Look up the best things to do in Bangkok, and you’ll find a number of popular attractions headlining most lists: the Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Chinatown, and the floating markets, to name a few. These have become popular recommendations for a reason, and should absolutely be incorporated into your travel plan. But as is so often the case when it comes to big cities and popular getaways, there’s plenty to do that isn’t at the top of the travel lists.
These are our recommendations for five things to do beyond the obvious in Thailand’s bustling capital.
1. Shop At The Amulet Market:
Most major cities you can travel to in the world have exciting markets that can be visited. But the Amulet Market in Bangkok is unlike any other. It takes up multiple footpaths along Th Maha Rat and Th Phra Chan, and consists of a vast network of covered spas selling innumerable amulets and similar trinkets. These amulets are said to carry protections, though no two are exactly alike in this regard, and some of them – though they may be difficult to spot – are extremely valuable. Religious figures, collectors, and people who work in dangerous professions are known to frequent the market in search of talismans that can be of assistance in bringing them good fortune. It’s a fascinating place to stop by even if you’re just there to watch these people sift through the offerings. But of course, it’s a good place to find a one-of-a-kind souvenir also!
2. Explore Erawan Museum:
Because there is so much culture and artistry to enjoy out and about in the city, Bangkok’s museums don’t get a whole lot of attention in the average travel guide. The Erawan Museum, however, is worth your time. Located in the Samut Prakan Province (south of the main Bangkok urban area), it is best known for the massive, three-headed elephant statue that adorns its roof. However, the museum’s interior is actually far more interesting. It consists of three ornately designed floors filled with antiques and religious relics. The museum is also constructed to represent a sort of journey through the Hindu universe, with the first floor meant to represent the Underworld; the second, Earth; and the third, Heaven.
3. Take Part In Gaming Culture:
The gaming culture – incorporating video games, betting, and sport – is widespread and exciting throughout Thailand. Most notable these days is the rise of eSports around the country, with Bangkok gaming cafés accounting for much of the activity. There are also online casino gaming resources available, which help Thai gamers to find the best slots and similar games outside of the eSports arena. And if the casinos and eSports competition don’t appeal, you can also experience something akin to gaming by attending a Muay Thai match in the capital. This popular sport, like a more complex form of kickboxing, is played at numerous venues around the city, and inspires a busy betting market that allows spectators to take part in their own way. Altogether these various forms of betting and gaming comprise a fun part of Bangkok’s culture that you ought to experience one way or another.
4. Dine At Muslim Restaurant:
Many of the dining possibilities in Thailand get a lot of publicity, from the local dishes and legendary street food to more common places to eat, like the Hard Rock Café. It’s even well known at this point that fast food has become popular – perhaps too popular – around Bangkok. Don’t be fooled, however, into thinking only local Thai food and international chains are available. There are plenty of other interesting places to eat around Bangkok, and Muslim Restaurant is one of the best. It’s unimaginatively named and extremely minimalist in its design, but it’s still a very inviting place. And its menu of authentic Indian-inspired twists on Thai dishes is just about universally beloved. Do yourself a favor and try the fried mutton!
5. Learn Massage:
Thailand may be more famous for massage than any other place in the world, and accordingly, the spas of Bangkok are legendary. However, many don’t realize that you can also learn massage while in the capital. Granted, it’s not as relaxing as simply going in for a treatment, but it’s still a fascinating experience, and one that will result in your gaining an enviable new skill. This may be of particular interest to couples visiting Bangkok. Go in together to one of the massage classes in town, and you’ll learn new, effective techniques that you can continue to practice on one another on a regular basis even after your trip.