Did you know that Bangkok is conveniently close to other fun and interesting locales in Thailand?
Apart from doing your usual shopping and cafe-hopping in Bangkok, why not set aside some time for a fun weekend exploration near Bangkok?
From the outskirts of Bangkok, to locales that range between 1 to 3 hours away such as Khao Yai, Hua Hin, Kanchanaburi, Pattaya and more… You’re sure to find something that will provide a fun and easily fascinating weekend adventure!
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If you love nature and history, you’ll love visiting Kanchanaburi, a western province just 3 hours’ drive from Bangkok and conveniently accessible by train.
The blend of history during WWII, abundance of natural attractions and rich culture make Kanchanaburi an extraordinary travel destination!
PS: If you’re looking for a convenient Kanchanaburi exploration, consider “a day in Kanchanaburi” by Klook! You’ll get to visit the historical Bridge Over River Kwai, Bamboo Rafting, the ethereal Saiyoknoi Waterfall and more!
1-a. Have a digital detox at this floating water retreat – River Kwai Jungle Raft Resort
If you want to truly be in one with nature, come unplug and float along on River Kwai Jungle Raft. Surrounded by lush green forest, this floatel (floating hotel) is a chain of floating wooden huts on rafts built from bamboo and teakwood.
River Kwai Jungle Raft is an eco-friendly resort that will provide a true escape from social media, emails and the usual digital buzz – since it doesn’t use electricity. This means no TV, lights, AC, phone charging, or internet.
However, there’s no need to panic! The cool breeze from the river will keep you cool, and if you’re bored, there are plenty of activities to do.
You can jump into the river in front of your room, or walk over to Mon village nearby to visit their school, temple, or ride an elephant!
When the night comes, the only light sources you will find are from kerosene lamps and the dazzling stars above.
Expect nature at its finest, and enjoy this unique digital detox experience!
1-b. Spend a night on the face of the cliff – Khao Phu Mai Daeng Mountain
We’re not kidding. You read it right. At Khao Phu Mai Daeng Mountain, you will be sleeping on a stretcher hanging off the face of the cliff – secured by ropes 180 meter above the ground below.
A professional rock-climbing team offers a trip of a lifetime, known as Big Wall Rock Trip.
Start off by propelling from the top of a 200 meter cliff, down 20 meters below to where the setup – by professionals – is located.
You will quite literally hang out here in the afternoon, have dinner and spend the night, before propelling down the next morning after breakfast back to the ground below.
If you can get over the fear, the view up here is pretty amazing, and this will be the most thrilling night you might ever have.
PS: Recommended for people with a level of high fitness only!
1-c. Discover the mysterious hidden temple – Sunken Temple at Sangklaburi
Once a village, now it’s a lake. The old Sangkla Buri village was flooded in order to construct a dam. When the water is at the highest, the only thing you will see is the top of the bell tower peeking out from the surface.
But if you come during dry season from March to May, the whole temple will reveal itself on a small island in the middle of the lake. You can see the remains of the old village are just a couple of monasteries.
There are left with nothing but exterior walls, fallen stupa, and stone Buddha head. You can then walk on the temple ground, and imagine that all where you are will be under the water again.
Don’t beat yourself up if you happen to visit Sangkla Buri during wet season. Hire a boat from Wooden Mon Bridge in the morning when the lake is covered by the morning mist to visit the flooded site.
It’ll add a mystery of a sunken temple, sleeping, hidden away underneath in the deep green waters of the lake. And some tour offers kayaking and scuba diving.
1-d. Step into history or an Oscar-winning film – Bridge Over the River Kwai
Walk on the bridge that inspired 1957 Oscar winning movie “The Bridge Over River Kwai” and reflect on the tragic history of WWII. Bridge Over the River Kwai is a major and most recognised landmark in Kanchanaburi.
Built by prisoners of war, this black iron bridge holds significant history as this is where approximately 16,000 prisoners had lost their lives during construction.
When you walk across the bridge, even though the sight of river and lush green is stunning, but you can’t help but feel the sadness that still lingers in such a sacred place.
Of course, when you’re at the bridge, don’t forget to duck into the cafes, restaurants and souvenier stalls around it! (You can still walk over the bridge even though trains cross it every day!)
If you visit Kanchanaburi in late November, make sure not to miss the week-long festival on River Kwai Bridge commemorating the Allied attack in 1945. A show of spectacular light and sound is the highlight of the festival every year.
1-e. Watch the romantic sunset and explore Mon culture – Wooden Mon Bridge
Immerse yourself in a different world at Mon village, one of the remaining early Thai Tribes, in Sangkla Buri, the district of Kanchanaburi.
The most recognized landmark of Sangkla Buri is “Wooden Bong Bridge”, this 850 meter bridge is the longest wooden bridge in Thailand and second longest wooden bridge in the world. The bridge stretches across Songkalia river connecting two worlds together.
Meet Mon people dressing in traditional colorful clothing walking across the bridge. You might see some balancing many layers of tin on their head as they walk. Or you might catch Mon children jumping off the bridge plunging to the river below to escape from the heat.
After exploring Mon village, stay for an incredible view of sunset
If you stay overnight, make sure you wake up before 6 am to witness the morning food offering to the monks at the village.
2. Head further out and visit the outskirts – Greater Bangkok
Instead of the usual Pratunam, Sukhumvit, Chatuchak and more, there are more fun places to visit in the further regions of Bangkok!
2-a. See all of Thailand’s culture in one day – Ancient Siam Park
It’s 200 acres huge and created in the shape of Thailand, Ancient Siam Park is a cultural and architectural recreation of Thailand, all in one place!
Originally meant to be a golf course with, Ancient Siam Park is now known as the world’s largest outdoor museum with 116 displays of famous Thai monuments.
When you’re here, you’ll get to see how Thailand evolved along the years with replicas such as the former Grand Palace of Ayutthaya that was destroyed in 1767!
It’s a truly enlightening tour that enables you to travel through time and see the history of Thailand through the years, with your very own eyes.
PS: It’s definitely great for photos too!
PPS: Combine a trip to Ancient Siam Park with Erawan Museum that’s filled with exquisite Thai and Asian antiquities. Klook will provide audio guides, a tram tour and more!
2-b. Ever had a floating massage? – Amphawa Floating Market
When you’re in Bangkok, you’d definitely want to set a weekend aside just to check out Amphawa Floating Market.
Situated on the outskirts of Bangkok, take a 1-2 hour drive and you’ll arrive at this unique little town where you’ll find seafood meals on longtail boats floating up and down the river. Apart from food, there are other products and services being sold such as little trinkets and a floating massage!
If you’d love to catch a magical glimpse of fireflies at night, stay till the sun sets at Amphawa Floating Market and you’ll be able to see this.
Other than that, if you have the time, consider heading to Mae Khlong Railway Market which is just a short ride away. This market is located on railway tracks, and it’s always a sight when shop owners scramble to clear their goods out of the way when a train approaches.
2-c. Live the Thai life at this cultural village – Sampran Riverside Thai Village & Cultural Shows
At Sampran Riverside (formerly known as Rose Garden Thai Village), you’ll get to experience Thai cultures through participating in workshops around the village. From Thai music and dance to martial arts, traditional weaving and pottery-making, there’s so much to see and do here!
One for those who are more inclined to artistic endeavours, you might also be happy to know that there’s a handicraft market and outdoor food market – along with a mini floating market that’s great for photos too!
Apart from that, Sampran Riverside hosts a show that entertains visitors through song and dance performances about Thai customs and traditions.
It sure sounds like a great weekend waiting to be had!
2-d. Spend a day in the wild with the animals – Safari World, Marine Park
It’s a gorgeous place to visit with 2 parks to choose from!
Take a scenic ride in Safari World and encounter beautiful wild animals from lions and giraffes to ostriches, or stroll through Marine Park and catch the sea lions and more in action.
Trivia: Did you know that Safari World has the largest captive population of giraffes in the world? If you’re a giraffe lover, this is one zoo not to miss!
There are way too many attractions to list, such as Jungle Cruise, Eggs World, Hollywood Cowboy Stunt Show and more – all we can say is that you’ll definitely have much to see and experience here!
3. One of the most picturesque regions in Thailand – Khao Yai
Khao Yai is one of the most picturesque regions that this beautiful country has to offer, and the best news is that it’s only located a short 3 hours’ drive away from Bangkok.
3-a. Spot the wild elephants on the road! – Khao Yai National Park
This was the first national park to become established in Thailand and is now the third largest park in the country.
If it is beautiful countryside scenery and lush evergreen forests you desire, then fear not, you have come to the right place. The park’s ppiece is without a doubt the majestic Haew Narok Waterfall.
Otherwise, check out the lesser known Haew Suwat Waterfall that has a truly ethereal cave you might want to explore too.
Not only are there mesmerising waterfalls to make your trip a memorable one, but the wonderful wildlife spotting opportunities in the park are similarly impressive – there are wild elephants roaming the park, even on the roads! (However, wild elephants are relatively rare in the park, and you’d be supremely lucky to encounter one.)
Photo via lorenzopozzan, chickenfeettravels
Looking for the perfect spot to settle back on and look upon the glorious view? Make your way to Pa Deo Die cliffs to enjoy the untouched beauty of Khao Yai National Park. Do be extremely careful not to venture too close to the edge for a selfie though!
And of course, look out for wild elephants, bears, gibbons and over 300 species of bird too!
Photo via gregmiles
3-b. Feed sheep, alpaca and donkeys at this Italian escape – Primo Piazza
Thanks to Primo Piazza, you no longer have to fly halfway across the world to get a taste of Italy, and have the gorgeous pictures to prove it too.
Photo via ccphx
You could be easily mistaken for thinking that you were in a remote Tuscan village, with the complex’s classy Italian architecture, cobbled streets and lush green surroundings.
Photo via naennyc.s, sapooky
At Primo Piazza they have succeeded in creating that warm and relaxing Mediterranean atmosphere, with an array of excellent cafes and restaurants on hand to help you unwind.
Photo via Rosenichapat, Noiybb
Photo via Pindao, Melissygoh
And interestingly, you can even feed sheep, alpaca and donkeys here too! The kids, or the big kid in you, will enjoy.
Photo via filmrattapoomm,nukkieme,Somsiryn,Nattara k
This will unquestionably be a trip you’re unlikely to forget – ideal for a romantic getaway or a family escape.
Photo via Markmaruwut,auyzii3,naennyc.s
3-c. Get wined and dined – PB Valley Khao Yai Winery
For those of you thinking that Thailand can’t possibly produce its own wine, well think again!
Photo via bosurinseng
Visiting this winery is certainly a unique activity that your average tourist to Thailand won’t experience.
Photo via machkiinzdonutt
Photo via n.moment
The wine tastings are the biggest draw here, but if you aren’t inclined to some choice tipple, PB Valley also produces their own coffee that you can sample.
The experienced staff at the winery will go out of their way to ensure you have a memorable day, with an excellent restaurant available as well – making for a great sophisticated day out that’s perfect with your partner or friends.
Photo via belle isabellabt,daniggxyellow, shilly_pepper
3-d. Embrace flower power – The Bloom
The Bloom is a large garden area of over 100 acres, decorated in a variety of beautiful and colourful flowers providing the ultimate Instagram backdrop.
These flower arrangements snake their way around the garden to create a wonderful bright glow, with the rolling green hills of Pak Chong district behind them.
Photo via ladycatchy
Photo via happybabythai
More than 30 species of flowers come together here, which is a glorious sight for those who enjoy horticulture and gardening. But let’s be honest, who doesn’t like flowers, right?
From peaceful temples to delicious cafes and gorgeous nearby islands, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy in Pattaya and the Chonburi region!
4-a. Bathe in the Neon Glow – Bioluminescent Plankton (1 hour drive from Pattaya)
Each rainy season (from June until July), Bang Saen Beach is thwarted by plankton blooms. During the day, these turn the water from a refreshing blue to a swampy green. The beach also takes on a fishy smell.
Photo via Aonzphotographer
While the state of this beach may not be great during the day, it is a wonder at night. When disturbed, these plankton become bioluminescent and appear to glow in the dark of night.
This is a defense mechanism produced by the plankton to evade predators. When excited, several functions in the body combine to create light-producing chemical reaction, or To see this phenomenon, simply visit Bang Saen Beachat the end of the year during the winter season. You can usually spot the bioluminescence near the docks or the shore where the water hits something solid.
Photo via maytallica.p
If you dare to go swimming at night, you might even be able to disturb the plankton yourself, making it look like you’re floating or swimming in glowing water!
4-b. In a Fantasy World – Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark
Did you know the world’s first Cartoon Network themed park is in Thailand? Neither did we until we heard about the Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark.
With 5 main (and huuuge) water attractions, and 9 main shows going on everyday – you’re bound to have incredible fun. At this unique park, you can slip and slide with all of your Cartoon Network friends, including the Powerpuff Girls and Jake from Adventure Time.
Photos via xiaoango, djonydetka
Our favourite is Adventure Zone, one of the main attractions that also happens to be the first Adventure Time themed water park. Look out for Jake Jump and Rainfall Rainicorn!
Another great one is Cartoonival, “The world’s largest fully themed cartoon water park for kids and adults featuring 9 water slides and 2 massive water buckets and more.”
Whether it’s the Johnny Bravo and Princess Bubblegum Show, or the New Powerpuff Girls Show, or even the Polynesian Show – with rides and shows galore at Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark, you know you’re guaranteed nothing but the utmost fun!
4-c. Get the Most Instagram-worthy Photos – Grand Canyon Chonburi (1 hour drive from Pattaya)
A popular spot for Instagram photos, the Grand Canyon of Chonburi is practically unknown by foreign visitors.
Photo via stellarbalcony by Pupé Pemika Thiravanitkul 1
The Grand Canyon used to be a functioning quarry with a reservoir at the bottom. It still sits on private property so exploration is discouraged. However, the view from the top is one of the most Instagram-worthy in all of Chonburi. From here you’ll see the glistening emerald pool set in a deep canyon.
And don’t forget to snap the requisite shot on the train tracks behind the viewing platform. Just be careful of oncoming trains.
Located in the same compound, you’ll find Snow Mountain. It’s impossible to get real snow in Thailand. The snow on this mountain is actually fine stone that looks as white as snow. Many surmise that it’s the material dug out of the Grand Canyon in the mining process. Either way, it’s great for photo or two and fun to climb on!
4-d. Wander Through Horticulture History – Nong Nooch Tropical Garden
If you’re a traveler at heart, then you’ll love visiting the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden during your stay in Pattaya. The 2.4 square kilometer park is beautifully landscaped and is perfect for an all-day trip.
Photo via flo traveladdict
Originally purchased by Khun Pisit and Khun Nongnooch Tansacha in 1954, the gardens have been completely transformed from the mango, orange and coconut fields that once dotted the landscape. After traveling far and wide, the couple decided to recreate some of the flower gardens they’d seen around the world. They also dreamed of building tourist facilities such as Thai-style houses, swimming pools and restaurants.
Photo via jojogia
Today, their dream is a reality. From a world-class orchid nursery with 670 native varieties to a 17th-Century French garden and a recreation of Stonehenge, Nong Nooch Tropical Garden is a haven for horticulture enthusiasts.
Photo via lenochkamukhina, ericvdaniel, anzelasharin, alinashatlygina
Here’s a hot tip! Rent a bicycle at the entrance to the gardens. That way you’ll be able to cover more ground than you ever could by foot.
Photo via Permyakova evgeniya
You’ll also have the chance to see fascinating cultural shows during your visit. Each day there are Muay Thai demonstrations and Thai dance performances.
5. Spend a weekend at this seaside escape – Hua Hin
From resorts and fishing villages, to street eats and markets, Hua Hin and its neighbouring locales offers something for everyone.
Known for their flourishing art scene and expansive white beaches, the beauty of this region is (almost) beyond compare.
PS: If you’re looking for an easy way to get the most out of your weekend at Hua Hin, consider this ‘Best of Hua Hin’ day tour from Klook! You’ll get to travel around Santorini Park, Hua Hin Beach and more!
5-a. Watch the sunrise, catch Bryde’s whales, and ride a boat! – Bang Tabun River Floating Fisherman’s Village (1.5-hour from Hua Hin)
Make sure to arrive early to see the incomparable sunrise over the Bang Tabun River – and prepare to have your breath taken away.
Photo by Jirayu Ekkul
The village comes to life under the rays of the rising sun. The water transforms beneath the golden sun, accentuating the floating fisherman huts along the horizon. Fun fact: Bang Tabun is known as Thailand’s largest cockle producer!
Photo via ecowildlife travel, kaiikanraya
For a true tourist experience, boats are for hire. Ride along in one of them, and you will get a glimpse of the cockle farms first hand.
Bang Tabun River also boasts one of the most active whale watching experiences in Southeast Asia. People flock to Bang Tabun in hopes of seeing a Bryde’s whale in person.
Photo via bangkokpostnews, pongsthorn.r
The Bryde’s whales can reach up to fifty-five feet in length and weigh nearly thirty tons once they are fully-grown. The males will appear slightly smaller than the female whales at maturity.
Many companies offer trips to see the Bryde’s whales up close, and activities at Bang Tabun River including whale watching make a quintessential day-trip haven!
5-b. Bask in sunrays inside of a secluded Thai pavilion – Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park (1-hour drive from Hua Hin)
Khao Sam Roi Yot is a labyrinth of caves, coves, and viewpoints attaining nirvana for outdoor enthusiasts. Spend the day exploring reticent beaches, desolate islands, freshwater marshes, and ethereal caverns.
Photo via Pudpids
Phraya Nakhon Cave is a must see with its mystical cave views. If timed properly (10am precisely), you may experience the wonderment of the sun’s rays pouring in over the hidden Thai pavilion.
Photo via wikimedia, michaelsawatsewi
Otherwise, head to Khao Daeng Viewpoint, a gorgeous lookout with unimaginable views also known as “Red Mountain”. Toss your sandals aside and lace up your hiking shoes if you’re willing to endure this 50-minute hike to the lookout.
Photo via pudpids, michaelsawatsewi
Next, walk over the marsh at Bueng Bua Wood Boardwalk for a different, yet similarly breathtaking experience, or climb the rocky paths of Pala-U Waterfall, one of the largest waterfalls in Thailand!
Photo via Hua Hin Bliss Travel, sutipsuda, mint party, ia may
Photo via linedalen
5-c. Feel like a Grecian god in little Santorini – Santorini Amusement Park
At Santorini Park, you will feel as though you have just stepped out of Asia and into little Santorini, the Grecian paradise island.
The park is an amalgamation of art, quirky shopping with local and international brands, entertainment and cafes. Spend the day carousing through boutique shops, and if you aren’t interested in shopping? Instead, indulge your inner foodie.
There are many rides and attractions throughout the park as well. Make sure to check out the amusement park highlights: the Ferris wheel, carousel, water park, swings, and haunted house.
For you Instagram connoisseurs, the photo opportunities are endless!
Photo by anerly mua, qqqqqueenie, miko yf,-adlynndiyana
Colourful umbrellas embedded in building walls, and fluorescent budding flowers draping off trees, to name a few. Around every corner, there is something quirky and beautiful awaiting your Valencia filter.
5-d. It’s an art market! – Cicada Market Hua Hin
One thing all fans of Thailand love, are the numerous night markets around, and thankfully, Hua Hin steps up the game with a contemporary art market!
Photo by cicadamarket
If you’re in the vicinity, make sure not to miss this market with its range of activities and unique artsy goods on offer. There’s a great variety of handmade art from paintings to glass blown masterpieces!
The market is beautiful at night with great lighting creating a lovely ambiance, and there even is an amphitheater where plays and stand up comics hold shows!
Photo via kzlynk
6. Visit the ancient capital of Thailand (a UNESCO world heritage site!) – Ayutthaya
Have you ever been to Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand? This UNESCO world heritage site is one really magnificent historical site, and there are different ways to explore it! (More on this later…)
In 1700, Ayutthaya was the largest city in the world with its gold-laden palaces, and merchants from all over the world sailing here to do business, and marvel at the opulence of this city.
However, the Burmese invaded Ayutthaya in 1767, and burnt it almost to the ground. Fast forward to now, the once grandest city in the world is now an astonishing heritage site.
When you’re here, look out for the buddha’s head that’s cradled in a large Bodhi tree, along with the many temples, fortress, and headless Buddha statues.
Wandering around Ayutthaya is akin to wandering in a beautiful ancient maze!
Depending on which you’d prefer there are different ways to tour Ayutthaya.
1. Take a biking tour of the city and street market (USD $26)
2. Do a historical tour via minivan and boat (USD $38)
3. Meander around Ayutthaya on a cruise! (USD $57)
It’s entirely up to you – whatever you choose will be great, as long as you don’t miss out on the nostalgic Ayutthaya experience!
Special Mention: Looking for a private car to bring you around Bangkok?
Klook offers a really great private car charter deal that makes it more than easy for those who’s always on the look out for adventures!