Heading to Bangkok? Make sure to check out the best Bangkok day trips to add a little variety to your adventure!
Bangkok is brimming with the excitement of city life, perfect for any visitor that wants to keep busy in Thailand for a few days. But if you’re staying for a bit longer and are looking to explore more of what The Land of Smiles has to offer, then you should definitely consider visiting some of the most beautiful destinations in Thailand. Venturing out of the metro is a great way to explore more of the country within a day trip’s distance.
It might seem intimidating to venture outside of the capital, but one of the best things about Thailand is that going around is incredibly easy, even with the language barrier. In fact, a guide to Thailand by Expat Bets highlights its superb transport system. The country offers world-class airports and extensive railway systems that make it easy for visitors to travel to neighbouring cities, provinces, and even countries like Malaysia. Travellers can also take private buses, vans, and boats to explore different locations. Here are some of the best day-trip getaways you can visit outside Bangkok!
Ayutthaya tops this list as the historic ancient city that was once the capital of Siam. It exists as an archaeological site today that is rich in history, whether you’re marveling at the towering spires or exploring the spaces of a vacant monastery. Ayutthaya tours typically start early, including a bus ride into the city, a tour of the ruins, with a riverside lunch on a boat ride back to the capital. Car rentals, buses, minivans, and the train are all great options to get there, depending on what’s most convenient for you.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Food lovers will find delight in shopping for fresh finds in this famous floating market. While Thais don’t usually do their shopping on longtail boats nowadays, floating markets were once a standard in the country’s history, something that Damnoen Saduak recreates perfectly. Bangkok is a bustling, busy and, in many ways, modern city but this traditional experience should always be a part of your Thailand trip.
From the Maeklong Train Market where you can shop for Thai goods, you’ll take a longtail speedboat to the floating market itself. Catch a minivan from the Victory Monument station or book a tour, so you can enjoy mango sticky rice snacks between fresh food choices.
Beach lovers will love the city of Pattaya, which is situated along the coast southeast of Bangkok. After a 2.5-hour trip via car, minivan, or bus, you’ll take a speedboat to Koh Lam, which is a white-sand island. Here, you can enjoy several activities, such as snorkelling, parasailing, and jet-skiing! Afterwards, the tour will usually provide you with lunch and time to explore the city.
Khao Yai National Park
Khao Yai is the oldest national park in Thailand. It has a massive expanse of hiking trails where you can spot elephants and other wildlife, as well as exotic plants. Given its size, it’s better to choose a few memorable sights to see rather than attempting to cover the whole park in a day. Luk Chang Bat Cave is an excellent place to start as you can see over a million wrinkle-lipped, free-tailed bats in their natural habitat! You’ll also get the most out of your trip with a bright and early start to prepare for the 2.5-hour drive to get there.
Koh Si Chang
Just two hours from Bangkok city centre is this island getaway. Known for being the island where King Rama IV, V, and VI all came to with their family, you can still see the remains of the palace and a small museum. There are also Buddhist temples and beautiful views from the cliff tops and of course, miles of glistening beaches.
Steeped in history, the city of Kanchanaburi is well visited. You can see the bridge over the River Kwai or visit the enchanting Erawan Falls. One of my all-time bucket list items is staying at The Float house Hotel on the River Kwai – it looks like heaven!
Koh Kret can be found in Nonthaburi province and is a river village, not too far from the city. This man-made island has some incredible temples, with the best, arguably being Wat Paramaiuikawa; a 2000-year-old golden stupa that is rumored to hold the Buddha’s relics.
The Ancient City in Samut Prakan
Ok, this one isn’t ancient at all but it’s a fun day trip from Bangkok if you have some time in the city. This is a miniature historical Thailand, with recreated mini buildings and temples from across Thailand. This is an impressive collection of detailed buildings and monuments from Thailand’s history which spread across vast grounds.
Erawan National Park
As mentioned above, this national park isn’t too far from Kanchanburi but it is worth setting aside a whole day to explore. The major attraction in the park is the Erawan Falls; a 7-tiered waterfall that crashes down to create emerald green ponds/ You can follow trails around the park to get various angles of the falls and just enjoy some peace and nature outside of the city. The Ta Duang Cave and Thung Na Village are also popular attractions to visit when visiting this national park.
Floating Vineyards in Samut Sakhon
Thailand has some awesome vineyard experiences and this is definitely a favorite. Sample wines whilst being rowed along lanes of waterways surrounded by a harvest of white Malacca grapes = perfect.
Khao Yai Vineyard
As a running theme, I am clearly a fan of a vineyard or three! Next to the Khao Yai National Park is a relaxing experience that offers trams to transport you around the 1000 acres of plantations and vineyards. You will learn more about the production process and of course, sample some of Thailand’s most amazing wines.
This island is a great escape from Bangkok, full of wooden paths, greenery, and markets. Rent a bike and cycle around the island, taking in the cute coffee shops and visiting the Sri Nakhon Kuenkhan Park.
Lopburi can be explored over a day or a few but is a hidden gem amongst the towns surrounding Bangkok. Similar to Ayutthaya, it has its fair share of ancient Khmer temples and splendid Buddhas as well as cute guesthouses and tasty local dishes.
Pattaya was too much for us but Hua Hin offers the right mix of gorgeous golden beaches, hang-out bars, and boutique cafes whilst also offering some great local food and the Cicada Market – one of my favourite night markets.
Thailand is full of wonders and activities you’ll surely find memorable. Whether you choose to shop from an iconic market or go sightseeing at picturesque ancient structures, there’s always something waiting for you just outside Bangkok.