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Bangkok Culture & history

Our most recommended Bangkok Culture & history

Bangkok: Damnoen Saduak Market and Maeklong Railway Market

1. Bangkok: Damnoen Saduak Market and Maeklong Railway Market

Choose from either a shared group or private guided experience to see 2 iconic markets on a day trip from Bangkok. See a market located on the railway tracks, the Maeklong Railway Market, and a market that floats on the canals at the Damnoen Saduak Market. After pickup, arrive at the Maeklong Railway Market, also known as Talad Rom Hup (“Umbrella Pulldown Market”). Maeklong is one of the largest fresh seafood markets in Thailand and hugs the track of the Maeklong Railway. Gain fascinating insights into how the market is run and what products are sold here from your local guide. Marvel at how market stalls and awnings are pulled back from the tracks every time a train approaches to let the train pass through. Next, head to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, one of the most famous floating markets in Thailand. To reach the market, take a short ride in a paddleboat. Enjoy plenty of time to meander around the colorful market, where friendly vendors sell directly from their boats. Take in the sights and sounds, and try local specialties like mango sticky rice. Your guide will give you advice on what not to miss. Return to Bangkok in time for the early afternoon.

From Bangkok: Ayutthaya Temples Small Group Tour with Lunch

2. From Bangkok: Ayutthaya Temples Small Group Tour with Lunch

Enjoy a small-group tour of the magnificent temple ruins of Ayutthaya, the capital during the golden age of Siam. All entrance fees, an expert guide, and lunch at a local restaurant are included. Travel from Bangkok in a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle or choose to join the tour at your first stop in Ayutthaya, Wat Lokayasutha. This temple is known for its giant reclining Buddha image, one of the few structures remaining intact here. Your next stop is Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, being part of the royal palace complex this is where royalty performed rituals. It is considered the most important temple of Ayutthaya. Then, visit Wat Mahathat Ayutthaya. One of the oldest and most significant temples in the history of Ayutthaya, it once housed the Buddha's holy relic. Admire the famous Buddha head entwined within the roots of a Bodhi tree. After, tuck into a hearty lunch at a local Thai restaurant, where your guide will be available to advise on local culinary specialties. Last but not least, finish your trip at the grand, riverside Wat Chaiwattanaram. Marvel at its compelling architectural style, influenced by the Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia, as you wander around the monumental grounds.

Bangkok: City Highlights Temple and Market Walking Tour

3. Bangkok: City Highlights Temple and Market Walking Tour

Meet the group at River City Bangkok by 9:00 AM and head to the Emerald Buddha Temple by local transport. Along the way, pass by the amulet market, one of the most famous, historical community markets of Rattanakosin Island. Discover the first stop of Wat Phra Kaew which is commonly known in English as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and officially as Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram. It is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand.  Explore the Grand Palace which was the official residence of the Kings of Thailand. Nowadays, the Grand Palace is still used for official events. Several royal ceremonies and state functions are held within the walls of the palace every year.  After the Grand Palace, continue to visit Wat Pho, if you've selected this option. On the way, pass Tha Thien Market, a cultural food market that sells dried, salted seafood and wholesale products. Visit the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho. It is on the list of six temples in Thailand classed as the highest grade of first-class royal temples. Learn about King Rama I who rebuilt the temple complex on an earlier temple site and how it became his main temple where some of his ashes are enshrined. The temple is considered the earliest center for medical public education surrounded by the marble illustrations and inscriptions placed in the temple for public instructions. It has been recognized by UNESCO in its Memory of the World Programme. Most importantly, it is the birthplace of traditional Thai massage which is still taught and practiced at the temple today. Complete the list of must-visit temples in Bangkok by continuing your journey to Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn), one of Bangkok’s most famous landmarks. The temple is known for its giant 70-meter tower next to the Chao Phraya River and is decorated with tiny pieces of colored glass surrounded by Chinese porcelain.

Bangkok: Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew Guided Walking Tour

4. Bangkok: Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew Guided Walking Tour

Take a short walking tour around Bangkok that will introduce you to some of the city’s most famous landmarks in just two hours. Witness the Grand Palace of Bangkok and the temple of Wat Phra Kaew on this tour with multiple starting times for you to choose from. Start your adventure with a trip to the Grand Palace. Located in the heart of Bangkok, this site is considered one of the most visually stunning architectural marvels in Thailand. Wander around the massive home of the royal family and be on the lookout for brilliant statues, amazing images, and more. Venture to Wat Phra Kaew, located within the Grand Palace complex and commonly referred to as Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This temple houses one of the country’s most sacred and revered statues. See the famed statue that was made from a single piece of jade and explore the temple grounds.

From Bangkok: Ayutthaya & Ayothaya Floating Market Day Trip

5. From Bangkok: Ayutthaya & Ayothaya Floating Market Day Trip

Discover some of the notable historical sites of Ayutthaya on a day trip from Bangkok. Visit ancient temples and palaces as well as the Ayothaya Floating Market with an expert guide. After meeting in Bangkok in the morning, start the 2-hour drive to Ayutthaya. The ancient city of Ayutthaya was founded around 1350 and became the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai. On this full-day trip, you will explore the ruins of the old city, in the UNESCO-listed Ayutthaya Historical Park. The park is an archaeological site that contains palaces, Buddhist temples, monasteries, and statues. Visit the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace, originally built in 1632 by King Prasat Thong. At this spot, you can find a number of impressive buildings built in different architectural styles from Thai, Chinese and European design. Continue your tour with a visit to the Ayothaya Floating Market and enjoy some free time for lunch at your own expense. After lunch, you will visit 2 more historical sites, Wat Phra Sri Sanphet and Wat Mahathat, to discover the ruins of the great temple sites. You will return to Bangkok in the early evening, where you will be dropped off at a location close to the original meeting point.

From Bangkok: Ayutthaya Historical Park Small-Group Day Trip

6. From Bangkok: Ayutthaya Historical Park Small-Group Day Trip

Visit sites that date back to 1350 at the Ayutthaya Historical Park. Learn about Buddhist history, architecture, and religion as you explore countless temples with your experienced tour guide. In the 18th century, much of Ayutthaya was destroyed by Burmese invaders; witness the structures in their various states of disrepair. Tree roots growing around scattered Buddha heads only adds to the historical charm of this unique destination. After departing from Bangkok bright and early, see Bang Pa-In Royal Palace en route to Ayutthaya. Used as a summer residence for ancient Thai kings, the golden pagodas and serene pools make for a great introduction to the region’s glorious past. After arriving in Ayutthaya, take several hours to explore fascinating ancient religious sites including Wat Mahathat, where a decapitated Buddha head sits nestled between ancient tree roots. Continue to Wat Mongkol Borpit, known for its enormous seated Buddha statue. Discover Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, the most holy and important complex of the ancient Thai capital. Finally, explore Wat Chaiwatthanaram, known for its towering stone chedis. This site is one of the main reasons Ayutthaya was awarded UNESCO status in 1991.

Bangkok: Grand Palace & Wat Pho Half-Day Private Tour

7. Bangkok: Grand Palace & Wat Pho Half-Day Private Tour

Discover the Grand Palace, the official residence of the Kings of Thailand, and the home to the Emerald Buddha. See the Wat Pho and its reclining buddha statue on this private tour. Admire intricate wall paintings of the Ramayana saga and relish the gold-covered architecture at the Grand Palace. Hear about how the palace is still used for official events such as the coronation. See how religion and the royal family are central to Thailand's identity. Next, visit the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho. Gaze at the impressive 151-foot-long and 50-meter-tall Buddha decorated with mother-of-pearl and carved with holy signs. Read the 1,360 marble inscriptions about medical, historical, and liberal sciences that line the temple. Hear interesting facts from your guide and learn how the temple is the birthplace of traditional Thai massage which is still taught and practiced at the temple today. On your way back, pass by the Tha Thien Market, a cultural food market that sells dried, salted seafood and wholesale products.

From Bangkok: Holy Tattoo Experience at Wat Bang Phra

8. From Bangkok: Holy Tattoo Experience at Wat Bang Phra

Wat Bang Phra is a Buddhist monastery, approximately 50 kilometers west of Bangkok. The temple is known for its daily tattoos, or Sak Yant, given by the local monks. This tradition of tattooing dates back hundreds of years. The Gao Yord Yant or 9 Spires Yant is a sacred tattoo, believed to protect and bring good luck to the bearer. This has a similar meaning to another Sak Yant design, the Hah Taew Yant. The Gao Yord Yant is usually tattooed on the nape of the neck. The 9 Spires Yant is a geometric design and represents the 9 Sacred Peaks of Mount Meru. It contains 9 symbolic images of Buddha, demonstrating how important the number 9 is in Buddhism. This experience is truly unique in Thailand as the monks are only giving a holy tattoo and blessings to very few number of people per day. During this trip, there will be an English speaking guide who will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel in downtown Bangkok with an air-conditioned vehicle. The guide will explain to you the details of ceremony along the way and make sure that everything goes smoothly.  

From Bangkok: Historical Day Tour to River Kwai

9. From Bangkok: Historical Day Tour to River Kwai

Learn about the construction of the Burma Railway, also known as the “Death Railway,” on this 10-hour historical tour to Kanchanaburi, approximately 80 miles (130 kilometers) west of Bangkok. Upon arrival, you will tour the well-kept War Cemetery, where the graves of an estimated 9,000 Allied soldiers are tended. They perished while constructing the notorious "Death Railway,” which the Japanese had hoped would stretch all the way to the Burmese border. Uncover the terrible history of the railway at the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, an interactive museum, research, and information center dedicated to presenting the story of the Thailand-Burma Railway built during World War II. See the past recreated and relived with pictures and artifacts. You will also ride a train along the original Death Railway track, with a sumptuous lunch awaiting at the disembarkation station. Return to Bangkok in the late afternoon for your hotel drop-off.

From Bangkok: Death Railway & River Kwai Bridge Private Tour

10. From Bangkok: Death Railway & River Kwai Bridge Private Tour

Benefit from very early morning pickup at your hotel in Bangkok, and then travel by private, air-conditioned vehicle to Kanchanaburi, established in the late 18th century by King Rama I as a defensive outpost against attack from Burma. Visit the interactive Burmese Railway Museum, dedicated to presenting the history of the Thailand-Burma Railway built by the Empire of Japan in 1943. See period photos and models to get a better understanding about the background of what happened during World War II. Pay your respects at the War Cemetery and visit the memorial to some 6,000 Allied prisoners of war. Then, take a scenic train ride on the notorious Death Railway, constructed by prisoners of war on the orders of the Japanese. Break for a local lunch at a restaurant before exploring the local community of Pak Preak. Visit the house of a former member of the underground V Organization from the days of Japanese occupation before traveling back to Bangkok.

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Frequently asked questions about Bangkok

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What are the best day trips and excursions from Bangkok?

The best day trips and excursions from Bangkok are:

Ayutthaya

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What people are saying about Bangkok

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 3,417 reviews

Tammy and our driver were excellent. Everything from the straight forward meetup and check-in to the guided commentary enroute, train ride and market stops was just right. The train ride through the market and then wandering through was a really nice dual experience as you get two views. We had about 45 mins at Maeklong to walk through which was enough (you could probably spend all day there but if you want to do that best do the trip on your own) and ample time for getting food and souvenirs along the track, taking copious photos and seeing the train come through! pick up fruit snacks here as it is one of the cheapest places for it! The floating market was alot of fun. A really nice paddle boat ride (30+ mins) and then free time in the market which was just lovely (70-80mins). Go for a stroll to the quieter parts and just sit at one or two of the cafes or restaurants with some food and a drink. the boat noodles from one of the ladies in the boats was delicious and a unique experience.

Everything was good, the market was very quiet as it was a weekday. Ancient City was beautiful and the guide provided a lot of information. We returned to Bangkok about 5:30pm

A really fun day trip. It's definitely worth experiencing both the markets and enjoying some local street food at the Saduak Market.

Well organized and on time. Both markets were interesting and the places we stopped to see the train pass by where we’ll chosen.

Very well organized and punctual pick up at the hotel.