2 Days in Bangkok Itinerary For Culture Lovers

2 days in Bangkok

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So you have 2 days in Bangkok? You’ll never get bored or run out of things to do. In fact, you’ll barely touch the surface! I’ve put together this 2 day Bangkok itinerary to help you see the best bits in a short space of time.

There are so many hidden gems in Bangkok, as well as a blend of local tradition and modern amenities. The skyscrapers rival New York and Tokyo, while the local markets and modest homes along the canal couldn’t be further removed.

BANGKOK ESSENTIALS

Accommodation Booking.com / Hostelworld

Getting there – flight / bus / train. Book using 12Go

Activities: GetYourGuide

Food tours: A Chef’s Tour

Food experiences: EatWith

Guide book: Lonely Planet Thailand

Airport transfers: Klook

Staying connected: eSim data package

Skyscapers Bangkok 2 days

Visiting more of Asia? Check out my Southeast Asia bucket list and my Southeast Asia backpacking itinerary

You could spend months in Bangkok and still find hidden corners, but most people visit for just a few days. It’s a gateway to Asia, as well as a good layover while en route elsewhere. Perhaps that’s why it’s the most visited city in the world with 21 million guests in 2016!

For that reason, I wanted to put together a guide to spending a Bangkok two-day itinerary, fitting in the main highlights and a few hidden gems, too.

Vibrant street art in Bangkok itinerary
Quirky corners in bustling Bangkok

How long to spend in Bangkok?

Even if you only have 2 days to spend in Bangkok, you can still see quite a lot. I personally think that 2 days is just enough time to see the highlights before moving to another place. If you end up loving Bangkok and want to explore the countless other things to do and see, you can always come back before leaving Thailand too, as many international flights fly into and out of the capital. 

In many ways, Bangkok is a city that divides the masses. I often hear people say they’re not fans. But with many of them passing through quickly and spending less than two days in Bangkok, I wonder whether they’ve really seen it.

If you don’t explore further than Khao San Road, of course, you won’t love Bangkok!

Khao San Road
Lively Khao San Road

How to get to Bangkok

By air – international flights arrive into Suvarnabhumi Airport. Book your airport to city transfer with Klook.

By bus – buses connect Bangkok with other cities in Thailand. They’re long at 9 hours but at least it’s the environmentally-friendly option. Use 12go to book.

By train – Thailand has an efficient rail network. Travel overnight in a cabin-style bed – the ultimate Thailand travel adventure! Use 12go to book.

How to get around Bangkok

Uber or Grab – to save money, order a scooter taxi rather than a cab.

Skytrain – Bangkok has a good Skytrain system which is affordable and a great way to avoid traffic.

Tuk-tuks – Organise a price with the drivers. They’re not always the cheapest option, but not too expensive either.

Bangkok itinerary for 2 days

I’ll cover the main tourist attractions on the first day, then some culture and alternative finds on the second day. I’ve also got a few day trip ideas which I’ll drop below, just in case you have an extra day to spare. Enjoy my 2 day Bangkok itinerary!

Overview:

  • Day 1: Grand Palace, Wat Pho, ferry to Wat Arun, dinner in Chinatown
  • Day 2: Chalermla Park Street Art, Art and Culture Center, Jim Thompson House, Lumphini Park, Wat Saket.

Read next: 101 Southeast Asia backpacking tips

Day 1 Bangkok itinerary: the essential stops

Some of the best things to do in Bangkok in 2 days are the busiest and most touristy. So if you hate crowds, this may be a hectic day but I promise it’s worth it!

The palaces in Bangkok are absolutely incredible, in terms of architecture, history, and decadent detail. Even if you’ve been to world-famous temples like Angkor Wat or Bagan, you’ll find these well-preserved palaces to be totally different and just as impressive.

So let’s begin with Bangkok’s best bits on day one…

The Grand Palace

Grand Palace Bangkok two days

As someone who’s been to the Grand Palace twice in three years, I clearly think it’s worth the hefty 500 baht entrance fee. It has a lot of history but I think its the sheer decadence that appeals to me: every surface is encrusted with diamonds and slathered in gold.

The Grand Palace was built when King Rama I decided to make Bangkok the new capital of Thailand. If you know about Thailand’s history, this has changed several times.

Ayutthaya was the capital from the 1300s, while Thonburi was the headquarters until it became Bangkok.

The Thai royal family actually lived in the Grand Palace until the end of the 19th century. Nowadays, functions and rituals are sometimes held there but it’s mainly a stomping ground for tourists. Even if you visit early, it will be packed. It’s a fact of life!

Inside the Grand Palace is Wat Phra Kaew AKA The Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This is one of the most famous and holy relics in all of Thailand, believed to have been made in India over 2,000 years ago. It was documented in Chiang Mai’s Wat Chedi Luang temple in the 1400s, then was moved to Laos, and finally returned to Thailand. What a journey!

During a ritual that continues to this day, the King of Thailand changes the statue’s clothes with the changing of the seasons.

Tips for visiting the Grand Palace:

  • The dress code is strict so if you don’t have long pants/skirt and a top that covers your shoulders, you can pay a deposit to borrow a very hot and unattractive outfit at the entrance. I would recommend planning your outfit ahead of time to avoid this!
  • You’re also meant to cover your feet so I put some socks on under my sandals but no one checked (and I just looked stupid). Inside the temples, you have to take off your shoes, and in Wat Phra Kaew you can’t take any photos.

Entrance fee: 500 baht; fee includes tickets to Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall and Vimanmek Mansion (valid within 7 days of purchase).

Opening hours: 8:30am-3:30pm.

How to get there: Easily accessible via tuktuk, taxi, water taxi, Chao Phraya River Express or by taking the skytrain to Saphan Taksin Station followed by the Chao Phraya River Express.

Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)

Reclining Buddha Wat Pho

It’s easy to see the main sites during two days in Bangkok because Wat Pho is just a 5-minute walk from the Grand Palace.

This temple is a must for your Bangkok 2 day itinerary because it’s smaller and less crowded (and cheaper – entrance is 100 baht) than the Grand Palace.

It’s no less colourful, and I marvelled at the bejewelled domes and pagodas.

Wat Pho Bangkok
Rows of gold Buddha states Wat Pho Bangkok 2 day itinerary

As well as wandering the decorative grounds of Wat Pho, you should head inside to see the Reclining Buddha statue which is a massive 46 metres in length. While this is very impressive, there are over 1,000 other Buddha statues within the Wat Pho grounds.

The site is actually older than the Grand Palace, making it the most ancient temple complex in Bangkok.

Entrance fee: 100 baht.

Opening hours: 8am-6:30pm.

How to get there: Easily accessible via taxi or tuktuk.

Catch a ferry to Wat Arun

Wat Arun was my favourite temple in Bangkok, and definitely worth saving ’til last. You won’t get bored during this day of temple-hopping in Bangkok because the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun are all so different.

Another perk of visiting Wat Arun is the 100 baht entrance fee: half of the price of the Grand Palace!

The Temple of Dawn revolves around an enormous white spire, decorated with colourful mosaics quite unlike any I’ve seen before. You should spend at least an hour wandering around, especially if you’re into photography.

I’ve only been to Wat Arun in the daytime but I hear it’s gorgeous lit up at night.

Entrance fee: 100 baht.

Opening hours: 8:30am-5:30pm.

How to get there: Cross the road from Wat Pho and board a ferry across the river. This takes 5 minutes and costs a very minimal 3 baht.

Dinner in Chinatown

Bright lights of Yaowarat Road Chinatown Bangkok

Vibrant Chinatown is one of my favourite areas of Bangkok. With the biggest Chinese population of any country outside China, you can guarantee the food will be authentic.

As a tourist, it’s all too easy to marvel at the bright lights of Yaowarat Road without experiencing the authentic culture of the backstreets. As ever, how deep you delve is entirely up to you. Even if you pass through and grab some tasty Thai or Chinese food, Chinatown is a must while in Bangkok.

If you fancy being more adventurous, I’d recommend the Bangkok Backstreet Food Tasting Tour from A Chef’s Tour. This 4-hour adventure takes you away from popular Yaowarat Road and down the side streets where local life and unusual delicacies await.

How to get there: Take the MRT subway to the Hua Lamphong stop then walk to Wat Traimit. Also accessible by taxi and tuktuk.

Read next: What to eat (and avoid!) in Chinatown Bangkok

Bowl of Thai food in Bangkok

Yaowarat stays busy until late at night, as do many areas of Bangkok. Khao San Road is a party zone seven nights a week but there are so many other areas of Bangkok to drink and socialise.

Go for drinks at a rooftop bar

If the backpacker bars of Khao San Road don’t take your fancy, there are plenty of rooftop or sky bars to choose from and they are sure to make a great addition to your Bangkok itinerary. t.

rooftop bar

Banyan Tree Vertigo & Moon bar

The Banyan Tree Hotel’s Moon Bar is located alongside their restaurant, Vertigo, named one of the world’s top ten bars. It’s popular so make sure you arrive early. There are incredible views of the city since you’ll be enjoying your drinks on the 61st floor.

One of their popular drinks is called the Vertigo sunset which contains a fruity mixture of pineapple, cranberry and lime juices mixed with Malibu.

Opening hours: 5pm-1am.

Dress code: Smart casual.

How to get there: Easily accessible via taxi, tuktuk, or bus, the Banyan Tree Hotel is located just south of Lumphini Park.

Eagle Nest rooftop bar

Located right on the Chao Phraya River and only 3km from Khao San Road, is the Eagle Nest. This rooftop bar sits atop the Sala Arun Hotel and is situated directly across the river from Wat Arun. Go at sunset, but arrive a bit early, and you’re sure to come back with some outstanding photographs of the temples across the water.

Opening hours: 5pm-12am.

Dress code: Smart casual.

How to get there: Take the subway and get off at Sanam Chai station, then walk for 7 minutes. Another option is taking a ferry to the Tha Tien Ferry Terminal and then walking. You can also take a taxi or tukuk. 

Two other options for rooftop bars that you can add to your Bangkok Thailand itinerary include the Skybar and the Speakeasy Rooftop Bar.

Day 2 Bangkok itinerary: culture & hidden gems

Done with temples after yesterday? I don’t blame you. If you’re a history or architecture lover, there’s always more to add to your Bangkok trip itinerary. For the average person, you’re probably ready to see a more modern side to the city.

Here are a few things to do in Bangkok during a second day…

Street art @ Chalermla Park

Girl with street art backdrop Bangkok

Admittedly this is more a stop for photographers and Instagrammers than anyone else, but I enjoyed it so I thought I’d give it a mention.

Chalermla Park is just a minute’s walk from Ratchathewi station which can be easily reached from anywhere in the city. The graffiti-style street art here is some of the coolest in Bangkok, providing the backdrop for a colourful photoshoot.

How to get there: Accessible via tuktuk, taxi or by ferry. If you take a ferry make sure you get off at Hua Chang (Siam Square).

Bangkok Art & Culture Centre

King street art Bangkok Art Culture Centre

Proving that Bangkok is so many things, this stylish art centre would be at home in any forward-thinking city in the world.

Outside, you’ll find this enormous artwork of the King who sadly passed away in 2016. Inside, the spiral-shaped centre is filled with cute cafes, galleries and shops. You only need about an hour here and entry is free.

Entrance fee: free.

Opening hours: 10am-9pm, Tuesday-Sunday.

How to get there: Accessible by bus via BTS National Station.

If you follow this Bangkok itinerary exactly and visit Chalermla Park’s street art and Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, walk there along the canal and stop for a local lunch.

To do this, walk down Soi Phaya Nak then head to the canal path. There are lots of modern cafes on Phaya Nok where you can make a pitstop. Check out Lazy Mary and Oasis Cafe.

These make for a contrast to the local culture and bargain street buffets just metres away on the canal path.

Jim Thompson House

Jim Thompson House

The Jim Thompson House is just a short 6-minute walk away from the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. It’s a museum that houses the art collection of Jim Thompson, an American businessman and architect.

He was also known as the Thai Silk King, since he spent a lot of time reviving and working with the material. Mysteriously, he disappeared somewhere in Malaysia in 1967 and his art collection and home have been preserved as a museum ever since.

Entrance fee: 200 baht for adults, 100 baht under age 22 (must show ID), free for children.

Opening hours: 10am-6pm, last guided tour starts at 5pm.

How to get there: Easily accessible via taxi, tuktuk or skytrain via the National Stadium station exit number 1.

Take a walk in Lumphini Park

Girl beside palm tree in Lumphini Park

With 2 days in Bangkok, you can squeeze in some nature by visiting Lumphini Park. This massive city oasis is named after the birthplace of the Buddha and used by locals for exercise including tai chi classes.

Skyscrapers seen from Lumphini Park Bangkok

Despite being in a city of 6.5 million people, there’s wildlife to be seen in Lumphini Park like this enormous monitor lizard that ran across my path.

I savoured the sense of contrast: peaceful water and greenery with a backdrop of city skyscrapers. Of all the things to do in Bangkok, Lumphini Park has to be the most relaxing. With plenty of shady areas, it would be a for a relaxed picnic after your busy Bangkok 2 day itinerary.

Monitor lizard Lumphini Park Bangkok 2 day itinerary
Monitor lizard in Lumphini Park

How to get there: There are multiple bus stops that border the park such as Lumphini Park (Ratchadamri Side Stop.2), Lumpini Park (Sansin Side), Lampini Park transport interchange, and the Embassy of Japan bus stop.

Wat Saket (Golden Mount)

Golden mount bangkok itinerary

Wat Saket is a golden temple situated at the top of a hill. To get to the top you must climb 320 stairs. Also called The Temple of the Golden Mount, this landmark dates back to the Ayutthaya period.

Other interesting things to see at the temple include many Buddhist relics, Buddha images, the Scripture Hall, the Pagoda, the Temple Hall, and the Sri Maha Bodhi tree.

Entrance fee: 50 baht.

Opening hours: 7:30am-5:30pm.

How to get there: Easily accessible via bus, tuktuk, or taxi. It’s 10 minutes by taxi or tuktuk from the Grand Palace, or you can take a 27-minute walk.

Got an extra day in Bangkok?

In addition to the main things to do in Bangkok, there are some popular day trips.

I’ve heard that Maeklong Railway Market and Damneon Saduak Floating Market are very touristic and crowded so I didn’t feel like visiting them. I’m more about the hidden gems, of which there are many around Bangkok.

One of the top things to do in Bangkok in 2 days is visit Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Bangkok with some incredible ruins and buckets of history. Take a Bangkok to Ayutthaya trip including a cruise and lunch.

Read next: Visiting Ayutthaya from Bangkok

Ayutthaya Temple 2 days in Bangkok

If you have more than 2 days in Bangkok, consider a trip to Ayutthaya or one of the following places. You could even squeeze two of the below into a day if you don’t mind a bit of travel time.

The Airplane Graveyard

Girl walking towards Airplane Graveyard 2 days in Bangkok

I go into more detail in my blog post but I wasn’t entirely sold on the Airplane Graveyard. It’s very quirky and great for photoshoots, but the 200 baht entrance fee is expensive to essentially climb on a scrap heap. But it’s cheap and easy to get to: 17 baht each way by riverboat!

Read next: Visiting Bangkok Airplane Graveyard

All the details are included in this post so you can make your mind up for yourself.

Wat Samphran Temple

Wat Samphran Temple

Wat Samphran Temple is a crazy pink dragon temple with 17 storeys. It’s off the tourist track and there’s very little information available as to who built it and why. Take a wander around the complex dotted with statues, shrines and a large seated gold Buddha.

Located 40km from Bangkok, a taxi costs around 400 baht fare each way.

Phuttha Monthon

I’d never heard of Phuttha Monton before but a friend I made in Thailand spoke so highly of it that I had to add it to this Bangkok travel itinerary. It’s a giant Buddha statue in an enormous leafy park, a 25-minute drive from central Bangkok.

It’s to the west of the city, in the same direction as Wat Samphran. Do both together if you can.

Where to stay during 2 days in Bangkok

Hostels:

  • If you want to stay centrally, meet backpackers and enjoy the nightlife, you can’t beat Nap Park Hostel @ Khao San.
  • Another hostel I’d recommend is Every Day Bangkok Hostel which has a Khao San branch as well as a quieter hostel near Silom (where I stayed) with an aircon computer room and onsite cafe. Great for online workers who still want to meet people!
  • Hom Cooking Hostel in the Nana district. While the area is nothing to rave about, the hostel is a great base for 2 days in Bangkok. The staff prepare dinner each night during a cooking demo. Dorms start at 380 baht a night inc breakfast and dinner. There’s also a co-working area and rooftop garden complete with giant paddling pool. Check out my review.

Hotels:

  • Chomm House is in stylish Ratchathewi area has friendly owners and cute double and twin rooms from just $50.
  • For boutique rooms in a converted theatre closely to Chinatown, check out Prince Theatre Heritage Stay from just $50.
Hom Cooking Hostel where to stay in Bangkok
Daily cooking demos at Hom Cooking Hostel

Thanks for reading my 2 day Bangkok itinerary!

Check out some of my other Thailand posts:

See you next time for more adventures,

Rose

Ps. During my time in Bangkok, I was hosted by A Chef’s Tour and Hom Cooking Hostel, however, all opinions are my own.

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2 day bangkok itinerary

VISITING THAILAND? 

These are my trusted resources:

Getting around by air
– it’s easy to get between cities by flight. I use Skyscanner and Kayak.

Buses
buses are comfy and efficient. Use 12Go to book.

Trains
these are a good option for long journeys because you have a bed rather than a seat. Use 12Go to book.

Driving in Thailand
use Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals.

Confused about visas?
I use iVisa to check visa requirements and apply for visas online.

For hotels
, I use Booking.com – they also have self-catering apartments. You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.

Browse tours and activities
on GetYourGuide. I also check Viator and Klook in case they have a better price.

For food tours with passionate local chefs and foodies, check out EatWith.

Stay connected in Thailand with an eSim data package.

Need travel insurance? I use World Nomads. They cover 150 countries and have 24-hour emergency assistance. 

Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and tips!

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