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3 Days in Bangkok (Part One) Posted by on Oct 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

We’ve already explored some of the many things there are to love about Bangkok – the glittering temples, bustling markets, vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, and wild nightlife – so hopefully by now you’ve realized that there’s more than enough going on in the Thai capital to warrant a stop here rather than a simple connection on to one of the islands. With so much to do, planning a trip to Bangkok can be a bit overwhelming. Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered.

Ready to cruise in a tuk-tuk?

Ready to cruise in a tuk-tuk?

Although I’d strongly recommend you spend a full week in the city, rent an apartment, and really dive into it all, I realize that’s not feasible for everyone. After all, if you’ve only got a month to spend in Thailand, you’ll want to spread your time around in order to hit some islands and most likely some adventure in the north as well. With a decent plan, it’s definitely possible to rock Bangkok out in three days. Of course, you should also take into account travel days – if you get in on a late flight, don’t count that as your first day. Let’s hope you can get over jet lag quickly or that you’re coming in on a short flight, because it’s going to be an action-packed couple of days.

The Golden Buddha

The Golden Buddha

For your first day in Bangkok, you’ll take in some of the most famous temples, admire the city from both a boat and the top of a skyscraper, and wind down with dinner and drinks on one of the hippest streets in town. After breakfast, head out to start a morning of temple hopping. While some may want to head straight to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, it’s best to work your way up to the granddaddy of ’em all and start a bit smaller. Then again, small might not be the best word to describe the first temple on your journey. After all, Wat Traimit (วัดไตรมิตร) is home to the Golden Buddha, which is 3 meters tall and weighs a whopping 5.5 tons. Once upon a time, this massive Buddha was covered in stucco and plaster to disguise it from Burmese invaders. Many years later, the statue was dropped while it was being moved, revealing the sparkling gold underneath. Be in awe of this amazing Buddhist icon, and make sure you’re following all of the proper temple etiquette throughout your trip to Bangkok and Thailand in general.

Impressive Wat Pho

Impressive Wat Pho

Next up, jump in a tuk-tuk for a quick ride over to Wat Pho (วัดโพธิ์). Also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha for its epic 64-meter long statue, this is without a doubt one of the most impressive temples in the entire country. It’s one of the largest and oldest temples in Bangkok, and you should dedicate at least an hour to your visit to explore the grounds thoroughly. The reclining Buddha is incredible, but there’s a lot more to see here. Believe it or not, this temple is also considered the birthplace of Thai massage, and there’s even a school on the grounds.

Temple of Dawn

Temple of Dawn

From Wat Pho, it’s a simple ferry crossing over the river to your third and final temple of the day – War Arun (วัดอรุณ). The Temple of the Dawn derives its name from the Hindu god Arun, and it is an absolutely stunning structure. Best of all, you can climb up to the top of this one and take in a great view of the Chao Phraya River (แม่น้ำเจ้าพระยา) and the city it cuts through.

Cruise the river.

Cruise the river.

If you haven’t already done so, now is a great time to stop for lunch. There are plenty of places along the river where you can get a cheap meal and maybe a coffee to recharge your batteries. Hell, go ahead and have a Chang beer if you’re so inclined – you’re on vacation! Speaking of the river, the next item on your list for your first day is a cruise along the Chao Phraya. There are tons of options, from simply taking the public ferry to fancy dinner and cocktail private cruises. We opted for something in between and hired our own little boat to cruise us around the river and around some of its smaller tributaries for an hour or so. Dubbed the “River of Kings” by none other than King Rama I, this river truly is the lifeblood of Bangkok. Passing by more temples, skyscrapers, and riverside shantytowns, you’ll see a lot of the city in a short time by cruising up the river.

Hello, Bangkok!

Hello, Bangkok!

With the sun down, it’s time to hit the town and take advantage of Bangkok’s awesome nightlife. Kick things off at the Moon Bar, located on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel. Keep in mind that there’s a dress code here, so be sure to wear pants and shoes, dudes. The drinks ain’t cheap, but the view of the city sure makes them worth it. If you can afford it, this would be a great spot for dinner as well. For those of you ballin’ on a budget like I tend to do, never fear, because more affordable eats are just around the corner.

Party it up on Soi 11.

Party it up on Soi 11.

Finally, head over to Soi 11 – one of the most popular hangouts amongst the expat crowd. Home to a wide variety of restaurants and bars, it’s the perfect place to wine and dine your day to conclusion. Whether you’re looking for cheap street food or a nice sit down meal, you’ll be able to find it here. This soi is also home to one of the best bars in all of SE Asia the world – Cheap Charlie’s. It’s not just a clever name, as you’ll enjoy some of the cheapest drinks in the city here amongst good company. Just be sure to get there early, as they do last call at 11:30. If you’ve still got energy to burn, there are plenty of places to cut a rug or just grab another drink or seven right around the corner. Of course, you won’t want to get too rowdy – you’ve still got two busy days left in Bangkok.

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.