If you have limited time and you want to explore Bangkok, these are the top things you should include in your travel itinerary.
Make your visit enjoyable and get a feel of what Bangkok is all about. You can get a good mix of recreational and cultural activities that’s suitable for any ages.
You can explore Bangkok no matter what time of the year. Try to see, smell, touch, hear and taste the City of Angels when you visit. All your senses will be engaged and I’m sure you will too.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
1.) Wat Arun (The Temple of The Dawn)
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This is one of Bangkok’s world-famous landmarks and it’s one of my favorite temples in Southeast Asia because of its intricate design and fine craftsmanship. It’s also the highest-rated temple in the world according to my research.
If you wish to climb the steps, be careful since it’s very steep. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that it’s decorated with Chinese porcelain, colorful glasses, and sculptures of soldiers and animals.
I suggest that you visit during sunset and take a boat around the Chao Phraya river because the temple looks stunning especially when they lit it up at night. However, if you want to avoid the crowd, then you should plan your visit early in the morning around 8:30-9ish.
Wat Arun Operating Hours: 8AM -05:30PM
Entrance Fee: 50 Baht
2.) Shop Until You Drop at Bangkok’s Shopping malls
If there’s one thing I can do whatever the weather in Bangkok is, and that would be shopping. The city offers many items that are good in quality and budget-friendly.
If you want to buy wholesale items, I suggest you go to Platinum Fashion Mall or Pan Tip Plaza. You gotta learn how to bargain and when I say bargain, you gotta do it hard -but be reasonable of course.
If you want to treat yourself and you have a lot of cash to splurge, Siam Paragon is a great shopping mall for high-end fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, Rolex, Prada, etc. you name it, they have it all!
Once you get tired of shopping, experience the VIP Cinema called the Nokia Ultrascreen. For 700 baht you’ll get an electric recliner chair, a blanket, and some snacks.
Siam Paragon Operating Hours: 10AM – 10PM
3.) Eat Street Food at Chinatown Market
You can find Thailand’s most flavourful and unexpected dishes there! It’s advisable to visit around sunset since Yaowarat street comes alive at night.
It’s a famous tourist attraction and it’s nice to take pictures of the colorful neon billboard signs for Instagram posts.
You’ll see a lot of strange desserts like sesame dumplings and toasted bread rolls packed with sweet fillings.
Some foodies don’t mind waiting in line for 30 minutes or more because they know it’s gonna be worth it. They said if there’s a long queue outside the restaurant, chances are the food is going to be amazing.
Avoid going there on Mondays since some food stalls are closed because they’re open all week and Monday is their only rest day.
Yaowarat Rd Market Hours: 9AM until Midnight
4.) Asiatique The Riverfront
Asiatique is an awesome place to shop, it’s a combination of night bazaar and a shopping center. There’s also an amusement park with Merry-go-rounds, Ferris wheel, and other rides. Asiatique is divided into 4 zones:
Chareonkrung District: This area is where you’ll find small boutique shops selling Thai souvenirs, jewelry, handmade items, and clothes.
The Waterfront District: This area is for popular for food lovers since you’ll find different cuisines from Thai to Italian, and Korean to Chinese foods. Pick a table with the view of the city and the riverfront.
The Factory District: In this sector, you’ll find a bunch of chic fashion shops and gadget stores like Apple iStudio.
The Town Square District: This area is popular for outdoor events and cocktail bars. They also have countless cafes with decent Thai food that’s reasonably priced.
Asiatique the Riverfront Hours: 4PM – 12AM
5.) Experience Real Thai Cuisine
If you want to sample the best Thai dishes at affordable prices, then you have to go where the locals eat.
Want to taste authentic tom yum, green curry and somtum? Then you gotta expect fire! But if you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can always go for their delectable desserts.
Fancy Thai restaurants that charge 300 Bhat per serving is for moneyed tourists. If you want a memorable meal that’s highly rated and a crowd’s favorite, then you should try tasty local dishes.
Here are some of the best restaurants in Bangkok:
- Somtum Der in Silom
- Soei Thai restaurant in Phaya Thai
- Wattana Panich Restaurant in Watthana
- Thipsamai Restaurant in Khet Phra Nakhon
- Saengchai Phochana in Sukhumvit Rd Soi 32
6.) Dinner Cruise
If you’re into cruisin’ and dinin’ then I highly recommend Klook’s Chao Phraya Princess Cruise.
Enjoy the view of historic Bangkok landmarks at night while you’re on a grand cruise ride. You’ll like the Emerald Buddha Temple and Grand Palace shining so bright like sparkly icons.
Indulge in a gourmet international buffet while being serenaded by a live band performing throwback tunes and a dose of nostalgia.
Take in the cool breeze from the perch of the boat deck while admiring the famous Chao Phraya River for a memorable night.
Dinner Cruise Schedule: 7:30PM – 9:30PM
7.) Floating Market
If it’s your first time to visit Bangkok, a trip to one of the famous floating markets is a must. It’s huge, lively, and full of colorful boats!
Get involved in a unique shopping experience and taste some of the best local food to savor on the floating market.
Don’t get discouraged by the distance because it’s kinda far from the city approximately 20km. You can take a bus then take a charming long tail boat cruise down the winding waterways to the market.
Once you get off the boat, you’ll find yourself surrounded by stalls, selling everything from Thai food to souvenirs.
While your there, take advantage of the opportunity to get instagrammable photos.
8.) Explore the Grand Palace and Reclining Buddha
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Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha) is famous for its giant reclining Buddha. It measures 150 feet in length and it’s covered in gold leaf.
Wat Pho is a great place to get a traditional Thai massage because it’s considered the leading school of massage in Thailand.
I recommend that you visit the Grand Palace first then Wat Pho after. It’s walking distance, about 10 minutes walk.
In Grand Palace, you’ll see unique architecture, carvings and paintings. And also, take the opportunity to see the Temple of the Emerald Buddha that dates back to the 14th century.
Just like in most temples, there’s a dress code for women. We gotta wear something that covers our legs and shoulders. No sleeveless and short shorts.
Wat Pho Operating hours: 8AM – 5PM Entrance Fee: 100 Baht
Grand Palace Hours: 8:30AM – 3:30PM Entrance Fee: 500 Baht
9.) People Watch Khao San Road
Khao San Road is popular for a few reasons, it’s the traveler hub of South East Asia since most backpackers stay in that area.
It was also featured in Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie “The Beach”, where he stayed in one of the drab travelers’ hotel.
Khao San Road is packed with bars, shops, restaurants, and take a guess – tourists. If you have the energy to party, it’s a great place to go.
It’s very chill and has a carefree vibe. There are street performers that do magic tricks, freestyle dancing and more.
You’ll either love it or hate it! It’s not for everyone but in my opinion, it’s a great place to kill time and people watch.
Roti (pancake) and coconut ice cream in Khao San is a must-try. And if you’re daring enough, try the grasshopper, scorpion, and other bugs!
Best time to visit Khao San Road: 6PM – 4AM
10.) Take a Tuk Tuk
If you Google tuk-tuk (samlor), you’ll see some articles about seasoned travelers getting scammed by tuk-tuk drivers.
You can avoid this by being polite and firmly refuse the ride if you smell something fishy with the driver’s behavior.
We usually check the rate on the Grab app first before we take the tuk-tuk driver’s offer. If the price difference is not that much, we would take it, especially if we’re stuck in traffic.
For the sake of the thrill, ride one if you haven’t tried it yet. It’s a convenient way to get around and see the sights.
Just a tip, always agree on a price before getting in. Try to haggle, if the tuk-tuk won’t meet your price, walk away.
11.) Tour the Jim Thompson House
This former home of an American middle-aged guy named Jim Thompson who was a silk entrepreneur and art collector.
Before his business, be briefly served in the Office of Strategic Services (also known as CIA) in Thailand during World War II.
It’s recommended to take the guided tour so you’ll have a bit of knowledge and perspective of a Westerner’s life in Thailand.
Inside the house, you’ll find antiques that are beautifully preserved and cared for. After the tour, grab a bite to eat at their restaurant.
They have excellent food and service that’s a great value for money. Food was not only delectable but it’s well presented and decorated too.
Jim Thompson House Hours: 9AM – 5PM Entrance fee: 200 Baht
12.) Shop around Chatuchak Weekend Market
It’s a must-visit place for tourists who loves to shop ‘til you drop! It has an anything-goes vibe and a great atmosphere.
You’ll find a thousand stalls offering diverse collections of merchandise and services. Some stuff you’ll see there is affordable, so bargaining is optional.
Navigating the 35-acre market is hard without a map, so I advise to get a Chatuchak map from the security guard or download one on your phone.
Wear something light and comfortable coz you might spend half a day there. Also, bring an eco bag to store your new stuff.
Always remember to enjoy your shopping experience and bring home your fabulous new finds.
Chatuchak Weekend Market Hours: 9AM – 6PM
13.) Visit Soi Cowboy for a unique experience
This area is PG-18 so if you’re old enough to drink alcohol, drop by at night to experience the red-light district.
Throw away your preconceived ideas and your inhibitions and try to live a little. It’s not just strip clubs and go go bars, there are also live bands that are pretty cool.
You don’t have to go inside the bars to have a good time. Just walk down the street, sit outside and have a drink.
Soi Cowboy is fairly straight-forward and scam-free, it’s not a place for the fainthearted but well worth a visit.
Soi Cowboy Bangkok Opening Hours: 8PM -3AM
14.) See a Muay Thai Match for Free
Muay Thai or kickboxing is a type of martial arts that was initially created for military combat training. Today, it’s considered a sport worldwide.
Watching a Muay Thai match is one of the most thrilling things to do in Bangkok. If you want to see a free Muay Thai fight, then you should go to MBK Fight Night.
It’s free every Wednesdays from 6PM to 8:30PM, I advise you to go early so you can get the best angle right by the stage.
MBK Center Operating Hours: 10AM – 10PM
15.) Get a Thai massage!
When you walk around Bangkok, you’ll see a bunch of regular massage shops. If you haven’t tried Thai massage, you should get one!
There’s going to be a lot of stretching involved and some cracking of toes and fingers but it’s not that painful, you’ll be alright.
If you want some quality massage, here are the top spas in Bangkok you should visit:
- Wat Pho Traditional Thai Massage in Maharat Road
- Myth Massage in Soi Ruam Ruedi
- Health Land in Sathorn, Asoke, and Ekkamai
- Siam Kempinski Spa in Rama I Rd
- Massage by the Blind in Chan Road
Also read: Things To Do in Koh Samui
What’s your favorite thing to do in Bangkok? Let me know by leaving a comment down below!