Planning a trip to Bangkok? Get some inspiration on what to do while you’re there with our idea of a perfect three-day itinerary. History, culture, entertainment, restaurants… Pack it all in at a comfortable pace and don’t miss a thing!
Start your stay in Bangkok near Saphan Taksin station, by making your way to the banks of the Chao Phraya River at Sathorn Pier. From there, set sail on one of the orange flag boats for a journey that takes you past all the major sights and gives you a great feel for the real Bangkok. Then, head down Tha Chang Pier towards the Grand Palace. An ancient royal residence built in 1782, this extraordinary white and gold building is situated on the same site as the Temple of The Emerald Buddha. This historic temple houses a stunning jade stone statue, which is one of the country’s most sacred artefacts and is adorned with spectacular gilding. The rest of the site is also captivating, with over 100 buildings adorned with colours and gilding, testament to the integral religious importance of this area in Thai culture.
Next, head towards the Wat Pho Temple. Here, the primary attraction is the spectacular 46-metre long reclining Buddha statue, which is covered in gold leaf and depicts the Buddha ready to reach Nirvana. The eight-hectare temple also houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand. In addition to its religious importance, Wat Pho is also the birthplace of traditional Thai medicine and massage. A world-renowned massage training centre was established here in 1955 and continues to operate to this day: the perfect opportunity for you to enjoy an authentic Thai massage during your visit.
After all that exploring, it’s time for a bite to eat! Just a stone’s throw away, enjoy the cosy yet hip floral ambiance of The Sixth restaurant, whose tantalising menu includes a delicious Pad Thai, a typical noodle dish that’s not to be missed during your stay in Bangkok.
In the afternoon, cross the river and make your way to Wat Arun, ‘The Temple of Dawn’. This monumental building overlooks the river and its entrancing central column, which is adorned with hundreds of thousands of delicate porcelain tiles, offers an exceptional viewpoint over the city.
In the evening, check out the best of Bangkok’s street food in the Chinatown district. Here, you’ll find creations that combine Thai and Chinese cuisine, producing intriguing and delicious flavour combinations. To get involved, head to the stalls on Yaowarat Road, stroll among the rows of open-air kitchens and choose what you fancy.
The next day of your stay in Bangkok, treat yourself to a shopping spree in the capital, which offers all sorts of attractive options for some retail therapy. Begin the day north of the city, at Chatuchak Market, the world’s largest open-air market. Its 15,000 stalls extend for over a kilometre, and the market attracts at least 200,000 visitors each day. Here, you will find absolutely everything you can think of, from local crafts to antiques, fabrics, furniture, clothing, plants, pets and much, much more. Visiting this effervescent spot is an incredible experience, so much so, you could almost forget to buy something!
For lunch, get a bite to eat at one of the most modern parts of the city, enjoying the air conditioning and delicious cuisine of the famous food-courts in the Siam Paragon shopping centre. These food courts are home to Asian restaurants where all kinds of cuisines are served side by side. The Siam Paragon Food Hall, on the ground floor, offers a varied choice of worldwide cuisine in an authentic Thai atmosphere. Browse what the various stalls have to offer, exploring the delicious aromas of various dishes, before setting your sights on a superb curry or Pad Thai.
Afterwards, the gigantic Siam Paragon shopping centre, which covers over 500,000 square metres and has over 300 stores, is ready to welcome you with open arms, so you can continue your afternoon of shopping. More than just simple collections of shops, you’ll discover, during your stay in Bangkok, that the city’s shopping centres are an unusual meeting and trading place, and play an integral role in Thai daily life. Wander the floors, browse the shop windows and indulge in a spot of people watching to get a real feel for the daily lives of Bangkok’s inhabitants, who often meet friends or family in these veritable temples of retail. Of course, part of the reason shopping centres are quite so popular is their excellent air conditioning systems, a vital feature in this hot, humid part of the world.
Make the most of your shopping centre experience by dining in one, where you’ll no doubt discover yet another excellent restaurant in this mini cities within a city. Subsequently, head to Food Republic, the food-court on the 4th floor of Siam Paragon. There an incredible selection of stalls offers even more opportunities to indulge, as well as a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.
For the last day of your stay in Bangkok, visit Jim Thompson’s home, the extraordinary former home of an American businessman who almost singlehandedly revived the Thai silk market in the 1950s. After contributing to the worldwide success of the product, he mysteriously disappeared and so his home, his large Southeast Asian art collection and his stunning exotic garden were turned into a museum. This place is a true piece of the city’s history and a great example of the country’s distinctive architecture, with the unique residence comprising six traditional Thai houses. Walk around the magnificent peaceful garden before discovering various pieces and products made from silk, many of which sold in the shop and make splendid souvenirs.
For lunch, prolong the art of living like a true Thai local in the heart of this authentic home. Go to the Jim Thompson café-restaurant, which is nestled in the centre of the garden and is surrounded by lush flora. In this tranquil oasis of greenery on the banks of the serene Khlong, Bangkok’s canal, you will feel like you are in heaven and ready for another excellent Thai meal.
bold;underline;In the afternoon, continue to enjoy this peaceful part of your stay in Bangkok by heading to Lumphini Park, the green belt of the city which covers over 55 hectares. Beloved by both locals and visitors, this oasis of calm is the ideal place to discover the serene side of the capital. Lie out on the grass in this peaceful area for a moment of relaxation and contemplation on your trip thus far. Here, Monitor Lizards, which are impressive yet harmless, run alongside walkers and cyclists, to the often audible surprise of visitors. At the end of the afternoon, join one of the mass aerobics groups to get fit with the locals and experience a unique Bangkok tradition. Both sociable and sporty, all generations participate in this free activity, and groups can sometimes number in the hundreds. Get fit with the locals and experience a unique city tradition during your stay in Bangkok.
When evening comes, take to the heights to reflect on your stay in Bangkok. Enjoy a delicious cocktail at Vertigo TOO, a rooftop bar located on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel and the perfect place to feel the breeze, observe the horizon and get a real sense of this immense city that often feels like it has a surprise hidden around every corner.
At the end of your stay in Bangkok, you’ll appreciate the unique nature of this Asian megalopolis full of contrasts, with a cultural diversity that extends way beyond the city centre’s skyscrapers and temples. The city, which is often known as the Venice of the East, also has a river and extensive canal system, giving you the chance to explore the authentic floating markets and the unusual pace of life of a trading city during your next visit. Meanwhile, a little out of the city, the wonders and history of the ruins at the archaeological site of Ayutthaya await, further proof that here, you’ll never run out of things to see and do.