So you’re in Bangkok and you may have already visited the city or don’t fancy trekking around the temples and markets. Fancy a bit of local life in Bangkok? Well, here are our local things to do in Bangkok, from two expats who take full advantage of daily local life in the big mango.
Roam the streets
We always say that the best way to explore a city is to get lost in it. That couldn’t be more true for Bangkok. Every Street, Soi and turn has something different and unique to offer so go for a walk.
Plus, every café, restaurant, bar and shop has good air conditioning, so, when you are feeling to warm, head inside to cool down.
Explore Chao Phraya River
This is a touristy experience BUT it is also a great way to see local life from all angles. Head to Sathorn Pier and catch the ferry or hire a long tail boat and cruise around the khlongs, watching life pass by. We love seeing the homes on stilts above the river and the quieter, undisturbed temples dotted further along the river.
By walking around, you will find local street food stalls which both locals and expats eat from. These are iconic to South East Asia, particularly Thailand, and are a must whilst you’re here. Our biggest
Cycle in Bang Krachao
This park is a fantastic place to cycle around, with spacious roads and elevated pathways through the forest areas. You won’t even feel like you are in the city.
Learn Muay Thai
Muay Thai is perhaps the most popular sport to watch in Thailand, at least for tourists anyway. But why not take it a step further and try learning it. Gyms all over the city offer classes for all fitness levels and it is perhaps the best way to learn more about the art of Muay Thai.
Football (or soccer) is a big thing in Thailand and Bangkok offers several teams and some great experiences. You can buy tickets on the day, enjoy local Thai snacks from street vendors and drink cheap pints of beer whilst relaxing in the warmth, watching the game. A different experience to standing at Stamford Bridge in the middle of December with as many layers I could acceptably wear.
Take a cooking class
What better way to try the local food than to learn how to make it yourself! We love cooking classes in Bangkok – especially because I can cater the spice levels to my own preference (ABSOULTEUTLY NO SPICE). Often, courses will give you a cook book or a few recipes to take home with you, so you can reinvent in your favourite dishes even after your travels.
Relax and enjoy a massage
There are small spas and massage spots all over the city. You are likely to find one on every street you walk on. Take full advantage of the 200-baht massage, taking time to unwind and relax during your travels.
There are spa options for every budget but here are some worth noting:
- Spa Botanica (tranquil and peaceful, this spa is hidden in the central gardens of the Sukhothai).
- AWAY Spa (located in W Bangkok, you will find Turkish baths and a variety of treatments available).
- Myth Massage (found in Phloen Chit, this rustic-looking spa offers amazing massages starting at 250 baht.
- Bhu Mhai (the best place in Bangkok to get a foot massage)
- Erb Spa (a spa with a difference; sophisticated in shades of green and pink, with herbal smells filling each room).
Quieter floating markets
We all love a floating market and Damnoen Saduak attracts so many people for good reason. But, there is something special about visiting a local floating market and being one of the only tourists there. Head to Khlong Lat Mayom or Bang Phli Floating market for a quieter and different floating market experience.
There are some busy, bustling and very touristy markets available to visit but again, why not try a more local experience. Not far from our home, is the Phrakhonong market and I love it because we are the only expats here and it is such a different experience to what we are use to in the UK. Not for the faint hearted, local fresh food and water markets are awesome.
For a more chilled experience, why not head to one of the trendy night markets that the young locals visit. Rod Fai Market, Sai Tai Mai Center Night Market, Hua Mum Night Market, the Indy Night Market and Dao Khanong Market are all local, quiet but awesome places to spend an evening.
If you are looking for a day market, Wang Lang market is my favourite. You can find delicious street food and homemade souvenirs as well as vintage clothes too. Part the market is also sheltered to keep you a little cooler, plus you can enjoy a breeze from the nearby river.
Shop at 7/11
Yes, it is ridiculously weird that 7/11 made this list but, in Thailand, 7/11 is life. You can’t walk more than 5 minutes before you find one. Their ham and cheese toasties are my go-to item when I am feel tired/homesick/ill/hung-over and they are a wide range of cheap beer, soft drinks, snacks and ready meals. Every local uses 7/11 and they are a great place to stock up on essentials, especially if you are travelling on a tight budget.
Head to the cinema
Who doesn’t love a movie? Cinema’s in Bangkok are cheaper than the west but they also have lots more to offer. You can opt for a 4DX movie or an ultra VIP experience. Different cinemas offer different experiences but generally, you can expect sofa or bed styled seat in the movie theatre, a pre-movie snack or even meal, a first class lounge to enjoy and even a free bar!
Not sure which cinema to start with? These are the best cinemas in Bangkok to choose from:
- Scala Theatre (old school and proud of it, this is one of the only cinemas in the city that doesn’t give a hip, modern vibe, more of classic décor with intricate ceilings and high0rided arches.
- SF Cinema City (Based in MBK, this cinema is visited by many locals because of it’s price and many screens and showtimes).
- Major Cineplex (a chain that can be found around the city, these cinemas are huge and offer cheap deals for filmgoers)
- Quartier CineArt (a luxurious cinema with IMAX screens and reclining chairs).
- SFC Terminal 21 Cinema (this is the cinema to go if you take your cinema snacking seriously).
- Paragon Cineplex (Another luxurious cinema experience can be found here, including gourmet popcorn and a 4DC movie experience with 10 different types of special effects).
These are just a few local things to do in Bangkok! For more tips on how to travel Thailand like a local, make sure you get our free guide!