Over my many visits to Bangkok, it’s turned into one of my favourite cities in the world. While at first glance it might not be the most charming, its messy vibe dissipates after spending a full day here. When traveling, I always try to find more genuine experiences, and there are endless Bangkok hidden gems. Here’s my guide to Bangkok off the beaten path!
In this travel guide you will find all you need for a perfect Bangkok trip from my 4 favourite Boutique Hotels & 2 Luxury Gems, the 6 Coolest Rooftops and Hip Eateries and my What to do in Bangkok off the Beaten Paths.
For all practical information needed to book your trip, head to the Booking Support Section in the end of the post. For tours and incredible experiences, head to GET YOUR GUIDE to plan your days in the Thai capital!
Finally, check below if you need a Visa for your trip! Now, let’s enjoy Bangkok!
An Introduction to Bangkok Hidden Gems
The Thai capital is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the region, and you’ll be in full vacation mode despite the insane amount of people! Wherever you go, you are met by a smile and behind the shabby facades, you will find the coolest bars, restaurants, and clubs. With a massage salon in every corner and an infinity pool on every rooftop, it is also the perfect place to wind down and enjoy some sunbathing among the skyscrapers!
Precisely because of the city’s size, a list of the coolest activities in Bangkok off the beaten paths is endless. You can visit ancient temples, enjoy the wild nightlife and the many rooftops, and much more! There’s something for all types of travellers.
Bangkok off the beaten paths is a city to shop, to get drunk on culture and enjoy the sun while surrounded by the urban jungle! On this travel guide, you will find my favourite spots in town, including my favourite Bangkok hidden gems. For a fantastic trip beyond the crowd and with the best Instagram spots, BOOK THIS AMAZING ONE DAY TOUR!
Traveling – How to Get There?
Bangkok is a major hub in Southeast Asia, so there are direct flights from everywhere, especially major European cities.
Due to the crowded airport, the best advice I can give you is to book a taxi in advance. Depending on traffic, the airport is between 20 and 40 minutes away from downtown.
Living – Where to Stay in Bangkok?
Bangkok is a city without distinct areas. A city that has exploded in size, giving it a messy look and feel. However, I love the vibe here and the fact that you can find a little bit of everything everywhere. My favorite area to stay in is Thonglor. An area representing Bangkok off the beaten paths full of hip and trendy bars and restaurants as well as gorgeous boutique hotels. If you prefer staying closter to the Bangkok attractions I recommend the area around the Lupini park or down by the river.
You can find my full BANGKOK HOTEL REVIEW HERE!
Located in Thonglor, an area beyond the most touristic hoods – a true Bangkok off the beaten paths experience – with many of my favorite bars and restaurants, the Akyra recently went through a metamorphosis: from small business hotel to boutique experience. I have stayed here so many times it almost feels like my second home in Bangkok. For sure, one of my favourite Bangkok hidden gems!
The hotel’s design is simple and well-thought-out, with a mix of contemporary and Asian inspired elements and all rooms are big and spacious with their own kitchenette. With the new owner, the bathrooms have been upgraded and I loved the marble based design.
However, my favorite spot in this hotel is the rooftop with the pool and a big jacuzzi with Bangkok’s skyline in the background. The perfect oasis after a night or day out in bustling Bangkok! Read all about this boutique hotel in my Hotel Review Post.
The Thai capital is full of breathtaking hotels, and I’ve visited a few without staying. Be warned: these aren’t boutique!
Would you like to stay at Akyra? THEN BOOK IT HERE!
A huge hotel that many expats in Bangkok call home, the Oriental Residence is quite a sight to behold. One of the most luxurious places in the Thai capital, this 145-room hotel is designed for longer stays. Although with 145 rooms it is too big to be considered boutique by any standard, the feeling of luxury is completely there. A beauty in pastel hues, its décor is entirely modern with a vintage British feel – which is perfect for its mostly expat residents!
One of the most peaceful places in Bangkok, the Oriental Residence deserves a visit. An oasis in one of the busiest and most chaotic cities in the world, it’s no wonder so many people call the Oriental Residence their home.
Read all about my days at the Oriental Residence on my hotel review!
Would you like to stay at the Oriental Residence? Book it HERE!
Eating & Drinking – Where?
When I visit, I always try to take advantage of the unique views – by eating at the best Bangkok off the beaten paths rooftops! Check out my FULL BANGKOK ROOFTOP & RESTAURANT GUIDE HERE.
If none of these suit your taste you can always have a look at the best rooftop bars in Bangkok. Want to get a truly local experience and learn how to cook delicious Thai food during your search for Bangkok hidden gems? Then you have to book this THAI COOKING CLASS.
1. Vertigo and Moon Bar – The Most Romantic One
Due to its height and design, the Vertigo rooftop is not for the faints of heart! Located above the luxurious Banyan Tree Hotel, this bar and grill towers at a 62nd floor. Its tornedau alone puts it among the best Bangkok restaurants!
Built to resemble a ship, this is a beautiful spot to enjoy the urban scenery with a drink. Sail across the stars and skyscrapers with a loved one in this lovely spot. Did I mention this is the most romantic rooftop I’ve visited?’
2. Above Eleven – The Hip Peruvian One
Among the best Bangkok restaurants (its Peruvian flavors are top notch), this is my favorite rooftop in town. On a 32nd floor, the vibe in Above Eleven is fantastic, with just the right mix of locals and tourists. We had our New Year’s Eve dinner here, among the stars. Party lovers can keep going until early morning downstairs at the Sukhumvit Soi 11, one of the most popular party areas with plenty of bars and nightclubs and a Bangkok off the beaten paths experience.
3. Octave – The Best Sunset Spot
A new favorite atop the Marriott, Octave offers an astounding 360° view of the city. It’s a great place for a drink with the sunset as your background! Fantastic view, lounge-style.
4. The Commons – The Coolest Place in Bangkok
The coolest place in this travel guide and for a Bangkok off the beaten paths experience! A community mall consisting of bars, restaurants and shops, the vibe at The Commons is oozing future. Here you will find the hip and young crowd, all with the same interest and passion for design, ingredients, and sustainability.
My favorite spot here is Roast, on the top floor. A brunch and lunch place with a fantastic and healthy menu. I am partial to their particularly yummy avocado toast, their smoothies, and fantastic omelettes.
Since the restaurant is pretty popular, you might have to wait 15 to 20 minutes for a table, but it’s definitely worth it. Hip hangout with a huge local crowd to really feel the city! Instagramable and a great place for some blogger time!
Exploring – Bangkok off the Beaten Paths
The capital of Thailand is one of the most thrilling cities in the world, and as such, which is why the coolest local activities are so varied. And, as it happens in most large cities, there are multiple faces to this travel guide! There’s something special for every kind of traveler, from professional partygoers to yogis and everything in between.
Experience Bangkok in a way you’ll remember forever with this Bangkok: 4-Hour Bang Krachao Bike Tour!
How to Get Around Bangkok Hidden Gems
You should take into account that, although taxis are super cheap, traffic can be a nightmare. Every travel guide will recommend alternative options to get around like tuk-tuks and motorbikes. Last but not least is the Skytrain, the city’s public transport system. This is an elevated train where you can see Bangkok as you move around, without having to suffer the infamous traffic.
See the Thai capital without the hassle of traffic on this Small Group Guided Tuk Tuk Tour with a Local!
1. Temples & Culture
For mindful and spiritual travellers, the best advice I can give you is to visit to the downtown island of Rattanakosin, often dubbed the Old City. The most important Buddhist temples in the country are here, and a Bangkok visit is not complete without visiting them. The biggest attraction there is Wat Phra Kaew or the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred temple in Thailand. Another impressive sight is Wat Pho, allegedly the largest reclining Buddha statue in the world.
However, my favorite temple is the beauty below – Wat Arun! A true Instagram gem! Read more about it in my 3 DAY IN BANGKOK TRAVEL STORY!
2. Chinatown – A Mix of People, Food and Flavours!
Nearby Rattanakosin island stands the city’s own Chinatown, a popular place for tourists. The stand-outs are the picturesque markets, street food vendors, exotic vendors and the mix of two ancient Asian cultures.
See Chinatown from a local’s perspective with this Chinatown Highlights: Sights & Food Small-Group Guided Tour!
3. Massage & Well-Being
Thai massage, an ancient healing system, is from here, and every travel guide will offer all sorts of recommendations for them. While very crowded, Bangkok offers a lot of great places to invest in your inner well-being, I would recommend to try my favourite place in Thonglor, the Sarinya Thai Salon & Spa! This is not any fancy a luxury place but a saloon where you get true Thai massage with great service and at a great price, a Bangkok off the beaten paths experience.
4. The River
Surrounding Chao Phraya, the biggest river in Thailand, you can find many of the top local activities – particularly for couples! It’s always intoxicating to walk along the river or take a boat, seeing the skyscrapers from a completely different angle. This travel guide has a recommendation for quiet evenings, too: the Ciao Terrazza for a delicious cocktail!
I can strongly recommend booking a 2 HOUR DINNER & SHOW CRUISE for a luxury Bangkok by night experience.
Another Bangkok must? Shopping! The city is really focused on shopping, and there are malls everywhere. Siam is the biggest and most popular one. Meanwhile, Siam Paragon offers a more luxurious experience, and it’s where the international high-end designer stores are mostly located. I for one prefer to go deep into the Siam Center, where you can find both local and international design. Even if you don’t buy anything, there’s inspiration to go around here.
Check out this Bangkok: Ultimate Shopping Experience with Private Driver and visit the shops and malls of your choice!
6. Thonglor – The Hip Area
After a day of heavy tourism and walking around the city, you can escape to Thonglor, the gem of this Bangkok off the beaten paths travel guide. This is a long street with a vibrant social life, where you feel at the center of the local and hip vibe. Here, you can see where the real Thai trends are! Spend your evenings with a drink, surrounded by local young people and a growing amount of Japanese visitors and expats. This is where the Commons, the cool community mall, is located – so don’t forget to visit!
7. The Night Life – Bangkok Off the Beaten Paths
And, of course, there’s that one iconic Bangkok activity (and one of the ultimate activities of Bangkok off the beaten paths) everyone who visits engages in: partying! The Thai capital might just be the party capital of Southeast Asia, or among the top 3. There are plenty of bars, rooftops and nightclubs to feel the celebration energy of the city. Don’t forget to dance until the sun is up! There are many places in the Thonglor area or go to the more crowded party place at the Sukhumvit Soi 11, next to Above Eleven.
Bangkok off the beaten paths is one of a kind, a city with so much to offer and I hope this travel guide helps you! I am sure you will get as swept away as I always do when I visit this cosmopolitan diamond of mine!
For some adventure, book A BANGKOK BY NIGHT TUK-TUK TOUR.
My BKK Vlog: 3 Days in Bangkok!
If you want to see more of Bangkok, have a look at our vlog with 3 days in the capital of Bangkok!
Travel with a Silver Lining Beyond Bangkok Hidden Gems
Bangkok is one of my favorite cities and it almost feels like a second home to me. Want inspiration or support when booking your trip here? Check out my Bangkok Blog Posts below:
- Restaurants & Rooftop Guide: TOP 6 ROOFTOPS IN BANGKOK & SOME OF MY FAVORITE RESTAURANTS
- Boutique & Design Hotel Guide: THE BEST BANGKOK HOTELS
- 3 Day Bangkok Itinerary: 3 FAB DAYS IN BANGKOK
- Bangkok Instagram & Photography Guide: TOP 12 BANGKOK INSTAGRAM SPOTS
Why not combine the big city life with some beach days in Hua Hin? Do not worry, if you know where to stay, eat and do, Hua Hin is full of gems and you will easily avoid the crowds. Find all my Hua Hin tips below!
Booking Support & Input
- Visa. Check if you need Visa for your trip to Thailand as well as apply online HERE @iVisa.com.
- Flight. When you book your trip with MOMONDO, you always find the best rates available on the market. Download their incredible app HERE!
- Transfer. Bangkok can be very intimidating for first-time visitors, which is why I always recommend booking an airport transfer in advance. Here’s an option from Suvarnabhumi airport and another from Don Mueang!
- Hotel. For MORE BANGKOK HOTELS, CLICK HERE.
- Guide. I love to explore cities beyond the crowd and think the HI, HI concept is so cool. HERE YOU CAN BOOK A LOCAL GUIDE FOR A FULLY CUSTOMISED TOUR.
- Tours. Get Your Guide also has lots of great tours and I always use them when traveling. You can book all their tours online HERE. If you want a personalised tour then check out THIS TRULY AFFORDABLE PRIVATE TOUR! See also the full City Guide of Bangkok below!