Want the best places to visit near Bangkok?
Whether its waterfalls, markets, islands or ancient temples you’ll be surprised that these destinations are not too far from Bangkok.
The following places to visit near Bangkok are within about two to three hours from the city (one way) except for Koh Chang which is a little further.
You have to add a few of these destinations to your itinerary if you are traveling around Thailand.
Maeklong Railway Market
The Maeklong Railway Market is one of the most unique places to visit near Bangkok. Imagine a busy market sprawled all over the train tracks. Suddenly a train sounds its horn and the market literally folds up in front of you within seconds. After the train passes, it becomes a market again.
The best thing is that this market is open every day, with long opening hours. The Maeklong Railway Market is located in the neighboring province of Samut Songkhram. You can get there easily with a minivan, or take the more adventurous route by train.
See here for more details on the Maeklong Railway Market Opening Hours and what to buy there.
Amphawa Floating Market
Samut Songkhram’s Amphawa Floating Market is the largest floating market near Bangkok. It is also located close by the Maeklong Railway Market and makes for a great addition to your day trip.
Bangkok is built around the water, therefore, floating markets have become one of the iconic attractions to visit. Expect to see vendors selling all sorts of goods from small wooden boats such as; noodles, barbecued seafood, pad thai, souvenirs, fresh fruits, and much more.
The Amphawa Floating Market is only open on weekends. It is generally fairly busy with Thai tourists many of whom are visiting from Bangkok. Expect a busy, crowded, but fun market atmosphere.
You can find other floating markets in Bangkok in my huge city guide. Be sure to check it out.
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.
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.
Erawan Falls National Park
This is one of the best places to visit near Bangkok for a nature escape. In fact, this is my favorite waterfall near Bangkok. The Erawan Falls are located in the Erawan National Park in Kanchanaburi, and are one of Thailand’s five must see waterfalls.
The freshwater stream is flowing with water all year round, however, is best just around the beginning and the end of the rainy season. During the middle of the rainy season, the park has been known to close due to torrential rain making it unsafe. In the dry season, the stream still flows but nowhere near as strong.
The Erawan Falls can be done as a long one day trip from Bangkok. Find out how to get from Bangkok to Erawan National Park. With many other attractions around Kanchanaburi such as the Bridge Over the River Kwai and the Saiyok Raft Houses, it is also good to do this as a two day one night trip from Bangkok.
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.
Wang Takhrai Waterfall
Wang Takhrai Waterfall is another great waterfall near Bangkok. This waterfall is located in the nearby province of Nakhon Nayok. It is just 2 hours away from Bangkok, but hardly known to western tourists.
The Wang Takhrai Waterfall is actually a series of freshwater rapids flowing through a leafy 600-acre forest. The water is deep enough for a refreshing swim. You can also hire an inflatable tube at the national park for the day. It’ll be a bit like tubing in Vang Vieng but way more relaxed.
There are campsites and bungalows in the national park. This is a great way to have a quiet weekend away from Bangkok. Getting to Wang Takhrai Waterfall is best achieved with your own private transport. Hire a car for the day from Bangkok to make the 1.5 hours drive each way.
Koh Chang Island
Not all islands are in Thailand’s far south. The island of Koh Chang is located just a few hours from Bangkok off the coast of Trat Province. Koh Chang is definitely one of the best places to visit near Bangkok if you are looking for an easy island escape.
Koh Chang offers loads of outdoor activities such as hiking to a waterfall, snorkeling and scuba diving or just relaxing on the beach. To extend the adventure try island hopping from Koh Chang to discover the smaller islands of Koh Wai and Koh Mak. At night head over to Lonely Beach for the island party action.
Koh Chang offers a huge range of accommodation options from budget to high end all year round. For some decent mid-range accommodation near the beach and the party action check out Nature Beach Resort.
Koh Samae San
Koh Samae San is one of my favorite islands to visit near Bangkok. It is located just 1.5km off the coast of Rayong, accessed via a short ferry trip. The island is administered by the Thai Navy and has rules similar to a Thai National Park. There are no hotels or resorts on the island, but some amazing white sandy beaches, good snorkeling spots, and great clear water for swimming.
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.
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 for really cheap. 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.
The islands near Bangkok mentioned are on the east coast heading towards Rayong and Trat. Travel in the opposite direction, taking the highway towards the south of Thailand and you will reach Hua Hin. You will find nice long beaches and great food markets in Hua Hin. There is a huge range of boutique hotels and lots of larger luxury hotels such as the Anantara Resort.
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.
Explore Bangkok like a local.
Over 50 destinations in and around town.
(including local secrets)
One HUGE guide!