3 Days in Bangkok: What To See & Do | Complete Guide
Looking for a Bangkok itinerary that ticks all the boxes? Look no further! 2 or 3 days in Bangkok is a great amount of time to see the city and this Bangkok itinerary will help you make the most out of every minute.
Why visit Bangkok?
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand. Most travelers coming to Thailand begin their journey in Bangkok. This is because Bangkok has two main airports and is connected to major cities across the globe. The capital is also a great starting point to travel to other cities and regions in Thailand as it is located relatively central. You can travel up to cities in the north like Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai by plane in just 1 hour, or down south to Phuket or Krabi also in just 1 hour.
Bangkok has been the capital of Thailand since 1782, when King Rama I assumed the throne and felt that the new location was a better fit for the capital of his kingdom.
The government moved to the new site from Ayutthaya, only 40 miles (64 km) to the north of Bangkok. Ayutthaya is another great destination to visit and it’s possible to visit as a day trip from Bangkok. You can read more about this in my Ayutthaya day trip guide.
The walled Grand Palace complex and the temple Wat Pho were among the first buildings completed in the new city. The following rulers built even more temples, including Wat Arun, as well as schools, libraries and hospitals. The city developed quickly.
Today, Bangkok is still home to the Grand Palace and King of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn. The city is home to over 10 million people.
Bangkok is will worth a visit as it is both modern with imposing shopping centers and world-class hotels and rooftop bars, yet still remains its unique Southeast Asian charm with more than 400 temples, countless street markets and some of the best street food in the world.
Bangkok Itinerary: Arrival Day
This will be your arrival day. You most likely arrive in Bangkok through the Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), the main airport, or Don Mueang International Airport (DMK).
Traffic is crazy in Bangkok – be warned. During rush hour (mornings and evenings), traffic jams are common and it takes an incredibly long time to get around.
Getting into Bangkok City / To Your Hotel
I recommend booking an airport welcome pick-up service, especially if it’s your first time in the city or if you have a lot of luggage. I used Klook to book my pick-up service for both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang Airport and was happy each time.
With this service, someone will greet you holding a sign with your name at the arrival terminal. From there, you will be driven directly to your hotel (or any other drop-off location of your choice). It’s totally stress-free and you don’t need to look for the right bus or train to take. You can book your airport pickup here.
How to get from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to Bangkok City
|Airport Rail Link||60‑90 Min.||$ 1.20|
|Public Bus||90‑120 Min.||$ 1.50|
|Taxi||30‑60 Min.||$ 15‑20|
|Welcome Pickup||30‑60 Min.||$ 25|
3 ways to get from Don Mueang Airport (DMK) to Bangkok
|Airport Rail Link||20‑50 Min.||$ 0.20|
|Public Bus||30‑60 Min.||$ 0.80|
|Taxi||30‑60 Min.||$ 5‑10|
|Welcome Pickup||30‑60 Min.||$ 25|
Once you’re at your hotel and you’re checking in, you’re ready to explore! You likely don’t have too much time of the day left depending on your arrival time.
When we arrived in the afternoon in Bangkok, we checked into the Conrad Bangkok and hit the outdoor pool first. Refreshed after a swim and some downtime, we had a Bangkok night food tour booked, starting at 7 PM.
Bangkok Night Food Tour
Even though it was a long tour, it was extremely fun and the perfect activity to ring in our Thailand trip. We learned about Thai food and what dishes to order for the following days of our trip.
During this tour, we also visited Chinatown, the Flower Market and Wat Pho Temple. It’s so much more than just a food tour as you get to see some of the most famous sites of Bangkok at night time. The tour ends at a secret rooftop bar with view of the stunning Wat Arun Temple from across the Chao Praya River.
You can see more details of the tour and book this tour here.
Bangkok Itinerary Day 2
This is your first full day in Bangkok. This day is dedicated to exploring the history and root of Bangkok: the Grand Palace and the most famous temples, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Wat Pho. Let’s get into it.
The Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew
Start your day with an early visit to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha). This temple is one of the most beautiful attractions in Bangkok. Do not miss it when in Bangkok.
Both of these attractions are in the same location. Visitors enter through the Gate of Glorious Victory leading to Wat Phra Kaew, the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand.
It was built in 1783 under the orders of Rama I. Since then, each succeeding king has added new embellishments to the temple during their reigns. The temple complex consists of various buildings for specific religious purposes built in a variety of Thai architectural styles while adhering to traditional Thai religious architecture principles.
The Grand Palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) since 1782. The current King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X) and his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) did not live at the Grand Palace anymore and instead reside at Dusit Palace in the north near Wat Ben.
The Grand palace and Wat Phra Kaew are open daily from 8.30am with last visitors allowed in at 3.30pm.
Address: Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Wat Pho Temple & Traditional Massage
Directly south of the Grand Palace is Wat Pho, alos known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The temple was built in the seventh century but before that, the location was a center for traditional medicine. This is why this temple became Thailand’s first university for the traditions of Thai medicine and massage. Today, you can still take advantage of this century-old tradition and get a massage here.
At the time of writing (August 2022) the prices for massage treatments at Wat Pho are:
Traditional Thai massage
480 Baht for 1 hour
320 Baht for 30 minutes
480 Baht for 1 hour
320 Baht for 30 minutes
Address: 2 Sanam Chai Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Golden Mount Temple (Wat Saket)
This Landmark, located on Bangkok’s only hill, is very important to all followers of The Lord Buddha.
The 320 steps to the top provide panoramic views of Rattanakosin Island.
The temple dates back to the Ayutthaya Period (1351 to 1767).
The Golden Mount stands 77 meters tall and houses many Buddhist relics.
Other notable features of this Bangkok temple include the numerous Buddha images, the temple hall, the pagoda, the scripture hall, and the Sri Maha Bodhi tree.
This is another attraction that you should not miss if you visit Bangkok. And it’s completely free!
Address: 344 Thanon Chakkraphatdi Phong, Ban Bat, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok 10100, Thailand
In the Afternoon: Walk Through Chinatown
Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the world’s largest Chinatowns. It was founded in 1782 as the capital of the Rattanakosin Kingdom, and it served as the home of the city’s primarily Teochew immigrant Chinese population, who quickly became the city’s dominant ethnic group.
Yaowarat Road in Samphanthawong District is the main artery of Bangkok’s Chinatown.
Start your walk at the Old Market, a 100-year-old traditional marketplace with stalls selling everything from durian to dried squid. Walk further straight until you reach vibrant Kuan Yim Shrine. This is one of the most popular shrines in Chinatown Bangkok. Locals come here to pray and make offerings to the Goddess of Mercy, Guan Yim. The main statue of the goddess is 900 years old and carved in teak wood in Tang Dynasty style.
Follow along the main road once more and you will soon spot the Chinatown Gate. It was built in 1999 to commemorate King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 72nd birthday. “Sheng Shou Wu Jiang,” which translates as “Long Live the King,” is written on the gate. During the Chinese New Year festivities, the gate becomes the focal point of activity, where people make their offerings.
From the gate, follow along street Soi Yaowarat 1 south towards the So Heng Tai Mansion. (tip: We had some really great street food right here at the beginning of this street with view of the gate.)
So Heng Tai Mansion is a nineteenth-century Chinese courtyard house in the historic neighborhood of Talat Noi in Bangkok. Talat Noi has been home to various ethnic Chinese communities since shortly after Bangkok’s founding. It’s a charming neighborhood filled with many century-old Chinese-style houses.
You can enter the So Heng Tai Mansion if you like – they also serve coffee and tea. However, I found another cute little cafe nearby called Patina Cafe that is also located in a Chinese house with a history of more than 200 years. They serve excellent Thai style milk tea.
Address: Talat Yot, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
In the Evening: Khao San Road
No trip to Bangkok is complete without visiting Khao San Road at least once. It’s THE destination for backpackers and regular tourists coming to the city, offering cheap hostels, street food and ear-blasting entertainment venues. Be warned – it’s crazy!
“Khaosan” translates as “milled rice,” implying that the street was once a major Bangkok rice market. However, those days are long gone and in the last 40 years, Khaosan Road has become a world-famous “backpacker ghetto.”
According to the Khao San Business Association, the road receives 40,000-50,000 visitors per day during the high season and 20,000 visitors per day during the low season.
It is also a travel hub: buses leave daily for all major tourist destinations in Thailand, from Chiang Mai in the north to Koh Phangan in the south, and there are many reasonably priced travel agencies that can arrange visas and transportation to neighboring
I recommend trying Jojo’s famous 40 Baht Pad Thai here – it’s a popular place among Korean tourists. Look out for the street food stall with Jojo’s name on it.
Address: Talat Yot, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Bangkok Itinerary Day 3
This is already the last day in Bangkok. Let’s make the most of it and get up early to hit up one of the most well-known landmarks in Bangkok: Wat Arun, followed by another landmark of the city, the Marble Temple Wat Ben.
In the Morning: Wat Arun Temple
The first light of the morning reflects pearly iridescence off the surface of this temple. That is exactly why the temple takes its name from the Hindu god Aruna, who is often portrayed as the rising sun’s rays.
Since you should visit Wat Arun early in the morning, I recommend staying at Arun Riverside Hotel when in Bangkok – especially if it’s your first time!
The rooms here have balconies overlooking the river and Wat Arun temple. From here, you can also take a cheap ferry over to Wat Arun. Check out more details about the hotel further down in this article.
Wat Arun in Bangkok has many unique features, including the central prang, a stupa-like pagoda encrusted with colorful glazed porcelain tiles and seashells, giant statues, the Ordination Hall, the Bell Tower, and many intricate Buddha statues.
Open daily 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM
Admission fee: 20 Baht
Note: Be wary of pickpocketers at this temple! We caught a man trying to pickpocket from our handbag while exploring Wat Arun. He was hiding his hand behind a sunhat he was carrying and tried to unzip our travel bag. Keep your belongings close and be aware of your surroundings.
Address: 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Wat Arun, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok 10600, Thailand
Marble Temple Wat Ben
The full name of this temple is Wat Benchamabophit Dusitwanaram, however it is also known as the Marble Temple because it was built with marbles imported from Italy.
The temple was built in 1899 in typical Thai style, with high gables, stepped roofs, and elaborate finials. It is one of Bangkok’s most well-known temples and a popular tourist destination. So much so that it is also on the 5 Baht coin.
The interior of the temple is decorated with lacquer and gold crossbeams and paintings of important stupas from around the country. The cloister that surrounds the assembly hall features 52 Buddha images.
Open daily 6 AM to 5 PM
Admission fee: 20 Baht
Address: Khwaeng Dusit, Khet Dusit, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10300, Thailand
In the Evening: Hit a Rooftop Bar
End your visit to Bangkok with a banger by hitting up one of its many exciting rooftop bars!
There are a ton of different rooftop bars in Bangkok, which also makes it hard to choose a favorite. However, I’m sure you’ll find one you like among these 48 different rooftop bars in Bangkok from the Rooftop Guide.
After seeing images of its LED-lit “tree” swaying behind the bar on social media, we opted for Tichuca.
This bar is a newcomer to Bangkok’s rooftop scene, but it has already taken the sky-high crowd by storm. Even though the mystical tree is the main attraction here, the rooftop is really cool all around. The jungle-themed rooftop stretches across three floors of the T-One office building, with plenty of greenery, wood furniture, refreshing tiki-style cocktails and fantastic views of Bangkok.
WOW, 3 Days in Bangkok goes by so fast!
With this itinerary, you will get a good scope of Bangkok and its different areas and places to see.
If you are an efficient traveler and get through this itinerary quicker than my suggested itinerary, or you have a bit more time, check out the experiences below for more things to do in Bangkok.
Top Travel Experiences in Bangkok
- East Busan Exploration Tour
- Busan Air Cruise Cable Car
- Hurshimchung Spa Experience with Jjimjilbang Ticket in Busan
- SPA 1899 Haeundae Branch
Recommended Hotels in Bangkok
Where to Stay in Bangkok
CHERN Bangkok $$
Best for budget travelers. CHERN Bangkok offers both private and dormitory rooms with free WiFi. The shared lounge area has games and the hostel’s signature giant dart board. The Giant Swing and Golden Mountain Temple are both within a 10-minute walk of the hotel, which is located in the Old Bangkok district, the Grand Palace is a 12-minute walk from the hostel and Khaosan Road is a 15-minute walk away. Book your room now on Booking.com.
Arun Riverside $$$
Top location for first-timers in Bangkok. My husband and I stayed here for our last night in Bangkok. The view of Chao Praya River and Wat Arun are truly breathtaking and make for a truly romantic atmosphere. Breakfast is served in your room with Wat Arun view and the hotel also has a fabulous rooftop that serves delicious cocktails and food, also open for non-guests. Highly recommend! Book your room now on Booking.com.
Conrad Bangkok $$$$
We stayed here for the majority of our time in Bangkok. It’s one of the best places to stay in Bangkok for luxury travelers. This 5-star hotel offers all of the luxurious amenities you can think of. The outdoor pool offers an escape from the hustle and bustle from the city. First-class shopping and MRT are just a short walk away. Check rates on Booking.com.
Recommended Travel Guides for Thailand
If you want to learn more about Thailand and have a handy travel guide in your pocket, check out these three options below:
DK Eyewitness Top 10 Bangkok
This Top 10 Bangkok guide is a great pocket guide that breaks down the best of Bangkok into helpful lists of ten – from selected highlights to the best temples, sizzling street food, colorful markets, and vibrant bars. Buy this book.
Lonely Planet Thailand
You really can’t go wrong with a lonely planet guide in your hand luggage! I’m a huge fan of Lonely Planet and own this guide myself. What I love is the brand-new pull-out, passport-size ‘Just Landed’ card with wi-fi, ATM and transport info – all you need for a smooth journey from airport to hotel! Buy this book.
Fodor’s Essential Thailand: with Cambodia & Laos
Whether you want to visit Buddhist temples, eat street food in Bangkok, get a Thai massage, or shop at floating markets, the local Fodor’s travel experts in Thailand can help! Fodor’s Essential Thailand guidebook is jam-packed with maps, carefully curated recommendations, and everything else you need to streamline your trip planning and maximize your time. This new edition has been completely redesigned, with an easy-to-read layout, new information, and stunning color photographs. Buy this book.
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