Our list of things to do in Bangkok Riverside is full of top-quality landmarks, so much so that any trip to the Thai capital will feel seemingly incomplete without a trip up the majestic Chao Phraya river. As well as offering an escape from the traffic and congestion of downtown Bangkok, the Riverside has plenty of fascinating temples straddling its banks, quaint markets that pop up at night around the numerous ferry piers, and a whole host of fun activities throughout the area.

    Many of the best attractions in Riverside Bangkok involve being on the water. Fantastic cruises offer a unique perspective of the Chao Phraya and all the major landmarks, many of which are particularly spectacular when the riverside is lit up at night. You can find all of this, and much more, in our guide below.

    The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keaw are Bangkok’s most famous, most visited, and probably most stunning landmarks. Built in 1782, the Grand Palace is the spiritual home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government. Within the palace complex are several impressive buildings, one of which is Wat Phra Kaew. Known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, it contains the small but famous and greatly revered Emerald Buddha that dates to the 14th century.

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    Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Old City (Rattanakosin), Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)2 623 5500


    Wat Arun is an iconic temple on the west (Thonburi) bank of the Chao Phraya river. Nicknamed the Temple of the Dawn, it’s easily one of the most stunning temples in Bangkok, not only because of its riverside location but also because the design is very different from the other temples you can visit in Bangkok. Wat Arun is partly made up of colorfully decorated spires and stands majestically over the water. We would recommend spending at least an hour visiting the temple. Though it’s known as the Temple of the Dawn, it's stunning at sunset, even more so when lit up at night. The quietest time to visit is early morning before the crowds arrive.

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    Location: 158 Wang Doem Road, Wat Arun, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok 10600, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)2 891 2185


    Wat Pho (or Wat Phra Chetuphon) is one of the largest temple complexes in the city. It’s famed for its giant reclining Buddha that is 46 meters long and covered in gold leaf. You’ll need to take your shoes off to enter, and if you’d like a little good luck, we recommend purchasing a bowl of coins at the entrance of the hall which you can drop in the 108 bronze bowls which line the length of the walls. Dropping the small pennies in makes a nice ringing sound, and even if your wishes don’t come true, the money goes towards helping the monks renovate and preserve Wat Pho.

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    Location: Maharat Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)2 226 0335


    Thonburi canals (khlongs)

    Bangkok is famous for its series of canals and waterways which once served as the main form of transportation. Today, the khlongs (canals in Thai) still serve commuters and travelers who want to get around town by boat. The canals in Thonburi offer you a chance to see a ‘local’ side of Bangkok. Pass by families enjoying lunch in their wooden homes, see children playing in the secluded streets alleys, and glide past traditional markets.

    Sky Bar at Lebua Bangkok stands at almost 250 meters above sea level, offering impressive views of the Thai capital. Located in Silom, this rooftop bar is quite easy to find, a 5-minute walk from Saphan Taksin BTS station, look for a tall cream-colored building with a gold dome on the roof. The bar was made even more famous after featuring in the Hollywood film, The Hangover Part II.

    If you arrive before Sky Bar opens, you can still have a drink and enjoy the view from Distil Bar, located on the 64th floor of Lebua Bangkok. This comfortable whiskey bar has an outdoor terrace with a comfortable sofa area.

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    Location: 63rd Floor, Lebua at State Tower, 1055 Silom Road, Bangrak, Bangkok, 10500, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 4 pm to 1 am

    Phone: +66 (0)2 624 9555


    Asiatique The Riverfront is a night market and mall complex with over 1,500 boutiques street food vendors alongside posh restaurants, beer gardens set next to sophisticated wine bars – not forgetting the massive Ferris wheel that towers over the riverside. Set on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the running theme throughout is a bit of mishmash of retro decor alongside vintage props that are a tip of the hat to the site’s long trade history, including a replica tram, clock tower, and ship hangars.

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    Location: 2194 Charoenkrung Road, Wat Phraya Krai, Bang Kho Laem, Bangkok 10120, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 4 pm to midnight

    Phone: +66 (0)92 246 0812


    Bangkok Forensic Museum offers a sinister exhibition for the morbid and those searching for something extremely unusual. Located inside the Siriraj Hospital, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya river, if your vision of a museum is a pretty display of artistic or cultural artifacts, then you’re in for a big surprise. From dead babies in tubes of formaldehyde to organs infected with tumours, this exhibit spares no punches when it comes to graphic content.

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    Location: Siriraj Hospital, 2 Wanglung Road, Bangkok Noi, Bangkok 10700, Thailand

    Open: Wednesday–Monday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

    Phone: +66 (0)2 419 2601


    photo by David McKelvey (CC BY 2.0) modified

    The Royal Barges Museum displays 8 of the Royal Barges of Thailand. These boats are reserved for auspicious ceremonies and state occasions like the very rare Royal Barge Procession. Each boat was carved meticulously from massive slabs of teak, decorated with mythic creatures and painted in bright shades of gold, red and blue. You can easily find the Royal Barges Museum near the Thonburi side of the river, not far from Phra Pin Klao Bridge. Note that the barges might not be in the museum during or in preparation for the special ceremonies.

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    Location: 80/1 Rim Khlong Bangkok Noi Arun Amarin, Bangkok Noi, Bangkok 10700, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)2 424 0004


    Muay Thai Live: The Legend Lives at Asiatique Bangkok is an exciting theatrical show combining entertaining performances with the ancient martial art of Muay Thai boxing. Great for theatre enthusiasts, families or just anybody wanting to get an exhilarating insight into Thai culture, this 90-minute show left us impressed and eager to get into the ring ourselves. This Bangkok show runs from Tuesdays to Sundays at The Stage, a modern 600-seater theatre within the excellent Asiatique The Riverfront.

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    Location: ASIATIQUE The Riverfront, 2194 Charoen Krung Rd, Bang Kho Laem, Bangkok 10120, Thailand

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 8 pm to 9.30 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +66 (0)2 108 5999


    Wat Kalayanamit

    Wat Kalayanamit is often overlooked by tourists despite dominating the western bank of the Chao Phraya River with its giant temple structure. The nearby Wat Arun is much more famous and acts as a magnet, drawing the crowds away from many Riverside Bangkok attractions and temples. If you want a more tranquil, less touristy alternate, head to Wat Kalayanamit, which is particularly famous for its enormous, seated golden Buddha inside the main building.

    Location: New Arun Amarin Rd, Wat Kanlaya, Thonburi, Bangkok 10600, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm


    Assumption Cathedral

    Assumption Cathedral is Bangkok's principal Roman Catholic cathedral. It’s also the main church of the Archdiocese of Bangkok, which dates back to 1662. It was constructed between 1910 and 1918 to replace an earlier church on the same spot. Pope John Paul II visited this cathedral during his trip to Bangkok in 1984. The beautiful interior is classic Romanesque, with round arches, looming ceilings covered in rich rococo and stained glass. Murals on the walls of the nave at the end depict biblical scenes.

    Location: 23 Soi Charoenkrung 40, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand

    Open: Monday and Friday from 8.30 am to 5 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 8.30 am to 12 pm (closed from Tuesdays to Thursdays)

    Phone: +66 (0)2 234 8556


    photo by Panyawat boontanom (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Bangkok river cruises

    Bangkok river cruises travel along the Chao Phraya river, Bangkok’s main artery of life. The river is at its prettiest during sunset, with the iconic Wat Arun and Grand Palace both illuminated brilliantly over the water. Some river cruises offer traditional Thai dances, while others have live jazz and live commentary of some of the landmarks along Bangkok Riverside.

    The Chao Phraya river flows south from the highlands on the country's northern border to the Gulf of Thailand near Bangkok. Also known as the River of Kings, it’s about 365 km long. Throughout many centuries, the river has been used for transportation and agriculture, providing the day-to-day needs and livelihood of the people living along the water's edge. There are several islands in the Chao Phraya too, most notably Ko Kret, home to the minority Mon community who are renowned for their pottery skills.

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    King Rama I Monument

    King Rama I Monument was built to mark Bangkok’s 150th anniversary in 1932, along with the Puttayodfa Memorial Bridge next to which it sits. It was designed by HRH Prince Naris, while architect Silpa Bhirasri molded and cast the structure in bronze. Born on March 20, 1736, King Rama I (also known as King Puttayodfa) was the first king in the Chakri Dynasty, which continues to this day.

    Location: Prachathipok Rd, Wang Burapha Phirom, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand


    Lhong 1919 Bangkok is a 19th-century Chinese mansion that mixes Bangkok heritage with shopping, dining, and lots of interesting photo opportunities. The center point of this old Chinese manor is the large shrine to Mazu, the Chinese goddess of seafarers. The air is usually heavy with the scent of incense and smoke, with many people praying to the shrine. As you walk around the courtyard and rooms, you can see period fixtures and artifacts. The ground floor of the main building has a row of boutique stores.

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    Location: 248 Chiang Mai Rd, Khlong San, Bangkok 10600, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)91 187 1919


    photo by Supanut Arunoprayote (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Thailand Creative and Design Center

    Thailand Creative and Design Center (TCDC) is a trendy design learning and resource facility, which was created to give functional designers and entrepreneurs a platform to display their innovative ideas. You can find this state-of-the-art facility inside a building that used to house the Bangkok General Post Office. The design library has over 15,000 design books, videos, multimedia, and films. At the creative space, designers can show their inventions to the public at no expense.

    Location: Central Post Office, 1160 Charoen Krung Rd, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10.30 am to 9 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +66 (0)2 105 7400


    photo by Nvtj (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    The Jam Factory Bangkok is a creative space, restaurant, cafe and bookshop in what used to be an old factory. The building has large glass walls and iron framing, giving it an industrial feel. Outside, there's a large grassy area and one of the largest Bodhi trees you can find in Bangkok. The bookshop doubles as a cafe and there are books in English, Thai and a few in Chinese. On the last Saturday and Sunday of each month, there's usually a local farmers’ market on the grassy area outside, with live music, street food and lots of interesting crafts for sale.

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    Location: 41/1-5 The Jam Factory, Charoen Nakhon Road, Bangkok 10600, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)2 861 0950


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