The Best 2 day Bangkok Itinerary

The Best 2 day Bangkok Itinerary

Bangkok, Thailand is a massive and expansive city that has so many tourist spots and things to do.

We spent 10 total days in Thailand, but this 2-day Bangkok itinerary was perfect to see all the Bangkok, Thailand tourist spots including the Palace, temples, and more.

Since we flew into and out of Bangkok, we split up our trip and spent 2 full days there before flying to Chiang Mai as well as 1 full day there after our time in Koh Phi Phi (and preceding our flight back home).

To see the full Thailand vacation itinerary, click here.

Psst:  We have a few of guides on Thailand. Browse them here or see some of the most popular posts below:

This post was originally published in August 2018, and was updated in October 2022.

Is 2 days in Bangkok enough?

2 days in Bangkok is doable, but we would recommend more time if you can. We did it in 2 days and saw everything we wanted to see — but, we did have to make some tough decisions on what to miss. 

What are the top 5 places to visit in Bangkok? 

The way we rank top places to visit is whether or not we’d go back again.

Our top 5 places to visit in Bangkok:

    1. Wat Pho
    2. The Grand Palace
    3. Wat Arun
    4. The Floating Market via longboat tour
    5. Experience the nightlife (rooftop bar or Khao San Road)

We know the last one isn’t a “place”, but honestly, the Bangkok nightlife cannot be missed!

Things to know before you visit Thailand

Bangkok thailand things to know

There are a few things to know before you visit Thailand and we wished we learned them prior to our arrival. 

1 – Spicy food is friggin’ spicy. 

You probably know Thai food can be spicy, but their version of mild might just light your mouth on fire. The first phrase we learned in Thai was “not spicy”, which is ไม่เผ็ด.  It’s pronounced “my pet”. Learn it and save yourself some serious heartburn. 

2 – Not showing knees / shoulders at temples is very real.

We cover it later in this article, but seriously, they won’t let you in. Make sure you pack something that covers both or be prepared to buy pants and wraps from the vendors on the street. 

3 – Durian isn’t for the faint of heart. 

Durian is this crazy fruit-looking thing that we’ve never seen anywhere before we got to Bangkok. Most hotels ban you from bringing it in and for good reason – it smells AWFUL. Like “a dirty gym bag that had curdled milk sitting in a hot car during the summer” awful. 

Long story short, we purchased a slice at the floating market just to try.  We both took a bite. And I’m pretty sure we physically gagged/spit it out immediately. Try at your own risk. 

Where to Stay in Bangkok

View from our balcony at the Mayfair, Bangkok - Marriott Executive Apartments Thailand

View from our balcony at Marriot Suites

We used Bangkok as our main airport for international flights in and out of Thailand so we stayed in Bangkok for 2 nights on the front of our itinerary and 1 night the night before we flew home.

Here are the two hotels we personally stayed in.

Mayfair, Bangkok Marriot Executive Suites

We chose the Mayfair, Bangkok – Marriott Executive Apartments because we were traveling with another couple who wanted to use their Marriot points (fine by us).

We booked a 2-bedroom/2-bathroom suite to allow us some space to get in and settled after traveling for more than 14 hours (trust us, you’ll need a nap).

In Bangkok during off-season, it’s apparently normal to be upgraded for free at hotels and this is exactly what happened to us.

Welcome to a 3-bed/3-bath suite with a private balcony!

It was walkable to some beer bars and we really enjoyed this neighborhood.

 

Dream Hotel Bangkok

Dream Hotel Bangkok Thailand

For our last night in Bangkok (at the end of our itinerary), we switched hotels to the Dream Hotel.

This is a super trendy and modern hotel and again, we were upgraded rooms for free.

Map of Bangkok itinerary

Click the interactive map below!

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: To view the layers and see the names of the places on this map, click the tab in the top left corner. You can select the check marks to show or hide certain layers. If you select the icons on the map, you will get more information about the point of interest.

HOW TO SAVE THIS MAP: If you select the star icon next to the map name, you can save this map to your Google Maps account. To view it, open Google Maps in desktop or on your phone, select the menu button, go to “Your Places,” scroll to the right to Maps, and you will see this map.

Day 1 in Bangkok itinerary

  • Wat Pho – Temple of Reclining Buddha
  • The Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew – Temple of the Emerald Buddha
  • Giant Swing (Sao Ching Cha)
  • Rooftop Bars

Wat Pho – Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Thailand - Wat Pho
  • Cost: Entry to the temple is 100 baht ($3 U.S.) and is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You can hire an English speaking guide for 200-400 Baht or wander around on your own.
  • Dress code: Shoulders and knees must be covered for both women and men and you will have to remove your shoes in the actual temple.

The temple’s official name is Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn (in Thai: วัดพระเชตุพนวิมลมังคลารามราชวรมหาวิหาร), but since that’s apparently a mouthful for tourists, it’s known as Wat Pho.

Wat Pho houses a 50-foot tall (15 meters) by 150-foot long (46 meters), gold-leaf reclining Buddha statue, as well as the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand.

This Buddha feels like he is crammed into the building because he is encaged with large colorful columns.

Reclining Buddha thailand

It’s important to note that the Thai Buddha is not the same as the Chinese Buddha. In the Western World, the Chinese Buddha is more commonly known as the ‘fat Buddha’ or the ‘laughing Buddha’.

However, the Thai Buddha is much thinner and taller, so all of the Thai temples will pay respect to him.

Thai buddha
Bangkok wat pho

While the highlight attraction is the Reclining Buddha, you can easily spend an hour walking around here looking at all the Buddha murals and taking in the Chinese garden, making this our number 1 stop on our Bangkok Itinerary!

The Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew

The Grand Palace - 2 days in Bangkok Thailand
  • Cost: Entry to the Grand Palace is 500 baht ($15 U.S) and it’s open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Dress Code: There is a very strict dress code here requiring shoulders and knees to be covered. See-through clothing and wraps are not permitted so don’t bring a shawl or wrap. Also, you must have arm holes in your shirt.

A ten-minute walk from Wat Pho, this is a must-see! Built in 1782, the Grand Palace was home to the Royal family, court, and government for over 150 years.

It houses several impressive structures, including Wat Phra Kaew, Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

A small, yet famous Emerald Buddha that dates back to the 14th century sits atop of a large throne inside the temple. You won’t be able to get very close, so prepare to use the zoom function on your camera.

bangkok palace

When you first walk in, you are struck by the overwhelming amount of gold and numerous Buddhas, not to mention large serpents, jeweled soldiers, and other miscellaneous statues.

The intricacy of the buildings is breathtaking and the craftsmanship leaves visitors in awe. We definitely were!

Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand building

Wat Phra Kaew is located in the far outer corner of the grounds and is regarded as the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand. The Emerald Buddha is carved from a single block of jade (emerald).  Keep in mind that it is considered disrespectful to face your feet towards Buddha so be sure to angle your feet away.

Continue meandering through the palace and you’ll see the Royal Reception Halls where, if open, you can visit the throne room.

Giant Swing (Sao Ching Cha)

Giant Swing

This is another 10 minutes from the grounds of The Grand Palace.  Built in 1784, this tall, red religious structure was historically used in Brahmin swing ceremonies.

After walking around for a little while longer, we opted to go back to the hotel for a nap before heading out to dinner.

 

Take a tuk-tuk Ride

tuk-tuk thailand
tuk-tuk thailand

What is a tuk-tuk, you ask? It’s essentially a 3-wheeled go-cart, or at least it feels like it when you are riding it. These 2-4 person carts zoom in and out of traffic in an open-air seating. It’s wild. It’s fun. And it’s sometimes terrifying. But it is an absolute must-do in Thailand!

Rooftop Bars

Saffron Sky Garden Bangkok Thailand

No one does rooftop bars better than Thailand. Take a tuk-tuk to Vertigo and Moon Bar to grab drinks on a rooftop bar.

When we went, the Moon Bar closed due to bad weather; however, their Saffron Sky Garden on the 52nd floor was open. Even at nighttime, the striking view of Bangkok’s city skyline was astounding.

Grab a drink and pork skewer while you take in the view.

Needing a night cap, we found ourselves at The Beer Bridge near our Marriot hotel.  We enjoyed the local scene outside on their large patio, taking in the sounds of karaoke and laughter while savoring delicious local beer.

beer bridge bangkok

Day 2 in Bangkok itinerary

  • Wat Arun – Temple of Dawn
  • Longboat Tour to a Floating Market
  • Shopping at MBK Center
  • Chinatown
  • Khao San Road

Finding the Dock to Wat Arun and Longboat tours

Tucked away down an alley between Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, you’ll find the dock for the ferry to Wat Arun.

We decided to cover this because we walked around for 15 minutes unable to locate it. Legit, we walked past the alley a solid 4 times. Save yourself the embarrassment, use Google Maps, search for the “Tha Tien” Pier.

Stop and grab some food at one of the street vendors here.

It was quite delicious! We tried the mystery fried balls at the far bottom left of the below photo. We have NO idea what the hell we ate. It could have been chicken, could have been something else. We asked, but we’ll never know. But it was yummy nonetheless.

street food bangkok

Side note: this alley was the cheapest place we found on our entire trip for elephant pants. If you see everyone wearing them and want a pair, head to this alley here. 

Wat Arun – Temple of Dawn

Wat Arun bangkok thailand

  • Cost: Entry to Wat Arun is 100 baht ($3 U.S.) and is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Dress Code: As with all the temples, shoulders and knees must be covered.

Directly opposite of Wat Pho, you can take a 3-minute boat ride (3 baht/$.92 U.S.) across the river from Tha Tien Pier to explore this marvel.

Once across, enjoy strolling through the lush garden before entering the temple. Today, with the restoration complete, you can climb the central prang. 

However, the steps are incredibly steep and going down is just as tricky as up!

Wat Arun Bangkok Thailand

Located on the other side of the Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun rests on the west bank encrusted with colorful porcelain.

Over 200 feet (60 meters) tall, this stunning temple is a very different design compared to other temples you will visit in Thailand.

Constructed during 16th century, Wat Arun derived its name from the Hindu god Aruna, who is personified as a red glow from the rising sun.

If you have time, add watching the sunrise from Wat Arun to your Bangkok itinerary!

There is a souvenir market located inside the temple. The prices aren’t the worst, but there are cheaper places in Bangkok to pick up trinkets or gifts!

 

Longboat River Cruise to a Floating Market

longboat tour

Cost: We paid 800 baht ($25 U.S.) per person for a 1.5-hour cruise with a 40 minute stop at a “floating market”.

This cruise takes you on the river and through canals which gives you a peek into the local life in Bangkok.

If you’ve done any research into Bangkok, you’ve read about the Floating Market.

It’s important to note that there are a variety of “floating markets”.

The one you’ve likely read about is outside of Bangkok and only open on particular days. The other type of floating market is a literal market that is on a series of docks – hence, floating.

Make sure you know this before going, otherwise you might be let down. (Also, make sure you add the appropriate amount of time for the other floating market to your Bangkok Itinerary. It’s 45 minutes away.)

Longboat, Bangkok Thailand

The floating market was primarily food and plants but did have some clothing, too.

floating market bangkok

Shopping

After the long boat cruise, we were inspired to go shopping, so we grabbed an Uber to the MBK Center. Here, we found a massive mall (really more of an indoor flea market) with tons of vendors scattered through 6 floors.

NOTE: The higher you climb, the cheaper the prices get.

Go to the 6th floor for some incredible deals.

We got 6 shot glasses for 350 baht ($10 U.S.). And don’t be afraid to bargain or haggle.

They love it!

Chinatown

Chinatown Bangkok, Thailand

If chaos could be captured in a photo, it was in Chinatown.

Hundreds of people crowded the streets seeking out Thai street vendors and yummy street food.

And because that wasn’t chaotic enough, there was a loud Chinese parade in the street with a marching band and firecracker show that lit up the street.

Chinatown Bangkok

Khao San Road

According to thetravelluster.com, “this is the place where East meets West. This is the place where tourists and locals come to party.

If you’ve seen The Hangover 2, you’ve seen this place. This is the place for nightlife.”

khaosan road bangkok

Unfortunately, we didn’t fit this in at night, but have been told by countless travelers this is a must-do in Bangkok for nightlife.

 

Getting to Don Mueng Airport to go to Chiang Mai

The Don Mueng Airport is 30 minutes north of the city and only costs about 200 baht ($6.15 U.S.) via taxi with the meter plus tolls.

This airport, while clean and organized, was absolute confusion for tourists.

After going through the wrong line, twice, we found our counter and checked our bags.

As we were pushed for time, we grabbed Subway once through security and took the hour plane ride to Chiang Mai.

Overview – 2 day Bangkok itinerary

All in all, Bangkok is a busy city with lots to explore. From temples to street food, you can easily spend a week here and not see everything it has to offer.

If you are there for a limited amount of time, then this 2-day Bangkok Itinerary is perfect for you. 

We loved it and will be back to explore with more time on our hands!

For more information on Thailand, check out:

What to do in Chiang Mai Thailand by BoozingAbroad
Things to do in Koh Phi Phi Thailand by BoozingAbroad
Captain Bob’s Booze Cruise – Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

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Samantha & Chris

Samantha and Chris fell in love with traveling together back in 2015. They met, married, and lived together in Richmond, VA for 7 years before becoming full-time travelers in 2020.

Along the way, they’ve traveled to over 40 U.S. states and 20 countries while drinking local beers, wines, and spirits during their journeys.

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