Bangkok is a special city. It’s a place deep-routed in history, culture and religion with a contemporary twist, a beautiful place where traditional meets modern. There are many things in Bangkok to keep you busy throughout your stay from glistening golden palaces and temples seeped in history to soaking in the light and on a rooftop bar at sundown. Bangkok is a place for anyone, for shoppers, party-goers, foodies, culture or history buffs, for backpackers and of course wellness travellers. Whether you’re visiting Bangkok for just a few days a few months or even on a layover of a few hours, Bangkok has something for you. In this Bangkok itinerary for 4 days you’ll find all the things you simply cannot miss during a stay in the Thai capital and more. We’ve condensed everything down for you by area so you’re not running around the city all day from place to place and with the wellness traveller in mind, we’ve included some of the best health-focused places to eat too.
WHEN TO VISIT
Bangkok and Thailand can be visited all year round and the Thai capital makes the perfect escape at any time of the year. The busiest months, however, are from November- March, the coolest season. The hottest time in Bangkok is March-May, but if you stay for Songkran- Thai new year you’ll be able to experience all the festivities and water fights. Rainy season falls from July-October. Whichever time you decide to visit Bangkok you won’t be disappointed by this Asian metropolis that ever sleeps.
WHERE TO STAY
During your 4 days in Bangkok, whatever your itinerary, you’ll probably need somewhere to stay. Bangkok has hotels, Airbnbs, guesthouses and hostels to suit all budgets, from the most barebones backpacker budget to the most luxurious hotels. Generally, accommodation is great value for money in Bangkok. There are a few areas of Bangkok of interest to travellers and you’ll probably want to base yourself in one of these districts. Khao San Road and Banglamphu are the main backpacker area and historical heart of the city, Chao Phraya Riverside, a scenic place to stay with a mix of everything you might want nearby, Silom/Sathon, the main business and financial areas of the city and Siam, Bangkok’s most intense shopping district.
Splurge– Bangkok Publishing Residence– This beautifully classy hotel was once home to a printing press printing local Thai magazines. It’s a heritage building with charm and character and each room is uniquely decorated in an Old World style. It’s perfect for anyone looking for something different from the typical luxury hotel chains.
Mid-Range– Riva Arun Bangkok– This gorgeous property, located in the heart of Bangkok’s centre is just over the river from Wat Arun and 3 minutes from Wat Pho. It was once a Chinese shophouse, the details and finishes are preserved and can be seen all over the hotel. Rooms are simple, bright and airy and they have a spectacular roof terrace overlooking the river- the ideal place for sunset drinks after a day of exploring.
Budget– Neighbor Phuthon– This beautiful bed and breakfast is located in the prettiest Thai-style townhouse with a gorgeous little courtyard and bar/breakfast room. It’s simple yet clean and distinctively Thai- you’ll get transported back to the Old World in no time. Their breakfast is amazing and so are the helpful and friendly staff. Brilliant location too!
WHERE TO EAT (HEALTHY + PLANT-BASED)
Bangkok has no shortages of where to eat and you’ll be able to find all kinds of delicious items to savour here from street-food to Michelin Star dining experiences. You don’t have to spend much to have a great, flavour-filled meal in Thailand and some classic dishes you have to try are Som Tum (Papaya Salad), Tom Yum (Spicy sour soup), Laab (spicy salad) and the famous Pad Thai and Panang (Thai curry). While the plant-based culture in Thailand does exist, it’s not that easy to find Thai vegan food especially in the street-food budget but here are some great healthy, plant-based places that shouldn’t be missed.
Top Tip: If you are plant-based then make sure to look out for a large yellow flag with red writing at the entrance to a restaurant which generally means they are vegetarian.
Ethos Vegetarian and Vegan– This delicious plant-based restaurant serves Thai, Indian and Western food such as curries, falafel, burgers, dhal, tempeh-based dishes and kombucha. It’s tasty and there’s so much variety available. Located in an alley behind Thanon Tanao, at the bottom of the Khao San Road.
May Kaidee– May is famous for her plant-based cooking school and restaurants which have since opened branches in Chaing Mai, Phnom Penh and New York. The Tanao location is her original location and while the cooking courses are a great option here, the food is also spectacular. This is true Thai cooking made plant-based and it’s difficult to get better than this.
Number One Thai Vegetarian Food- this hole-in-the-wall is a delicious no thrills place with food that’s fast, cheap and insanely good. Dishes are mainly rice and noodle dishes with a stir fry of choice. They also do red and green Thai curries with tofu, stir-fried tofu with basil and shrimp and fish-sauce free papaya salad. Located in an alley behind Thanon Tanao, at the bottom of the Khao San Road.
Su Ki Jeh Ru Yi – A classic Thai-Chinese Vegetarian restaurant with delicious local Thai cuisine in a truly authentic setting. Their dishes include yellow curry, mixed vegetable stir fry, mixed mushroom stir fry and many other rice and noodle dishes. Located a 5-minute walk from Hua Lamphong station on 285 Soi Phraya Singhaseni Street.
Vistro– If you’re staying near the historical centre this place may take a while to get to but trust me, it’s worth the shlep. Serving an array of Thai, Asian, Mexican and western dishes the food here is creative, beautiful and delicious. The jackfruit tacos, dumplings and the northern Thai noodle speciality, Khao soi come seriously recommended. 46/1 Sukhumvit 24 Alley, Klongton (Phrom Phong nearest BTS station)
Your Bangkok map with all our recommendations:
4 DAYS IN BANGKOK ITINERARY
Start the first day of your 4 days in Bangkok itinerary by exploring the beautiful and charming historic centre. This part of the city is the focal point for so many grand temples, elaborate palaces and significant buildings from Bangkok’s history. First thing in the morning make your way to the Grand Palace (8.30 am-3.30 pm), the home of Thai Royalty. This elaborate complex was built in 1782 and houses many administrative buildings, the famous temple of the Emerald Buddha and several other royal and throne halls. Walking around this complex it’s difficult to comprehend the intricacy of the detail and the sheer amount of gold. Don’t miss the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and make sure to arrive early as it gets busy quickly.
Next, make your way just one block south to Wat Pho or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. As its name suggests what you’ll see here is a reclining Buddha statue but prepared to be blown away. This gold plated buddha is 45m long and 15 metres high and its feet are encrusted in mother pearl. This is the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok and if you visit just one during your 4 days in Bangkok itinerary, make sure it’s this one or Wat Arun.
From Wat Pho continue on to Tha Tian Express Boat Pier, just a few steps away from Wat Pho. You’ll pass through Tha Tian Food Market where you can grab a delicious Thai snack before continuing. They have lots of mango sticky rice, papaya salad and excellent fruit smoothies and juices on offer. This market is also the perfect opportunity to try some South-East Asian tropical fruit including durian, the love it or hate it fruit that tastes delicious once you get over the smell. From the pier take the boat directly over the river to Wat Arun.
Architecturally, Wat Arun is one of the most unique temples in Bangkok and you can explore the temples and grounds as well as climb the tall spires for a spectacular view over the nearby river banks. Its name means the ‘Temple of Dawn’ as the effect of first light on the temple spires is magical.
Take the boat back to the other side and for the rest of the afternoon enjoy walking around and exploring this old historic area. Make your way up to Khao San Road and enjoy a late lunch at Ethos or May Kaidee before going souvenir shopping and exploring this famous touristy area. I highly recommend walking the alleys and street around the Khao San Road rather than on the street itself- they are far more interesting, especially in the afternoon.
Finally to finish your day indulge in a Thai massage. The Thai massage technique is far from the soothing western practise and involves a combination of acupressure, yoga postures and Ayurvedic principles. The Thai massage leaves you feeling invigorated, perfectly aligned and relaxed. It’s the perfect way to end the day.
On your second day in Bangkok its time to explore the other side of the city, the sleek modern financial and commercial centre and the delights that come with it. After breakfast start your day with some traditional Thai culture and architecture at the Jim Thompson House Museum (9 am-6 pm).Jim Thompson was an American businessman who heavily invested in and worked hard to save the Thai silk trade. He was also an avid art collector and pieces from his collection can be seen in the house museum. The house was made by combining six existing Thai buildings in the traditional Thai style and its a fine example of traditional Thai architecture. This house is definitely a must-visit during your Bangkok itinerary as it’s one of the most unique places in all Bangkok to explore Thai heritage, history and art.
From here it’s a short walk eastwards into the heart of Siam- Bangkok’s bustling commercial district. Here you’ll find the biggest malls such as the MBK Centre, Siam Discovery Mall, Siam Paragon and CentralwOrld. Although there’s nothing particularly Thai about these mega malls if you are up for some shopping now’s a great opportunity to indulge. Just opposite the Siam Discovery Mall is the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, a gorgeous space that deserves a quick walkthrough.
Opposite the CentralwOrld Mall, you’ll find the Erawan Shrine, a monument to Brahma the Hindu God of creation who is known as Phra Phrom in Thailand. This shrine is entirely open to the street so you’ll see it, completely covered in marigolds before you even get near. It’s worth walking around and noticing the amount of gold and the beautifully intricate details. There are also regular performances by traditional dance troupes, so make sure to stay for that if you can.
Next head south along Ratchadamri Road all the way down to Lumphini Park. (If you’re hungry and already looking for somewhere to eat then take a Grab (Thai uber) to Vistro. This amazing plant-based restaurant is one of the best in Bangkok for modern, creative food and is only a short ride away from Lumphini Park. Alternatively, take the BTS from Erawan Shrine for 3 stops to Phrom Phong). Back at Lumphini Park simply walk around and take in this gorgeous oasis of green surrounded by skyscrapers and Skytrain flyovers. In the park, there’s also a boating lake on which you can spend the afternoon or simply relax with a book under the shade of a tree.
For sunset, it’s impossible to miss Bangkok’s views from one of the many rooftop bars available in the city. The choices are endless and you have to stay here for more than a month to visit each one. My favourite rooftop bars are Penthouse Rooftop at the Park Hyatt, the famous Art Deco styled Vertigo and Moon Bar and the more casual ABar Rooftop. Each bar has their charm and they are all perfect for watching the sunset while sipping a cocktail as the sky turns purple and the night begins.
Start the morning visiting one of the most famous and important of Thai commerce practises, a floating market. There are so many to choose from and while you’ll have to travel to get to one (there aren’t any in central Bangkok) it’s well worth the trip to see the vendors selling their wares from wooden boats on the waterways. It’s also a great place to sample some delicious and extremely authentic Thai food. One of the best and closest markets to visit is Samnoen Saduak Floating Market, just 1.5 hours away from central Bangkok. One of my favourite ways to visit this market is one this tour. They really take the hassle out of trying to get there yourself and the guides are friendly and knowledgeable and they even show you how coconut sugar is made. The tour gets you back to Bangkok by 2 pm and its great value for money.
Book your place on the Samnoen Saduak Floating Market tour here.
In the afternoon head to Chinatown and to its heart on Yaowarat Road. This is always such a beautiful and unique district to explore for its Chinese-Thai fusion of traditions, culture and commerce. Peek into shops and explore the products on offer, sample some street food and if you love photography then this is one of the most impressive parts of the city.
From here is a short walk or Grab ride to the Golden Mount or Wat Saket for sunset. This temple sits on a circular hill which you have to climb to get to the top but thanks to the extra effort, it makes it a magical experience. Not only can you explore the temple itself but it also provides 360° views over Bangkok and is the perfect place to watch the sun go down on another day.
Day four of your 4 days in Bangkok itinerary is more of a relaxed, filler-day. Take this day to do more of what you like or if you must, getting ready to depart. If you’re in Bangkok at the weekend make sure to check out the Chatuchak Weekend Market. Even if shopping isn’t what you’re into, this weekend market is full of both local people and tourists shopping, eating and socialising with friends and family. One of the best things to do apart from to shop is just to walk around and experience the culture and hustle and bustle of the place. Grab a juice or ice cream, sit down and people watch but if you are wanting to buy some cool t-shirts, buddha statues, souvenirs to take home this is a great place to do so. Make sure to also have lunch here if you’re after a real Thai eating experience.
Spend the afternoon at your leisure visiting places you may have missed or relaxing in parks, getting more Thai massages, shopping or feasting on even more delicious food.
IF YOUR HAVE MORE TIME…
If you’re in Bangkok for more than 4 days I’d definitely recommend an overnight or mini-break to some of the below destinations. Here you can learn even more about Thai history and culture or simply relax on the beach on a paradise island after these hectic few days exploring Bangkok.
Ayutthaya– The ancient capital of Thailand. Ayutthaya, located just 40 miles north of Bangkok, was founded in 1351 and continued to be the capital of what’s now Thailand until 1767 when it was destroyed by the Burmese. What’s left of the original city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the historical centre is full of the remains of hundreds of buildings and temples whose red-brick remains still stand today. Ayutthaya is Thailands answer to Cambodia’s Angkor complex or Myanmar’s Bagan. It’s definitely worth a day or overnight trip from Bangkok.
Koh Samet– The perfect beach break close to Bangkok. If you’re done with the city, Koh Samet makes for the perfect beach island retreat for a few days. It’s also a great stopover if you’re headed to Cambodia overland. As it’s about 140 miles east of Bangkok it’s probably a good idea to stay at least two nights. With accommodation suiting any budget, this is the perfect place to relax on for a few days. I highly recommend staying in a hotel away from the main village and beach in order to get away from the party scene if you really want to relax. During the day spend your time at a local spa or beach hopping around the island. One of my favourite little beaches to relax was Ao Nuan.
Khao Yai National Park– Thailand’s great National Park Khao Yai is located in Eastern Thailand about 2 hours of Bangkok and it makes a great escape for nature and wildlife lovers. It’s the ideal place to go to get away from the city and its heat by enjoying any one of the hiking trails or waterfalls. You’ll also get the chance to get up close to some of the amazing wildlife that lives here, elephants, sambar deer, monkeys, porcupines and a large variety of different birds. During the wet season, the park might be inaccessible so check before setting out.
Check out some more tours and things to do below:
↠ For this Bangkok itinerary for 4 days, make sure to dress appropriately when visiting temples. That means you need to cover your legs, up to the knee, and your shoulders. That doesn’t mean you have to dress conservatively especially in the Bangkok heat. I suggest wearing either a t-shirt with shorts or long, loose pants with a sleeveless top and carry a sarong in your bag. Upon visiting the temple you can then wrap the sarong around your shoulders or your waist depending on what you’re wearing.
↠ Wear flip-flops or slip-on sandals. Footwear is banned inside Thai temples and holy places and you’ll have to take off your shoes at the entryway. Life is a lot easier if you don’t have to do up laces 5 times an hour.
↠ If you’re not using Grab but a standard taxi or tuk-tuk, agree on the price before getting in. Get ready to bargain as the original price will be a lot higher than what the journey is worth. If you’re not comfortable with haggling, I know I’m not, I definitely recommend using Grab.
↠ Don’t forget to bring bug repellent and a lot of sunscreen. Bangkok is extremely hot and humid, especially in the hotter months.
Do you have any comments or questions about your Bangkok itinerary for 4 days? Leave them below, I’d love to hear from you.
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