When most people think of Thailand, they think of temples, food, shopping and, of course, the vibrant nightlife. There is so much to do that few tourists will get to see all of the major attractions. There are also some less well-known attractions that visitors are unlikely to even hear about. Here’s a look at a selection of those hidden gems that visitors to Bangkok should not miss.
Anybody that has visited Bangkok will know that it is a city of tarmac, traffic, and towering steel and concrete. If you were to be told that you will also find a serene green tropical paradise in the middle of the city, you might scoff at the thought. At Bang Krachao, however, this is exactly what you will find.
Bang Krachao is a Bangkok district that has the moniker ‘the lungs of Bangkok’, and with a single visit, you will see why. The district is an area of thick, verdant foliage that could have you thinking you are in one of the leafier parts of the country. You will get to see a selection of the native flora and fauna, and there is also a Siamese fighting fish museum. Bicycles are available for hire to allows you to tour the district at a leisurely pace.
Bangkok is famous for many things, and street food is one of them. On pretty much every corner you turn you will find a street cart selling dishes ranging from spicy curries to deep-fried locusts. These food carts are the main source of food for many Thais, with many not having their own cooking facilities in their homes.
While you are in the city, why not make the most of what Bangkok’s street food has to offer. When in the city, you will find organised tours that take you to some of the city’s very best street dining locales. You will get to sample a huge range of dishes, many of which you will likely not have known even existed.
In addition to enjoying the food, a street food tour is also a good way to get to see the city as the locals see it. It can be quite an experience, and one that you will not forget for a very long time.
Bangkok can get hot. Very hot. Even the locals can find the stifling heat difficult to bear at times, but the good news is that relief is not far away. If you are feeling the heat, then why not make your way to the mall in Bangkapi? This modern, fully air-conditioned mall is a great way to escape the heat but there is another reason to visit --- it has a waterpark on the roof.
The park makes a great opportunity for kids and adults to cool down and relax. You will find slides, kid’s pools, and play areas while you will also find food and other refreshments. It is also very affordable at 220 baht per adult and 130 baht per child.
When you are ready, you can change into dry clothes and then head downstairs into the mall itself to eat at one of the many restaurants. The Bangkapi Mall is not the only waterpark of its kind either, as there is a handful of them located around the city. In addition, you will also find larger parks such as the one at Siam Park City and Dreamworld. You are not likely to find these on the itinerary of western tour companies, but ask at your hotel and they will be able to recommend the best spots near you.
Located near Ekkamai sky train station is a hidden gem that even many expats and locals seem to miss: the planetarium and science museum. Visitors are treated to an impressive show in the planetarium, with shows available in English in the mornings. There is also plenty to do in the science museum with interactive displays that are educational and entertaining for the whole family. The location also makes it very easy to get to; just a short hop in the sky train for many visitors. The fun doesn’t stop there, either, as the site is also home to an impressive aquarium.
Entrance is very affordable at 30 baht a ticket for adults and 20 baht for children.
This one is definitely not for you if you are squeamish. If the macabre fascinates you, however, then the forensics museum is not to be missed.
This museum is a gruesome collection of human bodies and body parts. Displays show cadavers and body parts of people, including babies, with various medical conditions. One cadaver in particular is of interest to Thais because it is the complete, preserved body of a serial killer known as Si Quay. Si Quay was caught and executed in 1958 for allegedly murdering 7 young boys and eating their organs. Apparently, he felt that doing so would give him superpowers and even immortality. He was so feared at the time that he has become a part of Thai folklore. After his execution, his body was preserved and displayed in public to reassure people that he was no longer a threat.
The museum also contains displays depicting the immense cruelty of Thai prisons in years gone by. The torture devices on display show just how hellish life in one of these prisons must have been. It is not for everybody but will make an unforgettable experience for anybody.