Most visitors to Bangkok will have have a hard time getting around to even the most attractive attractions in a day, let alone adding sights outside the huge metropolis.
I had been to Bangkok before, but that was 30 years ago and I was intent on revisiting some of the places from back then. I also found time for a little twist. This article describes how I spent my 24 hours in Bangkok and offers several more ideas for you.
I landed on Suvarnabhumi Airport in the early morning and had a scheduled flight from the same airport the next morning. This was my window of opportunity. At the airport I was picked up by a taxi I had booked for the day and headed straight north to the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Siam (1351 to 1767).
Renting a taxi for a day in Bangkok: Facing a very short stay in Bangkok I was not very inclined on wasting time by first going into town and then take the slow train or bus to Ayutthaya. Searching the web I came across a website offering taxi services. It worked out very well. The driver waited for me with a name sign at the airport and stayed with me until I left him at my hotel. Only then I paid him the agreed 3000 THB (85 USD) plus a little extra. The website of Taxifortour looked promising and I can recommend it as a serious business.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol temple in Ayutthaya
Read my special entry: An excursion to the once glorious capital of Ayutthaya.
It starts like this: After its foundation around 1350 Ayutthaya grew into becoming the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai. The capital benefited from a strategic position and attracted traders from near and far. In fact the city become the world’s largest city around 1700 with 1 million inhabitants, and had permanent residents from a number of countries in Europe and Asia.
This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and well worth seeing. You may also want to read the article about this site in Sandalsand’s World Heritage series.
(3) Bang Pa-In Royal Palace
We turned back towards Bangkok only to make a stop on the way at the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace built around 1870. Ayutthaya and this palace are included on tours out of Bangkok, normally stretching for the entire day. In a private taxi things goes a lot faster.
Read my special entry: Harmonies in the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace.
It starts like this: Welcome to an unusually tranquil place not far from Bangkok. This used to be the Royal summer palace and still functions occasionally as a place for banquets and receptions.
(4) The Grand Palace
In Bangkok I went straight for the Grand Palace and then Wat Pho, the two most important atrractions in Bangkok for visitors and locals alike.
Read my special entry: Glitter, gold and emerald in The Grand Palace.
It starts like this: Thailand’s biggest tourist attraction is a large complex in the city centre, made up of temples, buildings, halls, courtyards and gardens – the result of more than 200 years of refinement.
Gold, glitter and even more gold in the Grand Palace
(5) The Wat Pho temple
This is one of Bangkok’s oldest and most important temples, also known as the “Temple of the Reclining Buddha”. It is situated near the Grand Palace and is a must on anyone’s Bangkok itinerary.
Read my special entry from this temple: The lovely sound of Wat Pho’s bronze bowls.
It starts like this: This temple is a highlight on a visit to Bangkok, with the famous Reclining Buddha and with a reputation of being the birthplace of traditional Thai massage still practised at the temple grounds.
An evening out in Bangkok
By now the sun had started to set and the light was nice to photograph in, but my deal with the taxi driver forced me to dismiss him of his duties and leave me at my hotel.
I stayed at the Centre Point Hotel Silom, a convenient place and reasonably priced. You will get considerably cheaper and also more expensive accommodation elsewhere in Bangkok. I was satisfied and would recommend it.
One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster; The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free; You’ll find a God in every golden cloister; And if you’re lucky then the God’s a she; I can feel an angel sliding up to me (From the musical Chess)
Tuk-tuk is a charming, albeit unsafe and noisy means of transportation in the streets of Bangkok
In the evening I went out for a series of tuk-tuk and taxi rides searching out the good old places from my backpacker days. Patpong was as bad as ever, and boring. I walked up and down the small streets and went elsewhere.
Next stop: Khao San Road, the backpacker haven from back then. Things had become extremely touristy. In a string of taxi and tuk-tuk rides I wanted to get a glimpse of the Grand Palace at night, and also to cross the river for a spotlight view of Wat Arun. The drivers did not understand, or pretended not to understand.
A bit disappointed I returned to my hotel for a few hours of sleep. I was looking forward to a great day in Bhutan and needed the rest.
Here is my map showing the places I went but not least also the most important sights of Bangkok. As always I made a rather good job at identifying and then selecting the places I wanted to go. Your priorities might differ.
Zoom in and out as you wish, click the markers to read an introduction to the sights (based on Wikivoyage) and expand the map into a separate window for more details.
Bangkok was a short stop on my way to the Himalayas. Here and now I invite you to continue with the story from my day in Bangkok. Read the next chapter, from Ayutthaya.
Click on the images below to expand and browse.