A Comprehensive 2-day guide for Bangkok
Bangkok holds the riveting history and culture on one side of the coin flipped with the engaging modern tales, drawing an uncanny picture of mammoth nuances. A contrasting parallel evaporates through every corner of the city, the monasteries and temples screaming of rich history and heritage during day and streets and alleys turning into mad party zones at night. A city that never sleeps, Bangkok truly is for everybody. The 2 day short guide for Bangkok will help you plan your trip
Be it the grandeur of the gorgeous monasteries that celebrates the opulence of mighty kingdoms, the whisper of the wind by the sweeping Chao Phraya River, the gastronomical experiences on the walking streets, endless parties at Khao San road after the sun goes down, shopping street smart or simply overlooking dozens of skyscrapers against the fading sky from a rooftop lounge – Bangkok is a metropolis that nurtures you as a child nurtured through adolescence.
Honestly, two days is never enough to even start absorbing the essence of Bangkok but aren’t we all handcuffed by invisible shackles of time? With limited time, I chose to spend two days in Bangkok admiring the timeless bejewelled architectures and sampling street food. As conditioned as it sounds, I was tempted to gape at the medieval monasteries and palaces preserved through centuries, being a first timer. This first time guide for Bangkok will help you plan better.
2-Day Guide for Bangkok for First Timers
The reason I choose to stay close to all the historical monuments and monasteries is to avoid spending money on transportation. The best way to explore a new place is definitely on your foot. Here are the places covered by me on the first day after a sumptuous and healthy breakfast.
The majestic temple stands in the heart of the city submerging one’s experience into its historical façade and impressive architecture. The temple complex was constructed during the rule of King Rama III in 1846 and one of the major attractions is the Loha Prasat or Metal Castle. It is a 36-m high elevated palace adorned with 37-metal glittering golden hued spires, representing 37 spiritual and awakening virtues of Buddhist preaching. The visitors can climb all the way to the top of Loha Prasat to soak into the panoramic 360-degree view of the city.
The temple can be visited from 8 am to 5 pm and for foreigners, the entry fee in form of donation is 20 Baht.
Also called as the Temple of Dawn, the Buddhist temple cast a spell with its phenomenal construction blossomed through its colourful and bejewelled spires. The temple marvels through its impressive architecture decorated intricately with pieces of colourful glass studded across the walls, spires and the whole elevation. The temple was built in 1768 by King Taksin but later renovated by King Rama III with the incorporation of Chinese Porcelain on the spires that shimmer and glaze in the sunshine. The temple is located on the banks of Chao Phraya River and the best time to visit is during the evening, during the golden hour. The temple shines golden at night as the porcelain and glass reflect the light.
The temple opening hours are from 8.00 am to 5.30pm and entry fee is 50 Baht. In order to visit the temple from the other side, one has to cross the river from Tha Thien Pier using the public ferry.
Khao San Road
This is the ultimate place for backpackers, beer guzzlers and party mongers. With blaring and deafening music pouring from every corner, a walk through the road is definitely fun. I am not much into parties and uncomfortably loud music and so I just took a round of the place, stopped for a little shopping, gulped a beer, sampled some street food, enjoyed watching people go crazy and moved towards the calmer corners.
Pak Khlong Talat (Flower Market)
The flower market is the largest fresh flower market in Bangkok. The fragrance of the flower sneaks into the air and floats across, inviting the malleable senses to experience its freshness. The shops are lined with packets of marigold ready to be sold, bouquets of colourful roses and display of gorgeous ornamental imported flowers. All the flowers are usually sold overnight, used for decoration of the monasteries. The pre-dawn time is the best time catching the vendors in full action with a kaleidoscope of colours.
Retire with a Thai Massage
Not experiencing an authentic Thai Massage when in Thailand or Bangkok is a deliberate crime and you don’t want to be a criminal, do you? With all my senses shutting for the day, the exhaustion of overnight flight followed by nearly 10 km of walk started taking a toll. I barged into a massage parlour to tickle and calm my stress hormones. Oh! Boy, it was the best treat I gave my fumbling and grumbling flesh and bones, the perfect way to go off to bed, sliding into my dreams. In Bangkok, a Thai massage would cost around 250 to 350 Baht.
It’s a new day and so much more culture to be immersed into. I started my second day satisfying my tummy and taste buds with some nice complimentary breakfast before I started walking through my itinerary.
Grand Palace is the ultimate attraction of Bangkok that squeezes architectural bliss and intricate detail of craftsmanship at every corner. The majestic palace was built in 1782 and was a former residence for King Rama I to King Rama V of Rattanakosin Kingdom. The palace is located on banks of Chao Phraya River and is divided into four parts – the Outer Court, the Middle Court, the Inner Court and Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The palace is stunning and represents one of the finest forms of Thai Architecture.
The opening hours are from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm but it gets extremely crowded. Make sure you reach as early as close to the opening time. The entry fee for foreigners is 500 Baht.
Also known as the Temple of Reclining Buddha is located 200 meters away from Grand Palace. The temple is known for giant reclining Buddha in golden measuring 46 meters and is one of the largest temple complexes in Bangkok. The intricate murals on the walls of the temple exemplify the fine craftsmanship of the artisans. The courtyard of the temple complex is adorned 91 chedis or stupas, appears triangular in shape, decorated with colourful chip tiles and glass stained colours. The chapels consist of a total of 394 gilded Buddha statues. The temple preserves the art of learning traditional Thai massage with the headquarters for teaching and preservation situated inside the temple compound.
The entry time for the temple is from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm and the entry charge for the foreigners is 200 Baht.
China Town (Yaowarat Road)
China Town is located on the Yaowarat Road and is a 1km stretch with complete Chinese Influence. From the buildings to the restaurants to the souvenir shops, it is all about China and even things are written in Chinese. China Town is a great place to sample some street food and purchase gold from the densely established Gold shops. With red Chinese souvenirs daggling from the shops, it transports you to the feeling of being in China. The food can be a little expensive everywhere in China Town. I recommended eating at The Chinatown Hotel – the food is good, cheap and the place is super neat.
Where did I stay?
I stayed at Krit Hostel located in Para Nakhon area opposite along Siripong Road opposite to Khao San Road. It is conveniently located close to all the historical charms of the city, street shopping alleys, sundowner parties at Khao San road and public transportation routes. At only 198 Baht per dorm bed, there is complimentary breakfast and free coffee all day and night long. The hostel has an in-house café with an assortment of food, coffee, smoothies and salads. However, there are many hostels and hotels nearby and you can choose your accommodation as per your itinerary and budget. I booked the accommodation via www.booking.com
How to reach from Airport to this area?
I am not aware of other areas but if you want to travel to this part of the city from Don Mueang Airport, take bus A4 outside the airport. Please do not take a cab or taxi until you are interested in spending more money. The bus is super comfortable and costs only 50 Baht. You have to get down at Democratic Monument bus stop for this location.
- Bangkok is well connected with different modes of the public and private transport system. The public buses that commute intercity are well organized. Ask the hostel or hotel for bus numbers for your destination and explore like a local.
- Next option is to hire a Tuk Tuk for the day but this can be slightly expensive if you are on a budget. Keep your bargaining skills on point. There are motorbike taxis also available which are slightly cheaper than Tuk Tuk.
- The boat transit system is also well connected and the complete map for the boats, destinations and the route can be found online. Please ask people, someone will always help. The Bangkok Sky train is another public travel option to commute around the city.
- Apart from everything else, if you still are confused, download GRAB app and call for a cab. This is easy as a breeze and just like UBER.
Tips for travelling in Bangkok
- Bangkok can become scorching hot during the day, no matter what season it is. You are likely to get tanned and sun burnt. Make sure you smash your face with sunscreen, use a hat or cap, keep an umbrella handy and stay hydrated.
- The street food in Bangkok is good and clean. If you are a budget traveller like me, eat street food or at cheaper restaurants. Fruits and smoothies are damn cheap. Make sure you load your body with good nutrition.
- Be careful in Bangkok because it is indeed infamous for scams and pickpocketing. While in Khao San road or other crowded places, take care of your bag. Keep your passport in the locker of your room and carry only sufficient money that you need for the night.
- Thailand is a very cultural country. Please respect their culture. Follow proper dress code before entering temples and do not enter with shoes. Cover your legs and hands while in a temple. A stole or shawl to cover the hands or arms will not work. You have to wear something that covers up.
- Especially for men – Bangkok may be infamous for a lot of things but keep your hormones in control because it is not what it looks like from outside. Thai people are extremely cultured and this is something that you need to keep in mind.
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I hope you enjoyed the comprehensive guide for first timers in Bangkok. Bangkok is a city that weaves so much curiosity and compels you to come back. Next time, I will visit some offbeat places in and around Bangkok and stay for a longer time. Read my complete two weeks itinerary for Thailand for first timers.