Bangkok: What to See in 24 Hours

If you’re planning to travel to South East Asia, you’ll more than likely be passing through Bangkok, the buzzing capital of Thailand. In 2018, both the domestic and international airports of Bangkok were ranked on the top 15 busiest airports! For some reason, I tend to book a lot of flights with long layovers in Bangkok, so during the summer of 2019, I decided to see how much exploring I could fit into just one day. So, without further to do, here’s how to experience the best of Bangkok in just 24 hours! This itinerary starts at sunrise, but depending on when you land, you can start anywhere along the schedule :)

A magical blue hour over the city of Bangkok, shot from my hotel room at The Shangri-La Hotel.

A magical blue hour over the city of Bangkok, shot from my hotel room at The Shangri-La Hotel.

start your day off by Watching the SunRise Over Wat Benchamabophit

Wat Benchamabophit, also known as The Marble Temple, is one of the most beautiful temples I have ever seen! Last time I went, it opened at 6 in the morning just in time for sunrise. In my experience, sunrises are a bit of a rarity in Thailand due to the unpredictable weather, but nonetheless you want to go early to avoid the crowds. And hey, you only have a day so make the most out of it! When I visited, the entrance fee was 50 THB ($1.60). Afterwards, grab some breakfast nearby.

Wat Benchhamabophit
Wat Benchhamabophit
Wat Benchhamabophit

Visit the Most Sacred Temple of Bangkok

Our second temple of the day is the Grand Palace (Wat Phra Kaew), arguably one of the most famous temples of Bangkok. It opens at 08:30 in the morning, with a pricey entrance fee of 500 THB ($16.25). Another alternative to the Grand Palace is Wat Pho, with a lower entrance fee of 100 THB (3.25). You could also visit both! It gets extremely crowded in the morning so try to be the first ones in.

Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew

Pro-tip: Make sure to cover up your shoulders and knees before entering into a temple! You can buy sarongs (a fabric to wrap around your bottom half) almost anywhere in Thailand for cheap if you forgot to bring a long bottom.

Explore Khao San Road

After the morning of exploring the top temples of Bangkok, it’s time to explore the old city! Head over to Khao San Road, the most famous road in all of Thailand (made famous by the book and movie “The Beach”). This is a great area to spend the rest of the afternoon eating and shopping, and probably my favorite street to grab cheap knock offs and souvenirs for my friends and family. While you’re here you can also get a cheap massage! You deserve it. Oh, and make sure to try my personal favorite meal for lunch: red/green curry and mango sticky rice! And for the ultimate experience, take a ride on a songthaew (local taxi).


Experience a Sunset at Wat Arun

You’ll want to make your way to Wat Arun around 16:00 (it closes at 17:30). To get there, you will need to cross over via ferry from the Wat Pho side, from the “Tha Tien” ferry terminal (10¢). It’s about 100 THB ($3.25) for the entrance fee, and get ready, it’s going to be busy but worth the views! You’ll want to start making your way back to Wat Pho an hour or so before sunset in order to catch the sun set over the temple. Head over to here (10-minute walk) for a great sunset view of Wat Arun. Afterwards, treat yourself to some more Thai food for supper!

Grab a Drink on a Rooftop Bar

It’s time to relax and chill out! Bangkok is extremely well known for its amazing rooftop bars across the city. Personally, I’ve only been to The Speakeasy (expensive as heck) and Octave, but the majority of rooftop bars have 360 degree views of the city which is an awesome way to end your day! If you aren’t into photography like me, you can skip the sunset over Wat Arun and watch the sunset from the rooftop bar. You can look up the top sky bars here.

Pro-tip: don’t forget to bring ID! The legal drinking age in Thailand is 20. And don’t forget to check for a dress-code as some bars might have one. 

Shop till You Drop at the Famous Talad Rot Fai Night Market 

If you aren’t fancying a drink, I’d suggest visiting the famous Talad Rot Fai Night Market, located on the outskirts of the city. Similar to Khao San Road, this night market is filled with amazing souvenirs and Thai snacks to buy, and it’s definitely an experience! 

where to stay in bangkok

The great thing about Bangkok is that it is a haven for backpackers. If you have a tight budget, there are literally thousands of hostels under ten dollars to choose from, and I’m not exaggerating. You can also get a 2-3 star hotel for 30-50 bucks if you’re feeling some privacy. I’d suggest checking out HostelWorld and picking the hostel with the best reviews.

If you’re more into luxury, there are also amazing 4-5-star hotels for a relatively low price (~200-300$ per night). I personally stayed at the Shangri-La earlier this year, and I can definitely say it was worth it! Although I was sponsored, I can honestly say that the hospitality I experienced was unparalleled to any other hotels I’ve worked with, and the view of the city was impeccable.


Getting around in Bangkok

There are a few ways of getting around Bangkok. For this itinerary, everything is actually walking distance (except to/from the airport). Personally, my favourite (and cheapest) way to get around is GrabBike. Grab is more-or-less Asia’s version of Uber, and “bike” is the option to go on a moped. You can also get around via taxi, or local taxis, songthaews (although a bit pricier). Lastly, you can also take public transportation and bus/train places. Not really necessary for this itinerary though.

That’s it!

Thank you so much for reading! There are obviously a LOT more places to go in Bangkok (floating markets, Maeklong railway, Ayutthaya, Wat Samphran dragon temple, etc.), but for a one day itinerary, I would say this is how you can see the most places in one day (the rest are all outside of the city). Have you visited some of these places or have any question? Let me know in the comments below!

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24 Hours in Bangkok @LifewithElliott
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