Are you planning on only spending 2 days in Bangkok?
Based on our numerous trips to the capital of Thailand we’ve created this guide to help you make the most of your short time here.
Otherwise, you’ll be flying into one of the two airports that serve Bangkok;
Don Muang – See how to travel from the airport to the city.
Suvarnabhumi – See how to travel from the airport to the city.
With only 2 days in Bangkok, you’re going to want to book centrally located accommodation.
This will minimise the amount of time you’re spending on Bangkok’s public transport network, and maximise what you’re able to see and do during your time here.
Spanning over 1,600km Bangkok is one of the largest cities within South East Asia. Nerd Nomads managed to narrow down the 8 best neighbourhoods for tourists. However, in short, we recommend;
Once Again Hostel – for budget travellers
Vib Best Western Sanam Pao – for couples
Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 – best family-friendly hotel in Bangkok
Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok – for those looking to splash out!
Alternatively, if you’re looking for guest houses in Bangkok I recommend checking out Airbnb.
Pro Tip: There’s always an arguement as to the best location in Bangkok for tourists.
However with a great transit network, we believe that anywhere close to one of the BTS or MRT stations is a great choice.
That is unless you’re here to experience life in Bangkok at night, in which case we’d reccomend the party central that is Khao San road.
When speaking to other tourists who’ve previously visited Bangkok you’ll no doubt find mixed opinions. It’s one of the most debated destinations in the travel industry.
With two days here you’ve enough time to experience the best Bangkok has to offer, and decide if coming back for more is right for you – rest assured, there’s plenty to see if you do decide to return for a longer visit.
We hated Bangkok the first time we visited, however, after touring other parts of Thailand we found the confidence in the hustle and bustle in the two nights before our return flight home.
Since then we’ve visited Bangkok on a number of occasions, it’s a playground city with endless things to see and do. You’ll simply never see everything it has to offer – which is the reason we keep coming back!
Pro Tip: Before travelling to Thailand ensure you’ve got your Thai visa (where necessary) and all your travel vaccinations.
Start your morning by visiting some of the most famous temples in Bangkok. There are currently 40,000 temples in Thailand 400 of which are located in the capital, Bangkok. However, the three listed below are the most popular with tourists.
Located within close proximity to one and other along the side of the Chao Phraya River. They can be accessed easily via public transport or taxi.
The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is the most popular temple in the whole of Thailand, so expect to see more crowds here. However, don’t let that put you off. It’s the most popular for good reason.
The palace grounds cover more than 24 hectares with an incredible combination of buildings and well-kept gardens. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam since it was built back in 1782.
The Grand Palace opens at 8.30 am, if you can fight off the jetlag then I’d highly recommend arriving for opening as this is the quietest time. Crowds pick up over lunch, with the temple closing at 3.30 pm.
Exploring The Grand Palace and the temple grounds at a moderate pace will take between two and three hours.
Entry into The Grand Palace currently costs 500 baht (entry is free for Thai nationals) which is rather expensive as far as things go in Thailand. However, it’s totally worth it!
For an additional 200 baht consider renting an audio guide which is available in multiple languages and will provide you with audible information as you walk around the temple and its grounds.
Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha is my personal favourite temple in Bangkok. I remember seeing it for the first time, and just thinking “that’s pretty damn impressive!”.
It’s located just a five-minute walk from The Grand Palace. You’ll notice other tourists heading there after visiting The Grand Palace, however, if you’re unsure just ask one of the staff members before leaving The Grand Palace who will point you in the right direction.
Completed in the 16th century and standing at 50 feet tall and 150 feet wide, it’s a real challenge to get the entire statue in one frame on your camera – hence the photo above.
Entry into Wat Pho is just 100 Baht which is payable in cash only. The temple is open from 8 am until 6 pm daily.
Pro Tip: If you’re ‘all templed out’ at this point then consider going from Wat Pho to Chinatown instead. Bangkok Chinatown is the largest in the world and is centred around the 1.5km long Yaowarat Road which was built in 1891.
Wat Arun, short for Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan (thankfully!) was completed in 1656 CE and is located just across the river from the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.
Pro Tip: If you’re up early due to jetlag, then consider going to one of these locations to watch the sunrise over the Wat Arun temple before starting your day exploring.
Crossing the river to Wat Arun can be done on one of the Express Boats which leave from the Express Boat Pier. The journey costs just 4 baht per person and will drop you off at the Wat Arun pier just outside of the temple.
The Wat Arun temple is open to visitors from 7.30 am until 5 pm, and costs just 50 baht per person. The temple is famous for its colourful glazed ceramic tile finish. There are more than one million tiles covering Wat Arun which were salvaged from a British shipwreck.
Pro Tip: You won’t be able to enter some of the temples without covering your shoulders and legs as they are a place of worship.
Many of the major temples allow you to rent scarfs to cover yourself for 20 baht + 100 baht deposit (which is returned to you when you return the scarf)
Consider booking a tour of these temples (along with a couple of extra equally fantastic temples located in Bangkok) with a guide who will provide you with incredible, in-depth information about each location.
Depending on the time of year you’re visiting Bangkok you might want to spend the afternoon escaping the heat inside one of Bangkok’s incredible shopping malls that often span over multiple floors.
Our personal favourites include;
Terminal 21 – Opened in 2011, and located in Soi Sukhumvit 19. Terminal 21 is spread over a whopping 30 floors. The centre is open from 10 am through until 10 pm daily.
Siam Paragon – Located in front of the Siam BTS Skytrain station – the interchange of the 2 BTS lines. Siam Paragon shopping centre has more than 250 stores to choose from including; Versace, Dolce & Gabbana & Swarovski.
Central World – Origionally known as the World Trade Centre. Central World is the eleventh largest shopping complex in the world. Spread over 7 floors it’s home to more than 495 stores. The mall is open daily from 10 am to 10 pm.
Each mall is home to major brands that you’ll know and love, alongside incredible local brands, entertainment centres and a range of restaurants to suit all diets and budgets.
Pro Tip: The best location to stay in Bangkok for shopping is going to be in Lumphini. As close to the Chit Lom BTS station as you can get. There’s around 5 malls within walking distance.
However, there’s around a further 20 or so shopping plazas both mainstream high end, and local markets within two stops on the BTS.
Into Asia has a highly impressive article that provides in-depth knowledge about shopping in Thailand. The article includes what to buy (and what not to buy) along with where you can haggle (and how hard you should try and push down those prices to grab yourself that bargain).
If shopping isn’t your sort of thing, then consider spending the afternoon relaxing with a Thai massage. You can get a massage for 450 baht at the Wat Pho temple.
Alternatively, look at finding a well-rated Thai massage spa near your hotel so you can retreat for a short nap before heading out for the evening.
As the sun goes down, it’s time to eat!
With just two days in Bangkok, I recommend a food tour. You get to experience small tapas-style plates of famous local dishes that have been tried and tested many times by locals.
We went on A Chef’s Tour with Chef Nutth which took us down the backstreets of Chinatown. We dined alongside locals who’d been eating at these same food stalls for decades.
There are 16-17 stops in total and each one is amazing. The tour lasts four hours (4 pm through until 8 pm) and is the perfect opportunity to learn more about incredible Thai dishes, local culture and street food in general.
Pro Tip: Alongside foodies, we recommend street food tours like this one for those who are a little apprehensive of eating street food.
It provides you with the first hand guided experience of ordering and dining from a street vendor and an added level of confidence in the street dining experience and new foods.
The tour costs $59 per person and includes all your dishes. Sadly, the tour isn’t advised for those with gluten intolerance or those on a vegan diet.
Pro Tip: If you love food as much as we do, then consider taking an an extra day and spending it on a cooking class at the prestigious BaiPai Thai Cooking School.
Wake up early to visit a floating market of Bangkok. While there are many floating markets you can visit during a trip to Bangkok I’d personally recommend Damnoen Saduak.
It’s located 110km from the centre of Bangkok, which means an early start if you’re to get there for it’s opening at 7 am – However, it’s well worth it.
The market is the largest and oldest of all the floating markets, having started way back in 1866. It wasn’t until the 70’s that the Tourism Authority of Thailand turned the market into an attraction.
In the fifty years since this transition occurred, as Bangkok’s tourism rate has grown tremendously, and so has the popularity of Damnoen Saduak and similar floating markets in the region.
There’s very limited public transport to the market, instead to get there independently you’d need to hire a taxi.
Due to the distance between the city and the market, you’d be required to book the taxi for the entire period, and make the return journey with them too – which adds up pretty fast and can require some uncomfortable haggling.
Pro Tip: To save yourself the hassle, I recommend booking onto a guided tour.
Tours includes a round-trip journey on an air-conditioned minibus and a train ride from Ban Na Kwang train station to Maeklong Railway Market which is located just to the side of Damnoen Saduak floating market.
They’ll pick you up and drop you off in a centrally located spot in Bangkok. (Pick up is usually around 6 am and drop-off back in Bangkok is usually somewhere around 2 pm depending on traffic – see the specific tour for details).
It’s unlikely you’ll find that any tours that offer the transport between Damnoen Saduak and Bangkok include the cost of a longtail boat along the river – which is essential when visiting any floating market in our opinion.
At Damnoen Saduak you can expect to pay between 800 and 1,500 baht depending on the boat style. A trip along the canal lasts around an hour.
However, it’s only the last 10 minutes or so of the journey which is through the floating market itself allowing you to buy goods from the vendors as you float by.
If you don’t have the budget to visit one of the floating markets during your 2 days in Bangkok then consider taking an electric scooter tour of the city as an alternative.
On this three hour tour, you’ll cross the Chao Phraya River by boat (cost included), learn to fold lotus flowers and offer those to the Buddha, sample some of the famous local snacks (cost included) and even get your fortune told in a hidden temple.
The tour includes safety equipment as well as a 10-minute practice to familiarise yourself with the scooter controls before setting off. This tour is suitable for those aged 14+.
Back in central Bangkok, it’s time to hit perhaps the most famous street in all of Bangkok; Khao San Road.
Khao San Road isn’t located near the MRT (underground) or the BTS (Bangkok Sky Train) so depending on where you’re staying you’ll probably find getting a taxi here is the most convenient.
Despite its fame, the street itself is actually only 410 metres long and was constructed in 1892 during the reign of Rama V. Khaosan translates to “rice mill”, prior to its tourist facelift 40 years ago, this area was actually a popular rice market.
Khao San Road is packed full of hostels, bars, budget restaurants and shops. It’s party central, with many of the bars and clubs staying open until 2 am – even then you’ll find the party doesn’t stop.
During the high season, this street see’s between 40,000 and 50,000 tourists every single day!
Khao San Road is designed for tourists, so you’ll find all the typical Thailand photo opportunities here. Including bugs on a stick, ready for the eating (if you dare!).
As the street is only small, you’ll likely see everything Khao San Road has to offer within an hour.
As the food is overpriced (being a popular tourist hotspot), and often not the best you’ll find in Bangkok. I’d recommend heading to our final destination, The Neon Night Market for something to eat, live entertainment and souvenir shopping.
Pro Tip: The Neon Night Market is 6km from Khao San Road. While the Neon Night Market is located next to the MRT Blueline.
Khao San Road is situated away from the major public transport networks making the quickest and easiest way to travel between the two by taxi.
Uber lost it’s licence to operate in Bangkok in 2018, however Asia offers a similar service known as Grabb (the app is available from all major app stores).
Alternatively, you can get a metred taxi to take you between the two locations – it should take around 20 minutes depending on traffic.
Whilst there are plenty of things to do in Bangkok at night, I’d recommend putting a trip to a night market high on your list.
There are over twenty night markets in Bangkok, we’ve wanted to highlight The Neon Market in this itinerary which is located on Petchaburi Road, between soi 23 and soi 29 The Neon Night Market is an up and coming market established in 2016.
With more than 1,000 stalls selling fleamarket-type retro fashion and homeware, in-trend young clothes and apparel there’s something for everyone to buy!
The market itself is so much more than just a shopping experience with funky neon lights and live performances every evening. It’s got a wide variety of food stalls with plenty of space to sit down, eat and enjoy the atmosphere.
The Neon Night Market is even home to a Thai massage stall where you can recover from your 2 days in Bangkok with an affordable treatment.
If you’re looking for an alternative afternoon/evening after the Damnoen Saduak floating market and have some cash to spare, consider going on the 2-Hour Shangri-La Horizon Five-Star Buffet Dinner Cruise instead.
The boat leaves from the Shangri-La Bangkok boat pier which is located at the back of the Shangri-La Hotel just 550m from the Saphan Taksin BTS station.
The buffet offers an incredible range of delicious Thai and international delicacies including fresh seafood, sushi and delicious desserts. All of which can be indulged upon while floating past historic buildings and monuments such as the Grand Palace and the Temple of Dawn as the sunsets.
If you’re still up for exploring life in Bangkok at night once you’ve finished your luxury dinner cruise then consider visiting one of the many sky bars in the city where you’ll be able to drink incredible cocktails while admiring a panoramic view of the city.
The best rooftop bar in Bangkok is just a ten-minute walk from the Shangri-La boat pier (where you’ll be dropped off at the end of your cruise) – making it almost rude not to visit right?
Situated inside the State Tower Building, is Lebua. Suspended on a precipice 820 feet in the air it’s one of the tallest rooftop bars in the world and is open daily from 4 pm through until 1 am.
Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to end 48 hours in Bangkok than taking in the views that this place offers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions from first-time visitors to Bangkok;
Frequent visitors to Bangkok (and S.E. Asia in general) will tell you that street food is not just safe, but incredibly tasty. You’ll get to see the food being made fresh in front of you.
When we’re looking to dine on street food in a new location in S.E. Asia we try and go for a vendor who has a queue or a number of locals already eating behind them.
– If the locals are eating it, you’re in the right place!
Bangkok is generally a safe city. However, you’re always recommended to check on the embassy website for your country prior to travel.
No, the tap water in Thailand is not safe. Instead, you should opt for filtered, boiled and bottled water.
Tipping is welcomed in Thailand. We tend to add around 10% or “round up” to the majority of services when we’ve had a pleasant experience.
Yes, wearing shorts is ok in Thailand. However, you’ll want to cover to the knee if you’re visiting temples during your visit.
Thailand uses 220V electricity. The majority of power outlets feature two-prong round or flat sockets.
Thai Baht is the local currency and should be available from all great travel agents.
ATM machines are frequently found across Bangkok allowing you to withdraw the local currency in cash should it be required.
I’d love to know what you think of this itinerary of Bangkok, let me know in the comments below;