A Perfect Day in Bangkok

Sirocco Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand.
Sirocco Restaurant, Bangkok

Bangkok is a major regional transit hub, and whether you're en route to the islands of Thailand or another destination in Southeast Asia, chances are you'll have an opportunity to break your journey here, whether as a stopover or for a quick city break. When time is tight and you want to squeeze in as much sight-seeing and as many classic experiences as possible, you need our guide to a perfect day in Bangkok; from breakfast to late-night drinks. 

Start your holiday in Bangkok: Thailand Explorer


Drop in for a leisurely breakfast at The Verandah, on the Mandarin Oriental’s riverside terrace. The luxurious surroundings make a fine start to the day, and there is the Oriental boat pier next door to whisk you on to the next leg of the day’s journey.

Get pampered 

Take a Chao Phraya river boat to Tha Tien pier where, just beyond a market and Chinese shop houses, the grounds of Wat Pho house the Reclining Buddha. Afterwards, get pampered at the temple’s traditional massage school.

Gold and dragons

Grab a taxi to Chinatown, which has some of the most historic shopping alleys in Bangkok. Along with gold, dragon dresses and Chinese lanterns, these lanes are full of cheap food stalls that make it an ideal stop for lunch. At Wat Traimit see the world’s biggest solid gold Buddha.

Read more: Temple Art and Architecture in Thailand

Shopping in Bangkok

A taxi to Pathumwan brings you to the heart of the city’s mall district. As well as offering local and international fashions, Siam Paragon hosts Sea Life Ocean World, home to penguins, sharks, sting rays and other creatures of the deep.

Culture in Thailand

A ten minute walk away, the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre has regular exhibitions by local and international artists, restaurants and a café. A further 15 minutes’ walk away is Jim Thompson’s House and Museum, a traditional Thai house full of artefacts. There’s a café here, too.

River sunset

Hop on the Skytrain to Saphan Taksin station, from where it is a ten minute walk to the 200m (656ft) -high, al fresco rooftop restaurant Sirocco. Have a sunset cocktail at the rooftop bar with stunning views along the Chao Phraya River.

Pick up a travel guide: Insight Guide Explore Bangkok

Bangkok's night market

Ten minutes in a taxi brings you to the infamous Patpong red light district, which has a bustling night market. The stalls are full of funky T-shirts, watches, jewellery, CDs and DVDs. (Bargain hard.) There’s a good choice of restaurants and bars in the surrounding streets, with and without the infamous pole dancers and ping-pong acrobatics.

Bars and clubs in Bangkok

Take the Skytrain to Nana Station and stroll down Sukhumvit Soi 11, the location of two of Bangkok’s best clubs. Q Bar has probably the best stocked bar in the city, with 50 brands of vodka alone, while Cheap Charlie’s is also fun; it's just a bar – no roof, no walls.

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Plan an experience: Bangkok Culture

Read more: Bangkok's Best Shopping

Buy a book: Insight City Guides Bangkok