Bangkok is one hell-of-a-crazy, happening, colorful city! 🤩 While most people visit Thailand for its islands and beaches, we would still recommend spending at least a day or two in the capital for a unique experience of Thai culture that has still been so well preserved despite the city’s modernization.
So here is our list of 7 BEST activities which perfectly fit in a two-day itinerary for Bangkok! 🙌🏽
1. Cycle through China Town and along the Chao Phraya River
This made to the top of our list simply because it is the BEST way to explore the city outside the mainstream tourist attractions. 🚴 Cycling through narrow alleyways of Chinatown, riding along the bridge at the Chao Phraya river, stumbling upon local neighborhoods and temple towns - was such a wonderful insight into the local Thai culture and lifestyle.
COST: We had taken the 3-hour tour at Co Van Kessel Tours, which cost about 950 Thai Baht (approx. 30 US$). It might seem slightly pricey at first but it's still cheaper than taking cabs to visit these places - plus you are paying for a really unique experience here! 👍🏽 The team was super helpful, had great knowledge, and ensured we were safe and comfortable throughout our excursion.
2. Dine at a Rooftop Sky Bar
Bangkok at night is so beautiful in all its scintillating city lights. We never realized how huge the city is until we saw it from a bird's eye view at the Lebua Sky Bar. The panoramic views of the skyline along the Chao Phraya river is indeed breath-taking! ❤️
Fun Fact - This is the same bar that was shot in the popular Hangover II movie! 😉
Tips - Since we were on a 'budget' trip, the menu wasn't too friendly with our budget 🙈 So we had ordered just an appetizer and dessert. However we left a good tip for the amazing customer service we enjoyed.
Also, these sky bars have a strict dress code of smart casuals for both men and women. So plan your outfit for the day well in advance. Skip those flip-flops, boys and girls! 💁
3. Experience the Nightlife at Khao San Road
Khao San Road is where all the CRAZY happens in Bangkok😉. It's like a carnival of sorts - lots of people, live music, food stations, resto bars, clubs - oh man, this place is super high on energy! We walked along an entire stretch of a kilometer feasting on street food, swaying to the live street music, sipped on some good ol' cocktails - 'twas a memorable night indeed.❤️
4. Shop at the famous Floating Market & Train Market
These markets are very unique to Bangkok, so you shouldn't really skip this one. The Maeklong Railway Market is located right on a train line where, a few times a day, the train runs directly through the market! While this happens, the vendors and merchants coolly lower their umbrellas and move their produce away from the tracks. And as the train passes, the vendors continue as normal - how insane is that! 😮
As for the floating markets, there are over 10 in the city! We chose to see the famous 'Damnoen Saduak Floating Market'.
COST: We found a great deal through a tour that combined two trips, first to the train market and then followed by the floating market. It cost us about 935THB (approx. 28 US$) which included pick-up and drop-off, bottled water and fresh fruits for the journey.
5. Temples, temples, and more temples...
Even if you don't see yourself as 'spiritual', the sheer magnificence of these ancient Buddhist temples will leave you in awe. 🙏🏽 It is worth exploring these temples (known as 'wats' ) for their humbling architecture, striking colors, and intricate details. There are over hundreds of wats in Bangkok but if you have to choose one, then we recommend the Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of Emerald Buddha) or the Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), two of the biggest temples in the city.
However, we didn't visit either as our cycling tour (point 1 above) included a visit to the much quieter and smaller, 'Wat Thong Thammachat'.
6. Get a Thai Massage!
Traditional Thai massages are hands down one of the best things about Thailand. After an exhausting day of exploring and adventure, a good massage is what you need to relax those tense muscles and just....unwind. 💆♂️ What's even better is how cheap these massages are! A word of caution though - Stay out of the shady areas and questionable massage parlors to avoid any awkward encounters with a service you do not want. 🙈
COST: You could get a foot massage for as cheap as 100THB for 30 minutes (approx. 3 US$) and a full-body massage for 250-300THB an hour (approx 9 US$) at a simple, hygienic parlor by the street. The same at a hotel or luxury spa would probably cost you double or more.
TIP: We recommend giving a generous tip to your masseuse. They would really appreciate the gesture, and much deserve it. 🙂
7. Eat, eat and eat!
The food scenes in Bangkok are easily regarded as one of the best in Asia. There are street food markets set up at night in different parts of the city where the area turns into a festival of sorts. The locals set up stalls and sell things, from souvenirs and clothes to mouth-watering street food. It is literally a sensory feast with all the colors, sounds and smells! 🤩 If you are looking for a more luxurious experience, then once again Bangkok will impress you with its fine-dining scenes and Michelin-star restaurants. Either ways, we recommend trying at least some of the authentic delicacies such as Pad Thai, Thai curry with rice, fried rice, or satays and end it on a sweet note with some fresh tropical fruit or the famous Thai sticky rice with mango. Or maybe, if you feel a bit adventurous, you could surprise your taste buds with fried insects and tick it off your bucket list (nope, haha, we didn't do this one)! 😀