For many, Bangkok is just the starting point of an unforgettable Asian adventure. To ensure you don’t waste a second, here’s how to spend 48 hours in one of the world’s most spellbinding cities. But before you head off for some well-deserved island hopping, leave the airport in style. It makes all the difference (we promise).
Start your day at the Grand Palace, conveniently located in the heart of the city. As the king’s official residence for over 200 years, the Grand Palace is home to a collection of grandiose buildings, pavilions, lawns, and courtyards. The grounds of the palace showcase numerous architectural styles, and are a true reflection of this eclectic yet harmonious city — as the locals like to say “same same, but different.”
After you’ve walked the palace grounds, hop aboard a boat for a ride along the Chao Phraya River. Get around the city in no time with river taxis or opt for a full-blown, 2-hour cruise on a rice barge, which will take you along the city’s canals and allow you to indulge in some relaxed sightseeing.
Post-river, pre-lunch: it’s time to snap some pictures of one of the city’s most beautiful (and famous) Buddhist temples. Stop by the Wat Benchamabophit, or Marble Temple, to see what all the fuss is about. There, you’ll see the sacred Phra Buddha Chinnarat image, reproduced from the original image in Phitsanuloke.
If you haven’t had enough unconventional transport for the day, hop on a tuk-tuk (you know you want to!) and head over to Chinatown. Here, you can really take your taste buds out of their comfort zone by trying local delicacies such as oyster omelets, raw mantis prawns, and red ant eggs.
If snacking your way through Chinatown doesn’t have you stuffed, keep the day’s food theme going strong by heading to a few of the city’s floating markets. We recommend visiting Amphawa and Tha Kha — the orchards and charming wooden houses along the canals are well worth a visit.
After you’ve had your fill of local food, inch toward the evening at one Sukhumvit’s many rooftop bars. Sit back, sip classic cocktails with a Thai twist, and soak up the sweeping views of this pulsing metropolis at night. But the night’s not over! If you’re still raring to go, hop on a bike and tour the city with a local guide. And if you’re still hungry (we don’t know how you could be, but still), there’s always a midnight food tour by tuk-tuk with your name on it.
When in Bangkok, a Thai massage is a must. Start your day off with a pampering session — many massage parlors offer beauty treatments as well, so why not throw in a mani-pedi while you’re at it? Or, if you’re feeling extravagant, head to one of the many beauty salons in downtown Bangkok to unwind from the city’s hustle and bustle.
For lunch, join a cooking lesson and prepare your own Thai dish. Learn how to make a classic red curry or any other local dish in a cooking class run by a local chef. So much more than a fun experience on vacation, you can take your newfound skills back home and prepare an authentic meal for friends and family.
No trip to Bangkok would be complete without a stroll (or full-blown shopping session) in one of its many malls. Hide away from the afternoon heat in any of the towering shopping centers in Siam, and delight in its mall culture by buying local or western luxury brands while sipping bubble tea.
End your whistle-stop tour by whizzing over to Lumphini Park for a leisurely bike tour of the city’s districts. From temples and malls to the green oasis of Benjakitty Park, you’ll discover some of Bangkok’s fancier streets and lively markets. After you’ve pedaled through the city, sit back and relax! You’ve seen, tasted, and pedaled your way through the Thai capital. The only question you’ll have: where to next?