Bangkok has a diverse collection of entertainment options ranging from traditional cultural shows, transgender cabaret shows, modern world class but cheap cinemas, a thriving music scene and a range of spectator sports from the famous Muay Thai boxing through to an unlikely sounding local Ice hockey league. Popular activities for tourists include Thai cooking courses and cycling tours.
Bowling is extremely popular in Bangkok and Thai bowling alleys are ultra-modern and hi-tech while being inexpensive by western standards. During the daytime, they are generally a good place for a quiet game but when the evening comes, the lights go down, the music starts and it can seem more like a nightclub than a bowling alley. Neon lights and surround sound music systems are the norms. Each lane has its own comfortable seating area with waiter service and reasonably priced jugs of beer and food delivered to your table.
A game costs between 80 and 160 baht depending on the venue and time of day. Shoe hire is compulsory and costs about 30 baht. You must wear socks. The most impressive alley in Bangkok is Blu-O at Siam Paragon which boasts 38 lanes, 12 Karaoke rooms, and a decent in-house restaurant and bar service. The nearby SF Strike Bowl at MBK center has 26 lanes, lounge bar, restaurant, and a live DJ in the evenings to spin tunes while you’re bowling.
Siam Paragon: Blu-O, 5th floor. Open 11.00-24.00
MBK: SF Strike Bowl, 7th floor. Open 10.00-24.00
Esplanade Ratchada: Blu-O, 4th floor. Open Sunday-Thursday 12.00-24.00, Friday-Saturday 12.00-01.00
Major Sukhumvit Cineplex: Blu-O, 4th floor. Open Sunday-Thursday 12.00-24.00, Friday-Saturday 12.00-01.00
Bangkok’s cabaret shows feature music and dance performances by a host of transgender performers. The most famous venue is Calypso at Asiatique the Riverside.
Bangkok has some of the most modern cinemas in the world. Most cinemas are housed in large shopping malls or as mini Cineplex malls which also contain bowling alleys, karaoke, and a selection of small shops and chain restaurants. There are two established chains, Major and SFX who both show first-run Hollywood movies often long before they arrive in Europe. Bangkok also has two vintage 70’s theatres, the Lido and Scala who both show first-run Hollywood movies, and two IMAX theatres.
There are also a few Independent cinemas showing International and art-house films. Ticket prices are cheap by western standards. Expect to pay 50-60% less than you would do in Europe or Australia. Normal prices are 200 baht up to 260 baht. Most cinemas have a first-class theatre where prices start at around 300 baht and sometimes a luxury theatre where prices can be over 1000 baht.
Cheap ticket day is Wednesday where prices are discounted by 50%. Tickets are cheaper at the Independent theatres such as the Scala who charge 100 – 160 baht all day, every day. Drinks and popcorn are also significantly cheaper. Some cinemas have an attached lounge with alcohol on sale. Tickets can be bought at the cinema box office or from ticket machines (credit or debit cards only). They can also be booked online.
Hollywood movies are usually shown with the original English soundtrack and Thai subtitles. On the electronic show time board look for soundtrack or ENG to signify the movie is in English. Some western movies are sometimes dubbed into Thai, TH/- means Thai language only.
Always stand for the Thai national anthem which is played before all screenings. It is considered rude and insulting to Thailand not to.
Thai cinemas have vicious air-conditioning. If you feel the cold, consider bringing something that can cover exposed shoulders or arms.
If you want extra legroom, most theatres have an aisle about halfway down the auditorium with a row of seats removed. Select a seat facing the aisle here and you will have ample space to stretch out.
Don’t put your feet on the seat in front of you. It is considered extremely offensive to any Thais who may be sitting in it or next to it.
Turn your mobile phone off or put it on silent.
The film usually starts about 20 minutes after the official Showtime due to adverts and previews.
Where to watch a film in Bangkok? Click Here.
Urban Playground is Bangkok’s only centrally located indoor climbing wall and is located within the Racquet Sports Club. There are 7000 square feet of walls with different levels of difficulty, suitable for both beginners and experienced climbers. There are training courses available for beginners and all climbing is supervised by instructors. Climbing shoes and harnesses can be hired for 100/50 baht per day.
There is also a climbing shop on-site. A day pass also gives you access to other Racquet Club facilities such as a swimming pool, tennis court, squash court, futsal court, badminton court, fitness center, yoga studio and a sauna. There is also a coffee shop, and massage center as well as lockers and WIFI. A free shuttle bus between the Racquet club and BTS Phrom Phong runs hourly between 07.20 and 19.20 daily.
Location: The Racquet Club, Alley 8, Sukhumvit Soi 49, Bangkok.
District: Sukhumvit – Thonglor
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 13.00-22.00, Saturday-Sunday 10.00-22.00
Admission: Day Pass. Weekday 425 baht, under-18 325 baht, Weekend/Holiday 525 baht, under-18 425 baht.
Getting There: BTS Thonglor (exit 1). Turn right into Sukhumvit 49. Taxi about 40 baht or 15-minute walk. The club is in alley number 8 on the left-hand side. There is also a free hourly shuttle bus between the club and BTS Phrom Phong station.
If you like Thai food and would like to learn the secrets of Thai cooking Bangkok has many cooking schools offering classes. Most classes are half or full day and include the fundamentals and techniques as well as a chance to prepare and cook at least 4 dishes that you choose from a menu. Some schools take you to a local market to source your ingredients. After cooking you will get to sample what you’ve cooked and some schools even give you a certificate. The cost of a lesson runs from 1000 baht to 4000 baht depending on the School and length of the class.
A Cultural Show is a performance featuring traditional Thai music and dance designed for a tourist audience. The performances range from simple shows in a restaurant to full-blown theatre extravaganzas.
Want to see a Cultural Show in Bangkok? Click Here.
There are several companies offering guided cycling tours usually in small groups and are a good way to see a side of the city that is often hidden and you won’t see from the tour bus or taxi. Some popular routes are night tours of Rattanakosin, and day tours of the Thonburi khlongs and Chinatown. These tours are mostly off the beaten track sticking to the back streets thus avoiding the busy traffic on the main roads.
The best time to take a daytime tour is early morning or late afternoon when the weather is cooler. There are also some good tours to places on the outskirts of Bangkok taking in small villages, waterways, and temples or further afield to the historical city of Ayutthaya or the floating markets of Amphawa. These tours include conventional transport there and back, picking up the cycling route when you arrive. Most tours include a bike, guide, map, helmet, water, and snacks or a meal. The following companies offer a variety of tours ….
If you’d prefer to do it yourself a good option is to visit Ancient Siam which is an outdoor museum set in a countryside location just outside Bangkok, but easily accessible. Ancient Siam features scaled-down recreations of Thailand’s most historic monuments and free bicycles are included in the ticket price. The site is so big that it will take you several hours to cycle around and is highly recommended. In the city, the historic Rattanakosin district has an 8km cycle lane that follows a route taking in all the major sites. Bicycles can easily be hired around Khao San Road or may be provided free of charge by your hotel or guest house if you are staying in the area. Check the route map here.
Bangkok has three popular escape room venues. The games are an adventure where you are locked in a themed room and must solve a series of challenging puzzles, riddles and use elements of the room to escape within a certain time limit. A minimum number of 2 people must play, up to a maximum of 6 people. Game themes change every few months. Themes in Bangkok now include a prison break, a haunted hotel, a crime scene, Jack the Ripper, Zombies and escaping from a tomb in ancient Egypt. Reservations can be made online at a discounted rate or just turn up and play (if your room of choice is available).
Location: Escape Room, 7th floor, MBK Mall, Phayathai Road.
Opening Hours: 10.00-22.00 daily.
Admission: 1100 baht per game (2 people).
Getting There: BTS National Stadium (exit 4).
Location: Escape Hunt, B2 Level, 399 Interchange 21 Building, Sukhumvit Road.
Opening Hours: 09.30-20.30 daily.
Admission: 900 baht per person (2 people), 600 baht per person (5 people)
Getting There: BTS Asoke (exit 6). Take the skywalk to Interchange 21 Building.
MRT Sukhumvit (exit 2).
Location: Ticket to Mystery, 3rd floor, Gateway Mall, Sukhumvit Road, Ekkamai.
Opening Hours: 10.30-21.30
Admission: 1600 baht (2 people), 2300B (3 people), 2900B (4 people), 3400B (5 people).
Bookings & game info …. http://tickettomystery.com/
Getting There: BTS Ekkamai (exit 4).
Flight Experience is a flight simulator that lets customers become a pilot and fly a Boeing 737 jetliner from take-off to landing offering a choice of airports, weather conditions and flight scenarios all set in a real enclosed 737 cockpits. There is a choice of 20,000 airports both past and present. Flight packages last for between 30 and 90 minutes and cost from 4500 baht up to 9500 for 90 minutes. A DVD memento of your flight costs 450 baht. Your flight includes a qualified instructor who will guide you for the duration of your flight. Up to two extra people can join you as passengers for the flight. No previous flying experience is required!
Location: Room 2112, 2nd floor, Gateway Mall, Sukhumvit Road, Ekkamai, Bangkok.
Opening Hours: 10.00-22.00 daily.
Admission: 4500-9500 baht depending on duration. Check for promotional offers.
Online bookings: – https://bangkok.flightexperience.co.th/
Getting There: BTS Ekkamai (exit 4).
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg both started out racing Go-Karts and both became Formula 1 champions. Now it’s your turn and you can start here. Easy kart at RCA Plaza is one of the largest indoor tracks in Asia. There are 3 different go-kart sizes with 120cc,160cc and 200cc engines. Children from 7 years old can drive a kart, but only the 120cc. You can choose to practice, race or stage an F1 style race with your friends where you complete qualifying and have a grid start.
Prices for an 8-minute race are 500-600 baht per person with discounted rates for longer race time. Everything is monitored by 4 track staff to ensure safety. There is also a lounge, bar, and restaurant with pool tables and table football as well as a viewing platform overlooking the track. Easy Kart is located on the RCA nightclub strip, a short walk from bars, clubs, and restaurants making it a possible pre-clubbing activity.
Location: Easy Kart, 2nd floor, RCA Plaza, Soi Soonvijai (off Phetchaburi Road).
Opening Hours: 13.00-24.00 daily.
Admission: One 8-minute race 500-600 baht up to 7000 baht for 20 8 minute races.
Getting There: MRT Phetchaburi (exit 1). Turn left on to Phetchaburi Road and take a taxi to RCA.
Bangkok has two centrally located Ice Skating rinks at Central World and Central Plaza Rama 9. The Central World rink is smaller and more suitable for younger children while the Rama 9 rink is an Olympic size rink and hosts International skating events. The Bangkok Figure Skating Classic is held annually in May.
Skates are included in the price which runs from 220 baht for 60 minutes up to 330 baht for 2 hours. Day passes are available for 700-800 baht. Socks are compulsory so bring your own or you can buy them for 50 baht a pair. It is a good idea to bring a warm jacket or jumper as it can be cold on the ice especially at Rama 9 where the temperature is kept very low. There are also skating lessons available from qualified instructors. Note that the rinks close for short 20-30 minute periods throughout the day for resurfacing.
Location: 2nd floor, Central World, Rama 1 Road, Ratchaprasong.
Opening Hours: 10.30-22.00 daily. 30-minute closures for resurfacing.
Admission: 90 minutes – 260 baht, 60 mins – 220 baht.
Getting There: BTS Siam Station (exit 6). Take the skywalk to Central World.
Location: 7th floor, Central Plaza, Rama 9, Ratchadaphisek Road.
Opening Hours: 10.00-20.15 daily. 20-minute closures for resurfacing.
Admission: 120 minutes – 330 baht, 90 mins – 280 baht, 60 mins – 220 baht
Getting There: MRT Phra Ram 9 (exit 2).
Bangkok has plenty of green spaces offering a chance to relax, take a pleasant walk, or get some exercise. Most Bangkok parks come with free aerobic exercise equipment, walking or jogging paths and kid’s playgrounds while some have a swimming pool, cycling track, and skateboard arena. The parks are pleasant and peaceful places with tropical trees, flower gardens, lakes with peddle boats, fountains, sculptures and a variety of wildlife from squirrels and turtles to monitor lizards.
For more information on Bangkok’s best parks … click here.
As with most countries in the world, sport is popular in Thailand. The most popular spectator sports in Bangkok are Football (Soccer), Horse Racing and Thai Boxing (Muay Thai). There is even an Ice Hockey league. The most popular participatory sport is Golf with several top-class courses in the area surrounding Bangkok while in the city there are a couple of small courses and many driving ranges. For more information on where to play Golf in Bangkok, click here.
Bangkok has several teams in the Thai Premier League including the current champions Muang Thong United. The English Premier League is also incredibly popular in Thailand and is a regular exhibition match stop-over for the leading teams on close season promotional tours.
For more Information on Football in Thailand and where to watch a match in Bangkok, click here.
Bangkok has a Horse Racing course that holds twice-monthly meetings usually on Sundays. Gambling is illegal in Thailand but betting on the horses is legal within the race course using a tote system. For more information on horse racing in Bangkok, click here.
Thai Boxing or Muay Thai is Thailand’s native sport and very popular with the local population. The Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium is home to serious professional fighting and is located close to Khao San road though tickets are expensive. Alternatively, you can watch fights for free on Sunday evenings at Super Champ on Phra Athit Road and on every last Wednesday of the month at an outdoor ring next to MBK shopping mall which hosts a tourist orientated ‘fight night’. For more information on Muay Thai and where to watch it in Bangkok, click here.
Bangkok may seem an unlikely destination for an Ice Hockey league but it exists. It’s entertaining and several players are ex NHL. Best of all it’s free to watch. For more information, click here.
Flow House is a semi-outdoor urban beach club in the heart of Bangkok. Its main attraction is the Flow Rider, a simulated wave surfing machine imported from the USA allowing stand up surfing and body boarding.
Apart from the surfing, there is a Chang Surf Bar serving drinks and fusion food such as BBQ, burgers, hot-dogs, tacos, burritos, pizzas and Thai food. There is also live sport on TV, table football, darts, pool, and table tennis. A Rip Curl shop is also on the premises.
Use of the Flow Rider is 750 baht per hour with sessions starting on the hour. The price includes instruction and equipment. Lockers are free and towel rental is 50 baht.
Location: A Square, 120/1 Sukhumvit Soi 26, Bangkok.
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 14.00-23.00, Saturday-Sunday 10.00-23.00.
Admission: Free, 750 baht per hour for the Flow Rider.
Getting There: BTS Phrom Phong (exit 2). Take a taxi down Soi 24 or walk down Soi 26 (15 minutes).