Whenever someone thinks about exploring Southeast Asia, visiting Thailand will definitely be one of the top choices. Just exploring Bangkok alone will take you multiple visits to fully experience everything it has to offer.
On my recent trip to Bangkok (which is my 3rd ) we followed a not so typical itinerary. I mentioned “not so typical” as the places we’ve been to are spots you hardly see in travel blogs as one of the TOP PLACES / MUST SEE ATTRACTIONS in the city.
While most locals stay away from the “touristy places” these “not-touristy-touristy spots ” are both being enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. So if you are visiting Bangkok and you have enough time to go around the city, I listed down some places to add in your itinerary that you and your family (and friends) will surely enjoy.
Here are 10 not the usual tourist spots that I gathered based from our recent trip around Bangkok (and also places close to the city).
ANCIENT CITY / ANCIENT SIAM
Ancient City is a huge themed-complex filled with replicas of Thailand’s most prominent, historical and significant temples, monuments, and palaces. These are not scaled architectural block models, but almost-life-size replicas complete with all the design details found in the original structure.
Even just the idea of this project makes my jaw drop.
Being an architectural and production designer (my previous profession), I really appreciate the effort of building these structures using real construction materials and not just your typical styrofoam molds.
Tip: When planning a visit, I would suggest going to the Ancient City early morning and spend the whole day exploring each structure. WORTH EVERY PENNY!—also rent a bike
Location: 296/1 Sukhumvit Road, Bangpoo, Samut Prakan 10280
The moment you enter the Erawan Museum compound, you will be welcomed by A huge, three-headed elephant statue standing on a large pedestal (250 tons in weight, 29 meters high, 39 meters long to be exact). The image of the Hindu elephant otherwise known as Erawan, serves as the inspiration for this museum.
The museum houses collections and artifacts by Mr. Lek Viriyaphant who is also the man behind the Ancient City.
Tip: When you are inside the main building, don’t forget to climb up the rooftop and see on display some relics of the Buddha statues from several eras including Lopburi, Ayutthaya, Lanna, and Rattanakosin.
Location: 99/9 Moo 1 Ban Muang Mai, Amphoe Mueang, Samut Prakan, Chang Wat Samut Prakan 10270
Chocolate Ville is a European inspired restaurant complex in Bangkok (think of a food park with real European style houses turned into restaurants). Even though I am not really a fan of creating “EU” replicas in Asia, I must admit that Chocolate Ville is visually stunning! Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with European Architecture, that is why roaming around the compound gives me a bit of pleasure (also inspirations for my future home).
Tip: Climb up the lighthouse and see the whole village from above.
Location: Soi Nawamin 74, Yak 3-8, Kaset-Nawamin Road, Klong Kum Subdistrict, Bueng Kum District, Bangkok
3D ART IN PARADISE
To be honest, when I first saw 3D Art In Paradise in our itinerary, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. My idea of being in Bangkok doesn’t include visiting some contemporary art and let me say even 3d artworks. But…I definitely spoke too soon. WE REALLY ENJOYED OUR TIME HERE. We looked like kids placed in a whimsical wonderland where everything is possible. Hahaha.
There are five themes you can enjoy inside the 3D Art in Paradise, Safari and Underwater, Classic and Famous Pictures, Fantasy, Nature and Scenery, and Modern Art.
Just check out some of the hilarious photos we got inside.
Tip: Look for the camera sticker on the floor to know where to take the most effective-illusion-shot for your next gram post.
Location: Esplanade Mall, 4th Floor, Ratchadapisek Road, Din Daeng, Bangkok 10400
LINE VILLAGE BANGKOK
Line Village Bangkok can be a candidate for the most instagrammable spot in Bangkok. For those of you wondering what LINE is, it is a messaging app that is currently making waves across Asia. Apparently, it isn’t as big in the Philippines yet compared to Bangkok. As far as my millennial-self know, the Philippines is still an FB Messanger and Whatsapp nation.
Even though we are not familiar with this app and personally I don’t know any of the “super” cute characters ( such as Brown, Cony, Sally, Choco) it didn’t stop us to enjoy the world’s first indoor Line Village adventure park.
One thing I love about this place is how each themed environment was created with such well-crafted details.
Tip: Well..hmmm just have fun!
Location: Siam Square One Building, 338 Rama 1 Road, 1st Floor, Pathumwan, Bangkok, 10330
MADAME TUSSAUDS BANGKOK
I always wanted to visit Madame Tussauds every time I am in a city which showcases these famous wax figures, and for some reason, I always ended up not going through my plan. That is why I was so thrilled when I saw that part of our itinerary is to visit Madame Tussaud Bangkok.
I think I don’t need to explain myself how much we enjoyed brushing elbows with some of the most famous stars, celebrated athletes and powerful world leaders.
Tip: Don’t be shy to try the Asia’s Got Talent Stage. You can even record yourself and post it at the Official Madame Tussauds Bangkok’s FB page.
Location: Madame Tussauds, Siam Discovery, 4th Floor, 989 Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
RATCHADA (TRAIN NIGHT MARKET)
Finally STREET FOOD! Bangkok is known for its amazing night and weekend markets and one of those which is beloved by both locals and tourists is the Train Night Market at Ratchada.
You will surely enjoy a quick look (and taste) of the local life when visiting this market. With its overwhelming selection of authentic and favorite Thai dishes to a number of stalls selling cheap bargains, visiting Ratchada Train Night Market is definitely a sure win.
Tip: Don’t forget to get a quick top view glance of the market place from the Esplanade Mall’s parking area.
Location: 55/9 Ratchadaphisek Rd, Bangkok 10400
SEA LIFE BANGKOK OCEAN WORLD
Sea Life Bangkok is the largest indoor aquarium in Southeast Asia. With over a hundred different species on display, Sea Life Bangkok aims to provide both entertainment and education to visitors. During our visit, we saw a lot of students in groups attending educational programs on how to appreciate, understand and take care of our ocean and its inhabitants.
Tip: Get a combination ticket with Madame Tussauds to save on ticket prices.
Location: Pathum Wan, Bangkok
JIM THOMPSON HOUSE MUSEUM
The story of Jim Thompson, an American businessman and architect who fell in love with Southeast Asian art and culture, and went missing on a trip to KL really got my attention. Although we still don’t have any answers yet, we can’t deny that Mr. Jim Thompson left a legacy in Bangkok.
His house (which he designed and built) is now a museum showcasing his collection and also the beauty and grandeur of a Thai mansion (architecture). Today, the brand Jim Thompson also extends to an art center, souvenir boutique, restaurant and café,
Tip: To fully learn about Jim Thompson’s beautiful house and his legacy, book a guided tour at the front desk.
Location: 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok
Wat Arun also known as the Temple of Dawn is famous for its 79-meter tall pagoda-style structure. It is also tagged as one of the best locations to watch the sunrise and sunset in Bangkok.
Although part of the “must-visit” temples in Bangkok, Wat Arun’s location (across the Chao Phraya River) makes accessing the temple a bit challenging and several visitors tend to just stay on the other side of the river and enjoy the view of the temple from afar.
It is the second time that I visited this Wat Arun and what I like about it is that the experience will start when you hop on the ferry and marvel at its beauty without any obstructions from the view. Compared to the other temples in the Bangkok Old Town Complex, Wat Arun isn’t too crowded which will make you appreciate every detail of the temple more.
Tip: To avoid the hassle of not being allowed to enter the temple or being forced into buying a scarf to cover –up, wear something “temple appropriate” from the start when visiting any of temples around Bangkok. Meaning shoulders and knees shouldn’t be exposed.
Location: 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Khwaeng Wat Arun, Khet Bangkok Yai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10600
Do you agree with this list? Have you been to any of the places mentioned above? If yes, let me know what you think! Also, if you have other places to suggest and add to the list share it with us in the comment section.
My latest trip to Bangkok is in collaboration with Philippine Airlines and Tourism Thailand PH. All editorials and photos are my own unless mentioned or sighted from sources.