Bangkok, certainly, is a city that deserves more than a couple of days of temple tours and market visits. The city is massive, and every corner of it has an attraction to drop by. It’s a place to wander, to meander in a romantically beguiling fashion, and just… be!
I remember I initially stayed 3 nights in the city before heading for the mountains in the north of Thailand, leaving my thirst to see more of this beautiful city unquenched. Inevitably, I returned back, and ended up staying in Bangkok for almost another week.
[Also Read: How Much A Holiday Costs In Thailand]
Its multicultural vibe, the combination of old and modern traditions, skyscrapers, street food, peppy tuk-tuk rides solidify Bangkok as a must-visit. And where 3 days are definitely NOT ENOUGH to get your head around Bangkok, you can at least use them better, and tick off some of the major sites and must-do activities, in and around the city. Here’s my suggested itinerary to get the most out of your trip in 3 days:
Day 1 –Temples. River Cruises. And FOOD
Start with The Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun
The former residence of the royal family, The Grand Palace is one of the most amazing pieces of architecture in the entire Bangkok. Its grounds offer more than 100 gilded buildings, all designed and coloured in old-Bangkok style. Go here first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds.
After that, go to Wat Pho, which is only a few blocks away from The Grand Palace. Where Bangkok has nearly 50 Temples (termed as a ‘Wat’), Wat Pho and Wat Arun are among a few popular ones, particularly among the time-restrained tourists, due to their close proximity to the town and a historic significance. Wat Pho is where you’ll find the gigantic reclining Buddha, beautifully covered in gold leaf. It’s a remarkable 46m long and 15m high. Also don’t forget to wander through the courtyard of Wat Pho and admire the many stupas beautifully decorated in ceramic pottery flowers.
Once done, jump on a cross-river ferry (from No.8 Tha Tien Pier) and head to Wat Arun. The best part about Wat Arun is the Khmer style tower, which lets you walk up the stairs and get stellar views of the city from atop the temple.
Note: Tickets include 400 Baht for The Grand Palace, 100 Baht for Wat Pho, and 50 Baht for Wat Arun. Also make sure you’re dressed properly before being allowed entry to the temples. Wear something that covers your legs and shoulders.
Kill The Lazy Afternoon Cruising The River
Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River offers an amazing route to explore the city. It moreover allows you to go to any length (and enjoy a 1+ hour ride) in under 20 Baht. The best route however, as I’d explored, is getting into an orange flagged ferry, from one of the central piers and go all the way to Nonthaburi (the last pier in the north), and come back. Do not, however, forget to explore Nonthaburi district, to get a feel of Bangkok’s one of the most non-touristic areas.
Walk through the Royal Field in the evening, and Conclude The Day at Khao San Road
The Royal Field is an open green space right opposite the royal palace. As the sunlight goes dim, The Royal Field shimmers with quintessential decorative lights, bringing the entire area into a more colourful life. Walking through the Royal Field sometime after 7 pm, as the city prepares itself for a temporary shutdown, is definitely a pleasant experience.
Once you’re done, hit Khao San road – the backpacker capital of the world at. Here you’ll find endless bars, exotic street food, crazy night parties, laughing gas balloons (all around the place), and a lot many happy, drunk tourists.
Day 2 – Markets. Shopping. And FOOD
Kickstart the day by shopping and eating at Jatuchak Weekend Market
One of the biggest advantages that tourist have over directionless backpackers, is that they end up at every place during a weekend, and this is exactly what you want if you’re in Bangkok, because then only you can visit Jatuchak Weekend Market – one of the world’s largest weekend markets. Spread over an area of 27 Acres altogether (around 20 football grounds, if I’m not wrong), it is the real mother of all markets. Here you will find everything and anything, from chocolates to first copy Rolex watches to used phones to authentic designer clothes to jewelry. Don’t forget to keep a check on the map, while you’re here, to get a hold of directions.
If you’re not visiting Bangkok during a weekend, you can go to Pratu Nam market, for some serious and cheap shopping. At Pratu Nam, everything, even if you’re buying a single piece, is available at a wholesale discounted price.
Visit the Yodpiman flower market
You can find quite a few flower markets around Bangkok but if you want to see the real flower market, Yodpiman (the largest flower market in Bangkok) is the place to be. Full of colors and lovely smell, Yodpiman flower market is a nice and vibrant market to visit. Here you can find all kind of flowers, vegetables and fruits. Though the market is open 24 hours, it is busiest before dawn, when boats and trucks arrive with flowers from all over Thailand.
Right behind it is the popular Yodpiman River Walk, if you fancy a cooling breeze walk, with a beer in your hand.
Explore Chinatown in the evening
Asthe sun pulls the curtains, Bangkok’s Chinatown throbs with an electrifying energy. Countless street vendors come alive with their temporary shops on pedestrian walkways and transform the entire area into a foodie’s kitchen. Neon signs shine bright along the entire length of Chinatown, attracting innocent food lovers to empty out their pockets. Moreover if you’re into sea food, no other place, in the entire Bangkok, can beat Chinatown.
Day 3 – A Day Trip to Amphawa OR A Day Trip to Ayutthaya. And DRINKS
Set off for Amphawa OR Ayutthaya
If you’re here during a weekend, I recommend a day trip to Amphawa, where you can find Thailand’s biggest floating market, and the much extraordinary Maeklong train market. If not, explore some ancient temples and the deep rooted history in Ayutthaya. Both require you go around 100 kms out of the city, which takes 1 to 2 hours, each side. You can get a minivan from the Victory Monument, for both places.
Amphawa floating market is open only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; but Maeklong train market can be visited 7 days a week. Where you can find a few floating markets inside the Bangkok city as well (with Talin Chan floating market being the most popular) they are quite tiny in size and often leave tourists craving for more. Maeklong train market, on the other hand, is the one and only such markets – running on a railway track – in the entire world.
Ayutthaya offers a complete different experience from that of Amphawa and Maeklong. Unreal and bewitching, the ruins and temples of Ayutthaya picture an unearthly landscape that will leave you awestruck the moment you end up here. This is where you’ll find centuries old temples, many impressive and gigantic Buddha statues, and the much talked about Buddha head entwined in a tree.
Treat yourself with drinks at a rooftop bar and explore the city’s many skylines
Conclude your visit to Bangkok with some drinks in a fancy rooftop bar, and take your love for the city to a next level. Some of the most popular ones include Sky Bar, Moon Bar and the Octave Rooftop Bar, but to tell you the truth, I’ve only tried Sky Bar, and yes, it was great.
Note: Before you hit your favorite rooftop bar, make sure you’re not wearing shorts and/or flip-flops, as most of the places are quite particular about a gentleman’s dress-code.
Also Read: Thailand Travel Guide and learn more about the country
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