Let’s be honest… Aren’t you out of ideas for things to do in Bangkok (especially if this isn’t your first time in the city)? In fact, at this point, you’ve probably completed the shopping, eating and temple and mall-hopping part of the trip.
Thankfully, Bangkok has changed so much over these past few years that its neighbouring provinces have become fun must-see destinations – including Nonthaburi.
Originally a residential area for Bangkokians, Nonthaburi has now become a hidden traveller’s spot with so many interesting places.
Here, you’ll find:
– A huge night market with a variety of items sold at affordable prices
– A garden with giant lily pads you can stand on
– Restaurants with Royal Thai cuisines
– And more!!
It’s approximately 1 hour via boat from downtown Bangkok (30 baht round-trip boat fare per person), so stop by and enjoy these 17 things to do at Nonthaburi!
Due to its proximity to Bangkok, Nonthaburi is accessible via the Chao Phraya River Express Boat, MRT (purple line) and car (taxi or Grab).
For the ultimate Nonthaburi experience, we recommend taking the boat to Nonthaburi to enjoy the sights along the Chao Phraya River. Otherwise, take a taxi or Grab to conveniently travel within the city.
Note that the boat last operates at around 7 to 8pm, so take the MRT, taxi or Grab to return to your hotel (if you’re leaving after this time).
1. Sit on giant lily pads – Victoria Water Lily Garden
“What? Are you serious?!” Yep, and no magic is involved. Just the power of nature. 🙂
What I love about this place is that soooo many lily pads cover the pond; it’s even hard to see the water! Better yet, you can take a picture on top of a lily pad, among the many lily pads (it looks great on photos)!
Don’t worry about falling though because the garden caretaker will choose the right lily pad for you (so don’t lie about your weight!!).
Scared? No worries. You can still enter the garden just to have a look or take a picture by the pond.
Note: Only those under 60 kilograms can sit or stand on the lily pad.
Restaurants with water lily views
Can’t get enough of water lilies? Have your lunch or dinner surrounded by them (they make a great view too!).
2. It’s water lilies everywhere! – Thammachadocha
If you’re looking for a “slow” meal, look no further than Thammachadocha. What’s great about this place is that it’s quite big, with majority of the space taken up by the lily pond. So eating here feels relaxing as you can eat while enjoying the view of the lily pads floating here and there.
You can even sit on the edge of the floor and dangle your legs (just like the locals do)!
The food is great too, serving Thai favourites like Hor Mok (in a coconut) to Crab Curry. However, the menu is all in Thai so it’s best to come with a local, ask for food recommendation from the staff or rely on the pictures to order food.
3. Eat Tom Yum Noodles Soup in giant bamboo bowls – Nalintara Food & Drink
Ask me what Thai food I miss the most when I’m overseas and I’ll answer Tom Yum. Why? Because the spicy and sour flavours complement each other so well. Add noodles and seafood in the broth and you have a winner. 😀
So imagine my delight when I found this restaurant – a place where I can eat delicious Tom Yum Noodle Soup (in a cute bamboo container) at a scenic location with water lilies. You can even sit on one of the gazebos by the pond and relax on a catamaran net too!
Mann… Now I want to go back… >.<
Royal Thai Cuisine Restaurants
Question: Is regular Thai cuisine different from Royal Thai cuisine?
If you’re curious about how different they can be, visit these two restaurants at Nonthaburi!
4. Dine on authentic Thai cuisine just like a royalty – Dhabkwan (ทับขวัญ)
“It’s so Thai…” is what you’ll say once you arrive here. At this point, I’m not just talking about the food. I’m also talking about the wooden Thai houses, lily pad pond and greenery which creates this Thai village-like atmosphere. In fact, dining here felt like I was in Ayutthaya!
Just like other Thai restaurants, you’ll find your favourite Thai dishes here albeit cooked the royal way.
My favourite dish? Hor Mok (if you haven’t noticed, it’s one of my favourite dishes). It’s even served in a round earthenware with eight bowl-like holes (with individual bowl covers), making it feel very authentic.
5. Eat Royal Thai cuisine and go on a cultural tour? I’m in! – Suan Thip
Did you know Nonthaburi has a restaurant listed in Thailand’s Michelin guide (it received one star). Surprisingly, it’s a riverside Thai restaurant at Ko Kret.
All the dishes served are inspired by Thai Royal recipes, which has contributed to its superior and unique taste and delicate appearance.
Moreover, the restaurant’s tranquil vibes lets you fully enjoy the food – whether it’s using your sight or taste senses – making it a relaxing and fun dining affair.
PS: Suan Thip also offers cultural tours including cooking class, river tour and Thai flower-making class.
6. It’s the 3 S’s: Splash, Smile and Squeeeal!! – Fantasia Lagoon
Can’t stand Nonthaburi’s heat? Go for a swim at this family-friendly waterpark located above The Mall Ngamwongwan.
From the lazy river to waterslides, have a blast as you cool down. Rent a raft or float rings (for 20 baht) if you want a “lazier” swim. 😉
The place is all cute and colourful too! Remember to get food from the park or from the mall (you’re allowed to bring food from the mall inside the park).
Note: Wearing a swimming cap is mandatory.
7. Eat and shop ‘til you drop – The Owl Market
We bet you haven’t heard of this market yet.
Food hunters, lo and behold! Whether you have a sweet tooth or enjoy savoury dishes, get ready to stuff your tummies with everything!
From lava-filled soft bread (in flavours like Strawberry Pocky and Thai Tea) to Thai favourites, such as giant meatballs and Khanom Chin. All you need to do is head over to the ‘Food Square’, where many of the food stalls are located.
Don’t forget to get some cute clothes, and one or two toys for your lil’ ones, before you leave the market too! Better yet, treat yourself to a few pairs of sturdy (but cheap) shoes and a bag full of accessories (earrings, phone cases, etc) before calling it a day.
And if you happen to be around during one of the festive days, stick around to catch their special event.
8. Lights, camera, and action! – Chomchei The Memory Gallery (ชมเฌย)
I might not like posing for pictures, but coming here made me immediately want to pose for one (the place is that Instagrammable!).
This place is designed like a miniature city from the late 1900s, with structures like telephone box and old-style cinemas adorning the place. In fact, many Thai production companies shoot their period movies here.
So remember to wear your best clothes and bring your camera (or phone) to take great shots!
Too hot? Get refreshments at the coffee shop.
Note: Remember to call beforehand to ensure there’s no shoot on that day or you’ll be denied entrance.
9. Meet Bangkok’s (man-made) pottery island – Ko Kret
Nope, I’m not talking about reclaiming land from the sea (aka land reclamation). What I meant was that a canal was artificially made across the land hundreds of years ago, creating a man-made island now known as Ko Kret.
But because of this, Ko Kret now feels like a different place altogether – very peaceful with its own cultural identity.
The island is best known for its pottery, so visit the different stores if you enjoy seeing Thai-style pottery. You can also stroll around its riverside floating market and enjoy a riverside meal instead. It’s super relaxing and fun; I can even spend half a day here!
10. Toys, toys and more toys!! – Tooney Toy Museum
Are you a fan of toys or wish to relive your childhood memory? If yes, visit Tooney Toy Museum, which is separated into three sections – a cafe, toy store and toy museum.
At the museum, you’ll find all sorts of toys, from popular character figurines to wall decorations. You’ll even find an army of Toy Story’s Aliens and Monsters, Inc’s Mike Wazowski showcased inside a glass wall.
After you’re done touring around the museum, take a break at the cafe where you can enjoy refreshments while being surrounded by more toys. 😀
Can’t bear to part with this place? Buy a toy as a souvenir!
Interesting Temples and a Mosque
Meet your spiritual needs at these temples and mosque in Nonthaburi. Not a Buddhist or Muslim? Relish the beautiful architecture instead. 🙂
11. Is this Beijing’s Forbidden City? – Wat Borom Racha Kanjanapisek Anusorn (วัดบรมราชากาญจนาภิเษกอนุสรณ์)
You might think it’s just another Chinese temple, but I personally really liked the architecture of this building. Why? Because I’ve never seen a temple look so majestic that it reminds me of the time I went to the Forbidden City in Beijing.
What amazed me most was the big main building in the centre of the temple complex and small details placed in the temple (lanterns, colours, designs, etc). Seeing that immediately brought back fond memories of my family and I walking across the Forbidden City and being awestruck by the grandeur of it all.
So if you’re into Chinese culture, spare some time to visit this place. It’s definitely worth it. 😀
12. Visit this temple built in the late Ayutthaya period – Wat Chomphuwek
Nonthaburi might be 1 hour away from Ayutthaya, but you can find its influence across Thailand still present to this day. One proof of this is Wat Chomphuwek, a temple that was built in 1757 during the late Ayutthaya era.
Inside the temple, you’ll find old mural paintings of the Lord Buddha and Buddha statues. There’s also a Mon pagoda built in 1917 in the temple grounds, which is believed to store holy relics of Lord Buddha.
So if you enjoyed your Ayutthaya trip or are curious about the Ayutthaya period (but have no time to go to Ayutthaya) and are in Nonthaburi, drop by and visit this temple.
13. It’s an 86-year-old red mosque! – Darul Abidin Mosque a.k.a Surao Dang (Red Mosque)
I couldn’t believe when I found out that this Mosque was 86 years old due to its pristine condition. The only reason why I believe it now is because of its architecture, which is similar to the architecture style during King Rama V and VI.
Another reason that makes this mosque so special is how they don’t have a dome-shaped cupola as its roof, but a hip roof instead. The mosque is also entirely made of wood. Cool right?!
14. Visit this history-filled museum – Museum of Nonthaburi (พิพิธภัณฑ์จังหวัดนนทบุรี)
Believe it or not, this is actually quite a new museum (it opened in 2009). So why does it look ancient?
As a matter of fact, this building was built in 1910. It was then used to house the King’s College until 1925, the City Hall of Nonthaburi until 1992 and served as a training centre for senior officials from the Ministry of Interior until 2008. Cool eh?
Ever since renovating the interior, it has served as the Museum of Nonthaburi so you can learn about history inside history itself! How cool is that?!
Here, you’ll discover everything about Nonthaburi, from its geography to Ko Kret’s potteries. You’ll also learn about the city’s history since the Ayutthaya period!
15. Go to the beach without travelling far! – หาดเติมรัก
Who doesn’t love beaches? Sand castles, water sports, delicious food… You name it! The good news is now you don’t have to drive all the way to Hua Hin or Pattaya for sandy beaches because Nonthaburi has one too!
It might be smaller than the beaches you’re used to, but we’re sure you’ll still have as much fun as you normally do. Why? Because there’s everything here!
Water sports? You can ride a banana boat (400 baht) or play on the mini inflatable water park.
Beach food? Find a variety of food stalls here, including grilled seafood.
Sandy beach? You can even spread your mat on the sand to really relax, and have a picnic too!