Visitors to Bangkok tend to make a beeline for the Thai capital’s famous sky bars in the hope of getting an amazing view of the city – but there are other places with equally inspirational lookout points. These are some of our favourite spots for incredible views of Bangkok.
In the run-up to October 2017’s cremation of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, some of the most striking photos of the elaborate wooden royal crematorium came from the top of the Rama 8 Bridge that straddles the capital’s Chaophraya river and connects the old-town Phra Nakhon area with other-side-of-the-water Thonburi. But don’t expect to be able to recreate these shots yourself – while the Rama 8 Bridge is photogenic at the best of times, the observation platform from which these photos were shot is reached using a lift that’s closed to the public. The specially commissioned lift leads to the observation platform at a height of 161 metres, from which the bridge – opened in 2002 – offers some of Bangkok’s best panoramic views. Good luck getting to the top!
Better known as the temple of the Golden Mount, Wat Saket sits beside some 300 steps that reward climbers with impressive views out across Bangkok’s old city and beyond. 58-metre-high Wat Saket itself is home to relics of the Buddha, and dates back to Thailand’s Ayutthaya period – but we think that, history aside, this is one spot that you should visit at sunset for a truly unforgettable view of Bangkok’s skyline. Watch the contrasting traditional and modern buildings on the horizon begin to gently twinkle as the sun sinks in the sky, with the mighty Chaophraya river snaking between them to create a scene that’s hard to replicate.
Daily, 9am-7pm; 20 baht to climb the Golden Mount (free to enter Wat Saket temple; free for Thai nationals); Boriphat Road (Phan Fah canal boat pier)
While it’s often tempting to gently mock attractions that are especially popular with tourists (and we’re as guilty of this as anyone), from time to time it’s also worth reminding ourselves that they are usually that popular for a reason. That’s certainly true of Bangkok’s numerous rooftop or sky bars – these touristy spots on top of some of the city’s priciest hotels might not serve Bangkok’s best drinks, but they often provide some of the Thai capital’s very best lookout points.
Safety considerations aside – to be clear, it’s entirely illegal and highly dangerous to venture inside the abandoned Sathorn Unique tower, a victim of the 1997 Asian economic crash (and one of our picks of Bangkok’s spookiest spots) – there’s little denying that, for the handful of reckless souls who have been inside, this spot offers one of the most unbeatable and thrilling Bangkok vistas you could begin to imagine. The 49-storey tower is largely open to the elements on its unfinished rooftop, and photos of those death-wish-bearing folks who have braved it are testament to the incredible views of Sathorn’s skyscrapers and the Chaophraya river that are afforded from up here.
Charoenkrung Soi 51 (BTS Saphan Taksin/Sathorn river boat pier)
Chinatown’s River View Guest House claims to have the best views over Bangkok’s Chaophraya river – and we’re not sure we can disagree. In fact, come on a tour with us and there’s a chance you might even end up here for a drink and a chance to soak up the vista. Set among old shophouses in the Talat Noi neighbourhood, this aptly named eight-storey guest house indeed boasts mesmerising river views that are best soaked up from the rooftop River Vibe restaurant and bar, where a giant sofa bed makes for the perfect spot from which to soak up the view. On the other side of the river in Thonburi, we’re also particular fans of the impressive rooftop views back across to Bangkok proper from Baan Wanglang Riverside.
At Expique, we’re experts at showing you the unique parts of Bangkok and elsewhere in Thailand that most tours don’t take you to – and which you probably won’t discover on your own. Joining one of our tours or experiences (or having us create a custom tour for you) is a great way to make the most of your time in Thailand and ensure you leave with a memorable experience.
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Where are your favourite spots to soak up the best views of Bangkok? Let us know in the comments!
Photos by Alexander.Hüls; Chris Brown; Banyan Tree Bangkok; Nico Caramella; River View Guest House
Want to explore more of Thailand? Contact us about arranging to come on a custom-curated adventure with Expique.