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13 Best Things to Do in Thonburi, Bangkok

What to Do on the Thonburi Side of Bangkok?

On the Thonburi side of Bangkok, you can explore a quieter side of the city with hidden gems. Beyond the iconic Wat Arun temple and its breathtaking architecture, the immense Iconsiam Mall, you’ll find Khlong Lat Mayom, a charming floating market further out. Thonburi also features a few rooftop bars with city skyline views. Getting around is easy with improved Skytrain access, and you can hop on local shuttle boats to cross the Chao Phraya River for more exploration. Thonburi offers a unique blend of traditional charm and modern attractions to explore, often missed by travellers.

1. Wat Arun

Wat Arun, The Temple of Dawn in Bangkok

Wat Arun, or the Temple of Dawn, is one of Bangkok’s most iconic sights with its glittering spires and majestic riverside setting. Wat Arun is easily spotted on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River with its 82-metre prang (tower) adorned with glazed porcelain tiles. Visitors are welcome to wander the temple grounds and climb the steps of the central prang to enjoy spectacular views of the river and city skyline. Wat Arun is best seen at sunrise or sunset when the temple’s tall spires appear as a magical silhouette in the golden light. There’s a small entry fee to the temple, and visitors are expected to avoid wearing skimpy clothing or rent a sarong to cover up.

Address: 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Wat Arun, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok 10600
Open: 8 am – 6 pm
Phone: 02 891 2185
Price: 50 Baht
Dress Code: No short skirts or short pants, no sleeveless t-shirts
Built: Before 1656

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2. IconSiam

IconSiam Shopping Mall Bangkok

IconSiam is a high-end shopping centre set on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Thonburi. In addition to its variety of luxury brands, local handicraft shops, and retail stores to browse, Icon Siam is a dining haven with dozens of restaurants, cafes, and food stalls offering a great range of Thai and international flavours. With a convention centre and large event spaces, Icon Siam hosts many events throughout the year including art exhibitions and activities for Thai festivals like Loy Kratong and Songkran. Icon Siam offers a free boat shuttle service between its pier and the Sathorn and Si Phraya piers, and can also be reached via the BTS service.

Address: 299 Charoen Nakhon Rd, Khlong Ton Sai, Khlong San, Bangkok 10600
Closest BTS/MRT Station: BTS Charoen Nakhon: 0 m
Open: 10 am – 10 pm
Open since: 9 November 2018
Size: 750,000 sqm
Floors: 7

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3. Three Sixty Rooftop Bar at Millennium Hilton

ThreeSixty Rooftop Bar at Millennium Hilton

Hotel: Millennium Hilton Bangkok
Address
: 123 Charoennakorn Road, Bangkok
Closest BTS/MRT Station: BTS Charoen Nakhon: 100 m
Open: 5 pm – 1 am
Phone: 02 442 2000
Floor: 32nd floor
Dress Code: Smart Casual

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4. The Artist’s House

The Artist’s House (Baan Silapin)

The Artist’s House (Baan Silapin), tucked away in the quaint neighbourhood of Khlong Bang Luang in Thonburi, offers a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Set in a charming wooden house dating back centuries, it’s more than just a gallery – it’s a glimpse into traditional Thai life. Visitors can explore the upper floor’s gallery showcasing a myriad of paintings and photographs, while the ground floor is enticed with souvenirs and hands-on activities like bracelet making and mask painting. Weekends are alive with workshops ranging from sketching to flower arranging, as well as traditional Thai puppet shows, adding a vibrant touch to the serene surroundings. Easily accessible via the MRT and a short walk, the Artist’s House is a fine spot to unwind and immerse in its cultural offerings from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm daily.

5. Klong Lat Mayom Floating Market

Khlong Lat Mayom on Bangkok Thonburi

Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market is a fun place to explore on the weekend with its pleasant canal setting and delicious variety of local food and snacks on offer. The narrow canal hosts a handful of boats serving freshly prepared meals to patrons seated at low tables. Visitors can try grilled seafood, Thai grilled chicken, and spicy papaya salad, among other delectable treats. The market extends inland as well, with several more food stalls and a treasure trove of clothing, handicrafts, and local product shops arranged in six zones. For a full day out, pair a visit to Khlong Lat Mayom with a visit to Taling Chan, another market just 4 km away. Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market is open only on weekends from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

6. Wang Lang Market

Wang Lang Market Thonburi Bangkok

Wang Lang Market, found on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River near Siriraj Hospital, offers a genuine taste of local Thai culture and cuisine. The market beckons with an array of delectable street food stalls lining Phran Nok Road and its alleys. From sizzling meat skewers to fried teriyaki pork, the culinary adventure here is rich and diverse, and there’s an especially fiery selection of Southern Thai cuisine on offer. Beyond food, the market boasts an eclectic mix of things for sale including clothing, accessories, books, cosmetics, and second-hand items. Wang Lang Market is a haven for food enthusiasts and budget-conscious shoppers alike, open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Address: 112 13 Soi Wang Lang, Siriraj, Bangkok Noi, Bangkok 10700
Opening hours
: 9 am – 6 pm
Closest BTS/MRT Station: MRT Itsarapap: 1.8 km
Pier: Prannok or Wang Lang Pier

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7. Wat Prayoon

Wat Prayoon in Bangkok Thonburi

Set on the serene Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River, Wat Prayoon, also known as Wat Rua Lek, is a sacred and serene place to explore. Built in the 1830s during the reign of Rama III, this temple boasts a rich history and traditional Thai architecture, including a striking red iron fence that gives it its name. Visitors can walk around and inside the towering Phra Mahathat Chedi, one of Bangkok’s largest pagodas at 60 metres tall, or wander through the Khao Mo garden, where turtles and monitor lizards reside peacefully. While signage is sparse, it’s a pleasant place to stroll around and relax, making it a perfect retreat for families and temple enthusiasts seeking a quieter, contemplative experience away from the typical tourist crowds of Bangkok.

8. Wat Kanlayanamit

Wat Kanlayanamit

Wat Kanlayanamit, founded in 1825 on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Thonburi, Bangkok, offers a tranquil sanctuary for visitors. Its full name is Wat Kanlayanamit Woramahawihan. Constructed during King Rama III’s reign, the temple houses the revered Phra Phuttha Trai Rattananayok statue, known as Sampokong in Chinese, the largest Buddha statue in Bangkok. Another notable feature here is Thailand’s largest bell, believed to bring good fortune when rung three times. Visitors can admire intricate murals depicting Buddha’s life and the era of King Rama III within the temple’s confines. While the temple is not on the typical tourist path, visitors are warmly received here and reminded to dress and act respectfully in this sacred space.

Address: 371 Soi Arun Amarin 6, Wat Kanlaya Subdistrict, Thon Buri, Bangkok 10600
Hours: 7 am – 5 pm, closed on Monday and Tuesday
Phone: 096 362 5354
Price: Free
Closest MRT Station: MRT Itsarapap: 1.2 km
Established: 1825

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9. Seen Rooftop

Seen Rooftop Bar at Avani Hotel in Bangkok

SEEN Restaurant & Bar Bangkok stands out as a premier destination offering panoramic views of the city skyline and Chao Phraya River. The venue serves up a fusion of Portuguese-Brazilian cuisine in its restaurant on the 26th floor of the AVANI Riverside Bangkok Hotel, while up on its stylish 27th floor rooftop bar, cocktails are crafted by an award-winning mixology team. Listen to the soulful rhythms played by some of the city’s most talented DJs every evening from 6.00 pm till late. With its stunning city vistas, SEEN is an ideal spot for those seeking a sophisticated atmosphere and exceptional culinary offerings in a vibrant sky-high setting over the river.

Address: AVANI Riverside Bangkok, 257 Charoennakorn, Thonburi, Bangkok 10600
Closest BTS/MRT Station: BTS Pho Nimit: 1.60 km
Open: 5:30 pm – 1 am
Tel: 02 431 9100
Floor: 27th floor

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10. Khlong Bang Luang

Klong Bang Luang in Bangkok Thonburi

Khlong Bang Luang is a small community in Thonburi where residents live and work in traditional wooden homes lining a canal. Once home to dignitaries and officials, Khlong Bang Luang now beckons as a cultural haven. The most famous home here is The Artist’s House, but there are a variety of galleries, shops, and cafes dotting its wooden pathways to explore. Watch the long-tail boats of market vendors glide by, or buy some guay jab moo (pork noodle soup) and other delectable fare right off the boat. Sip on local brews, take a moment to feed the catfish in the canal, and enjoy a tranquil and nostalgic escape from hectic city life.

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11. Royal Barges Museum

Royal Barges Museum

The Royal Barges Museum in Bangkok offers a captivating glimpse into Thailand’s rich ceremonial traditions. These ornate vessels, dating back to the Ayuthaya era, are showcased when not in use for regal processions. Among the highlights is the majestic Suphannahong, known as the Golden Swan, the largest dugout barge globally, featuring intricate carvings. Visitors can also admire the craftsmanship of other barges adorned with mythological figures like the naga and garuda. Historic photos bring to life the grandeur of past processions. While royal barge processions are rarely held today, experiencing this 700-year-old ceremony is a true spectacle. Conveniently located near Phra Pin Klao Bridge pier in Thonburi, the museum is accessible by motorcycle taxi or a leisurely walk from the pier.

12. Bangkok Forensic Museum

Bangkok Forensic Museum at Siriraj Hospital

The Bangkok Forensics Museum, part of the Siriraj Medical Museum located within Siriraj Hospital, offers a unique exploration of medical curiosities. Despite its somewhat macabre reputation, the museum serves as an educational hub for visitors interested in anatomy, pathology, and forensic sciences. Highlights include the mummified remains of infamous serial killer Si Ouey Sae Urng, alongside displays of skulls, preserved organs, and crime scene evidence. Additionally, visitors can explore exhibits on congenital disorders, toxicology, and Thai traditional medicine. The museum’s diverse collection provides valuable insight into the modern history of medicine in Thailand. For those with an interest in medical cases who can stomach the morbid displays, a visit to this museum is a must.

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13. Guan Yu Shrine

Guan Yu Shrine in Thonburi, Bangkok

The Guan Yu Shrine in Khlong San is an ancient temple honouring Lord Guan, a deity symbolizing loyalty and morality in Chinese tradition. It’s considered Thailand’s oldest Guan Yu shrine, believed to have been built over 280 years ago during King Borommakot’s reign in the late Ayutthaya era. Legend has it that King Taksin of Thonburi visited the shrine before battles to seek good luck. This shrine’s rich history and cultural significance make it a revered site for those interested in Thai and Chinese history.

Address: 251 Somdet Chao Phraya 3 Alley, Somdet Chao Phraya, Khlong San, Bangkok 10600
Hours: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm every day
Phone: 02 439 6309
Price: Free
Closest MRT Station: MRT Itsarapap: 1.5 km
Closest BTS Station: BTS Khlong San: 1.1 km
Established: 1743

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Map of Thonburi

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Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world early until I settled in Phuket in 1994. For the past 30 years, my passion for photography and my curiosity have taken me to every corner of Phuket, Bangkok and everywhere I could go in Thailand. My goal is to share my discoveries, photos and tips to help travellers plan their holidays by making Phuket 101 as easy as possible to use for everyone!