If you are visiting Bangkok as a tourist there is so much to see and do that it’s very unlikely that you’ll even begin to scratch the surface of a must see list in a single visit (which is a very good excuse to come back again) And while there is a lot to be said of the adventure involved in discovering things all by yourself, a guided tour or planned excursion can be a great way to see some of the best of Bangkok and learn from the people who live and work there.
There are lots of these kinds of tours on offer, and it really will pay to explore your options, but to get you started here are some excellent choices we can recommend.
Bangkok City Temples Tour
There are a great many beautiful temples in Bangkok, but this tour is an especially good choice as it allows you to visit three of the most important and spectacular of them; Wat Trimitr, Wat Pho and Wat Benjabophit in a single day.
Wat Traimit is home to an astonishing five ton statue of the Golden Buddha that is literally crafted only from solid gold. Wat Pho boasts a world famous massage school and the much lauded Reclining Buddha statue and Wat Benjabophit is famed for the beautiful images that line the cloister walls behind its shining white marble facade.
In addition to the three temples, this three and a half hour tour takes in the most holy of the religious sites in the city, The Grand Palace, which, among the many other wonders and treasures housed within its 61 acres, is home to the great Emerald Buddha, a spiritual icon crafted completely from jade.
Ayutthaya by River Sun Cruise
Between the 14th and 18th centuries the Siamese city of Ayutthaya was the political and trade capital of Southeast Asia. Although decimated by war it still houses some of the most spectacular ruins and crumbling places. Walking the streets is an awesome experience, as it is easy to envision just how grand and dominant these buildings must have been before they were sacked and burned by the Burmese.
The great appeal of this particular tour is that it is enjoyable and informative but also supremely relaxing. The morning is spent exploring the city with experts who can paint an even more vivid picture of the city’s former splendor for you, while the afternoon is spent on a luxury cruiser and you can eat, drink or just sunbathe and meditate to your heart’s content.
Bangkok River Kwai Tour
The land of Kanchanaburi is steeped in history, both ancient and modern, and this ten hour tour guides visitors through much of it without ever making them feel rushed (the mark of a really good tour.)
Many Westerners are excited to see the famed Bridge over the River Kwai and the Death Railway. What they are less prepared for though is just how verdant and beautiful that surrounds these historic landmarks is. Part of this tour involves boarding a traditional longboat for a lazy ride down the idyllic Kwai Noi River that takes visitors through dense tropical jungle lands, past shimmering waterfalls and through breathtaking caverns.
Tour participants then board a train for a ride along the Death Railway itself, a journey that leads you to realize that despite it’s ominous name the tracks over one of the most scenic railways journeys to be found anywhere in the world.
Siam Ocean World
Siam Ocean World is home to one of the largest underground aquariums in the world, so even spending the whole day here will mean seeing less than half of it. But no mind, as what you do manage to see will dazzle you more than you could have imagined a visit to a marine park ever could.
Over 30,000 curious and beautiful looking creatures inhabit the waters of Siam Ocean World. They all live in one of seven special sections, each of which is themed appropriately depending upon where the creatures originate from.
You will see everything from tiny anemones to big sharks, striped frogfish to blind cave fish and a myriad of aquatic wonders in between. Expert guides will teach you all about what the creatures are and how they live, giving you an insight that goes far beyond reading information off a card.
You don’t have to just look at the exhibits though. For slightly braver souls there is the ‘Open Ocean’ , a place where you can dive right in and interact with the aquariums residents directly.