How to spend 3 days in Bangkok

Welcome to Bangkok, a vibrant urban sprawl that serves as a startling introduction to Thailand. Upon arrival, the lively energy hits you with full force, as you wind through congested streets pulsating with blaring traffic and neon-lit billboards. But stay a while and you’ll find it’s a city with undeniable charm: serene temples adorned with glittering mosaics, secret rooftop bars and street-side eateries filling the air with the aroma of sizzling satay skewers.

Three days in Bangkok offers just the right amount of time to cover the must-see sights and seek out a few hidden gems. We asked travel expert Faye Woodbridge, from our Kuoni Cambridge store, to share her perfect itinerary for discovering the best of ‘The Big Mango’.

Is it worth visiting Bangkok?

We’re often asked if spending time in Bangkok is worthwhile, and my answer is always a resounding yes! It's not just a great city to shop and explore; it's also a gateway to unforgettable experiences like the historic River Kwai and the unique Floating Markets. There’s so much not to miss, so it's best to come prepared with a plan to make the most of your stay.

While this is how I'd spend my three days in the capital, keep in mind that everyone's interests vary. So, consider this as a springboard for ideas; your Personal Travel Expert will give one-to-one advice and make suggestions that are right for you.

Sindhorn Midtown Hotel Bangkok, Vignette Collection

Day 1: Pool, markets & a massage

If you've just stepped off a long flight, chances are you're feeling a bit weary, no matter what time you arrive. I would recommend aiming for an afternoon landing. This gives you time for some light exploring and a refuelling meal before slipping into a well-deserved slumber.

After a smooth private transfer and check-in at your hotel – whether you've opted for a great-value option like Sindhorn Midtown Hotel Bangkok, Vignette Collection or treated yourself to a five-star stay at the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok – take a moment to freshen up with a dip in the pool. Then, head out to sample the world-famous Bangkok street food. Among my top picks are Jodd Fairs at Rama 9, Chinatown for budget-friendly Michelin-star fare and Indy Market for an authentic local experience. Once you've had your fill of delicious eats like Pad Thai or Mango sticky rice, return to your hotel for a relaxing Thai massage to cap off the day.

Expert Tip:If you’ve got some free time, check out one of Bangkok’s quirky cafés. A few favourites are Corgi in the Garden, where you can enjoy coffee alongside adorable pups, Natura Café for rainforest vibes and Bubble in the Forest Café, which brings a taste of the Maldives to Bangkok.” - Lucinda Cowie, Sales Support Assistant

Day 2: Temples, shopping & rooftop cocktails

To beat the stifling midday heat, wake up and make your way to Thailand’s most sacred site: The Grand Palace. Spend a leisurely few hours exploring this complex of ornate, gold-draped temples; there is so much detail to take in and the calm atmosphere is a tonic from the city behind the gates. Be aware that you may be approached by hustlers who’ll tell you that the Grand Palace is closed (a well-known trick) but just smile and walk on. And make sure you're dressed appropriately – cover your knees and shoulders and it’s a good idea to wear shoes that you can easily slip on and off.

When you’re ready to leave the Grand Palace, walk about five minutes to Chang Pier waterfront. You'll be pleasantly surprised by how easy (and affordable) it is to navigate Bangkok's waterways. Board a riverboat and cruise down the Chao Phraya River to the ICONSIAM mall. Here, you’ll find a mix of designer shops and an indoor floating market packed with food and souvenir stalls – don't leave without snagging a pair of elephant harem pants! Grab some lunch then take a boat to famous Wat Arun, where you can climb to the top for panoramic views, before retreating back to your hotel for some downtime.

Now for night two. Tonight's all about experiencing the city's rooftop dining scene – there are some seriously Gram-worthy spots. Think Lebua's Skybar, made famous by The Hangover Part II, or the jungle-themed Tichuca Rooftop Bar. Sit down to a fancy dinner and some top-notch cocktails at Vertigo at Banyan Tree Bangkok or Ojo Bangkok and the Sky Beach Bar at The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon. Both offer some of the best panoramas in town.

Vertigo, Banyan Tree Bangkok

Expert Tip: Prefer to explore on a guided tour? We have some wonderful day trips you can add to your itinerary. Our ‘Bangkok’s Highlights in a Day’ tour features visits to the Grand Palace, Wat Arun and a delightful river cruise. If you want a bit of both worlds – the freedom to go at your own pace with a private car and guide on hand – then 'Bangkok Your Way' is perfect for you.” - Kay Cross, Personal Travel Expert, Kuoni at John Lewis Norwich.

Day 3: Beyond Bangkok

On day three, venture out of the capital and discover the nearby wonders. Start your day bright and early with a visit to two iconic markets: the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, where colourful boats brim with fresh produce and local delicacies, and the Rom Hub Railway Market, where vendors skilfully pack up their stalls to make way for passing trains. En route back to the city, you’ll stop by Wat Bang Kung, an ancient temple reclaimed by jungle roots with a fascinating back story. You’ll be back at your hotel around 1-2pm, leaving you with free time to check out one of Bangkok’s cute cafes or enjoy a stroll around Lumphini Park.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in the history of World War II, prepare for an emotionally stirring experience on our full-day River Kwai Highlights tour. You’ll explore key sites along the River Kwai, including the famous bridge on the River Kwai and the JEATH War Museum, where poignant memorials and tales of bravery paint a vivid picture of the past.

For your last evening in Bangkok, a dinner cruise down the Chao Praya River is a magical way to round off your urban adventure. Board at the AVANI+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel dock and spend two hours aboard the Manohra, a beautifully restored barge. Admire the illuminated landmarks along the river as you enjoy a feast of delectable Thai cuisine. After docking, grab some last-minute souvenirs or take a ride on the Ferris Wheel at Asiatique The Riverfront for a final panoramic view of the city.

AVANI+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel

Expert Tip:If you get the chance, make time to check out one of Bangkok’s green sanctuaries. I was surprised at how beautiful the city parks are. Two of my top picks are Queen Sirikit Park and Lumphini Park, where you might spot some prehistoric creatures – huge monitor lizards freely roam the gardens.” - Jared Brown, Personal Travel Expert, Kuoni at John Lewis Norwich.

How to get around Bangkok

Tuk-tuks: There's nothing quite like zipping through the streets of Thailand in a colourful tuk-tuk – it's an experience you won't forget! But there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Make sure to negotiate the price upfront and be crystal clear about your destination. If you're keen to explore Bangkok after dark and want to enjoy the thrill of a tuk tuk without any hassle, our Bangkok By Night tour is the perfect option.

Taxi: Taxis are a cheap and convenient way to get around. Come prepared with a pre-paid SIM card and download the Bolt and Grab apps – Thailand’s biggest ride-hailing services. Steer clear of rush hour, as a 10-minute journey could easily stretch to an hour due to heavy traffic.

Metro and BTS Skytrain: Public transport might seem a bit daunting at first, but travelling by rail is one of the quickest ways to zip around the city. To make things even easier, plan your route ahead of time. I recommend downloading the Moovit app – it'll map out your journey for you and take the guesswork out of crossing the city.

River Boats: The Chao Phraya Express boat makes exploring the sights along the river a breeze. You can buy an all-day pass for around £3 or pay about 50p for a single journey. Personally, this was my top choice for getting around; it felt so peaceful, plus you get to soak up local life and enjoy some stunning views as you go.

What’s the best time to visit Bangkok

The best time to visit Bangkok is during the dry season, from November to February, when the weather is cooler and less humid. During the rainy season, from June to October, heavy downpours are frequent, so come prepared with an umbrella and waterproof shoes.

Key festivals

Thailand's calendar is packed with lively festivals. While the city gets busy during these events, they offer an immersive insight into Thai culture. For instance, Songkran in April sees the streets turned into a joyful battleground as a city-wide water fight takes place. Then, there’s the Loy Krathong Festival in November, where you can watch fireworks light up the Chao Phraya River and join in the beautiful lantern ceremony.

Expert Tip: "If you need inspiration for where to go next in Bangkok, we have a range of suggested itineraries featuring everything from short add-on tours to ethical elephant adventures. Plus, we've designed special trips tailored to honeymooners, wellness seekers and families." - Josie Doe, Assistant Manager, Kuoni Bluewater.


Ready to explore Bangkok and beyond? Our travel experts are ready to share their advice and help you plan an unforgettable trip to Thailand. Take a look at our handpicked Bangkok hotels, read our Thailand mini-guide and then get in touch to make it happen.

Find a specialist Personal Travel Expert today

This feature was created on 19th April 2024. The information within this feature is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of print.

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