Making an itinerary for only 24 hours in Bangkok is certainly a daunting task. With seemingly thousands of attractions, top sights, restaurants, neighborhoods, and more on “must-see” lists, how do you narrow down your Bangkok itinerary to see it all? The reality is, you can’t. That being said, we’ve compiled the best day itinerary to see the most of Bangkok, one of the most epic cities in the world.
We will begin our adventure on the Chao Phraya River, home to some of Bangkok’s most note-worthy attractions. Start your day early and head to BTS Skytrain stop Saphan Taksin on the Silom line. Take exit two towards the Central Pier, otherwise known as the Sathon Bridge Pier. It is here you’ll want to purchase the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat pass. This pass costs ฿150 (about $4). You’ll then have unlimited access to hop on and off the boat as you please at any one of the eight stops.
Chao Phraya River Tourist Boat | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson
The first stop on our trip is at the Maharaj Pier. Here you’ll find the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Entrance into the complex is ฿400 (about $15), and you can also hire a guide to explore the grounds with who’ll give you a detailed rundown of everything on display.
Wat Phra Kaeo | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson
The next stop on our boat trip is at the Tha Tien Pier, where you’ll find two of Thailand’s most famous temples, Wat Pho and Wat Arun. To get to Wat Pho, head straight on Thai Wang Road after exiting the boat. The temple will be on your right. This temple is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a ฿100 entrance fee (about $3). Wat Arun can be found at the pier just across the river by ferry, however, it’s currently undergoing construction with the majority of the temple being covered in scaffolding. There’s a ฿50 entrance fee (about $1.50) if you do decide to go.
Refuel and stop for an early lunch at any one of the restaurants that line the Chao Phraya River. The views of Wat Arun from these establishments cannot be beaten. We recommend The Deck by Arun Residence, which is just a short walk from both the Tha Tien Pier and Wat Pho. It serves up great Western and Thai dishes. There are also many street vendors selling touristy items at this pier, as well as outside of Wat Pho. If you visit Bangkok during the week and are unable to visit any of the weekend markets, we suggest exploring these vendors, as touristy as they are.
After you fuel up on lunch, get back on the boat to return to the BTS Skytrain to head to our next stop on the list, Siam. You can also get a taxi. Here you will find some of the best shopping in Bangkok. From high-end products to Thai designers, Siam will leave you wishing you had more money to blow. There are many shopping malls to choose from here, such as Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery, Siam Center, and Siam Square One.
If you visit Bangkok on a weekend, we suggest skipping visiting Siam and instead head for the Mochit station off the BTS Skytrain, where you will find the epic Chatuchak Weekend Market. While both are great for shopping, Chatuchak Weekend Market is more authentic and has better souvenirs and trinkets than Siam.
After you tire yourself out with an immense amount of shopping, get changed to tackle a night out in Bangkok. Before experiencing its epic nightlife, however, you’ll need to grab a bite to eat. There are so many food options in Bangkok, it’s not only incredible but also a little intimidating! If you only have a day to pick which restaurants to eat at, it certainly makes choosing difficult. For the evening, we will be headed towards downtown Bangkok to BTS Skytrain stop Asok. There are a plethora of restaurants to choose from, and so we’ve decided to list a few of our favorites:
After filling yourself up with some of the best food Bangkok has to offer, we are headed to one of the most infamous streets in Bangkok: Soi Cowboy. Walk along these colorful, bright streets until you find an outdoor bar stool that suits you for a drink. This is the best red light district in Bangkok in comparison to both the Nana Plaza and Patpong. It may seem like an unnecessary trek for a beer or two, but this street should not be missed. Soi Cowboy is just a short walk from the BTS Skytrain stop Asok. After having your fair share of people-watching and finishing off a refreshing Thai beer, we are headed to the final stop on our itinerary, Soi 11.
Head to Cheap Charlie’s for some affordable drinks. This is one of the most famous dive bars in all of Bangkok. Get ready to sweat at this outdoor, catty-cornered shack. What this bar lacks in decor (and air conditioning), it makes up for in affordable drinks. Cheap Charlie’s serves up wells, beers, and glasses of wine for only ฿80 (a little over $2).
There are a wide variety of nightclubs and bars on Soi 11, but our favorite is Above Eleven. This rooftop bar offers its customers some of the best panoramic views of the city. The bar and restaurant were inspired by Central Park in New York City, which is evident in the lush green decor that can be found throughout. As soon as guests make their way out of the elevator, they’re greeted by a large glass window giving them a taste of the view they’ll have once they walk up the stairs to the main restaurant. Above Eleven closes at 2 a.m.
By Kelly Iverson