Top 10 Attractions Riverside Bangkok
The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keaw
The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keaw (Wat Phra Keaw is a temple inside the Grand Palace), are the most famous, most visited, and probably most stunning attractions in Bangkok.
Built in 1782, and for 150 years the home of Thai Kings and the Royal Court, the Grand Palace continues to welcome millions of visitors a year, both tourists coming to see one of Bangkok’s most prized possessions, as well as Buddhist worshippers coming to pay respect to the deities above.
Any sightseeing itinerary along the Chao Phraya River cannot possible ignore Wat Arun. Along with the Grand Palace, this ancient temple is one of Bangkok’s most iconic temples, thanks to its stunning riverside location and unique design with its towering central pagoda that rises over the river. Also referred to as Wat Chaeng and sometimes romantically called to as the ‘Temple of Dawn’, this breathtaking Buddhist monument welcomes millions of visitors who visit Bangkok every year, meaning it does sometimes get a little busy (arrive early for to beat the crowds).
Bangkok River Cruises
The Chao Phraya River is Bangkok’s main artery of life, and the best way to see it is to get on it – literally – by booking a private cruise! The river is at its prettiest after the sunsets over the city, with the iconic Wat Arun and Grand Palace both illuminated brilliantly over the water. As well as passing glistening temples, majestic skyscrapers will tower overhead and a steady stream of aquatic-traffic will greet you from every direction.
Thonburi Canals (Khlongs)
Bangkok’s vast series of canals (khlongs) that once were part of the city’s main form of transport now act as a major tourist attraction in the city, whilst also still serving local commuters to get around the city.
You can jump on one of the commuter boats and make your own way around, although this can be a bit of a daunting experience to someone new to Bangkok, as the khlong routes are often confusing and the boasts can get packed.
Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower
Hitting the Sky Bar at the Lebua State Tower is one of the first things visitors to Bangkok do when they arrive in the city. And there are plenty of reasons why.
Although now sometimes a little overcrowded due to its ever-growing popularity (thanks in no small part to the boys from The Hangover II who filmed there), the rooftop bar offers unique views across Bangkok from 63 storeys up.
Asiatique The Riverside
Set on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, Asiatique is a night market/mall complex with a whole host of local and international fashion brands, street food vendors alongside posh restaurants, beer gardens set next to sophisticated wine bars – not forgetting a massive Ferris wheel that towers over the riverside.
Siriraj Hospital Museum (Forensic Museum)
Depending on how you look at it, The Forensic Museum at the Siriraj Hospital is one of the most educational – or terrifying – things you can do in Bangkok. From dead babies in tubes of formaldehyde to humans sawn in half, Siriraj Forensic Museum is packed full of morbid content. All the exhibits and specimens are used (or were once used) by the medical students at this famous hospital in Bangkok, and now lie on display for anyone to see.
Royal Barges Museum
The Royal Barges Museum in Bangkok is home to some of the most spectacular canal boats you’ll ever see, each one painstakingly carved from huge slabs of teak wood, decorated with mythical creatures and painted in bright shades of gold, red and blue.
All the barges here are still fully operational, but usually only depart the museum for special occasions such a royal processions along the river.
Muay Thai Live Show at Asiatique
Muay Thai Live at Asiatique Bangkok is an exciting show combining theatrical performances and the ancient martial art of Muay Thai boxing. Expect an engaging plot taking you through ancient Siam all the way up to modern day Bangkok, with plenty of flying kicks, traditional Muay Thai moves, powerful body punches and a touch of romance and comedy thrown in for good measure too.
Despite dominating the western bank of the Chao Phraya River with its giant temple structure, Wat Kalayanamit is often overlooked by tourists, city guides, and even locals. The nearby Wat Arun is much more famous and acts as a magnet, drawing the crowds away from some of the other nearby Thonburi attractions and temples. If you want a more tranquil, less touristy alternative, head to Wat Kalayanamit, a temple particularly famous for its enormous seated golden Buddha inside the main building.