Places have many identities, and it takes some exploration to see beyond the surface. It can be daunting for tourists to see cities in their entirety. It is also challenging to really get a true feel for these modern wonders.
Bangkok, Thailand is no different. It is a unique place with quirky and interesting attractions lurking in all its corners and crannies. While tourist spots are popular for a reason, the city’s hidden gems are worth a visit as well.
Here, the most awesome underrated places in Bangkok:
Chatuchak Weekend Market
The Chatuchak Weekend Market is definitely an adventure for all of your five senses. Food vendors and stalls will fill you with exciting aromas of seafood and desserts. Techno and dance music explodes out of trendy clothes stands. Herds of customers are pushing their way through the market, one stall at a time.
Since it is one of the largest markets in Asia, exploring it can be overwhelming. But, you can buy anything your heart wants at the Chatuchak Weekend Market.
Are you on the lookout for a rare work of art? Visit section 7 for a wide range of options. Do you need a new outfit before you head back home? There’s a section for that.
One of the easiest ways to tackle exploring this vast market is to have a guide with you. They can also help you haggle and get a feel of the prices.
The market opens every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Stores open at 6:00 pm on Friday night and close at around midnight. They’re available all day from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Some of the stalls overlook these hours and remain up even longer. However, the perfect time to go shopping is in the morning, right before the market officially opens.
Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok (MOCA) features some of the largest collections of contemporary artworks in Thailand. Located in Chatuchak, the 5-story arts center exhibits over 800 artworks, most of which are owned by its creator, Boonchai Bencharongkul.
A lot of natural light and well-spaced rooms highlight the growth of Thai fine arts over the years. Many of his exhibits are thought-provoking, stunning, and, in part, humorous.
MOCA is a venue where artists are able to explore topics and concepts such as morality, injustice, prostitution, and the loss of traditional ideals.
Its permanent exhibitions showcase some of the region’s most celebrated artists, including Denpong Wongsaroj, Lumpu Kansanoh. and Bundit Padungvichi. The fifth floor of the gallery is a unique wing devoted to European painters from the Victorian period, along with Japanese, Vietnamese, Italian, and Chinese works of art.
Bang Nam Pheung Market
Bang Nam Pheung Market is a floating market with various boats along the banks and stalls on land. It is situated in the Chao Phraya River’s rare loop, called ‘Bangkok’s Green Lung.’ While being very close to Bangkok, this curiously untouched area is filled with vegetation and traditional buildings.
Many street signs will lead you to the market – the river itself is small, with just 5 or 6 boats serving classic Thai cuisines. The rows of low tables are laid down along the river under a long, thatched roof. Bang Nam Pheung Market is shockingly authentic, as locals mainly frequent it.
It offers a great opportunity for you to explore and taste local produce, candies, and unusual dishes. The environment is calm and friendly. People are really nice, particularly if you want to taste interesting dishes on the market.
Artist’s House in Thonburi
The Artist’s House is a century-old house converted into a gallery in Thonburi, across the Chao Phraya River. The unique attraction is run by Khun Chumpol Akkapantanon. It is a perfect place to avoid the city’s busy traffic for a day.
Baan Silapin, and the surrounding neighborhood, dates way back to the 1800s. The walkway leading to the gallery is packed with stalls, cafes, restaurants, and a shrine. You can also find several unique statues, decorated in white, red, and black, lying by the river.
The Artist’s House has a high, white stupa dating all the way back to the Ayutthaya period, standing in the yard. You can see a lot of traditional sculptures, masks, and puppets all over the place. It’s most famous for staging traditional Thai puppet shows, where black-clad performers operate artfully patterned puppets.
Shows take place each day at 2:00 pm on a small wooden platform, aside from Wednesdays. It’s a great idea to call in advance, since the theater often performs in other areas of the world, typically during special occasions.
Bangkok Street Food Tours
From the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market to the Bangkok Midnight Food Tour, Thailand has an extreme combination of spicy, sweet, salty, and sour flavors. And the best way to experience them is through street food tours.
Expique’s Evening Food & Tuk Tuk Adventure will help you explore the city with your own private tuk-tuk. This means you can get to little spots that nobody else knows about.
What you’ll like about the tour is that you will always be off the beaten path. Typical stops are small food markets followed by delicious food tours on the streets surrounded by locals.
On this Bangkok street food trip, you’ll be like a native enjoying the most popular attractions, such as the Old Town Temples and the flower markets, without the queues you’ll encounter on the normal tours.
Fantasia Lagoon Waterpark at The Mall Shopping Center Bangkae
Fantasia Lagoon is a huge and exciting water park on the top of The Mall Shopping Center Bangkae. It’s very popular with local and expat families living in this part of Bangkok. It features big pools and water slides, as well as enticing games and entertainment spots in the shopping mall.
It has many zones for children and kids-at-heart. Fantasy Fountain is suitable for young children, while Pirate Cove and Slider Tower are great for older and more adventurous kids. Magic Jungle, Mystery Island, and Ocean 10 cater to all ages, with aquatic sports, games, and fun experiences to entertain you and your children.
For something more relaxing, you can float around the Lazy River waterpark on an inflatable tube. Also, you can watch entertainers performing balloon displays and magic tricks on a big stage.
Fantasia Lagoon Water Park has a sliding tower providing a sweeping view of Bangkok’s heavy traffic. Within The Mall Shopping Center Bangkae, you’ll discover an indoor theme park with fun-filled themed houses, a painted sky, and an old school merry-go-round.
Double Dogs Tea Room
Bangkok’s Chinatown is a lot of stuff, but it’s not laid-back. A day spent wandering the countless alleys of vendors and sellers is culturally rewarding yet emotionally draining. That’s why the Double Dogs Tea Room proves to be such a pleasant refuge from the frantic rhythm of life outside.
This comfortable store is located in Yaowarat, Chinatown’s high street. It offers a variety of luxury teas and Chinese cakes with all the pride and ritual of a typical tea room. It is a friendly hangout for sleepy tourists and locals alike.
The decor and furniture are very simple but spotlessly clean. Everyone is warmly greeted by the host, Khun Tee, and his staff. For novice to the world of tea, the menu is descriptive and simple to read, with separate sections on various varieties of tea and regions.
The Double Dogs Tea Room features specialty teas from Taiwan, China, Sri Lanka, and Japan. They are further classified into various forms of tea, roughly based on colors such as green, red, blue, white, and oolong. Depending on the type, tea is served either in tiny ceramic teapots or in a larger bone china cup with the tea leaves still inside.
If you want to take home tea as a souvenir, you’re fortunate because Double Dogs offers most of its tea in 50-gram bags. It is relatively pricey compared to other market sellers. But, the price is warranted by the higher quality of the leaves.
The owner also provides a marked map of Chinatown with some of his favorite restaurants and eating establishments that tourists may have otherwise failed to locate. Incredible tea, comfortable environment, and polite, English-speaking owners – the Double Dogs Tea Room is a perfect spot to end your day of exploring Bangkok’s Chinatown.
Rod Fai Night Market
Rod Fai Night Market, also well-known as the Talad Rod Fai Train Night Market, is an authentic open-air marketplace offering an amazing collection of antique collectibles and memorabilia from the past.
This ranges from vintage furniture to hippie chic. With three parts to this large marketplace, several vendors are selling trendy fashion and clothes that are more common in other night markets in Bangkok.
Rod Fai Market is situated at Srinakarin Soi 51, just behind Seacon Square Shopping Center. The fastest way to get there is via taxi, as most drivers know Seacon Square. However, traffic can be terrible on Friday and Saturday evenings. So, try taking the BTS Skytrain to On Nut Station first, then catch a taxi from there.
The Jim Thompson House
Jim Thompson, an American OSS officer deployed in Thailand in World War II, made a name in the silk industry. He began by sending samples to fashion superstars in New York City, including the former editor of Vogue, Edna Woolman Chase. This caught the attention of prominent fashion houses and they began sourcing silk fabrics in the country.
His house features a well-cured collection of items Thompson collected during his heydays. It includes temple walls that portray Buddha’s life, mahjong tables repurposed in the dining room, an exquisite Buddha statue, and a fine porcelain display. Beyond its collection, the house is known for high-society parties when Thompson was alive.
Tours are required to explore the house which takes about half an hour. The guides are entertaining and informative.
A fascinating part of the tour is the retelling of Thompson’s disappearance which is shrouded in mystery. Around 1967, he went on a trip in Malaysia’s jungle and was never seen again.
Don’t miss the museum gift shop as they have a wide array of quality souvenirs. Pick up silk neckties or button-downs. They also offer exquisite silk scarves and elegant placemats that you can take home.
Bangkok Airplane Graveyard
Off Ramkhamhaeng Road in Bangkok is a strange sight of abandoned 747 and two smaller MD-82 aircraft lying in pieces. Aside from being an oddity, these planes serve as makeshift residences as well.
While no one is sure when the junked aircraft parts appeared in the area, the nose parts of two Boeing 747s were first seen since at least January 2010. Then, the two MD-82 jetliners formerly flown by Orient Thai Airlines were added in 2014.
By 2015, 747 had been added to this unusual attraction. Around this time, three Thai families relocated to convert the planes into their temporary homes.
Its residences have made the scrapped aircraft as homey as possible. They removed all the interior parts and painted them. Curtains covered the walls, along with pictures of the King of Thailand. The steps made of piled tires add a bit of quirk to these unique “houses”.
To make a living, they charge a small entrance fee for visitors who want to see the airplane graveyard. However, not that the price varies anywhere from 100 to 800 baht per person. Also, make sure to respect the privacy of the residences and avoid disturbing them.
To get to the Airplane Graveyard ride the Klong Saen Saep canal taxi. Take the eastbound boat until you reach the last stop, Wat Sriboonruang, on Ramkamhaeng Soi 107. Then, walk to the main road, turn right, then walk two blocks. The Airplane Graveyard is situated at Soi 103. It is recommended that you visit early to escape the what, especially within the cockpits.
Cabbages & Condoms Cafe
Cabbages & Condoms is a non-profit restaurant on Sukhumvit 12, about 450 meters southwest of Asok BTS Skytrain Station. Using an unusual name to illustrate a critical problem, proceeds go into funding sustainability projects initiated by the Population and Community Development Group (PDA).
The style of the restaurant sticks out when you ste[ in. When you walk down a leafy path to the entrance, you’ll see the first condom character. Cabbages & Condoms has a collection of life-size mannequins dressed in latex: Captain Condom, a bride with a ruffled skirt made of snow-white sheaths, and even a jolly red condom version of Father Christmas.
Although there are a lot of fascinating things to see at the entryway, the mood is very different when you get to the terrace. There’s a garden with a man-made waterfall and dozens of fairy lights hanging from the branches.
The restaurant provides indoor and outdoor seating. Although it’s gets crowded, you don’t necessarily need to call ahead to reserve a seat.
The food choices are amazing that offers beyond the regular pad thai and tom yum. Soups and curries are served in an earthy-looking hotpot. Standouts include a spicy, deep-fried catfish salad eaten with mango dressing, chicken cooked in wild honey, and yellow crab on curry sauce with bell peppers.
The wine list is just as long, with drinks such as whiskey sour, mojito, and pink lady. The restaurant serves wines from Australia, New Zealand, and, of course, Thailand.
Maeklong Railway Market
The Maeklong Railway Market was established in 1905. It is situated in the province of Samut Songkhram, on the Gulf of Thailand. Fishing is the main livelihood of the locals living who lived there.
The market is another means of selling their goods. Officials have agreed to build a railway to help supply these goods to the provinces across Thailand, including the capital. Despite the new tracks that sliced into it, the market persisted.
You’re going to hear the train long before you even see it. Sellers and vendors collectively continue to expertly move their goods and umbrellas away from the tracks as train barrels move on, keeping the horns on every now and then to warn people of its imminent passing. That’s why the market is often known as the ‘umbrella pull-down’ market.
The Maeklong Railway Market is located about 80 kilometers outside the capital, in the Samut Songkhram area. It takes just over an hour to get there, depending on Bangkok’s traffic. There are a few routes you can take to this market.
The first, and definitely one of the most efficient ways, is to ride the BTS Skytrain to Victory Monument station, then take a minibus. These busses leave as soon as they are packed. But, you never know what your departure time will be.
Be sure to review the train schedule before you leave so you don’t miss it. Be mindful that these times are subject to adjustment, and trains are frequently delayed.
Lumpini Park is one of the biggest green areas in central Bangkok. Established in the 1920s, this inner-city park covers more than 500,000 square meters and is home to a variety of flora and fauna. Over the years, it has become a famous meeting place for Bangkok locals to meet for a round of jogging, light exercises, aerobics, and recreational activities during the day.
The park appeals to almost everyone. You can see retired people practicing tai chi and families sitting by the lakeside. It is also popular among the 9-to-5 crowd resting on park benches or working out in the evenings. On weekends, this green area is always full of families and children’s cheerful sounds.
The on-site amenities of Lumpini Park include paddle boats, play areas, and an outdoor gym. Sweat it out before sunset at the Lumphini Park’s free aerobics sessions and high-energy techno tracks. There’s a basketball court as well if you want to play hoops. Local jazz outfits, or a classical orchestra, frequently play late on Sunday afternoons.
Bangkok is one of those cities that feels and looks new every time you visit. That is why next time you explore the country, try out places and activities that are outside the usual tourist spots.
The friendly locals are always ready to provide suggestions along with their smiles. Traffic aside, it is easy to travel around the city. It is filled with unique bars, shops, and attractions that will add excitement to your adventures.