Day 1 – The unusual Bangkok
Your first day in Bangkok is different from what all the guidebooks tell you. We will explore the unseen and lesser-known corners of this city. Follow this 3-day guide step by step and have a great time in Bangkok.
1. Biking around Bangkok
One of the best things to do in Bangkok is exploring the city by bicycle. Discover the small back-alleys, outskirts, markets, Chinatown, temples, and canals on a 5-hour tour. You won’t be on the bike all the time, halfway you will take your bikes on a boat tour through the famous canals of Bangkok and have a mouth-watering lunch at a local restaurant.
2. Explore the canals by long-tail boat
The “Venice of the East” is a big network of canals, along with those rivers you see many Thai people live in their wooden houses. The canals connected Bangkok throughout the whole city.
Thonburi is super picturesque, less touristy, and highly recommended to get a long-tail boat tour through its canals.
3. Visit the hipster markets
Bangkok is the king of markets. While walking or driving around the city keep an eye on all the small streets where you suddenly find a full market. The markets in Bangkok are there in all flavors and sizes.
Small local vegetable markets to huge, 2000+ stalls, trendy clothing, souvenir, and food stalls markets. Locals absolutely love to hang around here so when you visit a good market, the majority are Bangkok locals. If you ask us, this is the best market in Bangkok.
4. Get yourself a smoothie!
Everywhere you go in Thailand, fresh fruit smoothies are a big deal. They are delicious, come in all kinds of fruit flavors, and oh so affordable. Every market offers fresh fruit smoothies, but be warned, most of the stalls add sugar water to make them taste even better. Healthy tip: Ask for ‘no sugar’. :)
5. Eat like a local
Find the best Thai food in the markets and at small food shops on the side of the road. Delicious curries, Pad Thais, spicy green mango salad, chicken cashew, and so many more choices. Be prepared for a fantastic food experience.
Good to know: Buying fruits that are already cut is not recommended.
Depending on the popularity of the area, the prices of meals change very quick. Expect to pay anywhere between 40 – 120 THB ($2) for a meal and 250 THB for a whole barbeque grilled fish.
Get that meal and smoothie at this best market of Bangkok.
Day 2 – Temples of Bangkok
The usual things to do in Bangkok are visiting the Grand Palace, Floating Market, and Chatuchak Market. These are great, but we are focused on avoiding mass tourism and experience the city its beauty.
6. Wat Benchamabophit
Wake up early for an absolute magical sunrise at Wat Benchamabophit. Italian Marble gives a unique look to the temple and is our favorite temple of Bangkok. It is just outside of Bangkok old town, and because it isn’t well known (yet), it is likely that you will be one of the few there.
The temple opens at 6 AM and there is a 50 THB (1.5 USD) donation. After 8:30 AM, you can expect the first small groups of tourists.
7. Tuk-Tuk through the city
Another thing to do in Bangkok is experiencing at least one Tuk Tuk ride. They take you from A to B within minutes, zigzagging through traffic.
Jump in the Tuk Tuk from Wat Benchamabophit and ask him to drop you at the ferry point to Wat Arun. It takes about 20 minutes and you should aim for a price between 100 and 200 THB. Agree on a price on forehand!
Tuk Tuk drivers are hard and stubborn when it comes to bargaining. If you can’t agree on a reasonable price, take a Grab Taxi instead.
8. Wat Arun
With a height over 75 meters, Wat Arun is easy to spot from the opposite side of the river. One of the most impressive temples in Bangkok opened after renovation in late 2017. The climb to the top gives a panoramic view of the river and city.
From the ferry point, take the ferry, which costs 4 THB, to the other side of the river. It is a 3-minute walk from the 50 THB entrance.
9. Khao San Road and Soi Rambuttri
Khao San Road, the street that is a haven for every budget backpacker. One street with many smalls bars, food stalls, souvenirs, cheap buckets with alcohol and fried scorpions sellers. Walk through this street and be amazed by what is going on here. Absolute must see and thing to do in Bangkok.
Soi Rambuttri is Khao San’s neighboring street. The street has more food stalls and relaxing restaurants. Order a Grab from these popular streets, a Taxi or Tuk-Tuk will likely charge you triple the price.
Day 3 – The top of Bangkok
Bangkok is all about the bigger, the better. Development in this city is going fast. Every new month a skyscraper opens including a pool, gym, supermarket, parking garage, and sometimes a rooftop too. Your last day is a taste of the high-end life of Bangkok.
10. Wat Pho
Start the day at 08:00 AM at Bangkok’s most popular temple; Wat Pho. It thanks its popularity to its beauty and 46-meter long reclining Buddha. When visiting early, it is relaxing to wander around the complex. There is a 100 THB (3 USD) fee to enter Wat Pho.
11. Best shopping malls in Bangkok
Escape the heat of the city and go shopping in some of the super malls in Bangkok. There are at least ten malls all located next to the BTS which makes it super easy to get there.
Our two favorite malls are Terminal 21 for shopping clothing and CentralWorld also for clothing and electronics.
Loads of well-known stores as H&M, Zara, Brandy Melville, creative Japanese, and big electronic shops as located here. The top floors of the malls have a large cinema and food area.
12. Coffees and Food!
Besides from local Thai dishes, Bangkok offers a lot of western-style restaurants. Obviously, prices are higher but some places are worth the experience. Prefer local food? Read number 5 of our Things to do in Bangkok list.
In the creatives district Thong Lo, is a wood and glass zen hideaway in the middle of the big city. They sell organic products, bakes and cakes, fantastic coffee and want to raise ecological awareness.
iO Italian Osteria
Inside the CentralWorld mall is an Italian restaurant, which is, without a doubt, the best one in the entire city. Most products imported from Italy and even a part of the staff is Italian.
(Not Just) Another Cup or Brekkie
For a good western breakfast or lunch head over two either Brekkie Organic Cafe or (Not Just) Another Cup. Two eye-pleasing cafes with delicious food and coffee.
13. Sunset on a rooftop bar – Must do in Bangkok!
A great way to close off your time in Bangkok is by watching the sunset from a rooftop. Have a 360 degrees view over the whole city at 48 stories up in the sky. Some have a dress code, be sure to check this in advance.
Octave is a bar, outside of the tourist area with a great view and near the Thong Lo BTS stop. Happy Hour runs from 5-7 PM, expect to pay around 300 THB on average. The dress code is smart casual which usually means: wear actual shoes, trainers are ok!
How to get around in Bangkok
Bangkok offers loads of options to get around the city. Grab, Gojek motorbikes, Metro, BTS (Skytrain), Taxis, Tuk-Tuks, and local buses.
Arriving in Bangkok
The city has two airports, the main airport Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang. Both international airports.
Suvarnabhumi is connected to a BTS, getting to Bangkok city from here is an easy 30-minute ride and only costs between 15 – 45 THB (1 USD). Once you get off the BTS, you can order a Grab that takes you to your hotel.
Getting a Taxi is also very convenient from this airport since it is a regulated number system which means fair prices. Expect to pay ~400 THB.
Don Mueang does not have the BTS connection yet. It is planned to open in 2020. For now, it is the best option to get a Grab or Taxi from the arrival terminal. Expect to pay 300 – 400 THB to the city.
Getting around in the city
The best and most affordable ways to see Bangkok are by BTS / Metro, Gojek motorbike, and Grab Taxi. Use Google Maps to decide which is best for your situation.
Taxis and Tuk-Tuks are honestly better to avoid if you don’t want to get stuck in a bargaining game.
Where to stay in Bangkok
Bangkok is filled with hotels and guesthouses for every kind of budget. If you are in for a good party, it is recommended to find a stay around the Khao San area.
Otherwise, it is best to find a hotel or Airbnb in the area Sukhumvit. The BTS is connected throughout the whole area which makes it super easy to get around.
Secret tip for a stay in Bangkok
Our secret tip is to find an Airbnb located in an ‘Ideo’ building. This is a building brand that has loads of towers throughout the whole city.
Ideos are complete apartments near the BTS, with a pool, gym, cafe, and a MaxValu (pink) Supermarket. Usually, a night here cost between 15 – 40 USD. Budget tip: MaxValu sells freshly made affordable rice meals.
Simcard in Bangkok
At the airport are loads of sim card shops. Getting a sim at the airport is recommended so you can easily use Grab and/or find your way in the city. We recommend AIS who offers a 5-day unlimited data bundle for 140 THB (4 USD).
How much does Bangkok cost?
- Hotel: 30 – 100 USD / night
- Food: 15 USD / day
- Transport: 10 USD / day
- Simcard: 4 USD / 5 days unlimited data
- Guesthouse: 15 USD / night
- Airbnb: 20 – 60 / day