Known as the City of Angels, Bangkok is a vibrant city with an unlimited number of things to do and places to have fun. Although its heavy traffic makes it super-chaotic and polluted, Bangkok also has some lush green parks and beautiful canals, too. It’s also the place where you can try the most delicious street food, visit the biggest street markets in the world and meet loads of friendly Thai people. One day in Bangkok surely won’t be enough to explore all the things this city has to offer, but it’s still enough time to give you a good feel of this amazing place.
What’s the best time to visit Bangkok?
This city doesn’t have an off-season. It lives 24/7, 12 months a year. Still, it can get pretty humid and super warm in some parts of the year. Pick the November-to-January period for your one-day trip in Bangkok if you want the most bearable weather conditions. From March to May it can get extremely hot, so skip it if you can’t stand intense heat. The rainy season starts in late May and lasts until November.
A few facts about Bangkok
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Bangkok is Thailand’s capital and the biggest city in SE Asia. It’s also the cultural center of the region and home to some of the most exquisite Buddhist temples and palaces, such as the magnificent Grand Palace, Wat Pho or Wat Arun.
One Day in Bangkok Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Bangkok.
Start your day at the Grand Palace
Start your one-day trip in Bangkok with the tour of the Grand Palace. Being super early at the palace entrance means you can skip the crowds that come later in the day. The Grand Palace is the former home of the royal family, and even though you cannot enter it, you can still wander around the area and visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and many other open temples in the area.
Grab a snack along the way
The food stalls along the street on your way to Wat Pho offer a wide range of snacks and local dishes. Go for a fresh fruit smoothie and Roti pancakes. They are much more delicious than those you eat at home.
Visit the Wat Pho and its Golden Buddha statue
Walk for about 10 minutes and visit the Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It’s famous for its reclining Buddha statue and the long line of the Golden Buddha statues. The Reclining Buddha statue illustrates the Buddha entering nirvana, and its length of 46 meters and height of 15 meters make it an awe-inspiring sight. If you want to experience Bangkok in a day, this is something you mustn’t miss.
Cross the river and visit Wat Arun
Take a short boat ride to the other side and visit another one of Bangkok’s famous temples – Wat Arun or the Temple of the Dawn. Its Khmer-style towers go up to 82 meters in height, so don’t miss the chance to climb the temple for a stellar view of the city, perfect for some amazing panoramic photo shots of the Palace. Another indispensable part of your Bangkok one-day itinerary.
Have a Pad Thai
You must be super hungry by now, and when in Bangkok don’t miss to try Thailand’s most famous dish – Pad Thai. It’s a local stir-fried rice noodle dish commonly served as a street food. Whether you pick one at the food stalls (it costs about 50 THB), local eateries or you eat it at some nicer restaurant, in Bangkok they’re usually super delicious no matter where you get them.
Shop at one of many Bangkok’s street markets
No matter if they’re selling food, clothes, accessories or all of the above, you’ll always bump into a street market regardless of where you’re going. And even though Chatuchak Market is the biggest of the kind in all the country, it works on weekends only and it takes hours to explore. If you only have one day in Bangkok, rather choose the Chinatown market.
Stroll around Khaosan Road
Evening is the perfect time to wander around Khaosan Road, Bangkok’s most famous and busiest street. It’s filled with endless bars, street food and clothes stalls, tailors shops, massage places and many locals offering some naughty fun. Yes, it’s the most touristy place on Earth, but it still shouldn’t be missed.
Have a pre-dinner Thai massage
Whether you really need a foot massage after trying to soak up Bangkok in a day, or you do it just for fun while sipping your cocktail – Thai massage is what all tourists do several times a day when in Thailand. Khaosan Road is loaded with massage places, so why not make the most of one?
Have a dinner on the 59th floor
The best place to enjoy a 360° panoramic view at night while eating the most delicious food is at the Moon Bar & Vertigo Grill restaurant. This fine dining restaurant on the rooftop of one of Bangkok’s skyscrapers is definitely not a budget eat, but it’s still a great value for money when you keep in mind the service, food and the atmosphere with the most spectacular city view. The best way to end your one-day trip to Bangkok, that’s for sure.
Enjoy a jazz night
If you’re into jazz, or you just like cozy bars with some live music – Saxophone Pub is the best place in Bangkok to spend a night at. Nice interior, great atmosphere and the best live jazz is what describes this place the best. With its European prices, it’s not the cheapest bar in Bangkok, but it’s without a doubt a place where you’re going to have a great time.
Where to stay in Bangkok?
Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok
28 Chareonkrung Soi 70, Bangkholame, Bang Kho Laem
Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok is a great choice for relaxation away from the city crowds, but guests can still easily access the city by the hotel’s shuttle boat. This modern and luxurious hotel provides an outdoor pool and facilities like a hot tub and sauna.
Tower Club at lebua
1055/42 Silom Road, Bangrak, Bang Rak
Tower Club at lebua is a luxurious five-star hotel that epitomizes luxury accommodation in Bangkok. The lavish interiors and exclusive privileges complement an exclusive stay with a breathtaking view of the city or Chao Phraya River. Ideal for both business and leisure, the Tower Club at lebua is the most coveted five stars luxury hotel in Bangkok.
Silom Space Hostel
8 Silom Road Soi 2, Bangrak, Bang Rak
Silom space hostel is a super trendy hostel, perfectly located in the heart of the business district, very close to 2 train station BTS (sky rail) and MRT (subway). Its unique appearance is a combination of industrial machinery and modern design. It’s a perfect choice for those who are looking for a great nightlife.
The Quarter Bangkok Poshtel & Coworking
501/1 Petchburi Road Phayathai Ratchathewi, Pathumwan
The Quarter Bangkok Poshtel & Coworking is located in the center of Bangkok, only 50 meters from Skytrain BTS station. It’s set amidst the Bangkok chaos, but feels more like a quiet Parisian cafe. The hostel features a cafe, shared lounge and co-working room.
Day trips from Bangkok
Should you decide to stay in the city for a longer period of time, you may be wondering what to do in Bangkok aside from just walking around to all the sights. Well, one day trip certainly wouldn’t go amiss, and there is plenty to choose from. Here are some of the most popular suggestions.
The city that was once the capital of Siam is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for many spectacular reasons. Beautiful temples, incredible ruins and mesmerizing Buddha statues all create an absolutely magical atmosphere. Add to that the fact that you can book a river cruise to this place, and you can easily see why this is one of the most popular day trips from Bangkok you can make. There is plenty to see and learn here.
Bridge on the River Kwai
Yes, you can visit the famous bridge from the movie. And by a speedboat, no less! Apart from that, however, this day trip is all about WW II. You will see what the prisoners were forced to do and why the railway they built was called Death Railway. It is certainly a very moving and enlightening experience about the war and another thing that can teach you a whole lot.
One day trip from Bangkok that really should be considered is a visit to the floating markets just outside of the city. If you’re wondering what to see in Bangkok that’s unique, this will surely tick all the boxes. You can come here by speedboat and buy loads of fresh local produce and unique souvenirs while listening about the canals that were built in the 19th century.
Extra tips for visiting Bangkok
– If you’re planning to visit religious sites, make sure you wear some modest clothes that covers legs and shoulders and that you have no bare feet. Still, if you forget about it and you’re in a hurry to see as much of Bangkok in a day as possible, they usually provide the clothes at the entrance.
– Be aware of scams! In Bangkok there are many of them and most of the time they result in either wasting your money or time, both of which you don’t want, especially if you only have one day in Bangkok. Make sure you do an online search for the most common scams.
– Never forget to agree to the fare prior to starting a tuk-tuk ride, otherwise you’re gonna pay double or triple the price.
– Make sure the taxi driver turns the taxi meter on, otherwise they’re going to charge you some insanely high rate. You won’t believe how cheap legal taxis really are.
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Make sure you have everything you need
What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
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Anca is a travel writer and the founder of One Day Itinerary - the biggest collection of travel itineraries for those who are time-limited or just want to maximize their time while traveling. Although she easily becomes homesick for Croatia, she thinks travel is essential to her happiness. She has traveled to more countries than she is years old and doesn’t plan on changing that fact. In her travel guides she aims to inspire people to travel whenever they have a spare day (or two).