Bangkok makes a great base for those who want to explore Central Thailand.

With everything from UNESCO-listed ruins to floating markets and national parks within 3 hours drive, Bangkok offers an array of day trips to discover from the less-known sites to the popular attractions of Central Thailand.

Here are some of the top suggested day trips from Bangkok. They’re no more than 3 hours away from Central Bangkok which is perfect for quick day trips throughout your visit.

1. Kanchanaburi

Visit the historic sites of World War II or hit the trail to the beautiful emerald lagoon.

  • Where: 150 km to the west of Bangkok (3 hours driving)
  • Highlights
    • Death Railway
    • Bridge over the River Kwai
    • Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
    • JEATH War Museum
    • Krasae Cave
    • Phrathat Cave
    • Srinakarin Dam
    • Cruise / Jetski tour at River Kwai
    • Erawan National Park
  • Best for: History explorers, Nature lovers, Thrill-seekers

With the history from World War II, Kanchanaburi has some historical landmarks such as the Death Railway, the bridge over the River Kwai, the JEATH War Museum, the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, and the Krasae Cave These historical landmarks capture Thailand’s history in the most realistic even to this day, making it a prime destination for all history lovers. If you’re not so much into history, then you can also visit Kanchanabury’s beautiful natural landmarks. From the stunning Phra That Cave to the Srinakarin dam, to Erawan National Park, Kanchanaburi has tons of beautiful natural gems to discover. Erawan Waterfall is the star attraction of the park with its emerald lagoon that you can swim and chill out. Getting on a cruise or a jet ski is a great way to explore the Kanchanaburi area. For those who want to fully experience its culture and history of Kanchanaburi with no hassle, booking a tour is most recommended. You can simply join a tour or book a private taxi tour.

If you want a hassle-free experience at Kanchanaburi, click on any of these recommended tour options to guide your trip!

2. Damnoen Saduak / Samut Songkhram (Maeklong, Amphawa)

Where you can meet the scenery of Thailand’s local life.

  • Where: 90 km to the southwest of Bangkok (2 hours driving)
  • Highlights
    • Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
    • Maeklong Railway Market
    • Amphawa Floating Market
  • Best for: Local culture explorers

There is no better way to experience the local culture than going to its traditional markets. Not too far away from Bangkok, smaller Thai districts like Damnoen Saduak, Samut Songkhram, and Amphawa are home to some of the best floating and railway markets. 

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is the biggest and most famous floating market in Thailand. It is truly a photographers’ dream here, snapping away at the true local scene with their colorful produce interesting goods. Amphawa Floating Market is another popular floating market near Bangkok with fewer tourists. In the evening, you can get on a long tail motorboat to roam around the canal. If you are lucky, you will catch some beautiful fireflies lighting up in the sky, too. Finally, the Maeklong Railway Market is called “the most dangerous market” in the world as the trains pass by really close to the vendors. You can go see for yourself how “dangerous” this market is! 

The best way to explore this area is through a day trip with a local guide that can take you to all the nooks and crannies of these complex markets. Click a tour option that you want to join in, for some more information.

3. Samut Prakan

The haven for museum lovers offering countless Instagram-worthy photo spots.

  • Where: 25 km to the south of Bangkok (30 minutes driving)
  • Highlights
    • Ancient City (Mueang Boran)
    • The Erawan Museum
  • Best for: History explorer, Culture explorer

If you are an enthusiastic museum-goer, Samut Prakan is a perfect day trip destination for you. Samut Prakan is home to two majestic museums. First of all, The Ancient City (Mueang Boran) is the largest outdoor museum in the world. Its ground reflects the actual shape of Thai territory and you can see the replicas of Thailand’s famous temples and palaces. This is a great way to explore the scaled-down version of Thailand in a day! Second, the Erawan Museum offers a peaceful, yet majestic atmosphere with its 3-headed elephant (Erawan) sculpture on top of its main building, which took almost a decade to construct. You can browse the inside of the elephant sculpture which consists of 3 floors in Hindu themes. It is more like a temple rather than a museum as there are many Buddha statues and places you can pray. There’s a garden to stroll outside the museum where you can take some Instagram worthy photos.

If you want to save up and still enjoy these magnificent locations, get these discount tickets!

4. Ayutthaya

Explore through the ancient ruins and once-mighty temples.

  • Where: 80 km to the north of Bangkok (1 hour and 30 minutes driving)
  • Highlights
    • Bang Pa-In Palace (Summer palace for Ayutthayan Kings)
    • Wat Mahathat (A temple with a Khmer-style prang and rows of headless Buddhas)
    • Wat Phra Si Sanphet (The largest temple in Ayutthaya with a row of restored chedis)
    • Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit (A temple that houses a large bronze cast Buddha statue)
  • Best for: History explorer

Ayutthaya, the old capital of Thailand, has long been a popular day-trip destination from Bangkok. The historic city of Ayutthaya, which was designated as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991, offers visitors a glimpse of the glorious but tragic history of Ayutthaya Kingdom.

There are many temples and royal palaces destroyed by the Burmese in Ayutthaya. Some of them are restored and some are still ruined, which reminds people of the grim history of the Siamese Kingdom. You can also spot the famous banyan tree that has grown around a Buddha’s head. This is an iconic landmark of Ayutthaya today.

Visitors can either take a bus or train from Bangkok and then take a tuk-tuk to explore Ayutthaya. But booking a join-in tour, a private taxi tour, or even touring around via a cruise, will save you from the hassles and help you enjoy the historic gems of Ayutthaya to the fullest. Click on each tour option to get some more information.

By the way, if you want to visit 2 of Central Thailand’s must-see spots in 1 day, here is also a special tour to recommend! You will ride a boat through the famous Damneon Saduak Floating Market and explore Ayutthaya including the 4 Buddhist temples starting from Bangkok.

If you want to read more about going on a quick day trip to Ayutthaya, also read our blog: Ayutthaya Day Trip from Bangkok

5. Khao Yai National Park

Indulge in the breathtaking nature of Khao Yai and explore the small Europe of Thailand.

  • Where: 120 km to the southwest of Bangkok (2 hours driving)
  • Highlights
    • Khao Yai National Park
      • Haew Narok falls
      • Km. 30 Viewpoint
    • PB Valley Khao Yai Winery
    • Primo Piazza
    • Chocolate Factory
    • Farm Chokchai
    • Hobbit Houses
    • Jim Thompson Farm
  • Best for: Nature lover, Culture explorer, Foodie traveler

Khao Yai National Park is the first and the second largest national park in Thailand. In 2005, Khao Yai National Park was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. More than 70 percent of the Khao Yai National Park is a tropical rain forest. Because of that, there is a high chance that you might encounter a wide variety of wildlife in the park. Also, Khao Yai has so much more to offer than just its national park. In fact, there are many fantastic attractions such as PB Valley Khao Yai Winery, Primo Piazza, and Farm Chokchai. It’s definitely a hotspot for all the foodies out there too!

The easiest and most convenient way to explore this area, and all its highlights, is to book a private taxi tour. Since there is a lack of transportation that gets you to all these cool places, it is highly recommended to have your own personal driver for a day or even more! Click to learn more. 

If you want to know more about Khao Yai’s key attractions, also read our blog: Khao Yai Attractions & Travel Tips

For more travel tips and ideas for your next trip to Thailand, make sure you visit, Asia’s #1 Travel Shop!


[Photo Credits]

The Sala of Ramayana in Muang Boran (Ancient Siam) in Samut Prakan, Thailand via photopin (license)

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