In pancake-flat Bangkok, elevated views are as precious as a good dish of pat tai. Yet for a place that barely breaks sea level there are quite a few places to marvel at the scale of the city: from a Buddhist temple on an artificial mountain to chic restaurants crowning towering skyscrapers.
Dusk falls over the Chao Phraya River, as seen from River Vibe © Austin Bush / Lonely Planet
Open-air bar/restaurant River Vibe is at the top of River View Guest House, overlooking a pretty bend in the Chao Phraya River. The casual, backpackery vibe also means that there’s no restrictive dress code, and a beer here is a fraction of the price charged at other roof-toppers. Tip: for food take the short walk north towards Th Yaowarat, the road that cuts through Bangkok’s Chinatown and is famous for its delicious street eats. If you go at night, the view of the large neon signs lining the crowded road makes for a great photo.
The Golden Mount offers one of Bangkok's best vantage points © kamomeen / Shutterstock
The Golden Mount Buddhist temple sits atop Bangkok’s only true hill (artificial, of course), offering great views of pretty neighbouring temples and Th Ratchadamnoen, the city’s Champs-Élysées-like royal avenue. Tip: dress appropriately (cover your shoulders and legs) to gain access to this religious site, and don’t forget to check out the gory temple murals at neighbouring Wat Saket.
Gaze across leafy Lumphini Park from Park Society © Austin Bush / Lonely Planet
Gazing down at the green expanse of Lumphini Park, bordered by tall buildings on most sides, you can be excused for thinking that Bangkok somewhat resembles Manhattan. The drink prices at Park Society, 29 floors above the ground, are pretty on par with that of the Big Apple, too, although there are monthly promotions. Tip: don’t be intimidated by the semi-hidden stairway with the sign stating 'Hi-So (high society) Only'; everybody’s welcome, and the view an additional floor up is even more stunning.
See Bangkok from 61 floors up at Moon Bar © Austin Bush / Lonely Planet
An alarmingly short barrier at this rooftop bar is all that separates one from the street, 61 floors down. Located on top of the Banyan Tree Bangkok hotel, Moon Bar claims to be among the highest al fresco bars in the world. It’s also a great place from which to see Phra Pa Daeng, a vast green area that’s colloquially known as Bangkok’s green lung. Tip: the strict dress code is on the smarter side of smart-casual; no shorts or flip-flops.
Survey the sprawling Thai capital from Baiyoke Tower II © Austin Bush / Lonely Planet
Baiyoke Tower II
It's not quite as high as the decor of space aliens and planets would have you believe, but at 84 floors up the revolving viewing platform at Baiyoke Tower II has some serious altitude. From here you can marvel at the seemingly never-ending concrete sprawl of Thailand's capital. Tip: the entry price is rather steep and varies depending on when you visit. From 9am to 7.30pm, a 390B ticket gives you access to the observatory deck and the hotel's fruit buffet. From 5p to 11pm, 400B buys entrance and a drink at the bar.
Get a table with a world-class view at Red Sky © Stephane Bidouze / Shutterstock
For a great view of Sukhumvit, and some wind in your hair, check out the 360-degree views from chic bar and restaurant Red Sky on the 56th floor of the Centara Grand At Centralworld hotel. With open-air seating and an unobstructed view of the urban landscape, you truly have the city at your feet. Tip: beat sky-high bar prices by visiting during the two-for-one drinks happy hour that runs between 4pm to 6pm.
An illuminated Wat Arun and the Chao Phraya River, as seen from Roof © Austin Bush / Lonely Planet
Located directly across the river from the ancient spire of Wat Arun, Roof is – you guessed it – a rooftop bar. Sitting atop the Sala Ratanakosin Bangkok hotel, it offers one of the most famous vistas in town. You can’t beat sunset here, but after dark, when Wat Arun is prettily illuminated, is also photo-worthy. Tip: if you can’t get a riverfront seat, don’t forget the back row, which has nice views over Wat Pho.
Watch the Asoke intersection traffic from the comfort of Long Table © Austin Bush / Lonely Planet
Looming over one of the city’s busiest intersections, Long Table, 25 floors up, is a great place to be at around 6pm, taking in the hyper-urban view and thanking the heavens that you’re not stuck in the rush hour traffic below. Tip: generous happy-hour deals make Long Table better value than many of Bangkok’s upscale rooftop bars.
Get your Hollywood on at Sky Bar © Austin Bush / Lonely Planet
Descend the Hollywood-style staircase to emerge at Sky Bar, which juts out over the Bangkok skyline and the Chao Phraya River. Scenes from The Hangover Part II were filmed here and, while it doesn't come cheap, the bar's 'hangovertini' cocktail is actually quite drinkable. The views, of course, aren't bad either. Tip: the dress code is relatively strict – not a place for casual wear.
Last updated in January 2018