With 2 days in Bangkok, you have just enough time to squeeze in a few of the city’s best attractions and soak up the frenetic pace. In this post we share the best things to do in Bangkok and then help you plan your perfect Bangkok itinerary.
- How to Use this Guide to 2 Days in Bangkok
- How Many Days in Bangkok is Enough?
- What you Must Do in Bangkok
- Bangkok Museums & Galleries
- Bangkok Day Tours and Other Activities
- Parks & Outdoor Activities
- Off-Beat Activities
- What to do in Bangkok at Night
- Mindful Activities in Bankgok
- What to Eat in Bangkok
- Where to Stay in Bankgok for Two Days
- Useful Apps for Travel in Bangkok
- Bangkok Itinerary 2 Days
- Bangkok Itinerary 3 Days
While it’s not the craziest city we’ve been to (that’s Jakarta), Bangkok is high on the list. And boy, is it ever a city of contrasts.
Outside, heat pours off concrete and it only takes a few seconds for tourists to be soaked in sweat. Step inside almost anywhere and the air conditioning is so cold you’ll wish you’d brought a sweater.
For a little spiritual expansion, linger in a hidden corner of Wat Pho or gaze on one of the many magnificent Buddha statues in the city. The sacred halls of Bangkok’s shopping malls are equally sparkly and shiny — but prayers are paid for with cold hard cash.
The streets are either miles wide with bumper-to-bumper traffic, or winding and narrow, with scooters flying by uncomfortably close.
You can eat a full meal for a couple of dollars in a night market and then lay down a month’s rent for for a few cocktails in a rooftop bar.
During a boat ride on the Chao Phraya river, you’ll see luxury hotels cheek-by-jowl with shacks made of reclaimed wood and corrugated steel. It’s as though some all-powerful being dropped a modern metropolis right on top of a pre-industrial city.
Any way you tackle it, it’s guaranteed to blow your mind.
Read on for your guide to…
2 Days in Bangkok
How to Use this Guide to 2 Days in Bangkok
Since there is so much variety in Bangkok and no two travellers want exactly the same thing from their visit, our guide to 2 days in Bangkok is a little different than most.
I’m not going to tell you exactly what to do in Bangkok for two days.
Instead, I’m suggesting the most interesting (not always the most popular) things to do in Bangkok in categories like museums, parks, mindful activities, and tours.
Use my suggestions, along with our free Bangkok trip planner, to create your own customized Bangkok 2-day itinerary.
However, if you’re in a real hurry and trust my taste implicitly, at the end of this post I share our suggested 2-day itinerary and an option for a third day. You can start with our itinerary as a template and then build from there.
How Many Days in Bangkok is Enough?
The number of days you should spend in Bangkok depends on what type of traveller you are.
As digital nomads, we just spent 10 days in Bangkok. It was fine for us, since we spent at least half that time working. If you’re on holiday, 10 days will be too long!
How many days you should spend in Bangkok will depend on several variables:
- How long is your overall trip?
- Are you a city person?
- Is this your first time in Bangkok?
Though Bangkok is mind-blowing, it’s not our favourite Asian city and it can be overwhelming.
(Overwhelmed with Bangkok? Why not head to Koh Lanta?)
If you have a short trip or you’re not a city person, you can safely minimize your time in Bangkok without regrets. Just spend 2 days and then move on to other destinations in Thailand.
If it’s your first time in Bangkok, if you love cities, or you want to experience the city a little more deeply, spend a few more days.
- 2 days in Bangkok is enough if you want to briefly experience the craziness, see a few big sights, and then get out.
- 3 days in Bangkok will give you enough time to add a more in-depth, off-the-beaten track activity to your itinerary.
- 4 days in Bangkok (or more) will really let you experience the city, get into the nightlife, and maybe add a day trip to your itinerary.
What you Must Do in Bangkok
I hate to call anything a “must do” activity, because we are often disappointed by the most popular tourist activities in a destination. So if these three sound dull to you, don’t do them.
Just know they qualify as the big Bangkok sights, and missing them is akin to missing the Sistine Chapel in Rome or the Great Wall in Beijing.
1–2 hours, 250 THB, book a tour online
Most visits to Bangkok start at Wat Pho — and for good reason. Not only is it one of Thailand’s most important Royal temples, but it is home to the reclining Buddha, a 46-metre golden statue.
Many visitors just pop in to see the Buddha, discover how hard it is to capture the giant on camera, and then leave. This means that the rest of the beautiful temple is relatively quiet and well worth your time to wander, soak up the atmosphere, and even take a few minutes to meditate in a quiet courtyard.
Pro tip: Wat Pho is best visited first thing in the morning before it gets too hot and crowded. Also, do not enter with exposed shoulders and wear, at minimum, shorts or a skirt that reaches the knee. Better still, wear a long skirt or pants.
The Grand Palace
1–3 hours, 500 THB, book a tour online
The Grand Palace might be Thailand’s most-visited attraction and, as such, we have never been there.
(See, it’s perfectly OK to skip a “must-do”.)
However, our ornery anti-tourist stance has probably done us a disservice in this case, because The Grand Palace is an impressive sight housing spectacular examples of Thai architecture, sculpture, and art.
The Grand Palace is also home to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (aka Wat Phra Kaew). This magnificent Buddha is carved from a single piece of jade and is said to be Thailand’s most sacred Buddha sculpture.
Shopping in Sukhumvit
Spend as long and as much as you like!
It’s weird to feature shopping as a top sight, I know, but in Bangkok, the malls are unmissable. Even if you hate shopping (hello, me too!), you’ll undoubtedly end up in a Sukhumvit mall to eat, head to the movies, or just get relief from Bangkok’s oppressive heat.
And if you love shopping, welcome to nirvana! Some of the most impressive shopping cathedrals in Bangkok are Siam Paragon, CentralWorld, and the sparkling new Iconsiam.
Bangkok Museums & Galleries
Bangkok National Museum
2–3 hours, 200 Baht
If you’re fascinated by the history of Thailand’s Royal family, or you just want a peaceful place to wander away from Bangkok’s noisy streets, then the Bangkok National Museum is a good place to go. It houses some of Thailand’s most important Buddha statues, plus statues of Hindu deities from the region’s pre-Buddhism days.
There are lots of displays to interest Royal Family buffs, too, including royal clothing, royal funeral carriages, and a collection of weapons and swords.
As with any museum like this, it’s always more interesting if you take a tour. Free guided tours are start at 9:30 a.m. in English and French on Wednesdays and Thursdays, in Japanese on Wednesdays only, and in German on Thursdays.
Jim Thompson House
2 hours, 200 Baht, book a tour online
An American silk magnate who made his fortune selling Thai silks at horrendously inflated prices (one can only assume) around the world, Jim Thompson used his accrued fortune to create an impressive collection of Asian art and artefacts. These are now on display at Jim Thompson House.
Thompson’s story has a mysterious end; in 1967 he disappeared without at trace on a visit to the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. His house has been kept exactly the way it was the day he left and is a chance to experience Thai architecture and the design aesthetic of the time.
You can’t wander unaccompanied, but guided tours are provided throughout the day in Thai, English, French Chinese and Japanese.
Art in Paradise Museum
1–2 hours, 300 THB, book ahead online
Bangkok’s Art in Paradise Museum is strictly for those who like a quirky experience, where you become an integral part of the art.
This 3D art “museum” lets you experience all the adventures you want — surfing, swimming with sharks, crossing a rickety Indiana Jones-style rope bridge, trekking in the jungle — all without leaving the air-conditioned comfort of the museum.
Perfect for a rainy day with kids or a cheesy series of Instagram photos.
Bangkok Day Tours and Other Activities
Taking a day tour is a great way to make the most of your 2 days in Bangkok. A tour will allow you to see and understand more, more quickly, than if you were to go on your own. It’s also a little less exhausting than trying to figure everything out for yourself.
Bangkok Canal Boat & Bike Tour
1 day, 2400 THB
To be honest, the idea going on a bike tour in Bangkok freaked me out at first. I mean, have you seen the traffic?!?
But, we couldn’t pass up the chance to cycle in one of the biggest and most populated cities in the world. To hedge our bets, we opted for a tour that also included a canal boat ride, just in case the traffic was too crazy.
We had no need to worry. Grasshopper’s Canal Boat & Bike Tour had us cycling back alleys and local neighbourhoods, where we were more likely to meet chickens crossing the road than threatening vehicles! We loved it and highly recommend it. Read our review for more info.
Bangkok Highlights by Tuk Tuk
5 hours, 2200 THB
With only two days in Bangkok, you can save a lot of time and hassle by joining a day tour to take you to the most visited sights. It’s also a great way to deepen your experience and bring on the fun!
Authentic Thai Food Cooking Classes
Prices and length vary, book ahead online
Who doesn’t want to take the flavours of Bangkok home with them? Thai cuisine is one of the most beloved in the world and, as it turns out, it’s also pretty easy to cook.
On our Cooking Activity with Chef Aey, we spent the morning in Aey’s home, as the entire family helped us prepare the best food we ate in Thailand. No, seriously, it was! If you want your memories of Thailand to last, join a cooking class in Bangkok.
Parks & Outdoor Activities
Bangkok is almost aggressively urban. Pretty lanes and attractive walking streets are rare — mostly you’ll be faced with wide, impassible roads heaving with snarling traffic, or narrow “sois” with no sidewalk, where motorbikes graze your elbow as they speed by. After a few days, this can be, shall we say, a little overwhelming.
Luckily, there are a few ways to escape the concrete jungle and reconnect to nature, and yourself.
Chao Phraya Tourist Boat
If there’s one place we recommend you start your trip to Bangkok, it’s aboard the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat. Not be confused with the local ferries that zoom up and down the river, nor the expensive long boats you can hire for a private tour, the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat (yes, it’s really called that), provides a happy medium.
The boat acts as a hop-on-hop-off people-mover to get you to many of Bangkok’s big attractions, like Khao San Road, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, the Grand Palace, the flower market and IconSiam, Bangkok’s newest shopping extravaganza.
You’ll see some the most expensive hotels and condos in Asia right next to rows of stilt huts cobbled together with found wood and corrugated steel.
But, better than that, it’s a great ride in its own right.
1 hour, free
This sprawling park at Lumpini metro station is where Bangkok residents gather in the evening to jog, walk, and exercise. Arrive just after sunset — yes, it’s totally safe — to take part in the locals’ daily exercise routine. It’s a great place to reset yourself after a day in the hectic city.
Bike Bangkok’s Hidden Oasis
1/2 day, 1450 THB, book ahead online
Known as Bangkok’s Green Lung, Bang Kachao sits smack dab in the middle of Bangkok’s urban chaos — but it’s an oasis of calm, hiding mangrove forests, coconut groves, family farms, and small villages.
On this half-day bike tour you’ll pedal through a maze of bike paths and visit a mangrove conservation area, a betel nut grove, temples and wats, plus get to see a rare view of the magnificent Chao Phraya River.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
2–3 hours, free entry
Though Chatuchak Market is growing more and more popular among backpackers and intrepid travellers, we still think it qualifies as an off-beat activity because of the sheer breadth of goods on offer. Still popular as a wholesale market, most everything you can buy in Bangkok’s other markets was first sold at Chatuchak.
The clothing section of the market sells everything from cheap elephant pants to boutique designer dresses. There are $2 sunglasses, chintzy Buddha statues, legit antiques, homewares, bags, hats, housewares, shoes, and so much more. Bring your cash, get lost in the market, and don’t leave until you’ve found a souvenir of your time in Bangkok.
Ferry along Khlong Saen Saep
1 hour, 20 THB
While it’s well worth it to join the tourist boat on the Chao Phraya river, taking the local ferry along Khlong Saen Saep will give you a whole different view of the city. You won’t see many tourists here — these ferries are part of the local transportation network.
A trip along the canal will give you insight into how the less wealthy side of the city operates. You can also take the ferry to Pratunam Market for bargain market shopping, stop at Nana for sleazy sex-trade nightlife, or visit Bumrungrad Hospital for a check-up.
Better still, just ride the ferry and watch the world go by.
What to do in Bangkok at Night
Bangkok is busy all day, but at night, the city really comes alive. There are plenty of places to visit in Bangkok at night, from high-end bars to seedy nightclubs, to the Bangkok Opera. So, even if you’re not a night owl, make sure you plan to get out and about in Bangkok.
Soi Cowboy / Nana Plaza
30 minutes, free
While we’re not into promoting sex-trade tourism, it is very much a part of the cultural landscape of Bangkok. If you want an eye-opening experience in the evening, venture down to Soi Cowboy or to Nana.
Both are lined with bars, nightclubs, and strip clubs. Each has a team of gorgeous barely-dressed Asian women (many are not Thai) and ladyboys, ready to entice you inside and “entertain” you.
If you go early, most tourists are just spectating, but later on, the sex-trade tourists come out to play. Keep in mind, if you’re tempted to participate, that many people working in the sex trade in Thailand are victims of trafficking, indentured servitude, and worse.
Bangkok Night Bike Tour
3–4 hours, 1450 THB,book ahead online
This night bike tour takes you to experience Wat Pho in the cool, quiet evening, and then delivers you to the flower market at its busiest time, when it becomes a riot of colour and noise.
You’ll also sample local foods and get a chance to experience a Bangkok few tourists ever see. The ideal Bangkok evening activity!
Drink at a Rooftop Bar
Even for a city with as many skyscrapers as Bangkok, the number of rooftop bars is impressive. If you like the idea of putting on your fancy pants and sipping a cocktail while contemplating the thousands of stories unfolding far below, don’t miss this experience.
Better still, make a night of it by doing a rooftop bar crawl!
Mindful Activities in Bankgok
Aside from all the wats in Bangkok, where mindfulness is almost as simple as stepping inside, there are lots of other ways to reconnect to yourself while in the city.
There is plenty of yoga to choose from in Bangkok, and chances are you can find a studio near your hotel that will provide everything you need.
Stephen found Iyengar Yoga Bangkok within easy walking distance when we stayed at the fabulous Volve Hotel and had a great class. He went to a Level 1 class and used chairs, blocks, bolsters, blankets, and the rope wall to get into some deeply grounding forward folds.
Pro tip: Unless you have a regular Iyengar practice, always go to a Level 1 class. Plus, it’s a good idea to ask at the desk, or the teacher directly, if it is OK if you join the class.
You can’t really go to Thailand and NOT get a Thai massage, can you?
(OK, admittedly, we did not get massages when we were there but that’s because we were too busy doing a cycle tour of Thailand!).
There are about 13 million places to get a massage in Bangkok. priced from around $10 to hundreds of dollars. To find a good one, if you’re staying somewhere reputable, ask at your hotel. They will likely have a few places to recommend.
If you’re already a meditator, or are just a curious beginner, Thailand is the ideal place to take your meditation practice to the next level (of consciousness). You should feel free to take a seat in any of the temples you visit and spend a few minutes in contemplation or meditation.
At Wat Mahathat, a Buddhist University and Vipassana meditation centre, you can join a free 3-hour class any day of the week.
For a more modern approach to meditation, get in touch with Bangkok Meditation, to join an introductory class or guided session.
What to Eat in Bangkok
In a land where the locals are obsessed with food, it’s easy to find a huge array of tasty items to delight your taste buds. From $2 meals on the street to meals in Michelin starred restaurants that cost hundreds, Bangkok has it all when it comes to food.
Though the street food scene in Bangkok is slowly being quashed by the government, who’ve been shutting down street vendors across the city, there are still plenty of places to get your street food fix. Skip the cheesy tourist strip on Khao San Road and start your Bangkok street food journey in Chinatown — it’s still tourist-friendly but better quality. For a truly local experience, head to Sukhumvit Road Soi 103 (BTS station Udom Suk).
We also liked the small but friendly hawker centre at Sukhumvit Soi 38, where we had our best vegan meal in Bangkok.
If you like your street food Michelin starred, check out the Michelin Guide for dozens of ideas.
For vegans and vegetarians, street food is pretty inaccessible in Bangkok, but check out our Bangkok vegan guide for suggestions of where to eat in Bangkok.
Other Foods to Eat in Bangkok
Of course, you’ll want to try all the classic Thai dishes, like Pad Thai, green curry, Tom Yum soup, spicy papaya salad, and mango sticky rice. You can get these, prepared at varying quality, in almost every Thai restaurant in the city.
If you want to sample other local favourites, we honestly can’t help you, because almost everything contains meat!
(This guide from Food Fun Travel will help meat eaters fill their bellies in Bangkok) →
Where to Stay in Bankgok for Two Days
Our hotel choices are boutique, privately owned, or eco-friendly. Or all three!
I honestly fell in love with Volve Hotel during our stay in Bangkok — and I still dream of the chairs in the lobby, which were the most comfortable place I’ve ever placed my bum!
The quirky yet luxury design and the super friendly staff makes this hotel truly feel like home (a cleaner, cooler, more professionally designed version of home!).
The location, just a few steps away from Thong Lo BTS, is ideal for getting around Bangkok, and the breakfast is sensational.
When we stayed, they already had vegan options on the menu and they were in the midst of expanding their food offering and creating more animal-friendly, gluten-free, and other speciality dishes.
Bangkok Tree House
Though we’ve still never had a chance to stay here, the Bangkok Tree House remains firmly on our bucket list. It’s located in the area known as the Green Lung of Bangkok and has a zero-waste policy in place.
Everything from their in-room amenities, to the food they serve, to the lighting, roofs, walls, hiring policies and more is done with an eye on eco- and social-responsibility. Top marks for that!
Ariyasom Villa Bangkok
We first read about Ariyasom Villa because they claim to be Asia’s first single-use plastic-free hotel. Now, I don’t know if the odd disposable plastic item slips through the cracks every now and again, but even so, we are impressed that they are putting in the effort.
Plus, the hotel is a stunning design hotel, themed around 40s and 50s Bangkok style. Even better, they host meditation courses and retreats and have a highly-rated almost-vegetarian restaurant on-site.
Useful Apps for Travel in Bangkok
Bangkok Metro Transit Map
This simple metro map includes both the MRT (underground) and BTS (skytrain) in Bangkok. It works offline and you can use it as a metro map or as a route planner, which even tells you how long your journey will take and when the next train leaves.
Though Bangkok’s traffic makes getting anywhere by taxi a slow way to go, on Grab, you can order up a motorbike to drive you. If you don’t mind winding through vicious traffic on the back of a motorbike, it can be your quickest way to get anywhere.
We use Maps.me everywhere we go. It is the perfect way to get unlost after wandering aimlessly for a few hours. You can create custom pins for your hotel, restaurants, and sights, so you’ll always know where to go next.
Bangkok Itinerary 2 Days
Here’s what I would get up to if planning our 2-day itinerary in Bangkok. It’s very slow and difficult to get around Bangkok, so allow extra time for transportation between attractions.
Day 1: Bangkok’s Big Sights
- Morning: The Grand Palace & Wat Pho Private Tour
- Afternoon: Chao Phraya Tourist Boat
- Evening: Meditation at Wat Mahathat
Day 2: Silks & Shopping
- Morning: Jim Thompson House
- Morning: Khlong Saen Saep Ferry
- Afternoon: Pratunam Market
- Evening: Mall Shopping
- Evening: Visit Soi Cowboy
Bangkok Itinerary 3 Days
Day 3: Recharge & Relax
- Morning: Green Lungs Bangkok Bike Tour
- Afternoon: Thai Massage
- Evening: Rooftop Bar
Whether you have 2 days in Bangkok, or more, I hope our Bangkok itinerary guide makes your stay amazing. If you have any questions, please ask in the comments below.
♥ Happy transformational travels, Jane & Stephen
We’re not going to lie, it takes a LOT of work to create travel guides like this. But it’s easy to help us out! If you book or buy something using one of our personal links in this post, we’ll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Of course, we would never recommend anything we didn’t 100% believe in! Huge thanks in advance! –S&J
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