While at Expique we clearly love Tuk Tuk Tours and Food Experiences, there are so many other great passionate companies in Bangkok offering a range of niche experiences, that we thought we would share some of our favorites, and in our minds the best tour in Bangkok.
Recent years have seen a number of innovative tour operators emerge in Bangkok, and they now offer a wide range of unique and immersive experiences for visitors to Thailand’s capital. Many of them are run by super-passionate young and entrepreneurial young Thais. Whether you’re interested in food, culture, history, religion, or something else entirely, chances are there’s a tour designed for you that will enable you to get to know Bangkok and its local communities and lesser-known attractions on a whole new level. It’s all a far cry from the traditional cookie-cutter tours of popular tourist sights of the past. These are some of Expique’s favourite unique experiences that let you get a real feel for Bangkok.
Nok is one of the loveliest tour company owners in Bangkok. Having worked for many years for the equally great Grasshopper Adventures, it is no surprise she is starting to build quite a reputation. Just Nok’s unique cycling tour takes you on a ride across the Chaophraya river from bustling modern-day Bangkok to laid-back, more traditional Thonburi. The tour traces Bangkok’s development as the capital of Thailand, and packs in sights that aim to surprise visitors as to the different ways of life from one side of the city to the other, divided only by the river. Take in the vibe of an abandoned 18th-century temple, witness small-scale traditional industry at work, and get a feel for local transport as you ride a cross-river ferry.
Faiy and Good are a husband and wife who run SiamRise and they have a true passion for community based tourism, responsible travel and FOOD! ‘If Chinatown is heaven for street food lovers, Talat Phlu is paradise.’ That’s the claim behind SiamRise’s Thonburi Street Food Trails tour, and it’s hard to disagree (and we love eating our way around Chinatown!) Taking in the under-visited area of Talat Phlu across the river in Thonburi, you’ll get up close to historic temples like Wat Intharam while tucking into street food delicacies in an area that’s famed among locals for its variety of sidewalk feasting possibilities.
Bangkok Vanguards – which bills itself as a coming-together of locals, die-hard Bangkok fans and explorers, conservationists, and foodies – says sightseeing was yesterday. Michael who runs Bangkok Vanguards, is half-Thai and half-German, and having grown up in Germany is now on a mission to show people the country he loves and the stories behind the places and the people. That’s why their Bangkok Three Sixty experience aims to immerse you deep into the complex identity of the multi-faceted city that the Thai capital is today, giving you the chance to get to know a city that has so many more faces than most visitors ever expect. From contrasting forms of public transport to the differences between high-flying neighbourhoods and local communities, and the ways of life of those adhering to the countless religions represented, this is an introduction to Bangkok as you have never seen it before.
Local Alike is the poster child of Thai Social Enterprises and run by the super passionate and entrepreneurial team who really want to make a difference. Just about as immersive as it’s possible for tours to get, the A Day as a Fisherman experience takes you to the slower-paced Bang Khuntien district towards Bangkok’s southern border, and introduces you to the local seaside community whose lives revolve around what they can catch from the water. You’ll get a feel for rustic transport like songthaew trucks and local trains as you head to the closest ‘beach’ to downtown Bangkok, then once you’re there you’ll pluck fresh-as-it-gets seafood from the on-site cockle pond, paddle in the local canal, and tuck into a delicious, freshly prepared seafood meal, all before heading back to the lights of the big city.
As far as food tour guides go, Chin is up there with the best and her food tours are some of the most innovative (while still taking you to the most original places). Ditch hectic Bangkok life and head for a canalside community in Mae Klong province with tour guide and keen cook Chin. You’ll go shopping for fresh ingredients at the local market or Tha Kha floating market, before setting up for an afternoon cooking class in a sustainably built countryside kitchen on the grounds of a coconut orchard. There’s a real focus on lovingly, painstakingly prepared Thai dishes that follow traditional recipes – meaning you’ll be using homegrown herbs and even pressing your own coconut milk from fruits freshly plucked from the trees outside.
Expique’s spin-off The Market Experience has an edge that few Bangkok tour operators can offer: we don’t just take you to a market, but we are based right inside Pak Khlong Talat 24-hour flower market, one of Bangkok’s most famous markets of all. From our workshop space on the second floor of the market, we have an enviable bird’s-eye view of the trading space below. When you join our Thai Cooking with a Twist cooking class, you’ll not only get to experience the very heart and soul of Pak Khlong Talat, Thailand’s largest wholesale market for fresh flowers, but you’ll learn how to use them in unique twists on traditional Thai cooking – and eat what you make!Discover the wide array of flowers, fruits, vegetables and spices on sale here, throw them into some delicious Thai dishes – and hear the stories of the locals selling the produce, and even how Buddhist offerings and Thai cultures and traditions fit into market life.
Run by sisters Achi and Mint, Hivesters is a social enterprise and travel company offering unique and sustainable travel experiences in Thailand. Last year they were involved in the Appear project which was a collaboration with the UNDP, and Culture, Sports and Tourism Department, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and aimed to match leading urban hotels and 6 endangered communities that include: Nang Loeng, Bang Lamphu, Ban Bu, Koh Sarn Chao, Bang Kradi andHua Takhe. Technically this is not one single experience like the others we have mentioned, but an interesting company and project for you to catch out.
Our flagship Bangkok tuk tuk tour takes you on an exhilarating journey around the Thai capital, not only visiting some lesser-known sights, but also experiencing them and other Bangkok attractions by the dark of night, including stunning Wat Pho temple and the bustling Pak Khlong Talat flower market. Travelling by night allows you to see a totally different side to the city, as well as escaping the notorious daytime heat and traffic. You’ll get an introduction to the history and culture behind the places we visit, as well as the chance to sample local Thai foods along the way. If you search on Viator for most popular tour in Asia this comes at the top – but you are better booking direct with us!
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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Which are your favourite tours and experiences in Bangkok? Let us know in the comments!
All photos by relevant tour operators
Want to explore more of Thailand? Contact us about arranging to come on a custom-curated adventure with Expique.