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Bangkok is one chaotic mess, and it can often feel overwhelming at times, especially for tourists.
It never sleeps, its energy hits you in the face and the madness grows on you over time, and we’ve come to love Bangkok for it.
But, we all need a bit of peace and quiet sometimes. We know of a few places to visit in Bangkok where you can escape the chaos and find a little serenity when it all becomes too much.
Having lived in Bangkok for six months Teaching English back in 2003, we also struggled with the intensity sometimes. Everywhere you turn in Bangkok there is blocked traffic, crowded sidewalks, street carts, and smoggy air.
But it doesn’t always have to be…
Best Places to Visit in Bangkok for Calmness
If you’re looking for what to do in Bangkok that’s calm and relaxing, then we hear you!
Trying to find a quiet space to think is not always easy, but, it can be done. Here are some of the top destinations to visit in Bangkok to escape the madness.
1. Phu Khao Thong: The Golden Mountain
The Golden Mount is one of the best places to visit in Bangkok for calm.
When we lived next door at Wat Saket High School, I’d often take my students there for walks; the grounds were also our shortcut home from the madness of Khao Sahn Road.
Phu Khao Thong is a jungle oasis in the middle of Bangkok: waterfalls, birds chirping, Thai music quietly playing, flowering plants, frangipanis, and thick vines.
No traffic can be seen or heard here, the stupa is surrounded by the Wat Saket Temple and a couple of blocks of monk’s quarters. (Get up early enough and you’ll see the monks move out in the city to collect their morning alms of sticky rice.)
The tranquility follows you to the top of the mountain, past rows of bells to ring for blessings and prayer.
Once there you have beautiful views of the city, you’ll be surprised by how much greenery Bangkok can have, especially in the area around Phu Khao Thong and Banglampoo.
There is a small cafe halfway up the Golden Mountain – a cute spot for a coffee.
Getting There: Take a metered taxi or bus numbers 47 and 15 drops you right out the front of Wat Saket.
Views of Bangkok from Golden Mountain
Video of The Golden Mountain Bangkok
2. Lumphini Park
As soon as we walk through the gates of Bangkok’s biggest city park, Lumpini Park, I hear quiet. The noise of the traffic that sits just outside on some of Bangkok’s busiest highways suddenly dies away.
A few more steps in I hear birds. Birds!! In downtown Bangkok!
Soon I hear the pounding of feet on the pavement; groups of runners go by laughing and waving to friends who are running in opposite directions.
A lady on a bicycle with her grin wide as her head moves from side to side absorbing the greenery that cannot be found amongst the chaos that sits outside.
School students sit on the chairs looking out over the lake watching as catfish jump and somersault out of the water and water monitors slither out from the bushes to dip in for a cooling swim.
Expats in a pile of sweat line up for a massage from an elderly Thai man, who grins wide as he digs deep into the muscles of a man’s shoulder, asking if we would like a massage too.
Over in the graveled area a group practice qijong, their sticks dancing to the music. Opposite a couple is engrossed in Thai Chi, spreading the energy without calm from within.
My girls play in the playground, giggling so happy to be climbing and running free from honking tuk tuks, buses puffing out choking smoke, and rickety footpaths waiting to trip them up.
Lumphini Park is the perfect way to start your day in Bangkok, gathering the strength you need for the madness of the streets outside. (p.s It can get hot here too, so morning is the best time for a cool reprieve).
Getting There: Take the Subway (MRT) to Lumphini Station. The park is right across the street.
3. Loha Prasat Wat Ratchanaddaram
Just across the canal from Phu Khao Thong is this early 19th Century temple built to represent a castle by King Rama III. There are 37 turrets each representing a way of happiness. A Spiral staircase in the middle of the wat, takes you to the top, again for green views of the area.
If you want solitude and a place to reflect in Bangkok, Loha Prasat is it. Whilst everyone visits the big Buddhist temples and The Grand Palace in Bangkok, we were basically the only ones here at Loha Prasat.
Not many visitors venture here, surprisingly, as it is a unique and intricately designed temple.
As I walked the temple halls in meditative silence I rued the fact that this was my first visit, especially since we used to live around the corner!!
The temple is designed as a rectangle with intersecting halls, making it almost maze-like. Each hall has a plaque outlining a way to practice happiness, there are 37 plaques to match the number of turrets.
The cool, clean halls open up lots of space, light, and free-flowing energy, bringing harmony to your walking meditation.
A statue of Buddha in an orange-robe sits at the end of each hall acting as a guide reminding you how to be and encouraging you to go one more step forward.
Loha Prasat is a harmonious place that will help you connect to the peace within, so you can handle the chaos of the streets of Bangkok without it.
Getting There: Take a metered taxi OR a Klong to Phan Fa Lilat (close to Wat Saket).
4. Supatra River House
Opposite Maharas Pier on Chaya Praya River, a shuttle boat starts up and crosses the wide expanse of water towards us.
We had just come from the Grand Palace, where the heat and the crowds caused us to have meltdowns.
The Supatra River House gave us the quiet oasis we needed to regroup. A large deck invites you to sit and admire the views and pretty lights of nighttime, or the AC inside will refresh you from Bangkok’s stickiness.
The river house is a restaurant and, although it will require a little more of your budget, it is a pretty place to escape. We arrived early, but by the time our lunch had finished more tourists began to filter in off the shuttle for a relaxing lunch.
They serve a set banquet menu or A la carte and the food is delicious and authentic Thai.
5. Floating Market at Klong Lat Mayom
Klong Lat Mayom is the most authentic of Bangkok’s floating markets and is frequented mostly by locals and Thai tourists. We were so happy to discover a place that is not overrun by falangs where we could find amazing Thai food for incredibly cheap prices.
Arrive early for a peaceful walk around the markets that sit on the edge of the canal. If you want a little more tranquility, jump on a long tail boat for a 20 min ride to a nearby village.
This small dose of traditional village life in Bangkok made me want to pack up and move to the Bangkok burbs.
A few of the locals open their homes and gardens for you to wander through, and even turn into street food vendors.
Vibrant pink lilies sit on their pads in garden ponds, swinging seats invite reflection under flowering trees, and wooden sun beds convince you to have a lie-down, listen to the birds and watch the ambling of a small number of people.
In one home is a sweet stall set up and you can watch Grandma sit over a hot fire stirring a pot of pandan. 30 minutes later she’ll turn that into noodles, creating a green worm dessert doused with sweet coconut milk and freshened with ice.
It was the perfect thing to eat on a hot Bangkok day in the gardens by a small canal.
Another home is open for overnight stays. We wander into the living room and tiny bedrooms, the interior decorating and wood paneling design funky and eclectic.
A breeze cools us down as we wander down the village paths to explore more of the village. An old man with a Ho Chi Minh beard rhythmically chops up dead wood, leftovers from the great flood of 2011. He’s turning it into charcoal.
Cyclists wave and smile as they cycle by and we stop to show Kalyra and Savannah the banana, mango, and papaya growing from the overhanging trees.
Before we board the boat to return to the village again, we snack on cheap fishcakes, desserts, and snacks sold on the side of the banks of the Chao Phraya River.
And then we arrive back at the markets in time for lunch and stuff ourselves silly on every Thai dish you can imagine for cheap prices.
Getting There: Using the BTS Sky Train, take the Silom Line and get off at Wongwian Yai Station. From there get a taxi (approx 100 baht).
If you want a quiet floating market to visit where you can pick up souvenirs, don’t go to the Damnoen Saduak floating market like everyone else, I recommend you visit the Kwan-Riam Floating Market which is small, local and authentic, but still has Thai handicrafts to purchase to take home.
Video: Klong Lat Mayom Floating Markets
6. Soi Rambuttri
Soi Rambuttri is one of my favourite streets in Bangkok. It is so quiet and peaceful here and a great place to visit in Bangkok. But be warned it is full of backpackers and so in the evening the tempo might pick up (it’s right around the corner from Khao San Road).
Pull up a triangle pillow under a fan in a cafe during the day. Make sure it is in front of the TV screen and watch movies all day long. Grab yourself a coconut water, a bowl of delicious Thai curry, and just relax.
Get bored with the movie? Read a book, have a beer or wander outside for some really great shopping. Soi Rambuttri also has fantastic street food.
They have really prettified this street since we lived in Bangkok. It used to be called Dog Shit Alley – yep plenty of mangy dogs roaming around and rats running over your feet as you ate outside on rickety plastic tables and chairs.
Now there are a lot of bamboo plants and trees lining the sidewalk and it has a clean, fresh, hipster energy to it.
Much better option for families traveling in Thailand than the craziness of nearby Khao San Road.
Getting There: Take a metered taxi OR bus numbers 47 and 15 drop you off near Khao San Road. It’s a short walk from there.
7. Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn)
Wat Arun has become one of the largest tourist attractions and so you might not expect it to be a good place to visit in Bangkok for calmness, but it really depends on the time you visit.
The tour groups tend to rock up in the morning and stay until mid-afternoon, which is perfectly fine by us because the best time to visit Wat Arun is in the evening.
This is because the colors of its intricate design change as the sun begins to set.
Sit on the steps of the stupa and watch the colors turn from bright greens and reds to cool blues, pinks, and purple.
At night, the temple is lit up by lighting which turns it a warm orange color.
Even though you won’t be alone (it’s hard to be completely alone in Bangkok!) the temple still has an air of calmness about it.
It’s certainly more calm than Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) or Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha).
8. Visit a Rooftop Bar
If you want to escape the sounds of honking, you’re going to need to head high up.
There are many rooftop bars in Bangkok, each located 25+ floors above the ground. These elegant cocktail bars are more sophisticated places to visit in Bangkok and are where you want to go if you don’t mind spending a lot of money.
A cocktail here could set you back around 1,300 baht – ouch!
Still, it’s a unique experience and the bars are never overcrowded, so you can kick back and enjoy the incredible views with a cocktail in hand. It definitely contrasts with the popular nightlife scene of Khao San Road!
Some of the most popular sky bars are the Lebua at State Tower, Octave Rooftop Bar at Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit, and The Speakeasy Rooftop Bar.
One of the most popular day trips from Bangkok is to Ayutthaya, an ancient capital of the Siamese kingdom. Ayutthaya is a vast city complex complete with temples filled with shrines, Buddha statues, and the ruins of old forts.
It’s surrounded by jungle and rivers, offering a quiet place for reflection and stillness.
10. Jim Thompson House
Jim Thompson House is a historic home built by an American entrepreneur who settled in Thailand after WWII ended.
He became well-known in the Thai silk industry and was awarded the Order of the White Elephant, which is an award given to foreigners who make significant contributions to the Thai economy.
His house has been turned into a museum that tells the story of his life and business. The house was built in 1959 and is made up of six individual old teakwood houses. The house is as stunning as the artwork inside.
11. Erawan Shrine
The Erawan Shrine, otherwise known as the Thao Maha Phrom Shrine, is a shrine that houses a statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation.
It’s one of the most important Hindu shrines in Bangkok.
It’s only a small shrine and won’t take long to see, but it’s within walking distance of Lumphini Park so you can visit two top places to visit in Bangkok in one trip.
12. The Bangkok National Museum
The Bangkok Museum is a great place to visit in Bangkok for those who want something relaxing to do. You can sit back and admire the largest collection of Thai art and artifacts.
The museum was opened by King Rama V as a way to show off the gifts he received from his father, which include a collection of Chinese weapons, jewelry, clothing, precious stones, traditional Thai puppets, and Khon masks.
The museum is quite large and can take a few hours to go around it all, but it’s rarely busy with crowds of people.
Every Thursday, there are guided tours offered in English.
13. Siam Paragon
While a shopping mall doesn’t scream relaxation, Siam Paragon is considered one of the best places to visit in Bangkok to escape the madness.
For one thing, it’s incredibly modern and feels very disconnected from the traditional, busy atmosphere from the streets outside.
How to Find Calmness in Bangkok
Bangkok is a bustling metropolis and it’s always difficult to find calmness and serenity in this city, but as you can see, it’s not impossible! To help you find calmness, here are some of our top tips:
Visit temples. Most of the temples in Bangkok have an air of calmness about them. In the historic quarter, you have Wat Suthat and the Giant Swing, and Wat Traimit which are usually quiet.
Get a massage. If you’re ever struggling for quiet things to do, just wander around and look for a massage (though a traditional Thai massage is anything but relaxing!). This is the number one peaceful activity in Southeast Asia.
Stay in the Old Town. If you’re staying in the city center, particularly around Yaowarat Road in Chinatown or Soi 11 in Sukhumvit, it’s going to be busy and noisy. The Old Town is devoid of high-rise buildings and skyscrapers, so it’s a lot quieter.
Try Muay Thai. Thai boxing is a full combat sport, but it is also therapeutic and relaxing. There’s something about letting off steam and going to town on a boxing bag that just feels so enlightening.
Before You Go
Bangkok is the most visited city in the world and its population is in the millions, so no matter what, you’re going to be faced with chaos.
But we hope that this list of relaxing places to visit in Bangkok gives you a few places to relax and enjoy the calmness.
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What are some of your top places to visit in Bangkok to escape the madness?