5 Things to Do in Bangkok That Totally Exceed Expectations

Updated 08/30/17
Stacie Flinner

Bustling Bangkok is home to so many great places and experiences that it can be a little overwhelming to come up with an itinerary. The Thai capital pulses 24 hours a day, and it’s chock-full of sights, sounds, and eats. Here you can enjoy a serene spa day or a party all night—or better yet, do both.

Bangkok is particularly fascinating because it bridges the old with the new; ancient landmarks live seamlessly next to modern design. For this reason, the southeast Asian city is a great destination for the design conscious. If you know where to look, the city bustles with sleek creative hubs, happening galleries, and modern community spaces. Ahead are the top places to hang out, see great art, and eat like a local. Consider your Bangkok itinerary sorted.

The Commons

This sleek community space in Thonglor has it all—food, events, co-working spaces, and a lush outdoor area. You can easily spend a whole day in this four-story building. The first floor, the Market, features 18 unique culinary purveyors so you can nosh on artisanal bread, Neapolitan pizza or Sichuan-style Dan Dan noodles. Stop by the second floor, the Village, to scour specialty stores and maybe score a delicious dessert. The third floor, the Play Yard, is dedicated to all things play, whether you are young or old. Adults can get a workout in, while children and their parents can partake in fun activities in the designated family area. The top floor, the Top Yard, is a neighborhood green oasis with a grass lawn and an herb garden where you can lounge and soak up Bangkok’s exhilarating ambiance.

Thailand Creative and Design Center

Thailand Creative and Design Center (TCDC) is where Bangkok’s designers, students, and entrepreneurs hang out, and it's a great place to visit for events and exhibitions. One of the current exhibitions, Creativity Onwards, is on until September 17, and it invites viewers to “participate in the creation of ideas and search for new opportunities to help propel creativity forward and allow it to continue to contribute to the country’s development.” If you miss this exhibition, don’t fret, as there are always a half-dozen or more creative exhibitions happening at TCDC.

Gallery Hopping

Get a glimpse of Bangkok’s flourishing art scene by hopping around various trendy neighborhoods. Make your first stop Speedy Grandma, a no-frills gallery and bar that hosts exhibitions from emerging artists and performances. It attracts a cool crowd of Thais and expats. Speedy Grandma’s Thomas Menard also runs Soy Sauce Factory (and yes, it’s located in an old soy sauce factory), a multipurpose art space that hosts cool exhibitions, many of which feature photography. ATTA Gallery is also awesome—it’s the first and only gallery in Thailand that specializes in contemporary art jewelry, showcasing wearable art made with diverse materials.

Blaq Lyte

This nightlife destination has only been open for four months, and the décor is vibrant with bright colors and holographic stickers that cast mesmerizing reflections reminiscent of the Hype Williams music videos of the early aughts. Let loose over strong cocktails and fresh dance tracks, but make a mental note that you’ll be staying late. One added perk is that Blaq Lyte donates most of its proceeds to an orphan charity, so you can rest easy.

Bastien Gonzalez Pedicure at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok

Are your feet feeling a little worse for wear? We’ve got the perfect cure. Head to the stunning Mandarin Oriental, the oldest hotel in Thailand, to get yourself the Rolls-Royce of pedicures. Celebrity podiatrist Bastien Gonzalez created this treatment, which assesses your foot health and suggests improvements for your everyday life. You’ll leave with beautifully buffed, soft feet that feel reinvigorated after a great massage. Make sure you take a tour of the beautiful property before you leave—you’ll be wowed by its old-world charm and its luxe amenities.

What are your favorite spots in Bangkok?

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