Last month my husband and I went to the Far East for our honeymoon. Our trip started in Bangkok where we spent 2 nights and 2 full days. We had a wonderful time as we got to experience a vibrant culture, try real Thai food, see the magical temples and ride their tuk-tuks.
Here’s a 48-hour itinerary that includes awesome things to do in Bangkok. It will help you make the most out of your trip!
Population: 8.2 million.
Currency: Thai Baht ฿ (1GBP = 43THB).
Airport: There are 2 international airports in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi airport and Donmueang airport.
Language: Thai with very basic English.
Day one is shown in blue on the interactive map.
THE GRAND PALACE
Start your day by visiting The Grand Palace. It’s a complex of several buildings in the heart of Bangkok, and has been the official residence of kings of Siam since 1782. The place is really magical, you will fall in love with the architecture and the colours but it’s usually packed with tourists so we would recommend going earlier in the day. Sadly you cannot enter the Palace or the temples, but the views are really beautiful from outside. The ticket also includes the entrance to Dusit Park which you will see while walking around. So you will spend 2 to 3 hours there.
Ticket: ฿500 for adults.
Open daily from 9:30am to 4pm.
Tip: Make sure shoulders and knees are fully covered before entering the Grand Palace and temples area.
WAT PRA KAEW
Our Grand Palace ticket also gave us access to visit Wat Pra Kaew which is the Temple of Emerald Buddha. This temple is considered the most sacred Buddha temple in Thailand, and you will be able to see the Emerald Buddha statue as it stands at 66cm tall and carved in dark green jade stone.
This temple was our favourite temple in Bangkok. After you’re done with The Grand Palace, Dusit Palace and Wat Pra Kaew, walk south to see the royal temple of Wat Pho. This is the temple of the reclining Buddha, as it houses a 46 meter long reclining Buddha. It also houses the biggest collection of Buddha images in Thailand.
Our favourite part, is the school of Thai medicine that was established in 1955. That’s where traditional Thai massage was born and still taught and practised today. We got a traditional Thai massage done in the temple for a fee and it was a really great experience.
Ticket: ฿100 for adults (with a free bottle of water)
Open daily from 8am to 5pm (massage available until 6pm)
Tip: Make sure shoulders and knees are fully covered before entering the temple area.
THE SIXTH RESTAURANT
After visiting Wat Pho, you will most probably be hungry. A good food spot is the Sixth Restaurant which is just a couple of minutes walk from the temple. They serve curries, tom yum, Thai papaya salad and many more dishes.
Tip: The Sixth restaurant doesn’t serve dinner. No reservations, first come first serve basis. Vegetarian and vegan options are available.
If you walk to the river direction, you will be able to see Wat Arun; the temple of dawn. This Buddhist temple is built on the west bank of Chao Phraya river, and one of Thailand’s most known landmarks.
Take the tuk-tuk and head to China town. We would recommend starting at Yaowarat Road and walking south. China town in Bangkok is one of the largest China Towns in the world! Established in 1782, you will find a lot of different Chinese delicacies cooked and uncooked sold in stands and restaurants along the road. You can easily spend 2-3 hours walking around this area entertaining yourself with all the exotic things that you will see.
Walking around China town, you will see many live cooking stations where you’ll be able to choose the food that you want to eat. In this area, you can even find Durian if that’s a fruit that you would like to try!
Tip: Beware of pickpockets when walking around Chinatown.
Near China Town’s gate, you will find Wat Traimit a Buddhist temple that houses the golden buddha that weights 5.5 tons of pure gold! For around 200 years, the statue was covered with a layer of glass and stucco until it was chipped in 1955 due to relocation and that was when the gold was revealed.
Ticket: ฿40 for adults just to see the golden statue. Additional ฿100 applies if you would like to see the museum.
Open daily from 9am to 5pm.
Tip: Make sure shoulders and knees are fully covered before entering the temple area.
Namsaah Bottling Trust
For dinner, head to Namsaah Bottling trust. It’s a fine dining restaurant that serves modern Thai dishes made from the freshest ingredients. We really loved the cool vibe, the decor and the music.
We have tried the popcorn shrimp, summer rolls, slow-cooked beef red curry, stir-fried market greens, steamed rice berry. And for dessert, we had banana roti. We enjoyed every single dish that we ordered, and the dessert was phenomenal!
Our bill came at ฿1765 and that included 10% service charge and tax.
Open daily from 5pm to 2am. Kitchen closes at 11pm.
Day two is shown in red on the interactive map.
Jim Thompson house
Start the day by visiting Jim Thompson house. It’s a wooden museum located in the heart of Bangkok that houses beautiful Asian art collected by an American architect Jim Thompson. Entrance fee is ฿150 per person, which includes a 30 minute guided tour in several languages including English.
To enter the house be prepared to take off your shoes, and not touch the art pieces around the house. You can only carry your camera with you during the house tour, but no photos are allowed. Give yourself 30 more minutes to walk around the beautiful garden around the house where taking pictures is allowed, and to visit the Museum shop where you can find stunning natural silk items. This museum is a gem that should not be missed when visiting Bangkok.
Ticket: ฿150 per person.
Open daily from 9am to 6pm.
Tip: There’s a free shuttle that can take you from and to the main street by the museum
Walk to Siam Square, it will take you around 15 minutes to get there to see the modern part of Bangkok! Shop at Siam Paragon Mall and MBK Shopping Center. We really enjoyed the shopping in Bangkok, and bought some really nice local designer clothing from MBK Shopping Center. You can also stop for a coffee or a frozen drink at one of the numerous cafes in this area, or just walk around Siam Discovery.
THAI MASSAGE AT CHANG
After all the walking, you will appreciate a good foot rub. One of Bangkok’s decent massage places is Chang’s. It’s one of these places that don’t offer “special massages”, and you can choose between getting a Thai massage, body oil massage or a foot massage. Their prices are average, the place is clean and comfortable (we went there twice during our short trip).
KURISSARA THAI RESTAURANT
Take a taxi and head to Kurissara Thai Restaraunt. It’s an authentic Thai restaurant that cooks from natural fresh ingredients and never from frozen. All dishes are cooked and prepared specially for your order. It’s not an open kitchen restaurant, but you can definitely tell that the food is prepared with the freshest ingredients. In fact, this restaurant is by far our favourite restaurant in Bangkok.
We strongly recommend the young papaya salad (but beware of the chilli! If you’re not used to really spicy food, then you might want to let the waitress know that). We also really liked the Tom Yum soup with shrimp, chicken satay with peanut sauce, yellow curry with rice, and mango sticky rice pudding.
Kurissara Thai Restaurant was our favourite Restaurant in Bangkok. We’ve tried Chicken Satay with peanut sauce, tom yum with shrimp, Thai papaya salad, yellow curry with shrimp, steamed rice, we also had fresh mango smoothies and mango sticky rice for dessert. We paid a total of ฿845, and left some tips.
The restaurant is open daily from 10:30am to 10:30pm.
PATPONG NIGHT BAZAAR
Take a taxi to Patpong night market (or the sky train but you will have to walk around 10 minutes from the restaurant to the station). Patpong night bazaar a lively place to shop for cheap souvenirs, fake brand clothes, sunglasses and watches at night. It is also known for its adult entertainment places, you will find lots of Go-Go bars and cabarets that offer the “ping pong show”. Be prepared to get hassled by sellers trying to invite you to come and watch their x-rated shows, ping pong shows or have a special massage!
Open daily from 6pm to midnight.
Vertigo Grill and Moon Bar
End the night by visiting the wonderful open-air Vertigo grill and moon bar located on the 60th floor at Beynan Tree hotel. The bar itself is very lovely, and the view is absolutely amazing. Price of drinks is not cheap, we paid around £35 for just 2 cocktails.
Another choice is to go to the Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower which you might recognise from The Hang Over Part II film, it’s one of the highest open air bars in Asia and the views are also amazing.
The sky bars are open daily from 5pm to 1am.
Tip: There’s a dress code for men, make sure that you’re not wearing shorts (you need long trousers), and semi-formal shoes (no flip-flops allowed!).
GETTING AROUND IN BANGKOK
Take the ferry
A good way to get around the Chao Phraya river area is to take the Chao Phraya River Express. It’s a fast and reliable ferry service that avoids the busy streets of Bangkok city. The ferry is very frequent and goes up and down the river. Single tickets are ฿17.
Ride a Tuk-tuk
Riding a tuk-tuk is one of these really fun things to do in Bangkok. A tuk-tuk is a 3 wheeled little vehicle that runs on a motorbike engine and designed to carry 2-3 people on short journeys. It’s a unique experience that you must try in Bangkok. We were surprised that taking a tuk-tuk can be a bit more expensive than taking a taxi, and we usually paid around ฿100 per ride.
Tip: Make sure that you agree on the fee with the driver before you get in the vehicle.
Take the Sky Train
Taking the BTS sky train is really efficient during the high traffic as the train goes above the jammed streets of Bangkok. It’s also a great way to save some money. The single ride ticket ranges between ฿5 and ฿42 depending on where you’re going. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket office in the station or via a ticket machine, so make sure that you have coins with you if you’re using the machines.
Take the Taxi
The busy city of Bangkok is filled with taxis, so you won’t have a problem finding one. We noticed that taxi drivers around Bangkok try to call a fixed (high) fee, and not many would accept going by the meter. However, we made sure that we only went with drivers that were happy to switch the meter on and each ride usually cost us around ฿50-70.
The trick with the meter is drivers trying to take poor routes to try and make more money out of you, but we usually had google maps on (offline mode) and knew the way. We actually argued with 2 taxi drivers as they tried taking a longer route and didn’t realise that we were aware of this.