What to do in Bangkok: the culture-hungry traveller’s guide

Tour Bangkok: what to do and see in the city, from dazzling restaurants and retail to inspiring art galleries and happening hotels, as reviewed by Wallpaper* contributor Shawn Adams

archway at Ojo Bangkok restaurant, part of our guide to what to do in Bangkok
Ojo Bangkok, a Mexican restaurant located 76 floors up at The Standard Bangkok hotel
(Image credit: Courtesy Ojo)

Bangkok has traditionally been well-known as a fast-paced metropolis full of energy and excitement, and in recent years has seemingly slowed down due to the pandemic. However, with global travel restrictions now loosened, the city is reclaiming its spot as a coveted destination for culture-hungry travellers. From sprawling retail stores and dazzling restaurants, to awe-inspiring contemporary galleries and impressive new hotels, there is something for everyone in this lively Asian capital. Writer Shawn Adams picks out some of the newest and hottest spots in his guide to what to do in Bangkok.

WHAT TO DO IN BANGKOK 2023

The Standard Bangkok hotel

Outdoor shot of futuristic building at bangkok rooftop bar

The Sky Beach at The Standard Bangkok

(Image credit: Courtesy The Standard Hotels)

The Standard Bangkok is the established international brand’s newest Asian flagship. Located in the monumental 78-floor King Power Mahanakhon tower, designed by German architect Ole Scheeren, the world-class hotel is nestled in the heart of the historic city. Boasting 155 stylish rooms designed by Jaime Hayon and ranging from 40 sq m to 144 sq m, the complex also includes a terrace pool, a viewing platform with breathtaking views across Bangkok, a sleek fitness centre, a spa, and a selection of dynamic restaurants.

standardhotels.com (opens in new tab)

Att 19

wall hanging and table and chairs in bangkok

(Image credit: Courtesy Att 19)

This contemporary art gallery, launched in 2019, is a creative space located in the historic neighbourhood of Charoenkrung. Formerly a school, today the multidisciplinary institution features a wide array of antiques and art pieces along with a restaurant and exhibition space for cultural programming. Showcasing the work of Thai talent and international artists, this is the perfect spot to visit for any avid art lover. Located in a structure that is over 120 years old, the building oozes heritage and culture.

@att19.bkk

Apple Central World

Apple Central World, Bangkok

Apple Central World, Bangkok

(Image credit: © Bear and Terry)

Apple’s largest retail store in Thailand is a sophisticated glass structure. A landmark at the heart of Ratchaprasong, the building is situated on the southern end of the Central World Square shopping complex. Visitors can experience all things Apple across two levels, which are carefully linked by an elegant spiral staircase. Designed by Foster + Partners, the tech store cleverly blurs the lines between interior and exterior spaces.

apple.com (opens in new tab)

Ojo Bangkok

Food shot from bangkok restaurant ojo, black circle with brown triangle on top

Food served at Ojo restaurant at The Standard Bangkok

(Image credit: Courtesy Ojo)

Located at The Standard Bangkok, on the 76th floor of the King Power Mahanakhon tower, Ojo is an exciting Mexican-themed restaurant helmed by South American chef Francisco ‘Paco’ Ruano. Masterfully clad in gold and pink details, the refined, somewhat retro interior is a visually intriguing backdrop for the Guadalajara-inspired cuisine, where creative twists meet fresh flavours. Offering panoramic views across Bangkok with access to a rooftop bar, it is one of the city’s most stylish destinations.

standardhotels.com (opens in new tab)

Infinity Spa

room by space popular, at infinity spa in bangkok

A Space Popular-designed room at Infinity Spa in Bangkok

(Image credit: © Wison Tungthunya)

Infinity Spa is a blissful retreat from the bustling city, located in Sukhumvit. Housed inside two former shophouses the interior was designed by London-based, research-driven architecture studio Space Popular. The calming design features tranquil mint-green fittings and furniture, and pristine white walls. A lobby, bar, toilets, foot washing stations, as well as a trio of treatment rooms that cater to the facility’s range of relaxation offerings and facial rejuvenation therapies, can be found across three floors. It is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day of action. 

infinitywellbeing.com (opens in new tab)

Spice & Barley

twisting wooden sculptural pillar as part of Bangkok restaurant

(Image credit: Courtesy Spice & Barley. Photography: William Barrington-Binns)

Spice & Barley is a stunning gastro lounge led by one of Asia’s most established chefs, Sam Leong. Serving Southeast Asian cuisine, the restaurant is set inside a beautiful rattan interior designed by Thai-based architecture firm Enter Projects. Here, spectacular twisted geometries cling to the ceiling as light bounces around the 300 sq m space. Overlooking the Chao Phraya River, Spice & Barely not only features an eye-catching contemporary interior but is also situated in a prime riverside location.

spiceandbarley.com (opens in new tab)

MOCA Bangkok

Set in a purpose-built venue, Bangkok’s Museum of Contemporary Art showcases work collected by Thai businessman Boonchai Bencharongkul over the last 30 years. Approximately 800 pieces can be found across the five-storey building, making it one of the largest collections of modern paintings in Thailand. Located in Chatuchak, the museum’s permanent collection features some of the most respected Thai painters, such as Denpong Wongsaroj, Bundit Padungvichian and Lumpu Kansanoh.

mocabangkok.com (opens in new tab)

Jim Thompson House and Art Centre

foliage and red hut with flowers hanging from it in bangkok

The garden at the Jim Thompson House and Art Centre

(Image credit: Photography: Ed Freeman)

Nestled in the centre of Bangkok, Jim Thompson House was previously the home of the American architect and businessman who suddenly disappeared while on a visit to the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia in 1967. Made up of six teak buildings, today, the complex hosts the exhibition of its original owner’s eclectic collection of Asian artefacts. Inside, religious objects can be seen paired with intricate furniture from the region. Located on the same plot is the Jim Thompson Art Centre, where exhibitions showing local and international works take place alongside educational programmes.

jimthompsonhouse.org (opens in new tab); jimthompsonartcenter.org (opens in new tab)

Wallpaper* City Guide: Bangkok

Wallpaper* City Guide to Bangkok

(Image credit: Phaidon)

Find out more in the Wallpaper* City Guide to Bangkok, £8.95, phaidon.com (opens in new tab)