Bangkok is an extremely cool city to explore and while we recommend taking the time to discover everything it offers, there are also some pretty epic day trips to take while on vacation. Located just hours away from the city are National Parks to explore, islands to visit, open-air museums to get lost in and history to discover. We encourage you to step off the well trodden path that many tourists travel and explore the amazing regions that surround this wonderful city. Read on for our top picks for the 10 coolest day trips from Bangkok.

10. Samut Songkhram

Arriving here by car only takes about an hour, or take a passenger van or the train in order to reach this small province that is not as well known as the others around it. Make sure to head to the Khlon Khon district along the coastline to visit the swimming monkeys, it is easy to hire a boat to take you there and once you have arrived be prepared for the hundreds of monkeys that swim out to greet you, just make sure to pick up some bananas for them before you head out. Also here is the Amphawa Floating Market, an evening market that operates Friday to Sunday and provides visitors with a more authentic feel than other larger more touristy markets. The Market on the Railway is something to check out as stalls are either on or alongside the train tracks, and when the train comes through eight times a day, the stalls pick themselves up out of the way.

9. Khao Yai National Park

It was established at Thailand’s first national park in 1962 and is located about 100 miles from Bangkok, making it a little far for a day trip but absolutely worth it. Hiring a driver to get there gives you the most flexibility but buses are also available from Victory Monument. The national park is home to high peaks which offer incredible birding opportunities, cooler temperatures and the chance to see a variety of wildlife. Some 200 elephants call this park home and if visitors are lucky enough they will have the chance to see them as they gather around the roadside salt licks. Other mammals here include tigers, leopards, bear, various gibbons and macaques and some large and rather scary pythons. One of the best ways to get around the park once you are here is to rent a car or motorbike from Pak Chong and spend the night in the park, if you don’t have your own vehicle it is easy to hitchhike as well.

8. Ancient Siam

This open-air museum south of Bangkok is one of the largest open-air museums in the world and features replicas of Thailand’s most important historical sites. This is perhaps the best place to come if you don’t have a whole lot of time to visit all of Thailand. There are a wealth of architectural styles, shops and important figures depicted here. Although most of the buildings are replicas there are also real buildings that have been rescued from demolition and placed here instead. Rent a bike or golf cart to get around the area as it is quite large. The models are impressive, detailed and large enough to walk in and tour around. This authentic museum focuses on showing visitors famous buildings, temples and people, all within a serene village like feel.

7. Ayuthaya Historic Park

Up until 1767 Ayuthaya was actually Thailand’s capital city but is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is loaded with impressive ruins, beautiful temples and loads of ancient history. The temples here are absolutely magnificent and make sure to check out the Viharn Phra Mongkol Bophit, the palace that resembles the Grand Palace of Bangkok. Inside the temple you will find one of the largest sculptures of Buddha in all of Thailand. Also worth checking out here is the area known as the Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol, where hundreds of Buddha statues are located and buildings are wrapped in colorful fabrics. Getting here is easy, either by bus, taxi or joining a tour group. Visitors to the historic park should consider either renting a bicycle, car with driver or tuk-tuk in order to get around as there is about 15 square kilometers of ground to cover.

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