Bangkok is known as the City of Angels, and it consistently lives up to its hype even as it welcomes more and more visitors each year. Bangkok isn’t a well-kept secret these days, but it has managed to retain its colorful personality, its street style, and a flair that other cities try to replicate. Surround yourself with Thai history and culture every step of the way on your Bangkok cruise, whether you’re a foodie looking to eat your way through the city or a culture seeker who wants to hop from temple to temple, like Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.
Bangkok cruise packages with Celebrity offer unforgettable excursions, taking travelers to the nearby town of Pattaya, or a day-long exploration of the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya. If you’re in Bangkok on your own, you shouldn’t miss a tour of the Grand Palace, where Thai royalty lived for generations. Enjoy street food and a cold beer along Khao San Road, known globally as a backpacker’s haven. Bangkok explodes with energy and an approachableness that make it a must-see destination on an Asia cruise.
One of Bangkok’s top sights is the Grand Palace, where Thai royalty once lived. Take a tour of the Palace to understand its history and its grandeur. Be prepared for crowds, as the Grand Palace is world renowned as an architectural site and holds special significance in Thai culture. Leave plenty of time to walk the grounds leisurely.
There are multiple floating markets in Bangkok, but the floating market in nearby Pattaya is rumored to be the largest. Purchase cool handmade trinkets or fresh fruits sold from boats along the riverside. Thai desserts and even local art can be found in the floating market, so be prepared to unearth some special gems to take back to the ship with you.
Thousands of people flock to Wat Pho each year to take in the spectacle of the city’s largest reclining Buddha, which is over 150 feet long. You’ll be amazed by the sheer scale and magnificence of the Buddha, which is covered in gold leaf and glitters in stark contrast with the colorfully painted temple walls. A famous massage school is also based here, so many visitors book a traditional massage in advance. It’s only a 10-minute walk from the Grand Palace.
The Jim Thompson House is a museum in Bangkok with a bit of a cult following. It was once the private home of a rich American silk merchant named Jim Thompson. In the 50s and 60s, Thompson was featured in Vogue and helped revitalize Bangkok’s silk industry. He mysteriously disappeared in 1967, never to be seen again. Tour the museum devoted to his eccentricities and the history of silk in Thailand.
Each temple in Bangkok uses a different style and honors different versions of Buddhas, whether that’s the largest reclining Buddha in the city at Wat Pho, or the Emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Kaew. Tour Wat Arun and end the day at Wat Traimit, where a solid gold Buddha looms at nearly ten feet tall. Devote an entire day to Bangkok’s awe-inspiring Buddhist temples.
Khao San Road is famous among backpackers and solo travelers as an unpretentious, diverse part of Bangkok where anyone can walk through, grab a bite to eat, and mingle with locals and tourists for a taste of the famous Thai friendliness.
As a Bangkok institution, the Chatuchak Weekend Market also happens to be one of the world’s largest markets. Come early in the day for smaller crowds. You can lose yourself in this bustling market as vendors and locals sell every item under the sun, from fresh seafood to vegetables to handcrafted bags or Buddha statues and keepsakes.
One of the best views of Bangkok can be found at the top of Golden Mountain Temple in the Pom Prap Sattru Phai district of the city. The white and gold structure seems to glow from afar, and the lookout points provide a sweeping view of the entire city below. For a skyline photo, Gold Mountain Temple is a must-see.
Don’t be fooled by how nonchalant the food culture is in Bangkok. Street food and mall food courts provide some of the best eats in the city, and Bangkok’s Chinatown has a great selection, too. Sample som tam (papaya salad), a must-try delicacy in Thailand, along with popular street food dishes like pad thai kung (noodles with shrimp), kao mun gai (chicken and rice), and others while you’re here. You might think of American pad thai as authentic Thai food, but that dish didn’t even originate in Thailand, so you’re better off branching out and trying something new. Thailand also has a serious sweet tooth, so for dessert, indulge in sticky rice with mango or coconut ice cream to beat the heat.
Thailand was once known as Siam. Bangkok became its capital in 1782, though the Portuguese and French had established military strongholds in the Bangkok area as early as the 16th century. Bangkok’s strategic riverside location meant it quickly gained power as a center for trade and commerce. Today, Bangkok is the largest city in Thailand and has become famous as a place where solo travelers and backpackers flock to experience the magic of the country. Called “the city of angels,” Bangkok has a reputation for its friendliness and openness to globalization. Those who live in Bangkok are heavily influenced by Buddhism, where respect and a gentle, easy-going demeanor are the hallmarks of Thai culture. While visiting Thailand, it’s recommended that travelers carefully watch how Thai locals interact with politeness. Their kind spirit is easy to pick up on.
Laem Chabang is the largest port in all of Thailand. It sees a huge influx of cargo and cruise traffic each year. The terminal is equipped with standard amenities for travelers, like souvenirs for purchase, a currency exchange area, a help desk, and snacks and drinks before you start your journey to Bangkok from the port. Because getting to Bangkok requires thoughtful transportation booked in advance, it’s good to go in with a game plan when you arrive at the port.
When your Bangkok cruise ship docks in Laem Chabang, your main options for exploring Bangkok are a shuttle service to local malls, taking a taxi, or heading off on a Celebrity shore excursion. Excursions can be booked as part of Bangkok cruise packages, which take care of your transportation needs. It takes a long car ride, a little less than two hours, to get from the port into Bangkok. Booking transportation into Bangkok before you arrive is recommended because there are a limited number of taxis available.
Bangkok has some of the best shopping in Thailand, from the colorful Chatuchak Weekend Market, the largest market in Thailand, to the MBK Center which has over 2,000 stores and restaurants within the complex. The energy and bustle of the markets in Thailand mean even making purchases for snacks, fruits, or vegetables have an undeniable excitement. Harbour Mall is also only a 15-minute taxi ride away from the Laem Chabang cruise port.
The official currency of Thailand is the baht, which come in different denominations. For example, there are 1, 5, 10, 20, and 100 baht notes. There are also satang coins, but these are gradually being phased out. U.S. dollars are infrequently accepted while you’re traveling on a cruise to Bangkok. It’s recommended you carry some cash, and plan ahead when exchanging your currency because all ATMs here come with a hefty fee. Tipping isn’t part of the daily life in Thailand, but rounding up to the nearest baht for good service is recommended. Leaving a 10-15% tip in upscale restaurants is very helpful and polite for service industry workers.