Secrets are always fun to explore, and in Bangkok they are plentiful! Some are spoken of only in whispers, others take years to discover and a few are outrageously underrated. But one thing unites those picked for our list: all will enhance your enjoyment of this exciting city.
Most of the things below are door-openers (specific places you should visit), but we’ve thrown in a few eye-openers (curious facts) for good measure. Check them out before they're "discovered" by the crowds!
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour
- Banyan Tree's Apsara Dinner Cruise
- Vertigo & Moon Bar Rooftop Dining
- Ayutthaya Ancient Capital Tour with River Cruise
- Shangri-La Hotel's Buffet Dinner Cruise
- Bridge on the River Kwai & Historic Railway Tour
- Siam Niramit Dinner Show
- Calypso Bangkok Cabaret Show
- Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise
- Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha Half-Day Tour
Fresh Flower MarketOld City - Rattanakosin (near Wat Pho)
If you’re blooming mad about flowers, don’t miss Pak Khlong Talad. The city’s biggest flower market offers an exotic sensory treat, especially between 2am and sunrise, when lorries brimming with freshly cut flora, fruit and vegetables rattle in from neighbouring provinces and this unassuming roadside bursts into a symphony of fragrant smells and vibrant colours. Roses, daisies, chrysanthemums, indigenous orchids – they’re all here in droves, and at minuscule prices. Read More...
- Location: Soi San Chao Ban Mo, Wang Burapha Phirom, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Rod Fai MarketEastern suburbs
Rod Fai Market is an open-air bazaar formerly set beside an abandoned railroad track but now housed behind Seacon Square Shopping Mall on Srinakarin Road Soi 51. The vintage look never goes out of style here. Spread on the ground is all kinds of collectables and memorabilia from yesteryear, from antique furniture to hippy fashion to Mao kitsch. The overall feel is down-to-earth cool. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Thursday–Sunday from 5pm to 1am (closed Monday–Wednesday)
- Location: 51 Srinagarindra Road, Nong Bon, Prawet, Bangkok 10250, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)8 1827 5885
Erawan MuseumSamut Prakan (outside Bangkok)
A huge, 3-headed elephant statue standing upon an equally gargantuan pedestal is the first thing you see when visiting Samut Prakan's Erawan Museum. It's a splendid, towering beast: 250 tons in weight, 29 metres high, 39 metres long, and cast in a pure green-hued copper. From conception to completion it took almost 10 years to construct. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from 9am to 7pm
- Location: 99 Bang Mueang Mai, Samut Prakan 10270, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)2 371 3135
Bangkok Forensic MuseumRiverside - opposite Grand Palace
If your vision of a museum is a pretty display of artistic or cultural artefacts, then perhaps the Bangkok Forensic Museum is not for you. Located inside the Siriraj Hospital on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, this sinister exhibition is more for the morbid or for travellers searching for something extremely unusual. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Wednesday–Monday from 10am to 5pm (closed on Tuesdays)
- Location: 2 Wanglung Road, Bangkok Noi, Bangkok 10700, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)2 419 2601
Papaya Vintage ShopLadprao, near Chatuchak
Papaya vintage is like no other shop you have even seen before. Many have heard of it but few have actually stepped inside it. Trying to list the amazing objects, items, figures, toys, household objects and furniture tightly packed next to each other would be impossible, but you can’t help but notice the pinball machines, Vespas and full-size comic characters like Flash, Wolverine, Green Lantern and Batman, all proudly standing next to... a pair of giant rabbits. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from 9am to 6.30pm
- Location: 306/1 Soi Lat Phrao, Phlabphla, Wang Thonglang, Bangkok 10310
- Tel: +66 (0)2 539 8220
Shrine of Goddess TubtimChidlom
Literally hundreds of penises, from small wooden carvings to big stone sculptures that stand over 2 metres tall and decorated with ribbons, make this shrine quite unique. It honours Chao Mae Tubtim, a female fertility spirit. Women visit this shrine when they are trying to conceive, leaving offerings of lotus and jasmine. And if rumours can be believed, the shrine has a good success rate. Read More...
- Location: Nai Lert Park, Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Thai Air Force MuseumDon Muang
The Royal Thai Air Force Museum is a small but surprisingly interesting plane collection hidden away near the old Don Muang Airport. Covering the entire history of Thai Aviation since the very first biplanes, about 30 aircraft are displayed partly outdoor, partly indoor inside a couple of large hangars converted into a museum. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Tuesday–Sunday from 8am to 4pm (closed on Mondays)
- Location: 171 Paholyothin Road, Don Mueang, Bangkok 10210, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)2 534 1853
Scala Cinema in Siam SquareSiam Square
Scala Cinema in Siam Square offers a more modest 1-screen experience compared to the large complex situated in Siam Paragon, just across the road. Built in 1967, this exquisitely maintained movie theatre is worth a trip not only for the bargain-priced seats and popcorn but also for the retro setting. From the tickets to the building, everything here has been preserved and it's worth a trip just to stand in the domed-ceiling entrance and be transported to another age. Read More...
- Location: 184-216 Rama I Rd, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)2 251 2861
Rama IX Park is the largest green space in Bangkok, with a beautiful botanical garden, large lake and gardens inspired by countries around the world. Built in 1987 to celebrate King Bhumibol’s 60th Birthday, a visit to this large park on the outskirts of Bangkok is a great break from the city and, despite all the interesting things to see, remains surprisingly free of tourists and offers a genuine experience of how locals spend their afternoons off. Read More...
- Location: Suan Luang Rama 9, Sukhumvit 103 Road, Prawet, Bangkok 10250, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)2 328 1385
For a real sense of how people in Bangkok used to live (and how some still do) – in stilted shacks, old wooden townhouses and dilapidated lean-tos – check out the Bangkok Thonburi Khlongs. The tour begins on the Chao Phraya, the main river that bisects Bangkok in a wide arc. Unlike say London or Paris, it remains as alive as the city it flows through. From there, the narrow waterways spread into the city on either bank. Read More...