Bangkok is the capital of Thailand, and it is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for a good reason! Bangkok is a melting pot of the old and the new, where ancient temples stand proudly side by side with feats of modern architecture.
People in Bangkok are very friendly, and eager to show tourists around their beloved city. The food is also very cheap, delicious, and plentiful! Indeed, it would be hard to walk down any street in Bangkok, and not be greeted by the smell of something cooking. Whether you choose to dine in a fancy, sit-in restaurant, or by a street stall, your senses are sure to be delighted with all that Bangkok has to offer!
Going to Bangkok is a delightful and memorable experience, whether it’s your first or your tenth time to visit the city. However, if it’s your first time to visit Bangkok, here is a short guide on how to make the most of your Bangkok experience in three days.
Where to stay in Bangkok:
Mandarin Oriental (48 Oriental Avenue,Charoenkrung)
The Peninsula (333 Charoennakorn Road | Khlong San)
Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn (33/1 South Sathorn Road | Yannawa, Sathon
Shangri-La Hotel (89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, New Road)
VIE Hotel – MGallery Collection (117/39-40 Phaya Thai Rd, Ratchathewi)
Day 1: Enjoy the history of Bangkok
During your first day in Bangkok, you should definitely take the time to appreciate the history of Bangkok. Bangkok boasts the historial district of Thonburi. You can get to Thonburi by taking the BTS Skytrain to Saphan Taksin Station, and from there, board a Chao Phraya Express boat going to Memorial Bridge. Once there, you can enjoy the beautiful sight of the pure white Wat Prayoon temple.
After your visit to Thonburi, you should head on over to the Grand Palace (Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Nakhon; tel:+66 2 623 5500) , where you can see the official residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782. You can easily head to the Grand Palace by taking one of the city’s infamous tuk-tuks (something like a motorcycle with a sidecar attached for passengers; another thing that you should not miss in Bangkok!), and then from the Grand Palace, take a walk to Wat Pho, where you can see the world-famous reclining Buddha. There are also numerous other temples that you can enjoy in and around Bangkok, so if you sign up for a temple tour, get ready for a full day’s worth of exploring the city! However, leave yourself some time and definitely check out Wat Arun, or the Temple of the Dawn (the entrance fee is about 50 Baht – 1.50 USD). This beautiful temple is unique, because you can actually climb up inside the temple and once you reach the top, you will get a view of the city that will take your breath away.
For a stellar end to your day, why not book a cruise down Chao Phraya River, where you can see the lights of Bangkok at night. However, if you are on a budget, you can hire a water taxi for around 20 baht (which is less than a dollar), and it will offer you the same gorgeous view.
Day 2: Enjoy the culture of Bangkok
Now that you’ve acquainted yourself with the history of Bangkok, it’s time to enjoy the modern Bangkok. Bangkok is a dynamic city full of sights and sounds, and your head might spin at trying to figure out where to go. However, here is the top highlights that you might enjoy on your second day in Bangkok.
In the morning, go for a stroll at Lumpini Park. You’ll get a chance to relax, recharge, and even do some people watching! For lunch, visit the Chinatown in Bangkok. Don’t mind all the street hawkers and their souvenirs; you’re here for the food! There are countless street stalls in Chinatown where you can pretty much get every Thai dish you want, but personally, a huge bowl of authentic Pad Thai is the way to go. As they say, when in Rome (or in this case, Bangkok!).
If you’re still in the mood for some action after spending the afternoon playing with big cats, try and head over to Lumpinee Boxing Stadium and see if there is a Muay Thai match going on. Muay Thai is considered to be the national sport of Thailand, and people in Bangkok are crazy for this sport.
After such an exciting day, you should unwind by paying a visit to Suk Soi 11 (or Sukhumvit Soi 11 – the legendary party street in Bangkok). This little corner of Bangkok comes alive at night with bars, clubs, and restaurants. If you want to grab some good food or cheap drinks while chatting with some of Bangkok’s locals, this is the place to be.
If you prefer to spend the day in a more adventures way – book a visit to the Tiger Temple. You will be allowed to pet cubs, and even fully-grown adults! The tigers are calm and used to human interaction, however, it is still advisable to be careful and to follow the rules of the temple at all times. Keep in mind that if you would like to visit the Tiger temple you will have to leave Bangkok early in the morning, especially if you book a package that includes a breakfast with the monks (6am). Write in the comments if you need a tour guide, we may be able to help.
Day 3: Time to pamper yourself
After spending two days running around and seeing Bangkok, it’s time to spend a little time pampering yourself. Thailand is famous, of course, for the Thai foot massage, and Bangkok is practically dotted with Thai foot massage parlors. Everywhere you turn, you will practically run into a massage parlor, and every local will have their own favorite. Besides, you’re going to need to pamper your feet because they’re going to take a lot of abuse when you finally go shopping!
Bangkok is a haven for the shopaholic, because of the wide variety of places to shop and things to buy. You can visit the Floating Market for a unique shopping experience, where you shop while riding a boat paddled by a local. You can purchase items being sold by vendors riding in boats along-side you! You can also visit the Chatuchak Weekend Market, where you will be able to see market stalls as far as your eyes can see. Chatuchak offers everything from genuine luxury items, to cheap knockoffs and you can probably find something there that will fit your budget and taste.
For a more traditional shopping experience, you can also visit Bangkok’s numerous shopping malls or shopping districts. In Siam Square, you can find MBK (444 Phayathai Rd; tel: +66 2 620 9000), which is a mall for those who are shopping on a budget. For those who can afford more higher-end items, visit Paragon (991/1 1st Floor, Rama I Road; tel: +66 2 610 8000) for luxury brands and one of the best oceanariums in Asia. Siam Discovery (Siam Tower, Rama 1 Road; tel:+66 2 658 1000), on the other hand, has chain stores.
There are so many things to do in Bangkok that three days in the city will really not do it justice. However, these activities can help you experience the best that Bangkok has to offer in the short time that you have. And even if you won’t have the time or energy to visit all these places, look at the silver lining: it’s a great reason to come back to Bangkok in the future!
Have you been to Bangkok or anywhere else in Thailand? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.
Favorite place to eat is Steve Cafe; it’s right on the river with a great view, and the authentic thai food is delicious and affordable. Every time I have guests visiting, I take them here.
Thanks for the tip. We haven’t been to Steve Cafe. Liz, what’s your opinion about Hungry Nerd? I wonder what the locals think about the concept of American fast food/restaurant hybrid?