What are the best things to see and do in Bangkok?

1. Chao Phraya River. For me, the river is an integral part of the Bangkok experience, so the best hotel therefore is Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, which has a wonderful colonial attachment and, of course, a more up-to-date building. It has very good food. The river always has wonderful breezes. And the river is where you really experience Bangkok — you have the long-tail boat and you can go to the khlongs, or canals. I would always advise someone who’s not a business traveler to stay by the river.

2. Temples. There are great temples around the Grand Palace, which is a very distinct architectural landmark. You can’t just plant it anywhere and think it’s local. It’s unique. With it comes a fantastic massage experience because they do these beautiful massages there in temples.

3. Pak Khlong Flower Market. It’s this huge compound along the river. There are thousands of flowers. The Thai have a very distinctive way of doing flowers — they’re not just selling flowers. They have unique flowers and the way that they put them together for their offerings at the temple or for their Buddhas at home. It’s just an unbelievable experience.

4. Shopping centers. Some of the shopping centers are very unique, particularly the food halls. It’s not like Paris or London. When you go to the supermarket here, not only do you have a variety of very unusual Asian things, but it has a huge food court attached where you can sample local food. Food is a very important part of Thai life.

5. Jim Thompson. It’s really something that’s wonderful. Silk is a very Thai thing. Jim Thompson, an American, came here during the American-Korean War and he revitalized the silk trade. The stores have beautiful stuff — from fabric that you can buy for upholstery to placemats to cushions to dresses for ladies to ties for men. The original shop is in Surawong. Shopping in general in Bangkok is great — it’s one of the great jewelry destinations in the world.

  • On November 6, 2013
    Ralf Ohletz answered the question: Ralf Ohletz

    Where are the best places to eat at in Bangkok?

    I love Le Normandie, which is very classical French. In Bangkok, we have so many incredible restaurants — Italian, French, German, anything you want. Food is a very important thing for any Asian. At any roadside store, the food is delicious, though not for tourists because the hygiene is not up to a certain level. But that’s why it’s good for a visitor to go supermarkets, because they all have food courts attached and you can eat there.
  • On November 6, 2013
    Ralf Ohletz answered the question: Ralf Ohletz

    Where are the best places to stay at in Bangkok?

    There are a lot of great hotels. The Sukhothai Bangkok is a wonderful hotel. If it’s your first time in Bangkok, I wouldn’t stay there though; I think you should really stay by the river. Hotels such as Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, The St. Regis and The Sukhothai are great business hotels because they’re around the business district.

    From my personal experience, because it can get very warm, staying by the river is very convenient. Every time I’m in town, I have to go to Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok because I used to work for Mandarin Oriental for seven or eight years, and it was my first hotel. I just like the location on the river. It’s wonderful to sit there. They always have such beautiful flowers in the lobby. Flowers are a big part of the Thai experience.
  • On November 6, 2013
    Ralf Ohletz answered the question: Ralf Ohletz

    What’s the best time of year to visit Bangkok?

    The best time of year to visit Bangkok is definitely the cooler season, which is from November through March. That’s the winter season here. Of course, you should go down to Phuket and see the beaches there, which are lovely. Amanpuri is a fantastic hotel there.
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  • On November 21, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to eat at in Bangkok?

    Some of the best and most authentic Thai food in Bangkok is served at casual, open-air restaurants that with their simple plastic stools, metal folding tables and small kitchen may not look like much from the outside. Don’t be shy about popping into such places and trying a dish or two — it’s not always true, but a general rule of thumb to follow is that if it’s heavily frequented by locals, it’s probably worth checking out, even if just for an appetizer or two.
     
    With that said, our Forbes Travel Guide editors have recommendations for some of the best places and areas to eat both Thai and international cuisine in Bangkok:
     
    1. Blue Elephant. Located near the Surasak BTS Skytrain station in a beautifully renovated colonial-style house, Blue Elephant enjoys a well-earned reputation for both its comprehensive Thai cooking classes as well as its authentic cuisine served in a sophisticated setting. The international wine selection is excellent, and even includes select labels from Thailand's emerging wine producers in Khao Yai and Hua Hin.
     
    2. Kin Lom Chom Saphan. This open-air fresh seafood joint is located right on the Chao Phraya River, at the end of Samsen Soi 3, and offers excellent views of the passing dinner cruises as well as live entertainment during the evening. This is a great pick for groups.
     
    3. Soi Rangnam. This street off the Victory Monument BTS Skytrain stop is jam-packed with open-air restaurants serving Isaan-style Thai food. Browse and choose one that looks most appealing — you can’t go wrong with just about any spot here, though be prepared to eat some seriously spicy cuisine.
     
    4. May Kaidee’s Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurant. Carnivores and vegetarians alike will leave raving about May Kaidee’s amazing Thai food. We still daydream about the pumpkin hummus and massaman curry, but the best way to try a variety of May’s cuisine is to visit the soon-to-reopen branch at 59 Tanao Road (near Khao San Road) on Saturdays, from 7 p.m. to midnight, for an excellent all-you-can-eat-buffet priced at just 120 baht.
     
    5. Red Sky. Finally, for a phenomenal dining experience under the stars and high above the streets of Bangkok, we recommend visiting the Centara Grand Hotel at CentralWorld and ascending to the 55th-floor Red Sky, where you’ll enjoy expertly prepared international cuisine in one of the most memorable settings in the city.
  • On August 3, 2012
    Katie Lara answered the question: Katie Lara

    What is the best way to see Bangkok in one day?

    Though one day isn’t nearly enough to see and experience everything Bangkok has to offer, with a little advance planning it is possible to hit many of the highlights.

    If you’re here on a Saturday or Sunday, our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend starting your whirlwind tour of Bangkok with an early-morning trip to Chatuchak Market, the city’s famous weekend market that covers over 35 acres of land and has over 5,000 stalls. You’ll find just about anything imaginable here — the trick is finding it. Try to arrive sometime between 9 and 10 a.m. to avoid the crowds and sweltering heat, grab a bite to eat and a fresh coconut from one of the many food vendors and limit yourself to about 2 hours or so since there’s a busy day ahead of you still.

    After dropping off your goods at your hotel and perhaps taking a quick dip in the pool if there is one, head to the expansive Grand Palace, the most popular tourist attraction in Bangkok and the former home of Thai royalty. (Start your day here if you’re not visiting the city on the weekend, again arriving as early as possible.) Wat Pho and its stunning Reclining Buddha, located right by the Grand Palace, is your next stop — pick up bottles of water, Thai snacks and a fresh coconut on the way over there from one of the many street food vendors in the area.

    As you exit Wat Pho take a left and go straight to Tha Tien Pier, where you’ll hop on an express boat and cruise down the Chao Phraya River to Saphan Taksin, from which you can head back to your hotel by hopping on the BTS Skytrain or hailing a cab. (If possible opt for the former since traffic is likely to be insane at this time of the day.)

    Your options for food and drinks in Bangkok after the sun goes down are endless, but after a hectic day, we think you’ll likely want to take it somewhat easy. Do so by starting with a glass of Thai wine and expertly prepared cuisine at Blue Elephant, which is a short walk from the Surasak BTS Skytrain station. The Thai food here is reliably tasty and not too spicy, unless you want it to be; we recommend indulging either the Thai Royal Symphony or Royal Thai Banquet set menu, but only if you've brought an insatiable appetite along with you. After dinner, end your evening with a glass of wine or signature cocktail at Red Sky, the stunning rooftop bar on the 55th floor of the Centara Grand Hotel at CentralWorld.