Recently – if you follow my Instagram – you’ll know that Gareth and I did some travelling around Thailand. While our main destination was the islands in Southern Thailand, we felt like we couldn’t visit without spending at least some time in Bangkok. So we made the decision to fly in and out of Bangkok, with a day there at the start, and a day at the end. As we were so exhausted on the final day (unfortunately I was ill!), we only spent one day exploring Bangkok, and although it isn’t nearly enough time to explore this extremely varied city, it was better than nothing, and if you’re travelling to Thailand, I would definitely say you can’t miss Bangkok. So while we didn’t get to see everything, here’s what I’d recommend you do if you have only one day in Bangkok!
Visit the Grand Palace:
Even though I’d seen tonnes of pictures of the Grand Palace before going, it’s one of those places that is so stunning that the pictures really can’t convey it. It’s enormous, and made up of quite a few buildings to wander around, so make sure to reserve a good couple of hours to spend exploring here! Make sure while here to visit the temple with the Emerald Buddha, which despite being extremely busy, was stunning. Also make sure to have something to cover up your shoulders, and long shorts/trousers on with your knees covered up as you won’t be allowed to enter otherwise (alternatively, you can pay to rent cover ups outside the palace).
Take a Canal Boat Tour:
While I’ve seen quite a lot of negative reviews of the canal boat tours in Bangkok, with people saying that they didn’t see much and it was a bit boring, this was actually one of my favourite things we did in Bangkok. If you’re only interested in visiting the tourist sites, and seeing the temples (which are fantastic), then this probably isn’t for you, but if you’re interested in seeing a bit more of Bangkok in terms of where the locals live, this is a great way of doing so. Many of the people live up against the river and the canals, and we explored the canals by longboat. It’s a great way to cool down (it was absolutely boiling while we were there), and we saw loads of locals, including one hilarious family whose dog jumped into the canal to try and follow us! All of the people were extremely friendly, and it was a really good way to see a bit more of Bangkok, so I would 100% recommend it.
Visit the Wat Arun:
This was one of the things I was most looking forward to seeing in Bangkok, and unfortunately it had a load of scaffolding on it when we visited! Regardless, it was still stunning and I really enjoyed visiting it and wandering around the bottom. Usually you can climb to the top, and can enjoy great views over the river and the Grand Palace (from what I’ve heard anyway), but due to the scaffolding this was out of the question! Just outside of the temple, there’s also some nice gardens and buildings, so we spent a while wandering out round there around sunset, which was really stunning as well.
Explore a Floating Market:
Before going I’d read so many times that we had to visit a floating market while in Bangkok (and were told again by a taxi driver once we arrived, who might just be one of the funniest people I’ve ever met), so when the opportunity arose, we took it. There are quite a few floating markets you can visit, but we visited the Taling Chan Floating Market (which is only open on the weekends). While there weren’t as many boats there as we’d imagined, it was still wonderful, and there were loads of stalls on the ground as well. And although we’d heard that it was quite touristy, it was definitely one of the quieter places we visited in Bangkok, which is always another plus. All of the different floating markets are slightly different, so I’d recommend doing your research into them before going if you’re on a tight schedule, but the Taling Chan one was fantastic!
Visit a Sky Bar:
Another thing that I saw again and again on must do lists for Bangkok was to visit a sky bar, and I’m definitely joining in on the cliché by saying that it is a must do! We didn’t visit one in central Bangkok (which I kind of regret), but instead went to the one on top of our hotel, which was about 50 minutes outside of central Bangkok. While I can imagine the views would be so much better if we’d gone to one of the big ones in Bangkok, it was still a lovely way to end the day, and we had it nearly all to ourselves, which made it even more relaxing.
Other Things You Can Do (But We Didn’t):
As is always the way when you only have a small amount of time in a place (especially one as big as Bangkok), but there were quite a lot of things we couldn’t do, but wish we had! So I thought I’d include these, as I’ve heard they’re all fantastic things to do.
- Wat Pho: I really really wanted to visit Wat Pho (and as it’s so close to the Grand Palace, probably should have…), but we just didn’t get time. Home to the Reclining Buddha, I’ve heard so many things about it, so maybe include it in your itinerary!
- Khao San Road: apparently this is one of the main destinations for backpackers, and is usually crammed, so was another one I’d frequently seen on guides to Bangkok!
- Ride in a Tuk-Tuk: while I would’ve loved to do this, they’re quite expensive, so we chose to travel round in taxis instead.
- Visit a Night Market: another thing I wished we had done in Bangkok as I’ve heard so much about them, but we were just so tired from walking around all day, and were still pretty jet-lagged! Thankfully we did manage to visit one in Koh Samui (which I’ll be doing a post on soon!)
I hope if you’re planning a Thailand itinerary, I’ve successfully convinced you to add Bangkok to it, as although I went with mixed feelings towards it (having heard very mixed reviews) I absolutely loved it!