There are literally hundreds of things to do in Bangkok so to narrow it down I already wrote a top 10 things to do in Bangkok blog to make sure you don’t miss the highlights. Don’t get me wrong I still want you to see the standard Bangkok attractions such as Khao San Road, Chatuchak Markets and The Grand Palace, but there is more…
Most unusual things to do in Bangkok never make it to the standard Bangkok travel blogs and lists and therefore I came up with some new places to visit in 2020. However if it is your first time in Bangkok you might wanna start with the usual Bangkok tourist places, this list is all about the off the beaten path and weird things to do…
Over the last 10 years I visited Thailand almost 20 times and obviously it is one of my favorite countries. Grab here my complete guide about everything you need to know when you travel to Thailand or have a look at my self-made itineraries for Thailand, including some cool off the beaten places to visit. Also don’t miss my Thailand packing list!
1. The three-headed elephant
I had next to no idea that this temple even existed or the fact that a three headed elephant stood tall over the city and I had never seen this Bangkok tourist attraction in any guidebook.
The Erawan Museum located in the Mueang Samut Prakan District south of the central parts of Bangkok is quite a ways from the city and can be tricky to get to however getting to see a 29 metre tall bronze statue of a three headed elephant is something you don’t get to see every day. Best way to get to the Erawan Museum is simply by ordering a Grab taxi, one of my favorite Thailand travel tips.
Entry to the museum isn’t cheap either at a stinging 400 baht for adults but totally worth it if you are looking for unusual things to do in Bangkok. If you are travelling on a budget this may not be the best place to visit in Bangkok. However you can also see the three headed elephant from the outside. The elephants weigh a hefty 29 tonnes and stretches for 39 metres so seeing it from the outside is going to save you some bucks.
2. Sathon’s hidden markets
Sathon is more commonly known for high-rise buildings and office workers but there’s a bustling little side alley that is almost always packed with locals looking for top notch food or a bargain in terms of clothing, sunglasses to handbags.
The reason I dig this place so much is the food that you can find here and how much cheaper it is compared to a restaurant only a 100 metres away. Silom 7 Alleyway is a true hidden gem and it will get you away from the constant honking of horns and into a place where you can get a meal for 1 or 2 dollars, drink included.
I used to live in Bangkok for about 2 months and the Sathon markets were my local hidden gem and therefore couldn’t be missed in this list of unusual things to do in Bangkok.
3. Chinatown’s epic warehouse malls
You may think that Chinatown is all temples and Chinese food streets but you are so wrong! Chinatown is one of my favourite places to visit in Bangkok but if you dig a bit deeper when exploring this vibrant joint there’s a good chance that you will come across a plethora of malls and warehouse varieties selling everything you could possibly need and I mean everything.
The place to go shopping and at the same time combining it some weird things to do in Bangkok: the Chinatown’s hidden warehouses!
They are quite easy to find you’ll just need to take a few streets back from the main strip until you come across one. There are literally buildings dedicated to selling accessories for cars, lamps and lights to toys for kids and I know what you might be thinking “how am I meant to fit a lightshade in my hand luggage?” well you don’t have to buy anything it’s just an strange place to see in Bangkok and there’s a very good chance that you’ll get lost among the mazes of these incredible Chinatown warehouses.
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4. Chong Non Si Night Markets
Chong Non Si is very much less visited by those travelling to Bangkok but a place popular with expats. On all my trips to Bangkok, I always visit the Chong Non Si area as it is way less touristy than the central hub of the city. The Chong Non Si Night Markets are one of the best things to do in Bangkok at night and not so touristy.
One of the main reasons I travel to Bangkok is for the food and there are many times where I wish I had three stomachs as the street food is just out of this world and it’s so affordable! However not all places in Bangkok are equal for the quality of food and often the best spots are a few kilometres away from the main city centre.
Night markets are generally better than the day time ones as the temperature is slightly cooler plus there are a lot more things happening during the evenings. Chong Non Si markets are typical market stalls jam packed along the edge of a very busy road where everything from sweets and deserts to freshly cooked pad Thai or freshly juiced coconuts can be found.
In Thailand there is a huge price difference when it comes to food with the most expensive in fancy restaurants of course while the cheapest can be found on the sides of streets, literally! It is not just because I love to travel to Thailand on a budget, also simply because street food is absolutely yummy. Therefore visiting places like Chong Non Si are one of the best things to do in Bangkok and they don’t hurt your wallet either.
One of my favourite Thai dishes is Tom Yum, a sweet and sour soup with lots of fresh vegetables and own choosing of meat while my favourite desert is a taro bun or custard bun which are steamed to perfection.
Getting to the Chong Non Si Night Markets is pretty simple and can be done so from Sathon Bus Station. The bus stops a few times before getting to Chong Non Si and only costs 15 baht one way or just use Grab taxi.
5. Try wake boarding in Bangkok
If you have always wanted to try this ‘extreme’ sport but didn’t want to break the bank for it then this is your chance. Zanook Wake Park is smaller than the popular Thai Wake Park but closer to the city center. The Thai Wake Park is about 45 minutes away.
Wake boarding is one of those unusual things to do in Bangkok that probably didn’t cross your mind at first but a fun thing to do and as it always hot in Bangkok also a refreshing thing to do.
6. The Lunch Time Experience
Like most people in the world, I am a huge fan of grabbing lunch but not as big of a fan as the Thai people are! In Bangkok each and every day, workers knock off for an hour around 11am to 12pm for lunch and oh boy it can be one of the busiest times outside of peak hour traffic.
Getting lunch in the bustling capital of Thailand is a true mission to find the best seat in fact any seat to sit down and chow away. Throughout the city there are so thousands of places one can go to fill up before going back to work and no you don’t have to be an office worker to join in, anyone can sit down for a meal.
I spent a few hours in Sathon right in the heart of the city where thousands upon thousands of workers flock to rooms packed with plastic seats, tissue paper, chopsticks and knives and forks while hundreds of vendors vie for the customer’s attention. If you are looking for a unique experience than join in with the locals in this unusual thing to do in Bangkok.
Deciding on which meal to have is one of the trickiest things you can do while in Bangkok as there are endless meals to choose from and the best of all is that they are all cheap, expect to pay less than 60 baht ($2) for a decent serving of your choice.
In Bangkok, they have a pay before you eat card which is topped up at a counter then you take your card, choose your meal and watch it be cooked in front of you, the cook then takes your card and scans it to take the amount for the meal off your card which is a fantastic way to eat.
If you don’t use all of your money on the card, simply take it back to the counter at the front of the stalls and get back what you didn’t spend.
Finding these diners is fairly easy as they can be found in most to every mall in the city to markets of all sizes.
7. Airplane graveyard in Bangkok
In such a packed and bustling city the image of an airplane graveyard sounds weird, but yep there is one. Surely one of the weird things to do in Bangkok and a non touristy one. To get in you basically bribe someone (fake entrance fee) because the locals controlling the area are definitely not the owners.
For some reason a couple old planes are dumped not far away from the city center and you are free to roam around at this airplane graveyard in Bangkok. Climb on top of an old airplane, this is your chance.
8. Stroll through Soi Arab
Soi Arab is a true hidden gem in Bangkok, a totally unsuspecting, vibrant place right across the road from Nana. Soi Arab is located pretty central, though still off the beaten path in Bangkok.
What makes Soi Arab so amazing is that it is the complete opposite of its neighbor, Nana, a place that is named on every list of places to visit in Bangkok with Irish Pubs, western restaurant chains and bright flashing lights. But then there’s Soi Arab, a calm series of streets cornered with palm trees and nice touches of the Middle East.
Prior to visiting Soi Arab I was in Nana and I couldn’t stand it one bit so I decided to go check out Soi Arab where I indulged in a true shawarma kebab made with a whole lot of heart. After a decent meal, I ventured further into the back streets of Soi Arab to see what this place is all about and I got quite the surprise!
Soi Arab is a much more relaxed despite the usual vendor trying to haggle you into buying a cheap souvenir but apart from that, expect to see many restaurants with Middle Eastern cuisine, football been screened across a variety of flat screen televisions while avid supporters watch on.
Visiting Soi Arab is a unique thing to do and home to some of the nicest people in Thailand and the food is pure goodness! I can guarantee that you will enjoy Soi Arab a lot more than its infamous Bangkok attraction Nana.
9. Visit Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya may not be exactly in Bangkok but its close enough for my liking. Ayutthaya is the perfect day trip from Bangkok taking 1.5 hours to reach (dependent on traffic) and once you are there, its just pure bliss as the Chao Phraya flows on by backed by the Wat Chai Temple and lush green parklands dotted with ancient-ruin temples.
Ayutthaya is basically an island in the middle of Thailand surrounded by the Chao Phraya, Pa Sak River and the Lop Buri River with a variety of Khlong’s (canals) running throughout the city.
Wat Chai Watthanaram is a truly exceptional Buddhist temple built in the 17th century while the Wat Kasattrathirat Worawhiran temple is a gold and red doused structure commonly seen throughout Thailand.
Towards the centre of Ayutthaya is Rama Public Park, a fantastic tree-laden area with bike paths, walking trails mixing in with ancient Buddhist structures such as Wat Phra Ram which is unique with a Khmer-style spire said to be built in the 13th century!
After visiting temples in Ayutthaya just sit by the Chao Phraya during the late afternoon and watch the sunset over these magnificent ancient structures with a glass of Thai beer and a plate of spicy goodness!
Since Ayutthaya is not too far away and you can easily use a Grab taxi to get there and back I listed it as one of the unusual things to do in Bangkok. Get away from bustling Bangkok for a bit and go watch the sunset in Ayutthaya, it is worth it.
10. Join a workout in Lumphini Park
Wanna stay closer to escape the constant chaos of the city? Situated in central Bangkok, the Lumphini Park is the place to go! In the early mornings in Lumphini Park, avid lovers of the outdoors flock to the park to undertake various forms of exercise from Tai Chi to badminton and from football to bootcamps. It is not commons but locals love to see tourists joining in. Definitely one of the fun things to do in Bangkok.
Lumphini Park has endless trails to walk under the canopies of dense foliage with lakes coursing throughout making it a prime place to find a patch of grass, lay on down and switch off from the sounds of the city.
11. Bangkok Canals
Bangkok’s geographical position puts it on the edge of the Thai Gulf and with some serious monsoonal conditions, the city gets a lot of water throughout the year and that’s when the Bangkok canals come into play.
Life off the beaten path in Bangkok revolves a lot around rivers and canals as they provide crucial access to many parts of the cities so there’s a good chance that you’ll find a lot of the locals living around these places. Canals are all over the city and some are bigger than others so expect to find everything from fish markets, vegetable markets to boat tours among these vibrant places but be warned, the Bangkok canals can be smelly places especially the smaller ones and if you decide to do a boat tour, check that you have all of your vaccinations in place.
Most people opt for a canal tour during the day but my advice and a much more unusual thing to do in Bangkok is to take a sunset canal tour. It is much less touristy, not that crowded and with the sun setting in the background even pretty romantic as well.
12. Terminal 21 Mall
Malls in Thailand are somewhat of a national treasure or should I say “national pastime”. I never expected to see so many malls in Bangkok and yes, most have the same shops selling exactly the same things as other malls throughout the city but there is a certain experience one gets from wandering these spectacular structures of bustling Bangkok.
One of the coolest place to go shopping in Bangkok is Terminal 21 on Sukhumvit Road where each level is dedicated and designed to match a destination such as Paris, Rome, Tokyo and Istanbul. Terminal 21 has a staggering 30 floors to explore! I am not a shopping fan but walking around here was a great experience and made me decide to add it to this list of unusual things to do in Bangkok.
The Ma Boon Khrong Centre or MBK is a mecca for shopaholics with a staggering 2,000 shops but do yourself a favor and visit MBK at night as there is an awesome display of lights constantly changing colours and doing whacky things to lure you into this epic masterpiece.
Before you leave Bangkok, you have to visit this legendary mall Siam Discovery where 400 stores are available for your choosing but if you do choose to go here, the food is the best and is a prime place to go for dinner but expect to pay quite some money compared to street food as most of the restaurants are at the top end of the dining experience.
13. Ghost Tower Bangkok
Nope this has nothing to do with a building being haunted, this almost 50 stories high skyscraper was built in the 90’s, but then due to several conflicts between the investors completely abandoned. Every since no development has taken place and it became the ghost tower.
When visiting Thailand many years ago it was possible to bribe the guards and enter the building at your own risk, but for several years it has been closed off completely and it seemed impossible to enter. Recent reports say that some adventurers were able to gain access somehow. So if you feel like climbing to the top of a deserted skyscraper this is your chance.
Although one of the most unusual things to do in Bangkok keep in mind that entering the building is illegal!
Getting around in Bangkok
Bangkok’s transport is surprisingly good, like really good with most train and bus services mostly always on time but I cannot say the same for taxi’s and tuk tuk’s. Trains service most of the city as do buses so it’s really a matter of where in the city you want to go. Personally I prefer to use Grab taxi, the metro or the sky train!
I hope the above tips for weird things to do in Bangkok were helpful for your upcoming Thailand trip. This blog was written with the help of my friend Calumn Hockey an avid travel photographer who also took all the photos for this article. Check out more of his work on Instagram @calumnhockey. Calumn and I met on our trip to Nepal where we did the Langtang Valley trek together.
In case you have any questions don't hesitate to send me a message on my Instagram account @traveltomtom. In total I visited Thailand 17 times as of end of 2019, so Im sure I can help you out. I also wrote an island hopping Thailand guide, island hopping itineraries, a Koh Tao travel guide, top things to do in Bangkok and 50 more Thailand travel blogs.
Enjoy the pictures and wanderlust vibes on my Instagram as Im trying to travel to every country in the world as of 2020!
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Enjoy your trip to Bangkok!
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