Bangkok in a Day – Must see places of Bangkok in One Day

Bangkok is a city full of colours. It is a haven for everyone.

 Bangkok is a foodies’ paradise with all kinds of cuisines available. It is a party person’s first choice for the many rooftop bars and clubs. Bangkok is filled with many heritage-rich temples and palaces for the history lover. 

You can shop till you drop literally. Everyone’s choice differs, and I will point out a few must-do places from Bangkok that can be accomplished in a day.

Where to Stay in Bangkok

I stayed at Rattanakosin Island, which is closer to all the attractions. From here the palace is close by and down the river are all the attractions. Since this is a day itinerary, I suggest commuting using a tuk-tuk or a cab. 

Guess what? I walked around very ambitiously between all the attractions, which was pretty time-consuming, to be honest. 

Here are the Must-see places in Bangkok

New Bangkok
New Bangkok

Here are the Must see places at Bangkok

The Grand Palace Bangkok

The most prominent attraction and a must-visit which is at the heart of Bangkok are the Grand Palace. Built during the Rattanakosin period of reign, it was occupied by many kings from King Rama I to V, and even today, all royal ceremonies take place there. 

To the extent that, on the day when we were at the palace, it was the birthday of someone from the royal family, and so entry into the Emerald Buddha complex was barred. You can still see the Buddha from the door at a distance, just that we could not get up close. 

So, even if somebody says that the Grand Palace is closed, it is a vast complex, and you will get to see something or the other.

Grand Palace Bangkok
Grand Palace Bangkok

The Grand Palace opens at 8:30 in the morning and since we have only one day in Bangkok, let us start it early. The entry fee is 500bhat, and pick up an audio rental guide for about 100 bhat. The palace is enormous and jaw-dropping. 

I mean it. On one side, there is Ramayana painted all around the wall, and then you see colorful tiled towering pagodas, then you see golden pagodas. You see the Emerald Buddha complex, which is so grand, so many details and so many stories. 

There is a restriction that you need to return the audio guide in 2 or 3 hours; otherwise, I would have easily spent half a day there. Once you are done touring the Emerald Buddha complex, you will come near the Royal Residence area. 

Again depending on which day you are at the palace, some sections are open to the public, and some are not.

Wat Phra Kaew
The Emerald Buddha Complex – Wat Phra Kaew
grand palace bangkok
Details on the walls of Grand Palace Bangkok
Royal residence Bangkok
The Royal Residence Complex inside the Grand Palace Bangkok

You will quickly need 3 to 4 hours just for the Grand Palace. Dressing appropriately is a must which includes no shorts or sleeveless tops. Opposite the palace, entry gates is a shop that lends you sarong, but it is up to you to waste your time standing in that lengthy queue. 

Now that you are exhausted with 3 hours of walking around the palace head to the riverfront to catch the Chao Praya Express boat. On the way, pick up a cold Thai coffee and indulge yourself before heading to Wat Arun. 

The Chao Praya Express boat is the best and easy way to commute along the river between the destinations for a low price. You can get one ticket to visit all the attractions and use it throughout the day.

Wat Arun

Get onto the Chao Phraya Express boat and cross the river. Voila, you are at Wat Arun… 

It was the monsoon time in Thailand, and the dark clouds were gathering around the towering pagodas. It is tall white majestic pagodas, some of them under restoration, and climbing above is restricted. 

The beautiful bells lining up around the tall pagodas keep jingling in the wind giving the most soothing music to the ears… They have colorful porcelain motifs all around. It is known as the Temple of the dawn, but it is also said that it looks beautiful when seen lit up in the night. I didn’t get to see at both the time…

wat arun
Pagoda at Wat Arun. Grand Palace at a distance
Wat arun
Wat Arun, Bangkok
Wat arun
Details on the walls of Wat Arun

Take a lunch break. You can either cross the river, reach Wat Pho, have lunch and then explore Temple. Or visit Wat Pho and then have lunch. But that will take a lot of time, and you will get pretty hungry by then. For lunch, try Singha beer along with Som Tum, the raw papaya salad, or masala man curry and rice if you like spicy, or there is always the simple pad Thai.

Book your Bangkok sightseeing tour here – Bangkok Full Day Tour

Wat Pho

Wat Pho is the Temple of reclining Buddha that many are familiar with. The Gold plated about 46 meters long reclining Buddha, which is quite common in many pictures depicting Bangkok. I was expecting to see that reclining Buddha only. 

First of all, even though we have seen many pictures of it online, it is overwhelmingly beautiful to see it in person. It is huge! Just huge!! With walls and windows and doors covered in tapestry and extremely colorful paintings. There is not one inch of space left on the wall that does not tell you a story… 

Everyone is trying to take the complete picture of the reclining Buddha in one single frame. It is a functioning temple, and many Thai people keep coming in to offer their prayers; please make way for them. Once you are done admiring the length and breadth of this Buddha, more surprises are waiting outside!

reclining buddha bangkok
Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, Bangkok

Like I said, Wat Pho is not only about the reclining Buddha. It is a vast temple complex with many chedis and viharas lying inside it. It just looks like a long compound wall running and a gate entry to it from the outside. 

The Chedis are huge, and these are colorful. Not just the vast chedis, just like that when you are walking around the Temple, you will see many smaller ones. Then there is the hall of many Buddhas around it and inside the gallery. 

Quite fascinating to see so many ones, all are representing different postures or mudras. There is also an ordination hall containing the primary Buddha where the Thai rituals are performed. There are many funny figurines all around the Temple, the significance of which I am not sure.

chedi at wat pho
Colorful Chedi at Wat Pho
Wat Pho
Wat Pho Complex
Wat Pho
Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho was the center of the study of science, religion, and literature. It is considered the first university of Thailand. It is also the birthplace of Thai Massage and is still practiced here. You will need at least an hour or two here. Let us say it is 3:00 pm by now… Hire a tuk-tuk or hop into a cab and head to Jim Thompson’s house.

Jim Thompson House, Bangkok

Jim Thompson was an American who worked towards improving the dying culture and art of Thai silk. During the Second World War, he came to Thailand serving as part of the army to free Thailand from Japan. 

Later, when he retired from his services, he decided to start the Thai Silk Company Limited in 1948. The beauty of this place is that his house, which he constructed according to the Thai style, is on the banks of a canal. Thai-style homes or Lanna houses are usually raised from the ground so that when it floods, water doesn’t enter the house and is made of wood.

Jim Thompson House
Jim Thompson House

He built a magnificent six mansions together for himself, which was in Thai style, and brought a little bit of modernization to the structure wherever possible. He was known for not just starting the silk company but the way it functioned. He encouraged weavers to weave at their homes and then bring the product to the silk company. So opposite his house, across the canal, was the weaving society. 

This helped in many women becoming the breadwinners of their families. He also had the interest to collect antiques and paintings. Jim Thompson is a prominent figure, he went missing while touring Malaysia, and it remains a mystery as to what happened to him. 

Jim Thompson House
Display of Thai Silk, Jim Thompson House

So the present-day Jim Thompson house is a museum in tribute to what he contributed to Thailand. There is a guided tour of the place, which is mandatory to take. And they take in small groups because the house is now old and cannot take more weight. So they speak in a low voice and take people around the house to show his very impressive collectibles. 

There are antiques from across different parts of the World and some stunning Buddha sculptures too. It is a tour worth taking and also an opportunity to learn about Thai silk.

Jim Thompson House
The Side View of Jim Thompson House
Jim Thompson House
Jim Thompson Museum Exhibits

Entry fee for Jim Thompson house is 150bhat

This would take you till about 5:00pm. Stop for a traditional Thai coffee at the Jim Thompson house bakery. Refresh yourself and next we are heading to watch Siam Niramit Show.

hot thai coffee
Traditional Hot Thai Coffee

Siam Niramit, Bangkok

The show begins at 8 pm, but right from 7 pm, cultural activities are happening in the open ground. It also has shops and other activities to indulge in. If you want to squeeze in some shopping time at Prathunam Market or Central World shopping mall between Jim Thompson house and Siam Niramit show, you can do that. 

However, be at the show at least by 7 pm to get a good seat in the house. And keep in mind that Bangkok’s traffic can be notorious.

Siam Niramit Bangkok
Artists performing at the Siam Niramit show, Bangkok. This is outside the theatre. Inside the theatre photography is not allowed

Siam Niramit show is a fun and awesome way to know about Thailand, Thai culture and traditions, History of Thailand. They are held at the Ratchada Theatre, which contains the Guinness World of Record for having the World’s highest stage. The theatre itself is grand, and the performers keep surprising you by coming from all directions of the theater. 

There are many acts, and some depict life across Thailand, the different dance forms, the different Thai beliefs. It is fun to watch. Performers are seen flying in the air, and it rains on the stage suddenly. It is visually very, very stunning. If you want to know about Thailand or are going to go around Thailand, then this is a must-watch cultural show. 

There are many seating options, and the ticket price starts from 1500bhat. But it is worth it. 

Book tickets to Siam Niramit Show – Siam Niramit Bangkok.

They pick you up from your hotel if you opt for it.

Siam Niramit Bangkok
Artists posing for photo after the Siam Niramit show, Bangkok

There are many seating options and the ticket price starts from 1500bhat. But it is totally worth it.

Book tickets to Siam Niramit ShowSiam Niramit Bangkok.They pick you up from your hotel if you opt for it.

 It would be 10 pm by the time you head out of the Siam Niramit Show. 

Well, the night is young in Thailand, and let us head to Khao San road.

Khao San Road

Considered as the backpackers’ paradise, this road is filled with cheap street food, booze, massage therapists, tattoo parlors, and hostels… Many consider this as overrated or has been too beaten and no longer has the hippie feel. 

But I loved the nights here. 

There is so much food to eat, and music is down the road. Everything is available on this road, from banana crepe, durian fruit, pad Thai to grilled pork balls and insects. There are some hep bars for the crowd with money, there are bars for people with not so much budget, or you need not even sit in those restaurants. You can keep walking up and down the road eating stuff. 

After this tiring day, get yourself a foot massage. And that is how to spend one wholesome day in Thailand. 

Happy Traveling !!

Khao San Road
Khao San Road
Khao San Road
Food at Khao San Road

After this tiring day, get yourself a foot massage here 🙂 And that is one day in Thailand. Happy Traveling.

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