A food stall at Yaowarat Road in Chinatown.
A food stall at Yaowarat Road in Chinatown. Kerry Heaney

Add to your list these 10 Bangkok to-do highlights

WITH new budget flights from Brisbane to Bangkok, a holiday in one of Asia's most exciting cities just got a whole lot more achievable.

AirAsia, recently named Skytrax World's Best Low-Cost Airline for the 11th year, has fares from Brisbane to Bangkok starting at just $199.

Their four weekly flights bring the bustling street markets, thriving nightlife and iconic temples of Thailand's capital city within easy reach.

Here are 10 Bangkok highlights you shouldn't miss.

Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun).
Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun). Kerry Heaney

Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun)

Standing more than 80 metres tall, Thailand's most photographed temple on the bank of the Chao Phra River is also one of the country's most revered.

You can climb the steep stairs to the first level and marvel at the ingenious decoration created from pottery shards.

THAI FLOWERS: Bangkok market.
THAI FLOWERS: Bangkok market. Kerry Heaney

Bangkok Flower Market

Open all day, every day, this market is filled with beautiful local blooms and exquisite, handmade Phuang Malai garlands. You'll see orchids, lotus, jasmine, chrysanthemum, gerbera, and lilies.

Most of the flowers are grown in the provinces nearest to Bangkok.

Sook Siam

The ground level of the ICON Siam building has been turned into a food and craft market with stalls from Thailand's 77 provinces.

It's filled with food, flowers and produce and makes a fascinating wander.

You can see traditional foods being made and try them too. Best of all, the whole market is air-conditioned, so if you can't make an open market, this will give you a taste.

River Cruise

The easiest way to see both the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), ICON Siam and the Bangkok Flower Market is to take a ride on a Hop on Chao Phraya Hop-On Hop-Off Boat.

Cruising the river is a fast and refreshing way to travel to the sights.

An all-day, all-night pass costs just 300 baht (around $14 AUS).

Yaowarat Road Chinatown

It all happens after sunset at Chinatown when the footpath becomes a kitchen and dining area lined with stalls.

The cuisines are varied, and the queues are long, so go early and hungry.

Look for stalls with a round red Michelin star sticker to find the most flavoursome treats.

Jim Thompson House Museum

Go to see the Bangkok home and Asian art collection of the late James H.W. Thompson (aka the Thai Silk King), but you'll also be amazed by the lush tropical garden. Expect to be tempted by the beautiful silk products in the adjoining store and dine in the onsite restaurant and enjoy delicious food.

Thai Bus Food Tour

Thailand's first double-decker bus food tour will serve you a delicious traditional Thai style afternoon tea. You'll also see the city sights in air-conditioned comfort.

Mahanakhon Skywalk

See Bangkok's skyline from Thailand's highest outdoor glass floor observation area on the 78th floor. It's a lot of fun to dare yourself to step down onto the glass floor and definitely easier for some than others.

The downside is exiting through three levels of a duty-free shopping mall, and there is no escape.

Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya Historical Park.
Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya Historical Park. Kerry Heaney

Ayutthaya Historical Park

This day trip from Bangkok to discover the UNESCO's listed temple ruins and historical sites that were once Thailand's capital city. Ayutthaya Historical Park includes Wat Phra Ram and Wat Mahathat.

The Royal Palace, Wat Ratchaburana, Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Wiharn Phra Mongkol Bophit also can be found here.

Staying there

Stay at Shama Lakeview Asoke is a 10-minute walk to fast public transport at Asoke BTS Station and Sukhumvit MRT Station. Their shuttle bus makes the trip even easier.

The spacious units all have a fully equipped kitchen, large flat-screen television with a separate lounge area and an ensuite bathroom.

With a pool, fitness centre and children's playroom, it is perfect for couples, families or intergenerational holidays.

The writer travelled as a guest of Tourism Authority of Thailand and AirAsia.

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