What are the best places to visit near Bangkok?
A quick escape from Bangkok’s busy streets and sprawling centre might seem tough, but think again. You’ll be surprised by how many great places you can visit near Bangkok, and visit easily.
Shower under a waterfall. Sunbake on an island. Wander through a buzzing market. There is an adventure here for you.
The following places near Bangkok are within 3 hours (one-way) of the city. Some destinations are best visited with two or more days, I’ll let you know which ones.
|Hassle-Free Destination Tours||Duration|
|Maeklong Railway Market||Half-Day|
|Amphawa Floating Market||Full-Day|
|Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market||Half-Day|
|Koh Kret Pottery Village||Half-Day|
Markets Near Bangkok
Think markets are just for shopping? You’re wrong! Thais visit markets to explore, socialize, eat and drink. The most important part is actually eating, so there is lots of food around.
There are loads of markets around Bangkok; floating markets, train markets, night markets… the opportunities are endless. Here are some of my favourites.
1. Maeklong Railway Market
The Maeklong Railway Market is one of the most unique places to visit near Bangkok. It is located Samut Songkhram, about 1.5 hours west of Bangkok.
You will find a busy market sprawled across a train line where trains actually arrive every hour! Crazy right? You have to see it to believe it. Vendors mostly sell fruit, vegetables, and seafood and aren’t pushy like at touristy markets in Bangkok so you get a nice authentic vibe.
The market runs 7 days a week (check opening hours here) so it is super easy to visit any time.
2. Amphawa Floating Market
The Amphawa Floating Market in Samut Songkhram, and is the largest floating market near Bangkok. It is located just down the road from the Maeklong Railway Market, easily combined into a great one day trip from Bangkok.
Years ago Bangkok was built around canals. Over time many canals were filled in but some floating markets survived, most on the outskirts of Bangkok. Nowadays you will find lots of small boats selling everything from Pad Thai to grilled seafood, souvenirs, fresh fruits and more.
The Amphawa Floating Market is open on weekends. It is usually quite busy with Thais visiting from Bangkok. Expect a crowded, but lively market.
3. Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market
The Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market is located in Taling Chang, in the north of Bangkok. It takes about an hour to get here from the city center.
There is more food and far fewer people here, so this is my No.1 floating market near Bangkok. Attention all foodies!
Start with lunch sitting by the canal slurping down a bowl of “Boat Noodles” like a local. This is a dish of rice noodles in pig’s blood soup. Trust me, it tastes better than it sounds.
Walk around the canals to work off lunch, then jump on a longtail boat to tour around Taling Chan. Longtail boat trips run for about half an hour and are a great way to see the local way of life.
How to get there (solo) – take the BTS Skytrain to Bang Wa station, then hop in a taxi to the market for about 150 THB (USD5).
How to get there (guided) – try going with this local guide for under $50 including transport and the boat tour. You’ll spend at least 4 hours exploring the market and canals so you’re definitely not being rushed around!
Waterfalls Near Bangkok
I really love waterfalls, you cannot say you’ve seen Thailand’s nature without visiting one. There are some great waterfalls near Bangkok for you to explore too! Wander through the forest, and shower under a waterfall nature’s way, it’s an amazing experience.
4. Erawan Falls National Park
Erawan Falls are one of my favorite places to visit near Bangkok for a nature escape. I’ve visited the Erawan Falls more than ten times and listed them as one of the five must-see waterfalls in Thailand. Do you agree?
Water flows all year but it’s best to visit during the wet season (April to October). The park can close during very heavy rain due to safety concerns. Throughout the dry season, the pools have water but the stream can be just a trickle.
You can visit as a long day trip from Bangkok, but there are so many other attractions in Kanchanaburi that it’s worth staying a few nights. Check out my detailed guide to Kanchanaburi for plenty more destinations nearby.
How to get there – minivans depart Mochit Bus Terminal (tickets and timetable). Tickets start at 220 THB (USD 7) per person. This direct trip takes about 3hrs one way.
5. Wang Takhrai Waterfall
Wang Takhrai is another great waterfall near Bangkok located in Nakhon Nayok Province. Unlike the Erawan Falls, Wang Takhrai Waterall is hardly known to westerners.
This isn’t a tall waterfall, but a series of rapids flowing through the forest. The water is deep enough to swim in all year round. You can also hire inflatable tubes in the park and cruise down the river. It’s similar to tubing in Vang Vieng but without the parties and tourists.
Want to stay overnight? Ask about campsites, tents, and bungalows at the national park headquarters. It’s the perfect nature escape from Bangkok.
How to get there – you will need private transport to get to Wang Takhrai Waterfall. Hire a car in Bangkok or charter a taxi for the day. The trip takes about 2hrs one way.
6. Haew Suwat Waterfall (Khao Yai National Park)
Haew Suwat is a huge waterfall located in Khao Yai National Park, one of the closest national parks to Bangkok. This waterfall was one of the filming locations for the movie The Beach.
It is best to visit Haew Suwat Waterfall as part of a bigger trip to Khao Yai National Park. There are lots of jungle hiking trails in Khao Yai NP which are amazing to explore. The national park is also home to animals like elephants, bears, leopards, deer, otters, and gibbons.
Want to stay overnight? Try camping in Khao Yai National Park and go for a morning swim under the waterfall. There are also lots of guesthouses in Pak Chong near the park’s northern entrance.
How to get there – join a small group tour from Bangkok, the drivers will know about Haew Suwat Waterfall.
Islands Near Bangkok
So you think that all the Thai islands are located far away in the south? Well, I’m about to blow your mind. Koh Phangan, Phuket, and Koh Lanta are not the only Thai islands! There are actually lots of amazing islands near Bangkok which you need to know about too!
I’ve only included three islands here; Koh Chang, Koh Samae San, and Koh Larn. If you head a little further east from Koh Chang you can also visit Koh Mak and Koh Kood (which is probably my favorite Thai island).
7. Koh Chang Island
Koh Chang is an amazing tropical island located just a few hours from Bangkok off the coast of Trat. That’s the last province as you head east to Cambodia. Note: it is best to visit Koh Chang if you have at least 3 days available.
Koh Chang has loads of outdoor activities such as hiking trails, waterfalls, snorkeling, scuba diving, incredible mountain lookouts, or just relaxing on the beach. You can even go island hopping to beautiful places like Koh Wai, Koh Mak, and Koh Kood. There’s plenty of boats which depart from the southern end of the island at Bang Bao Pier.
Looking for a party vibe? Make sure you visit Lonely Beach where you will find Reggae Bars, beach parties, cheap hostels, and lots of restaurants.
How to get there – the minivan departs Ekkamai Bus Terminal (tickets and timetable). Tickets start at 450 THB (USD 9) per person which includes the Tuk Tuk transfer to the pier and the ferry ticket. This trip takes about 7.5 hrs one way.
8. Koh Samae San
Koh Samae San is one of my favorite islands near Bangkok for a quick day trip. It is located just 1.5km off the coast of Rayong which is reached by a short ferry trip. The island is managed by the Thai Navy so National Park rules apply; entry fees, no drinking alcohol, no littering, etc…
There are no hotels or resorts on Koh Samae San, so you won’t be able to stay here overnight. There are, however, some amazing white sandy beaches, great snorkelling spots, and perfectly clear water for swimming.
How to get there (solo) – take a bus or van from Ekkamai bus station to Pattaya Central, then catch a taxi to Koh Samae San pier.
9. Koh Larn
Koh Larn is located just off the coast of Pattaya, about 2hrs drive from Bangkok. It is pretty much the closest island to Bangkok worth visiting (apart from those in the Chao Praya River). Check out Tawaen Beach on the north coast, and Tien Beach on the west coast. If you want to spend a night on Koh Larn, your best option is the east coast, where you will find lots of budget and boutique hotels.
How to get there – minivans depart Mochit Bus Terminal (tickets and timetable). Tickets start at 190 THB (USD 6) per person. This trip takes about 2hrs one way. You need to take a songtaew from the minivan station to Pattaya South Wharf, then hop on the ferry to Koh Larn. The ferry to Koh Larn costs 30 THB per person and takes about 30 minutes.
10. Koh Kret
This is one of the closest islands near Bangkok, but it’s not what you expect. Koh Kret is actually a man-made island in The Chao Praya River.
The island is inhabited by people of the Mon ethnicity, similar to those you’ll find in Sangkhlaburi. There is a traditional pottery village where you can buy some authentic handmade crafts really cheap. The village is mixed in with community small farms and some nature along the water. It really feels like a throwback to an early day Bangkok.
After exploring the island be sure to drop into the local microbrewery for some of the best beers around Bangkok. You will find this, and loads of other local things to do in Bangkok in my huge city guide.
How to get there – catch the Chao Praya Express from Saphan Taksin Pier to Nonthaburi Pier, then get a taxi to Koh Kret Pier. The journey takes about 1hr one way.
Other Cities Near Bangkok
There are a few cities near Bangkok in the surrounding provinces which I suggest visiting. Each has its own vibe, and you will quickly realize that Bangkok is not home to everyone in Thailand.
11. Ayutthaya – Ancient City
A trip to Thailand would not be complete without visiting the Ayutthaya Historical Park. This is one of the main historical places to visit near Bangkok. Ayutthaya was founded in 1350 and later become the ancient capital city of Thailand (then known as Siam). By the year 1700 is was apparently the largest city in the world.
There are countless temples all around Ayutthaya, which are open every day. The most iconic temples to visit include; Wat Ratchaburana, Wat Phra Matathat, Wat Phra Si Sanphet. if you love the temples in Ayutthaya, then you must check out these 12 temples in Bangkok too!
Getting to Ayutthaya is easy by train, minivan or bus and takes about 1 to 1.5hrs each way. With trains being as slow as they are in Thailand the minivan is the quicker option. It is also possible to get to Ayutthaya by boat however it takes much longer and needs to be organized in advance as a tour.
How to get there – minivans depart Mochit Bus Terminal (tickets and timetable). Tickets start at 90 THB (USD 3) per person. This direct trip takes about 2hrs one way.
12. Kanchanaburi – Death Railway
Kanchanaburi has the most World War 2 History you will find near Bangkok and in all of Thailand. Prisoners of War captured by the Japanese were forced into slave labor to build what is now known as the Death Railway. It consists of a number of sites including the Bridge Over the River Kwai, Hellfire Pass, and other sections of track.
The best starting place to visit these sites is Kanchanaburi, but also possible in a one day trip from Bangkok.
How to get there – minivans depart Mochit Bus Terminal (tickets and timetable). Tickets start at 150 THB (USD 5) per person. This direct trip takes about 3hrs one way.
13. Hua Hin – Beaches
Hua Hin is located southwest of Bangkok along the highway which heads towards the islands in Surat Thani. You will find long sandy beaches and lots of great local food here. The beaches in Hua Hin are regarded as some of the best in Southeast Asia for windsurfing, so whether you’re a pro or just want to get started, then you better make a trip here.
Hua Hin is more developed than the smaller islands in southern and eastern Thailand. Expect to find lots of large hotels along the beach, and smaller hostels a few streets back in town.
How to get there – buses and minivans depart regularly from Ekkamai Bus Station and take about 3hrs for a one-way trip. Alternatively, trains depart from Hua Lampong and take about 4hrs for a one-way trip.
14. Rayong – Thung Prong Thong Mangrove Forest
A mangrove forest might not be top on your list of places to visit near Bangkok, however, this one is worth it. The golden Thung Prong Thong Mangrove forest covers a massive 2,400 acres along the coast of Rayong province.
Explore the coastal biodiversity along the extensive stretch of elevated wooden boardwalks. While the most popular sight is the sprawling golden mangrove forest, expect to see animals including crabs and rare wetland birds. To explore further into the wetland you can also hop on board a 20-minute longtail boat ride near the entrance of the park.
How to get there – you will need your own private transport to get to Thung Prong Thong. I suggest hiring a car in Bangkok for the day.
Planning a trip to Bangkok
If you’re using Bangkok as a base to explore the region, then I highly recommend staying at the Ibis Styles Hotel in Phrakanong. At under $50 per night, it’s an awesome deal. We stay there every time we’re back in Bangkok.
When planning your trip be sure to check the best time to visit Bangkok. This article runs you through all the months of the year explaining the rainy season, the dry season, the peak tourist season, and major Thai festivals.
For a quick stint in the city, be sure to check out my article on the top 11 things to do in Bangkok. You will love the rooftop bars and markets I’ve included, it’s a great crash course.