I’ll get straight to the point… let me quickly debunk the myth that Bangkok should only serve as the “place to rest after a flight then leave the following morning.”
If you have 48 hours to spare, before heading to Phuket, Koi Samui, and the additional beautiful destinations within Thailand, here’s an itinerary that paints a different picture of Bangkok vs the “layover” city many have coined it as.
Thailand continues to redefine excellence when it comes to delivering a luxury experience. As a result, it’s no surprise that I fancy the high-rise suites of Bangkok (more so the charming boutique ones with a slight twist)! My two reoccurring faves are the Oriental Residence and Hotel Muse Bangkok.
Located next to the American Embassy, along a leafy tree-lined street, the Oriental Residence has two key themes, casual elegance and traditional luxury with a lobby that resembles the residence of Bangkok’s elite crowd.
Hotel Muse Bangkok
Extremely chic with a touch of playful elegance and an interior that mimics scenes from The Great Gatsby! Hotel Muse Bangkok will always be a home away from home.
“Vibrant, delicious food, flowing rivers, Tuk Tuk adventures and friendly smiles. This is Bangkok!”
The Basics: Grand Palace, Wat Phara Kaew, Wat Pho & Wat Arun
Within a couple of hours, it’s rather easy to conquer the historic sites & temples of Bangkok. Thanks to the city’s connected transport system, a few train train rides and a river crossing will have you basking in the essentials of the city stress free. Here’s how you can create your own walking tour:
Take the BTS to the Central Pier (Stop: Sathorn) and then take the Public Ferry to Tha Chang (9 stops). This will place you at Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew (The Temple of the Emerald Buddah).
From the Grand Palace, you can walk approx.10-12 mins to Wat Pho (Giant Reclining Buddah).
After Wat Pho, head back to the Public Ferry (board at the Tha Tien stop) to Wat Arun Pier to visit the Wat Arun Temple of Dawn.
Midnight Tuk Tuk Food Tour
Bangkok is claimed to be the city in Southeast Asia with the best street food. With that said, what’s better than boarding a Tuk Tuk, zipping through narrow lanes and indulging in the local culinary hot spots of the city?
Here’s a quick summary of the adventure:
“After the moon comes up, cruise along Bangkok streets via this city’s iconic 3-wheel, Tuk Tuk, to visit Bangkokian’s favorite places to eat. Taste a variety of savory menus, including the local favorite Northeastern Thai Food (Esan Food), the town’s Best Pad Thai, and the popular home-style Thai snack. Between the bites, visit old-town landmarks and temples for a different perspective compared to the busy day time scene. Discover the side of Bangkok wholly unknown to visitors. You will finish the tour by Cinderella’s time.”
- Tuk Tuk ride during the tour
- 7+ delicious food & drink tastings
- Local Guide
- A chilled Thai beer at a secret bar
- Drop off service at the end of the tour (Only hotels in Bangkok city center)
- Complimentary basic medical insurance
Please note that pick-up is not available and the meeting point is easy accessible via the BTS.
Tour Booking: Bangkok Food Tours
The Floating Markets of Damnoen Saduak
Some will quickly call this a tourist trap, however, if you’re looking to go beyond the city limits of Bangkok and get a glimpse into the way of life in rural Thailand, the Floating Markets of Damnoen Saduak is a must!
Once you hop into your long tail speed boat, the next few hours will look like this:
There’s also an opportunity for a short Elephant ride before heading back to Bangkok!
Bai Pai Cooking Class
Who doesn’t love Thai food? At Bai Pai Thai cooking school, you will have a hands-on experience that will leave you amazed with a full stomach to match! The venue is equally impressive as well.
There are morning and afternoon sessions, both 4 hours long. The morning session (begins at 9:30AM) includes:
- A market trip to collect some local ingredients
- Stir-fried chicken & cashew nuts
- Spicy grilled beef salad
- Thai Style fried rice noodle
The afternoon session (begins at 1:30PM) includes:
- Spring rolls
- Minced port salad (North Eastern Style)
- Chicken & Galangal in coconut milk soup
- Stir-fried rice noodle w/ pork & dark soy sauce
Both sessions includes hotel pick-up, a coconut grinding session and ends with a delicious, freshly prepared dessert.
Moon Bar at the Banyan Tree Hotel
There are no shortage of rooftops in Bangkok. My favorite is the Moon Bar at the Banyan Tree Hotel – I’m sure we’ve all seen this photo in Conde Nast Traveller. The city view and ambiance speaks for itself.
Here are some quick tips before setting out on your Bangkok experience:
- Before leaving the airport, buy a local SIM card and stay connected (your Instagram stories & viewers will thoroughly appreciate you).
- While it’s convenient taking a taxi straight to your hotel, there is a likely chance you will get stuck in the mayhem known as Bangkok rush hour. As an alternative, the Airport Rail Link connects Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) to downtown Bangkok. The train leaves every 15 minutes and takes 25 minutes. Once arriving in Downtown Bangkok, you can connect to the MRT or BTS Sky Train to get to your final destination.
- When departing Bangkok to head to other destinations within Thailand, keep in mind there are two airports in the city, BKK (international) and DMK (domestic).
- Have fun and be smart!
Until next time, cheers to the Vagabonding Life!