Hands up if you backpacked through Asia in your late-teens or early 20s?! Chances are, you stopped off in Bangkok for some fun along Khao San Road and stayed in a cheap-a** hostel… because you were broke AF. Well, it’s time to go back to see the city from a whole new perspective (direct flights from the UAE take 6 hours)! Swap your street-side bucket cocktails for a bucket list of things to do in Bangkok now that you’re a little older, a little wiser and have a little bit more cash in the bank.
3 days in Bangkok is more than enough to get a taste for the Thai capital, so it’s time to start planning your next long weekend…
Stay in awesome Bangkok hotels
You can stay in top Bangkok hotels from around around AED 300 to AED 500 for two people per night. If you’re a travel addict, you’ll love the worldly design and the killer sunset view at the The Continent Hotel – it’s a boutique hotel in the Sukhumvit area and just two minutes walk from the Skytrain.
Travel Tip: Bangkok is a bustling cosmopolitan city that can be a little intimidating for those who are used to the finer side of Dubai life. The true experience takes place on the streets: exploring the Old District, hopping on the Skytrain, wandering through temples, scoping out the markets, tasting traditional Thai flavors and bar hopping your way around town. SO, a night in an awesome hotel will be just what you need at the end of an adventurous day!
Get sky-high for sunset dinner & drinks
While Banyan Tree Bangkok is another dreamy hotel for those looking for luxury, it’s the secret sky-high Vertigo Restaurant & Moon Bar that steals the show! Book in for a sunset dinner and watch the skyline light up from the 61st floor of the hotel; it’s definitely the best spot in the city for panoramic views!
Travel Tip: Dinner is on the pricey side and portions are small, so if you don’t want to spend too much, head straight over to the Moon Bar for a sundowner or twilight cocktail instead. Book ahead to avoid disappointment!
Embrace the Tuk-Tuk experience
These small, vibrantly colored vehicles were made for tourist adventures in Bangkok. Riding in a tuk-tuk is more of an experience than a practical way of getting around, so opt for short trips! Every tuk-tuk is a little different; some are more creative and colorful than others, and some standout from the crowd with fairy lights at night.
Travel Tip: Agree on a price before you get into a Tuk-Tuk; drivers may start with charging tourists 200 Baht (around AED 20) for a short trip… haggling is expected and a must!
Hop on the Skytrain
Let’s start by admitting that the name ‘Skytrain’ sounds a lot cooler than the train actually is! However, the Skytrain is the most efficient way to see the city; it’s clean, cheap and a great way to see Bangkok when you don’t have much time to waste. Essentially, the Skytrain (BTS) is a train line that runs above Bangkok’s roads, giving you quick access to pretty much everything in the city.
Travel tip: If you’re hopping around the city for the day, purchase the unlimited BTS day pass for 140 Bhat (approx AED 16).
Get a proper Thai massage
You can’t leave Thailand without having a traditional Thai massage… and there’s no shortage of options in Bangkok. Forget you’re super fancy spa days, for a proper Thai massage, you need to head to Health Land. The Heath Land branches look a bit like mansions from the outside and hotel foyers from the inside, but these guys are massage experts!
Travel Tip: The locals swear by Health land, so be sure to book ahead. Travelling with your partner? Get a two-hour couple’s massage… especially if you’re new to the experience; you’ll laugh about it and very much appreciate it afterwards!
Roam around the Grand Palace
When it comes to things to do in Bangkok, the Grand Palace tops the list as the city’s most famous landmark. With its royal halls, temples and courtyards, the palace is oozing with history, grandeur and beautiful architectural details. The Grand Palace is hosts the country’s most important Buddhist temple – Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha) which is home to a small emerald Buddha dating back to the 14th century.
Travel Tip: There’s a strict dress code; both men and women should avoid shorts. Opt for full-length trousers/skirts and avoid sleeveless tops. There is a small booth where you can get clothes to cover up, but you probably won’t want these outfits making an appearance in your travel photos, so plan ahead!
People watch at Patpong night market
This night market is smack-bang in the middle of Bangkok’s notorious nightlife spot, so it’s not for everyone! The street is lined with Go-Go Bars and the market runs right through it. Patpong is busy with tourists and you should expect to hustle your way to a good bargain when buying from the stalls. If you’re not shopping, seat yourself at one of the bars for an extremely interesting people-watching experience.
Travel tip: If you’re not familiar with Go-Go Bars or Bangkok’s notorious Ping-Pong shows, you may want to flick across to Google before you start planning your shopping trip to Patpong Night Market.
Shop at Bangkok’s famous malls
If street markets aren’t your thing, head to one of Bangkok’s malls where you’ll find everything you from foodie hotspots and all things fashion to an ice rink and an Ocean World. Central World Bangkok is the largest mall in Thailand, so those of you who like exploring Dubai Mall will feel at home there. For those who prefer our Mall of the Emirates, head to Siam Paragon which also has an attached Siam Kempinski hotel!
Travel Tip: For Siam Paragon, take the BTS Skytrain (Sukhumvit and Silom lines); Siam station has a skybridge linked to the mall. For Central World, take the BTS Sukhumvit Line to E1 Chit Lom Station.
Explore the history of the temples
You could spend all your time hopping between Bangkok’s temples, but if you’re looking to see the city’s most distinctive temple head straight to Wat Arun on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. Known as the Temple of the Dawn, its striking spire stands over 70 metres high and is decorated with small colored glass. You can climb the steep stairs of the central prang for a view across to the Grand Palace.
Travel Tip: Visit early morning when it’s cooler and less crowded! If you’re not an early riser, the temple looks magnificent at sunset.
Bar hop along Khao San Road
Khao San Road is an anything-goes street brimming with bars, stalls, budget guest houses, massage stop-offs and backpackers! Expect to sit on street-side stools while you sip a Singha beer and watch the life of the city around you.
Travel Tip: Visit in the evening for a true experience. Don’t expect anything fancy; the 1km strip of Khao San Road is quite the opposite of what you would expect from Dubai’s Downtown Boulevard or The Walk at JBR!
Eat Street… if you’re feeling adventurous!
While Bangkok is bursting with trendy restaurants and fancy eateries, the true experience is in the street food. From rice and noodle dishes to papaya salads and yummy desserts, the locals cook up cheap eats that will definitely impress. For the more adventurous traveller, eating cooked insects is often on the bucket list of things to do in Bangkok – you’ll find people trying Scorpions on Khao San Road, but this is not typical Thai cuisine for locals!
Travel Tip: Try local Kao Pad (Thai-style fried rice), Gaeng Kiew Wan Gai (a fiery Thai green curry) and Khao Niew Ma Muang (famous mango sticky rice)!
Take a trip to a floating market
A quick bit of research on Bangkok’s floating markets will tell you that Damnoen Saduak is the most famous of them all, but you’ll have to dig deeper to find out that it’s super crowded with tourists and over 100km from the city, so it’s a day trip that will require you to get up before sunrise! For a little taste of the floating market experience, head to Talin Chan Floating Market instead; it’s small but has a little bit of everything you would want to experience.
Travel Tip: You can hop on a wooden long-tail boat from Talin Chan market and ride through the Khlongs (canals!) to another nearby market called Lat Mayom Riverside Market. This is more of an experience than spending a day on a bus to Damnoen Saduak!