Well, for most of the sane people who plan their Thailand trip for months, this might sound a little strange, but trust us when we say this – you can actually explore the best of Bangkok in just a day!
(Of course, if you have more time, you’ll get to go slow and probably extend your Thai trip beyond Bangkok, but just in case you have a weekend & feel like hopping to this bustling city – don’t think twice!)
On our way back from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to New Delhi, we decided to spend a day in Bangkok. Initially, we were a bit skeptical and tried figuring out what all could be done. Thanks to our Airbnb host, we got a clearer idea of the ferry route and realized that transportation in the city was quite convenient.
So here’s all that we did in just about 20 hours in Bangkok, one of the most happening cities in the world!
Our day began with a hearty breakfast, needless to say! The food scene in Bangkok is topnotch, whether it’s street food or a cafe, a market store, or a fine dining restaurant – your taste buds won’t be disappointed anywhere. As we stepped out of our BnB, we found some stalls selling big-sized sausages, chicken satay, and crabmeat balls. (Most of these things were priced at 10 Baht to 20 Baht, which is pretty reasonable compared to the portions they serve.) Being foodies, we couldn’t stop ourselves and gorged on as much as we could!
It was a weekday, so the usual office crowd was already at the pier and we knew we were going to have a delightful ride, observing the locals till we reached our destination. This is the best part of taking local transport – you get to spend a lot of time, understanding the regular life of the people living in that place. (And of course, it’s budget-friendly as well!)
As I was nearing my destination, I could see the gorgeous white steep structure standing with all its glory – Wat Arun didn’t fail to mesmerize me at first sight. Hopping off the ferry, we took the tickets and walked inside, gazing at the massive piece of architecture.
Wat Arun (or the Temple of Dawn) derives its name from the Hindu Sun God (Arun) and it’s often personified as the radiations of the rising sun. The intricate artwork on the walls of the temple is absolutely gorgeous. As we walked in, we were thrilled to see those 108 Golden Buddha statues, surrounding the main temple on all sides.
Note: The entry fee is 50 Baht and you’ll need about an hour to explore the entire temple complex.
Our next stop was Wat Pho, on the other bank of the river. There are direct ferries to take you from Wat Arun to Wat Pho, which is more popular as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. While the earlier one is usually less crowded, the latter one had flocks of people trying to click the perfect selfie with the Golden Buddha!
The Wat Pho temple complex is more popular as it houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand, including a 46m long reclining Buddha. Wat Pho is one of Bangkok’s oldest temples and is considered the earliest center for public education in Thailand, and the marble illustrations and inscriptions placed in the temple for public instruction have been recognized by UNESCO in its Memory of the World Program. It houses a school of Thai medicine and is also known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage which is still taught and practiced at the temple.
It was late afternoon when we were stepping out of Wat Pho, and we spotted some school kids, who were practicing some act in the courtyard. Our curiosity dragged us there, and after talking to a monk who was supervising, we came to know that the King was visiting in a couple of days so, these kids were gearing up for a drama. It was a treat to watch those little ones, dancing around in masks.
It was late afternoon when we walked out from there, hungry & excited to dig into some delicious Thai food! Next to the Wat, there’s a narrow lane that leads to a couple of amazing cafes and we chose to hop into one of them that looked nicer than the others.
After a satisfying lunch, it was time for a tuk-tuk ride to the Grand Palace, and Wat Phra Kaew — home of the Emerald Buddha. The architecture of this place has royalty flowing from every corner and the best thing would be to take an audio guide, which explains every detail about the palace.
Note: The entry fee for both is 500 Baht.
It was already evening when we ended up exploring the palace, and we had just a few hours left in the city. We decided to head off to the nearby market & pick up some souvenirs! Well, when you’re in Bangkok, you just can’t miss shopping! So, there’s a market next to the closest pier from the Grand Palace, and it has everything from bags & shoes to postcards & key chains and whatnot!
Thus, we wrapped up our day in Bangkok and reached Don Muang Airport right on time! Yes, we did miss out on the nightlife of the city which people usually drool about, and we would definitely want to go back again, to tick a few more things from our Bangkok bucket list, but we’re definitely gonna remember this day trip for years to come as our first encounter with the Thai Capital.
Some Quick Tips:
If you are traveling to Bangkok, here are a few essential tips to remember!
– Whenever you’re buying a souvenir, make sure to bargain! They usually hike the prices for tourists!
– Wear clothes that cover your shoulders & knees (avoid sleeveless and shorts) – otherwise, you won’t be allowed to enter the Wats! For men, make sure to wear full pants (it’s a must!).
– If you’re traveling alone, don’t be scared of strangers! Thai folks are the sweetest, and you’ll mostly find them smiling at you if there’s eye contact! Nothing to worry about on that note!
– Don’t miss the street food! And to be honest, we loved the street food more than what we tried in the restaurant!
– Try the Thai Royal Ice cream – it’s absolutely delicious!
If you’ve been to Bangkok and want to share your favorite experiences with us, we’re all ears to know about it. Also, let us know about your favorite places in Thailand so that we can work on our travel bucket list, accordingly!