Bangkok Travel Guide | 3 Day Pre-Trip Itinerary
Got a few days in Bangkok before your Southeast Asia adventure begins? Or have a few days to spare after your trip? We’ve created a 3-day guide to help you see all the best places Bangkok has to offer. Use it as inspiration or follow it like an itinerary, the choice is yours!
Day 1 – Temples, temples and more temples!
Bangkok is home to some of Thailand’s most famous temples. We’ve picked three that are absolute must-visits for any traveller making a stop in Bangkok. Be sure to dress appropriately for the temples, which means shoulders and knees must be covered by both men and women.
Start the day with a visit to The Grand Palace, one of the most famous complexes in the country. Aim to get there when it opens at 8.30am for the best chance of avoiding the crowds. If you forget to wear appropriate clothes and don’t have time to go back to your accommodation, you can hire clothing at the entrance for 200 THB per person. The entrance fee to the palace is 500 THB per person, which is around £12.
There are a number of temples in the surrounding area to The Grand Palace. Just a 10 minute walk away, you can find Wat Pho or Wat Phra Chetuphon – famous for it’s giant Reclining Buddha. The complex opens at 8am everyday and entry costs 200 THB per person.
After a morning of exploring, you’re bound to have worked up an appetite. There are plenty of street food stalls and small local eateries in the area around Wat Pho. Why not grab a bowl of fresh pad thai as you make your way south towards the riverbank. Head to Tha Thien Pier to take the river ferry crossing the third and final temple of the day, Wat Arun. The ferry costs only 4 THB per person and entrance to the temple is just 50 THB per person. The central spire (prang) of the Wat is over 70m high, so climb to the top for great views of the winding river and this morning’s temples opposite.
By now you’re probably temple-d out, so head back to the river ferry crossing to cross the river. Cross back over the river and relax in one of many the riverside bars. In this area, the riverside bars offer spectacular views of the sun setting behind Wat Arun, so make sure you’ve got your cameras packed! Enjoy the view whilst sipping on a cocktail and rest your feet after a day full of walking.
After sunset, Bangkok’s huge Chinatown comes to life as most of the street food stalls that line the street are only open at night. It may seem odd to go for dinner in Chinatown when you’re in Thailand, but Bangkok’s is one of the best. To get there from the pier, hop in a tuk-tuk or if your feet aren’t too tired, it’s around a 30-minute walk away. Bangkok’s Chinatown mainly runs down Yarowat Road, although it spans over a much wide area. If you see a big queue of locals outside a stall, get in line behind them! A big queue is a good indication that the food is popular, and the high turnover is a great way to ensure that your food will be cooked fresh.
With your bellies full of delicious food, head back to your accommodation for a good nights sleep – the jetlag is probably kicking in!
Day 2: From markets to malls
Bangkok it a shopaholic’s heaven, with huge street markets and some of the biggest shopping malls in the world. The markets are a great place to pick up cheap souvenirs for your friends and families, and the shopping malls are fun to explore because they’re massive and nothing like you’ve seen before (and they have air-con!).
If your stay in Bangkok coincides with a weekend, Chatuchak Weekend Market is an absolute must-visit. The market is Thailand’s biggest, and the largest weekend market in all of Asia! The best time to visit is at 9am when the market opens before the alleyways (sois) get too hot and crowded. Be sure to have cash with you if you plan on buying things, as most stalls don’t accept credit cards. From cheap clothes to handicrafts, you can find anything and everything here. After you’d shopped out, take your pick from the abundance of streetfood stalls to taste the local cuisine.
Not in Bangkok over a weekend? Alternatively, head back to Chinatown to explore the daytime markets that take over the streets before nightfall.
After lunch in a bustling market, experience the other shopping experience Bangkok has to offer – it’s malls. Head to Siam Paragon, Thailand’s 3rd largest shopping mall and home to its own foot court canal and aquarium! Once you’re luxury-ed out, make your way down the road to Terminal 21, for a completely unique experience. The mall is airport inspired and each floor a different city from around the world, so you can shop your way through Paris, Rome, Tokyo, London and Istanbul. Even the toilets are themed!
Make your way up to one of Bangkok’s countless rooftop bars for incredible panoramic views of the city. Head up before nightfall to catch breathtaking sunsets as you sip on a cocktail. Choose between lesser well-known bars with cheaper drinks, or treat yourself classy night and head up to Sky Bar, featured in The Hangover 2 movie.
Coming down from the clouds and make your way to Khao San Road, Bangkok’s famous backpacker street. The night market is always live and bustling with stalls, street food and bars.
After two full days of exploring the city, it’s time to slow down the pace. Despite being one of the busiest cities in the world, there is beauty and relaxing waiting to be explored in Bangkok.
If you know a bit about Bangkok, you’ve probably heard of their famous floating markets. The two biggest ones, Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa are located over an hour outside the city, but they’re well worth a visit. The best way to see the markets is to book a half day tour, which will pick you up from your accommodation at 7am and drop you back off 1pm. Take a boat ride through the canals, enjoy freshly cooked seafood for lunch, and be back in time to enjoy the afternoon in the city!
Relax and rewind after a morning full of culture and vibrance with a visit to Lumphini Park. Bangkok might be a mega-city, but Lumphini Park is wonderful inner-city haven of peace and tranquillity.
After a rest enjoying nature, why not treat yourself to a Thai massage – you can’t visit the birthplace of this massage form and not try it! And the best part is, they’re super affordable. What better way setting off home! Here’s everything you need to know about getting a massage in Bangkok.
If you’re joining one of our Southeast Asia adventures, then you’ll need to head back to your accommodation, grab your bags and meet your adventure leader at the River View Guesthouse at 5pm!
Using this 3-day itinerary as a post-trip guide? Not to worry, why not take in the views of the city after dark with an evening dinner boat cruise down the river, go clubbing in the red light district or hit up one of the city’s night markets!
1. If you’re planning on using tuk-tuks to get around the city, be sure to agree on the price of the trip with your driver before getting in. Tuk-tuk drivers are known for charging foreigners extortionate prices because they don’t know better.
2. The sky rail is a relatively cheap and very convenient way to get around Bangkok, especially when you’re travelling longer distances.
4. The Chao Phraya express boat makes stops all long the river, so it’s a great way to get from A to B and take in views of the city at the same time.
3. Bangkok Transit is a great website for checking which public transport is best for your journey.
3. Looking for the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants, check out this list of favourites, or read our vegan and vegetarian guide to Thai cuisine.
4. Don’t know where to stay in Bangkok? We recommend River View Guesthouse for affordable rooms and a great location. Want help booking pre or post-trip accommodation? Just let us know!
5. It’s important to be prepared during any trip you take overseas. We recommend World Nomads as your travel insurance provider.
Interested in visiting Thailand or having your own Southeast Asia adventure? Take a look at our 13-day Thailand and Laos tour or our 31-day backpacking tour. Want to speak to our team of specialists? Send us an email at email@example.com or drop us a message in the chat box below!
Published 21st January 2019