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.


Many travellers fly in and out of Bangkok as they make their way to sun soaked beaches. But this is a tragic mistake, for Bangkok is a magical assault on the senses.

And by scratching under the surface of this busy chaotic city, you will find a quixotic mix of old and new. Colourful ancient temples, relaxing traditional massage techniques and floating markets tell the story of a bygone age. Towering rooftop bars, bargain basement shopping and endless pubs and clubs allow your hedonistic side to roam.

Add in the mouth-watering quality of local street food and the warm welcome from everyone you meet and you will be glad you spent 3 days in Bangkok.


Please note / This post contains affiliate links which means if you buy something following a link on this page, we’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting our blog. / Paul & Mark.

3 DAYS IN BANGKOK OVERVIEW

DAY 1 AM / Exploring the Grand Palace & ancient temples

DAY 1 PM / Relaxing with a traditional massage, Wat Pho & Chinatown

DAY 2 AM / The stunning Golden Mount & Jim Thomson House

DAY 2 PM / Crazy Chatuchak Market, Rooftop bars & a naughty night out

DAY 3 AM / Sensory overload on a traditional floating market

DAY 3 PM / Khao San Road & Michelin Starred street food


WHY GO TO BANGKOK?

Staring at colourful ancient palaces and temples

Sipping cocktails in rooftop bars and thronging streets

Rowing past floating markets and a traditional way of life

White knuckle rides with crazy tuk-tuk drivers

Sampling some of the best street food anywhere in the world.

Getting tired muscles massaged by traditional experts

3 days in Bangkok: Temples, tuk-tuks and other glorious assaults on the senses

DAY 1 AM / GRAND PALACE & ANCIENT TEMPLES

Begin your morning at the Grand Palace, a magnificent example of intricate Thai craftsmanship and originally the residence of Thai kings. The palace is a sprawling complex; tucked inside is Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), the most important temple in Thailand.

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.

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


Grand Palace / 8:30 – 15:30 / Price: Thai Baht 500 per person / Note: Legs and shoulders must be covered / LocationNa Phra Lan Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang.

Wat Arun / 8:30 – 17:30 / Price: Thai Baht 100 per person / Location158 Thanon Wang Doem, Khwaeng Wat Arun.

Pak Khlong Talat Flower Market / 24 hours, but boats arrive between 2 am – 3 am; from 8 pm onwards the food markets swing into action / Price: Free / LocationChakkraphet Rd, Khwaeng Wang Burapha Phirom.

DAY 1 PM / WAT PHO, TRADITIONAL MASSAGE & CHINATOWN

After lunch head to the temple of Wat Pho, one of the many stunning temples in Thailand. Here a 46-metre 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, if it takes your fancy, beat you with a short witches broom.

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 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.

Feeling rested, head to the energetic bustle, neon lights and frantic street food of Chinatown. Centred 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 ambling around the stalls and grabbing a morsel from each.


Wat Pho / 8:00 -17:00 / Price: Thai Baht 100 per person / LocationPhra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon

Chetawan Wat Pho Massage / 8:00 – 18:00 Mon to Sat / Price: Thai Baht 280 for a half hour or 420 for 1 hour / Reservations: +66865636255 / Location392/33 Maha Rat Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang

DAY 2 AM / GOLDEN MOUNT & JIM THOMSON HOUSE

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.

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 getting drenched by clinging to plastic sheeting. Get on the boat at Phanfa Bridge pier and exit at Sapan Hua Chang pier, purchasing the ticket onboard.

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.


Wat Saket / 8:00 – 16:00 / Price: Thai Baht 50 per person / Location: Khwaeng Ban Bat, Khet Pom Prap Sattru Phai

Jim Thompson House / 9:00 – 18:00 / Price: Thai Baht 200 per person; More: details here / Location6 Rama I Rd, Khwaeng Wang Mai

DAY 2 PM / CHATUCHAK MARKET, ROOFTOP BARS & A NAUGHTY NIGHT OUT

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. But, at the weekend, a better option than the mall is the Chatuchak Weekend Market. It’s a simple metro ride to this rambling, shopping destination on steroids. Picture narrow laneways packed with everything from club wear to fighting fish; amazing plants to 1970’s record players. Allegedly there’s a system to help you navigate this 35-acre site, but we never quite worked it out. Grab a snack at any of the food stalls packed with locals.

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 it offers a glorious sun set over Bangkok and a chance to mingle with the cool and trendy. If you want a seat arrive an hour before sunset.

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.


MBK Center / 10:00 – 22:00 / Location: Pathumwan Intersection

Chatuchak Weekend Market / 9:00 – 19:00: Sat & Sun whole market; 18:00 – 0:00 Fri wholesale market; 7:00 – 18:00 Wed/Thurs plant section / LocationKamphaeng Phet 3 Rd, Khwaeng Lat Yao 

Vertigo Moon Bar / 17:00 – 1:00 / Dress code: Smart casual, no shorts, bare shoulders or open toe shoes. You can borrow a sarong if necessary. Location: Banyan Tree Hotel.

DAY 3 AM / 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.

If you go to Damnoen Saduak leave early as it gets very busy. 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.


Damnoen Saduak Floating Market / A private tour leaves from the Asian Trails Tour Desk in the Rembrandt Hotel Tours at 7:30 am / Bookings: All information and bookings can be made here.

Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market / 9:30 – 14:30 Sat & Sun / Directions: Take a taxi from Wongwian Yai station.

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DAY 3 PM / KHAO SAN ROAD & STREET FOOD WITH A MICHELIN STAR

Returning to Bangkok, spend the afternoon hanging around the Khao San Road area, a must-do for a complete 3 days in Bangkok.

Infected with backpackers and soul-seeking tourists, Khao San Road, and the slightly quieter – but still crazy – Soi Ram Butri is lined with budget accommodation, massage parlours, 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.

As the sun drops head to Phra Nakhon Rooftop Bar; a local hangout situated 4 floors above the noise where the atmosphere is more chilled.

If you’re a foodie, have dinner at Raan Jay Fai, the first and only street food stall in Thailand to be awarded a Michelin star. The 73-year-old owner and chef Ms Jay Fai prepares her signature crab omelette and other delicacies. You’ll see a long trail of hopefuls forming a queue so make sure you reserve well in advance. Even with a reservation, the wait to eat can be long and dishes relatively expensive. But it’s good.

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


Raan Jay Fai / 15.00 – 3:00 Mon-Sat; Price: 500 to 1,000 Thai Baht per dish: Reservations: Potentially required months in advance via phone on +66927249633 or email Location327 Maha Chai Rd, Khwaeng Samran Rat

ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO PLAN YOUR OWN INCREDIBLE 3 DAYS IN BANGKOK

We believe that a little pre-planning, research, and understanding what you are looking for in a destination, will help make your travels far more successful. Here’s some further information we think you might need to plan your own 3 days in Bangkok.

GETTING AROUND BANGKOK

International flights arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport and at Don Mueang Airport. Upon arriving ignore the touts and get a public metred 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.

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.

COSTS OF OUR 3 DAYS IN BANGKOK

The total cost of our 3 days in Bangkok, for two people, was Thai Baht 28,000. With Nov 2018 exchange rates of Thai Baht 42 to the British Pound; 54 to the US dollar; and 48 to the Euro, this equates to:

4 day Cappadocia Itinerary
US $870
4 day Cappadocia Itinerary
GBP £670
4 day Cappadocia Itinerary
EUR €750

BOOKING TIPS FOR YOUR 3 DAYS IN BANGKOK

Stay a short walk from Khao San Road area, but not too close to the busy streets of Khao San Road and Soi Ram Butri. We stayed at the excellent Old Capital Bike Inn. It was convenient for getting to many of the sights and the service, breakfast and hospitality were excellent.

BOOK YOUR STAY

If you head to a floating market outside Bangkok, your guest house will be able to help you make arrangements or book a tour.

If you intend to eat at Raan Jay Fai, email or call them well in advance. It will save you queueing for a table, although it may still take you a while to eat.

GUIDEBOOKS & READING

We used the Lonely Planet guidebook for Bangkok which contains helpful information about opening times, attractions and is generally good for restaurant recommendations.

Another great source for restaurants is Foursquare. Download the app before leaving.

MORE FROM THE BLOG

If you are in Bangkok you should consider a trip to Railay Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Or if you enjoy holidays to Asia consider a 10 day trip to Sri Lanka, another excellent laid-back destination.

Suitcases and Sandcastles
Two Traveling Texans

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Beautiful temples, floating markets and sublime street food – here’s how to spend 3 days in Bangkok / 3 days in Bangkok Thailand / What to do in Bangkok / Bangkok travel guide / #bangkok

Beautiful temples, floating markets and sublime street food – here’s how to spend 3 days in Bangkok / 3 days in Bangkok Thailand / What to do in Bangkok / Bangkok travel guide / #bangkok

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