Bangkok is the most visited city in the world, and in our opinion it’s one of the region’s most exciting capitals. It’s a bustling, vibrant, cosmopolitan metropolis where countless adventures await.
There’s so much to experience in Bangkok it can be hard to know where to start. There are temples to visit, markets to shop, street foods to eat and even jungles to explore.
To get you oriented before your trip, or even just to get you inspired to visit, here are 27 fun and interesting facts about Bangkok that will help you maximize your time in this colorful, charismatic and chaotic city.
Fact 1. Bangkok is officially the ‘City of Angels’
As you may already know, Bangkok has the longest name of any city in the world, but locally it’s just called ‘Krungthep’ – ‘city of angels’.
The full name? Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.
If you learn how to say the whole thing we guarantee you’ll become an instant hero.
Fact 2. It also has its own wildlife
You might not expect many wild animals to live in a busy city like Bangkok, but in fact there are plenty.
Visit Lumphini Park in Silom, or even some of the quieter canals and you’re likely to see some water monitors slipping in and out of the water.
There were so many in Lumphini Park that last year authorities rehomed some of them. Other critters you might see include house geckos, tokay geckos and tiny bats.
Fact 3. It’s a city of sois
Bangkok is oriented around major streets and canals.
Branching off these are alleys called sois, which makes it relatively easy to orient yourself if you know what road you’re on.
Having said that, some roads, like highways, are ridiculously long. Sukhumvit goes all the way from central Bangkok to Pattaya – a 90-minute drive away.
Read also: 33 Fun and Interesting Facts about Thailand
Fact 4. There is a three-headed elephant
Not quite inside Bangkok, but in neighboring Samut Prakan Province is the unusual Erawan Museum.
The museum itself is located inside a huge statue of a three-headed elephant, and comprises three levels of art and antiquities (hell, earth and heaven).
You can see everything from Ming vases to sacred Buddhist iconography, and marvel at some ornate interior design.
The museum was established by eccentric millionaire and patron of the arts, ‘Khun Lek’ Viriyaphant.
Fact 5. You can always be cashed up
While in Bangkok you are never more than a block away from an ATM. Machines are rarely alone, either – they’re usually huddled in clusters with a few different banks’ ATMs.
Not so fun fact: ATMs in Thailand spit out your money first and your card second, resulting in many a forgotten card.
If you do leave your card in an ATM, they will collect it and keep it at the branch, which should be named on the offending ATM.
Fact 6. It is very convenient
We mentioned on this in the Thailand fun facts list because it truly is an anomaly how many convenience stores there are in Bangkok.
Unlike convenience stores in the West, they aren’t ludicrously overpriced and they carry some truly convenient items, from fresh coffee to beauty products to phone credit to wine to sushi.
The best food item by far is the 7-Eleven grilled ham and cheese, always good for when you can’t wait until dinner.
Fact 7. Sushi is as easy to find as pad Thai
Bangkok has a huge Japanese population, which means lots of sushi restaurants (from big chains to tiny holes in the walls), authentic izakaya bars, quaint cafes, ramen shops and katsu places. Sukhumvit soi 31 to 55 on the odd side of the street is Japanese foodie heaven, which a healthy dose of whiskey and sake bars peppered throughout.
Fact 8. Hellooo! Massage!
Possibly the most commonly heard phrase in the whole of Bangkok.
If you like massage, Bangkok’s your city, with everything from 100-baht-per-hour reflexology to day packages that cost hundreds of dollars.
Most street massage shops do a perfectly adequate foot massage for 250 baht per hour (a 50 to 100 baht tip is appreciated).
For a more professional experience, Health Land, Body Tune and Urban Oasis are reputable chains.
The most pampering spas are undoubtedly those attached to luxury hotels, Peninsula, Park Hyatt Erawan and The Siam are three of myriad indulgent outlets.
Fact 9. Dinosaurs roam the city center
One of Bangkok’s newest parks is Dino Park in Phrom Phong.
With displays, life-sized animated statues and rides, it’s a fun diversion for families in a super easy to find location.
You might even see a dino cage with noisy inhabitant right at Phrom Phong skytrain station.
Fact 10. Taxis are color-coded
Bright solid pink, yellow and green, all orange, blue and red – what does it mean? The different colours just denote different taxi companies, with the green and yellow ones signalling taxis with owner-drivers.
They all charge the same, though if you ask any Bangkokian they will probably have their own theories about which color is the ‘best’.
Fact 11. Mass transit is sparkling clean
Unlike its counterparts in the west, Bangkok has two spotlessly clean mass transportation systems.
The skytrain (BTS) and underground (MRT) systems both operate throughout the inner city – the former even gives you a bird’s-eye view down onto all the traffic you’re not stuck in.
Just leave your food and drinks at the gate.
Fact 12. You must definitely try the street food
You’ll see street vendors everywhere you turn in Bangkok – it’s part of the urban culture! Fresh cut fruit, ice cream sandwiches, grilled chicken, iced coffee and milk tea – whatever you’re hungry for, there will be someone selling it really cheaply nearby.
You can’t possibly try every single thing, so we recommend taking a foodie tour to introduce you to only the top tastes. Our favorite dishes?
The khanom krok (coconut pudding), the roti (pancake), the grilled meat skewer of your choosing (moo ping – pork – for instance), and, if you head to Yaowarat in Chinatown, a crispy oyster omelet (hoy tord).
Fact 13. Hit the river for a change of pace
The Chao Phraya River is one of Bangkok’s prettiest assets.
It’s brown and weedy, but it’s strangely calm for all the boats that criss-cross it every day.
The easiest way to explore the river is by tourist ferry, which costs 50 baht to hop on and off all day. Avoid the traffic, enjoy the breeze and see some of Bangkok’s oldest and newest architecture.
For a deeper exploration into the canals, get an insider’s look with a long tail boat tour around Thonburi.
Read also: 33 Fun and Interesting Facts about Thailand
Fact 14. The malls are mighty big and shiny
You might not think you want to spend your precious holiday time in a mall, but some of the newer ones are worth browsing around if you want to see how the more affluent of Thailand like to spend their time (and money).
You won’t find the bargains of Chatuchak Market, but you will find a dazzling array of luxury boutiques, sports cars, lifestyle shops, flagship stores for European brands and French cafe franchises.
You’ll also find air conditioning and icy drinks, which are always welcome after a day of exploring the humid outdoors.
Extra fun fact: In 2013, Siam Paragon Mall was the most Instagrammed place in the world. Say cheese!
Fact 15. It is a foodie paradise
Aside from the street food, Bangkok has a mouth-watering culinary scene that has garnered much recognition on the global stage.
The San Pellegrino Top 50 Asia named Bangkok restaurant, Gaggan, number 1 for three consecutive years (you might have to book a few weeks ahead, though.) Nahm by David Thompson is also a high-scoring contender at number 5, and Suhring, a German fine-dining restaurant, is 13. Add to this scores of world-class restaurants, by global culinary stars (Joel Robuchon) and by local heroes (Ian Kittichai), and you have one very full stomach.
Fact 16. Bangkok has amazing architecture
When you think of Bangkok you probably don’t immediately think of incredible skylines, but you should.
Bangkok has a building in the shape of a robot and one that looks like an elephant. It has a brand-new ‘pixelated’ residential tower called Mahanakhon, and a handful of skyscrapers with open-air rooftop bars perched way up over the urban grid.
Then there are all the abandoned buildings that were never completed after the Asian Financial Crisis, the most famous of which – Sathorn Unique – is the subject of much intrigue with visiting adventure-seekers. (It is illegal – and very dangerous – to ascend this derelict tower, though there are some documented cases of it online).
Fact 17. Chatuchak market is the world’s largest weekend market
With more than 15,000 stalls, it really is a must-see.
Keep hydrated with coconut ice cream and Thai iced tea. Get a foot massage to revive. Get a map and use it. Expect to get lost at least a half-dozen times and just enjoy the bargains that come your way!
Fact 18. And there are myriad more markets to meander
Chatuchak is no Bangkok secret, but did you know that most areas in Bangkok will have their own market at least once per week?
There are night markets, lunchtime markets, university markets, fresh markets, flower markets, retro markets, train markets – all sorts of markets.
The night markets at Phraram 9 MRT station are a good option if you want to visit somewhere smaller and more manageable than Chatuchak.
For some boutique markets by the river, there’s the sparkly Asiatique.
Fact 19. There are green spaces for you to relax in
One of the most popular places is the aforementioned Lumphini Park in Silom, which hosts free open-air jazz concerts in the high season and where you can see open-air aerobics every afternoon.
For a jog, head to Benjakiti Park near Sukhumvit MRT – you can even jog (or take a leisurely stroll) from here to Lumphini on an underutilized cycle path.
There is a similarly named Benjasiri Park in Phrom Pong with kids’ playgrounds, basketball courts, a swimming pool and a lake with turtles – a popular place with families at the weekends.
Fact 20. Bangkok has a ‘green lung’
There is an entire chunk of land in a bend of the Chao Phraya river covered in dense forest.
With building development prohibited above the treeline, it’s come to be a lush, green reprieve from the city.
Called Bang Krachao, this area is well-known among locals for its cycle tracks and quaint guesthouses.
You can do day trips there or stay overnight and cycle around the entire island.
Fact 21. You must try Thai iced tea
It’s orangey-brown, it’s super sweet, it contains around half a tin of evaporated milk, but if there’s a beverage that will keep you energized in the heat, it’s a cha nom yen (cold milk tea).
We don’t recommend drinking them all the time, but for a taste of Thai culture, they’re as authentic as any pad Thai.
Fact 22. Bangkok has two airports
Sometimes it happens that you arrive at one and have to transfer to the other, in which case you can use the airport shuttle.
It is free and departs multiple times per day. Suvarnabhumi also has a very affordable airport link train that operates from very early to very late for only 40 baht per trip, which takes roughly 35 minutes.
Fact 23. It’s cool to stay cool
The phrase ‘jai yen’ is a popular one in Bangkok. Meaning ‘cool heart’ – it is akin to ‘stay calm’ and is deployed when someone starts showing signs of being jai ron (hot-hearted AKA annoyed). Basically, being jai yen means keeping an icy cool composure – a handy skill when faced with traffic, crowds and humidity.
Read also: Best Time to Visit Thailand
Fact 24. There are more than a few amazing temples
Aside from Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) and Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn), which are all quite close together, you may want to see these temples:
- Golden Mount – Wat Saket. An Ayutthaya-era temple on top of a hill in the middle of Bangkok.
- Wat Khaek – Sri Maha Mariamman Temple. A Hindu shrine in Silom.
- Wat Mangkon Kamalawat – A chinese temple in Chinatown with Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian deities
- Wat Traimit – also in Chinatown, containing the world’s largest seated gold Buddha, weighing 5.5 tonnes.
- Wat Bang Phra – the original sacred tattoo temple, which is just outside Bangkok.
For our tips on temple etiquette, check out or Thailand blog.
Fact 25. Bangkok is great for kids
Did you know, that on public transport, adults will stand up so children can sit down?
Bangkok – and Thailand – are very kid-friendly as a whole. Hotels, restaurants and the general public are all very accommodating of children and you’ll find plenty of kid-friendly activities around the city – bowling, ice-skating, Gymboree, trampoline parks, Ocean World, go karts, public playgrounds, cat and dog cafes and movies with kid sessions.
Fact 26. There is a most unusual shrine in a most beautiful garden
In the tranquil gardens of the beautiful restored Nai Lert Park Heritage Home lies ‘Tubtim’ Fertility Shrine.
The shrine was originally created in honor of Chao Mae Tubtim, whose spirit is thought to inhabit an old tree in the gardens.
Legend has it that women who took offerings and prayed for children had their prayers answered, so the shrine evolved into a fertility shrine and now women come specifically to wish for a baby.
Nai Lert House itself is worth a visit for its private collection of Nai Lert family antiques and its meticulously restored period details.
Fact 27. It is the most visited hub in the world
According to MasterCard, Bangkok tallied up the most visitors of all the cities in the world. It’s easy to see why.
Not only is it an easy and exciting city in its own right, from Bangkok, it takes just one hour by plane to get to Phuket, Samui, Krabi, Koh Chang (45 minutes), Koh Lanta or any of those other amazingly idyllic Thai islands.
If there’s something you want to know about Bangkok, or something you want to tell us, let us know via email at info [alt] backyardtravel.com.