23 non-touristy things to do in Bangkok (2024)

Ever been to Bangkok? It’s one of my favorite places because of the vibe and many activities. I’ve made a list of the best non-touristy things to do in Bangkok if you’re looking to explore off the path.

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During my years traveling in Southeast Asia I’ve visited Thailand over a dozen times, and every time I made sure to stop in Bangkok. Read my full Thailand guide here

You’ve got everything here: history, luxury hotels, top restaurants, and great bars. And – there’s a lot to see and do whether you’re a first-time visitor or not.

So, here are my top suggestions for unique and non-touristy things to do in Bangkok that will give you a little more insight into this wild and wonderful capital.

Let’s dig in!

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Best time to visit Bangkok

The best time to visit Bangkok is between November and February.

During these months, the weather is cooler and more comfortable, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 31°C (68°F to 88°F).

This period avoids the intense heat of March to June and the heavy rainfall of July to October, making it ideal for exploring the city.

Non-touristy Things to do in Bangkok - itinerary

Non-touristy things to do in Bangkok

1. Taste the delicious street food

If you’re in Bangkok, you’ve got to join a street food tour.

It’s the best way to taste local favorites like Pad Thai, mango sticky rice, and spicy papaya salad.

These tours are awesome because they take you to places you might not find on your own. Plus, Thai food is just the best.

Book here – Bangkok Food Tour with 15+ Tastings (⭐ 5/5)

Non-touristy Things to do in Bangkok - street food

2. Discover the Artist’s House (Baan Silapin)

The Artist’s House, Baan Silapin is a hidden gem by the canal. It’s full of Thai art and a quirky, artsy vibe.

You can watch traditional puppet shows and even try some art workshops.

Book here – Customize Your Own Bangkok Tour (⭐ 5/5)

3. Visit the Erawan Museum

The Erawan Museum in Bangkok is also a must-see – it’s like stepping into a fantasy world.

The giant three-headed elephant statue is mind-blowing. Inside, you’ll find a mix of art and history, blending Thai culture and mythology.

Get your ticket – Erawan Museum entrance (⭐ 4.5/5)

Non-touristy Things to do in Bangkok - Erawan Museum

4. Explore the Bangkokian Museum

The Bangkokian Museum is an unusual spot in Bangkok. It’s like a time capsule, taking you back to old Bangkok.

You’ll see traditional houses, and vintage items, and get a feel for life in the past. It’s tucked away in a quieter part of town.

Book here – Customize Your Own Bangkok Tour (⭐ 5/5)

5. Visit Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen

Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen is a stunning temple in Bangkok.

It’s known for its massive meditation hall and beautiful architecture. The vibe here is peaceful, perfect for some quiet reflection.

Don’t miss the fifth-floor museum and the breathtaking views of the city.

Book here – Customize Your Own Bangkok Tour (⭐ 5/5)

Non-touristy Things to do in Bangkok - Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen

6. Browse the Rot Fai Market (Train Market)

Rot Fai Market in Bangkok is an open-air bazaar known for its vintage vibe.

You’ll find everything from antique furniture to classic clothes, and the atmosphere is lively with lots of street food stalls, too. It’s a great place to shop, eat, and soak up the local scene.

Book here – Customize Your Own Bangkok Tour (⭐ 5/5)

Non-touristy Things to do in Bangkok - Rot Fai Market

7. Attend a local festival

Depending on when you visit, you should take part in a local festival, like Loi Krathong.

It’s where everyone gathers to float krathongs, small decorated baskets, on the water.

The city comes alive with music, dance, and vibrant colors. You’ll get to see traditional Thai performances and try amazing street food.

Non-touristy Things to do in Bangkok - Loi Krathong

8. Canal tour

Granted, a boat ride on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok might sound touristy, but it is a fantastic way to see the city.

You’re on the water, watching landmarks like Wat Arun and the Grand Palace pass by.

It’s a mix of culture and a chill escape from the city’s busy streets. Absolutely a must-do when you’re in Bangkok.

Book here – Bangkok Canal Tour by Boat and Bike (⭐ 5/5)

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9. Shopping in MBK

Every time I’m in Bangkok, I head to MBK for shopping. It’s this massive mall with everything you can think of – from clothes to electronics, all at great prices.

I bought some of my favorite heels there 14 years ago and they’re still my go-to in the summer.

Sure, there are also a lot of low-quality items, but I always find great deals so I’m sure you will, too!

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10. Go to the movies

At the MBK center, there’s also a cinema. We’ve gone quite a few times and it’s always an experience!

Make sure to buy VIP tickets, as you get to sit in amazing seats that look like business-class airplane seats. They come with a blanket and you can electronically recline them for your comfort.

Also – the experience comes with unlimited popcorn, snacks, drinks, and coffee from the pantry area located within the theatre itself.

In Siam Paragon (a shopping center close by), you even get a complimentary 15-minute massage.

Talk about a VIP experience – and the best part is that ticket prices are surprisingly friendly, starting from just THB 800 which is around $25 dollars.

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11. Get a massage

Speaking of comfort…

In Bangkok, you’ll find tons of massage places, from simple ones to fancy spas at luxury hotels.

Thai massages are unique because they focus on stretching and bodywork. Don’t be surprised when the masseuse starts walking on your back!

I get massages almost daily when we’re in Thailand. I especially love their oil massages!

They usually cost about 200 THB or 6 USD per hour.

12. Solve a murder

Last time we were in Bangkok, we tried Escape Hunt, and it was a blast.

It’s this escape room game where you solve puzzles (like a murder) to get out. You have to be a detective, and it’s super fun, especially in a group.

The themes are cool, and it really gets your brain working.

Also try – Bangkok 1st Outdoor Detective Game (⭐ 5/5)

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The Sherlocks

13. Visit the floating market

The Floating Market in Bangkok might seem touristy, but it’s still unique.

If this is your first time in Thailand or Southeast Asia, this really is a different world with markets on the water and vendors in boats. You can’t find this anywhere else.

While Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is popular, try Khlong Lat Mayom for a more local feel. Definitely add this to your Bangkok itinerary; it’s a unique experience!

Book here – Customize Your Own Bangkok Tour (⭐ 5/5)

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14. Rooftop sunset cocktail

Grabbing a drink at a rooftop bar in Bangkok is one of my favorite things to do in Bangkok.

You get to see the sky change colors and the city lights up at night. It’s magical.

Two of the best spots for this are Vertigo and Sky Bar.

Non-touristy Things to do in Bangkok - Rooftop drinks

15. Take a cooking class

Taking a Thai cooking class in Bangkok is one of the best ways to spend your time in the capital.

The class I joined starts with a market tour before you continue to the kitchen where you learn to make dishes like red curry and pad thai. The local chef teaches you everything, from chopping to plating.

I highly recommend this – just arrive on an empty stomach as you will be eating all day!

Join here – Silom Thai Cooking School with Market Tour (⭐ 5/5)

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16. Tai chi in Lumphini Park

Lumpini Park is a peaceful escape from the bustling city.

There’s always something going on – people doing tai chi in the morning, relaxing, or listening to live music on weekends.

And, right near the Rama VI statue, there are food stalls, perfect for grabbing some delicious food.

Non-touristy Things to do in Bangkok - lumpini park

17. Watch a Muay Thai fight

Muay Thai is a martial art from Thailand and it’s great fun to try a 1-1 Muay Thai training yourself.

You’ll learn the moves, but also the culture and respect that goes with it. It’s a real authentic experience.

If you’d rather not take part yourself, you can also watch a Muay Thai fight with ringside seats at Rajadamnern Stadium.

Book a Muay Thai training in Bangkok (⭐ 5/5)

18. Wat Samphran

Wat Samphran is a huge, 17-story pink tower just outside Bangkok. It’s actually a study place for Buddhist monks.

You can climb the massive dragon staircase around it if you’re up for it. Or, just hang back and check it out from below.

It’s quite a sight either way and definitely off the beaten track.

Book here – Customize Your Own Bangkok Tour (⭐ 5/5)

Non-touristy Things to do in Bangkok - Wat Samphran

19. Visit the weekend market

Chatuchak Weekend Market is where you can find it all, from clothes to souvenirs.

It’s huge, with over 10,000 shops and stalls, making it Thailand’s largest market.

Markets are always a popular destination, but this is an interesting place because of its size.

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20. See a cabaret show

I’ve watched a cabaret show twice in Thailand and they’re great fun!

It’s performed by beautiful ladyboys and jam-packed with glitz, glam, and a touch of humor.

The choreography is impressive, and wow, they can sing and dance! It’s a fun, lively night out – totally worth it.

Book here – Calypso Cabaret Extravaganza (⭐ 4.5/5)

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21. Take a bike tour

Biking around Bangkok is a fantastic way to see the city.

And if you join this Bamboo Bicycle Tour at Twilight, be prepared for something else!

You bike around, then take a river cruise, looking for fireflies.

Book here – Bicycle Tour in twilight: watch dancing Fireflies (⭐ 5/5)

22. Visit Chinatown

Chinatown in Bangkok is one of the largest in the world!

It’s amazing for Thai cuisine street food and has a vibe all on its own. You’ll see busy markets in little alleys, cool Chinese temples, and loads of old buildings from the 1700s.

Book a tour – Tuk tuk by Night with Chinatown meal (⭐ 4.5/5)

Non-touristy Things to do in Bangkok - Chinatown

23. The Airplane Graveyard

The Airplane Graveyard is one of the most unusual things to do in Bangkok.

Located midway between downtown Bangkok and Suvarnabhumi Airport, it’s home to three abandoned jet planes, and it’s a hit with urban explorers (something I recently tried in Gdansk and was super fun!).

Squatters live inside these planes, so if you want to take a peek inside, you’ll need to give them a small fee.

Book here – Customize Your Own Bangkok Tour (⭐ 5/5)

Non-touristy Things to do in Bangkok - the Airplane Graveyard

FAQ – Things to do in Bangkok

What is a must-try in Bangkok?

A must-try in Bangkok is street food, especially dishes like Pad Thai, mango sticky rice, and spicy papaya salad.

Also, don’t miss exploring the floating markets and experiencing a traditional Thai massage.

Is Bangkok a walkable city?

No, Bangkok isn’t very walkable due to its busy traffic and hot, humid climate.

It’s better to use public transport like the BTS Skytrain, MRT, tuk-tuks, or taxis for getting around.

What is the least touristy island in Thailand?

Koh Yao Noi is one of the least touristy islands in Thailand. It has a serene environment and an authentic local feel.

Why is Bangkok so touristy?

Bangkok is a top tourist spot because it’s packed with attractions, like The Grand Palace and Wat Arun. The diverse food scene, from street food to fine dining, is also a major draw.

Plus, the bustling nightlife in areas like Khao San Road and Silom is also a great reason to visit.

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Discover Bangkok's hidden gems with this curated list of non-touristy activities! Dive into local life, explore hidden markets, savor authentic street food, and uncover hidden temples. Perfect for adventurous travelers looking to experience Bangkok beyond the usual spots. #BangkokHiddenGems #OffbeatBangkok #LocalBangkokExperience

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