In the morning light, Bangkok just looks like any other cosmopolitan city in Asia—hot, concrete-covered, dusty, and full of people going to and from work. Don’t let first impressions fool you. Bangkok hides it secrets very well! What looks like an empty, peaceful stretch of commercial road in the mornings becomes quite the scene come nightfall!
To really see the beauty of Bangkok at night, start out at Chinatown when the sun has properly set—the lights and the new shops that pop-up by sundown are captivating. From here, exploring this section of the city is most interesting by foot or by bicycle, especially if you visit the Flower Market nearby which is most active at night! There are many things to see in this section alone by night and one night might not even be enough to see it all.
If you get tired of Chinatown, hop on a private car (if you took a tour) or a tuk-tuk to drive past the Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha, Wat Phra Keow, the temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the fortifications of Phra Arthit Road—all are stunning at night, well-lit and golden against the city’s horizon. The most beautiful temple at night, however, is the Wat Arun. It glistens in the morning sunlight, but at night it is lit up so bright that its seashell, precious stones, and glass covering glimmers like a gold and white beacon of peace across Bangkok.
If you’re into shopping, the night market always comes up too. Check it out for good prices, to see how people are different when it’s the evening commute; maybe watch a beggar play their erhu for your enjoyment under the streetlights.
Of course, nothing says getting to know a city unless you go out to party at night. Khaosan road is a popular spot for backpackers and travelers, and as a result have some of the best and traveler-friendly bars in the city. The many hostels and locals ensure that it is a consistent melting pot. But the best thing about this road happens during Songkran, when the street becomes a continuous street party to celebrate the Thai New Year! So check the city out at night—mornings are usually quiet, but Bangkok is like a lotus that slowly blooms in the evening dew.