I never thought I’d write a Bangkok travel guide because the destination has never really been high on my travel bucket list. Planning a beach vacation or holiday in the mountains is more my style. But we decided that if we were spending two weeks in Thailand, then we should at least spend one day in Bangkok. I’m so glad we did! I really loved Bangkok! The city is much more lush than I expected and it’s super walkable – both of which are really important to me. Naturally, there’s a lot of pollution and seeing the amount of garbage in the river was truly shocking so brace yourself for that (and do your part to make smart eco-conscious choices).
About Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, the vibrant capital of Thailand, is a bustling metropolis that seamlessly blends rich cultural heritage with modernity. Known for its ornate temples, bustling markets, and delectable street food, Bangkok offers a captivating sensory experience. From the iconic Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew to the bustling floating markets and lively nightlife of Khao San Road, the city has something for everyone. You can immerse yourself in the bustling streets, explore the Chao Phraya River, indulge in Thai cuisine, and discover a blend of traditional and contemporary architecture. Bangkok’s charm lies in its fusion of ancient traditions and modern innovations, making it a captivating destination for anyone seeking a unique blend of history, Thai culture, and urban adventures.
Bangkok Travel Guide
How Many Days in Bangkok are Enough?
If you want to see all the highlights, one day in Bangkok is enough time. We stayed downtown and were able to walk many places or take the train. We stayed for 48 hours and felt that 2 days in Bangkok was more than is enough. If you want to get out of the city to see more temples and such, plan to spend a little more time.
Getting Around Bangkok
Taxis, Ubers and tuk tuks are very safe and reliable in Bangkok. The train network is also extraordinary and efficient, and the best way to get around the city if you’re short on time. We easily got from Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok Airport (BKK) to the city center in about 30 minutes for just a couple dollars. We also used public transport to get around to the temples and markets by train. There are also river boats and ferries that run through the city adding an interesting way to get around Bangkok. Downtown Bangkok is easily walkable so I highly recommend staying in central Bangkok for this reason.
Where to Stay in Bangkok
If you’re looking for suggestions on where to stay in Bangkok, I highly recommend VIE Hotel Bangkok, MGallery Hotel Collection. The downtown Bangkok location is so ideal. It’s a short walk to the Airport Rail Link train, walking distance to shopping and restaurants, and it’s a great place for families. The VIE Hotel is a luxury five star Bangkok hotel that has gourmet restaurants, an award-winning spa, a rooftop infinity pool, and luxurious accommodations. Also, accommodation for families in Asia is challenging because most hotels have a maximum capacity of 3 guests which I’ve never understood. However VIE Hotel Bangkok hotel rooms accommodate 4 guests.
Best Places to Eat in Bangkok
The best coffee cafe for breakfast in central Bangkok is Casa Lapin. They have excellent coffee, vegan breakfast bowls, eggs benny, and waffles among other things. However it is a bit pricey for Thailand and the service can be a touch slow which is fine if you’re having a leisurely morning but be mindful if you’re in a rush to get somewhere.
The best place to eat lunch in central Bangkok is B-Story Cafe. It is a charming 2-storey cafe that is full of whimsy and the perfect place to take Instagram photos, too. They offer an eclectic mix of western and Thai foods, and they make cute animal shapes with their lattes.
For the best Thai restaurant in downtown Bangkok, Ban Khun Mae is a must. This was one of the best meals I had on the trip and the menu was comprised of classic Thai dishes like Pad Thai and innovative ones like Pineapple Fried Rice. And we literally ate the peanut sauce with a spoon. So good.
We were wondering where to go at night for dessert, and I am so glad we chose the Caturday Cat Cafe. It is so fun and unique. I mean, I could have chocolate while playing with kitties – what’s not to love? The cafe design is quirky and another great Instagrammable spot in Bangkok.
And if you want to do something really special, Afternoon Tea with a View of Bangkok is wonderful!
1 Day Bangkok Itinerary: Things to Do and See
The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace complex, former home of the Kings of Siam, is actually a collection of buildings and halls spread across numerous lawns and courtyards. It’s absolutely stunning but consider yourself warn: it is a zoo. Honestly, mobs like this are my worst nightmare with travelling. Even though we went in the morning (we got their at about 10 am) and the masses of people were already so large that we could barely move around. We tried to get around everywhere and take photos but after about an hour, we cut our losses and left. If I were to go again, I would book this Private Grand Palace Complex Tour.
Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is a highly revered and sacred Buddhist temple located within the grounds of the Grand Palace complex in Bangkok. It is considered the most important and holiest temple in Thailand. Wat Phra Kaew is not just a single temple but a vast complex of ornate buildings, pavilions, and galleries. The architecture and design of the temple showcase exquisite craftsmanship and intricate details. The structures are adorned with colorful porcelain tiles, gold leaf, and precious gemstones, creating a dazzling visual spectacle.
Wat Pho, also known as Wat Phra Chetuphon or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is a famous Buddhist temple located in Bangkok, Thailand. It is one of the oldest and largest temples in the city and is considered one of the must-visit tourist attractions. Wat Pho is adjacent to the Grand Palace so super convenient to explore both attractions in the same day.
Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn, is another iconic Buddhist temple located in Bangkok, Thailand. Situated on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River, it is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city.
This private guided tour will take you to all three Royal Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun. It is a great way to see the important Buddhist temples when you’re on a one day itinerary.
Khao San Road
Khao San Road, near the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, is your gateway to an exciting adventure in Bangkok. If you’re a budget traveler, you’ll find everything you need on this vibrant street. From affordable guesthouses and hostels to an array of street vendors, food stalls and restaurants, Khao San Road caters to your budget-conscious needs. During the day, immerse yourself in the bustling marketplace, where vendors offer cheap clothing, unique souvenirs, and handmade crafts. It’s the perfect place to shop and find treasures to remember your trip. As night falls, Khao San Road transforms into a lively social scene.
When in Thailand, you MUST treat yourself to a foot massage. Luckily for you, I tried two places because, you know, research. P. Plean Massage is directly across the street from Vie Hotel. It’s about 200 Thai Baht (about $10), or less as they often have deals, for a one-hour foot, leg, and shoulder massage. Next to P.Plean Massage is another spa that’s just called MASSAGE (you can’t miss the gigantic sign). It’s smaller but the staff are super friendly and equally good at massage. I actually took my husband and children here for massages as a family activity on our last day in Bangkok and they loved it! Neither of these places have websites but you can find them on TripAdvisor and Google Maps.
If you want to go all out, then you definitely need to book this Two Hour Thai Massage that includes pick up from your hotel. I’m literally dreaming of my next Thai Massage…
1 Day Bangkok Itinerary: Where to Shop
Markets, markets, markets. I think Chatuchak Weekend Market is the best market in Bangkok. With 15,000 stalls over 35 acres, Chatuchak is one of the largest markets in Southeast Asia. If you’re wondering where to buy souvenirs, shop for clothing and household goods, or eat street meat, you’ll find everything you need here. Getting to Chatuchak Market is really easy, too. It’s just 8 stops away from VIE Hotel on the BTS Skytrain, and only costs about $1. If you want a private shopping tour with a local guide, book this Guided Chatuchak Market Weekend Market Shopping Tour.
If you’re looking for unique, luxury shopping in Bangkok then visit the Jim Thompson House Museum. You can enjoy the gardens and cafe, visit the museum, or shop for luxury silk clothes and home decor. Jim Thompson House is in central Bangkok and about a 10 minute walk from VIE Hotel.
The pak khlong flower market is also incredible as is the floating marketing. If you have time, check them out. You can book this Train Market, Floating Market, Bangkok’s Chinatown and Floating Market Private Tour.
Have you been to Bangkok Thailand before and if not, is it on your bucket list? I’d be curious to know your thoughts on why or why not.
If you’re planning to travel around Asia, be sure to read all my Asia Travel Guides.
How Should Tourists Dress in Thailand?
When you visit temples in Thailand, it’s essential to dress respectfully to honor the religious and cultural significance of these sacred sites. Remember to dress modestly and follow these guidelines:
- Shoulders: Ensure your shoulders are covered. Avoid wearing tank tops, sleeveless shirts, or spaghetti straps.
- Chest: Make sure your clothing adequately covers your chest. Avoid low-cut or revealing tops.
- Legs: Wear clothing that covers your knees. Opt for shorts, skirts, or dresses of an appropriate length.
- Shoes: Before entering the temple buildings, remember to remove your shoes. Choose comfortable footwear that can be easily taken off and put back on.
Keep in mind that some temples may offer clothing rentals or sarongs at the entrance if you’re not dressed appropriately. However, it’s best to dress respectfully before you arrive to ensure a seamless and respectful temple visit.
By following this strict dress code, you will demonstrate your respect for local customs and traditions while immersing yourself in the beauty of Thailand’s temples.
Visiting other Areas of Thailand
As a tourist exploring Bangkok, it’s important to dress appropriately for the local culture and climate. Here are some suggestions for what to wear outside of the temples:
- Lightweight and breathable clothing: Bangkok has a tropical climate, so wearing lightweight and breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen is ideal. Loose-fitting clothes will help you stay comfortable in the heat and humidity.
- Modest attire: While outside the temples, it is still respectful to dress modestly. Opt for clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. T-shirts, blouses, or shirts with short sleeves are suitable, as well as long pants, capris, or skirts that fall below the knees.
- Comfortable footwear: Bangkok is a bustling city with plenty of walking and exploring to do. Choose comfortable footwear, such as sneakers or sandals, that will allow you to navigate the streets and attractions comfortably.
- Sun protection: Don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or cap, sunglasses, and apply sunscreen to exposed skin to guard against the strong sun rays.
- Respect the local culture: While it’s essential to dress for the climate and your comfort, it’s also important to be respectful of the local culture. Avoid clothing with offensive or provocative designs or slogans.
What’s the Best Time to Visit Bangkok?
The best time to visit Bangkok depends on your preferences and what you intend to do during your trip. Here are some considerations for each season:
- High Season (November to February): This is generally considered the best time to visit Bangkok as the weather is relatively cooler and drier. Temperatures are milder, ranging from around 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F). It’s a popular time for tourists, so expect larger crowds and higher prices. It’s advisable to book accommodations and attractions in advance.
- Shoulder Season (March to May): This period can be quite hot and humid, with temperatures reaching over 35°C (95°F). However, it’s still a manageable time to visit if you can handle the heat. The advantage is that there are fewer tourists, and you may find better deals on accommodations.
- Wet Season (June to October): This is the rainy season in Bangkok, characterized by frequent showers and high humidity. While rainfall can be heavy at times, it often comes in short bursts, allowing for periods of sunshine. Prices are generally lower during this time, and the city is less crowded. Just be prepared with appropriate rain gear and check the weather forecast before planning outdoor activities.
Ultimately, the best time to visit Bangkok depends on your personal preferences and tolerance for heat and rain. If you prefer milder weather and don’t mind larger crowds, the high season is a great choice. If you prefer fewer tourists and don’t mind the heat, the shoulder season can be a good option. If you’re looking for better deals and don’t mind occasional showers, the wet season might work for you.
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One Day in Bangkok: Travel Guide of the Best Things to Do
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