48 hours in Bangkok

Bangkok is an ideal destination for a short visit from Hong Kong – it’s just a 3.5 hours direct flight away and there are several different flight options to please budget and schedule.

There are many options to stay overnight in Bangkok, from very cheap and affordable in a B&B a little further away from the city centre to five star hotels right in the middle. You can check out Tripadvisor hotel recommendations and have a look at Travelzoo, they often have great deals for Bangkok – especially at hotels that just opened.

Last year we visited the Hansar Hotel at Rajdamri Road which is just a few walking minutes away from Siam Square and close to the Skytrain station Ratchadamri – this has become one of our favourite hotels now. We’ve also been to Hotel Lit, which is opposite the stadium and close to the MBK shopping mall. It is smaller than the Hansar, but with nice, modern rooms and in a quiet side street just a few walking minutes from Siam Square.

There are many things to explore and do in Bangkok – but if you only have two days I would recommend the following itinerary:

Day 1
Start at Wat Phra Kaew, home to the tiny but highly-revered Emerald Buddha – a surprisingly small figure raised on a giant pyramid which draws as many locals as tourists. To get there, I would recommend taking the Chao Phraya Express river boats with serve Tha Tien Pier (that’s the one to reach the Royal Palace and Wat Pho) as this will beat the traffic.

Bangkok Grand Palace 2

Then, visit the adjoining Royal Palace (both close at 3pm; keep your ticket to get into Dusit), before walking south to Wat Pho to see its photogenic, 46m-long Reclining Buddha image and wander the sprawling grounds. Wat Pho is also a centre for traditional Thai massage; you can indulge for for 30 minutes, or learn massage yourself: see watphomassage.com for the options.

In the afternoon, visit old school Siam through the portal of Jim Thompson House, an establishment founded by an American who made his fortune selling Thai silk to the West. His home and garden are amazing to visit, I really enjoyed my visit there.

Bangkok Jim Thompson House 2

8 Bangkok Jim Thompson House Lotus flowers

Take a little rest (or swim) before you head out for the evening. Khao San Road is a great area to visit. For decades this warren of streets and alleyways was a haven of cheap food and lodging for the great tide of unwashed European and American budget travellers. Now the area, parts of which are closed off to traffic at night, has become a hip destination for young Thais who stroll, gawk at the backpackers and gulp down cheap beer. There are many food and drink choices – I’m sure you’ll find something to enjoy.

Bangkok Khao San Road 2

Day 2
I would try to reach Chatuchak weekend market before 10am, otherwise it will be hot and crowded to visit the vast flea market on the northern outskirts. Vendors sell everything from knockoffs of designer shirts to aromatherapy oils, potted plants and reptiles. You can lose yourself in the alleyways of Chatuchak, half outdoors and half covered by leaky tarpaulins and roofs.

Bangkok Chatuchak Weekend Market 3

After some shopping, head back to town and visit the Siam Square. From there you can take a very short walk to the busy Erawan Shrine in the heart of Bangkok’s shopping district and watch as a steady stream of people pay their respects to the statue of Brama, the Hindu god of Creation. Many locals believe a floral garland or fruit offering to the shrine helps grant wishes.

Bangkok Erawan Shrine

If you’ve not done enough shopping – I can recommend to visit the Jim Thomson Outlet on 153 Soi Sukhumvit 93 which is in walking distance from Bang Chak BTS station. The outlet prices are 30-40 per cent cheaper and you can explore four stories of silk products.

Still on my list to visit is the Sky Bar, located on the 63rd floor of the Lebua Hotel. I’ve heard many great things about this open-air Sky Bar offers 360 degree stunning views of downtown Bangkok, the Chao Phraya River and beyond.

What would be your tips? What should be on my next itinerary to Bangkok?

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