Bangkok in July
July is a fine time to visit Bangkok. Sure, you’re likely to get caught out in the odd monsoon shower or two, but it’s a small price to pay for shorter attraction queues, slightly more palatable flight and accommodation prices and (otherwise) generally clement weather. So pack the sunscreen, rain poncho and waterproof flip-flops and dive into our guide to the best things to do in Bangkok in July, including:
- Bangkok’s best water parks
- Pattaya beach bumming
- Must-see temples
- Chinatown feeding frenzies
- Bangkok pub crawls
- The Grand Palace
- Bangkok Flower Market
Wat a Lot of Temples
How many temples you visit while in Bangkok will depend how long you have. Got a couple of days? Make sure you hit up Wat Arun, where otherworldly porcelain-encrusted spires (or prangs) reach ever skywards and Chinese-style pavilions and demonic statues provide further IG-candy. Just across the river, Wat Pho features an extraordinary gilded reclining Buddha measuring some 46 meters long, as well as boasting some of Bangkok’s best Wat Arun views. If you’re in town for a week, be sure to add Chinatown’s Wat Traimit and croc-infested Wat Chakrawat to your list. It’s said that in all there are more than 30,000 temples in Bangkok. We won’t list them here, and nor should you attempt to visit all of them on your July trip!
Bangkok's July climate – pleasantly hot with the occasional refreshing shower – is perfect for beach bums. What better time to strike out for the picture-postcard white sands, breeze-ruffled palms and azure waters of Pattaya’s tropical beaches? Amazingly, you can make the two-hour trip by cab from Bangkok for somewhere in the order of $50-60, making it quite the affordable day trip, especially if traveling as a couple or small group. Sink your toes into the warm sand as you sip your second Mai Tai, take a dive around the coral reefs and sea-claimed shipwrecks, where tropical critters including hawksbill turtles and blue spot stingrays hold court or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, go for a thrilling tandem skydive over the coastal mountains.
Bangkok Flower Market
Bangkok’s premier flower fiesta inspires all manner of clichéd superlatives. It’s a riot of color, a feast for the senses, a party in your nostrils and, quite simply, a blooming great way to spend your morning. Watch vendors prepare temple offerings, wedding bouquets and garlands from fresh orchids, lotus flowers, marigolds, jasmine flowers, roses and more, and surrender yourself to this oh-so-intoxicating sensory saturnalia. The best time to visit is early in the morning, when truckloads of blooms fresh from the provinces create great mountains of flowers. Better yet: you can pick up an elaborate bouquet to brighten up your Bangkok digs for less than a dollar.
Make Merry with Mangosteens
Flowers aren’t the only fresh produce you can get your hands on in Bangkok in July. For summer is the season when Thailand’s national fruit – the mangosteen – is at its sweet and juicy best. Find these perfect purple beauties at every market, mart and street stall worth its salt in July and pause a moment to sink your teeth into its delicious white flesh. You can also chow down on in-season favorites including refreshing rambutans, luscious lychees and, um, custardy custard apples at this time of year. Whether you also want to brave the divisive durian – the aroma of which has been compared to sweaty socks, raw sewage and plain garbage – is entirely at your own discretion.
Get Wet on Purpose
Cock a snook at the near-inevitable afternoon monsoon by beating it to the punch and getting drenched deliberately. Water World at Siam Amazing Park is perhaps your best local bet for watery high jinks and includes an absolutely massive wave pool, terrifying loop-the-loop water flumes and a seven-story rainbow slide that cannonballs brave souls into the pool below at frankly astonishing speeds. Or combine your aquatic adventures with a spot of air-conditioned retail therapy at the likes of the CentralPlaza Bangna and Bangkae shopping malls, both of which sport water parks on their roofs!
Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the largest on the planet; the kind of place you can spend hours getting lost down atmospheric side alleys, where crumbling gray buildings are revived by contemporary street murals and local craftspeople keep age-old trades alive in their tumbledown shops. Heady scents of incense mingle with the main event, kicking off an olfactory party that will lead you by the nose to some of the best roast duck, crab fried rice, pork-stuffed bao buns and fishball egg noodles this side of Beijing. Suitably fortified, stop by to say hey to the resident crocs at Wat Chakrawat and make a pilgrimage to Wat Traimit, home of the world’s biggest seated golden Buddha, a veritable 5.5-ton monster that’s worth something like $300m in real money.
The Grand Palace
Got room in your Insta feed for yet another wat? Then make for the Grand Palace, a photographer’s dream of picture-perfect pavilions, fairytale spires and, well, yet another Buddha. But this is no ordinary Buddha. It’s only the most sacred Buddha in all of Thailand, an extraordinary 15th-century artifact that only the Thai king is permitted to touch. The palace and its temple are of course great to visit at any time of year but are especially handy in monsoon season, when a sudden downpour provides the ideal excuse to duck inside a colorful pavilion or superlative state room.
Bangkok Bar Crawl
Bangkok’s nightlife is legendary and – bar dodging the occasional evening cloudburst – July is a great time to experience it. Take the difficulty out of deciding where to go by joining a pub crawl like this one, which takes in Hooters bar, beer pong and the legendary Insanity nightclub. Or create your own itinerary for a night out on Khaosan Road, the city-center hub of Bangkok’s party scene, a mind-melting mini-metropolis of neon lights, pulsating beats, nuclear cocktails and street performers, where making new friends, dancing a lot and remembering very little next morning are all par for the course.