Whilst Expique is very much a traditional Bangkok-based tour company we take a lot of inspiration from the emerging platforms like Airbnb. It’s platforms like this that keep our own creativity alive.
First came accommodation, and now activities: Airbnb’s foray into Experiences opens up a whole array of opportunities for local exploration to visitors to Bangkok and elsewhere in Thailand and beyond.
Whether it’s a local cooking class or a walking tour through a captivating yet little-known neighbourhood filled with captivating characters and scenes, Airbnb’s hosts give tourists a unique take on a side to Bangkok they might not otherwise see. They offer an invaluable local perspective that can transform the feelings and memories you’re left with after a visit to Thailand, while exposing you to the kind of locations and activities that aren’t always on offer by way of conventional tours.
If you’re looking for something truly unique – and, after all, that’s Expique’s forte in a nutshell (check out our own unique experiences in Bangkok)– here’s our pick of some of the best Airbnb Experiences in Bangkok.
Expique’s very own Alyssa – the chef behind the magic of the cooking classes in Bangkok at our sister operation, The Market Experience, inside the 24-hour wholesale flower market Pak Khlong Talat – offers a Airbnb Experience that’s one of a kind. More than a regular cooking class, Alyssa’s Flower Fun: Thai Cooking & Floral Art experience allows you to make the most of the beautifully fresh produce – flowers, fruits, vegetables and more – to cook up some amazingly innovative dishes.
Starting with a guided walk through Pak Khlong Talat flower market itself to allow you to benefit from Alyssa’s extensive knowledge of the market’s history, culture and operations, you’ll then settle down beside the mighty Chaophraya river for an hour-long class with a market vendor, in which you’ll pick up the skill to thread your own garlands from the market’s colourful bounty. These kind of garlands are used for religious and spiritual offerings across Thailand, and learning how to make them yourself will equip you with a more intimate insight into Thai culture. Then it’s back to The Market Experience’s cooking studio – with a gorgeous aerial view over the trading action below – to cook up two Thai dishes specially adapted to incorporate flowers and other ingredients that Pak Khlong Talat does best.
The romantic allure of Bangkok’s back streets lends itself to impressive street photography like that of few other cities. Simply wandering the alleys and laneways of the Thai capital’s offbeat residential neighbourhoods can leave you with captivating shots that provide lasting memories of your trip, wow friends and loved ones back home, and even form the backbone of a professional photography portfolio.
But everyone has to start somewhere, and finding those precise spots to get gorgeous Thai street photography shots can prove a challenge without an intimate knowledge of the city – especially from the perspective of a photographer. That’s where professional architect, product designer and photographer Peter’s ‘secret spots’ Bangkok street photography experience comes in.
A few hours with Peter gives you the opportunity not only to tap into this extensive knowledge of Bangkok’s various neighbourhoods and the best spots to capture mesmerising, in-the-moment stills of authentic local street life, but also to hone your own photographic skills with the benefit of Peter’s expertise. It makes no odds whether you’re a professional yourself and simply looking for fresh inspiration in a new city, or a total beginner shooting only on an iPhone (and, in any case, Peter can even lend you one of his pro cameras to use on the tour). Either way, you’ll come away with a brand new take on life in Bangkok – and some incomparable photos to prove it.
Food is at the heart of Thai culture, and there’s no better way to get a first feel for it than by exploring the street food for which Bangkok is renowned worldwide. Most street food tours focus on already well-known and tourist-centred areas in downtown Bangkok, but this Airbnb Experience from Dwight and Panisha – behind social enterprise the Courageous Kitchen, one of our picks among Bangkok’s cooking schools – takes place out in the more local-feeling residential suburbs in the east of the capital.
Explore local markets, get to know unique Thai street food dishes, and discover the big issues behind Bangkok’s street food culture. The same hosts also run a Thai cooking class – for which the Courageous Kitchen is famed – at their nearby home, which makes a great complementary experience to follow up with.
Is a conventional walking tour around Bangkok not quite energetic enough for you? Then this Airbnb experience was made with you in mind. There’s no need to stop yourself at plain old walking when you can take in some of Bangkok’s most famous and photogenic sights – as well as plenty that everyday visitors don’t even notice – while you break a sweat running around the city!
Host Ratchanee welcomes runners of all levels and abilities, and promises an experience where visitors can run, see and eat – taking in everything from ancient Buddhist temples to modern-day street art and graffiti by famous local artists. The run itself tracks an 8km route from the Silom downtown central business district area all the way to the equally bustling Chinatown neighbourhood, where it ends with a street food feast – what better reward for all that exertion?
Take a look at the back of the Thai coins in your purse or wallet, and you’ll see depictions of various famous and nationally prestigious Thai Buddhist temples. This Airbnb Experience, led by host Taro, gives you the chance to explore all of those renowned temples in one convenient and culturally immersive day trip.
Taking the legwork out of getting between temples in various different parts of Bangkok, Taro’s experience offering includes transport by private car to allow you to quickly and easily hop between the sights. You’ll take in the four temples depicted on Thailand’s one-, two-, five- and ten-baht coins, namely Wat Benchamabophit (the Marble Temple), Wat Saket (home to the Golden Mount), Wat Phra Kaew (within the Grand Palace compound), and Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn). As well as transport, this currency- themed experience includes lunch and admission to all four temples.
Even today, agriculture remains at the heart of Thai culture, so what better way could there be to get a deeper understanding of it than to get to work on a real Thai farm? And this experience doesn’t just take you to any old farm, but a gorgeous family-run coconut farm in Bangkok’s neighbour Mahachai province.
Host Yhong returned from studying for a master’s degree in San Francisco to help run the family coconut farm, and since then has opened the place up to welcome visitors curious to find out more about life on a Thai farm. Visit Yhong to take part in this unique Airbnb experience and you’ll get to dress up in traditional Thai farming garb as you learn how to grow coconuts, rice, and other typical Thai crops, water the farm’s plants using an old-style method, and join the family to tuck into a delicious Thai meal prepared using the very vegetables you have spent the day farming!
If none of these catch your fancy then you of course can check out one of our tours.
At Expique, we’re experts at showing you the unique parts of Bangkok 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 bangkok and ensure you leave with a memorable experience.
Are you visiting Bangkok? Take a look at our expert recommendations for:
Have you taken part in a memorable Airbnb Experience in Bangkok? Let us know in the comments!
All photos by Airbnb Experiences hosts