DestinationsAsia10 Unique Things to Do in Bangkok, Thailand
10 Unique Things to Do in Bangkok, Thailand

10 Unique Things to Do in Bangkok, Thailand

Dive into the heart of Thailand with our exclusive guide to unique things to do in Bangkok. Step off the beaten path and discover a city teeming with one-of-a-kind adventures. From hidden culinary delights to tranquil urban retreats, we’re here to reveal the most extraordinary activities that Bangkok has to offer.

1. Jim Thompson House and Museum: A Silk Mogul’s Legacy

Step into the enchanting world of the Jim Thompson House and Museum, a captivating homage to the man who revitalized the Thai silk industry. Nestled in the heart of Bangkok, this museum is not just a treasure trove of art; it’s a piece of history, a snapshot of Thai culture, and a testament to Jim Thompson’s profound impact on Thailand’s textile legacy.

a corner ofJim Thompson House and Museum in bangkok thailand
A corner of Jim Thompson House and Museum in Bangkok, Thailand. Image credit to David McKelvey on Flickr.

History and Architecture

Jim Thompson, an American architect turned silk entrepreneur, made Thailand his home and the silk industry his life’s work. His residence, built in 1959, is an architectural marvel, combining six traditional Thai teakwood houses. Each structure, meticulously sourced from different parts of Thailand, contributes to a harmonious blend that reflects Thompson’s deep appreciation for Thai craftsmanship.

Art Collection

The museum houses an exquisite collection of Southeast Asian art, including historical Buddhist statues and traditional Thai paintings that narrate the life of Buddha and the legend of Vessantara Jataka. Thompson’s passion for art is evident in every corner, with pieces ranging from intricate wood carvings to delicate porcelain.

Visitor Experience

Open daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, with the last guided tour at 5:00 PM, the museum offers tours in multiple languages, ensuring a rich experience for all visitors. Admission is 200 baht for adults, with discounts for visitors under 22 and free entry for children under 10 accompanied by an adult. Additionally, you can book in advance a guided tour with transfers for a more comfortable and informative experience.

Getting There

Located conveniently in central Bangkok, the museum is easily accessible by car, taxi, tuk-tuk, or the BTS Sky Train (National Stadium station exit no.1), making it a must-visit destination for anyone intrigued by history, art, or the allure of silk.

2. Bangkok’s Art and Gallery Scene: A Canvas of Diversity and Innovation

Bangkok’s art scene is a vibrant tapestry that weaves together the traditional with the contemporary, the local with the global. It’s a dynamic ecosystem where emerging artists and established names alike find expression in a city that embraces creativity in all its forms.

Thonglor – The Artistic Pulse of Bangkok

Thonglor is not just a trendy neighborhood; it’s the beating heart of Bangkok’s contemporary art scene. Here, you’ll find galleries like H Gallery and Gallery Ver, which showcase an eclectic mix of works from Thai and international artists. The streets themselves are a canvas, with murals and installations that turn the district into a living gallery.

Charoenkrung – The Old Meets New

In Charoenkrung, Bangkok’s oldest road, the art scene is flourishing with a blend of traditional and contemporary art spaces. Serindia Gallery offers a diverse collection of Thai and international art, while Warehouse 30 has been transformed into a creative hub where galleries, shops, and cafes coexist in harmony. This area also plays host to innovative art fairs and exhibitions, like the Bangkok Art Biennale.

Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC)

The BACC stands as a pillar of Bangkok’s art community. With its ever-changing exhibitions and events, this multi-use venue next to the Siam BTS station is a nexus for artistic exchange. From concerts to seminars, the BACC is a testament to the city’s commitment to nurturing its cultural landscape.

Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC)
Exploring Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) is one of the most unique things to do in Bangkok.

100 Tonson Gallery

This gallery may be modest in size, but its impact on the art scene is significant. Known for its avant-garde exhibitions and support for both renowned and emerging artists, the 100 Tonson Gallery is a cornerstone for contemporary art in Bangkok. It’s a space that fosters dialogue and challenges perceptions, making it a must-visit for art aficionados.

Visitor Tips

  • Plan Your Visit: Check the latest exhibition schedules and opening hours as they can vary.
  • Explore Beyond the Galleries: Many galleries are nestled in neighborhoods rich with cafes, restaurants, and bars, offering a complete cultural experience.
  • Engage with the Art: Attend gallery talks, openings, and art fairs to fully immerse yourself in Bangkok’s art scene.

3. Lumphini Park Serenity: An Urban Oasis Amidst the Bustle

Escape the city’s frenetic pace and find tranquility at Lumphini Park, Bangkok’s green sanctuary. Named after the Buddha’s birthplace, this expansive park offers a peaceful retreat with its lush lawns, shady paths, and a serene lake at its heart.

A Green Haven

Lumphini Park, covering 57.6 hectares, is a haven for nature lovers and those seeking a moment of calm. The park’s verdant landscape is dotted with tropical trees and colorful flowers, creating a picturesque setting for relaxation and leisure.

an aerial view of Lumphini Park in Bangkok
An aerial view of Lumphini Park in Bangkok.

Activities for All

Whether you’re looking to engage in some morning Tai Chi, enjoy a leisurely paddleboat ride, or simply unwind with a picnic, Lumphini Park caters to all. Fitness enthusiasts can take advantage of the jogging tracks and outdoor gym equipment, while families will appreciate the playgrounds and open spaces perfect for children’s play.

Cultural Encounters

The park is not just about nature; it’s a cultural hub too. From January to April, the Palm Garden becomes a stage for the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra’s Concert in the Park series. These free classical music performances are a treat for the ears and the soul.

Visitor Information

  • Location: Rama IV Rd, Lumphini, Pathum Wan District.
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 4:30 AM to 9 PM.
  • Facilities: Restrooms, drinking water fountains, and boat rental services.
  • Getting There: Easily accessible via MRT (Lumphini or Silom Station) or BTS (Sala Daeng Station).
  • Entry: Free of charge.

A Note on Wildlife

The park is also known for its resident monitor lizards, which can often be seen basking by the lake. These gentle giants add an exotic touch to the park’s ecosystem and are a fascinating sight for visitors.

4. Thai Puppetry at Aksra Theatre: A Dance of Shadows and Stories

Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Thai puppetry at Bangkok’s Aksra Theatre, a venue that celebrates the ancient art form of Hun Lakon Lek. This unique performance style, where intricate puppets are brought to life by skilled puppeteers, is a cultural gem that offers a glimpse into the heart of Thai storytelling.

A Stage of Tradition

The Aksra Theatre, with its horseshoe-shaped auditorium, provides an intimate setting where every seat feels close to the action. The theatre’s design, inspired by the grandeur of Thai palaces, sets the stage for a mesmerizing experience as tales from Thai folklore and mythology unfold.

thai traditional puppet hun krabok
Thai traditional puppet Hun Krabok. Image source: Thomas Quine on Flickr.

The Puppeteers’ Craft

Behind every movement is a puppeteer, an artist who infuses each character with emotion and grace. The puppeteers of Aksra are masters of their craft, manipulating the puppets with such precision that they seem to move of their own accord, telling stories of love, heroism, and the divine.

An Experience for All Senses

Accompanied by the melodic strains of a live traditional Thai orchestra, the puppet show at Aksra Theatre is not just a visual spectacle but an auditory feast as well. The music, costumes, and set design come together to create a rich tapestry of Thai culture that captivates and educates.

Visitor Information

  • Location: King Power Downtown Complex, 3rd Floor, 8/1 Rangnam Road, Bangkok.
  • Show Schedule: Performances are held Tuesday to Friday at 7:30 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays, there are matinee shows at 1:30 p.m. in addition to the evening performance.
  • Tickets: Can be purchased at the theatre or online. It’s recommended to check the latest schedule and book in advance to secure your spot.
  • Getting There: The theatre is a short walk from the Victory Monument BTS station, making it easily accessible for visitors.

A Note on Reviews

While the Aksra Theatre has received mixed reviews, with some noting its smaller size and unique rules regarding food and beverages, the opportunity to witness traditional Thai puppetry is a rare and valuable experience that transcends these minor inconveniences.

5. Explore the Chao Phraya River by Longtail Boat: A Journey Through Bangkok’s Lifeline

Embark on a quintessential Bangkok adventure as you navigate the Chao Phraya River’s winding path on a traditional longtail boat. This iconic waterway, often referred to as the ‘River of Kings,’ is the lifeblood of the city, offering a unique perspective on the capital’s history and contemporary pulse.

A River Rich in History

The Chao Phraya River has been a witness to the evolution of Bangkok, from a trading post to a bustling metropolis. As you glide along the river, you’ll encounter landmarks that tell the tale of the city’s past and present, including the majestic Grand Palace and the sacred Wat Arun.

The Longtail Experience

Longtail boats, with their colorful designs and powerful engines, are a thrilling way to explore the river’s network of canals (khlongs). Feel the breeze and the spray of water as your skilled boatman maneuvers through the waterways, offering glimpses of riverside communities and hidden temples rarely seen by tourists.

exploring the Chao Phraya River by longtail boat
Exploring the Chao Phraya River by longtail boat.

Photographic Opportunities

The journey provides endless opportunities for photography enthusiasts. Capture the contrast between the traditional stilt houses and the modern skyline, or snap a sunset shot with the silhouette of a temple spire against the crimson sky.

Visitor Information

  • Tour Options: Choose from various tour lengths, ranging from quick jaunts to extensive explorations that delve into the lesser-known canals. Make sure you book a Chao Phraya River tour in advance to have a full-experienced trip.
  • Departure Points: Tours typically depart from central piers like Sathorn and River City. Easy access via BTS or MRT makes joining a tour convenient.
  • Cost: Prices vary depending on tour length and exclusivity, with private tours offering a more personalized experience.
  • Best Time to Go: Late afternoon tours can offer cooler temperatures and stunning sunset views.

Safety and Comfort

  • Life Jackets: Available for all passengers.
  • Seating: Comfortable with ample space for personal belongings.
  • Guides: Knowledgeable guides often accompany tours, providing insights into the sights and sounds of the river.

A Note on Reviews

While most visitors rave about the picturesque views and the thrill of the ride, some note the importance of negotiating prices beforehand. It’s recommended to read recent reviews and choose reputable tour operators for the best experience.

6. Street Food Tour in Yaowarat (Chinatown): A Culinary Adventure

Yaowarat, Bangkok’s Chinatown, is a culinary hotspot that comes alive as the sun sets. The streets are lined with vendors offering a dizzying array of street food that reflects the rich tapestry of Thai-Chinese cuisine. Embark on a street food tour and let your taste buds revel in the flavors of this vibrant neighborhood.

A Feast for the Senses

The aroma of stir-fried dishes, the sizzle of woks, and the vibrant colors of exotic fruits create a sensory overload. From succulent grilled meats to sweet Thai desserts, Yaowarat is a food lover’s paradise.

Nightlife at Yaowarat the Chinatown in Bangkok Thailand
Nightlife at Yaowarat, the Chinatown, brings the most unique things to do in Bangkok, Thailand. Source of image: Natt Muangsiri on Flickr.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Guay Jub Ouan Pochana: Indulge in a bowl of Guay Jub, a peppery soup with rolled rice noodles and pork offal, a local favorite known for its rich flavors.
  • Khao Phad Pu Chang Phueak: Savor the taste of Khao Phad Pu, a crab-fried rice that combines the sweetness of crab with the fragrance of jasmine rice.
  • Pa Tong Go Savoey: Don’t miss out on Pa Tong Go, a Thai-style doughnut that’s perfect for a sweet treat on the go.

Navigating the Streets

  • Start at the Chinatown Gate: Begin your tour at the iconic gate on Yaowarat Road, where you’ll find a concentration of food stalls.
  • Venture into Side Alleys: For a more authentic experience, explore the side streets where hidden culinary gems await.
  • Evening is Prime Time: The best time to visit is after sunset when the street comes alive with food vendors.

Tips for Visitors

  • Come Hungry: There’s a lot to try, so make sure you arrive with an appetite.
  • Cash is King: Most vendors only accept cash, so have small bills handy.
  • Be Adventurous: This is the perfect opportunity to try something new and expand your culinary horizons.

A Note on Reviews

Visitors often rave about the authenticity and variety of the food in Yaowarat. While it can get crowded, the atmosphere is part of the charm, and the experience is considered a must-do when in Bangkok.

7. Hidden Bars and Speakeasies: Bangkok’s Secret Nightlife

Bangkok’s nightlife is a tapestry of the known and the mysterious, but for those with a taste for the clandestine, the city’s hidden bars and speakeasies offer an experience like no other. Tucked away behind unmarked doors and secret passageways, these venues promise an evening of exclusivity and intrigue.

Havana Social

Find this Latin speakeasy behind a secret telephone booth entrance. With a code from the bouncer, you’ll be transported to a 1940s Cuban bar, complete with authentic décor and live music that will make you salsa in your seat.

Q&A Bar

Step into a vintage train carriage-themed bar in Asoke, where the cocktails are as sophisticated as the setting. To enter, look for the subtle signage and be ready to answer a riddle or two.

Q&A Bar in Bangkok
Q&A Bar in Bangkok. Image credit to Premshree Pillai on Flickr.

Find The Locker Room

True to its name, this high school locker-inspired speakeasy requires a bit of a search. Locate the right building in Thonglor and find the hidden door to a world of handcrafted cocktails.

Rabbit Hole

An unassuming sliding door leads to a majestic 3-storey bar. Inside, the ambiance is as enchanting as the drink menu, with each cocktail telling its own story.

Visitor Tips

  • Dress Code: Most hidden bars have a smart casual dress code.
  • Reservations: It’s wise to book in advance, as these spots are often intimate and fill up quickly.
  • Cash and Cards: While some accept cards, it’s best to carry cash just in case.
  • Etiquette: These bars usually have a quieter atmosphere, so it’s a place for conversation rather than a loud party.

A Note on Reviews

Visitors often praise the unique atmosphere and quality of drinks at these hidden gems. While some may be challenging to find, the sense of discovery is part of the allure, making each visit a memorable adventure.

8. Thai Cooking Class in a Local’s Home: Authentic Flavors and Techniques

For a truly immersive culinary experience in Bangkok, nothing compares to a Thai cooking class conducted in a local’s home. It’s an opportunity to learn traditional recipes and cooking methods passed down through generations, right in the kitchen where they’re practiced every day.

Hands-On Learning

In a cozy home setting, you’ll get hands-on experience preparing classic Thai dishes under the guidance of a local chef. From market-fresh ingredients to the final garnish, you’ll be involved in every step of the cooking process.

a private thai cooking class in bangkok
A private Thai cooking class is surely one of the most unique things to do in Bangkok. Image source: Roderick Eime on Flickr.

Market Tour

Your culinary adventure begins with a visit to a local market. Accompanied by your host, you’ll learn how to select the best ingredients for your dishes, from fragrant herbs to the freshest produce.

Cooking and Culture

As you cook, you’ll not only learn about the techniques and flavors of Thai cuisine but also about the culture and traditions that surround food in Thailand. These classes often include stories and insights that you won’t find in any cookbook.

Dishes You Might Prepare

  • Green Curry: Learn to make this iconic dish from scratch, including the curry paste.
  • Pad Thai: Master the art of Thailand’s famous stir-fried noodle dish.
  • Mango Sticky Rice: Finish with a sweet treat, learning the secrets to this beloved dessert.

Visitor Information

  • Duration: Classes typically last between 4 to 6 hours, including the market tour.
  • Location: Conducted in various local homes throughout Bangkok.
  • Booking: Advance booking is recommended to secure your spot and confirm the meeting point.
  • Language: Classes are usually conducted in English, making them accessible to international visitors1.

A Note on Reviews

Participants often leave these classes with not just new cooking skills but also a deeper appreciation for Thai culture. Reviews frequently highlight the warmth of the hosts and the authenticity of the experience.

9. Muay Thai Experience: Embrace the Spirit of Thailand’s National Sport

Bangkok is not just the heart of Thailand; it’s also the soul of Muay Thai, the country’s revered national sport. Known as “The Art of Eight Limbs,” Muay Thai is a testament to the skill, strength, and spirit of the Thai people. For visitors, engaging in a Muay Thai experience is more than a workout; it’s a deep dive into a rich cultural tradition.

Training with the Masters

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned martial artist, Bangkok offers a wealth of gyms where you can train in Muay Thai. Places like the Muay Thai Academy MTA and FITFAC Muay Thai Academy provide classes for all levels, ensuring that everyone from novices to experts can learn and grow.

a match of Muay Thai
A match of Muay Thai in Bangkok.

Watching the Pros in Action

For those who prefer to watch rather than participate, Bangkok’s stadiums like Rajadamnern and Lumpinee host thrilling Muay Thai fights, showcasing the prowess of professional fighters. These matches are not just sporting events; they’re pulsating spectacles of athleticism and artistry.

A Cultural Journey

Muay Thai is deeply intertwined with Thai history and identity. The story of Nai Khanom Tom, a famed fighter who displayed the indomitable spirit of Muay Thai, is just one of many that you’ll learn about during your experience. Understanding the history and significance of Muay Thai will enrich your appreciation of the sport.

Visitor Information

  • Classes: Available throughout the day, with evening sessions for beginners.
  • Stadium Fights: Regular matches are held weekly, with schedules available online.
  • Attire: Training gear is provided, but you’re welcome to bring your own.
  • Booking: It’s recommended to book classes or fight tickets in advance to ensure availability.

A Note on Etiquette

Respect is a cornerstone of Muay Thai. Practitioners are expected to show respect to their trainers, fellow students, and the sport itself. This respect extends to the rituals performed before each fight, honoring the rich traditions of Muay Thai.

10. Day Trip to Ayutthaya: Exploring the Ancient Siamese Capital

A day trip to Ayutthaya is a journey back in time to the golden era of the Siamese Kingdom. Once a prosperous and cosmopolitan urban center, Ayutthaya today stands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its temple ruins and palaces offering a silent narrative of its former glory.

Historical Significance

Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya was the second capital of Siam and one of the world’s largest cities at its zenith. The city was a hub for international trade and diplomacy until its fall to the Burmese in 1767.

wat phra sri sanphet ayutthaya thailand
Wat Phra Sri Sanphet in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

Must-Visit Sites

  • Bang Pa-In Summer Palace: Marvel at the beautifully restored palace complex, a blend of Thai, Chinese, and Gothic architecture.
  • Wat Lokayasutharam: Pay respects to the enormous reclining Buddha, a serene reminder of the city’s Buddhist heritage.
  • Wat Phra Sri Sanphet: Wander through the remains of the grand temple that once stood within the royal palace grounds.
  • Wat Mahathat: Don’t miss the iconic Buddha head entwined within the roots of a banyan tree.

Getting There

The most stress-free way to visit Ayutthaya is by joining a guided tour, which often includes hotel pickup and drop-off. Alternatively, for a more independent adventure, you can take a train or a bus from Bangkok. The journey offers scenic views of the Thai countryside and takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.

Navigating Ayutthaya

Upon arrival, you can rent a bicycle or hire a tuk-tuk to explore the historical park and its surroundings. The flat terrain and relatively compact area make it ideal for cycling.

Tips for Visitors

  • Start Early: To make the most of your day, begin your trip early in the morning.
  • Stay Hydrated: The Thai heat can be intense, so carry water with you.
  • Dress Respectfully: As you’ll be visiting sacred sites, ensure to dress modestly.
  • Entrance Fees: Some sites may have entrance fees, so carry some cash in small denominations.

A Note on Reviews

Visitors often find a day trip to Ayutthaya to be a highlight of their Thailand experience, citing the awe-inspiring ruins and the opportunity to learn about Thai history.

Embrace the Extraordinary in Bangkok

In wrapping up our journey through Bangkok’s less-traveled roads, we trust that you’re equipped with a treasure trove of unique things to do in this vibrant city. Each handpicked experience is a gateway to the authentic essence of Bangkok, promising to enrich your travels with unforgettable moments. So, venture forth with curiosity and let Bangkok’s unique charm unfold before you.

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most unique things to do in bangkok thailand - the broad life pinterest board
unique things to do in bangkok thailand - the broad life pinterest board

Khoi Nguyen builds The Broad Life with a desire to inspire people go exploring the world and live a more interesting, experience, and adventurous life. This blog shares the stories, pictures, and experiences at destinations where he has traveled to.


  • Emily

    Bangkok has been on my travel bucket list for quite some time now! This has made me want to go and visit all the more.

  • Michelle

    I would love to see Thailand for myself one day. The whole country looks beautiful and like there are so many things to do and see while visiting.

  • Hannah Bures

    This looks like a BEAUTIFUL place to visit. I would love to learn about the culture if i was ever fortunate enough to visit.

  • Richard Lowe

    I’ve never thought of going to Thailand. Your article has made it clear that I might need to go. Thanks for all the useful information.

  • Prajakta

    Wow I would love to try to learn from the thai cooking classes from locals. Love the idea.

  • Fransic verso

    This is awesome, love the art and seeing places like this. Will save this list to try and visit them. Thank you for sharing!

  • Kat

    Your guide to unique things to do in Bangkok is fantastic! I’ve always been intrigued by the city’s hidden gems, and your article really captures the essence of exploration. The Jim Thompson House sounds like a fascinating blend of history and art. Can’t wait to check it out on my next trip! Thanks for sharing your insights.

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