Bangkok, the largest cultural hub in Thailand, is one of the most-visited destinations throughout Southeast Asia. Every year, Bangkok attracts a large number of culture lovers and history geeks traveling to experience its exceptional contradictions. Skyscrapers and royal palaces, ancient Buddhist temples and modern theme parks, five-star restaurants and delicious street food vendors, and of course, friendly people, all are coexisting in harmony. With an endless number of things to do, you will surely get tons of exciting and unforgettable experiences when you travel to Bangkok. But where should we start?
If you only have 3-day in Bangkok, don't worry, that is enough to see the highlights and make a one-day trip out of the city. Check out our Bangkok Itinerary below provided by a local insider to gather all the necessary information for your 3-day trip!
Day 1: Visiting the glorious attractions of Bangkok with a local expert
To make the best out of your first day at Bangkok, let’s take a full-day city tour with a local expert! The tour includes all the must-see attractions in the area along the famous Chao Phraya River, the ancient royal district. This is where you’ll find the dazzling Grand Palace and some of the most iconic temples in Bangkok, including Wat Arun, Wat Phra Kaew and many more. Moreover, the local tour guide will tell you many insights and stories at each stop, help you to understand more about Thailand’s history and culture.
For the first stop of the tour, you will drop by China Town, which is always bustling with shoppers, sellers, diners, and tourists. It is said that you can find almost everything in ChinaTown, from gold, clothes to savory food and snacks. However, visitors may have some difficulties in buying merchandises here since most of the signs are written in Chinese. Therefore, with the help of a local expert, exploring China Town will be more convenient! You can actually delve into the local culture, gain some useful tips in bargaining and avoid tourist scams.
Besides, if you have time, don’t forget to return to Chinatown at night to try the food at the night market. There are many delicious dishes that you should not miss such as dumplings, oyster omelets, fruits, homemade ice cream and especially, Yaowarat toasted bread.
After exploring the local market at ChinaTown, make your way to The Grand Palace - the pride of Thailand. Built in 1782, this ancient complex is so attractive because of its ingenious architecture.
The whole area consists of the Outer Court, the Middle Court, the Inner Court and Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Moreover, it was once home to the royal family, the royal court and the government administration for over 150 years.
Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
Situated on the same ground of the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew is another highlight that you should not miss. Moreover, the temple is also for the sacred Buddha statue carved from a single block of jade. That’s why Wat Phra Kaew is also called the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Despite its small size of 26 inches high, the statue is an important cultural icon for Thai people.
Notes from Inspitrip:
- It’s a huge complex, so you need to allocate at least 1-2 hrs to wander around.
- Dress code: short pants, shirts without sleeves and bare feet aren’t allowed. Please wear proper clothes or rent sarongs at the entrance with a 200 Baht deposit.
- Like other tourist sites, at the entrance, there are some scammers who may approach you and say that the palace is closed or offer you a cheap tuk-tuk tour; just ignore them if you don’t want to be ripped off as a foreigner.
Wat Pho is right behind The Grand Palace, so it’s an easy ten-minute walk between them. Built nearly 200 years ago during the Ayutthaya Period, Wat Pho is Bangkok’s largest and oldest temple. Most importantly, the highlight for most people visiting Wat Pho is the 46m long and 15m Reclining Buddha statue. No words can describe the amazing feeling of taking the statue in the sight. Even photos are unable to fully capture its massive size.
In addition, Wat Pho also boasts a collection of more than 1000 Buddha images scattered over the ground, which is more than any other temples in Thailand. In addition, Wat Pho serves as home to a massage school. Why wouldn’t you drop in for a traditional Thai massage after exploring the temples?
Wat Arun – The Temple of Dawn
Although Wat Arun is not included in the tour, you can definitely drop by after finishing the city tour. It is very convenient to walk to Wat Arun as it is located on the opposite side of Wat Pho.
The temple is famous for its massive 73m high “prang” (Khmer – style tower), which is decorated with Chinese ceramic tiles and colorful pieces of porcelain. Additionally, at each of the four corners of the central tower is another smaller tower. Due to its unique design, Wat Arun is considered as the most beautiful one in Bangkok.
For something more adventurous, you can climb a little way to the top of the main tower, where you can take in a panoramic view over the Chao Phraya River. It’s also the perfect time to catch the breathtaking sunset view while standing on top of Wat Arun.
Chao Phraya Princess Cruise
After one day full of walking and moving around, it’s time to just sit back and enjoy the view of Bangkok’s magnificent landmark by night. Boarding on the Chao Phraya Princess Cruise, you are invited to a relaxing buffet dinner with wide ranges of cuisines from Thailand, other Asian countries and Western countries. Moreover, a live band will perform music from the 80s and 90s against the view of Bangkok’s nightscape. Hence, if you are planning to travel to Bangkok, you should not miss this amazing experience!
To wrap up your first day in Bangkok, Siam Niramit Bangkok show could be an ideal final stop. You will marvel at the exceptional development of Thailand over the last seven centuries through many world-class performances within 90 minutes.
The three acts would reveal the magnificence of Thai long-standing history, rich culture, and religious beliefs. Interestingly, the show does not only have a majestic cast of over 150 performers but also impresses the audiences with its exceptional sound and lighting effects as well as modern stage-setting techniques. Viewers can expect to travel from the southern coast to the northern mountainous forest, then back to the central water river with the combination of boats, water, and real animals.
Besides the superb performances, visitors should come early at least 1 hour to enjoy different pre-show activities. These will bring you a real insight into Thai local ways of life in bygone times. You can watch outdoor dance performances, hop on an elephant, or try traditional Thai massages.
* Opening time:
- The theatre show - 8 pm (daily)
- Buffet dinner: 5.30 pm - 8 pm.
- The show on the courtyard: 7 pm
* Address: 19 Tiamruammit Road, Huay Kwang, Bangkok 10320
* Ticket price: starting from USD $48.52 (Adult). Purchase Siam Niramit Bangkok Tickets in advance now to skip the line and enjoy privileges exclusively brought by Inspitrip!
* How to get there:
- To walk from the MRT, please use the footbridges to cross the busy Ratchada intersection. Please allow 10-20 minute walking time.
- Siam Niramit runs a free shuttle bus from Thailand Cultural Centre MRT Station, Exit 1. Pickups begin at 5:15 pm, at roughly 15-min intervals. Drop-offs resume at the end of the show. First-come, first-served.
Day 2: Exploring the dynamic lifestyle of Bangkok
On the first day, you have fully immersed in the traditional world of the Siamese Kingdom. Your second day will be a journey to discovering the energetic and modern side of Bangkok with shopping malls, world's famous aquarium, and lively nightlife.
Discovering the marine life at Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World
Start off the day with a visit to Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World - an ideal place to hide from the heat of Bangkok. Located under Siam Paragon shopping center, this is home to about 30,000 marine creatures coming from different aquatic habitats. Moreover, Sea Life Bangkok offers different activities that are suitable for both adults and children of all ages. These will definitely make the experience of visitors at the aquarium more insightful and unforgettable.
One of the most thrilling but exciting activities that you should not miss is “Shark Walk”. You will be walking on a transparent glass floor and under that, 5 species of sharks are swimming around. Besides, you can also see some chubby otters lying inside the tropical rainforest area or watch penguin feeding, divers underwater talk or dive in the “Open Ocean”.
More importantly, to make the most out of your trip to this aquarium, do not forget to purchase Sea Life Bangkok ticket in advance! You can avoid lining up in front of the ticket counter and save money with Inspitrip’s special discounts.
Notes from Inspitrip:
- Opening Time: 10:00 - 21:00 daily
- Location: Basement floor, Siam Paragon
- BTS: Siam
- How to get there: Get out from Exit 5 of the BTS Siam Station, which provides direct access to Siam Paragon.
- Because of the huge area, you need to spend at least 2-3 hours here and be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Enjoy lunch and go shopping in the Siam area
After visiting Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World, why don't you drop by Siam Square for a delicious meal? This is the pride of Bangkok, an open-air shopping complex, where creativity and luxury combine. In this area, there are plenty of food options available. From Western food to Asian food, luxury restaurants to food courts, you can definitely find your favorite. Moreover, it is also highly recommended to take a look and visit some cafe shops inside this area since many of them have a unique style of decoration.
After lunch, you can spend hours exploring numerous big shopping centers such as Central World, Siam Paragon, Siam Center. It’s no surprise that a variety of brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Armani… can be easily found here. Moreover, shopping in Thailand is so popular that many tourists travel to Bangkok just for going shopping.
Check out Bangkok’s vibrant panoramic night view from Mahanakhon SkyWalk
Another attraction that has received many great reviews from tourists when they travel to Bangkok is the Mahanakhon SkyWalk. At the 74th floor of the tower, there is an indoor rooftop deck that offers you spectacular views of the city below. If you are more adventurous, come check the glass floor on the 75th floor. You can experience absolute transparency to view the bustling streets under your feet. This will definitely add a more thrilling yet exciting experience to your visit!
In beautiful weather, it is possible to watch Bangkok's breathtaking view at the Mahanakhon SkyWalk at any time of the day. Nonetheless, arriving here at around 5 PM is highly recommended so as to catch the stunning sunset view. From the top of the city, don’t miss the chance to marvel at the changes of Bangkok from daytime to nighttime and see how the city is lit up by nightlights.
Inspitrip is currently offering ticket for Mahanakhon SkyWalk.
Khaosan Road – Best nightlife in Bangkok
As you travel to Bangkok, enjoying Bangkok nightlife at Khaosan Road comes as one of the most recommended things to do. This is Bangkok’s haven for foreign backpackers with tattoo shops, Thai massage parlors, food stalls, and cheap clubs. Much like its name sounds, it is boisterous and noisy, overflowing with energetic partying people. You’ll easily find an endless supply of new friends from all over the world to meet and start random conversations.
Moreover, there are mouthwatering street foods to fulfill your belly. You should try spring rolls, grilled meat as well as desserts such as coconut ice cream, smoothies… In addition, pad Thai is a must-try here! Khao San Road is truly Bangkok’s heaven for foreign backpackers
Day 3: A cool escape from the hustling Bangkok
It would be a huge miss if you travel to Bangkok without doing a day trip. Depending on your interest, there are many interesting places to choose from. Most importantly, they are only within a few hours from the city center.
For example, you can choose to get close interaction with Thailand’s nature preserves; learn more about the local exotic culture at traditional floating markets or visit ancient ruins to explore more the history of Thailand. Below are some of the cool destinations worth checking out for your day 3!
Safari World Bangkok
If you are a nature lover, make sure to drop by Safari World Bangkok when you travel to Bangkok. It offers you a chance to have a closer look at animals coming from all over the world and gain in-depth knowledge about wildlife.
Safari World is divided into two main areas and the first one is Safari Park. This area is where a wide range of wild animals reside, including zebras, camels, giraffes as well as dangerous predators such as tigers, lions, and black bears. You will experience driving your car or riding the park bus through an open area where these animals wander freely in their own living environment.
The second area, Marine Park, offers different animal performances and entertaining shows. Particularly, the dolphin performance and elephant show are always highly anticipated by both children and adults. Besides that, giraffe feeding is also another exciting activity which allows you to feed bananas to these extremely tall friends.
- Opening time: Safari Park: 09:00 - 17:00, Marine Park: 09:00 - 18:00
- Rules: drive slowly and don't make loud noises. You should not feed the animals unless it is their feeding time or in their feeding zones. You can open your windows in the herbivores area as long as you don't step out of the vehicle. However, all windows must be closed in the predator area.
- Address: 99 Thanon Panya Intra, Khwaeng Sam Wa Tawan Tok, Khet Khlong Sam Wa, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10510, Thailand
- Ticket price: Starting from 650 THB (~ USD $21.25). You can also buy Safari World Ticket in Bangkok beforehand via Inspitrip to have better deals!
Another must-try activity that should not be missed when you travel to Bangkok is visiting a floating market. These markets offer you a glimpse into Thai's traditional lifestyle, an opportunity to try incredible local dishes and take lots of vintage-style photos. There are many floating markets close to the city center but the following are the most popular ones.
The first one is the famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market – one of the oldest floating markets in Thailand. Here, you will experience the scenic and enjoyable sampan boat rides whilst watching the locals partake in their daily activities. Moreover, wandering along the narrow canals, you can find different souvenir items like local handicrafts, jewelry and tasty dishes. However, since this is the most popular floating market to tourists, be careful with scams and over-priced goods. The best time to visit this market is in the morning. This is when you can see the locals activities before the tourists come and the market becomes a tourist trap.
Amphawa Floating Market
If your last day in Bangkok is on the weekend, it is good timing to visit Amphawa Floating Market which is held only on weekends. Amphawa is especially preferred by seafood lovers as this market offers very affordable and a wide range of seafood. Furthermore, unlike Damnoen Saduak, Amphawa operates from noon to 8 PM (Friday - Sunday), so you still can wake up late in the morning without skipping the market.
Khlong Lat Mayom
Last but not least, another highly recommended floating market is Khlong Lat Mayom. This market is less well-known but you definitely can find an authentic vibe here as the locals actually partake in trade. Hence, you will hardly hear a word of English! This market is open on Saturday and Sunday from 9 AM to 4 PM, located about 20km from central Bangkok. When visiting this market, feel free to hop on a boat and wander along the canal. Moreover, after observing homes and gardens along the canal, don’t forget to get off and visit the small local villages close by the canal.
Travel back in time at the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Siam - Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya is an attraction that you should not miss if you’re interested in discovering more about Thailand’s history. This was the capital of the Siamese Kingdom from 1350 until it was burned down by the Burmese in 1767. In its prime time, thanks to its ideal location between China, India and the Malay Archipelago, Ayutthaya was the trading capital of Asia and even the world. Many international merchants coming all over the world set sail for Ayutthaya. Moreover, the diverse travelers and merchants coming to Ayutthaya had also strongly influenced its architecture and art. Therefore, many merchants from Europe proclaimed Ayutthaya as the finest city they had ever seen.
The remains of Buddhist temples such as Wat Phra Mahathat temple or Wat Ratchaburana temple and the gold-laden palaces that are preserved through hundreds of years remind us vividly about the golden age of Thailand. Hence, Ayutthaya is highly regarded for its values and has also been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
For all of these reasons, a day-trip to Ayutthaya is definitely a highlight of your travel to Bangkok. To make the trip worthwhile, why don’t you travel with a local tour guide, who is ready to tell you more local stories about the history, culture, and art of not only this city but also of the Siamese Kingdom?
Dinner at Thip Samai – Best Pad Thai in Bangkok
Don’t leave Bangkok without enjoying pad Thai at Thip Samai restaurant! Thip Samai is open from 5 PM to about 2 AM. At any time, there is a long queue waiting in front of the restaurant, from the locals to tourists. Considered by many as the best Pad Thai in all of Bangkok, both in its presentation and taste. The most popular dish is Pad Thai Haw Kai Goong Sot – Pad thai wrapped in egg. Firstly, the dry noodles are flavored with soy sauces and other ingredients like tofu, baby shrimp and bean sprouts. Then the cook will fry a thin layer of egg in a large pan. Finally, freshly cooked Pad Thai is poured into the middle of the egg, wrapped up on all sides, and placed back onto the plate.
Indulge in a little Rooftop Bar Time
When you travel to Bangkok, treat yourselves some luxury drinks at a rooftop bar. Let the wind blow through your hair while you admire the magnificent view of Bangkok’s skyline! And don’t forget to snap some beautiful pictures for your glamorous Instagram feed!. Some of the best rooftop bars in town are:
- Vertigo – Banyan Tree Bangkok
- Sky Bar – lebua at State Tower
- Three Sixty – Millennium Hilton Bangkok
- CRU Rooftop Champagne Bar
There you have an ideal itinerary including many things to do in Bangkok in 3 days. You can mix it up as long as it suits you best. Don’t forget to check out Inspitrip which offer you a chance to explore more Bangkok local experiences! Want to know more about other attractions in Thailand besides the capital? Don’t miss the following detailed guide about what to do in Chiang Mai and Pattaya: