When experiencing a destination for the first time, we like to make an effort to travel off the beaten path whenever possible. Thailand’s tourism industry has skyrocketed in the past several years, making it an incredibly popular place to visit. While this is great for the local economy and makes navigating the country a lot easier on us visitors, it also means that many areas of the country – and most notably in the capital city of Bangkok – will be flooded with tourists nearly all year round, making some of the main attractions almost cliché. So, in order to help you avoid crowds and the notorious “tourist traps” on a visit to Thailand’s capital, we’ve put together a brief guide to some of the best things to do in the city that don’t always attract the most tourist attention.
Read on and you should be on your way to putting together an authentic – but alternative – Thai experience.
Shop At The Flower Market
Thailand and Bangkok specifically are known for their floating markets, which are shopping districts that exist on the decks of boats sitting in rivers and canals. While interesting to see though, these floating markets can sometimes be overrun with tourists – and generally have inflated prices as a result (particularly if you don’t know how to haggle). If you want a Thai market experience that may be a little less crowded, we’d recommend visiting the city’s Flower Market, which happens to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It gets far less attention than its floating counterparts, but it’s a beautiful place to explore.
Play Games With Locals
The Thai people love a good competition, and there is no shortage of competitive opportunities in Bangkok. The city is home to several gaming cafés, where you can get a cup of tea and something to eat while challenging your travel buddies or perhaps even some locals to any of a variety of available board games. While these board games are somewhat nostalgic and traditional though, Thais have also brought their competitive spirit to the online realm, with casino gaming and eSports alike having become popular. It helps that there are now online casinos that offer the opportunity to play free online slots, which helps people to enjoy the games without being concerned about any possible restrictions on real-money gaming. All in all, online casinos a little more private than the board game cafés, but it’s still part of the city’s gaming culture. And as for eSports, you may have a harder time getting in on the competition yourself. But if you can watch some organized competition, you’ll be getting a glimpse of one of the most exciting rising sports in the country.
Tour The Largest Temple In The World
It seems counterintuitive that the largest temple in the world would be a less popular tourist attraction, but most people only see the Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple from the sky as they approach Bangkok’s airport. Part of the reason why it’s not the most popular stop among tourists is that the particular sect of Buddhism affiliated with it has become unpopular in Thailand, but it still makes for a peaceful attraction for people visiting the city. Given its sheer size and flying saucer-like construction, it’s naturally something to behold from the exterior. Inside, though, you will find hundreds of thousands of Buddha statues!
Get Spooked At The Death Museum
The Siriraj Medical Museum, otherwise known as Bangkok’s Death Museum, is not meant for people who are easily made uncomfortable. That being said, it’s one of the most unique attractions in the entire city that doesn’t seem to get talked about very much – undeniably unsettling, but also, to many, quite fascinating. There are six different museums in the complex, which used to be a functioning hospital and is still sometimes used by local medical students for educational purposes. Some of the museums are more morbid (or just creepy) than others, so be sure to do a little research ahead of time about which ones you want to see and which you might prefer to avoid. Ultimately though, if you take much interest in human science or you’re just looking for an offbeat attraction, it’s worth stopping by.
Get Around By Boat
Finally, we want to end with a note on transportation that might surprise some people: You can get around Bangkok, to some extent, by boat! 55 Secrets has covered the idea of renting a Tuk Tuk in Sri Lanka before, and these same vehicles are commonly recommended for tourists in Bangkok. But while they can often be the most affordable and efficient options, hitching a ride on a boat through one of the canals is a legitimate alternative – depending on where you want to go. We wouldn’t recommend it for day-to-day practical transit, but it’s still a fun experience to have at some point while you’re in the city.