November 13 Pamela MacNaughtan

A Bangkok Bucket List

I love Bangkok. It is a multifaceted city; then again most cities are. While many travellers decide to skip Bangkok, or only spend a day or two in the city, I like to stay awhile. Why? Because it is awesome, and there are still so many things I want to see/do/experience there (and share with you guys). The following is a list of experiences that I think ALL OF YOU should consider doing in Bangkok. Some of them I’ve already done, and others are on my personal bucket list for 2013.

Rod Fai Market

Talat Rod Fai market, Bangkok

Rod Fai Market finds by Data Ng

Rod Fai Market is one of those mysteriously cool places, that many travellers never find. Why? Well it’s only open on the weekends from 17:00 (5:00 pm) to midnight. And the market is located on abandoned railroad tracks near Chatuchak Weekend Market. I am SO going to find this market. Then snap way too many photos and buy some cool vintage goodies, and blog the shit out of my experience – which means you’ll totally want to add this to YOUR Bangkok Bucket List as well.

Chatuchak Weekend Market

If you love to shop, then plan to spend a few hours getting lost in Chatuchak Market. This markets sells pretty much everything. No really, you can find pretty much anything here. Chatuchak is a massive maze of stalls, so you may want to avoid splitting up; unless you’re with someone who knows the market well. I’ve been utterly lost in this market before.

DID (Dine in the Dark)

When I first heard of Dine in the Dark, I was intrigued. It’s exactly as it sounds, you dine, in the dark! I know, it’s a shocking revelation. Aside from eating in pitch blackness, I love the fact that all the waiters and waitresses are blind, and that a portion of the proceeds go to a charity which supports the blind. I am totally going to experience DID in Bangkok.

Forensic Museum at Siriaj Hospital

Does it sound weird? Yes. Does it sound creepy? Yes! But despite everything I’ve heard about fetis’ in formaldehyde, and other gruesome things – I promise you, I’m not a sociopath. It just sounds weird, and well, you know me, I like to check out weird things; even if it means freaking myself out.

Cruise along the Chao Phraya River

It took me like 4 trips to Thailand before I decided to check out the Chao Phraya river, and man, I felt like a travel knob for not going sooner. Buying a tourist pass is worth it if you plan to spend a day taking the ferries up and down the river, stopping to visit Wats, markets, and Chinatown. Way better then taking a tuk tuk through the city!!

A Fancy Night of Cocktails

It’s not cheap, but it’s something to experience in Bangkok; after all, who doesn’t like a little bit of luxury in their life?! Hit up Sukhumvit Soi 11 for a martini in the Grey Goose Lounge at QBar, or molecular cocktails at XYZ Bar (Aloft Hotel). Take the BTS to Nana and go to BED Supperclub (cause, you totally want to drink while sitting on lush beds, right?). Dance the night away at RCA.

Calypso Ladyboy Cabaret

The Calypso Cabaret

Calypso Cabaret by jscoke

Oh yeah, it’s a cabaret show that is all ladyboys! Oh, and you can eat dinner there too if you like. Forget going to a bikini bar in Patpong and playing ‘Which one is a dude?’. I’m a geek for cabaret; and Chinese Opera. Calypso is one thing I plan to finally check out when I return to Bangkok.

Watch a Muay Thai Fight at MBK

Sure, you could pay some money to see Muay Thai fights in almost every city in Thailand, but if you’re on a budget I recommend going to MBK to watch the FREE outdoor showcase fights that take place every Wednesday night.

Eat at Cabbages & Condoms

Cabbages and Condoms Restaurant

No pun intended? I love checking out quirky restaurants in Asia (like the Toilet Bowl in Penang). Seriously, I plan to review the best quirky restaurants in Bangkok when I return, and this place is definitely on my radar. Cabbages & Condoms is a restaurant outreach program by the Population & Community Development Association ( think sex education and AIDs prevention).

24 Hour Flower Market

This flower market (within walking distance of Chinatown) is always open. I don’t think you need a day, or even half a day here, but it’s still cool to see. Plus, all the bright colours and activity makes for fabulous photos. This is something you could easily do after touring Chinatown.

A Bakery that sells Body Parts Made of BREAD!!

OMG, this is AH-MAZING! Thanks to a tip from reader Elaine Wilson I have now added this to my Bangkok Bucket List. The bakery is in Ratchaburi, and each body part is hand painted. It’s supposedly a tad gruesome. I know, it’s kind of creepy and morbid, but I am SO CURIOUS!! Definitely going. I’ll keep you guys posted on this one.

Tuk Tuk Ride through Bangkok

Yes, Tuk Tuk are a lot more expensive than Taxis and the BTS, but it’s something EVERYONE should experience in Bangkok. If you’re worried about pollution, wear a mask. I recommend shooting a little video, or snapping some photos. Keep your eyes open and enjoy the craziness.

Eat Shwarma. Eat Shwarma. Eat Shwarma.


I see this man EVERY time I go to Bangkok. Seriously. Every time.

So, if you’re in Bangkok, you NEED TO EAT SHWARMA! I am obsessed with Shwarma in Bangkok. In fact, if you ask my friends in Bangkok about what I’ll do as soon as I get back, they will probably tell you I’ll go see my Shwarma guy.

Yes. I have a Shwarma guy!! If you’re going to Bangkok, and you want to try my guy, go to Nana soi 3, he is just after the 7-eleven, on the right side of the road.

Lumphini Park

Lumphini Park

Lumphini Park can be so peaceful.

Lumphini Park is a lush oasis in the middle of Bangkok. It’s a great place to go for a picnic, relax, jog, yoga, or collect your thoughts. I highly recommend trying the various vintage exercise thingys (I can’t call them machines, as they’re all manual. Ugh. Salted Caramel ice cream brain is making it hard to think of the write word).

Go to a Gay Bar

OMG there is nothing like going to a gay bar in Bangkok. I’ve been to a couple near the Patpong Market area, and wow, it was crazy fun. Just remember to share the dance floor, as the local gays don’t really like it when farangs completely take over the bar. Share. Share. Share – the dance floor.

The Grand Palace & Other Awesome Wats

The Grand Palace| Bangkok

Although the Grand Palace is a must see, it is also a one time only type of site. There are several Wats that should be visited during your trip in Bangkok. I HIGHLY recommend visiting Wat Arun around sunset. As well as stops at Wat Pho, Wat Ratchanatdaram, and The Golden Mount (Wat Saket). I obviously need to do a Wat post when I return to Bangkok, complete with photos, locations, hours etc.

Stay at Bangkok Treehouse

I read about this place last year and I am DYING to go! After all, who doesn’t want to spend a night in a stylish treehouse, in Bangkok! This place has a couple of options that are completely outdoors, as well as a couple with roofs. Either way I wanna go!! Stay tuned…



A veggie seller in Chinatown

A visit to Chinatown is a MUST in pretty much every city that has a Chinatown, but especially in Bangkok. Chinatown has a labyrinth of souvenir streets which are even more crowded than you’d think. Seriously. When you think another person could not possibly walk past, a scooter comes by. It’s a crazy hot mess and totally worth it. Be sure to hide your money and valuables, and come back after dark to eat at the Night Market!

Try Yadong

Yadong is a Thai Rice Whiskey that will probably corrode your stomach. It’s strong (think Moonshine) and can be found at street stalls, or at Lub d Silom and Lub d Siam on most Wednesday nights. Tip: Be conservative. This stuff packs a massive punch and you can get quite sick if you drink too much. Seriously.

Thip Samai Noodle Shop a.k.a The BEST Pad Thai in Bangkok

Thip Samai Noodle Shop

I was taken to this gem of a place on my last trip to Bangkok, and OMG! The Pad Thai is to die for, and an absolute must; especially late at night. Dishes cost about 60THB (roughly $1.75). Thip Samai is Mahachi Road between the Golden Mount and the Giant Swing. Oh, and it’s open until 3am. You. Are. Welcome.

Street Eats at Sukhumvit Soi 38

Some of the BEST street eats can be found at Sukhumvit Soi 38 (Thong Lor BTS stop). Go hungry, and try as many things as you possibly can, then go back and eat some more.

Dinner & Cocktail at Sirocco

Thailand Sirocco

Bangkok view at Sirocco by kirainet

Sirocco has one of the BEST views of Bangkok. Dinner and cocktails at Sirocco is a bit of a splurge, but totally worth it. However, if you just want to check out the view, you can buy one cocktail for 350 THB (mandatory minimum charge to get into Sirocco). I also suggest checking out the view from Vertigo and Moon Bar.

This post barely scratches the surface of Bangkok. When I return I plan to write more detail guides on where to shop, the best places for street food, Wats and other sacred sites, Funky bars, and quirky/weird sites to visit.

Visiting Bangkok soon? Have questions or suggestions? Leave them in the comments!! (I promise to reply)



About the Author

Pamela MacNaughtan I'm a travel writer and photographer who specializes in bespoke travel experiences. I write about boutique, savvy and cultural travel. My writing has been featured in Outpost Magazine, Travel + Escape, and UP! Magazine.

Comments (54)

  1. Body parts made of bread???? what?? Thanks for sharing! This goes straight on my list of creepy/weird things to see!

    • YOU have NO IDEA how excited I was when I found out. I’m planning a ‘Creeped Out in Bangkok’ post for when I return. :)

  2. Max Neumegen

    Wat Bowon. One of the oldest wats on the city.
    Have a talk with the working “people” in soi cowboy and “silom” , a different world.
    Have a all over thai massage, an all over oil massage, and a spa experience and compare them all.
    Ride a bike through the city and the back alleyways.
    Try a game of thai chess with the locals in the suburbs.
    Bike Ride round ko kret, try some pottery making.
    And see for mark’s list of 101 things to do in Bangkok.
    And learn thai. Wish I had.

    • Thanks for the additions, Max. I admit, I didn’t find Mark’s list to be as diverse as I had hoped. Then again, we like totally different things. :)

  3. I visited the Bangkok Treehouse while it was being built. The owner did a great job with the place and finished product is amazing and super eco friendly! Plus, the area it is located in is really nice; loads of nature and there are these elevated walkways you can walk or ride a bike along. Very lovely and hard to believe the big city is just across the river!!

    • OMG you will LOVE Bangkok. If you want some gay bar recs, LMK. I can’t get a list of the best ones right now and send it to you. :)

  4. I’m loving this post! I’ll be hopefully heading to Bangkok on the next big teaching holiday here in Cambo, and I would never have even guessed at being able to do so many of these things! Definitely hitting up Dine in the Dark, and your repetition of the word ‘schwarma’ has got my tastebuds doing their thing… What a well-done post. Thanks for this!

  5. Shane Curtis

    I have heard about Rod Fai Market and they said, it’s a great place to visit since I love to collect classic items.
    A great place to consider indeed.

    • I’m lucky in that I have a local friend who lives near Rod Fai, and she is willing to take me there. So excited to check it out in the spring.

  6. just added a few more things to my list of things to do when I go back to Bangkok! Cheers!

  7. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. I thought I knew everything about Bangkok but after reading your post I realised how much places I missed in my trip. I am clueless that how you discover these rare places especially bakery shop which looks weird but a must visit for everyone. I also loke Siroco as it is a perfect place to get a beautiful night view but it’s on bit expensive side but worth a visit.

  8. Cabbages and Condoms is really fun and has great food. I love to see all the statues of famous people… made out of condoms!

  9. Awesome list!! I’d reallyl like to take in a Maui Thai fight. Local sports area always great for getting exponsed to culture. I went to a Hurling match in Ireland. very VERY fun!

    Shwarma is really popular in Ottawa if you’re ever in the area.

  10. Haven’t thought of Sirocco in a while. Amazing views and such a cool restaurant and bar!

  11. Nico

    Visited a couple of these sites before last time I went to Bangkok. I think I’ll have to add some of these to the list for next time I visit the city. Oh and I definitely agree with you about eating Shwarma.

    • Thank you! When I tell people the best shwarma I’ve eaten was in Bangkok, they look at me like I just escapes from an asylum! ha ha

  12. Cool list. I’ve only really done the more touristy stuff around Bangkok, which is well worth a visit. I’ll have to keep these ideas in mind if I go back this spring.

  13. Frederik

    Must Go is to
    Cheap Charlies in a side street of Sukhumvit Soi 11 before going out, every drink is 70 THB
    Go shopping in Siam Center – Fashion hotspot in BKK – even if you don’t want to buy anything, it’s good for at least a couple hours of entertaining
    Go eat Korean BBQ all you can eat
    Go eat at Best Beef BBQ all you can eat at BTS on nut
    Go to party Thai way at Demo and Funky Villa
    Go to the street parallel to khoa san road and eat on in the beginning of the street with the street food bar, there is a guy called Max who takes your order and shows you wonderful magic tricks :)
    and many more….

  14. Les

    Hi Pamela,

    Just stumbled onto your post here while doing research. I’ve been living in Bangkok over a decade myself and never get tired of searching the nooks and crannies of the city, looking to find the strange/unusual/scary/funny/bizarre.
    This year we have finally taken the plunge and set up our own off-the-beaten-path walking tours, for those who’d like something else besides the obvious and the usual. I don’t want to turn this into a cheap plug, just wanted to say I liked your post, coz it’s something I’m interested in myself.
    If you’d like more info, feel free to email me though :)

  15. Payal

    Hey Pamela!

    Your post has got me damn excited.. I m travelling to bangkok next week and would like to get the location details of shawarma place, gay bars and cabera place… Plzz do suggest anything else you wish to as this is my first time to Thailand! Cheers payal

  16. Georgie

    Thanks for these great tips! In Singapore killing time at the airport to fly to Bangkok and stumbled upon your blog. Thankyou!! Will def check out a lot of your recommendations!! Georgie x

  17. Molly

    Headed to Bangkok in a week and I would love to know where to find the shwarma guy, where the best gay bars are and if you know the name of that bakery! Thanks for your blog, it was totally what I was looking for!

    • Hi Molly. The bakery is just outside Bangkok and may be tricky to get to if you have limited time. There are some fun gay bars in Silom near Pat Pong Market. I’ll ask a couple Thai friends for their recommendations.

    • Hi Brinton,

      He’s in Nana Soi 3. Go to Nana BTS stop, then walk back along Sukhumvit to soi 3, turn right. He’s just up the street past 7-eleven. Enjoy!

  18. Les

    Hi Pamela,

    That’s an awesome list you’ve got there and it will surely take you a while to finish it. When you do, or if you’d like some more suggestions of crazy, off-the-beaten-path places and activities (think robot waiters, a prostitution temple, a 17-storey dragon, etc) feel free to give me a shout. I’ve lived here for almost two decades and love to dig out quirky and unusual places, people and things too. I also own Bangkok Walking Adventures and we specialise in exactly this :)

  19. Charlee Lola-Rose

    This is amazing! So glad I found this site! I live in Yangon and have to visit Bangkok regularly for visa runs so I’ve done all the usual stuff and am always looking for alternative stuff to do! I’m going to compile a similar list of my own about Yangon for my blog:

  20. Hi there,

    I wanted to ping you and ask for contact at volunteering at the IDC as I will be heading back to BKK tomorrow for a week; in all the times I have gone there I have never heard of such opportunity. I am in the process of putting together a list of NGO opportunities in Asia, and I would love to check this out.

    Many thanks,

  21. Karl

    Hi Pamela,

    Do you know how I would go about visiting refugees in the IDC?



  22. Angelica

    Hi! Can I ask directions for your shawarma guy? It’s tuesday now and I’m going to Bangkok on Thursday!

  23. Katie

    I would love to find out more about visiting with the refugees. Sounds like an experience of a lifetime and a humbling opportunity. Thank you! Traveling next week!

  24. Bryan

    Hi may I know the location of the shwarma place please (:

  25. After a long online search I have found a great post about coolest attractions in Bangkok..
    I am planning trip to Bangkok in the month of October with my family.
    For my kids I have plan to take them at kidazania and wife to shopping – floating markets..
    Also I was curious about Tiger temple which is near by Bangkok city, so will be visiting it once.
    I took help of Bangkok tourist attractions mentioned here –
    Now i am confused about what all to add in my trip itinerary which will be of 10 days long.
    Please help me to plan it as I have found two great sites to make my Bangkok trip amazing.
    Waiting for your reply.

    • Please don’t go to Tiger Temple, it’s a horrible place where the tigers are not treated properly. The temples in Bangkok are fabulous, Chinatown, Chao Phraya river, markets… so many things to see and experience.

  26. Filippo Lubrano

    That’s incredible. I live like 200 mt from there and I didn’t know about it!
    I would love to go. Can you please share the contacts with me?
    Thanks in advance!!

    • My contacts have changed. That being said I will be back in BKK in September and hopefully I can get visits up and running again at that time. Stay tuned?

  27. Alex Russell

    Your list is great! I’m in Bangkok now and trying planning to do a few of the things you wrote. Now, I’m only here another 2 nights but I was wondering how to go about seeing and helping out the immigration refugees

  28. Debbie

    Hi, Pam! How’s life? Your experience was great! :))

    Btw I really want to visit the prisoners soon when I arrive in Bangkok on August, can you gimme the contact of the person there? :) I love social service like that.

    Please do reply through my email soon.

    Bunch of love,

    Debbie :)

  29. Thank you so much for a lovely post! I’m so done with seeing “top 10, 20,1000” places to see and they’re all the same old.

    I’d love to visit the Prisoners at the Immigration Detention Center. I know this post dates back to a couple of years, but any chance you can put me in contact with anyone to facilitate this?


    • Hi Sara,

      I need to figure out a new strategy for the IDC visits. I’ll be back in Bangkok on Sep 10th, and hope to renew my contacts once I return. How long are you in Bangkok?

  30. Hrishabh

    Great post, Pamela! My wife and I are planning on visiting Thailand for our honeymoon from Sept 11 starting in Bangkok. Could you recommend a good hotel? We are looking for something decently priced for 3-4 days.

  31. Dan Pritchard

    Hey! Thanks for yourv list, I’m working my way through! Can you send me directions to your Schwarma guy? Thanksa!

    • Hi Dan,

      My guy is in Nana, soi 3. He’s not too far up from Sukhumvit. As for the refugees… I return to Bangkok tomorrow, and I’ll work on getting the updated info as to how you can visit.

  32. Dan Pritchard

    Also wondering about the visits to refugees, let me know any info, thanks!

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