If you are reading this, you have most likely already booked your Thailand layover or short city break and are looking for the top things to do in Bangkok in 3 days. And there is a lot you can fit into a short Bangkok itinerary.
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Day1: One Day in Bangkok City Centre
Riverside Cruising and Temple Hopping
Welcome to your first day in Thailand’s capital! Let’s kick this off with the main places to go in Bangkok. Luckily, they are all pretty much in one spot, so make your way to the eastern riverside and hop into one of the commuter ferries. Alternatively, you can join a boat tour. However, a commuter ferry going from Sri Phraya ferry stop to Tha Tien only costs 15 baht ($0.40). Be aware that the last ferry leaves roughly before 7pm!
On your boat tour you can already spot plenty of worthy places to see in Bangkok, such as temples alongside the river, like famous Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn, opposite Tha Tien. You can take a ferry over for only 4 baht ($0.10). I personally recommend getting off a stop earlier, at Pak Khlong Talat, to visit the Vegetable and Flower Market. Markets in Thailand are a great way to stock up on fresh food and dive into local culture. Grab a beverage and skewer to satisfy your appetite and then simply roam around.
From Pak Klong Market, it is a ten minute walk to Wat Pho and the Reclining Buddha. Entrance is 100 baht and includes free bottled water. It’s well worth it as Wat Pho is both the largest and oldest temple in Bangkok and the Buddha is over 150 feet in length. No wonder it is high ranking among the Bangkok top attractions!
Bangkok Points of Interest for Foodies
Where to go in Bangkok after such a grand temple? An even grander palace, of course. It takes another ten minutes to reach the Grand Palace by foot. A little further, you can find Sanam Luang Park, where currently the Royal Crematorium is exhibited.
If you are still fit on your feet and want more places to go in Bangkok, take a stroll over to Chinatown. Here, you can feast on affordable lunch. If you dare, you can visit Bangkokg’s first star-rated kitchen soup, run by 70 year old Jay Fai. You will recognize her by the biker glasses she wears as protection against the chili she heavily spices her dishes with. A meal can easily cost $18 as opposed to the usual $1-4 anywhere else. It’s quite an experience, to say the least.
Should it be evening by the time you have made it further south along the river banks, you can explore the many skyline bars of Bangkok. A popular one is the world’s highest open-air bar, called Sky Bar, which you can find on the 64th floor of the State Tower on Silom Road. Another, much more affordable option is Kao San Road, which is situated in the backpacking district of Bangkok and promises fun nights (Sundays are quieter apparently).
Day 2: Shopping in Bangkok
After a full day of temples and grand places to visit in Bangkok, why not take it slow? One of the most fun things to do in Bangkok is shopping. Luckily, all the main shopping malls are smack in the middle of the city centre. Take the skytrain to Siam station and you can already see two malls begging for your attention. Siam Center and Siam Paragon are right next to each other and while one is a little gloomy in an artsy way with quirky installations, the other is airy and high end looking.
A little further, you can find one of the largest malls in the world, Central World. It even has its own IMAX cinema! Right opposite is the MKB and another ten minutes away, you can dive into the crazy world that is Platinum. You can find all kinds of clothes and accessories for prices around $3! It gets really busy and overwhelming, but you can also haggle down prices. A really stylish mall that looks more like a futuristic architecture project is EmQuartier, with evening live music.
Should you be here for a weekend in Bangkok, you cannot miss one of the things to see in Bangkok – even if you hate shopping. Chatuchak Market is an outdoor market with 9000 shops and kiosks on a relatively small space. You will be guaranteed to get your travel souvenir shopping done. Not only can you stock up on cheap but stylish clothing, like dresses, blouses, cufflinks and jewellery, but also get flowers, pets, antique furniture and wholesale shipping.
Day 3: Off-the-Beaten Track in Bangkok
Bangkok is seriously massive and there is always something going on. Admittedly, I felt the hectic and noise get to me after a few days and was exceptionally happy to get out of the city centre. Luckily, just across the river, you will see a different side to Bangkok. Much more relaxed, quieter and way less crowded. This isn’t where you will encounter tourists. And that is perfect! In fact, that is why I think that the district of Phasi Charoen should be on your list if you wonder where to stay in Bangkok.
Within a thirty minute walking radius, you can find a handful of wonderful temples nestled in green enclaves and seated next to small canals. Boats are floating by, birds are singing, monks are hanging their orange robes out to dry… you get the picture.
Take the Skytrain to Wutthakat BTS Station and then cross the street and walk through the parking lot of the 7 Eleven and into small backstreets. After you have crossed a small canal, you can already see Wat Nak Prok (วัดนาคปรก) and a Wat Nang Chee Chotikaram (วัดนางชีโชติการาม) . Have a sit underneath the shady trees and watch the small lotus flowers bob in the manmade ponds to really soak in the calm of the area.
Once that is done, let’s get back onto the busy road and towards Wat Khun Chan (วัดขุนจันทร์) with its giant white Buddha and colourful ornaments and figures all over the temple area. To the Buddha’s left you will find a smaller bridge that leads to Wat Absonsawanwon Wihan (วัดอัปสรสวรรค์วรวิหาร) and a little further to the giant, royal Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen (วัดปากน้ำ ภาษีเจริญ) . You can easily see why the area is one of the places to go in Bangkok. It’s got so much to offer!
How to Get Around in Bangkok Without a Car
If you are staying in Bangkok’s city centre, you can easily get around with the BTS Skytrain. Trains come often and are air conditioned and platforms can be found easily. However, they do not connect to the Riverside and central temple district. The same applies to the underground, MTS.
To get there, you have the was option of getting into a taxi or Grab car (download the app, it is cheaper than uber). These are all affordable. An alternative are local buses, which go everywhere. For the river, you can take a commuter boat or express boat.
From Suvarnabhumi airport, you can take a taxi. Just be aware that you might pay a “tourist price”, so try and get a metred ride instead of a flat fee. Otherwise, don’t shy away from bargaining. A cheap option that might take a bit longer is the The Airport Rail Link City Line for 45 baht, which leaves every 15 minutes and takes about half an hour to get to Phaya Thai Skytrain station.
If you are landing at Don Muang airport, take the airport shuttle bus A1 at Gate no.6 on the first floor and get off at Mo Chit station Skytrain station.
Where to Stay in Bangkok
Since Bangkok is such an affordable metropolis, you can easily treat yourself to a luxurious high rise apartment with pool and still not break the bank. After all, you need a great base to start the day right before wondering what to see in Bangkok. Either get yourself a hotel, like the fancy Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok for around $130 per night or Baiyoke Sky Hotel for around $80 per night, or check out airbnb for wonderful options. (If you have never booked on airbnb before, here’s a free $25 voucher). A feeling like home you will get at J No.14 with its bare brick walls, metal decor and potted plants look.
A little bit more low key but still fancy is The Victory Executive Residences Bangkok. It has a rooftop pool and rooms start at $40 per night! Or, you could go for the sleek President Park Bangkok for $50+ per night. For budget travellers I can highly recommend Siam Plugin Hostel, where I personally stayed. The decor was charmingly artsy, there was a rooftop terrace and the staff were exceptionally nice.
What to Eat in Bangkok
Obviously, the food to try is Thai food but to get the real deal, you gotta try one of the soup kitchens that suddenly line the streets come nightfall. Not only are they extremely low cost and delicious but they give you an authentic local experience. Try the soups, Pad Thai (fried noodles) and Khao Pad (fried rice).
A lot of restaurants in the busy city centre are very tourisy. Always watch out for locals in restaurants, so you know if this is a more local or touristy place. The prices also reflect that. You can also get great local food at Chatuchak Market, such as Tom Yum soup (spicy shrimp soup) and Som Tum (Spicy Green Papaya Salad).
If you aren’t sure where to go, try Krung Thon Buri district on the western banks. Get off at the Skytrain station with the same name, take exit four and walk east. You can take a seat at a soup kitchen. Or, if you are in need of a romantic sunset spot, dine next to the river at Princess Terrace and then take a ferry to cross over to the other side in the dusk and glistening city lights.
When it comes to yummy desserts during your visit to Bangkok, there are many instagramworthy places to check out. One of them is Mo & Moshi, which serves a giant bowl of 22 scoops of ice cream. A sweet place not only when it comes to food but also décor is Unicorn Café. A pastel coated place with delectable cakes is Elysian Tea House. In case you are vegetarian and/or want more Western breakfast, café Gram is a great choice. A Thai dessert that will delight your tastebuds is sticky rice and mango.
If you want a café with a laid back, cosy and personal atmosphere, try Everyday by Karmakamet near Silom Station. For a hipster and artsy touch, hit up Hands & Heart café. One thing you definitely shouldn’t miss out on are iced Thai tea and freshly made smoothies. You can get those everwhere and should do so, too because they are always slightly different but just divine.
So Which Are the Best Things to do in Bangkok?
Bangkok has so much to offer for any type of traveller, whether it is on a cheap budget, for foodies or cultural connoisseurs. Three days in Bangkok are a great time to get a good overview of what to do in bangkok and what different areas there are. You will never be able to see everything anyway, so pick according to your liking and throw yourself into this vibrant city!
Which of these would you say are the best places to visit in Bangkok according to your personal preferences? What would you be looking forward to most?
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