Bangkok was the first destination of our Southeast Asian summer trip. Bangkok is one of the hearts of Southeast Asia, known for its vibrant street life, delicious cuisine, beautiful temples, and of course, the chaos on the roads. We decided to spend more time in other cities in Southeast Asia such as Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang, and Hanoi, but we managed a full day in Bangkok.
This guide will give you everything my family and I did while visiting this lively city.
The night before our big day in Bangkok, we ate at Thipsamai, the most famous Pad Thai place in Bangkok. The dish is one of my personal favorites, and of course, Thipsamai made it perfectly. The whole experience of the restaurant made it even better; waiting in the giant line, squeezing into a packed, steaming-hot seating area, and enjoying my Pad Thai with all of the locals who had the same idea.
A Full Day in Bangkok
Grand Palace + Emerald Buddha
The Grand Palace of Bangkok is probably the most extraordinary complex of buildings I’ve seen in my life. Consisting of countless impressive structures, we needed a few hours to explore everything. It’s truly hard to put into words just how incredible all of the tilework and architecture was. I loved standing up close to the walls of the temples and seeing how meticulous each and every one of the tiles was placed to create the elaborate mosaics.
The famous Emerald Buddha was in the beautiful temple, Wat Phra Kaew. It was certainly small, but luminous sitting perched up on its golden chair. The inside of the buddha’s temple was decorated to perfection, with many golden frames holding pictures of past kings and queens, and other remarkable ancient Thai ornaments.
A quick walk from the Grand Palace, Wat Pho is yet another beautiful temple containing a buddha. But in this case, it contained a massive buddha. A buddha that was, in fact, laying down. The famous Temple of the Reclining Buddha was architected incredibly; not as elaborately as the Grand Palace, but still amazing. The golden buddha itself was 46 meters long and located in the main building.
There’s a traditional Thai massage school right next to Wat Po that is a necessity after walking around temples for hours. It’s a very down-to-earth, “no-frills” place and smells strongly of tiger balm, which is all part of the awesome experience. I had a fantastic massage.
Jim Thompson House
On this outing, it was just my mom that went. Burnt from our big morning, my sister and I decided to stay back and chill before our adventures later. Though I didn’t go, my mom came back having loved the house, claiming it was so beautiful and nice to walk around. Take her advice and include the Jim Thompson House in your Bangkok itinerary!
Bangkok Night Tour by Bike
Pedaling down Bangkok’s hectic roads at night might not seem like the greatest idea, but through Grasshopper Adventures it absolutely was. It was especially cool to ride through tight, secret alleyways and experience the city from the point of view of a local. After biking and taking a quick ferry to the other side of the Chao Phraya River, we began our tour at Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn. It was illuminated and glowing as the sun was setting, and all-around gorgeous. We practically had the place to ourselves too!
After Wat Arun, we rode to the nearby flower market. We wandered around the market full of bustling locals, learned how to traditionally fold a lotus flower, and ate some delicious street food for dinner. I had a handful of Gai and Moo Bing (pork and chicken skewers) and also some incredible mango sticky rice!
Lastly, we wove through many residential neighborhoods to reach Wat Pho, which we had visited earlier in broad daylight. To be at the famous temple at night without anyone else there was magical. Our guide taught us about the history of the landmark, when it was built, and how it’s the oldest temple in all of Bangkok.
That sums up my full day in Bangkok! It was an incredible place to visit and I hope this guide helps you plan your trip in the city!