A Wheelchair User’s Guide to Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is home to over 11 million people, significantly larger by population than New York City. Despite its massive size, the locals will make you feel at home, welcoming you with warm smiles in classic Thai fashion.

But if you’re a wheelchair user planning a trip to Thailand, you’re undoubtedly wondering—how accessible is Bangkok?

Bangkok offers above-average wheelchair accessibility compared to many destinations in Southeast Asia. Accessible public restrooms are relatively easy to come by due to modern buildings, the metro is 100% accessible, and many tourist sites are either fully or partially accessible.

Nevertheless, Thailand doesn’t have strict ADA codes like in the U.S. So, there’s room for improvement.

General Accessibility in Bangkok

Bangkok has 50 districts, but most tourists visit only a handful of them, such as Siam Square, Khao San, Sukhumvit, and Si Lom.

The easiest way for wheelchair users to move between districts is by taxi. Although the metro and Skytrain (except for one station) are wheelchair accessible, the sidewalks around these public transportation stations often have poor accessibility.

A sign showing everyone eligible for preferred seating.
A sign on the metro showing that monks are among those that qualify for preferred seating.

Cracked, narrow sidewalks are common in Bangkok. Furthermore, street vendors, trees, and other obstacles often block the path.

Although local Thai restaurants and shops often have a step to enter and/or tight space inside, you’ll have many restaurant and shopping opportunities as a wheelchair user in Bangkok.

Many buildings are new and modern, so they’re equipped with ramps, elevators, and accessible restrooms.

Getting Around Bangkok

On the surface, Bangkok offers decent wheelchair accessible public transportation. However, it’ll be easier for manual wheelchair users to get around than power chair users, given the often less-than-ideal street accessibility on the sidewalks and crosswalks around the transportation stations.


A sky train departing the station.
A Skytrain departing the station.

The Skytrain didn’t start out as very accessible, with only a handful of its stations having an elevator. But as of March 2023, Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain is wheelchair accessible at all stations except the Saphan Taksin Station (S6).

You can check the BTS’ FAQ page to see if/when they make this station accessible. You’ll find the answer under the question, “Which BTS stations are equipped with elevators?”

The Skytrain runs frequently. But even so, it becomes packed at peak hours, making it challenging to get on and off. However, the driver stands in the boarding area to ensure everyone has entered/exited before closing the doors.


Two wheelchair accessible stickers on a metro door in Bangkok.
All metro cars indicate which doors lead to an accessible area.

The metro was the most accessible way to get around Bangkok by public transportation before the BTS swooped in and added elevators. It’s still an option for wheelchair users, as all metro stations in Bangkok are wheelchair accessible.

However, like the BTS Skytrain, the metro gets crowded at peak hours. The doors also tend to shut quickly after they open, making it more challenging for wheelchair users to get on and off a metro car, especially when it’s crowded.

An annoying aspect of Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain and metro system is that they’re not seamlessly connected at overlapping stations.

So, if you need to transfer from the metro to the BTS, you’ll need to exit the metro station and head to the nearby BTS station, purchasing a new ticket in the process.


An outdoor accessible section on a boat in Bangkok.
The accessible space on the Chao Phraya River Express boat offers up-close views.

Exploring the Chao Phraya River by boat is a fun activity to do in and of itself. It’s also a way to arrive at some of the popular tourist attractions I’ll be talking about shortly, including The Grand Palace, Wat Arun, and Wat Pho.

Chao Phraya Express is a company that offers an accessible space on their boats. They have assistants on the ground and on the boats that can assist you.

A wide ramp leads onto the boat. From my experience getting on and off at different docks, some of these ramps are more accessible than others, with some having raised narrow slabs, presumably for traction.

For this reason, it’ll likely be easier for wheelchair users to stay on the boat from start to finish as a sightseeing ride rather than disembarking at the many stops.

Accessible Restrooms in Bangkok

You’ll have better access to accessible public restrooms in Bangkok than in many other cities in Southeast Asia.

Malls are an excellent go-to for accessible bathrooms. And given that Bangkok has so many malls, there should be one within a fairly close distance pretty much anywhere you are.

Aside from malls, some other places where you’ll encounter accessible restrooms in Bangkok include:

  • The Grand Palace (at the entrance before the payment area)
  • The underground tunnels near The Grand Palace
  • Benchakitti Park (a person manages the bathroom entrance)
  • Mahanakhon Tower (first floor only)

Wheelchair Accessible Things to Do in Bangkok

Now, let’s explore the many places you’ll be able to visit as a wheelchair user in Bangkok.

1. Gawk at the Grand Palace

A view of inside The Grand Palace grounds.
The Grand Palace has somewhat cobblestone terrain in many areas.

If you only have time to visit one attraction in Bangkok, most people would agree that The Grand Palace deserves the spotlight.

You can arrive at the Grand Palace either by car or by ferry. The place grounds are accessible with the help of ramps. However, the main temple and other smaller temples on the premises have stairs.

Some of the ramps are a bit steep, so manual wheelchair users might need a push.

Please note that you must keep your shoulders and legs covered to enter The Grand Palace. The same rule applies to the other temples on this list.

2. Wat Arun

Temples at Wat Arun.
There’s a good amount of space at Wat Arun for wheelchair users to explore.

Wat Arun is a favorite temple for people to visit at sunrise and sunset, although I was impressed by my daytime visit. The full name of this temple is Wat Arun Ratchawararam, and its early 19th-century spire is a sight to see.

You’ll have a wide, flat space to explore the grounds of Wat Arun as a wheelchair user. From my experience, it wasn’t as crowded as The Grand Palace. However, that could be because I visited at noon, and the palace tends to draw more visitors in the early morning and evening.

There are steps up a portion of the spire if you’re traveling with companions that want to go up them.

I also recommend wandering around the path outside of the main temple area. The path is wide, fewer tourists venture there, and you’ll get some great views of the temple from a different perspective.

3. Wat Pho

A row of monk statues and a wheelchair accessible ramp.
A ramp leading to monk statues on the premises of Wat Pho.

Wat Pho is located near The Grand Palace, so it’s a great way to check two Bangkok bucket items off your list on the same day.

As with The Grand Palace, Wat Pho is well-connected with ramps throughout much of the property.

Unfortunately, there aren’t ramps to the main temple, meaning you’d need assistance going up the steep steps to see Wat Pho’s famous Reclining Buddha.

4. Mahanakhon Lookout Tower

Tall modern buildings in Bangkok.
Mahanakhon Tower is the building in the center of this photo.

Bangkok has many buildings that offer beautiful views over the city, but few are as well-known as the Mahanakhon Tower. It’s located in Bangkok’s upscale business district and opened in 2016.

The SkyWalk is the touristy portion of the Mahanakhon Tower. Most of the SkyWalk is accessible, including the 74th, 75th, and outdoor cafe area on the 78th floor. You can also dine at the Mahanakhon Bangkok Sky Bar restaurant, which is an additional experience to the Sky Bar.

Chairs and tables overlooking the Bangkok skyline.
The outdoor accessible cafe at Mahanakhon Tower offers beautiful views over Bangkok.

Unfortunately, the glass tray and the highest part of the outdoor 360-degree deck aren’t accessible.

It’s also worth mentioning that the only accessible restroom at the SkyWalk is on the tower’s ground floor. Although there’s a restroom on the 74th floor, it isn’t accessible.

5. Explore Day and Night Markets

Uncrowded aisles at the Bang Nam Phueng Floating Market in Bangkok.
The Bang Nam Phueng Floating Market.

There’s no shortage of markets in Bangkok. While night markets are abundant and typically the most well-known since cooler temperatures make them more comfortable for exploring, there are also some great daytime markets.

Of the markets I visited, the Bang Nam Phueng Floating Market was among the most accessible.

The Phueng Floating Market sits on an island framed by the Chao Phraya River. What I appreciate about this market is its wide aisles in most areas, low tables, and local vibe—you won’t encounter many tourists there, helping to reduce the number of crowds.

Nevertheless, like all markets in Bangkok, visiting at the earlier end of when they open will reduce the amount of people traffic you encounter.

Admittedly, the Chatuchak Market is Bangkok’s most popular—and largest—market. I was disappointed by its poor accessibility, though.

Clothes and nicknacks for sale at the Chatuchak Market.
A relatively accessible area at the Chatuchak Market.

Many areas of the Chatuchak Market don’t have drop-down curbs. They also keep the internal roads that lead through the market open, constricting pedestrians to narrower and often inaccessible areas.

That said, since the Chatuchak Market has thousands of stalls, portions of it are more accessible than others.

So, if you’d like to visit this market, I recommend arranging a private tour with a local who can take you to its accessible sections.

6. Look for Monitor Lizards at Lumpini Park

A monitor lizard and a swan boat in the water at Lumpini Park.
A monitor lizard swimming by the shore.

Lumpini Park is a great place to spend some time when you want to escape city life without leaving Bangkok’s borders.

The park is centered around an artificial lake, where people can rent swan paddle boats (not accessible). Sidewalks weave around the grounds, offering views of Bangkok’s skyline. If it’s dry enough, you could also roll into the grass—the lawn was firm during my visit.

A benefit of getting close to the water is to look for monitor lizards. These massive reptiles are common sightings in the areas of Bangkok that have preserved a bit of nature.

The Bang Nam Phueng Floating Market is another place where you might be able to spot monitor lizards.

7. Benchakitti Park

A sunny day at Bechakitti Park.
There’s little shade at Benchakitti Park.

Bechakitti Park has a more modern feel than Lumpini.

Although Benchakitti offers good accessibility once you arrive at the main track around the lake, the only accessible entrance I saw during my visit was at the very start of the track by the entrance gate.

That said, a lot of construction was going on. So hopefully, they’ll add more accessible entrances around the track.

Benchakitti Park also has some sidewalks that wind slightly uphill in shaded areas.

But the lake is the main attraction, which offers little shade. So, I recommend visiting this park early morning or evening (and I’ll take my own advice next time!).

8. Take a Peek at Chinatown

Red Chinese lamps hanging over Bangkok's Chinatown.
A small pedestrian section of Chinatown.

Chinatown is an activity on almost any “things to do in Bangkok” list. Personally, I think Bangkok offers other interesting attractions that are worth making a priority.

But a trip to Chinatown makes sense if you have many days in the city.

You’ll have to arrive at Chinatown via taxi, as the sidewalks near the closest metro station are horrendous. Ask the taxi to let you off at the pedestrian street, a short but bustling area with vendors selling all types of Chinese food, sweets, and souvenirs.

I also recommend having your taxi driver take you around the other streets in Chinatown for sightseeing from the road. The sidewalks aren’t suitable for wheelchair users (when sidewalks are even an option), though.

9. Khao San Road

Stools and tables on Khao San Road.
Arriving at Khao San Road earlier in the day makes it easier to find accessible seating at restaurants.

If you want to visit Bangkok to get your party on, make a beeline to Khao San Road. This road also goes by the name “backpacker’s street,” as it tends to attract a younger, stay-up-all-night crowd.

Admittedly, you’ll have an easier time as a wheelchair user exploring Khao San Road by day, minus the heat. Many restaurants, street food stalls, and shops are open during the day, but the crowds don’t appear in droves until after dark.

You’ll have many accessible restaurant options along Khao San Road, and it’s a flat, paved street.

10. Dine on Bugs

A pile of stir fried grubs.
Stir-fried grubs are a common sight at streetside food stalls in Bangkok.

Vegetarians and vegans, move on to number eleven. But if you’re an adventurous soul who’d like to say they truly tried Thai cuisine, you’ll have your pick of bugs to try at street stalls in Bangkok.

To be fair, bugs aren’t the only items you can try in Bangkok.

You’ll also encounter scorpions on sticks, frog legs, and horseshoe crabs, among others.

11. Mall Hop

Inside an upscale mall in Bangkok.
The inside of one of many upscale malls in Bangkok.

I’m not typically the type that would say malls are a must-see when traveling. But Bangkok’s malls will make your jaw drop—and your checking account balance may soon follow.

When you’re exploring downtown Bangkok, upscale shopping malls rival 7-Elevens for prime street corner locations. They’re massive, flashy, and packed with people moving in and out of their doors, purchases in hand.

Although I’m not a big shopper, I enjoyed spending a bit of time in some of Bangkok’s malls to people-watch. You can count on pretty much any modern-looking mall offering excellent wheelchair accessibility.

Ready to Visit Bangkok?

A view from the boat on the Chao Phraya River.

In my opinion, Bangkok is very much worth the visit. And although there’s plenty of room for growth in making its public areas more accessible, Bangkok is much more accessible than many other parts of Southeast Asia (I’m looking at you, Vietnam and Indonesia).

If you have questions about traveling to Bangkok as a wheelchair user, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help.

I’d also love to hear back from you after your trip. How was your experience in Bangkok? What recommendations do you have for wheelchair users wanting to travel there?

P.S.—Will you be heading to Chiang Mai, Thailand? If so, don’t miss our post on wheelchair accessibility in Chiang Mai. We’ve also put together a post on safety in Bangkok.

2 thoughts on “A Wheelchair User’s Guide to Bangkok, Thailand”

  1. Hi Laura, I’ve just read through your article sans Bangkok wheelchair accessible with my first thoughts being excitement only to quickly think this person has not tried to navigate BKK in a wheelchair. I’m currently in the city in a w/chair result of injury, I’m here with family 2 adult males & 1 other adult female who is also a BKK local plus I have several other BKK adult locals taking me for outings. What we have found is travelling on footpaths forget it most are too narrow, too poorly constructed, too many obstacles ie. narrow, drainage openings (wheels get caught), poles, bags of rubbish or goods, bikes, cars, vendors etc all blocking access. Very few ‘ramp’ access locations & as ‘gutters’ are usually high there have been multiple times my accompanying members & members of the public have had to physically lift my chair with me in it. It was even an exercise to find a hotel with suitable access & room layout (bathroom/shower) accessibility as everywhere indoors/outdoors in Thailand appears to have steps. I have navigated atw several outdoor & indoor shopping malls/market areas & again they have had their challengers, from no ramp access to ramps being exceedingly steep 2 adults plus myself hauling on handrail to get to top. Lifts are available in some locations (large modern complexes) but primarily used for goods transportation so are chokkers with long waits to having to force your way in. Skytrain (you will need someone to help you over the lip between station & carriage) has area designated for w/chairs in carriage however not all stations have that lift or even ramps in place as advertised or even signposted, so it’s a hit & miss. Did not bother trying the metro. As for taxis really your best option, most are small/mid size Corolla style sedans with gas cylinder in the boot, therefore nowhere to store chair our option we used were to have the chair in the rear seat area with passengers knees up under their chins & one occassion a plan ahead driver placed chair on top of said cylinder using hockey strap to secure boot lid to prevent bouncing whilst driving. I also have used Grab which allowed me to source a suitable vehicle (Yaris hatchback) which was able to store chair in boot. My travel companions have been generous enough to reconnaissance outings & prep staff at some locations, this allowed me to have a return boat trip on the river using the electric boat (taxi to pier) impossible to get off at other locales as piers not ‘friendly’ & boat bobbing quite substantially due to the many marine traffic on the river. This also required 2-3 adults assisting chair over ramp from boat/pier. On the upside yes I have found numerous well designed, clean disabled toilet facilities. We are all very seasoned travellers but it has taken the life experience to understand how difficult & time consumer in regards to prep travelling having to use a wheelchair can be. I hope this is helpful for others.

    1. Hi Kate,

      This is very helpful information. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience in such detail; I’m sure it’ll help many wheelchair users planning a Bangkok trip. Wishing you the smoothest possible remainder of your time in Bangkok.

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