Besides shopping and eating in Bangkok, there's plenty to experience on a day trip out of the city for an all-rounded holiday in Thailand.
Bangkok is a great base for day trips less than two hours away from the city. After enjoying all the modern comforts in a big city, it's time to explore other food, shopping, entertainment and sightseeing options in small towns and islands nearby. Without the high rise buildings, big shopping malls and fast food chains peppered in Bangkok, you'll get a glimpse of the traditional Thai way of life in the floating markets, learn about each town's history or unleash your inner adrenaline junkie on the thrill rides in an amusement park.
Photo credit: Local Guides Connect
Just north of Bangkok, Pathum Thani is a province heavily populated by the Mon ethnic group. There are 186 temples and parks in the province, including the Dream World amusement park. A major attraction that draws both Bangkok residents and day-trippers, the amusement park contains more than 40 imported thrill rides, including Asia's first hanging roller coaster, as well as a model of the Grand Canyon where visitors can go river rafting.
With so many temples in Pathum Thani, it can be difficult to decide which one to see. If there's one you must see, it's Wat Chedi Hoi - a temple with a pagoda made of giant oyster shells. A famous tourist attraction, the temple's unique architecture is a rare sight in Thailand.
Hungry after a day of activity? Slurp up a few bowls of noodles at Boat noodle praya rangsit klong1 and continue your day shopping for board shorts and pants at Kang-Pla and make cashless payments with VIA.
Distance from Bangkok by train and taxi: 1h17m
Getting there: Take any train from Bangkok's Hua Lumphong Railway Station which stops at Rangsit Market. From Rangsit, it’s a short taxi ride to Pathum Thani.
Photo credit: Pricha MJ | CC 4.0
Located at the mouth of the Chao Phraya river south of Bangkok, Samut Prakan aka Pak Nam offers visitors a slew of attractions that open a window into the city's rich heritage and natural beauty. In Samut Prakan, you can visit the Muang Boran Ancient City, one of the biggest outdoor museums in the world consisting of replicas of Thailand's most important heritage sites. Other museums worth seeing are the Erawan Museum for the three-headed elephant statue and the huge reclining Buddha in the Wat Bang Phli Yai Klang temple.
If you prefer spending the day in nature, head to Buang Pu Seaside, a bird watching and sunset viewing spot inhabited by migratory seagulls from October to May. For a breath of fresh air, you can go cycling in Si Nakhon Khuean Khan Park and Botanical Garden. Known as the lung of Bangkok, the green park is a safe haven for local flora and fauna and an escape from the polluted air in the city. Here, you can still catch a glimpse of local village life as villagers still live in rustic stilted houses built over water and tend to their farms on the individual plots of land as they've been doing for hundreds of years.
Not to be missed, the Bang Nampheung Floating Market is a quaint canalside market where you can snack on some Thai desserts.
For dinner, enjoy a scrumptious hotpot at Rongtom Shabu Suki, and pay for your meal with VIA for a fuss-free cashless transaction.
Distance from Bangkok by train: 35min
Directions: Take BTS from Ratchathewi to Pak Nam
Photo credit: topntp26 on freepik.com
Known for its temples, markets and parks, the riverside charm of Nonthaburi deserves attention. There are many interesting attractions here, like the Victoria Water Lily Garden where you can stand or sit on giant lily pads (if you weigh below 60kg). To cool off from the heat, go for a swim at Fantasia Lagoon, a colourful waterpark located above The Mall Ngamwongwan. Those with a need for speed will love driving the electric go-karts at IMPACT Speed Park.
To travel back in time, head to Chomchei The House of Memories, a period movie set that's designed to look like a Thai city in the early 20th century. This fascinating tourist destination is well known by locals but remains largely undiscovered by visitors from abroad. Here, you'll see exhibits of old phone boxes, vintage cameras, retro storefronts, hair salons, a train station and even a small floating market. There are also a couple of stores selling period pieces as souvenirs to take home.
Don't forget to drop by the Owl Market, a large market with a plethora of vendors selling all types of food from grilled seafood to noodles to desserts and much more. There's also a section in the market dedicated to fashion and accessories at prices lower than Bangkok's markets.
In Nonthaburi, there's also a number of VIA merchants like Dibte, Yellow Mellow, likit kaiyan, and Jae Lang Fishball Noodle, where you can make cashless transactions for shopping and dining.
Distance from Bangkok by train: 1h4m
Directions: Take the blue line MRT from Sam Yot, switch to the purple line at Tan Poon MRT station and alight Nonthaburi Civic Center.
Photo credit: 123rf.com
Located in Nonthaburi off the beaten path, Koh Kret is a small man-made island in the Chao Phraya river. Dating back to 1722, Koh Kret serves as a refuge for the Mon people who immigrated from Burma 200 years ago and have preserved their distinct cultural and religious identities which can be seen in the terracotta, pottery and Buddhist temples on the island. The best time to go to Koh Kret is on a weekend when the Koh Kret weekend market is open and you can enjoy a relaxing day trip of walking and eating. You can also visit the pottery villages where you can witness the artistic process and creation of the pottery by local artisans, and buy some of the ceramic vessels to take home. Spanning just 3km, you can spend the day walking or cycling around the island, and whilst doing so, you'll come across several street food eateries and restaurants to dine in when you're hungry.
Distance from Bangkok by train and boat: 1h20m
Directions: Take MRT to Nonthaburi. From Nonthaburi Pier, buy tickets on the longtail boat to Koh Kret.
Photo by: Khunkay | CC 4.0
Known locally as Mae Klong, Samut Songkhram is home to floating markets, sacred temples and the famous Mae Khlong railway market. Start your day at the Mae Khlong railway market, set up right by a train track that a train runs through every few hours. As the warning bell rings over the speakers, vendors pull back their awnings and shift their fresh produce just enough to avoid being run over by the wheels. Once the train has passed, vendors move their products back into position like nothing ever happened. This unique market attracts tourists who want to witness this phenomenon. Trains will arrive at Mae Klong Station at 8.30am., 11.10am, 2.30pm and 5.40pm., and depart the station at 6.20am, 9.00am, 11.30am and 3.30pm, so time your visit to ensure that you won't miss this event.
A must-see, Wat Bang Kung is a concrete temple inside a Banyan tree. The temples isn't constructed inside a tree; the roots of the tree have grown around the temple, which makes it an interesting sight to behold.
There are 5 floating markets in Samut Songkhram, but the vibrant Amphawa Floating Market is the most famous by far as it opens every weekend. As the riverbank comes alive in the evening with boats selling freshly grilled seafood, dessert, fruits and a large variety of hot food and beverages, you'll get an authentic traditional Thai floating market experience.
If you're a fan of Thai desserts, the Thai Dessert Museum in Amphawa district is a must-see. In the museum, hyper realistic models of desserts from different eras are on display. You can see desserts from the Sukhothai, Ayutthaya and Rattanakosin eras, red and white dessert balls, sweets in glass jars, desserts in clay pots, pickled desserts, desserts preserved in syrup, mixed ice desserts and more.
Distance from Bangkok by train and bus: 2h15m
Directions: Take a train from Wongwianyai Railway Station in Bangkok, get off at Mahachai Railway Station, and then take a bus to Samut Songkhram.
Escape the hustle and bustle of Bangkok for a day and visit the peaceful nearby towns and provinces. Rich with cultural heritage, you'll get to experience an authentic traditional Thai way of life on these day trips. Besides cultural heritage sites, there are also plenty of fun attractions to excite you. These provinces are easily accessible by train, and you can even spot VIA merchants that let you enjoy cash-free QR code payments with Singtel Dash.
Remember: Download Singtel Dash app and watch out for the VIA logo whenever you shop in Bangkok. A cash-free, convenient and exciting day trip awaits!