What to see in Bangkok in one day
In some neighborhoods, chic skyscrapers with rooftop pools gleam in the sun. In others, tourists watch with curiosity as glove-less chefs make chicken paw soup.
Tourists change planes in Bangkok for holidays in Phuket, Samui or Pattaya. It is also a good way to get to other Southeast Asian cities, such as Phnom Penh in Cambodia.
The most popular attractions in Bangkok are located near each other. They can be visited in one day. I made up a 10-kilometer route that I walked myself in February 2019. The walk begins at the Grand Palace and ends at the Mahanakhon skyscraper. Along the way we will see the Lying Buddha Temple, the Morning Dawn Temple, Khao San Street, and the Golden Mountain Temple. Before your hike, stock up on water and apply 50 SPF sunscreen to exposed areas of your body even if you never get sunburned: the sun is merciless here.
How to get from Bangkok’s airports to downtown. Bangkok has two airports: Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang. If you have a connection in Bangkok, check the arrival and departure airports: they may be different.
The Grand Palace, or Grand palace on the map, is the main attraction in Bangkok. The palace used to be the residence of kings. Now it is a temple complex, inside of which is a square of grand proportions and buildings unusual for Europeans.
A separate attraction of the Grand Palace is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It houses a statue of the Buddha of the green mineral, which is considered the mascot of Thailand. The area of the temple is decorated with mythical half-animal-half-people, everything looks very rich and bright.
State currency of Thailand – the baht
Wat Pho (Temple of the Lying Buddha) is located next to the Great Palace. It has a statue of Buddha, which is 46 meters long. I liked the reclining Buddha more than any other Buddha I have seen. His feet are painted with a mother-of-pearl pattern, similar to fingerprints – it looks grandiose.
On the territory of the temple are placed beautiful stupas – Buddhist buildings, around which the Thais make a ritual circumambulation
On the perimeter of the temple placed hundreds of different statues of Buddha, brought from the northern provinces of Thailand
The temple area is very photogenic: it consists of several tiers, and the surface is lined with Chinese tiles with a floral pattern and small statues, as if supporting the tiers. It looked to me like a huge beautiful shawl.
Khao San Street is the most famous and atmospheric pedestrian street in Bangkok. If this is your first time in Thailand, you should definitely check it out. Crocodile meat on a spit is cooked here, ladyboys walk, and the callers invite you to a peep show. There’s an excellent night market nearby with great street food. If you’re planning to party, get there by 8-9pm . You can grab a bite to eat or buy souvenirs here at any time.
I usually get grilled calamari or chicken at these places: in my opinion, these are the “safest” dishes. My friend likes experiments, so he bought skewers with weird fish balls and soy sausages. Everyone is alive, no one was hurt.
In Bangkok, it’s worth trying the grilled crocodile. The steak costs 300 ฿ (633 P ) and tastes like chicken.
Exotic. If you want colorful entertainment and have time, go to the floating markets near Bangkok. Usually everyone goes there by boat, both buyers and sellers.
The most famous market among tourists, Damnoen Saduak, is located 100 km from the city. There was filmed a movie about James Bond – it is a noisy and unusual place. Damnoen Saduak is reached by bus or sightseeing tour, and move through the market on a boat. The market is tourist-oriented, so the Thais mostly sell souvenirs, fruit and handicrafts of local craftsmen.
Amphawa Floating market is popular among locals. No souvenirs are sold here, but fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables are available. The market can be reached by boat or on foot along the canal. The market has many cafes with local food and seafood.
Heat. During the season the temperature in Bangkok can reach +36 ° C . If you can’t stand the heat, check out the Siam Paragon or Aikon Siam shopping center or the Bangkok City Library. In the library visitors are given a voucher for an hour of free internet, but it can not be extended even for money. Entrance to the library is free.
What to see in Bangkok in 1 – 2 days. Your own sightseeing itinerary
I do not know how anyone, but we really like Bangkok, we always enjoy visiting this city and each time we find something new and interesting in it. As a rule, tourists stay in it for only 1 – 2 days, and the main questions that they are interested in this regard are:
- where is the best place to stay?
- what to see in Bangkok on their own in a couple of days?
We have already told about the hotels and the best places to stay to see the main attractions of Bangkok in the article “Hotels in the Old City Center”. Now we are going to answer the second question by giving you a variant of the route around Bangkok for one or two days.
What to see in Bangkok on your own?
Everyone has different interests, for this reason we offer a route of two parts: one on the main attractions of Bangkok, the other on the little-known.
But first of all, let’s list the most important monuments in the historic center of Bangkok. In our opinion these are:
- The Great Royal Palace.
- Temple of the Emerald Buddha
- Wat Pho (Lying Buddha Temple).
- The Morning Dawn Temple (Wat Arun).
- Giant Swing
- Wat Suthat Temple
- Golden Mountain Temple (Wat Saket)
- Wat Ratchanaddaram Temple
In addition to the above, there is a great many other places, unknown to most tourists, which are very beautiful, interesting and worth a visit. So we decided to make two separate routes:
- The first is on the main monuments.
- The second – the little-known places.
If you are planning to stay in the capital of Thailand for one day, then you decide what you’re more interested, well, those who will stay in it for a couple of days or more will be able to go through both. By the way, we started a column in which we will talk about little-known places of the city, who wants to see what almost none of the tourists haven’t seen, here it is – the Unknown Bangkok. And for those who need all the information about the Thai capital, see – a guide for independent tourists.
How to navigate in Bangkok?
For the success of your self-guided tour, you will need the ability to navigate on the spot, in an unfamiliar city. Nowadays, this is not difficult at all. Personally, we have been successfully using the Maps.Me application as a navigator for several years now, and we highly recommend it. Its main advantages are off-line work, detailed and very accurate maps. It is amazing, but even in our Karelian forests it knows the paths not all the natives know about. In short, install it, you will not regret it.
How to move along the route?
The route proposed by us can be passed:
- on foot (personally we prefer this way), though it will take more time and effort, but you can better feel the atmosphere of the city and see more.
- by tuk-tuk – it’s much faster and easier. In this case you should by no means (because of many reasons) hire a tuk-tuk for the whole route, take it only when you decide you don’t want to walk from one sightseeing place to another or when you don’t have enough energy.
Day 1. Bangkok’s main sights
Itinerary of Bangkok. Day 1
The whole itinerary of the first day on the map looks like this. The map is interactive, don’t hesitate to click.
So, the first route. We start from Kaosan, assuming you have taken our advice and are staying in the area. Start with a visit to the Royal Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and Wat Pho.
- Note. The corresponding stages of the journey here and hereafter are highlighted in red.
It is a great place to see all of them, but even a cursory look will require a lot of time and effort. Next, go to the beautiful temple of the Morning Dawn (Wat Arun), located on the other side of the Chao Phraya River. It’s easy to get to. From the Lying Buddha head to Tha Tien Marina, about 300 meters away. Here you take a ferry running from one bank to the other. The cost of the ferry 4 Baht.Be sure to climb the tower Wat Arun, admire the city and the river from a height. Then you take the ferry again and return to the Giant’s Swing and Wat Sutkhat Temple with a sightseeing tour of Wat Ratchabopit SathitMahasimaram. From the pier to the swings a little over 1.5 kilometers. We recommend a short walk on Bamrung Muang Street, not reaching the Giant Swings, it concentrates stores and workshops specializing in Buddhist themes, you can buy very interesting and unusual souvenirs, including jewelry. The Great Swing is not particularly interesting, but the temple is worth your time. Then you go to an amazing place – the temple of Golden Mountain, the distance to it is only 700 meters. We don’t know if anyone would consider this attraction in Bangkok mediocre, because it has no striking architecture and scale, but in our opinion – it is one of the best places in the city. It’s an oasis in the midst of the “stone jungle”. We got here when it was raining heavily and I must say it is something, a country of rivers and waterfalls. And when the rain was followed by a bright sun – just fabulous! A pity we almost didn’t have any pictures. Though this place is known to many tourists, but it is not visited by them en masse. And thank God for that! The energy in the temple, located at the top of the man-made mountain is amazing! And – it is a good observation deck, which offers views of Bangkok. As you leave Wat Saket, be sure to check out the inconspicuous glass pavilion at the foot of the mountain. It contains a stunning relic – the oldest stone statue of Buddha, taken from Afghanistan. The energy from it just spurted. Next on the route is Wat Ratchanuddha temple, which is about 400 meters on foot. This attraction is notable primarily for its unusual architecture and plenty of black metal spires (a total of 37 pieces), embodying the hard path to enlightenment. It’s very beautiful. By the way, inside the complex you can buy all sorts of amulets. Much to our regret, all of our photos of the place have been lost.
This concludes day 1 of our Bangkok sightseeing tour. The first – the sightseeing will require a lot of time, and the second – strength, and in the local hot climate you need a lot of them, especially from the lack of habit. In short, we return to our lovely cheap hotel. The rest of the day and evening we recommend to devote to rest and entertainment. Personally we prefer a massage and a good dinner at one of the many Thai restaurants, and before going to bed, a walk on the evening Kaosan Road and its surroundings.
Day 2. Little-known sights in Bangkok.
Itinerary of Bangkok. Day 2.
We continue our story about what to see in Bangkok on your own. The route of the second day. It will be longer, and although we did it on foot, we recommend using the services of tuk-tuks. Well, if you like us are keen on adventures and you are sure in the endurance of your legs – it is much more interesting to walk.
The route of the second day on the map
We start at Phra Arthit Marina in Kaosan (assuming you’ve taken our advice and have settled there). Here you should take water transport of Bangkok – take a boat to Rachawong jetty (just behind the bridge over the river). A little advice – do not use tourist boats, but local water streetcars, it is more interesting and much cheaper. The boats (by routes and classes) are differentiated by the color of the flag above them, you will fit the following: without a flag, with orange or green. For more details about all the nuances of boat transport, click here.Disembark at Rachawong pier, catch a tuk-tuk – your destination is the Prayurawongsawas Waraviharn temple. It is currently undergoing renovation and restoration, but the main interest here is not in it, but in the huge Buddhist stupa, which you can go inside. It’s really cool! After you are in for a small but very pleasant surprise – the Temple of Turtles. It is 100 meters from the stupa (see map). Another oasis of paradise in a hot metropolis. The temple is tiny, but it is worth a visit, especially if you like turtles and nature. There are hundreds of turtles here, and you can feed them yourself. Treats for these cute amphibians are sold right there, at a fraction of the cost. We will definitely tell you more about this wonderful corner of Thailand’s capital soon.
A few notes on the above part of the route from the pier to the Prayurawongsawas Waraviharn Stupa and the Turtle Temple.
- Note 1. Alternatively, do not cross the river by bridge, but take a ferry from Rachawong pier.
- Note 2: If you walk from the pier, the river must be crossed by Memorial Bridge, which has a pedestrian section. On the way you can see the interesting Ratchaburana Ratchaworawihan Temple, the King Rama I Memorial, resting by the fountains next to it and admire the views of the Chao Phraya River from the bridge.
After resting at the Turtle Temple, catch a tuk-tuk (or cab if you prefer) again and head to the Golden Buddha Temple. It’s about 2.6 kilometers from the Turtle Temple to the Golden Buddha. The path goes through Bangkok’s Chinatown, which also has a lot to see and buy. After that, take a cab (a tuk-tuk will be more expensive and longer) and drive to the temple Wat Benchamabophit. The distance from the Golden Buddha is about 6 km by car and 5 km on foot. It is not to say that the Benchamabophit temple is a little-known place, it is just located away from the main mass of the main attractions and many people simply don’t have time to visit it. Unfortunately, we did not keep its photos either.
- Note 1. If you dare to walk it you will see a lot of temples and interesting places. Description of the way and the attractions along it would require a separate article, and the options for the route itself are many, so let us limit ourselves to marking the most notable temples on the map, and you can decide what to see and what to skip. On the map they are highlighted in red, but be warned that it is difficult to walk this entire section.
- Note 2 . As an option, after the temple of the Golden Buddha proceed to your hotel (we remind you that it is in the Kaosan area), take a rest and a shower (in the middle of a hot day in Bangkok it is very useful), then continue the route. This is possible because the final part of the route is on Kaosan Road. In case you take a break at the hotel, you will just follow it in a slightly different order. On the map, the thread of this option to Kaosan is highlighted in green. Then you start and move in the following order: crossing #7, #6, #5. The way back is recommended by tuk-tuk.
After seeing Wat Benchamabophit, move on to the temple Wat Intharawihan and the huge statue of the standing Buddha. The total distance between them is about 2.5 km. Then the beautiful and interesting temple Wat Bowonniwet Wihan, located only 400 hundred meters from Kaosan Road. Along the way, on the way from one to another, you can see the temple Tri Thotsathep.Despite such proximity to the tourist center, Wat Bowonniwet not swarmed with tourists, especially in the evening, you can quietly wander in silence, enjoy its architecture and sculpture. We finish the route with a visit to Chanasongkhram Ratchaworamahawihan temple. It is amazing, in spite of the fact that it is located directly at the intersection of Khaosan Street and Chakrabongse, it is almost never visited by tourists, and many do not even know about its existence. And it is not worth it, the place is beautiful and interesting. By the way, if you have time, you can go to the evening “service” and enjoy the sound of mantras.Later we will definitely devote a separate article to it, especially since it is interesting not only the temple, and the surrounding area. That is, in fact, we have told about what you can see in Bangkok on their own, in one – two days. Of course, this is not all the attractions of this wonderful city. Interest here at every corner and to see everything, you need to live here more than one month, maybe a year.