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Your Ultimate Guide to Spending Three Days in Bangkok

girl at erawan museum thailand

Bangkok is a city that thrives on contrast. It’s where skyscrapers tower over centuries-old temples, where bustling markets coexist with serene parks, and where you can savor world-class cuisine in a high-end restaurant one moment and then enjoy delectable street food the next.

It’s a city that beautifully blends the old with the new, the traditional with the modern, and the serene with the energetic.

Over your three-day Bangkok trip, you can explore the heart and soul of this dynamic city, immerse yourself in its rich history, tantalize your taste buds with its world-renowned cuisine, and meet locals and fellow travelers who share your passion for adventure.

So, fasten your seatbelt as we embark on an enchanting journey through Asia’s “City of Angels.”

Table of Contents

• •• ••• Day one ••• •• •

From exploring the tranquil environs of Wat Pho to marveling at the grandeur of the Royal Palace and ending the day with the mesmerizing view of a lit-up Wat Arun, prepare yourself for a day of discovery and awe.

The Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew

The Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew

grand palace thai gold
  • Opening Times: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
  • Admission Cost: 500 Baht (~$15)
  • Dress Code: Modest attire – no exposed shoulders, cleavage, or knees
  • Suggested Time Spent: 2 hours
  • How to Get There: You can take the metro or a bus to get here, but to save on time, I highly recommend getting a Grab taxi from your hotel.

As mid-morning arrives, it’s time to visit the heart of Bangkok’s historical legacy: The Grand Palace. Within walking distance of Wat Pho, this imposing complex stands as a symbol of Thailand’s architectural prowess and cultural heritage.

From the moment you step through its gates, you are greeted by a kaleidoscope of colors, intricate designs, and ornate gold-plated structures that are a sight to behold. As you stroll through the meticulously maintained courtyards, you can’t help but marvel at the detailed craftsmanship in every corner, a testimony to the skills of the artisans of the era.

temple of emerald buddha thailand

The dazzling Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is also located within the palace complex and houses a revered Buddha image carefully carved from a single block of jade.

Note that tickets to the Grand Palace purchased on-site include admission to the palace grounds, Wat Phra Kaew, and the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles. They also admission to a Kohn, or masked Thai dance, performed at the Sala Chalermkrung Royal theatre.

There are multiple showtimes for this dance every day and a bus ride from the Grand Palace to the venue is included, but if you’re running out of time to see it on day one, no worries–the ticket is good for seven days, so you can always come back another day.

Wat Pho

Wat Pho

wat pho thai temple
  • Opening Times: 8:00 am – 6:30 pm
  • Admission Cost: 200 Baht (~$6)
  • Dress Code: Respectful attire – no exposed shoulders or knees
  • Suggested Time Spent: 1-2 hours
  • How to Get There: Wat Pho is within walking distance of the Grand Palace, but if you’re looking to rest for a minute, there are several tuk-tuk and taxi drivers who can give you a lift.

Begin your day by immersing yourself in the tranquility of Wat Pho, also known as Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Rajwaramahawihan, is city’s oldest and largest temple.

The compound is a labyrinth of chedis (stupas), and it’s decorated with colorful ceramics. But what the wat is most well-known for is housing the colossal Reclining Buddha, a statue that spans a remarkable 150 feet (46 meters) in length. It’s covered in gold leaf and intricately decorated with mother of pearl designs that showcase scenes from Buddha’s life.

Additionally Wat Pho is known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage, so consider treating yourself to a rejuvenating massage here! 

Wat Traimit Withayaram Worawihan

Wat Traimit Withayaram Worawihan

  • Opening Times: Most shops and street stalls open around 9:00 am – late into the night
  • Admission Cost: Free, but bring cash for food and shopping
  • Dress Code: Casual, comfortable wear for walking
  • Suggested Time Spent: 1 hour
  • How to Get There: Take a taxi, tuk-tuk, or Grab from Wat Pho.

Wat Traimit Withayaram Worawihan, also known as the Temple of the Golden Buddha. Nestled on the edge of Chinatown, this temple houses the world’s largest solid gold Buddha image, weighing a staggering five and a half tons. 

Beyond its main attraction, the temple also offers a museum that tells the fascinating story of how this priceless statue was discovered. Encased in plaster to protect it from invaders, the true nature of the Buddha was only unveiled accidentally during a relocation in the 1950s.

Chinatown

chinatown

  • Opening Times: Most shops and street stalls open around 9:00 am – late into the night
  • Admission Cost: Free, but bring cash for food and shopping
  • Dress Code: Casual, comfortable wear for walking
  • Suggested Time Spent: 2 hours
  • How to Get There: Chinatown is a short walk from Wat Traimit Withayaram Worawihan.

This district is a fascinating mix of old and new, where traditional shops and markets nestle among contemporary malls and eateries. And the vibe in Chinatown is electric. It’s a great place to mingle with locals, experience the city’s vibrant nightlife, and get a taste of the local culture. 

Chinatown is a gastronomic paradise, especially for street food lovers. You simply can’t leave without indulging in some local delicacies. Start with Guay Jab Nam Kon, a peppery noodle soup with a robust flavor that warms your soul. Next, move on to Kway Teow Kua Gai, a stir-fried noodle dish that’s a local favorite.

For something a bit sweeter, look for vendors selling Bua Loy Nam Khing, a dessert of rice balls in warm ginger soup that’s as comforting as it sounds.

Wat Arun

Wat Arun

wat arun temple thailand
  • Opening Times: 8:00 am – 5:30 pm
  • Admission Cost: 50 Baht (~$1.50)
  • Dress Code: Modest attire – cover shoulders and knees
  • Suggested Time Spent: 1-2 hours
  • How to Get There: Take a tuk-tuk from Chinatown to the Ratchawang Pier. The ferry is only 5 baht per person, and it runs regularly.

As the day advances, a visit to Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, awaits. Standing on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River, this spectacular temple is truly a sight to behold.

Its unique silhouette, shaped by a central prang (Khmer-style tower) surrounded by four smaller ones, leaves a lasting impression. Intricately adorned with tiny pieces of colored glass and Chinese porcelain, the towers of Wat Arun are a shining testament to Thai craftsmanship and creativity.

Pro tip: Plan to arrive here around 4:00p.m. as crowds will have thinned a bit, and you’ll be there at prime time to get epic night views of the wat when it lights up at sunset!

Rooftop drinks by Wat Arun

Rooftop drinks by Wat Arun

wat arun temple at night
  • Opening Times: Rooftop bars usually open around 5:00 pm – 1:00 am
  • Admission Cost: Free, but you need to purchase food or drink
  • Dress Code: Casual, some bars may require smart-casual attire
  • Suggested Time Spent: 1-2 hours
  • How to Get There: Take the ferry from Wat Arun back across the river, head out to the main road, and take a right. There will be plenty of rooftop bars with great views along the way, but I really enjoyed The Eagle Nest if you’re looking for a spot!

As the sun sets, your final destination should be one of the many rooftop bars facing Wat Arun.

Witnessing the temple lit up against the night sky while sipping on a chilled drink is an unforgettable experience. It’s a magical way to end your day in Bangkok, reminiscing about the places you’ve visited and the memories you’ve created.

Keep in mind that many of these bars will fill up fast as evening approaches, so it’s a good idea to head over here as soon as you can after leaving Wat Arun to get good seats!

• •• ••• Day Two ••• •• •

Today is all about indulging in local flavors, from the bustling waterways of the floating market to the aromatic corners of a Thai cooking class, and finally, the vibrant labyrinth of a night market.

As you navigate through the unique and thrilling experiences each of these places offer, you’ll uncover a new layer of Bangkok, savoring its gastronomic brilliance and getting up close with its local life. 

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

floating market boats
  • Opening Times: 7:00 am – 11:00 am
  • Admission Cost: Free, but prepare cash for shopping and boat rides
  • Dress Code: Casual, comfortable wear with sun protection
  • Suggested Time Spent: 2-3 hours

Your second day begins at the crack of dawn at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. This bustling waterway is a kaleidoscope of color and activity. Glide through the canals on a traditional long-tail boat, observing vendors in their straw hats and wooden boats laden with fresh produce and local delicacies.

Make sure to try some of the mouth-watering snacks on offer, like the famous boat noodles or fresh tropical fruits. This is not just a market; it’s an unforgettable cultural experience that captures the essence of Thailand’s bygone days.

Thai Cooking Class

Thai Cooking Class

thai food noodles
  • Typical Class Time: 3-4 hours, morning or afternoon sessions
  • Admission Cost: Varies between 1000-2000 Baht (~$30-$60)
  • Dress Code: Casual, comfortable clothing and closed-toe shoes
  • Suggested Time Spent: Duration of class

Nothing brings you closer to the heart of a culture than its cuisine. So, why not immerse yourself in a Thai cooking class and learn to recreate the magic of Thailand’s gastronomic delights back home?

Classes usually start with a vibrant tour of a local market where you’ll get to know all about the exotic ingredients that make Thai cuisine so unique. The hands-on cooking experience that follows is not just fun and enlightening but also a celebration of the harmonious blend of flavors that Thai food represents.

Stir up some Tom Yum Goong (spicy shrimp soup), wrap a fresh spring roll, or perfect that delicate balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy in a classic Pad Thai. Guided by experienced chefs, you’ll learn the tips and tricks to mastering Thai dishes in an atmosphere brimming with fun and camaraderie.

What better souvenir to take back than the ability to whip up an authentic Thai meal whenever you miss the Land of Smiles?

Bangkok Night Market

Bangkok Night Market

thai night market shop
  • Opening Times: 6:00 pm – 12:00 am (Varies by market, some are weekend-only)
  • Admission Cost: Free, but prepare cash for shopping and food
  • Dress Code: Casual, comfortable wear for walking
  • Suggested Time Spent: 2-3 hours

When the sun sets in Bangkok, the city takes on a whole new life with its bustling night markets. These sprawling bazaars, illuminated under the soft glow of hanging lanterns, create a surreal and charming atmosphere, resonating with the city’s pulsating energy.

Walking through the maze of stalls selling everything from vintage clothes, handcrafted souvenirs, to exotic homewares, the Bangkok Night Market is a shopper’s paradise and a treasure trove for bargain hunters.

Foodies will be in heaven with the numerous food stalls, where you can try local delicacies and street food like grilled seafood, Pad Thai, mango sticky rice, and more. With live music playing in the background and a jovial crowd, the night market offers not just shopping and food, but an immersive cultural experience.

• •• ••• Day Three ••• •• •

Today is about delving into the city’s rich historical and cultural tapestry, exploring the architectural marvels and artistic splendors that dot its landscape.

Your first destination is the magnificent Erawan Museum, followed by a stroll through the Ancient City. Each stop is a step back in time, a walk through centuries of history and tradition.

Erawan Museum

Erawan Museum

  • Opening Times: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Admission Cost: 400 Baht for adults (~$12)
  • Dress Code: Respectful attire covering shoulders and knees
  • Suggested Time Spent: 1-2 hours

Your journey in Bangkok wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Erawan Museum, a remarkable architectural marvel that houses a range of exquisite antiques and art pieces.

The museum’s main attraction is the gigantic three-headed elephant statue, standing an impressive 95 feet (29 meters) high and weighing over 250 tons, adorning its exterior. This iconic symbol blends the line between the spiritual and the artistic, embodying a profound representation of the Thai cosmos.

Once inside, you’ll be awestruck by the museum’s exquisite interior, divided into three levels representing the underworld, earth, and heaven in Thai cosmology. Each section is adorned with intricate carvings, stucco work, and glass mosaics, exuding an aura of mysticism.

The wide array of religious artifacts and antiquities, each with a story to tell, provides a fascinating peek into the country’s spiritual heritage. 

Ancient City (Muang Boran)

Ancient City (Muang Boran)

thai temple thailand
  • Opening Times: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Admission Cost: 700 Baht for adults (~$21)
  • Dress Code: Casual, comfortable wear for exploring
  • Suggested Time Spent: 3-5 hours

Experience the essence of Thailand’s history and culture, all in one place, at the Ancient City, also known as Muang Boran.

This expansive open-air museum, sprawling over 300 acres, houses an impressive collection of full-size and scaled-down replicas of Thailand’s most important historical sites and architectural wonders. Wander through ancient palaces, explore old market towns, and admire stunning temples, each structure narrating a fascinating tale from Thailand’s rich past.

The park’s enormous size offers an immersive journey through time and space, providing a remarkable snapshot of Thailand’s architectural diversity and heritage.

Whether you’re marveling at the majestic Dusit Maha Prasat Palace or the tranquil floating markets, the Ancient City offers a unique chance to travel across Thailand without leaving Bangkok.

Getting Around in the Ancient City

Navigating this sprawling museum can be an adventure in itself. Here’s a handy guide to help you explore:

  • Walking: The park is free to explore on foot, but given its large size, this could be quite tiring.
  • Group Buses: For those who prefer a more leisurely tour, hop-on, hop-off trams are available, included in your admission ticket.
  • Bike Rentals: If you’re up for a bit of exercise, bicycles are available for rent at 50 Baht (~$1.5) per day. All you need is a valid ID for the deposit.
  • Golf Cart Rentals: For families or those preferring a private tour, golf carts can be rented for 350 Baht (~$10) for the initial hour and then another 100 baht per additional hour. You’ll need a valid driver’s license and a deposit.

Each mode of transportation offers a unique perspective of this living museum, allowing you to absorb the sights and experiences at your own pace. Enjoy your time-traveling adventure through Thailand’s architectural history in the Ancient City.

Enjoy your three-day Bangkok adventure!

Enjoy your three-day Bangkok adventure!

As your captivating three-day adventure in Bangkok concludes, it’s time to bid adieu to this dynamic city that touched your heart with its charm and spirit.

Each day introduced you to a different rhythm of the city–from spiritual sanctuaries and majestic architecture to a culinary symphony and a journey through time.

Three days in Bangkok will leave you with a treasure trove of memories, experiences, and stories to share. Here’s to your spirit of adventure and the countless journeys yet to come.

Happy travels!

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