11 Non Touristy Things to Do in Bangkok

Sunday, January 6, 2019

If you've been to Bangkok many times, then you have probably done all the touristy stuff, from visiting the Grand Palace, hanging out at the Khao San Road to eating insects! You may think about non touristy things to do in Bangkok if there are any left?

After roaming around the mega-city for many times, connecting with expats and lovely locals, I visited and did a crazy amount of things that not many tourists know of. 

As one of the most thriving cities in Asia, Bangkok is an ever-changing city filled with so many unexpected treasures.

Read on to get the information on amazing off the beaten places in Bangkok:

#1: Take the BTS Sky Train to Get Around the City

BTS Skytrain is one of the best ways of getting around Bangkok.
BTS Skytrain is one of the best ways of getting around Bangkok.

Most first-timers in Bangkok would prefer to ride the tuk-tuk to get around the city. Tuk-tuks are auto rickshaws that you'll find all over Bangkok especially in the tourist areas. 

Unfortunately, there have been lots of reported incidents of tuk-tuk drivers scamming unsuspecting tourists. It’s fun to ride a tuk-tuk so there’s no harm in giving it a try at least once. Anyway, don't be too skeptic about tuk-tuk drivers and always talk and agree about the price before a trip starts. That way you will definitely avoid a hustle with driver later. 

Read more: Destinations in Thailand You Never Heard Of Before

However, a safer, faster and cheaper alternative to get around the city is to take the BTS Sky train.

Bangkok's BTS Skytrain is highly efficient, and the carriages are air-conditioned. Just show up at any of the BTS stations, refer to the map or ask assistance from the attendants at the ticket booth on how to get to your destination.

BTS Bangkok Fare

Well, driving in a BTS sky train is definitely not the cheapest public transport in the world, but it gives you huge flexibility and fast transportation from A to B. If you've ever roamed around Bangkok's' streets, you know that traffic jam can be a real problem. 

With BTS train, you totally avoid the traffic jam and at the same time, you have some of the most stunning views of Bangkok sitting on a train. 

It's definitely worth a try!

The fare starts at 15 BHT and can reach up to 55 BHT, depending on the distance between stations. 

Check out the fares here

#2: Jump on Chao Phraya River Boat

The right Chao Phraya River boat will cost you only 30 baht!
The right Chao Phraya River boat will cost you only 30 baht!

Although the BTS is a great way to travel around Bangkok, there are no stations at the old part of the city where most of the popular attractions are concentrated in, such as the Grand Palace and the Khao San Road. 

In this case, your best bet is to take the Chao Phraya River boat.

To take the boat, get off at the Saphan Taksin BTS station, and you'll find the pier called Tha Sathorn. From here, take the boat going to the north, where you will see fascinating sights of temples and high rise buildings along the way.

Read more: What to Do in Krabi for Maximum Enjoyment?

In fact, this is the same route that the Chao Phraya river cruises would pass by. 

Yet, a boat ticket will only cost you 30 baht, while the river cruises cost more than a thousand baht! 

#3: Visit the Muang Boran, a sprawling open-air museum

Ancient Siam is the largest outdoor museum in the world.
Ancient Siam is the largest outdoor museum in the world.

The Muang Boran is a sprawling open-air museum with the shape in the form of Thailand and has replicas of some of the most famous buildings in the country. 

Located just outside of Bangkok, the Muang Boran is an attraction that’s not known to many, yet it’s definitely a great place to spend the day while learning about the culture and history of Thailand. 

So if you’re wondering what to do in Bangkok away from the crowded tourist sites, then head over to this park.

Rent a bike or even a golf cart to explore the massive site and check out the spectacular temples, palaces, and ruins.

#4: Wander Around Chao Mae Tuptim Shrine a.k.aBangkok's Penis Shrine

Penis shrine is one of the unusual things on the what to do in Bangkok list.
Penis shrine is one of the unusual things on the what to do in Bangkok list.

If you want to see something unusual in Bangkok, then visit the penis shrine, the Chao Mae Tuptim shrine. The shrine features different shapes and sizes of phallic, a symbol which several Asian countries are so fascinated with.

Read more: Why You'll Fall in Love With Thai People

Dedicated to a female spirit named Chao Mae Tuptim who is said to be living there, local women hoping to bear a child would visit the shrine to pray and leave offerings. 

#5: Try the Bangkok Mule at the Salt Restaurant and Bar

Try Bangkok Mule, a cocktail inspired by an infamous Moscow Mule.
Try Bangkok Mule, a cocktail inspired by an infamous Moscow Mule.

A perfect way to cap your day after a whole day of exploring the city is to visit the Salt Restaurant and treat yourself to a glass of the Bangkok mule. 

This drink is a concoction of ginger ale, sake, Mekong rum, brown sugar, and lemongrass, delightfully served in an old-fashioned tumbler. 

Inspired by the infamous Moscow Mule, this drink is definitely a try. In fact, it’s slowly gaining popularity among the expats in the city. It has the rich coconut flavor of the sake and carries the delicate notes of molasses and caramel from the Mekong rum. 

Read more: Best Rooftop Bars in Bangkok

Above all, it has that spicy ginger kick of the ale, just what you need after a tiring day of walking around the chaotic streets of Bangkok.

#6: Shop at the Platinum Fashion Mall instead of Chatuchak

Enhance your shopping experience in Bangkok in the Platinum Fashion Mall!
Enhance your shopping experience in Bangkok in the Platinum Fashion Mall!

Shopping in Bangkok is an experience in itself, and you can never leave the city without visiting the buzzing weekend markets that sell everything you can ever think of. 

From souvenirs and interesting trinkets to the latest in fashion, shopping at these Bangkok markets is potentially exhausting, yet exciting. 

Read more: What to do in Chiang Mai to Complete Your Thailand Trip?

Most tourists would flock to the Chatuchak Weekend Market, a 35-acre open air market with over 8,000 stalls.

But if you want a more comfortable way to shop, head over to the Platinum Fashion Mall in Pratunam. 

It’s an ideal shopping place for the ladies who are looking for cheap fashion finds. The mall is fully air-conditioned and sells almost the same stuff you can find at the Chatuchak market. 

In fact, some of the products here are cheaper. If you happen to shop there during closing time at night, you’ll find that several stalls would sell their products up to 80% off!

#7: Explore Stunning Airplane Graveyard 

Airplane Graveyard 

Striving to explore abandoned places in Bangkok? Head over to Airplane Graveyard!

What happens when the airplane is too old or the repair is too expensive to hold the plane in function? In Bangkok, there is a place known as Airplane Graveyard that is a home of many planes that are out of the function for years. Of course, all the parts that could be used are removed, but still, there are proper planes all over!

It's a very amazing experience to go there and being surrounded by these huge airplanes. You can even climb on the plane or go inside the plane and explore the interior or what's left of it. 

Anyway, if we tell you it's a completely abandoned place then we would lie since there are few families that use the planes as a shelter. Also, they charge the small entrance fee for people who are about to explore the graveyard. Expect to pay around 200 THB for an entrance. 

This place is becoming more popular with each day, so be sure to head over before it becomes a major tourist attraction.

Getting there is pretty straightforward - you can use a taxi or Khlong Saen Saep riverboat. If you choose the second option which is a way cheaper, you should take a ride all the way to the last station called Si Bun Ruang. From there you just take about 5-minute walk and you're there!

#8: Get Inspired by Street Art at Lhong 1919

Street Art at Lhong 1919

For travelers who're artistic souls and looking for inspiration, Lhong 1919 is a good place to explore. It's a Chinese warehouse complex that was abandoned many years ago. Today, this place is full of small galleries, art shops, few authentic restaurants and amazing street art on the walls. 

Walking and wandering around will definitely give you a good vibe! Also, just next to Lhong 1919 is Chee Chin Khor - a huge Chinese temple worth visiting. 

Getting to Lhong 1919 is a bit complicated, not because of a lack of options, but because of too many options. The easiest and least adventurous option is taking a taxi. For adventurer souls, we recommend taking a hop in hop out boat from Sawasdee pier since the complex is located on the banks of Chao Phraya River

Another amazing way to reach the complex is by asking locals with the boat to drop you off another side of the river.

#9: Visit Unique Wat Samphran Dragon Temple

Sunset from Wat Samphran Dragon Temple

Everyone knows that Bangkok is filled with temples, so you may ask why to put more temples on off-the-beaten-path of Bangkok list? Well, this Dragon temple is a really unique and special temple that you can't probably see it anywhere else in the world!

What makes it so special? Well, a temple is literally a pink building with a dragon. 

It's a huge 17-floors building surrounded by a dragon that looks like climbing on the top of the building. It's a complex which means there are few other temples and statues like a huge bronze Buddha statue, animal statues like elephants and turtles and few praying temples. 

Did you know that Thailand is one of the cheapest places to visit around the world?

Keep in mind that the whole complex is a Buddhist temple that requires a certain dress code! 

Getting to Wat Samphran is a bit tricky as it's located outside the city; precisely about 40 kilometers in the western direction. There are a few options to reach the temple. The most expensive but the easiest is by far getting a taxi. If you're a group of few people then it might be a doable option. Another option is by taking a BTS sky train till Bang Wa station and from there jump into a taxi. It will save you a lot of money. And the option for adventurers is definitely renting a motorbike and explore it by yourself. 

The entrance is free, but don't mind to leave a donation to the temple.

#10: Boat Ride Along Khlong Saen Saep

Boat drive on Khlong Saen Saep

Bangkok is full of tiny river canals that cut through old parts of the city. Jumping on a boat ride along Khlong Saen Saep is an amazing way to explore the city since you're avoiding traffic hustle on the roads. 

The canal and surrounding area are very picturesque since mainly locals live there. You will see many activities, other boats, local going back from work and even floating markets on the river. 

Did you know that the canal's length is a whopping 72 kilometers and passes through 21 districts of Bangkok?

You can always get off the boat and wander around non-touristy places in Bangkok like Talad Bobae, Lad Prao and Royal City Avenue. 

Also, the price for the ride is very cheap and it starts from 8 BHT to 20 BHT, depending on the distance.  

#11: Get Lost in Chinatown

Chinatown during the night

Did you know that Chinatown in Bangkok is one of the biggest in the world? There are thousands of street vendors selling merchandise, delicious and fresh street food and even more locals wandering around!

It's easy to get lost there! For real! But even if you manage to get lost, don't worry since you'll stumble upon many interesting things. There are so many colors and smells of delicious food around Chinatown and it's definitely a must place to visit while in Bangkok!

Are you leaving Bangok soon and you want to bring some souvenirs back home for your family and friends? Chinatown is the perfect place to get some cheap gifts and souvenirs for your loving ones

Chinatown is located about 10-minutes walk from Hua Lamphong MRT station and there is no entrance fee, so simply wander around and don't worry of getting lost!

Now you have a list of 11 non touristy things to do in Bangkok! Let's plan your trip!

Bangkok is a sprawling city, with a plethora of things to do.
Bangkok is a sprawling city, with a plethora of things to do.

So if you're planning to visit Bangkok again and wondering what to do in Bangkok after you have visited all the famous sites, the list above should serve as your guide.

Doing these things will surely make your Bangkok trip even more enjoyable and exciting.

Don't forget to check out the places to visit outside of Bangkok!

Carolyn Boston freelance content writer for aSabbatical.com
Travelling the world on a budget for several years without having a hefty savings account.