Bangkok in ONE Day – Things to do
Explore Bangkok in one day.
Bangkok city 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. 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. Thus, in my attempt to get the most out of Bangkok in one day, I researched and planned a few things in advance. Here’s my itinerary for getting the best out of Bangkok in one day:
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 Silom. 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.
Road Side Breakfast: 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.
Chao Phraya 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 Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Grand Palace: We got off the boat at Tha Tien which has Wat Pho on one side and Wat Arun on the other side. 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. Grand Palace is next to Wat Pho.
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.
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.
Siam Street or Khao San Road: 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 if you’re short of time. 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. 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.
Back to the rooms: 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.
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!
Pat Pong Street – Night market and the infamous 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. I will write a post about that scam soon. However, our main motive was to check out the night market and to pamper ourselves with a foot massage. 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.
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.
More Options if you’re visiting for a few more days:
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.
Dinner 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)
Floating Market: 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. We didn’t end up going there, but our photographer friend Carmen did. Look how beautiful this looks. For more information on floating markets, visit this.
(This picture is by our Photographer friend Carmen Fernandes)
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.
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