Bangkok is a concrete jungle packed with beautiful temples, floating markets, tasty street food, bargain basement shopping, and hedonistic escapes. Here’s how to spend 3 days in Bangkok.

By: Paul | Last Updated: 15 Dec 2023 | Jump to Comments & Questions

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While many travellers fly in and out of Bangkok, making their way to sun-soaked beaches, the capital has plenty of appeal of its own.

Scratch under the surface of this busy chaotic city, and you will find a romantic mix of old and new.

The city’s vibrant ancient temples and floating markets provide a glimpse into a bygone era. Meanwhile, rooftop bars, bargain shopping destinations, and an array of clubs allow you to indulge your hedonistic side.

Throw in exceptionally local street food, friendly locals and very reasonable prices, and you’ll be glad you spent 3 days in Bangkok.

3 days in Bangkok guide

ABOUT THIS GUIDE

3 DAYS IN BANGKOK

Our Bangkok itinerary is a user-friendly guide that covers all of the city’s major attractions in a logical order, allowing you to see as much as possible while minimizing travel time.


DAY 1 – MORNING

GRAND PALACE

Begin at the Grand Palace, a magnificent example of intricate Thai craftsmanship and the original residence of Thai kings.

The palace is a sprawling complex with Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) – the most important temple in Thailand – tucked inside it. It’s almost the icon of the city and one of the things that make Bangkok one of the best places to visit in Thailand.

WAT ARUN

Next, cross the river on a local ferry to the much-photographed Wat Arun. Its colourfully decorated spires stand majestically over the Chao Phraya River.

Hop back on the ferry to Pak Khlong Talad and wander around the flower market – a mass of intricately woven flowers offering a gaudy display of colour and a beautiful aroma.

LUNCH

Grab lunch on the pavement at Café Tha Tien for their great value old-school Thai dishes, delicious sweet tea and no-frills service.

DAY 1 – AFTERNOON

WAT PHO

After lunch head to the temple of Wat Pho, one of the many stunning temples in Thailand.

Here a 46-meter-long statue is squeezed into a temple building; hardly big enough for its mammoth occupant. It’s cramped and claustrophobic as you scrap for space to get the right angle for a photo.

Your ticket includes a bottle of water and the right to be blessed by a monk who will spray you with holy water and beat you with a short broom.

THAI MASSAGE

Wat Pho is also the spiritual home of Thai massage and a massage school is located within the temple grounds. The massages are excellent but can get booked up in advance, so call ahead. If it’s busy, pop to the Chetawan Wat Po Massage School, a branch of the original, located a short walk outside the temple complex.

CHINATOWN

Feeling rested, head to the energetic bustle, neon lights, and frantic street food of Chinatown.

Centered around Sampeng Market and Yaowarat Road, you can buy anything from gold bathmats to spiritual offerings for the dead. For dinner, create your own culinary experience by ambling around the stalls and grabbing a morsel from each.

DAY 2 – MORNING

WAT SAKET

On day 2 of your 3 days in Bangkok head to Wat Saket – Temple of the Golden Mount. The temple is on top of an artificial hill with a 300-step climb to reach a magnificent gold chedi with great views over the city.

Ring the bells that line stairs, get blessed by a monk, and pay remembrance to the 60,000 plague victims memorialised in the cemetery.

JIM THOMPSON’S HOUSE

Next, go to Jim Thompson’s house. By far the most fun way to get there is to hop on a local commuter boat. These boats fly up the narrow canal of Klong Saen Saep at breakneck speed as locals stop everyone from getting drenched by clinging to plastic sheeting. Get on the boat at Phanfa Bridge Pier and exit at Sapan Hua Chang Pier. Tickets can be purchased on board.

Jim Thompson was Thailand’s most famous expat who revived the handwoven silk trade industry following the war. Deciding to settle in Bangkok, he built his house cobbling together six traditional Thai teakwood houses, transported from historic Ayutthaya and Ban Krua. Filled with antiques, it’s a fascinating legacy to a man that mysteriously went missing from Malaysia’s highlands in 1967.

DAY 2 – AFTERNOON

MAH BOON KRONG

Time for some shopping. Walk across to Mah Boon Krong shopping mall where teens flock for the huge range of shops, great bargains and air-conditioning.

CHATUCHAK WEEKEND MARKET

At the weekend, a better option is the Chatuchak Weekend Market. It’s a simple metro ride to this rambling, chaotic, shopping destination. Narrow laneways packed with stalls selling everything from club wear to fighting fish; tropical plants to 1970’s record players.

Grab a snack at any of the food stalls packed with locals.

SUKHUMVIT

For the evening head to Sukhumvit, home to both the thriving sex tourism industry and the respectable city scene. Start at Vertigo Moon Bar, an outdoor rooftop bar sitting on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel.

Drinks are pricey but you’re paying for the glorious sunset over Bangkok and a chance to mingle with the cool young things. If you want a seat arrive an hour before sunset.

PATPONG NIGHT MARKET

Next amble over to Patpong Night Market. With fake Louis Vuitton on the stalls and girls shaking their wares in the go-go bars flanking the market, it’s a deliciously naughty night out.

A few streets east, grab a seat on the pavement in the main gay area of Bangkok and watch the on-street drama as it unfolds.

DAY 3 – MORNING

TRADITIONAL FLOATING MARKET

On the last day of your 3 days in Bangkok, head to a floating market. Here locals seated in dugout canoes sell all manner of vegetables, fruits, fried fish, leaf-wrapped pandan rice and so much more.

It is a bustling, energetic yet traditional scene that is great for photos and even better for an early lunch.

There are a few good floating markets, each with a different atmosphere. You can find all the information and opening times here.

One of the most popular is Damnoen Saduak. It’s great for photos, but the market has become touristy with higher prices and more scammers. Many now consider Khlong Lat Mayom, just on the outskirts of town, the best-floating market in Bangkok.

DAY 3 – AFTERNOON

KHAO SAN ROAD

Returning to Bangkok, spend the afternoon hanging around the Khao San Road area, one of the places you need to know about if you’re backpacking in Asia.

Khao San Road, and the slightly quieter – but still crazy – Soi Ram Butri is lined with budget accommodation, massage parlors, tattoo joints, peddlers, internet cafes, and endless bars. Have a foot massage, buy a cheap t-shirt or simply sit and watch the myriad of tourists.

EAGLES NEST BAR

As the sun drops head to Eagle’s Nest Rooftop Bar; a local hangout situated 4 floors above the noise where the atmosphere is more chilled.

JAY FAI

If you’re a foodie, have dinner at Raan Jay Fai, Thailand’s first and only street food stall to be awarded a Michelin star. The 70+-year-old owner and chef Ms Jay Fai prepares her signature crab omelet and other delicacies.

Keep up to date with opening times on their Instagram account. They are currently only accepting walk-ins.

If you decide against Raan Jay Fai or can’t score yourself a seat, there are several other eateries nearby. Pick one sit down and try the Yen Ta Fo, a pink noodle soup that tastes better than it looks.

WHERE TO STAY IN BANGKOK?

We recommend staying a short walk from the Khao San Road area, but not too close to the busy streets of Soi Ram Butri Khao San Road itself, which can both be very noisy.

If you’re travelling with family, here is an excellent resource featuring the best family hotels in Bangkok.

PRA NAKHON

OLD CAPITAL BIKE INN

This quirky hotel with individually styled rooms is convenient for getting to many of the main sights of Bangkok and the service, breakfast, and hospitality are all excellent.

KLONGSAN

THE PENINSULA BANGKOK

A luxury property in the banks of teh Chao Phraya River, The Peninsula is a stylish setting for Bangkok itinerary. The free hotel river ferry is very handy for getting around.

PHRANAKHON

BANGKOK SARAN POSHTEL

This superb budget accommodation has a communal lounge, shared bathrooms, and well-appointed clean rooms. It’s within walking distance of Khao San Road.

PRA NAKHON

CHILLAX RESORT

Close to Khao San Road and several major attractions in Bangkok, the Chillax Resort has a great rooftop pool and bar. Some rooms have great views over the city.

GETTING AROUND BANGKOK

International flights arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport and at Don Mueang Airport. Upon arriving ignore the touts and get a public metered taxi into town, making sure you ask them to turn the meter on.

Tuk-tuks are an easy and cheap way to travel short distances in Bangkok, for longer journeys use taxis or the metro. You can find all the places we visited on our 3 days in Bangkok on the map below.

If you have any extra days there are many excellent cheap day trips from Bangkok, just an hour or so from the centre, which are well worth exploring.

How to use this map / Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. Click on the top right corner of the map to open a larger version in a new tab or the star to save to your Google Maps.  


BEST TIME TO GO TO BANGKOK

The rains come to Bangkok in September / October and the temperatures can reach over 30 degrees from April to June. December to February are the coolest and most pleasant months, but tourist numbers can be high. Mid-November to mid-December is optimal.

If you are visiting Bangkok as part of a longer Thailand stay, this 3-week Itinerary might provide some inspiration.

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