Hey there travel enthusiasts and welcome to my post where we will cover 10 ways to spend one day in Bangkok. Now, we all know the joys that travel can bring, from visiting far off places, experiencing different cultures and of course, all the new foods. But there is also a downside, – that dreaded day to ‘waste’ in a city whilst waiting for a midnight flight.
So if you are like me (as I live in Australia, all outgoing flights seems to leave late at night), there has been many a day where you need to find something to do that is enjoyable, but doesn’t take too much time – or cost too much money. So if you have a long layover or a day to kill in Bangkok, here are 10 things you can do to pass the time in an enjoyable way.
Let’s check them out…
Ways To Spend One Day In Bangkok
Bangkok, the vibrant capital city of Thailand, is a mesmerizing blend of ancient and modern worlds. As you wander its bustling streets, you’ll encounter majestic temples and palaces, such as the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, standing in stark contrast to the city’s towering skyscrapers. The Chao Phraya River, winding its way through the heart of the city, offers a unique perspective on Bangkok’s rich history and culture, with traditional long-tail boats ferrying visitors to various waterfront attractions.
Beyond its historical landmarks, Bangkok is a haven for food enthusiasts and shopaholics alike. From the aromatic street food stalls of Khao San Road to the upscale restaurants in Sukhumvit, the city offers a culinary journey that tantalizes the taste buds whilst markets like Chatuchak Weekend Market and glitzy shopping malls such as Siam Paragon provide endless shopping opportunities. Whether you’re seeking cultural immersion, culinary delights or retail therapy, Bangkok promises an unforgettable experience for every traveler.
Let’s checkout 10 great options for your day in Bangkok below:
1. The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace stands as the crown jewel of Bangkok’s landmarks making it an absolute must-see for anyone visiting the city. This magnificent structure, built in 1782, served as the royal residence for 150 years housing the Thai King, the Royal court and the government’s administrative center.
Within the palace complex, you’ll discover a collection of impressive buildings including the renowned Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This sacred temple is home to the small yet immensely revered Emerald Buddha, dating back to the 14th century.
A unique and significant ritual takes place here as well where the robes adorning the Emerald Buddha are changed with the seasons, a duty performed by HM The King of Thailand. This ritual holds great importance in the Buddhist calendar.
While Thai Kings ceased residing in the palace around the turn of the 20th century, the complex continues to play a vital role in marking various ceremonial and auspicious events, keeping its historical and cultural significance alive.
Location: Thanon Na Phra Lan, Bangkok 10200
Admission: 500 baht per person = USD14
2. Chao Phraya River
The Chao Phraya River has long been the lifeblood of the city’s inhabitants, providing for their daily needs and fueling the growth of the original settlement and it is here that you’ll find a host of renowned attractions.
Firstly, many opt for Asiatique The Riverfront, the city’s newest shopping destination conveniently located next to the Chao Phraya River where you’ll also find the Sky Wheel offering panoramic views of Bangkok. Free boat services operate daily from Sathorn Central Pier, running from 16:00 to 23:30. Asiatique is open from 17:00 to midnight every day of the week.
Secondly, visitors can make a stop at the Holy Rosary Church, constructed in 1787 by Portuguese seafarers. This Roman Catholic Church, known as Wat Kalawan in Thai, is a historical gem along the riverbanks. Another unique attraction is the River City Shopping Mall, where you can catch a glimpse of Bangkok’s famous resident shark as well.
Location: 780/488 Charoen Krung Road, Bang Kho Laem, Bangkok 10120
3. Chatuchak Market
Next on my list is an immersive experience that engages all your senses. As you navigate through Chatuchak Market’s bustling aisles, you’ll be tantalized by the enticing aromas of seafood and sweet treats while techno music reverberates from trendy clothing stalls. Amid the crowds, shoppers move from one stall to another, creating an atmosphere of vibrant activity.
Whether you’re on the hunt for a rare, one-of-a-kind piece of art, or you need to revamp your wardrobe before heading home, Chatuchak has you covered. It’s easy to lose yourself amidst the labyrinth of stalls, so be sure to grab one of the free maps available at the information kiosks. These maps provide a breakdown of the sections and what you can find in each.
Chatuchak Weekend Market operates every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Friday’s opening hours are from 6 PM to midnight, while on Saturday and Sunday, the market welcomes visitors from 9 AM to 6 PM. Many stalls extend their hours beyond these official times and the prime time for shopping is in the morning or when the market first opens, as many shopkeepers believe that making the first sale of the day brings good luck.
Location: Thanon Kamphaeng Phet 2 & Si Rat Expressway-Bangkok Outer Ring Road, Bangkok 10900
4. Bangkok Chinatown
Bangkok’s Chinatown is a true marvel, holding the title of the world’s largest Chinatown and arguably one of the most exceptional to explore. While Chinatowns exist in many countries, none quite compare to the allure of Bangkok’s own.
If seafood is your culinary passion, then Chinatown in Bangkok is your ultimate destination. As night descends, make your way to the renowned Yaowarat Road where some of the city’s finest dining experiences await. And just a little hint, if you spot a bustling throng of locals gathered around a particular stall, you can bet it’s because the food there is nothing short of amazing.
Fai-Kaew Yao Wa-Rat is one such seafood stall that consistently draws enormous crowds. Here, a plethora of dishes beckons, from stir-fried crab to sweet and sour shrimp. The showmanship of the chef, who sends flames soaring into the night sky as diners look on, adds to the excitement.
Within Bangkok Chinatown, you’ll also discover two remarkable temples:
- Wat Traimit, also known as the Temple of the Golden Buddha, is home to the world’s largest gold statue. This awe-inspiring statue graces the fourth floor of the temple, surrounded by exquisite Thai architecture.
- Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, on the other hand, stands as Bangkok’s largest Chinese-Buddhist temple, with roots tracing back to 1872.
Both of these temples offer a glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry of Bangkok’s Chinatown.
Location: Yaowarat Road Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100
- Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha) – 40 Baht (1.12USD) for non-Thai visitors
- Wat Mangkon (Dragon Lotus Temple) – Free admission
- Wat Arun
5. Wat Arun Ratchawararam
Wat Arun Ratchawararam, known as the Temple of Dawn or locally as Wat Chaeng, is a majestic and iconic landmark nestled on the Thonburi side, the west bank, of the Chao Phraya River. Its name pays homage to the Indian God Aruna, the God of Dawn.
Wat Arun stands as an unrivaled gem among Bangkok’s temples, owing to its riverside location and its mesmerizing design. The grand pagoda, or “prang” in Thai, at Wat Arun is encircled by four smaller pagodas and boasts the architectural features of a Khmer-style pagoda. This towering pagoda, soaring 70 meters into the sky, is a masterpiece adorned with intricate patterns created from delicate fragments of colored glass and Chinese porcelain.
In front of the Grand Pagoda, you’ll find two small buildings that once housed the Emerald Buddha before its relocation to Wat Phra Kaew at the Grand Palace. Sculptures of Chinese soldiers and animals embellish the base of the grand pagoda, adding to the temple’s allure.
Location: Thanon Wang Doem, Bangkok 10600
Admission: 100 Baht (2.80 USD)
6. Khao San Road
Khao San Road, a bustling and vibrant hub in the heart of Bangkok, has earned its reputation as a go-to destination for international travelers seeking budget accommodations and a global meeting point. While it’s now synonymous with tourism, its origins trace back to a prosperous rice trading area during the reign of King Rama VI.
Today, Khao San Road is teeming with guesthouses, making it a convenient choice for accommodation and its prime location places it at the center of the city, offering easy access to numerous major attractions such as Wat Phra Kaeo, Wat Bowonniwet, Wat Saket, Wat Ratchanaddaram, Democracy Monument, National Museum and shopping districts like Bang Lamphu, Tha Phra Chan, Phra Athit Road. It’s also a stone’s throw away from Santichaiprakarn Park.
The allure of Khao San Road truly comes to life at night. It transforms into a mecca of international restaurants, with both established eateries and street food vendors. Here, foreign travelers can savor the rich and diverse flavors of Thai cuisine. Beyond the culinary delights, you’ll also find music shops, retail stores offering a wide range of goods and various service providers catering to the needs of tourists as well.
7. Wat Pho
This temple is also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha or Wat Phra Chetuphon, which stands as an essential destination for first-time visitors to Bangkok. Nestled right behind the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, this temple complex is a must-see. As one of the city’s largest temple complexes, it’s renowned for its colossal reclining Buddha, stretching an impressive 46 meters and adorned with a glistening layer of gold leaf.
A leisurely 10-minute stroll separates Wat Pho from the Grand Palace and we recommend visiting Wat Pho second, as it offers a more tranquil experience compared to the bustling crowds at the Grand Palace. While the golden Buddha here garners much attention, many visitors often overlook the rest of the complex, making it an ideal spot for exploration.
Wat Pho is not only a place of cultural significance but also a renowned center for traditional Thai massage. It holds the distinction of being one of Thailand’s leading massage schools, ensuring that you’re in capable hands when seeking a rejuvenating and relaxing release.
Location: Thanon Sanam Chai, Bangkok 10200
Admission: 200 baht (5.30USD)
8. Bangkok Canal Boats
Navigating the vibrant labyrinth of Bangkok’s streets can feel like traversing clogged arteries. However, hidden within this bustling city lies a hidden gem: the canal boats. These boats offer one of the quickest and most budget-friendly ways to explore the city and what’s even more exciting is that many tourists are either unaware of them or hesitant to try, granting you a unique experience as a foreigner.
The boat operators are friendly and accommodating and they’ll gladly explain the payment system, which essentially involves tossing a few coins their way and they’ll also ensure you know when it’s time to disembark, often with enthusiastic shouts and gestures.
Your presence on the canal boats may also bring a bit of novelty to the locals’ day. So, don’t hesitate to embrace this unique and authentic way to explore Bangkok while getting a fascinating glimpse into the heart of the city from a local’s perspective.
9. Asiatique: The Riverfront
We touched oin this above but Asiatique: The Riverfront is a prime destination for picturesque dining and shopping experiences that cater to both locals and tourists alike. The breathtaking views of the Chao Phraya River create the perfect backdrop for a memorable outing with family and friends.
And when the sun sets, the nightlife here comes alive with vibrant entertainment where numerous restaurants and stalls line the area, offering a delightful array of cuisines and street food to satisfy your palate. Shopping enthusiasts will also find a treasure trove of options, from fashionable clothing to bags and accessories. The shopping area at Asiatique is divided into six categories, each offering its own unique charm including.
- Trendy Clothes: Explore the latest in stylish dresses, tops and pants along with traditional clothing options. This is an excellent spot to pick up a sarong if you plan to visit Wat Arun, as the famous temple has strict dress code requirements.
- Men’s Collection: Gentlemen can peruse a wide selection of dashing tuxedos and other formal wear as well as comfortable t-shirts.
- Kids Wear: Discover an attractive collection of floral dresses and accessories for your little ones. Cartoon shirts featuring popular characters like Transformers, Jurassic Park and Cars are also available, making for great souvenirs.
- Bags and Purses: If you’re on the hunt for hand-woven straw bags, you’re in luck. From sling bags to shoulder bags, the market offers a diverse range of lovely bags. Rattan bags and backpacks in various colors are also in abundance, ensuring you find the perfect accessory to complement your style.
- Unique and Comfy Footwear: The footwear section features an array of slippers and sandals that are worth adding to your collection. Whether you prefer fancy designs or simplicity, there’s something to suit your chic outfits.
- Cool Accessories: Put the finishing touches on your look with stylish accessories including necklaces, watches, and bracelets.
For those seeking even more shopping opportunities, consider exploring Pratunam and Chatuchak markets, which offer additional retail delights to satisfy your shopping cravings.
Location: 2194 Charoenkrung Rd, Bangkok 10120
10. Bangkok Flower Market
Bangkok’s Flower Market, also known as Pak Khlong Talat in Thai, is the largest wholesale flower market in Thailand, operating around the clock, seven days a week. Some even claim that Pak Khlong Talat ranks among the world’s largest flower markets.
While the market’s main attraction is an astonishing array of fresh, affordable flowers, you’ll also find hand-crafted garlands, flower arrangement baskets, fresh fruits, vegetables and a delightful assortment of local herbs and spices at various shops throughout the market.
Here’s what you can expect to encounter at Bangkok’s Flower Market:
- Local Thai Flowers: The market brims with fragrant blooms like jasmine, chrysanthemum, gerbera, orchids, lilies and roses. Most of these flowers are cultivated in provinces closest to Bangkok, such as Nakhon Pathom. For rarer varieties like tulips, vendors source them from northern Thai provinces like Chiang Rai and Loei.
- Imported Flowers: Explore a wide selection of imported flowers including tulips, snapdragons, iris, lisianthus, delphinium and more.
- Phuang Malai: Witness an ancient Thai art form where skilled artisans painstakingly thread tiny buds onto needles repeatedly to create intricate garlands fit for offerings to deities. Bangkok’s Flower Market is one of the best places to experience the mesmerizing craft of Phuang Malai up close.
- Baisri: Discover cone-shaped flower offerings, known as Baisri, made by incorporating chrysanthemums and other buds into rolled-up banana and pandan leaves. The shape of Baisri symbolizes Mount Meru, considered the center of the universe in Hinduism.
- Fresh Fruits & Vegetables: Beyond flowers, Pak Khlong Talat surprises with an abundance of fresh fruits and wholesale vegetables tucked away in the corners of the market.
Location: Jakkrapet Road, Bangkok 10200
And there they are, my tips for spending a day during your stay in Bangkok. As usual, let me know of your experiences here or if there is another activity that I should add to the list.
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time.