Bangkok Itinerary for exploring the city in just one day.
Is it possible to explore Bangkok in one day? Probably not – but here is an attempt to help you decide what to do in Bangkok if you’re visiting this city for a short duration.
Bangkok has been the gateway to SE Asia for many backpackers for the last few decades. It is the same place where Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) arrived to start his adventures in “The Beach” movie.
My numerous visits to Bangkok have been for the purpose of visiting some other nearby destinations because my Thailand itinerary never really included the cities. Having lived in a metropolitan for years, I did not want to spend a lot of time in this city.
We were actually in Bangkok for longer than a day but our other activities such as skydiving left us with just one day and night to explore the city. In my attempt to get the most out of this city in one day, I made an effort to read a few travel guides for Bangkok and plan the day in advance. Hence, this post has my Bangkok itinerary for getting the best out of this exotic city in one day. If you’re in a mood to spend more time here, then you should check out this 3 day itinerary for Bangkok.
Here’s the funny thing, I have visited Bangkok multiple times and for more than just a day. However I did pretty much nothing on the other days because I did so much on my first day here! Yup, this itinerary is very fast paced! On later visits, I even found a place where I can go for Yoga in Bangkok – check it out.
Most of the backpackers find rooms on Khao San road, but on this occasion, we had booked our rooms in Silom so this itinerary starts from there. We prefer Silom over Khao San Road. We stayed at I Residence Silom, which was near Chong Nonsi BTS station. This hotel has an excellent roof top pool where you can enjoy the happy hour.
There are many hostels on Khao San road, which is why this area is popular amongst backpackers. If you don’t have budget constrains, you can also try Sukhumvit instead. If you stay in Khao San road, you can skip the first step.
What we carried in our small bags:
Sun glasses, a tiny foldable umbrella, water bottles to keep us hydrated, scarves to cover our shoulders for temple visits and Chang beer from 7-11 which we purchased it after we were done visiting the temples. Oh and of course some little money, fully charged phones and hotel card.
Things to do in Bangkok in one day –
- What to do in Bangkok in morning
- What to do in Bangkok around mid day
- How to spend an evening in Bangkok
- Nightlife in Bangkok – What to do in Bangkok at night
- Things to do in Bangkok if you’re visiting for MORE than just one day –
- Where to stay in Bangkok – Recommended Hotels and Hostels in Bangkok
What to do in Bangkok in morning
Start your day with Street-food breakfast
Even though our breakfast was available in our hotel, we decided to do make the most of Bangkok’s street food. We got out of our rooms early in the morning, and enjoyed an interesting road side breakfast which comprised of fresh fruit, iced coffee, iced tea, fish and pancakes.
Yes, Bangkok’s street food can be spicy but for breakfast it is easy to find pancakes and sausages which aren’t spicy. If you want more information about the street food in Thailand, you can read about Bangkok food trail here.
Cruise the Chao Phraya River on an Express boat
We walked to Sathorn pier in Silom. Our walk took us 15 minutes. My recommendation is to save an offline version of google maps or just ask locals for the nearest boat pier.
We waited for 5 minutes and boarded the first boat. I love tuk tuks and metro however, I feel the best and the cheapest way of traveling internally within Bangkok is by boat. Also, the marking on the boats can be confusing so please ask around. If you’re starting point is Khao San Road, then you need to walk to Phra Arthit Pier.
Explore the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and cross the river for Wat Arun
We got off the boat at Tha Tien which has Wat Pho on one side and Wat Arun on the other. Right next to Wat Pho is Bangkok’s famous grand palace. If you’re into architecture, you’re going to love the grand palace. After checking it out, you can then walk to Wat Pho, which is next to it.
Wat = A term used for Buddist temples in a few countries of South East Asia
Wat Pho is known as the temple of reclining Buddha and Wat Arun is known as temple of dawn. These two temples are the most famous landmarks of Bangkok and are right next to each other with a river between them.
Wat Arun looks much better from across the river. Personally, Rosh and I did not spend much time in these three places because they were jam-packed with tourists. In fact, we discovered a quaint temple next to Wat Arun which was empty and peaceful.
To get a little idea about the history, check out this post about Bangkok and the Siam kingdom.
What to do in Bangkok around mid day
Enjoy Bangkok Street Food for Lunch
Having spent a few hours exploring temples, we were starving! We thought we would have a relaxed sit down lunch but we couldn’t resist the street food and had a variety of things again.
Head to Siam Street or Khao San Road for shopping
Siam Street was not originally in our itinerary but we ended up being there by accident. Siam Street or Khao San road are two different kind of areas but I suggest you pick one. Khao San is backpacker’s paradise with bars, road side massages, street food and cheap bargains on the road. Siam Street is more focused on shopping and you can find better clothes, bags and more here.
From What Pho we caught a tuk tuk to the nearest BTS station and upon looking at the map, we realized we had to change our metro for Silom (Chong Nonsi) at Siam, so we decided to explore the area.
Siam BTS station provides a good aerial view of the market area. We had no intentions of shopping but ended up buying a few things at unbelievable prices. Out of all the shopping streets in Bangkok, Siam had the best goodies. We also spotted some beautifully arranged street food here.
How to spend an evening in Bangkok
Enjoy a roof top pool with a beer
From Siam BTS, we headed to Chong Nonsi BTS to keep our unexpected shopping in our rooms. A swim on our roof top pool and a pint of beer later, we headed out again.
Eat Local Food for Dinner
We noticed a food court in near our hotel in Silom which was full of locals and we decided to give it a try. We ended up having our best meal in Bangkok for 80 bhats per person. It was one of those places where you could select rice or noodles with a few veggies, curries, meats, salads and seafood. Look at all those chili clamps on my plate!
Nightlife in Bangkok – What to do in Bangkok at night
Pat Pong Street – Night market and the infamous and sleazy Ping pong shows
Our next stop was the nearby infamous Pat Pong Street. This place is famous for its ping pong shows. We did end up watching one show out of curiosity and narrowly escaped being scammed. Check this post for top travel scams that you should watch out for.
Our main motive of visiting Pat Pong street was was to check out the night market. Pat Pong Street has the funniest things which you can buy on the road, such as mini vibrators, dildos, sex toys, kinky souvenirs and a lot of rubbish. Anyway, after exploring the market found a place called “Thai Thai Massage” and pampered ourselves with the best foot massage of our trip.
Bar Hopping on Khao San Road
If you have some energy left to party, then head to Khao San road. Khao San road is alive the entire night with bars that sell cheap alcohol and play many different genres of music. Rosh and I didn’t have any energy left and felt sleepy after our foot massage so we headed back to our rooms to catch 6 hours of sleep to wake up early morning for our Sky Dive.
Things to do in Bangkok if you’re visiting for MORE than just one day –
Go Lose Your Mind at Chatuchak Market (Weekend)
If you end up being in Bangkok over the weekend, then you MUST visit this market. We visited this one our way back from one of the islands and our eyes popped out at the massive scale of this market. Again, we had no intention of shopping but our visit was to experience the madness of this market.
This market cannot be covered in a day. It has multiple sections dedicated to food, clothes, shoes, antique furniture, clay handicrafts, garden decorative, jewelry and so much more! The best thing about this market is that it caters to the locals so you can expect lower prices. It’s easy to reach this by MRT. The nearest station is Chatuchak Park MRT Station. This is where I ate a few crispy insects like cockroaches, grasshoppers, frogs, bugs and what not.
Enjoy a Dinner in a Restaurant on Chao Phraya riverfront with a view of Wat Arun
There are many restaurants along the Chao Phraya river but imagine enjoying a dinner with a view of Wat Arun. We didn’t do this because we are budget travelers but would like to do this someday. Arun Residence is one such restaurant that can provide you a view of Wat Arun as you eat.
(This picture is by our Photographer friend Carmen Fernandes)
Head to the Floating Markets
Just outside of Bangkok, there are a few floating markets that are worth a visit. These have become extremely touristy but who cares because they looks beautiful!
There are many floating markets such as Damnoen Saduak, Amphawa, Bang Khu Wiang, etc. These markets start early in the mornings and mostly on the weekends. If need help deciding where to go, then you should read this post about the most beautiful floating markets in Bangkok.
We didn’t end up going there, but our photographer friend Carmen did. Look how beautiful this looks.
(This picture is by our Photographer friend Carmen Fernandes)
Check out the Madness in Bangkok’s China Town
San has been to China Town and he says he felt he was actually in China. This one kilometer long narrow strip of market that is dotted with many small shops with Mandarin signboards is Bangkok’s China town. It is jampacked, a little dirty, has a lot of intriguing sights and a variety of interesting food options.
Bangkok has a variety of options for every budget. From variety of temples, to offbeat hidden gems, expensive up market rooftop bars (like Sky Bar at Lebua or Vertigo at Banyan Tree) and kinky cabaret –the city has something to offer for everyone. This metropolitan is the most populated city of Thailand which has retained its cultural charm. I hope this post convinces you to visit the city soon.
Where to stay in Bangkok – Recommended Hotels and Hostels in Bangkok
I Residence Silom – $50 – $70 per night
Green House Hostel, Khao San Road – $11 – $17 per night
Novotel on Siam Square – $90 – $120 per night
Suggested Travel Posts About Thaland:
Maya Bay: The Best Way to Experience “The Beach”
Koh Phangan – Beyond The Full Moon
Full Moon Party of Koh Phangan
Krabi – Railay, Ton Sai and Phranang
Recommended posts on the internet about Bangkok –