all sorts of totems and good-luck charms, including buddhas, phalluses, bone shards and real human hair. Each trinket carries a magical property, from warding off evil to bringing good health.

If you’d like to explore something that’s a bit less “strange”, head to the Rod Fair Market at Seacon Square. This open-air bazaar is packed with traders selling antiques and vintage collectibles at reasonable prices. The market is also a great place to sample local street food while sipping cheap cocktails paired with live music.

5 things to do in Bangkok beyond the guidebook.
Photo via Pixabay.

2. Explore An Airplane Graveyard

One of the most unique attractions in Bangkok is the airplane graveyard. The derelict planes have been turned into makeshift homes by three local families, who earn a living by charging an entrance fee to visitors. Valuable parts of the planes have been sold off and the exteriors are covered in graffiti. You are free to explore the wreckage, but remember to respect the residents’ privacy and space.

At the Amulet Market in #Bangkok you can get bones & human hair as lucky charms. Share on X

3. Indulge In The City’s Coffee Scene

There are plenty of places in Bangkok where you can enjoy a cup of coffee in quirky and stylish surroundings. Bangkok is a chaotic and fast-paced city, so at some point during your visit you might end up looking for a much-needed break from all the commotion. Bangkok’s independent coffee shops do not only offer refuge from the hubbub of the city, but many of them also serve a range of unique brews made with home-roasted coffee beans.

Learn more about Bangkok’s amazing coffee scene.

5 things to do in Bangkok beyond the guidebook.
Photo via Pixabay.

4. Get A Glimpse Of Local Life

Get away from the crowds and chaos of the city center and take a trip to Thonburi, where you can explore traditional river settlements on a long-tail boat. Located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, Thonburi is a neighborhood often overlooked by tourists. Watch locals navigating the khlongs — or the canals — on small boats, ferrying heaps of fruits and vegetables. Additionally, admire the gorgeous teak houses that line the riverbank while soaking up the tranquil atmosphere at one of the waterside cafes.

While you’re in Thonburi, visit the 200-year-old temple of Wat Kalayanamit; the oldest mosque in Bangkok, Tonson Mosque; and the Death Museum, which would appeal to anyone with a morbid fascination.

Did you know that #Bangkok has a thriving #coffee scene? #travel #thailand Share on X

5. Watch An Indie Film

Going to the movies is not something you’d think of putting on your itinerary; but when you’re in Bangkok, watching a film at the Scala Cinema is a must.  Built in 1967, Scala Cinema has retained its impressive art-deco interior. Moreover, it’s one of the oldest single screen cinemas in Bangkok.

Everything about the cinema will make you feel like you’ve just traveled back to the golden age of film: the red-velvet seats, the vaulted ceiling, your seat number scrawled on the ticket and the ushers’ fancy uniform.

What are your favorite things to do in Bangkok beyond the Grand Palace? Please share in the comments below! 

Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

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