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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 25, 2020
Headline for Top 5 things to do in Bangkok – To come as close to living like a local as possible
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 5 things to do in Bangkok – To come as close to living like a local as possible

The locals' infectious smile, the endless commotion and excitement can attract any traveller to Bangkok. This city of contrasts introduces tourists to modern, old and poor aspects of Thai life.


Visit the Grand Palace

If you can only visit one historical attraction, this should be it. Its name gives it the right description; the magnificent structures of this royal compound can score higher than any other royal establishment in the world. This is also where you find Wat Phra Kaeo: the house of the Emerald Buddha. The palace was built in 1782, and it was the home of Thai royalty. The palace is still used for special ceremonies, and it accommodates important figures of the state. Tourists are expected to dress modestly when visiting the Grand Palace, which simply means that you are supposed to cover your arms and knees. For a comprehensive experience, you might want to book yourself a tailored tour. There's a variety of tours; you have half-day sightseeing tours, morning tours and afternoon tours, they all come with a guide to put what you see in context.


Enjoy the lofty Bangkok skyline at a rooftop bar

Bangkok is home to numerous skyscrapers, which define the modern side of Bangkok. Up at these rooftop bars, you are removed from the sweat and noise that govern the city; rooftop bars are a contrast to the typical way of life in Bangkok. At a rooftop bar Bangkok, you are offered quality drinks, music and the best bits of Bangkok cuisine. If you are struggling to pick one, take AVANI SEEN Rooftop as a suggestion.


Chatuchak Market

This semi-outdoor weekend market is where you witness typical Bangkok life; it is, in fact, the largest in the world. Shoppers can find everything at Chatuchak Market, including jewellery, clothes, pet supplies, paper lamps and palatable street food. There are over 1,500 stalls offering just about anything. If there's any souvenir you couldn't buy anywhere else, it might be available here, at a much cheaper price too. This is one of the places in Bangkok where you can intermingle with locals and immerse yourself in the local life. An hour or two won't do at all if you want to explore the market fully, so, pick a day and dedicate that day to shopping at Chatuchak Market. And needless to say, this is when you are supposed to bring out your best haggling skills.


Jim Thompson House

The home of American architecture who took a fancy to Bangkok while travelling, Jim Thompson House is the perfect demonstration of skilful architecture. The owner disappeared while touring Malaysia without a trace, which adds another layer to the allure of the place. A visit to Jim Thompson House will take you back to an earlier time in Bangkok. Thompson made significant contributions to the Thai silk industry, and he was awarded the Order of the White Elephant. Jim Thompson House stands today much the same way as it did before; only it's not a private residence anymore, the house has been turned into a museum that offers insights into Jim Thompson's life, Thai silk industry and architecture.


Sample Bangkok street food

To get a grasp of how living in Bangkok works, you need to eat street food; street food is inherent to Bangkok life. You may not be new to the delights of Thai food, but what Bangkok offers is completely different. It is only the best, and there's a great variety. Your tour isn't complete until you eat a bowl of spicy noodles, grilled meats, fresh fruits and curries. To find the best street food in the city, go to Khao San Road; the street is packed with street food stalls, and they help you gain the quintessential Bangkok experience.