Are you looking for an insider’s adventure travel guide for the best outdoor activities in Bangkok?
Why visit Bangkok for adventure?
Bangkok is one of the world’s largest metropolises and a gateway for most of the world to access the rest of South East Asia. With numbers surpassing 14 million people in the Greater Bangkok Region, this is no small player in the world’s super-cities. Of course, having such a long history with foreign visitors, the city has become incredibly established in the world’s tourist sector.
This has allowed it to grow many facets of adventurous activities – making access to something for everyone!
Outdoor Activities in Bangkok
Exploring the Klongs
Klongs are canals which used to feed the entire city with life giving water, branched off from the city’s main artery – the Chao Phraya River. Today, the locals wouldn’t drink the water if you paid them, but there is still a fascinating life that exists along the Klongs’ banks. From floating markets, to old houses on stilts, there is so much to explore, and give insight to this old way of life!
What’s it cost and how to get to the Klongs?
You can usually arrange tours of the Klongs from the pier “Saphan Taksin” along the Chao Phraya River. This is conveniently a stop on the skytrain as well, making it very easy to access. Usually you will be renting the entire boat for the day (about 1000 THB, or $35 USD), and not paying a per person rate. So if you can find a few people to go with, the price of course will drop significantly per person.
Rickshaw City Tours
If you’ve never been to Asia before, Rickshaws are one of the most fun ways to get around. Although they can often be a little more expensive than metered taxis, you get an experience (and a view) that is unparalleled, especially in the busy streets of Bangkok.
What’s it cost?
Occasionally, you can even haggle a deal for a city tour for next to nothing (50-100 THB or $1.50-3 USD), as long as you visit a couple affiliated ‘custom suit tailors’ through out the day, as they’ll get kick back from the shops just for bringing you there… No purchase necessary.
You can often find Tuk Tuk drivers willing to do this standing along the perimeter of the Kings’ Palace. It may take a few attempts of asking for a ‘special city tour’, but you will be bound to find someone ready for a cut of this business.
Local Secret Spot
Though most people wouldn’t consider going to a market an adventure, they probably have never experienced the likes of Chatuchak (also known as JJs). This is one of SE Asia’s LARGEST outdoor markets. It’s so big in fact, that you can find maps of the market to help navigate. It’s roughly the size of 4 city blocks, and is divided into various sections.
You’ll find everything under the sun here, from clothing, to handicrafts, to food, to mobile phones, and even puppies and other cute critters for sale!! It’s bonkers. If it gets a little too much for you, you can take a break in one of Bangkok’s largest parks (Chatuchak park) located right next to the market.
How to get there?
You can get here via skytrain (BTS), subway (MRT), taxi, bus, you name it – it’s very accessible! But it’s only open on weekends, from about dawn until 5 or 6pm at it’s peak. Some shops stay open longer, but the majority will be closed by dusk. It’s free entry and a perfect place to buy ANY souvenirs at the end of your time in Thailand.
If you can coordinate to be here on a weekend, it’s definitely an adventure. I generally hate shopping for ‘stuff’, but love this market and its energy!
Best time of the year to visit Bangkok for adventure?
Bangkok is in the tropics, and quite close to the Equator. Of course, this means it’s hot on a year round basis.
It’s considered rainy season from May-October, though showers can happen at any time of the year. This is generally a less busy time for tourists, though the rains are not quite as bad as one would expect, and often only last 30 mins-1 hour, cooling the city’s heat. Peak season is in December-January, when temperatures are at their coolest ad driest… though it’s still pretty hot!
Finally, the reason I love Bangkok for adventure is because…
It’s never ending. This city is SO BIG that you could go and get lost in a new neighbourhood almost every. single. day. and still find new, interesting things to explore. On my list for the upcoming weeks I’ve got the Scala Cinema, the Thai Air Force Museum, Papaya Vintage Shop, and the Erawon Museum – just to name a few. It seems every time I explore 1 place, I learn of 3 more!!
From a young age, Ian was always a wanderer. He’s since travelled to all 7 continents, and has spent the majority of his life pursuing this passion. You can follow him in his off-the-beaten-path adventures and discoveries on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and his travel blog Where Sidewalks End.
Have you been to Bangkok? What were your favourite outdoor activities in Bangkok?