Top Seven Things to Do in Bangkok

by Elsa Thomasma

Interning in Bangkok opens doors for individuals interested in fields ranging from culinary arts to social work. The city effectively encompasses nearly every component of Thai culture, the cuisine, architecture, religion, and traditions. There are vast amounts of things to do throughout the city, but in order to gain a well-rounded understanding of Thai people and the city itself, interns in Bangkok should attempt to do all seven things on this list.

The Marble Temple of Bangkok.
The Marble Temple of Bangkok. Photo Courtesy of Elsa Thomasma

1. The Grand Palace 

It may be a major tourist site, and sometimes overwhelmingly packed with foreigners viewing the novel temple and palace buildings, but it is a cultural must in Bangkok. Modest clothing is required throughout the Grand Palace complex, but native clothing is available for rent within the palace gates at an affordable rate. Renting the local modest dress helps create an even more authentic experience for individuals while they visit the Grand Palace filled with intricate mosaic tiling accented by shimmering gold. Visitors witness hundreds of years of history in the various palace buildings, from ancient Thai guns and weapons to religious Buddha of every size.

2. Local Markets

One of the best cultural experiences in Thailand comes from visiting food stalls at the local markets. Individuals traveling to Bangkok have the opportunity to try nearly every Thai dish for around 40 baht, close to two U.S. dollars. All dishes are cooked fresh, for those just passing by or regular local customers alike. People can spice the dishes to satisfy their taste buds; most food stands, ran by Thai self-made chefs, have tables with a standard rack of spices: sugar, sweet chili sauce, dried Thai red pepper, and vinegar.

Khao San Road, Bangkok

Khao San Road

3. Bicycle Tour

Biking through Bangkok may be one of the most exciting, eye opening ways to travel through the city's diversity quickly. Tours take participants through markets passing by meat counters and tables filled with a variety of vegetables, normally unseen alleyways between businesses and homes, neighborhoods of local Thai families equipped with serenades and opportunities to witness familial interactions, and the pure experience of weaving your way through the city with the freedom to conquer any terrain Bangkok springs upon you.

4. Elephant Ride at the Bangkok Zoo

International visitors can explore Bangkok's zoo by a mode of transportation infamous across the country. Elephant rides at the city's zoo are not only affordable but safe and fun for people of any age. Elephant rides are available throughout much of the country, although many people don't realize they can experience easily accessible elephant rides inside the capital city too. Those who aren't brave enough to board a giant live animal can still take some time away from the bustling city streets and admire one of the nation's natural attractions.

5. Khao San Road

A backpackers haven, overflowing with hostel accommodations, cheap food, bars, internet cafes, and well known Thai specialties, Khao San Road is a must see place for anyone interning in Bangkok. The entire road, every bend, weave, and cross street, is lined with ideal shops selling everything. From silk clothing to elephant laced souvenirs, at affordable, negotiable prices, one of a kind traditional Thai massage parlors offering hour long massages for under fifteen US dollars, and Thai foot spas populated with tiny fish that clean any foot that enters the tank painlessly and efficiently, Khao San Road provides a plethora of services and experiences.

Wat Saket, Bangkok

Wat Saket

6. The Golden Mount

Known locally as Wat Saket, this landmark in Bangkok is worth every last step. Hundreds of stairs wind around the central golden dome, leading to a peaceful roof top area, sometimes utilized by locals for private, quiet conversations with friends. Making the slow and steady climb just before the sun sets, gives foreigners lessened weathering by the typical heat of the day, as well as unparalleled views of the entire city.

7. Wat Benchamaborphit, the Marble Temple

Often referred to as the Marble Temple, due to its large scale marble work spanning much of the compound, the temple has a serene, reflective environment. Home to many Thai monks, this location gives visitors the opportunity to witness the daily activities of these devote individuals, and attempt to grasp Buddhist traditions through visually studying the largest collection of Buddha in Bangkok. The exterior of Wat Benchamaborphit embodies traditional Thai architecture, in its eye pleasing color accents and thoughtfully placed details.

So what are you waiting for? Plan out your internship in Bangkok right now!