Bangkok is a city that unites and divides. This +9 million bustling city is the getaway to more destinations in Thailand and South East Asia and the perfect stopover on extended trips to Australia and New Zealand. I spent 3 days in Bangkok in 2017 and here are my suggestions on the best things to do while visiting Thailand’s capital city, on a solo trip at 50 plus.
The best things to do in 3 days in Bangkok
Explore China Town
Starting your trip in Bangkok from Chinatown is a must, as this is the pulsing heart oft he city. Get there by MRT to Huan Lamphong and walk to the main Chinatown Gate at the Odean Traffic circle and stroll through the maze of lanes and small streets.
Don’t miss out on Ratchawong Road as one of the top streets markets, selling accessories, sarongs, textiles and more. Open till 5.00 pm. Walk down to the pier to catch an express boat to your next destination along the Chao Phraya River. This is only four stops to the Grand Palace.
Bangkok is known for its many temples that pepper the city with, and are literally at every corner. From small stand-alone temples to vast areas. There are dozens of them in town. One you should not miss out is the Grand Palace, the most significant area which includes the Emerald Buddha and the nearby Sanam Luang city park which hosts all royal events.
Most of the times are overcrowded, and long queues await you. So if you want to see this Bangkok temple, you must get in the early hours of the morning. One temple you should also visit is the reclining Buddha, Wat Phra Chetuphon or Wat Pho.
While Bangkok is a city with one of the worst traffic congestions in the world; it has green areas to help you detox and where you can relax from the road traffic. Lumphini is only a few stops by MRT away from the city centre. Walk around and find a sweet spot at the lake where you can sit on the grass and enjoy the view of the city.
Sukhumvit – Shop and Relax
Sukhumvit is the commercial area of Bangkok with a high concentration of hotel chains, company headquarters, as well as shopping malls and excellent restaurants. Moreover, it’s a hub for SPA. While in Bangkok, massages are on offer at each corner in touristy places, many hotels in Bangkok provide onsite SPA to Massages. This was my de-stress treat in Bangkok. I booked at Urban Retreat Massages through a local website, and had one of the best massages ever.
Terminal 21 Shopping Mall
Bangkok boasts many shopping malls, and they are indeed great places to hide away from the crowds and chill out for a few hours on a hot day. I have visited a few malls on my trip to Bangkok, and my favourite is Terminal 21 in Sukhumvit.
It’s easy to get there by MRT Sukhumvit or BTS Asok. From a variety of local shops to international brands, a vast offer of restaurants, coffee shops and markets, you can spend hours in there. If you have time, you can plan your day by visiting the nearby EMQuartier and Emporioium within walking distance from Terminal 21.
City markets in Bangkok are the main attraction for overseas visitors. From day and night markets to weekends markets to floating markets, where fresh food is sold and cooked on boats and stalls floating on the river. This is the best way to spend a whole Saturday in Bangkok. Here are my picks:
Bangkok Floating Markets
Make sure your trip to Bangkok includes a Saturday so that you cannot miss out on the floating markets, which is a highlight in Bangkok at weekends. The largest and most popular markets are however far away from the city, approx 100km south-west. But if you don’t fancy to travel that distance, there are some smaller markets in town too.
I visited Khlong Bang Luang Floating Market on the Saturday morning, while this is a small one, I find this is a little jewel, as this is known among the locals-only and has only a few floating stalls on the inlet of the Chao Pharay River. It is worth visiting if you like quiet markets. And if you are in this area, you can get a taxi to the nearby visit Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market and the Taling Chang Floating Market which offers boat river tours too.
Chatuchak is one of the largest markets I have ever visited. With +8000 stalls on 35-acre, this Bangkok weekends market is the highlight for visitors and locals alike. While it will take 3-4 hours to visit it all, some of the shops are in covered areas with onsite aircon, most of the remaining stalls are lining alongside the street between the MRT Chatuchak Park (MRT) and Mo Chit Station (BTS).
Be prepared to take water with you. And you will browse any merchandise: from local fashion artists and general clothing to furniture, arts, antiques, to books, ceramics, handicrafts and any food. It is an experience you should not miss out and also a chance to buy some artisan products and local products in Bangkok.
Khaosan Road and night market
A trip to Bangkok is not complete if you are not strolling along the famous Khaosan Road with food stalls. Although this is the most renowned road among travellers, I think the nearby night markets are quiet and has more exciting stalls and restaurants.
Short Trip Itinerary in Bangkok
Bangkok is one of those cities that create an instant love it or hate it feeling. While the city may not have many attractions, its welcoming people and the vibe is terribly contagious. My 3 days in Bangkok were short, but I’m sure that I’ll be back for more explorations of amazing Thailand.
If you travel to Asia solo, check out these tips for visiting Sri Lanka