The best of Expique’s Bangkok walking tours

Written by Team Expique
Published: December 12, 2015

At Expique, walking tours around Bangkok are at the heart of what we do. Getting out on foot is a great way of discovering all that the Thai capital has to offer – we take you away from the usual hotspots every other company will take you to, and instead show you back alleys and hidden Thai communities where you get the chance to see a different side to the way of life in Bangkok. You’ll enjoy an experience that’s utterly unique – the very centre of our mission. Needless to say, taking a walking tour also allows you to escape the capital’s infamous traffic gridlock!

But we run a number of different walking tours, offering some great variety between them. That means we’re bound to have a tour for you, no matter what you are interested in or what you’re looking to learn about Bangkok. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect to discover on Expique’s various Bangkok walking tours.

The Rattanakosin Story – the birth of Bangkok, and 200 years of Thai history

Wat Ratchabophit - photo by Chris Wotton

Our newest walking tour takes you on a captivating ride through the history of the Thai capital, Bangkok. The royal district of Rattanakosin island, often referred to as old Bangkok, is packed with sights and landmarks, many of which are visited in droves by first-time Bangkok visitors, but others of which stay blissfully off the tourist radar. Rattanakosin was founded in 1782 as the capital of what was then Siam, and the area is home to temples, palaces and other sites of royal and administrative importance.

Expique’s walking tour The Rattanakosin Story passes popular and more under-appreciated spots including the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Saranrom park, the Sanam Luang ceremonial recreation ground, and the more eccentric Pig Memorial. The Rattanakosin Story is the perfect primer for those on a first visit to Bangkok, and will equip you with the background knowledge you need to truly appreciate the historical significance of Bangkok’s old quarter as you go on to discover it in more depth on your own. Thailand old-timers will also find the opportunity to discover more about the history of the area.

Click here for more details on The Rattanakosin Story and to book a tour.

Tales of Talat Noi – Bangkok’s oldest Chinese communities in a truly local part of Chinatown

Tales of Talat Noi Bangkok walking tour - photo by Expique

Plenty of visitors to Bangkok want to discover the Thai capital’s Chinatown district, one of the world’s busiest, most flamboyant and most popular. But most see no deeper than the hubbub of Yaowarat Road itself. While Yaowarat has plenty to offer in terms of things to see, do and in particular eat – it’s rightly recognised as a street-food mecca – there is another side to Chinatown that eludes most tourists.

On the edge of Chinatown sits Talat Noi, one of the earliest Chinese communities in Bangkok. Expique’s Tales of Talat Noi walking tour explores this area and the stories of those who live there, many of whose families have called the area home and traded there for more than two centuries. You can expect a captivating introduction to the history of Chinese immigration to Thailand, and how these communities’ cultures have fused over the years with those of Thailand while still retaining their own beliefs and traditions. Around the time of the annual Vegetarian Festival in particular, Talat Noi is at the heart of the festivities and, if you join us at that time, you’ll witness a show of vegan devotion like nowhere else.

The tour takes in a number of religious sites – including Chinese shrines, a Portuguese church, and a Vietnamese temple – while also introducing you to everything from metal workshops, bakeries, and the Thai capital’s first locally run bank. You’ll come away with an insight into a Chinatown – and the people at its heart – that most visitors to Bangkok don’t even know exists.

Click here for more details on Tales of Talat Noi and to book a tour.

Where East Meets West – see the mark of Bangkok’s first traders from around the world

Where East Meets West Bangkok walking tour - photo by Expique

Immigrants have been at the heart of the development of the Thai capital. When the earliest European traders began settling on the banks of Bangkok’s Chaophraya river more than a century ago, Charoen Krung Road was built as Bangkok’s first paved road. Still affectionately referred to as ‘New Road’ even today – and recently enjoying a resurgence in popularity as it takes on a new image as home to retro cultural venues – the road and the surrounding Bang Rak district have played host to a fascinating melting pot of cultures that include communities from numerous backgrounds and religions.

Expique’s Where East Meets West walking tour takes in spots both photogenic and culturally significant, including a number of European embassies, Bangkok’s first hotel, the eerie but beautiful Customs House, and more. You’ll see a side to Bangkok that extends beyond the admittedly stunning Buddhist temples that dominate most visitors’ memories of the Thai capital, and discover a diversity to the city that few are aware of.

Click here for more details on Where East Meets West and to book a tour.

Diversity and Harmony – peaceful communities tucked into alleys on ‘the other side’

Diversity and Harmony Bangkok walking tour - photo by Expique

Hidden in the back streets of Thonburi on the opposite side of the Chaophraya river from many of downtown Bangkok’s popular attractions, a number of peaceful and secluded, artsy-feeling communities remain obscured from the view of most travellers to the Thai capital. But waiting here is an area of the city that is refreshing and invigorating to visit – the air feels more breathable, and people still say hello as you pass their homes – and which prides itself on the harmony in which its diverse communities of Buddhist, Muslim and Christian families live alongside one another.

The tour starts in the street food heaven of Tha Din Daeng, and along the way takes in churches, mosques, Thai temples, and Chinese shrines, working its way through the Kudeejeen riverside district that was once settled by Chinese immigrants before they were relocated to the modern-day Chinatown. Stops include the striking Santa Cruz church and Wat Kalaya temple, along with a breather at the kind of coffee shop and bakery that’s so well hidden you would never find it otherwise – and which leads you to wonder how it survives given the apparent lack of passing trade. Here you’ll taste a local cake that was first introduced to Bangkok by the city’s earliest Portuguese immigrants, and which has been kept going to this day by their descendants. You’ll also visit the leafy and peaceful Princess Mother’s Memorial Park, stop by a humble street-side kitchen churning out vast quantities of Thai food for sale at markets elsewhere in the city, and spot street art created by local schoolchildren. This is a community you’ll struggle not to fall in love with!

Click here for more details on Diversity and Harmony and to took a tour.

Something totally unique…

Khlong Lat Mayom floating market, Bangkok - photo by Chris Wotton

At Expique, we’re in the business of showing our guests a totally unique and unexpected side to the city we call home. But there’s so much to Bangkok that we could never squeeze it all into our tours, no matter how hard we tried. If there’s an aspect of the Thai capital you would particularly like to explore, talk to us and we’ll arrange a tour that suits you. Whether you’re travelling as a family, a large group, or even as an individual with a big dose of curiosity and adventure, we can help show you the side of Bangkok that you’re keen to discover. Everything is possible, from photography-focussed tours of historic buildings, to street food munching walks, floating market tours, and intrepid discoveries of little-known local communities where other visitors don’t go – we can even provide tuk tuk convoys for weddings and other special events! We know Bangkok inside out, and it’s our mission and privilege to help you experience the city we love.

Contact us to find out more about a private or custom tour.

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Expique is an award-winning food and tuk tuk tour operator and content creator based in Bangkok and content creator.

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