Known for its friendly locals, delectable cuisine and electrifying nightlife, Bangkok has been voted the Best City Destination in the Asia Pacific for nine consecutive years. Get a glimpse into the highlights of Bangkok tourism in our 24-hour guide.
Maybe you booked an impromptu flight on a Hangover-Part-II-esque whim and woke up in Bangkok the next morning; maybe you’ve been planning to hit one of Asia’s most lively cities for a while – or maybe you just underestimated just how long your layover really is. Regardless of why you’ve found yourself in this vibrant city, we’ve got you covered. Read on as we guide you through 24 fun-filled hours in Bangkok.
Early (and we mean EARLY) Morning: Silom
Experience a Traditional Food Market: Silom Soi 20
Rise and shine! Begin your day with a refreshing stroll through one of Bangkok’s famous food markets. For an experience that is both authentic and foreigner-friendly, head over to Silom Soi 20, a tightly packed street where locals and tourists alike flock to get their fill of traditional Thai food from stall vendors. Don’t be deterred by the wobbly plastic chairs and steel tables – it’s well worth the visit.
Insider’s Tip: Keep your eyes peeled for a stall named Khao Mok Gai De (ข้าวหมกไก่ เด๊ะ), located just to the left of Silom Soi 20. Be sure to arrive early, though – the stall opens as early as 6am and their famous khao mok gai (Thai-style chicken biryani) is often sold out before 9am.
Address: Soi Silom 20, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand
Open From: Tue-Sun: 6am-9am
Price: Free entry
Go on a Spiritual Journey: Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
After filling your stomach, head over to the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple directly adjacent to Silom Soi 20 for a different kind of soul food. Albeit being relatively small in size, this Hindu temple boasts vibrant colours and impressive architecture along its entire exterior wall. Although visits were previously open only to practising Hindus for many years, it has since opened its doors to tourists, although it’s worth noting that photography is prohibited inside and you should take off your hat and shoes before entering,
Insider’s Tip: After paying your respects to the Hindu gods, continue your spiritual journey by having a vegetarian meal. Many Hindus favour a lacto-vegetarian diet, which is why vegetarian restaurants can be found neighbouring the temple. Our top pick is Chennai Kitchen, which offers authentic South Indian vegetarian meals.
Address: 2 Silom Road Bang Rak, Bangkok
Open From: Sat-Thu: 6am-8pm; Fri: 6am-9pm
Price: Free entry, but donations are welcome
Breakfast: Breakfast Story
Craving a truly indulgent breakfast? Then you can’t beat a classic American start to the day. Serving up everything from pancakes to pan-fried potatoes, eggs and crispy bacon, this all-day breakfast joint is decked out with strings of fairy lights, vintage posters, wooden tables, and 80’s background music to transport you straight to the States.
Insider Tip: Go big or go home! We recommend ordering their syrup-drenched French toast to add some sweetness to your day.
Address: 593/27 Sukhumvit Road, 2nd Floor, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110
Open From: Mon-Fri: 7am-11pm
Price: ~THB300 per person
Travel the World: Terminal 21 Asok
Does your soul desire to travel, but your bank account say no? Here, you don’t need a passport to be a globetrotter! A trendy, travel-themed shopping complex that boasts over 600 market-style boutiques, Terminal 21 is a highly Instagrammable mall that gathers the best of unique shopping ideas from locations around the globe and places them conveniently under one (air-conditioned!) roof. Each floor is themed around famous cities like Rome, Italy, Tokyo, London, and San Francisco, while the complex itself is modelled after an airport terminal, offering a perfect one-stop solution to your wanderlust blues.
Insider’s Tip: Is nature calling? Hold off on answering until you reach the Tokyo floor, which features the latest high tech Japanese-style toilets.
Address: Sukhumvit Road, Khlong Toei, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Open From: Mon-Sun: 10am-10pm
Price: Free entry
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Submerge in Nature: Benjasiri Park
Need a moment of tranquillity? Steeped in flora and fauna, Benjasiri Park is the place to be if you need a spot of quiet in the sea of urban noise. What sets it apart, however, is its wide range of outdoor sports facilities including a basketball court, skateboarding ring and outdoor swimming pool which are all open to the public. If you find yourself in the Sukhumvit area, be sure to stop by for some family fun (or even just to let your kids release some of that hyperactive energy).
Insider’s Tip: Be sure to keep an eye out for the centrepiece fountain, created by famous Thai sculptor Mesium Yipinsoy. If you’re lucky, you may be able to catch the fountain’s multimedia water dance show, which is hosted three times a day.
Address: Sukhumvit 22-24 Khlong Tan, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Open From: Mon-Sun: 5am-9pm
Price: Free entry
Soak Up Some Culture: Jim Thompson House
History buffs, this one’s for you! Take a gander at the Jim Thompson house, a museum that takes you through the history of silk production in Thailand. Consisting of six Thai-styled teak houses reassembled to form an intricate palace, the structure originally served as both home and showroom to Jim Thompson, an American who pioneered the development of the Thai Silk industry. Once you’ve finished looking around, be sure to take a quick coffee and snack break in the Coffee Shop and Restaurant. And, for those keen to take some luxury home, stop by the Jim Thompson factory outlet located in Sukhumvit to pick out some discounted fabrics!
Insider’s Tip: If you missed your chance to buy souvenirs from the Silk and Souvenir Shop, worry not! There is also a Jim Thompson Silk Shop at the New Bangkok International Airport if you change your mind.
Address: 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Road. Bangkok 10330
Open From: Mon-Sun: 9am-6pm
Price: General Admission: THB200; Visitors under 22 years old: THB100; Children under 10 years old: Free when accompanied by an adult
Lunch: Jeib Rod Dee Det
Feeling peckish? Grab a local bite at Jeib Rod Dee Det. With its sleek, all-black decor, this stylish restaurant is a revamp of the popular Rod Dee Det, a classic no-frills Thai eatery popular amongst locals. Its specialty is kway teow neua (beef noodle soup), which consists of high-grade Thai beef slow-cooked in a broth with fish sauce to create their famous soup, and is guaranteed to have you coming back for seconds in no time.
Insider’s Tip: Not a fan of noodles? Jeib Rod Dee Det also offers delicious rice dishes. Our top picks are the khao na gai (Chinese-style chicken stew on rice) and their khao stew neua (Chinese style beef stew on rice).
Address: 236/3-4 Siam Square Soi 2, Pathum Wan, Pathum Wan District, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Open From: Mon-Sun, 10am-10pm
Price: ~THB50 per bowl
Unleash your inner hipster: YELO House
If you’re an artist looking to connect with like-minded people, look no further than YELO House. A warehouse-turned-creative space, YELO House is an art gallery hall, cafe/restaurant and a vintage clothing market all rolled into one. Pop in for a quick espresso or meal, rifle through some pre-loved clothing, or simply take a breather.
Insider’s Tip: Head out the back door to find a pathway that stretches along Khlong Saen Saeb canal. Here, you can find distinctive graffiti art on both sides of the strait; if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even board a boat at the pier to take you to Jinshan Temple or Pratunam Market.
Address: 20/2 Rama I Rd, Wang Mai, Pathum Wan District, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Open From: Mon-Sun, 9am-8pm
Price: Free entry
Evening: Khao San Road
Spend an evening on this vivacious, kaleidoscopic street that never sleeps. Filled to the brim with backpackers, it’s been drawing the crowds for years, and is a legendary melting pot of people, fun, food and more.
The party never stops on Khao San Road. Adorned with countless bars, restaurants, street food stalls and massage parlours, this street is a one-stop party zone. Sealed off from vehicle traffic, the streets are lined with vendors selling everything you can imagine, from clothing and jewellery to CDs and DVDs. Feeling thrifty? Head on over to one of many used bookstores, or buy some preloved camping and travel gear from previous travellers.
Getting hungry? Lined with endless food stalls where local vendors dole out authentic Thai food that is both delicious and cheap, Khao San Road dishes up food to satisfy your every craving. The highlight is pad-thai, a Thai staple that consists of stir-fried rice noodles with egg, tofu and shrimp. Still not full? Satisfy your sweet tooth with a scrumptious dessert of banana and chocolate pancakes, or if you’re feeling adventurous, snack on a fine selection of seasoned critters, including maggots, silkworms, scorpions, and even tarantulas.
Insider’s Tip: Can’t find anything that suits your fancy? Head on one street over to Soi Rambuttri where the street food selection is more extensive for a cheaper price.
Address: Khwaeng Talad Yot, Khet Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Open From: Mon-Sun, 24 hours
Price: Free entry
Alternative Dinner Options
Eat Your Vegetables: Na Aroon
If you’re seeking a vegetarian dinner option, look no further than Na Aroon. Tucked away in a gorgeous boutique hotel, this spot is a pocket of old-world charm featuring teak wood flooring and a 1940’s-esque open-air lobby that reflects traditional Thai design. The menu itself boasts an extensive range of vegetarian options, as well as a large variety of seafood, in both Thai and Western-style dishes.
Insider’s Tip: Save some room for dessert: the apple crumble with custard and ice cream is said to be the owner’s pride and joy.
Address: 65 Sukhumvit Soi 1 | Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Open From: Mon-Sun, 6:30am-10pm
Price: ~1000THB per person
Thai with a Twist: Soul Food Mahanakorn
Craving street food, but don’t feel like sitting on a hot street? Soul Food Mahanakorn is the place to go. The brainchild of an American food writer, here they put a classy spin on traditional Thai street food in an ambient-yet-trendy setting. With friendly staff who are fluent in English and a laid-back, homely vibe, this restaurant offers a retelling of traditional flavours in East-meets-West themed comfort food.
Insider’s Tip: Check out their speciality cocktail list, which infuses some of Thai’s signature flavour profiles to create a unique, unforgettable drink.
Address: 56/10 Sukhumvit Soi 55, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Open From: Mon-Sun: 5:30pm-12am; Sat-Sun: 11:30am-3pm
Price: ~1000THB per person
Late Night: Thonglor
Take Some Liquid Courage: Backstage
If you’re someone who prefers a luxurious drinking den, Backstage should definitely be on your list. With a spot on Asia’s Top 50 Best Bars, this theatre-themed tavern, inspired by the old-school glamour of Broadway has been taken over by six of Bangkok’s leading bartenders who wow customers each night with their sensational cocktails. With all the fun taking place hidden out of sight behind heavy red curtains, this place feels decadent, mysterious and the perfect setting for a glamorous night out.
Insider’s Tip: Start your evening off with a Pink Me Up cocktail – the bartenders’ recommendation to get your night going.
Address: PlayHaus Thonglor 205/22-23 (Thonglor), Soi Sukhumvit 55 Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110
Open From: 7pm-2am
Dance the Night Away: Sing Sing
Travel back in time at this 1930s oriental-themed club. With a design based loosely on a traditional Chinese opera house, Sing Sing brings in an international mix of partygoers nightly. Not your typical club, Sing Sing also integrates dance performances, skits and live musical acts that line up perfectly with the pulsating beat of their music.
Insider’s Tip: Club policies are very strict; bring a form of ID that proves you’re 20 years old or above, and make sure to dress up or you might be denied entry!
Address: Sukhumvit 45 Alley, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Open From: Tue-Sun: 9pm-2am
Price: Free Entry
The Voice of Bangkok: Yes!! R&B Karaoke
Channel your inner Adele and sing to your heart’s desire at Yes!! R&B Karaoke. The karaoke system here boasts an extensive collection featuring both local and international songs, and is updated weekly so you always have access to the latest music. Not feeling the right vibe? Choose from 30 quirkily-themed rooms, ranging from a traditional Thai opera house featuring red curtains and a stage mic, to a teddy bear room covered wall-to-wall with plushies. There’s even a bathroom-themed room if you want to practise singing in the shower!
Insider’s Tip: Be sure to take advantage of any promotions they might have at the time. You can check their official website for the newest updates so you don’t miss out.
Address: 225, 10 Sukhumvit 55 Road, Khlong Toei Nuea, Khet Watthana Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, 10110, Thailand
Open From: Mon-Sun: 4pm-1am
Price: Sun-Thu: THB 1,500-5,000; Fri-Sat: THB 2,500-5,500. Varies by room size
Catch up on some Z’s: Sheldon Ekamai
As the night draws to a close, wind down at Sheldon Ekamai. A self-proclaimed ‘alternative hangout,’ this cafe is filled wall-to-wall with board games and video game consoles to satisfy even the pickiest of gamers. Getting sleepy? Sheldon Ekamai also offers bed rentals at THB 50 per hour, so you can catch up on some well-deserved beauty sleep before welcoming a brand new day of adventuring.
Insider’s Tip: For a pick-me-up, head to the coffee shop for a steaming cup of coffee and a fluffy slice of cake.
Address: 4/F, Acmen Ekamai, Soi Sukhumvit 63, Bangkok
Open From: Mon-Sun: 24 hours
Price: Free entry, but fees vary depending on the services you use
Bar Hopping: Soi Nana Chinatown
Don’t feel like settling down for the night? Head on over to Soi Nana Chinatown for a quick pub crawl. Listed as one of the world’s five hippest neighbourhoods of the year by Conde Nast Traveller, Soi Nana is a dive-bar mecca – and home to some of the trendiest bars in all of Bangkok. Here are two of our favourites:
Experience Local Flavours: Asia Today
Coming from the founders of the already well-established bar Teens of Thailand is Asia Today. Inside, you’ll find a relaxed, kitschy vibe – and a giant shark hanging from the ceiling – where you can pull up a stool to try one of their exotic cocktails. This place is all about local Thai ingredients, offering up drinks that feature special tastes from around the country such as bai hor wor, a herb that comes from the Pga K’nyau in northern Thailand, and honey from rural farmers. It all works together to give you a new experience that’s equal parts exotic, experimental and fun.
Insider’s Tip: Make sure you try some of their highly revered drinks made with 13 types of Thai honey, locally sourced by the bar team themselves from rural Thai areas.
Address: 35 Soi Nana, Maitri Chit Road, Bangkok
Open From: Tue-Thu & Sun: 7pm-12am; Fri-Sat: 7pm-1:15am
Spice Up Your Night: Tep Bar
Join in with a lively crowd of locals and visitors for a cheery atmosphere and live local music at Tep Bar in Chinatown. This spot guarantees a fun and energetic evening for you and your friends under the dimly-lit moody lighting all topped off with cocktails and snacks so characteristic of Thai life.
Insider’s Tip: This place has some noteworthy drinks, but don’t forget their interesting snack menu that includes classics like khao krieb wow – a sticky rice cracker.
Address: 69-71 Soi Nana, Charoen Krung Road, Bangkok
Open From: Mon-Sun, 6 pm-1 am
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