Hopefully you get more time in Bangkok but on the rare occasion you only have about 24 hours there, here are a few things that I recommend.
- The Grand Palace – This is actually a great area to go to in general because you can hit many of the famous temples and the Grand Palace in one. The Grand Palace is full of beautiful artwork and gardens that are great for walking around. Note that this closes earlier than most other attractions in that area. There are guards at the entrance so be prepared that if you show up too late, they will turn you away. If you don’t have a lot of time or if you don’t want to pay, you can enter the gardens for free and wander around the building without actually going into the Grand Palace.
- The Temple of Dawn (also known as Wat Arun) – this is a temple right along the river in Bangkok and it is huge. Each portion of it is covered in Chinese ceramic plates to create the decorative patterns and you can climb to the top to overlook the city and the river. Be careful as the steps are steep and can be difficult.
- Wat Pho – this is another temple with a giant laying down gold Buddha. It’s pretty difficult to get a full picture of the Buddha from any portion of the temple but you can walk along and check it out. At the entrance and exit you can try to get a full view of the Buddha.
- After checking out these areas, walk around the little shops in the area to see what the vendors have to offer and the trinkets that around around that area. There are artists and street vendors that have items for purchase that are fairly cheap.
- From there, you can take the taxi, a tuk tuk or the water taxi to get to the other side of the city. The water taxi is great because it’s cheap and it’s kind of fun to be in the middle of the river between both halves of the city.
- If you’re in the mood for shopping, go to Sukhimvit, there are giant shopping malls everywhere. In the center of the neighborhood is a mall that has themed floors based on different regions of the world that have boutiques that are sometimes themed to that region. There’s also a giant food court in the there with lots of food options.
- If you have time, I highly recommend checking out a local spa place and getting a Thai massage. A real deep tissue Thai massage at a spa place is painful but in all the best ways possible.
- If you don’t have time for that, I would recommend walking around the city and then heading to the various markets to check out what they have to offer and the food options. At night, there are a few options.
- You can go to the shopping center by the city which is essentially a bunch of little street vendors in an established night market. Be prepared as bartering is more difficult here than other locations.
- Go to Koh San which is a major party district and home to a lot of hostels (sometimes known as the backpackers district)
- Stay in Sukhimvit and check out the night vendors that line the streets. These vendors are easier to bargain with. Note that in Sukhimvit is a major red light district which can be shocking if you are unaware of it and stumble upon this area.
If you get more time to wander Bangkok, I would high recommend checking other sites around the city and maybe even expanding outside of the city if you’re free too. The taxis are easier to barter with and sometimes you can get them to take you further outside of the city. Don’t take them for face value as they are usually willing to negotiate if you put work into it.
Do you have any recommendations for Bangkok?