Bangkok in Thailand is a city with an incredible amount to experience and discover. You need several days just to visit all the classic sights in the sprawling city center. Countless golden temples, rooftop bars with stunning panoramic views and colorful markets provide you with unforgettable memories that will always put a happy smile on your face after your trip. So that you are guaranteed not to get bored in the City of Angels, I would like to introduce you to a few real Bangkok insider tips, namely 5 very exciting and really beautiful places in the vicinity of the capital. I wish you a lot of wanderlust while reading!
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Wat Samphran: the dragon temple of Bangkok
A huge highlight for me is the excursion to the Buddhist Wat Samphran, the dragon temple in Bangkok, which is still relatively unknown to many travelers to Thailand. Visible from afar, Wat Samphran, about 40 kilometers west of the capital in Nakhon Pathom province, towers far above the treetops and above the roofs of the simple dwellings of the locals.
Have you ever seen pictures of the distinctive pink round tower with the scaly body of a dragon winding all the way around it? Despite its increasing popularity on Instagram, the Dragon Temple is still a real Bangkok insider tip and one of the most bizarre temples I have ever visited!
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The head of the mythical creature towers far above the 17th floor, its open mouth pointing towards the horizon. The great feature: In the belly of the dragon you can climb to the very top at a height of almost 80 meters via a spiral tunnel. Several small pagodas and temples await you at the top of Wat Samphran, adorned with small mini dragons in shiny gold and colour. You can glue small pieces of gold leaf to the gnarled tree trunk in the prayer hall, which is supposed to bring good luck.
A beautiful 360-degree view of Nakhon Pathom Province and the other temples in the complex awaits you on the roof of the Dragon Temple!
Incidentally, the dragon temple is not the only very special temple in the complex that has an unusual shape. Right next door is another Buddhist house of worship, this time in the shape of a giant turtle. Here, too, you can enter the sacred entrails of the animal through the wide-open gullet. I’ll admit, it feels a little like Disneyland, but in a pleasantly surprising way.
By the way, only very few tourists come to Wat Samphran. The majority of visitors are actually migrant workers from neighboring Burma who come to pray and make offerings.
My tip: Unfortunately, it is not at all easy to get to the dragon temple by public transport. A private taxi, for example, would be a relatively expensive option. Instead, I would like to recommend the really great excursion from Green Mango Bangkok Tours , which you can book in a small group or as a private tour.
Your guide will tell you so many heartfelt anecdotes, interesting details and funny stories about the places visited during the tour – on your own you would really miss a lot of what gives such a trip depth. You’ll also taste many traditional Thai specialties and treats during the tour that you might never have enjoyed on your own. I can only warmly recommend Green Mango Tours Bangkok, especially if you speak little or no English. All excursions take place entirely in German.
By the way, as part of the tour to the Dragon Temple, you will visit some great places and Bangkok insider tips, be sure to read on!
Bangkok insider tips: Phra Pathom Chedi, the tallest chedi in the world
As already mentioned: If you book the day trip to the Dragon Temple with Green Mango Tours Bangkok, then there is also a stop at the equally spectacular Phra Pathom Chedi, which holds a world record with its impressive 127 meters in height. It’s the tallest Buddhist chedi in the world, at least that’s what Wikipedia says. Other websites rank it as the second tallest stupa in the world. But world record or not, the majestic structure is really absolutely impressive and more than worth a visit.
In the magnificent interior of the temple is also the oldest Buddha statue in Thailand!
The name Phra Pathom Chedi means something like “Holy Chedi of the Beginning” and gives the building, which can be seen from afar and shines magically golden in the sun, a touch more magic. Records of the time of its construction actually date back to the 4th century. Crazy, right?
The temple is one of the most important religious sites in the country, which is why locals frequent Phra Pathom Chedi. I found it really super exciting to watch the believers in their rituals and to be part of the community in these rare moments – also thanks to my great guide!
Ein Smoothie-Stopp in der After the Rain Coffee & Gallery
Although not an official stop on Green Mango Tours excursions, After the Rain Coffee & Gallery is very close to the Dragon Temple. And because it is both an insider tip and a bit of hype on Instagram, I would like to briefly introduce it here.
The location is very unusual and really picturesque right on a network of narrow rivers in the middle of a coconut plantation, on which you can ride small boats. The tables are also right on the water, which makes for a great, tropical atmosphere. Swings and various platforms provide a beautiful setting for souvenir photos. The mango-passion fruit smoothie is very, very tasty!
The only point of criticism: all drinks are served in disposable plastic containers, which unfortunately causes a huge mountain of garbage. It really shouldn’t be. At least not if you slurp your smoothie etc. directly on site.
Bangkok insider tips: the river market Don Wai Floating Market
The Don Wai Floating Market is still so unknown to tourists that I hardly met anyone else during my visit. But it was still full on this sunny Sunday at the lively market, because apparently there is nothing better for the residents of Bangkok at the weekend than to drive out into the more rural areas and really celebrate the topic of food. And where could that be better than at a traditional market, where all delicacies that the fields, the land, the rivers and the seas have to offer, in every imaginable way of preparation, are presented in an exuberant abundance!?
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After strolling along the colorful market stalls, the excursion boat is already waiting for you. In the midst of loudly chattering Thai families, who have stocked up on deliciously fragrant food for the approximately one-hour tour on the Tha Chin River, you can enjoy the lovely river landscape that slowly passes you by.
Traditional houses on stilts, fields full of water spinach and temples with shiny golden roofs – sit back, relax and absorb the unique atmosphere by the river!
Before you go back to Bangkok, you should definitely feast on one – or more – of the delicious dishes in one of the restaurants right on the river. Since very few tourists stray here to the Don Wai Floating Market, you can enjoy truly authentically prepared food that has not been specially modified for the tourist palate. So be a bit careful when you’re asked what level of spiciness you want your order to be.
Discover the insider tips of Bangkok with Green Mango Tours
Except for the café After the Rain Coffee & Gallery, all the places I have described so far – i.e. the dragon temple Wat Samphran, the Phra Pathom Chedi and also the Don Wai Floating Market – are part of the day tour “Excursion to the Dragon Temple & Co” by Green Mango Tours. Taking a taxi to the individual stations on your own would be really tedious and, as already mentioned at the beginning, you simply wouldn’t get to know many exciting stories and anecdotes about the different places, which would be a total shame, wouldn’t it?
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But now I have another place for you that is still absolutely unknown to Thailand travelers and that you can visit as part of the Green Mango Tour Adventure Maeklong Train Market . We are talking about the swimming monkeys of Samut Songkhram and a boat tour to a scenically very special oyster and cockle farm.
Samut Songkhram: swimming monkeys & surreal landscapes
In a small, magically colorful village in the province of Samut Songkhram, you board a rattling boat that invites you on an entertaining ride through the region’s dense mangrove forests. Also on board is a bag full of corn on the cob, because the attraction today is the many monkeys that live here in the mangroves right by the water.
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At the beginning of the trip, the animals are still sitting on the edge of the narrow canals and eye our boat curiously. However, that changes abruptly when our captain begins to throw the corn cobs onto the shore and into the water. It’s hard to believe, but some of the monkeys actually jump into the brown water without hesitation and even swim to our boat to personally receive the treats. Absolutely crazy!
After the monkey spectacle, a somewhat quieter boat trip is on the program, namely through the surreally beautiful landscape of a huge oyster and cockle farm!
Here in this special place, the fresh water of the river mixes with the salt water of the Gulf of Thailand, providing the perfect conditions for oyster and cockle farming. The seemingly endless expanse of the landscape is broken only by the traditional houses on stilts, in which the farmers sometimes even spend the night.
A real highlight is the incredibly delicious food that is served to you in just such a house on stilts. Freshly caught fish prepared on-site, chicken and seafood fried rice, crunchy salad and sweet ripe fruit for dessert – it really couldn’t end more perfectly!
Note: I cheekily withheld the first part of this great Green Mango Bangkok day trip to the famous Maeklong Railway Market from you, because it is really no longer an insider tip and therefore does not fit into this article. Nevertheless, perhaps the craziest market in all of Thailand is of course a very cool experience, which you can read more about in my article about the most beautiful Bangkok sights!
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My hotel recommendation for Bangkok
For your city trip to Bangkok, I can recommend two very different locations for restful nights. The absolute hit is the Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse with perhaps the most beautiful sky pool in the entire city (the pool at the 137 Pillars Suites & Residences is even more spectacular, but unfortunately they are super expensive). The huge breakfast buffet here is also amazing, where you can get everything your gourmet heart could desire for a successful start to the day, from mango sticky rice to fresh coconuts and Belgian waffles.
If the Marriott is too expensive for you and you are more looking for a hostel, then I can warmly recommend the small Happy Station Hostel BKK . The central location right next to the old main train station Hua Lamphong and the metro is unbeatable. Chinatown, the hip district of Talat Noi and the beautiful Wallflowers Café are just a few minutes’ walk away. By the way, the Happy Station Hostel is known for its super comfortable beds, which I can confirm without batting an eyelid!
Well, how do you find my Bangkok insider tips away from the well-known sights? Would one or the other excursion destination be something for you or do you perhaps already know some of the places? Is the Dragon Temple also on your bucket list? I would be very happy if you share your thoughts with me in the form of a comment here on my travel blog!