Thailand was one of my first destinations as a full time travel photographer. During my first months in Thailand, I stayed several weeks in Bangkok to find the best photography spots. In this list you’ll find my favourite spots. With these spots, I hope to motivate you and inspire you to create the most beautiful photos during your time in Bangkok.
In This Post
Where to stay?
- If you’re a first time traveler to Bangkok, it can be overwhelming to find the right accommodation. There are many good areas, but it totally depends on your plans in the city.
- My personal favourite area: Around the areas of Asok and Phrom Phong. You’ll find proper hotels, parks, malls and great public transportation options.
- For party and nightlife: Around Khao San Road
- For the famous tourist sights: Around Silom Road
- Nice riverside hotels: Around ICONSIAM mall.
- Conrad Bangkok ($$) – Conrad is part of the Hilton brand and known as one of their top properties. The rooms are spacious, offer a view and there’s a big pool to cool down during the hot days. One of my favourite things is that everything in the room is smart. Electric blinds, toilet seats, you name it. You can find a room in this 5 star hotel for about $160 a night, which makes it one of the cheapest Conrad hotels to stay at.
- Millennium Bangkok ($$) – Just like Conrad, Millennium is part of the Hilton brand. This hotel has amazing riverside views and is located next to the IconSiam mall. I spent some nights here for Christmas and it was one of my best experiences. The breakfast buffet is one of the biggest I’ve ever seen in a hotel. The price range is similar to Conrad, starting from about $150 a night.
- Ariston Hotel ($) – Looking for a cheap place to stay while still being in a good area? Ariston might be a great fit. This hotel offers free breakfast, a swimming pool and is located close to a BTS station. The rooms are nothing special, but I’ve used it a couple of times and have always been satisfied with my experience. Room rates start from about $40 a night.
Getting around is cheap and easy. The public transportation system is very advanced – except the buses – but hey, they’re a great experience! If you’re with two or more, the taxi will usually be your cheapest option. Always make sure they use the metered rate!
Bangkok is supposed to be the city with the biggest China Town in the world. It offers loads of good photo opportunities at day and at night. The best way to explore the area is to get lost in the streets. You’ll find temples, Chinese billboards, loads of jewellery stores and a lot of different nations all in one place.
I haven’t been able to take my bucket list shot in China Town. At the beginning of Yaowarat Road, the most famous street of China Town, you’ll find the Gateway Arch. The gate to China Town. It’s also known as the Odeon Circle, and it’s a beautiful spot to start or end your China Town trip.
Many photographers have been able to capture beautiful light trails of cars around the roundabout, with the Gateway Arch as the main subject of their image. To achieve this result, you have to enter a parking garage. Without a car, you won’t be able to enter this parking lot. The security guards have refused entrance to numerous photographers, and it doesn’t seem like you can easily convince them to take photos. I took my loss and went for a lower angle instead.
How to get to China Town in Bangkok?
The most common way is to take the metro line until Hua Lamphong, walk to the main gate and take it from there. Once you’re done you can leave by taking the metro again at Sam Yot or Sanam Chai. Of course this works vice versa as well! The other option is to take a taxi/Grab, but make sure to get dropped off at a strategical point, so you won’t be stuck in a traffic jam. This link leads you to the Odeon Circle, a good starting point for your day trip!
The Trains Of Bangkok
Photographing the trains of Bangkok has been popular for a while and I have to admit that it was my number one favourite place to shoot in Bangkok. You can find wonderful green spots in traditional areas where people don’t see too many tourists. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to shoot some daily life of the people living along the tracks. It felt like the best escape from the crowded and polluted streets of Bangkok. Again, I loved it here.
How to get there?
It’s a bit hard to get to the best locations. Of course a taxi would help you out. Try to get dropped off around the Wat Sai station and walk along the track until you find a place you’re happy with! More on a budget? Take the BTS until Wutthakat and walk southwards until the Chom Thong station. This is one of the famous stations to shoot, but not the best one in my opinion. Instead: walk southbound next to the tracks until you find your interesting places. This is a link to my favourite station and area.
Bring a smartphone with 4G/5G, go to Google Maps and tap on the station when you’re around. It will give you a timetable with the estimated time of arrival of the train. This can save you huge amounts of time while you’re waiting in the heat. It also turned out to be pretty accurate. Of course there’s more to shoot than just the trains, but most of the people want to have at least some decent train shots when they’re coming here!
The Skyline of Bangkok
Just as any other huge city in Southeast Asia, Bangkok offers some amazing skyline views. In my opinion, the best views can be found from the IconSiam mall. Head up to the Starbucks on the 7th floor, take a coffee and embrace the views on the rooftop terrace. There are some fancy bars and restaurants on the 5th floor as well, but the views are best on the 7th. Keep in mind that this is not a sunset spot, but you’ll have the sun in your back shooting the skyline. This gives you the best view possible of lebua at State Tower, as seen in the Hangover pt II. It also gives you a view of King Power Mahanakhon, the famous tower that offers a skywalk. If you look closely, you can see it on the picture above. If you fancy a lower point of view, you’ll have multiple options as well. Have a look next to the river or visit the terraces of the first floor, there are endless possibilities!
How to get there?
There are a couple of ways to get here. There is a BTS stop, but it requires you to transfer at Krung Thon Buri and it’s quite a detour. You could also take the boat at Sathon pier, which requires you to stop at the Saphan Taksin stop. I prefer this last option, to have a small trip on the river as well. Sometimes there’s a free shuttle boat for IconSiam (especially on the weekends), but you can take the regular ones as well. Before you take the boat or once you return at Saphan Taksin, you can take a walk through the area too. It brings you close to lebua at State Tower and it’s where I took the close up shot! Quick link to the IconSiam mall? Click here!
Street Life of Bangkok
Bangkok is known as a city with bustling street life. That’s why I love to check out the open garages, peak hour traffic light situations, or people running their street food businesses. For this kind of photography, you don’t need a certain location. It’s all about keeping your eyes open, create your own compositions and shoot what makes you happy!
There’s one important side note: if you want to take a picture of someone and his face is recognisable, make sure he or she (be extra careful with ladies) agrees to take a picture. Don’t harm people’s privacy and make sure they understand what you’re doing. If they agree, you should show them the picture after it’s taken, or send them the photo after you’ve edited it. I’m not the biggest fan of giving payment. If it’s a person with a shop, you could buy something to support their business.
The Big Golden Buddha
The newest spot in this list is the giant Buddha, located on the east side of Menam River. It’s better known as Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen. You came here for this, am I right? This 69m tall Buddha statue has just been finished in 2021 and is visible from a lot of viewpoints in Bangkok. This makes it an extremely interesting location to shoot, with both tele lenses and wide angle options. The best view of Wat Paknam is in my opinion from Tha Phra station, but there are other interesting spots as well! I didn’t get to visit the other locations, but with some Instagram research it must be possible to find the spots.
How to get there?
The best way to enter the area of Wat Paknam, is by taking the MRT to Tha Phra station. This station has multiple levels and will give you amazing views with the condo’s behind the statue. Make sure you bring your tele lens (at least 200mm) for this! Of course you should head closer as well and you’ll find many other options to shoot this magnificent statue. Click here for Google Maps directions.
King Power Mahanakhon
This famous tower is a tower you can’t miss during your time in Bangkok. I don’t say that you have to climb it, but it will give you a stunning view over the city! I didn’t climb the tower myself, but I did walk around to get the best shot. Again, I wanted to enter a parking garage to shoot it with the BTS, but they didn’t let me enter it.
How to get there?
The best way to enter the area of Wat Paknam, is by taking the BTW to Chong Nonsi. This station lies right underneath the King Power MahaNakhon tower, so you’ll be at the right spot! If you have a car and want to try to get into the parking garage, head here. In terms of lens recommendations, a wide angle like a 16-35mm is probably your best bet to get the full tower in frame! If you climb the tower or want to shoot details like I did, bring a tele lens like a 70-200.
Wat Arun Temple
The beautiful Wat Arun temple can not be missed. The wonderful temple lits up every night and with the sun setting behind, you can expect wonderful scenes. Just make sure you arrive around 5pm! If you’re not able to visit this place at sunset, make sure you visit it in the morning as the sun will be in your back. During the bright afternoon, you have to deal with hard shadows and it just won’t look as nice. If you only get the chance to visit the temple during daytime, make sure you visit the temple itself!
How to get there?
Visiting the temple is nice and I highly recommend, but if you want the pictures as you’ve seen them online, you should head to the other side of the river. When I visited in December 2021, they were building a new temple on the place I took my shot, but we were still allowed to take pictures. Another option could be visiting one of the Wat Arun-view restaurants. You’ll find lots of them. Extra recommendation: Take a walk around the area right after sunset. There are some alleys giving you wonderful street shots with Wat Arun in the back!
Thanks to Instagram, this place gained a lot of interest over the last years. Ancient City is a Thailand shaped park where you can travel through the cultural highlights of the country within a day. You’ll find temples as in Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, but also Bangkok. Some of the most unique creatures are captured above. The park is so huge that you’ll need a bike (included in ticket price) or a golf cart to see all the hotspots. Make sure you take your time here and don’t just visit for ‘the shots’!
How to get there?
The best way to reach this spot is by BTS and Songtaew. Songwhat? Let me translate: Song = Two, Taew = Bench. Two benches. Still no clue? You will find them everywhere in Thailand and once you understand the system, it’s a very very convenient way of travelling from one place to another, especially if there is a shortage of public transportation available. They will wait for you at the end of Kheha station and tell them you want to visit Ancient City. You hop in and check your Google Maps when you arrive in front of the place. You press the stop button, pay 10B and you’re good to go. On the way back it’s a bit harder as you have to cross the road, stop a songtaew and from there it’s the same game until you reach Kheha BTS Station. Easy as that!
Well, this one is a bit controversial. If you came here to find how to find the classic Instagram photography spot of the Bhumibol Bridge, I have to disappoint you. Here’s why. The Bhumibol Bridge is a golden bridge, or actually two bridges, having two huge pillars each. You can see them from many rooftop bars in Bangkok and they get lit up at night with some beautiful lights. Getting to the photography spot is a shared secret between local photographers. You need private transportation and being at the spot is not safe. I’ve been there, but won’t recommend you to go to the same place. Also, the sky usually gets polluted so most people will use a sky correction to make it more impressive. The photos taken below were taken while driving the bridges (as a passenger) with my camera out of the window! To get the best shots, I would recommend to visit the neighbourhoods around the bridge. You could bring your drone, something I’d love to do on my next visit! Be creative!
Bonus: Salt Flats of Phetchaburi
If you have a lot of time in Bangkok or if you’re traveling towards the islands after, why not hop on a train to Phetchaburi first? The salt flats are beautiful, especially when captured with a drone. Besides that, there are other cool sights to capture, such as the Tham Khao Luang cave or Wat Khao Wang. Head over to my post where I tell you all you need to know about visiting the salt flats of Phetchaburi.