Bangkok is a busy, buzzing city full of historical and cultural wonders. It’s easy to fall in love with the Thai capital’s unique charm, which is why it’s consistently among the most visited cities in the world. However, you may also find it to be a little too “touristy” at times. After all, it’s a traveler hotspot that has transformed itself to a megalopolis that caters to global tastes and sensibilities.
If you’re planning to visit Thailand and you’re looking at booking a Bangkok tour package with Traveloka or another leading travel booking service, make sure to read this guide before you do. We’ll fill you in on some of the best secrets that this city has to offer.
Wat Traimit and Golden Buddha
Wat Traimit isn’t necessarily a secret. However, compared to Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Arun, or Wat Pho, this temple usually has fewer guests. This doesn’t mean that Wat Traimit doesn’t live up to the beauty of other temples in Bangkok. In fact, its color scheme of white and gold is both simple and elegant.
What makes Wat Traimit worth visiting, though, is the 3-meter-high, five-and-a-half ton Golden Buddha within its premises. The statue is made of pure gold, but it was covered in plaster and stucco for hundreds of years until it got accidentally revealed in 1955. Wat Traimit and the Golden Buddha are located in Chinatown, making them a perfect starting point for an exploration of this part of the city.
Chang Chui Bangkok Plane Market
For a different kind of night market, visit Chang Chui Bangkok Plane Market. It’s quirky, artsy, and definitely unique with its “nothing is useless” concept. You can find all sorts of interesting stuff here, including a drone flying school, hand-printed t-shirts, and art pieces made from recycled materials. There’s also Insects in the Backyard, a restaurant that serves Thailand’s most famous insect dishes with fancy plating and garnishes. The highlight of Chang Chui, however, is the taxidermy museum. It’s not the stuffed animals that makes this museum one-of-a-kind, though. It’s the fact that the entire museum is housed in an old Lockheed TriStar jet!
Siriraj Medical Museum
Bangkok is home to plenty of museums, including the Bangkok National Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), and the unique—no pun intended—Museum of Counterfeit Goods. However, nothing can ever be like the Siriraj Medical Museum or the Forensic Medicine Museum. It’s composed of seven smaller museums, each with a collection of pathological remains that have been preserved over the years.
Macabre, yes, but it’s also quite educational. For example, you can learn more about parasites that invade human bodies—and how to avoid getting them—in the Parasitology Museum. Siriraj Medical Museum is not for the faint of heart (and stomach), but if you don’t mind the creepy and sometimes disgusting displays, you’re bound for an interesting and informative time.
Speaking of museums, another unique museum in Bangkok is Baan Silapin. Also known as Artist’s House, Baan Silapin is a small wooden house that can only be reached through a khlong (a canal). Baan Silapin showcases some of the most unique facets of Thai culture and ethnicity, and even holds regular puppetry shows. Make sure to leave a tip or donation after the free performance.
To reach Baan Silapin, take a longtail boat on the Chao Phraya river. Boatmen know about it, but they don’t usually stop here, so make sure to tell them that you want to go there.
Forest in the City
Bangkok doesn’t necessarily have a lack of green spaces, but it definitely can’t hurt to have a bit more. Through the initiative and funding of the oil and gas company PTT, an empty 2-hectare land to the west of Suvarnabhumi Airport was transformed into a beautiful forest and wetland.
Called “Forest in the City,” the property has a mangrove forest, limestone forest, and brackish water forest, among other sections. You can explore them through the elevated walkways and an observation tower. Aside from catching gorgeous views and a breath of fresh air, Forest in the City also has exhibits and programs about sustainable and green living, environmental conservation, and similar topics.
Touring Bangkok can easily become an endless loop of visiting temples, markets, and street food stalls. And while that’s not exactly bad, it may end up being a little uneventful—or too cliché and overdone. As such, the next time you’re in the city, make sure not to miss these off-the-beaten-path attractions.