Bangkok, Thailand’s bustling capital, offers plenty to every traveler. But if you’ve already seen the top sights, snapped all those cool Instagram spots and want to take a break from city life, there are plenty of fascinating places to visit on the city’s outskirts. Here’s our curated list of the absolute best day trips from Bangkok!
If there’s one-day trip from Bangkok you must do, it’s a visit to Ayutthaya, a sprawling historic park filled with ancient ruins dating back to the 14th century. Ayutthaya was the second capital of Siam before the Burmese burned it in 1767. While the fire destroyed all the wooden palaces, many old brick and stone buildings and temples still stand. And so Ayutthaya is one of the fascinating places in Thailand and a World Heritage Site. Ayutthaya Historical Park is home to nine famous temples, and while you won’t have enough time to see them all on a day trip, there are a few you can’t miss.
One of the most notable is Wat Phra Mahathat, which features a Buddha face trapped in an old banyan tree. Other places worth seeing are Wat Ratchaburana, Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Wat Chaiwatthanaram. Ayutthaya is about 1-hour drive from Bangkok City. The easiest is to hire a private driver for the day or join a historical tour of the temple. Alternatively, you can take the 2-hour train ride from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong train station to get there.
Just know that the vast park and the temples are pretty spread out. There are plenty of rental bikes, and its fun to explore the park at your own pace.
The Erawan Museum, not to be confused with the Erawan Falls, is one of the most accessible day trips from Bangkok. Located about an hour south of the capital in Samut Prakan, the Erawan Museum is best known for its massive three-headed elephant sculpture sitting atop an ornate pink temple. While the temple is impressive from the outside, what’s inside its walls makes it a must-see. Inside the temple, you will find beautifully decorated staircases with dragon motifs, mythical statues and an impressive stained glass ceiling depicting earth, fire, wind and water. Take the elevator to the elephant’s body, where you’ll find a blue worship hall lined with Buddha statues. And below the temple is an exciting exhibition of ancient artifacts and porcelain.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
No trip to Bangkok would be complete without a visit to the fantastic floating markets. And Damnoen Saduak is among the most famous, making it a must-visit Bangkok day trip. Located about 1.5 hours southwest of town, Damnoen Saduak is a thriving hive of sights and sounds. When you visit this place, you will navigate an intricate maze of canals in a traditional long-tail boat.
Dozens of stalls along the canal sell everything from souvenirs and clothing to handicrafts. The main area also has a wide range of local Thai food, such as sticky mango rice, pad thai and coconut ice cream. Best of all, you don’t even have to get off the boat to eat!
A fantastic destination for an unforgettable day trip from Bangkok is the small town of Lopburi, also known as the City of Monkeys. This place can be easily reached by train, private taxi or, more conveniently, with a guided tour directly from Bangkok. Lopburi is known for the Prang Sam Yod Temple, home to thousands of monkeys. During a guided tour, you will discover numerous playful monkeys that are up to mischief around the temple. Many tourists feed the macaques, but this is different. It is highly recommended.
During your visit, you should also hide all your valuables well. Even glasses can be interesting for monkeys.
Many visitors visit Kanchanaburi to see WWII sites such as Hellfire Pass, the Commonwealth Cemetery and the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai. The train line from Thonburi Station in Bangkok to the present-day end of the “Railway of Death” that once ran through Burma, now Myanmar. Full-day tours from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi visit the bridge. Several museums here also offer immense detail about the railroad, which forced laborers and Allied POWs to build. There are also several national parks near Kanchanaburi, and it’s easy to visit Erawan National Park on a day trip to Kanchanaburi, where you can chase waterfalls, explore caves, and soak in gorgeous turquoise pools.
Well, that’s all from me. I hope you enjoyed reading about the best places to visit near Bangkok! If you’ve missed any must-visit attractions outside Bangkok City, let me know in the comments below so that I can add them to my Bangkok excursions bucket list!