24 Hours in Bangkok
While planning our trip to Thailand, I had heard from many people, including my wife, to spend very little time in Bangkok. After visiting, I would definitely agree with that sentiment but was also happy that we didn’t skip over it entirely. It’s a large ,busy city filled with hoards of tourists and tons of traffic and there is time better spent elsewhere in Thailand. That said, if you are going to be only spending a day there, you should probably maximize your time wisely so here is what I would recommend.
Starting off, I would head straight to the Grand Palace. We didn’t have the ability to go when it opened but if you can, I would get there at 8:30 on the dot. You could easily spend a few hours here given it’s beauty but if you go a little later in the day, your patience will wear thin given the amount of tourists you will be dodging. Yet, even if you can’t make it till a little bit later, it’s still well worth the visit; there are very few places you’ll visit in your travels that are ornate as the residence for the Kings of Siam.
|The Grand Palace|
|Ornate decorations at the Grand Palace|
Following the Grand Palace, take a short walk over to Wat Po. The crowds will not feel as intense and it’s arguably just as beautiful. The highlights are the Buddha Galleries, the Phra Buddha Deva Patimakorn, and of course the 46 meter long Reclining Buddha. Again, you can easily spend at least an hour here but it’s purely at your own pace.
|Buddhas at Wat Po|
|Stupas at Wat Po|
At this point, there are plenty of options to satisfy the appetite you’ll have worked up. There are a number of street vendors and restaurants along side Th Maha Rat which is right outside of Wat Po. If you’re looking for something different, head to Err, which about 5 or 6 alley ways down off of Th Maha Rat. It won’t have the quintessential Thai dishes you are looking for but will most certainly quench your Thai cravings. My two recommendations are ask them to order for you, they won’t disappoint and be sure to try the Thai cocktails.
|Pork dish at Err|
After lunch, if you aren’t templed out I would head to Wat Arun. Given we were suffering from a bit of jet lag and had an early dinner reservation, we decided to skip this and just walk around along the river. Here you’ll find all different types of markets that aren’t packed to the brim with tourists.
|A woman in the flower market|
If you flew in the day before or in the morning like us, you’ll most likely need a quick siesta before dinner, or at least an hour of R&R by a pool. Then for dinner, there is really only one option in my opinion, Gaggan. More to come on this later but all you need to know is that it was rated the #1 restaurant in Asia three years running. If you still have energy and didn’t fall asleep at the dinner table, I would then head to one of Bangkok’s famed rooftop bars. Luckily for Samantha and I, our hotel had one so we went up for half a beer and then retired to our rooms as the exhaustion was setting in.
|25 course menu|
So that’s 24 hours in Bangkok. There were still things I didn’t get to do such as a floating market or Ko San Road but by the next morning, the Thai Islands were calling my name so I wasn’t upset that we were leaving. Plus, I can’t imagine this my last time to Thailand so I’m sure I’ll have another 24 hours in my future.
|Samantha and Jamie at the Grand Palace|
A few more tips for Bangkok:
- If you are a guy, you need to be wearing long shorts or pants when visiting the temples; a sarong won’t cut it and I found out the hard way.
- The traffic is terrible, if you can, learn to use the tram system and Chao Phraya river express - it may not save you that much time but is much more enjoyable then sitting in a cab.
- Outside of Ko San Road which is more for backpackers, there didn’t seem to be one specific area to stay in. That said, I picked the Banyan Tree for it’s terraced pool and infamous Moon bar - I would highly recommend it.
- Be cautious of cabs taking you for a ride; just make sure the meter is running and that you have small bills to pay them - again I learned the hard way.
|The reclining Buddha|