Are you heading to Bangkok and not sure what to do or what to see if it’s your first time?
Bangkok is a chaotic city, busy, with tuk-tuks everywhere, with crowds everywhere but it is worth a visit. Before I went to Bangkok I heard quite a few times that after your first visit you will love it or hate it. Now that I have been there, if you ask me I would answer that I´m not sure if I love it or hate it but it truly deserves a visit. Going to Thailand and missing Bangkok doesn’t complete the experience. What I can say for sure is that we had a great time.
So, what to do in Bangkok in 2 days? 2 days are more than enough to get a rough idea about this city. If you have an extra day or two then you will have more time to go around and discover secret spots though.
Temples and temples
The most important temples are three, in order as follows:
1st. The Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew (all in one place): it is magnificent and extraordinary beautiful as well as crowded. Entrance fee: 500THB.
2nd. Wat Pho – Temple of the reclining Buddha: the reclining Buddha is the symbol of Bangkok and Thailand itself. Once inside wander around the place. Entrance fee: 100THB. After visiting Wat Pho you may be hungry. If so, there is a let’s call it “restaurant” that serve really tasty food. I can’t remember the name but they had plastic tables and chairs outside, the inside area is very tiny (perhaps 4-5 tables) and there is a back door that connects with the parallel street. The food is delicious and very cheap and there were people queuing, always a good sign. Sorry if I can’t give you the name or the exact location but if I’m not wrong the street was one of these: Tha Tian Alley, Maha Rat Road or Tha Ruea Daeng Alley. Hope you can find it and if so, please share 🙂
3rd. Wat Arun – Temple of Dawn: you can find this temple on the other side of the river. It is not as beautiful as the previous two but it is worth a visit. Entrance fee: 50THB.
If you are staying around Khao San road you can easily walk to The Grand Palace and after that, Wat Pho is just another short walk from there. Another option would be to get the Express Boat at Phra Arthit – click here for location – and stop at #9 Tha Chang Pier – click here for location.
To reach Wat Arun you have to cross the river. For that get the Express Boat again at Tha Tien – click here for location – it only costs 4THB one way.
If you have time there is a fourth one that it is worth a visit for its views of the city. It is Wat Saket, also called Golden Mount.
For more information about Bangkok temples, check this out:
Markets and street food stalls
There are street food stalls everywhere and I love street markets so if you ask me it is a must!
That said, you can’t miss Chinatown night’s food market. Wander around to find the spot that you fancy the most. Almost everything looked so yummy and always use the rule of thumbs: as I said before if there are loads of people eating or even waiting it’s a good sign.
If you want to have a rough idea about a local market, you can head to the Flower Market that it’s just a short walk south of Wat Pho.
About the floating market, my personal opinion is that floating markets are a tourist trap, so I decided not to visit any of them but as I said is a personal choice.
Yet, if you want to find out more about Bangkok’s floating markets then check this out:
Note: there aren´t food stalls on Mondays as it is the day they clean the streets. So if you are planning to go to China Town don´t go on a Monday.
In for a drink?
After walking all day long you deserve a drink or two. You can choose among the madness at Khao San Road (it is a show, so it can’t be missed), the more quiet but still a nice vibe of the parallel Soi Rambuttri or a rooftop bar or secret spots around the Sukhumvit area.
Khao San Road is like an open-air club with load music coming from everywhere. It starts slowly but just in a sudden is complete madness. If you are a party animal, this is your place. Otherwise, come early and take a sit in one of the multiple bar terraces and enjoy the show. If you are hungry I recommend you Clandestino fan food bar (click here for the exact location).
If you are looking for a nice vibe but not madness, head to the parallel Soi Rambuttri and choose one of the bars to talk about the things you have seen during the day with your mates or whatever, you are never going to be wrong.
If otherwise you prefer to enjoy your drink from the heights head to the more modern area of Sukhumvit. You should know as well that there is a secret Cuban bar called Havana Social, you have to get in through a telephone box, so cool ah! Also, I was going to recommend you an stand-up bar called Cheap Charlie’s for a more informal drink, however I just realised that they had to close the business, as well as my beloved Suk 11 Hostel, due to the owner of the land has sold it. It is a shame as it was a very cool place with a nice vibe.
RIP Cheap Charlie’s & Suk 11 Hostel, will miss you!
For more ideas about how to find the coolest secret bars check this out:
To find shopping malls head to Siam area. Are you a fan of mimics and fakes designer brands? To be honest it’s not my cup of tea, but if you are so, go to MBK, it is the mimics paradise.
Terminal 21 is an experience itself. It is like travelling around the world. Each floor is set as a city: London, Japan… It’s isn’t really for shopping, it’s more to enjoy the set, the decoration.
If you would like to find out more about shopping malls in Bangkok check this out:
Not a must but if you want to know more about the Thai textile industry and architecture you should go to Jim Thompson’s House. It is close to the shopping malls area. Entrance fee: 150THB (tour included). I don’t want to spoilt the tour so I’m not going to explain you anything about Jim’s story but it is fascinating.
Make the most of your trip to Jim’s Thompson’s House and go for a walk around the canals on your way there or on your way out. It is so nice and if you love graffiti it will be your little paradise.
Did you say tuk-tuk?
Of course you can leave this crazy city without at least one tuk-tuk ride, which it is an experience by itself. About the fares, it really depends on the distance. Getting a tuk tuk ride can be most of the times more expensive than a metered taxi (if you can get a taxi driver to agree on switching it on!). Think beforehand what you are willing to pay and negotiate the price before getting in.
Tip: some tuk-tuk drivers are not very reliable in Bangkok and scams are common. So, to avoid them, and because you are doing it for the experience, avoid touristic areas such as temples and surroundings but most important don’t let them approach you, you should be the one approaching them and even better if you catch a moving tuk tuk and never walk up to a parked one. This tip is coming from 3 Thai girls that I recently met in Sri Lanka and this rule is applicable everywhere in Asia, bear it in mind.
For the most common scams in Thailand, check this out, the #10 is hilarious and apply to guys only:
Get lost and find your hidden gem
This is my last tip: get lost and find your hidden gems, the gems that you can only find when you wander around without any purpose!! And of course if you find a hidden gem, please feel free to share it with us. We all love hidden gems, isn’t it?
Have fun, enjoy, Bangkok has loads of things to offer!
Ok fine but aren´t sure how to organise your time in Bangkok? Find some ideas below:
Day 1: Visit the main 3 temples and end up your first day with a drink in Khao San Road
In one full day you will be able to visit the main 3 temples. For the most convenient route you just need to start with the Grand Palace and end in Wat Arun. It is also the best route because Wat Arun is the one that closes the latest.
After a long day walking, head to Khao San Road, which has a more informal atmosphere, for a drink and free street shows.
Day 2: Museums, shopping, tuk-tuk ride, have dinner in one of the food stalls at China town and end up with a drink in one of the many rooftop bars in Sukhumvit
During your second day, make a start visiting some of the museums after which you can go for a tuk-tuk ride and spend the afternoon shopping or just visiting the shopping malls. For dinner, head to China town where you will be able to find loads of food stalls (excluding Mondays) and end up your day in one of the many rooftop bars in Sukhumvit and enjoy the views of this magnificent and busy city at night.
How does it sound? 😉
Have fun, enjoy your time and make the most of it!
And of course, if you have any suggestions or you just want to share your experiences, feel free to leave your comments. I’m more than happy to hear from you 🙂
As always, see you around witties!
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