One day in Bangkok Itinerary – The Top Things to See in a Day
Can you really see Bangkok in one day? You can certainly try! Thailand’s capital is an endless metropolis of things to see and experience. So much so, you’ll need a month to see if fully! However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time in a short amount of time. If you’re visiting the city for a layover and want to sample Bangkok’s delights rather than stay in an airport hotel for a day, you’ve come to the right place.
In our one day in Bangkok itinerary, we cover some of the best things to see in a single day. We’ve tried to include a good mix of the modern city with the history and culture of the old town. We’ve also made sure you’ll get to experience Bangkok’s amazing food and drink scene.
Read on for planning inspiration for your Bangkok one day trip.
Arriving into Bangkok
You’ll most likely arrive into Bangkok via one of the two main airports; Bangkok Suvarnabhumi for international flights, or Bangkok Don Muang Airport if travelling from another part of Thailand or South-East Asia. The good news is; both airports aren’t too far from the city centre.
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
As Bangkok’s biggest airport (it’s in the world’s top 10 for passenger numbers), Suvarnabhumi airport is an experience in itself. As you’re only visiting for a short amount of time, you’ll want to head out of the terminal as soon as possible. The best and quickest ways of reaching Bangkok city centre are:
Airport Rail Link train – Jump on this quick and affordable train to Phaya Thai station and you’ll reach the city centre in around 35-minutes. You’ll then need to use public transport to start your Bangkok adventure.
An airport taxi – A costlier but convenient way of getting into town is an official city taxi. Simply hop in a car at the airport terminal and give the taxi coordinators your destination. Taxis are usually the quickest option for short one day trips in Bangkok. However, they might take longer than the Airport Rail Link in rush hour.
Bangkok Don Muang Airport
Don Muang is a little closer to the city than Suvarnabhumi. However, it doesn’t have the fast Airport Rail Link. The best ways to get from Don Muang to the city centre are:
Bus shuttle – A very cheap public bus operates at the airport, but figuring it out and stopping at all the stops can waste time. Therefore, the official airport shuttle bus is a much quicker option. Four bus routes operate from the airport to the city (A1 to A4) depending on where you want to go. It only takes around 30-minutes to get into town once you’re on the bus.
An airport tax – Jump in a cab at the airport and head south to the city centre. The journey only takes around 30-minutes so you won’t waste time on your day trip. Again, this is dependent on Bangkok traffic.
The perfect one day in Bangkok itinerary for first time visitors
In a single day in Bangkok, you’re going to want to see some of the city’s top attractions. You’re also going to want to experience different areas of Bangkok, but you won’t want to waste much time travelling around. Time is precious! Therefore, we’ve split our itinerary into two sections. In the morning, you’ll cover the old town of Bangkok, with its many temples, river views and markets.
The afternoon of the one day in Bangkok itinerary is in the busy and modern centre, Sukhumvit, with its tall skyscrapers and epic food scene.
Wat Pho – Head straight from the airport to Wat Pho, one of Bangkok’s iconic temples. If getting a taxi from the airport, set Wat Pho as your destination. If you’ve chosen the Airport Rail Link, stay on the train until Petchaburi BTS station, then switch to the BTS underground metro (blue line). You can then ride to metro system to Sanam Chai station, which is right next to the temple.
Wat Pho is not one temple but a complex of several. Each building has a grand, unique design, with ornate golden furnishings and statues on every corner. The highlight of any visit to Wat Pho is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. As its name suggests, this temple houses a huge 46-metre-long Buddha statue that’s lying down. This complex is the perfect introduction to Bangkok temples!
The Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha – From Wat Pho, walk 10-minutes to the Grand Palace. This is the former royal residence of Thai kings, which is now regarded as Thailand’s biggest tourist attraction. Four large white walls surround the palace complex, with guards on every gate. Inside, you’ll find neatly manicured gardens, beautiful palace buildings and some of the best architecture in Thailand.
In addition to the palace, the grounds also house The Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This is said to be one of Thailand’s most beautiful temples.
Wat Arun – We’re not done with temples just yet! From the Grand Palace, cross the river on a 2-minute ferry crossing to Wat Arun. Completely different to the other temples so far, Arun is a towering collection of intricate, pointed pagodas. Its river-side location is one of Thailand’s most popular postcard pictures, and we can see why.
Inside the temple grounds, you can wander around the gardens, climb up the turreted walkways and admire the views of the river. Wat Arun marks the end of your introduction to Bangkok’s temples. You would have seen three of Bangkok’s most impressive buildings in a single morning!
Chaophraya boat ride – To explore other areas of Bangkok, you’re going to want to do it in style. From Wat Arun, board the Chaophraya ferry boat and head east of the river to Chinatown. The river is an iconic hub of Bangkok that has been important to the city for centuries. Even today, it’s a busy transport network with goods arriving and departing, and locals catching a ferry to beat road traffic.
A boat ride down the Chaophraya is a cool experience in itself! It’s also a very cheap one; tickets only cost a few Baht.
Chinatown – Once you arrive at Chinatown, take a deep breath, stand still, and get ready to be immersed into the chaos of Bangkok life. This area of Bangkok is one of the busiest in the city, filled with cars, mopeds, street stalls, shops, restaurants, markets and much more. It’s alive and noisy no matter the hour. It’s also a great place to just sit back and soak in the atmosphere.
In addition to the hustle and bustle, one of the best reasons to visit Chinatown during your 1 day trip in Bangkok itinerary is the food. You have countless street-food stalls selling BBQ meat skewers, Chinese and Thai stir fries, and lots of unique drinks and snacks. You then have an endless selection of restaurants to choose from. Take a well-earned break from sightseeing and indulge in Bangkok’s cuisine.
After a well-earned rest and refuel, jump in a taxi (or a Tuk Tuk if you dare) and head onward to Sukhumvit, the modern heart of Bangkok’s city centre. You can either wave a taxi down if a red light is showing, or find a taxi line in Chinatown. Siam Square is your next destination!
Siam Square – When you arrive at Siam Square, you might be a little confused. This area appears much like the streets of Tokyo or Seoul, with its high-rise buildings, bright neon lights and countless shops and restaurants. It’s a hip and trendy place to explore for any visitor! We recommend walking around and exploring Siam Square at your leisure. Pop into shops that catch your eye or simply walk and be amazed.
There’s often live music events, pop-up entertainment stalls and many more quirky happenings that are apparent with Asian big city life.
Check out a huge shopping mall – You can’t visit Bangkok and not experience one of its huge shopping malls. These places are ginormous! They boast multiple floors, countless shops and restaurants, and quirky stalls and attractions. When it comes to malls, there are plenty to choose from in the Sukhumvit area.
Seeing as you’re already in Siam Square, we recommend checking out MBK Mall, Siam Paragon or CentralWorld. All three shopping destinations are walking distance of each other. You may even have time to visit a couple of them; each mall is completely different.
The Sukhumvit streets – Wandering the busy streets of Sukhumvit is an attraction in itself! The metropolitan area has art exhibits, bright advertisement boards, street stalls, pop-up attractions, live music, shops, bars, cafes and so much more. Spend time simply getting lost on foot. Sit down in a café and people watch or check out some weird and wonderful exhibits.
Visit a rooftop bar and restaurant – What better way to end your day trip in Bangkok than a view from one of its towering rooftop bars? Also known as Sky-bars, these cool bars with a view are scattered throughout the Sukhumvit area. They’re in hotels, shopping malls and as part of restaurants. There’s nothing quite like seeing the sun go down from above the city streets.
That wraps up our 1 day trip in Bangkok itinerary. As you can see, the day is loaded with different attractions, but if you start first thing on a morning, you should be able to see everything on our list and still have time to rest. Visiting Bangkok for a half day? Simply remove attractions and build a custom itinerary, using ours for inspiration.
Where to stay for your one day in Bangkok day trip
The perfect place to stay in Bangkok for your 1 day trip will all depend on how long you have in the city and the time of your flight the next morning. We recommend one of the following options. There’s pros and cons for each.
Area 1 – Lat Krabang – Near Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
Lat Karabang is only a 5-minute taxi ride from the main international airport terminal. It’s an affordable place to stay with some excellent shopping malls, restaurants and hotels. As it’s so close to the airport, it’s a good option for those that have an early flight the next day. It’s also great for budget travellers that want to save money. You can use the quick Airport Rail Link train to get to the city centre in only 30-minutes.
Our Lat Krabang hotel recommendations:
Area 2 – Sukhumvit (near Phaya Thai station)
If you have the entire day in Bangkok, or a little longer, or want to stay in the heart of everything, a hotel near Phaya Thai train station in Sukhumvit is an excellent option. As mentioned in our intro, the Airport Rail Link train is a quick way of getting to the city centre. It only takes 35-minutes! Therefore, staying near Phaya Thai station gives you a quick and easy way to get back to the airport the next day.
The west Sukhumvit area has countless skyscraper hotels for every budget. You have luxury 5-star hotels with amazing views, food and experiences. You then have budget-friendly options a short walk from major attractions.
Our Sukhumvit hotel recommendations (near Phaya Thai station):
Our top tips for your one day trip in Bangkok
- Heading out to explore straight from the airport? Pack a day-bag with a change of clothes and other essentials. You can then drop your bags off at the hotel and head straight to the city streets.
- Save time during your one day in Bangkok day trip by having lunch on the go. There are countless snack stalls and grab-and-go counters in all of the areas we’ve mentioned. Snack along the way and it’ll keep you going all day!
- Download Google Maps (and an offline version if you won’t have internet access). You can then save the attractions we’ve mentioned as pins. This makes getting around Bangkok much easier. You can travel between attractions quickly and won’t taste time getting lost.
- Would you like to slow the pace down a little bit? Spend more time in each attraction by removing some of our itinerary suggestions.
- If you have internet access and aren’t confident using Bangkok’s local transport system, download the ‘Bolt’ or ‘Grab’ apps. These taxi booking apps work just like Uber. You’ll be quoted a set fee and will usually be able to pay by credit card.
- Are you arriving into Bangkok from another country and need cash? Whilst some places accept credit/debit card in Bangkok, cash really is king here. We recommend bringing along plenty of cash in your own currency and then converting it at one of the many currency conversion booths. You’ll find these in the airports, but also in shopping malls and near tourist attractions.
- On a similar note, make sure you have enough cash on you to last the day. We recommend around 2500 baht per person, but it’ll all depend on how much you want to spend on food.
- Use taxis or Tuk Tuks to get around during your one day in Bangkok itinerary. It’s quick, easy and you want to save as much time as possible for exploring.
Thanks for reading our one day trip in Bangkok itinerary. We hope we inspired you with plenty of things to do for your fleeting visit. As we’ve hopefully shown, you can see a lot of the city in a single day. Sure, you’ll be tired at the end of the day, but you’ll also have a great experience of one of Asia’s most captivating cities. Do you have any questions about our 1 day Bangkok itinerary? Be sure to post a comment below. 😊
By RickyAuthor bio:
An adventurer at heart that loves anything outdoors. Beaches, mountains and amazing scenery is everything I love about travel! I also enjoy home comforts and need a nice place to relax and re-charge after every trip.