How to Visit Bangkok Like a Local

Thailand’s capital is well-known as an exotic and exciting destination. Its infamous nightlife, pittoresque landmarks and exhilarating lifestyle has given Bangkok this reputation. This large and diverse city has something to offer to anyone that gives it a chance. However, by being such a popular destination, visiting can get overwhelming if you get caught in all the tourist attractions. Easily accessible via Chiang Mai by bus, here is how to visit Bangkok like a local.

Traffic at night, Bangkok – Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash

Eat like a local

No matter where you turn your head while walking in Bangkok, you’ll be tempted with something delicious from a street food vendor. Even though eating street food might be intimidating at first, it’s also the best way to get in touch with the local culture. Make sure to visit Chinatown, Bang Rak area and the old city (Rattanakosin) to go on a full-on foodie adventure.

In these hot spots, you’ll be able to eat Thailand’s most popular dishes such as: the classic Pad Thai, Som Tam (papaya salad), Tom Yum Goong (Sour shrimp soup) or Pad Ka Prao (Chicken stir-fry with Holy Basil).

Want to try the world’s smelliest fruit? Head over to Or Kor Tor, Bangkok’s freshest market, where you’ll find fresh and quality pre-peeled durians to eat on the spot. Make sure to grab a pair of plastic gloves if you don’t want your hands to smell like Durian for a week!

But if you really want to feel like a local, you have to try eating fried insects! The most popular ones amongst Thais are grasshoppers, water bugs, crickets, silk and bamboo worms. For the mosst local experience, go to Talad Rod Fai market and mingle your way through the crowd to get your Thai snacks!

Thai man pushing food cart in Bangkok – Photo by Evan Krause on Unsplash

Get around like a local

If Bangkok is known worldwide for its street food, it’s also renowned for constant traffic jams in its gridlocked roads. If you plan on using traditional means of transportation such as the colorful tuk-tuks or regular taxis, you’ll most probably be in for a very long ride!

With their drivers scattered everywhere around the city, one popular means of transportation amongst locals is motorbike taxis. They’re definitely one of the cheapest and fastest ways to get around the Thai capital and you can easily spot them as their drivers all wear bright orange vests. Unfortunately, this isn’t the safest way as most of the drivers don’t carry a spare helmet for their passengers.

Motorbike taxi driver in Bangkok – Photo by Transformer 18 on Flickr

If you simply want to avoid Bangkok’s chaotic traffic and the heat altogether, the air-conditioned BTS Skytrain is one of the most convenient ways to get quickly from point A to point B without breaking a sweat!

If motorbike taxis and Skytrains aren’t your cup of tea, you can hop on the Chaophraya Express boats near the river and make your way through the city! Make sure to grab the orange-flagged boat (local boat) which is cheaper and will stop at most popular piers.

A monk at Bangkok’s old train station – Photo by Ryan Tang on Unsplash

Visit like a local

Being one of the most visited cities in the world, Bangkok has many popular attractions that can get quickly overcrowded by tourists. Whether it’s the famous Khao San Road, the reclining Buddha Temple (Wat Pho Temple) or the Chatuchak weekend market, you’ll quickly find yourself bumping into another tourist, eager to quickly grab a picture of the attraction. If you’re looking for a more local experience, keep reading for a few spots that have a calmer and more authentic vibe.

Wat Suthat Temple

Worth visiting at night because of its shimmering pagodas, this royal temple is one of the oldest and biggest in Bangkok. Wat Suthat is impressive not only because of its architecture but also because it houses an 8-meter golden Buddha statue. It’s also located right in front of one of the city’s most famous landmarks, the Giant Swing.

Wat Suthat Temple at twilight, Bangkok

JJ Green Night Market

Located almost directly next to the popular Chatuchak Market, you’ll find the JJ Green night Market. It offers almost the exact same goods, though on a smaller scale and with fewer tourists than its neighbor. Locals prefer JJ night market because as the sun goes down, the many bars and restaurants come to life with live Thai bands. Whether it is the local handicrafts, the delicious Thai cuisine or the live music, this market is sure to please.

Klong Lat Mayom Floating market

Located only 20 minutes outside of the city, Klong Lat Mayom is the only market without the tourist crowd and is bursting with mouthwatering hawker food and locally grown produce.  Make sure to jump aboard a longtail boat for a tour of the waterways that pass through floating gardens, a large coconut plantation and a lake blooming with pink lotus flowers.

Klong Lat Mayom Floating Market, Bangkok

If you’re interested in visiting another one of Thailand’s most popular destination, make sure to visit Krabi which is just a bus away. Busbud has expanded to Southeast Asia and offers many routes in the region!


This post was written by Felicia Cote-Floyd, full-timer traveler and freelancer currently in Bangkok! Check out Felicia’s adventures and follow her on Instagram.