Bangkok is one of the most dynamic cities in the world. The South East Asian metropolis offers a wealth of culture, fantastic shopping opportunities, exciting nightlife and some of the best cuisine on the planet. The Thai baht goes a long way, making the city excellent value for western tourists. Although we can’t get to Thailand right now, dreaming and planning is half the fun! Here we take a look at how to spend 48 hours in scintillating Bangkok.
From Suvarnabhumi, there are lots of transport options into the Bangkok. These include an excellent airport rail link, taxi, airport limo, express airport buses and public buses. From Don Mueang, you can take a taxi or a slow (but very cheap) train to Hualamphong Station. (Please note that Hualamphong Station is due to close in 2021, when Bang Sue Grand will take over as the main railway station).
Bangkok is a sprawling megapolis and choosing where to stay can be overwhelming. Accommodation options range from hostels and cheap hotels at only a few dollars a night to glitzy five star hotels at hundreds of dollars per night. Here are a few of the areas which are popular to stay in:
Khao San Road – The backpacker’s Mecca, packed with budget accommodation, bars and restaurants.
Sukhumvit – A modern area of the city in central Bangkok with lots of good neighbourhood shopping and restaurants. The transport links are good.
Silom – Close to Patpong, the red light district and Lumphini Park, one of the city’s green spaces.
Chinatown – Hualamphong Railway Station is conveniently nearby and Chinatown itself is a vibrant and fascinating area.
Jim Thompson’s House
To kick off your 48 hours in Bangkok, head to Jim Thompson’s House. Thompson was an American silk merchant and helped to revitalise the Thai silk trade in the fifties and sixties. Constructed in traditional Thai style, the house is set in a beautiful tropical garden and is now a museum, art gallery and a popular tourist attraction. It’s a peaceful oasis in the centre of the city and also has a lovely café looking out over the garden. In fact, it makes a gentle and peaceful introduction to your two days in the city!
If you can tear yourself away from the tranquillity of the gardens and you are up for some retail therapy, make tracks to Siam Paragon. The largest shopping mall in South East Asia is crammed with high-end shops and an array of restaurants as well as a 16-screen cinema and an aquarium. It would be easy for some to spend the whole day there, but with only two days in Bangkok, time is of the essence.
Flag down a tuk-tuk and head to the Chao Phraya River, where you can take a boat across the water to Wat Arun. Otherwise known as the Temple of Dawn, it’s an ornate Khmer-style structure decorated in pieces of seashell, coloured glass and Chinese porcelain. Climb the steep steps for panoramic views across the city.
The Deck By The River
For dinner with a view, try the Deck By The River at Arun Residence. The restaurant has stunning views of the river and Wat Arun. At night time, the spectacle is even more impressive when the temple is illuminated and the light reflects across the river. The restaurant serves both Thai and international cuisine and although it has an excellent reputation and stylish vibe, it isn’t ridiculously expensive.
The Grand Palace
After breakfast, arrive at the Grand Palace early to beat the crowds (or at least some of them). This complex of extraordinary Thai-style temples and palaces was built in 1782. Gold painted buildings, intricate mirror and glass mosaics dazzle under the sun. The star of the show is the stunning Wat Phra Kaew, otherwise known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Thailand’s most revered temple.
Khao San Road
Next, take the Chao Phraya Express boat along the river – it’s cheap and a great way to see the old city. The boat stops off at various locations and it’s possible to hop on and off wherever you want to. Check out Khao San Road, the backpackers mecca and a lively area at any time of the day or night. Guest houses, restaurants, bars, market stalls, tattoo parlours and travel agents all vie for trade and it’s an absorbing road to explore.
After re-boarding the boat, carry on down the river and alight at Ratchawong Pier, the stop for bustling Chinatown. Explore the labyrinth of streets lined with shops selling everything from durian fruit to nodding lucky cats. The sights and smells of Chinatown are an assault on the senses. Dip into temples to light some incense and check out the Thieves market.
If you haven’t satisfied your appetite with all the wonderful street food that Bangkok has to offer, make a beeline for Tealicious Bangkok (492 Trok To, Soi Charoen Krung 49, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500). It’s a lovely little restaurant serving up delicious authentic Thai food using fresh ingredients. Tom, the friendly owner is usually on hand to answer any questions relating to the cuisine. The menu is extensive and there are plenty of veggie options.
Cocktails at the Sirocco Sky Bar
To finish off 48 hours in Bangkok in style, there’s no better venue than Sirocco Sky Bar. The elegant 63rd floor bar sits on a precipice over the city, 820 feet in air. It’s one of the highest rooftop bars in world. (The Dome at Lebua, 1055 Silom Road, Bangkok 10500). Cocktails 🍹are creatively concocted and expensive, but who cares – it’s your last night in Bangkok and the view of the city is phenomenal.
(Please note that at the time of writing, Thailand isn’t yet open to tourism due to COVID-19. Check out the Official Tourist Board of Thailand for the latest information).