The ideal Bangkok 4 day itinerary

The capital of Thailand, and the country’s largest city, Bangkok is one of the most vibrant places you’ll ever go. A city, that sometimes divides opinions, in our opinion is the best way to dive head first into Thai culture and a great place to spend a few days exploring. The sights, sounds and smells are going to captivate your senses. So, enjoy our ultimate Bangkok 4 day itinerary. It’s time to explore a city that never sleeps.

Our Bangkok 4 day itinerary

So you’ve only got 4 days to explore this fascinating city, so we’ve come up with what we think is the ideal Bangkok 4 day itinerary. Let’s be honest, you aren’t going to be able to see everything but with this itinerary at least you’ll capture all the best bits!

  • Day 1 – Exploring the Temples
  • Day 2 – Markets & Shopping
  • Day 3 – Chinatown
  • Day 4 – The Golden Mount Temple & Jim Thompson House

Why go to Bangkok?

If you’ve ever been intrigued to explore Southeast Asia, but don’t know where to start? Or maybe aren’t 100% confident in travelling? Then Bangkok is definitely the right place for you. Here are some of the reasons why you have to have Bangkok on your itinerary or a city stop.

  • Thailand is rich in history, and not surprisingly it’s capital provides some of the best examples of historical sites for you to visit.
  • If you’ve never been to Asia or Southeast Asia before, then Bangkok is one of the best places in Thailand to get started, and is a gentle way into the region. It has been open to tourism for decades and is well geared towards both tourists and travellers.
  • Bangkok is also a great location to then leapfrog into the rest of Thailand or anywhere across the region. It is the gateway into Southeast Asia with great low cost airlines makes travel very affordable.
  • We believe that Thai cuisine is right up there with the best in the world, if not the best! And if you’ve ever wanted to try street food, then look no further than any of Bangkok’s markets. Get ready taste buds. You’re in for a treat.
  • And finally, the shopping. If you’re looking for low cost but good quality clothes. Or want the latest gadget. You will find it here, and almost definitely at a much better rate than you would back home.

How long should you stay in Bangkok?

Some people fall in love with the pace and vibrancy of Bangkok and never leave… and if you are a digital nomad it definitely is a great spot to base yourself out of for a few weeks, especially given how easy it is to take day trips/long weekends from Bangkok to other great places. However, we’d recommend a 4 day Bangkok itinerary – this can be either standalone as a city trip or as part of a larger Thailand itinerary. For some more inspiration on other things to see and do in Thailand, have a look here at our 3 week country itinerary.

Don’t worry if you can’t spend 4 days in Bangkok – just pick and choose from the suggested itinerary below. Or if you’d like any more ideas, let us know in the comments below or drop us an email here.

Day 1 – Exploring the Temples

Bangkok is known as temple central, with a number of famous temples dotted across the city. We’d recommend you start your first day by visiting a few particularly since they are all relatively close to one another. Budget on a few hours and try to get there as early as feasible to make sure that you avoid the crowds but also take advantage of the cooler mornings.

We’ve set out our itinerary as a ‘do it yourself’ tour, but there are some great professional guides that can take you around to make it that little bit easier.

Wat Phra Kaew

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Wat Phra Kaew is known as one of Thailand’s most sacred and revered temples. It’s handily located within the Grand Palace grounds, so you get a two for one deal here! The Buddha itself is quite small, standing at only 66cm, but is unique in that it’s crafted from a lone jade stone. This one is quite expensive since it’s 440 THB (approx. 11 GBP), but we think it’s really worth the money.

The Grand Palace, Bangkok

Location: Na Phra Lan Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand

Open: Open daily from 8.30am to 3.30pm

Wat Pho

A stone’s throw from Wat Phra Kaew is one of our favourites: Wat Pho. This temple is one of the largest and oldest in the city and we like it since it’s one of the quieter ones to visit in Bangkok, so you can spend time walking around taking photographs. It boasts a very famous giant reclining gold Buddha that is absolutely beautiful to see in real life.

The cost to visit is 100 THB (so about 2.50 GBP).

Reclining Budhha Wat Pho, Bangkok

Location: 2 Sanam Chai Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand

Open: Daily 8.00am – 5.00pm

Wat Arun

The last temple for this morning is across the river, on a short (5 minutes max) but scenic ferry ride. Just walk along Thai Wang Alley and you’ll find the terminal where you’ll pay 10 THB (about 0.25 GBP) for a boat across the Chao Phraya river. We love the ferry ride since it gives you a few minutes to take photos of the Wat from afar, plus the goings-on of local life on the river.

The temple itself is more colourful and quite interesting but is usually one of the busiest, so be prepared for crowds.

Today you’re visiting the Wat last but it is truly best seen at sunrise (it’s actually called the Temple of the Dawn), so if you do have a bit of extra time in your itinerary, swap this out for an early morning jaunt.

Wat Arun, Bangkok

Cost to visit is 50 THB (so 1.25 GBP).

Location: 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Khwaeng Wat Arun, Khet Bangkok Yai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10600, Thailand

Open: 8.30am – 5.30pm

Wang Lang Market

About 2km (20 minutes by foot) from Wat Arun is the Wang Lang market, a great local market full of yummy Thai food. It’s a great place to try authentic Thai street food although it is aimed more at locals than tourists, so don’t expect high end standards for the stalls. Safe bets are mango sticky rice, coconut pancakes or anything that doesn’t contain meat.

Wang Lang Market, Bangkok

Location: Wang Lang Market, 45 Arun Amarin Rd, Khwaeng Siriraj, Khet Bangkok Noi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10700, Thailand

If you’re up for a different market that is even more off the tourist trail, we’d suggest that you head to the Maeklong Train Market. It has an active train running through it! So another great spot for those Instagram pics.

Khao San Road

We suggest spending a few minutes at your accommodation to freshen up before heading in the evening to the Khao San Road, the epicentre of the backpacking scene across all of South East Asia. It’s an overwhelming affair: people trying to sell you laughing gas, or a custom-made suit, or creepy crawlies to eat. Just saunter down the road and don’t get too distracted or fussed by all the vendors; just see it as a chance to experience the hustle and bustle of Thailand. If you’re not keen on buying a t-shirt or eating spiders, find a more secluded bar along the road, get yourself a Chang beer or a cocktail and watch the night unfold before you.

Also, if you’re not set on eating at the Khao San Road, we love the nearby restaurant Krua Apsorn. This unassuming restaurant is actually in the Michelin Guide! Don’t expect very friendly service, but do expect some of the most heavenly food you’ve ever eaten. We recommend the crab omelette, or any of the seafood or signature dishes. For about 400 THB (10 GBP) you can have a great meal for two.

Khao San Road, Bangkok

Day 2 – Markets & Shopping

Chatuchak Weekend Market (or MBK Centre)

We’re hoping that you are in Bangkok over the weekend and, if so, can find your way to the Chatuchak weekend market. If not, never fear! Just scroll on for an alternative shopping option.

The market boasts over 8,000 stalls and attracts over 200,000 visitors so it’s an absolutely massive affair. Everything from clothing to handicrafts and food, if it’s available for sale in Thailand, its at the Chatuchak market. You could spend an entire day walking around this market, if your feet would allow!

What we like about the market is that it’s well-located since it’s on both Skytrain and MRT routes.

Chatuchak Location: Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand

Open: Fridays – 6.00pm to midnight. Saturday/Sunday – 9.00am to 6.00pm

If your itinerary doesn’t include a weekend and you need your retail therapy fix, you can always go to the MBK Centre. This 8 storey behemoth of a mall is a mix of traditional western retail stores and an indoor market, which hawks everything from mobile phones (lots of them!) to elephant trousers, and everything in between. A reminder to bargain with the shopkeepers….

Handy tip: if you are there over a weekend and want to visit both the MBK centre and the Chatuchak Market, then best to head to MBK first, as our next stop is right next to Chatuchak and is a little gem that you CANNOT miss.

MBK Centre Location: 444 Phayathai Rd, Khwaeng Wang Mai, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand

Open: Daily 10am – 10pm

Or Tor Kor Market

This gorgeous market is right next to Chatuchak and, guess what? It’s our favourite food market in all of South East Asia!! The market itself was initiated by the former king of Thailand, who wanted to prop up farmers from Northern Thailand and help them promote their produce. By doing so, in return they need to provide their best quality goods and also turn it into ready-to-eat meals that are sold in the central food court of Or Tor Kor. We had the best Pad Thai of our lives here – trust us, just go!

James, Lee and Priyaporn at food stall.

You can wander the market solo or, if preferred, book a tour with WithLocals like we did – you can learn more about our experience here. By the way, our handy link gets you 15 EUR (approx. 12 GBP) off your first tour.

Or Tor Kor Location: Khwaeng Chatuchak, Khet Chatuchak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10900

Open: Daily 8.00am to 6.00pm

Sunset at the Sky Bar

Seeing the city from above is one of the must-do things in Bangkok and there is no better place than the Sky Bar. If you’ve seen the Hangover II, you’ll know exactly which bar we’re referring to! Now, honestly, the place is eye-wateringly expensive and costs about 20 GBP for a beer. But the street cred you’ll get from saying you went, and the views you’ll have are worth forking over cash for that brew. A note: make sure you clearly say that you want to go the ‘famous’ Sky Bar else the ushers will take you to one of the other bars in the building; some of which – like their champagne bar – don’t offer the ‘cheap’ cocktails and beer.

Picture of Bangkok night skyline from Sky bar

Location: Lebua at State Tower, 1055 Silom Road, Bangrak

Open: Daily 6.00pm to 1.00am

If you’re looking for other (cheaper) options, there is a great list here. Also good to note that a lot of the rooftop bars have stricter dress codes: closed shoes and long trousers for men.

Day 3 – Chinatown

Like many countries in the world, China has had a profound impact on culture in Bangkok and this is really evident in it’s bustling Chinatown district. The district, which is actually called Yaowarat, is globally renowned for it’s street food but also has a number of temples to visit. We recommend you spend one day walking the streets of the district although, if you prefer, you could spend the day at a floating market. We aren’t huge fans of the floating markets since find them very ‘touristy’ and oversold, so haven’t included an option here. However, if you are keen to try one out, we’ve heard okay things about the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

Picture of streets of Chinatown, Bangkok Thailand

Sampeng Market

Kick off your day with a visit to the Sampeng market, which showcases local food, homewares and, of course, souvenirs. It’s a good place to try breakfast dim sum (dumplings) but also has delicious egg omelettes on sale, plus pretty good coffee to get you going.

Sampeng Location: Soi Wanit 1, Khwaeng Chakkrawat, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand

Open: Daily 8.00am to 6.00pm

Wat Traimit

This temple is the home of the world’s largest seated buddha which also, by the way, is the biggest gold statue globally! Built in the 14th century, it’s a great example of traditional Thai architecture and since it’s free to visit, is worth a look. However, if you do want to take a wander around their museum, this costs 10 THB (0.25 GBP)

Wat Traimit Location: 661 Charoen Krung Rd, Khwaeng Talat Noi, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand

Open: Daily 8.00am to 5.00pm

Wat Mangkon Kamalawat (Wat Keng Noei Yi)

This Wat is one of the most important Chinese Buddhist temples and we love that it mixes different influences, including Taoist, Confucian and Buddhist. It was originally named Wat Leng Nui Yee, but this was changed to Wat Mangkom Kamalawat (Dragon Lotus Temple) by King Rama V.

Wat Mangkon Kamalawat Location: 423 Charoen Krung Rd, Khwaeng Pom Prap, Khet Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand

Open: Daily 9.00am to 5.00pm

Street eats and drinks

Temple-hopping is hungry work so we’d suggest heading to Jay Noi’s Kuichai Meal, which is just 250 metres from Wat Keng Noei Yi. Kui Chai is a steamed Chinese chive cake that comes with an absolutely delicious dipping sauce. The stall is great for vegetarians since beyond the chive cake they also have other veggie-friendly options including fried taro.

Finish off your day trying different delicacies in the neighbourhood (we’re told Mangkorn Khao has the best egg noodles), and finally end your day with a drink or two. Try Ba Hao for a refreshing signature cocktail or, for the ultimate view, head to the Grand China Hotel. It has a revolving restaurant which gives you panoramic views of the district and of the river.

Day 4 – The Golden Mount Temple & Jim Thompson House

The Golden Mount Temple

We really did save the best for last. The Wat Saket (or Golden Mount Temple) is our favourite temple in Bangkok, if not all of Thailand. The temple is a quiet retreat from the bustle of Bangkok – when we last went, there were about ten other people there. Walk up the stairs, ring the brass bells and take a seat at the top stupa, watching the city below as the chimes clink in the background. Absolute bliss.

Picture of girl at the Mount Temple in Bangkok Thailand

The entrance fee is 50 THB (about 1.25 GBP), we loved it as it was so quiet and has a great view of the city.

Location: 344 Thanon Chakkraphatdi Phong, Khwaeng Ban Bat, Khet Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100

Open: Daily 8.00am to 5.00pm

Jim Thompson House

The man who started the Thai silk industry, Jim Thompson was a prominent American businessman living in Bangkok. More than just a silk merchant though, Thompson loved collecting South East Asian art and built up a massive collection of statues and paintings not just from Thailand, but from surrounding Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, as well as China.

This museum showcases all of this art and is a great place to walk around for a few hours.

Location: 6 Rama I Rd, Khwaeng Wang Mai, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand

Opening hours: Daily 9.00am to 6.00pm

Night time Cycling

One of the best ways to see a city is from the back of a bicycle, and we love cycling tours! Bangkok has a great Night Cycling Tour which only costs 950 THB (25 GBP) and has you seeing another side of the city.

We hope that you have enjoyed our Bangkok itinerary, and you have a much clearer picture of the best things to do in bangkok. If you have any other ideas or think we are missing a trick, let us know in the comments below.

Where should you stay in Bangkok?

Whether you’re backpacking Thailand, or looking for a more luxurious stay, there are a number of cool hotels in Bangkok, check out some of our favourite options below.

Luxury: We love the Banyan Tree chain of boutique hotels, since they all have beautiful rooms and delicious food. The Bangkok location is dreamy, offering great views and a wonderful spa.

Midrange: When we recently visited Bangkok, we stayed at the Printing House Poshtel. This is a great option since it’s a luxury take on hostels, aimed at ‘poshpackers’. The rooms are spacious and well-appointed, it has great staff and service and the restaurant turns out top-quality, affordable meals.

Budget: Diff Hostel always comes out tops; a difficult feat considering Bangkok is the centre of South East Asia’s backpacking world. This cosy hostel has great amenities (USB chargers, privacy curtains) and is good for socializing and networking.

Are you travelling to Bangkok with children? We like this list of the best family hotels. If you’re not looking for a hotel, an Airbnb in Bangkok is also a great idea.

When is the best time to go to Bangkok?

The honest truth is that you can probably go to Bangkok most of the year, even in ‘rainy season’. The best time to go is probably November to February, which as the cooler months and allow you to easily explore Bangkok on foot. March to May is generally when the weather really heats up and Bangkok is hot and humid, although it’s quite a festive time of year with a number of celebrations. The cheapest time to go is May to October, which is the rainy or ‘low’ season – you’ll find deals on accommodation but you might have a bout of rain or two (or three).

Getting around Thailand

If you’re looking to continue to explore Thailand, we’d recommend checking out Bookaway for the best trains, bus and transfer options. They have amazing 24 hour support and many options have great cancellation options – which is a bit of a relief, when you need to change travel plans. Trust us, that happens more than you’d expect.

Otherwise, check out the latest flight options on Skyscanner.

Getting from the airports into town

Most people land at Bangkok’s International Suvarnabhumi Airport, if you’re arriving on a long haul flight, which has great connectivity. Don Mueng Airport, which is usually used for local flights or connections from other SE Asia countries doesn’t have great transport links. Here are some options for both:

From Suvarnabhumi Airport

By taxi: The most convenient and, of course, the most expensive. You can take a taxi from Gate 4 and 7 of the passenger terminal – make sure to ask them to put the meter on! It takes between 40-50 minutes and ranges from 350 to 450 THB (7.50 – 10 GBP). You can also book a Grab taxi via the Grab app, which usually ends up slightly cheaper.

Public Van: The vans make stops along the route to Victory Monument in the city center, ensuring they take a bit longer than a taxi – about 45 minutes to an hour depending on the number of drop-offs. Usually the cost is 40 THB (1 GBP) and from Victory Monument you can either walk, or take another bus, van or Skytrain.

Airport Rail Link: The fastest option, this connects the airport with downtown Bangkok and only takes between 25-30 minutes. It makes six stops and ends at Phayathai station which again provides the option of bus, van or taxi. Cost at time of writing was 45 THB (1.2 GBP)

From Don Mueang Airport

By taxi: The airport is about 24 km from downtown Bangkok, and taxi is the easiest way to travel between the two points. The journey takes between 30-60 minutes depending on traffic and price ranges from 300-400 THB (7.50 – 10.00 GBP)

By bus: A more affordable option is to take Bus No 29 which costs 20 THB (0.5 GBP). This takes between 45-75 minutes.

Top travel tips

Here are a few of our favourite tips for Bangkok:

Dress code: Not sure what to wear in Thailand? It is quite a conservative country and outside of the islands, you are generally expected to cover your shoulders and legs. This is even more important at holy places like temples so make sure that at least your skirt or trousers reaches past your knees, and that you don’t wear any vests or revealing shirts. They do usually sell a cover-up at the door, but it’s not worth paying this at every stop.

Scams: There is also an ongoing scam around tuk-tuks, most notably those that wait around the Wats. Usually they stand at a closed entrance and tell you that the entire Wat is closed for the day and offer you a ride elsewhere, usually to their friend’s store! Just walk breezily past and find the right entrance. You can also avoid tuk-tuks entirely by downloading Grab, Asia’s equivalent to Uber.

Bargaining Tips: Bartering is part of Thai culture, so don’t shy away from it! Here are a few of our favourite things to do when bargaining:

  • Keep it friendly. Make sure you smile and do it with a sense of humour
  • Have a price in mind. Don’t just start at 50% but have somewhere you want to aim for. That way you’ll be happy to get near it, or slightly less than it.
  • They won’t sell it if they don’t make money. So, don’t worry – if they weren’t making a profit, they would walk away from the sale
  • If you want it but the price isn’t right, feel free to walk away. They might chase you down or you can return later to see if you can bargain again

Must-have apps

Grab: The most important app to download before arriving in Bangkok is definitely Grab. It is Southeast Asia’s equivalent to Uber and works amazingly well. Grab has removed the element of bumping up fares for foreigners so you know exactly what you’re going to pay. And it can be linked to your credit card so there’s no hassling with cash.

If you’re keen to take a tuk tuk in Bangkok then the app is also really helpful in negotiating. You can show them the cost of the trip on Grab and see if they’ll at least come close to that fare. Tuk tuks in Bangkok are notorious for ‘ripping off’ tourists.

Tripit: If like us you love to keep organised, and think having all your travel tickets and accommodation bookings in one place is a great idea, then you have to sign up to Tripit. The free service pulls in all your booking confirmations in your emails and then sorts out your trip itinerary for you. How cool is that?

Trabee Pocket: And if you like to keep an eye on budgets, then Trabee Pocket is the tool for you. You can set up daily spending, and track how you’re doing against your budgets.

Maps.me: For us there is no better maps app than Maps.me. Perfect for offline use, working on GPS, it allows you to track wherever you are. With this in your pocket you can’t go wrong.

Useful websites

Bookaway: Newer to the SE Asia travel market, but absolutely the best service that we have expereinced (and we’ve tried them all), so for any trains, boats, flights or buses in Thailand, then check out Bookaway.com. They have 24hr online support and many of the options have better cancellation policys than the competitors. A really simple to use booking platform, and given how booked up things can get in the busy seasons, it’s good to plan ahead.

Agoda: We know there are other booking sites out there but it’s clear that Agoda has the widest array of accommodation in South East Asia. We almost exclusively book with them since they also price match against other booking sites.

What camera equipment and other gear do we use?

We’re living proof that you don’t need the most expensive gear to travel the world and take good photos. Here are some of our must have items that make it into the packing list for all our travels.

Useful phrases

  • Hello – Sawatdii
  • How are you? – Sabaaidii mai?
  • I’m fine – Sabaaidii
  • I’m not well – Mai sabaii
  • Thank you – Khop kun
  • Sorry – Khot hort
  • Goodbye – Bai

More detailed Thailand itinerary

If you are planning on spending longer in Thailand than just Bangkok, and need more than the Bangkok 4 day itinerary, we have a much more detailed guide about where to go, what to see and the best activities in our 3 weeks in Thailand guide, including our favourite suggestions for Chiang Mai, Pai, Chiang Rai, the islands (Koh Tao, Koh Pha Ngan), Krabi and so much more. Check it out here.


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