48 Hours in Bangkok – Famous and Off the Beaten Path Attractions

Updated on 24 August 2017

Many tourists head straight out of Bangkok to a beach or hilltop retreat and yet the city has some fascinating sights if you know where to look. We recently spent 48 hours in Bangkok and visited a mix of famous and more off the beaten path attractions.

Day 1 – 48 Hours in Bangkok

Wat Pho

One of our favourite places to visit in Bangkok was the Buddhist temple of Wat Pho. This sacred royal temple is the place where King Rama I’s ashes are enshrined. As you can see, it gleams in the sunshine. Thai massage actually originated here and is still practiced at the temple today.

The temple of Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand - a great place to visit with a weekend in Thailand's capital city
However, it’s most famous for its golden Reclining Buddha who takes up an entire building. As its a holy place, visitors are required to place their shoes in a bag and carry them round with them. Those who have forgotten to cover their shoulders or knees can also borrow a shawl. You can then walk round the Buddha statue, admiring the craftsmanship of this masterpiece.

The reclining Buddha in Bangkok, Thailand
There are many other beautiful sights such as Phra Ubosot, where Buddhist rituals are performed, so allow at least a few hours for your visit. Entrance costs 100 baht and the temple is open from 8 am to 5 pm.

Monks at the temple of the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok, Thailand
Grand Palace

Another must-see if you have 48 hours in Bangkok is the Grand Palace, close to Wat Pho. An imposing sight, it was built in 1782 and was previously the home of the Kings of Siam. It houses a series of temples such as Wat Phra Kaew, with its iconic Emerald Buddha. The late King was lying in state and people from all over Thailand had come to pay their respects to him. It was therefore not possible for us to visit inside but we will be back! Normally it is open from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm and tickets cost 500 baht. Like Wat Pho, it is important to dress respectfully and to cover your shoulders and knees.

Mourners at the Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand
For dinner, sample authentic Thai cuisine at Michelin starred nahm or one of our dining recommendations such as Paste for a contemporary take on the classics.

Review of Paste restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand
Finish your night with a cocktail in a panoramic rooftop bar such as Skylounge at the lebua Hotel. The views are far reaching and the State Tower itself is an impressive sight. Fellow blogger Samantha has some great suggestions for other Bangkok rooftop bars too.

Lebua Skybar in Bangkok, Thailand at night
Day 2 – 48 Hours in Bangkok

Lumpini Park

A real oasis in the city. Lumpini Park is spread over 57 hectares and popular with locals who come here to practice tai chi in the morning and early evening. It’s virtually deserted during the day as the heat can be so strong. There’s a lake with charming swan boats…

The swan boats in Lumpini Park, Bangkok, Thailand
And a Chinese temple that caught our eye.

Enjoy a tasty lunch nearby at Café Claire within  the Oriental Residence.

Art in Paradise

One for the photography fans, Art in Paradise is a 3D museum and one of the more quirky things to do in Bangkok. It’s located inside the rather nondescript Esplanade shopping mall on Ratchada road but if you’re with older children or a big kid yourself then you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.

Art in Paradise 3D Museum in Bangkok, Thailand
Fancy yourself as an action hero?

Fun for all the family - the Art in Paradise 3D Museum in Bangkok, Thailand Or as a message in a bottle? Well now you can capture those weird and wonderful moments in all their glory!

Unusual things to do in Bangkok - Art in Paradise 3D Museum, Bangkok, Thailand - sending a message in a bottleShopping

For more upmarket shopping in Bangkok, there are many air conditioned malls in the centre. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many in one area. Gaysorn, Central Enbassy, Siam Paragon, EmQuariter, the list goes on. Not only are they great for cooling down but they also house many well known luxury brands and restaurants.

Shopping in Bangkok - one of the many luxury shopping malls in Bangkok, Thailand - read the full article by Suze, a luxury lifestyle blogger at luxurycolumnist.com
Flower Market

To see the real Bangkok, have a look around the wholesale flower market. You’ll see stall holders preparing floral garland offerings for the gods.

The wholesale flower market in Bangkok, Thailand
We admired these beautiful orchids…

Tour of the flower market in Bangkok, Thailand
As well as this cat watching customers go by. You won’t come across many other tourists and it’s an interesting glimpse into Thai traditions.

A cat in the flower market, Bangkok, Thailand
Finish your weekend with an evening at Asiatique The Riverfront where you’ll find a wide selection of bars and restaurants as well as a night market. Although Bangkok night markets are famous worldwide, the actual shopping can be a bit underwhelming but it’s worth seeing at least one for the atmosphere.

Asiatique The Waterfront in Bangkok, Thailand - this place comes alive at night!
Getting to Bangkok

We flew with Eva Air, the Taiwanese airline that has been scooping awards for its service. They’re certified as a 5-Star Airline by Skytrax, and were also voted in the top 2 of the world’s cleanest airlines for 2 years in a row. We tried their Elite Class and were impressed with the efficient service as well as the roomy 38 inch pitch and 19.5 inch seat width. There was a handy amenity kit with aromatherapy toiletries from Thai brand Thann. We were lent a decent pair of headphones and the USB plugs and 110V AC laptop outlets came in very handy. There was an 11 inch LCD screen and the film selection was fairly complete with a particularly good range of foreign language films as well as the usual blockbusters. We also appreciated the fact that there weren’t endless in-flight announcements interrupting them! As for the food, it was extremely tasty. We were brought 2 full meals as well as snacks and even ice cream! We were only given one small half glass of wine but it was excellent quality and we don’t tend to drink much on flights anyway. All in all, we were very happy with the whole experience and we even landed half an hour ahead of schedule.

A review of Eva Air Elite class
Getting around Bangkok

Due to the humidity, I’d recommend taking an air conditioned cab or the Skytrain for the great views – thankfully that also has air conditioning.

The Sky Train in Bangkok, Thailand
Tuk tuks might look fun but can be very overpriced and for anything but short journeys, you will swelter in the heat. A river cruise is a relaxing way to get around and you’ll also see some of the major sights like Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn.

The temple of Wat Arun in Bangkok, ThailandWeather in Bangkok

The weather in Bangkok is generally above 30°C and it is extremely humid. From October to February, there is slightly less humidity and temperatures are slightly lower, at around 25 to 28°C. At any time of the year, you can expect short rainshowers.

What to Pack for Bangkok

As it’s very humid, we’d suggest taking lots of loose clothing such as linen trousers and silk maxi dresses. You may also want to pack an anti-humidity hair spray, mini hair-straighteners and some anti-mosquito spray. When visiting the temples, it’s essential to cover your shoulders so make sure to take tops or dresses with sleeves or a large shawl. The pavements can be quite uneven and therefore we’d also suggest flat walking sandals or a wedge espadrille for evening. Bear in mind that for some of the rooftop bars, shorts are not permitted.

Where to Stay in Bangkok

For another authentic Thai experience, stay at the luxurious Oriental Residence Bangkok. It’s a few minutes walk from Lumpini Park and the main shopping areas in the upmarket embassy area. You can check out our full review and video tour here.

Lobby of the Oriental Residence in Bangkok, Thailand - a five star luxury hotel and residence
We hope that you’ve enjoyed our suggestions for what to see and do with 48 hours in Bangkok. Do you have any tips for first time or returning visitors?

48 Hours in Bangkok, Thailand - What to See and Do

  • Dressed With Soul

    Thanks for this interesting and beautiful post! Recently our daughter visited with her boyfriend Bangkok and I will immediately forward this post to her 🙂
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    • Oh that’s very sweet, Rena! I hope that your daughter had a good time, it’s a fascinating city

      • Dressed With Soul

        You’re welcome! They loved it there 🙂 xx

  • I love the look of the 3D museum! It looks so quirky and cool. We visited some of the temples but as it’s so humid I definitely preferred balmy evenings at places like the Sky Bar. Great selection!

    • It was great fun at the 3D museum! I know what you mean about the humidity, I found it hard to bear, thank goodness for the air con everywhere indooors

  • Bangkok is such a fun city! I love your photos! Wish I could go back and visit! =)

    – Cielo
    Mermaid in Heels

    • I hope that you get the chance – and I want to go back to see all the things that we missed, 48 hours is pretty short!

  • Ooh the picture of the reclining buddha is really confusing me, I can’t work out which angle we’re looking at him from! Would love to see it in real life!! The 3D art museum looks like sooo much fun!! Can’t beat a good kitsch attraction 🙂 xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

    • It really was an amazing sight to see the Buddha filling up all the space – I guess it’s symbolic of his role. The 3D museum is brilliant fun, they have a few dotted around Thailand

  • The State Tower really does look beautiful, and I can imagine how impressive the views must be! Great tip to dress respectfully at the Grand Palace by the way 🙂

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

    • Thanks Gabrielle, and as a whole they dress very respectfully all over the city at all times. In the beach resorts the dress code is more relaxed

  • I’ve always wanted to go to Bangkok! Thanks for sharing such gorgeous photos!


  • leah rachel

    Gorgeous pictures and Bangkok looks like a lovely place to visit! x

    Cyber Mermaids | Alternative beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog

    • It really does have a lot going for it – I know some people aren’t keen but it just takes a bit of getting to know!

  • I need to add Art In Paradise into my list of places to visit in Bangkok, it looks like a really cool place!

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

    • It was so much fun, Shireen and not too crowded either. I’d allow at least 1 and a half hours for the visit

  • Great post! If I ever get to go, I’m referencing this!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

    • It’s well worth a visit, Amy, even if you only pass through briefly on your way to the beach

  • I should hopefully be visiting BKK this summer (finally!) and am definitely bookmarking this post to help me make the most of it! xx

  • Radi

    This is 48 hours of fun. The flower market looks so pretty.
    Love all the photos you captured of Bangkok!


    • We really enjoyed the flower market as somewhere a bit different than the usual tourist attractions!

  • How enchanting. I like the trick art photos. 🙂
    Visit the Philippines too. 🙂

    • Yes I really want to visit the Philippines, let me know if there are some particular places that we shouldn’t miss

  • Hayley Rubery

    Lady I’ve been LOVING all of your Bangkok/Thailand posts! I visited the Grand Palace when I went about 5 years ago and would recommend it to anyone – it’s truly so stunning!

    Hayley xo

    • I wish we’d have been able to see inside, it certainly makes me want to return! Glad you have enjoyed the posts

  • Great post) Thanks for sharing)


  • ♫ Alison M ♪

    It looks amazing and so bright and colourful

  • Ahh I’m so glad you went to Lebua Skybar! It’s my favourite place in Bangkok, being so high up grants you a rare sense of calm in such a chaotic city. x

    Penang, Malaysia: 4 Historical Homes To Visit (and stay in!) – Posh, Broke, & Bored

    • Yes we actually stayed in one of their club level rooms too – and that way you get access to the bars before the general public. Great for photo opps!

  • The message in the bottle photograph is my favourite! So much fun. I haven’t been to Thailand before but if I did I would go off the beaten track with a guide, always a great way to explore anywhere and hunt down those hidden gems.

    Laura xo

    • I like the idea of going with a guide – we did have a guided river cruise but doing this on land is a very helpful tip

  • Wonderful guide Suze – I had no idea that Thai massage originated in Wat Pho! I would have loved to sample Nahm – we only had time to fit Gaggan in but at least it gives me an excuse to return to Bangkok 🙂

  • Lucy

    Looks wonderful. Wat Pho looks stunning, I would also like the flower market and great tip about aircoditioned travel. Lucy

  • Beautiful images! This post has made me even more excited to travel and blog about Thailand this year!


    • You’ll have a great time Shakira, so much to see there! Hope you get to the beach as well

  • Enchanted Club // AASTHA

    Would be a dream to travel to Thailand!


  • This looks absolutely beautiful – love the location and loving all the photos, it’s absolutely stunning and must have been such a dream to visit!

    Layla xx


  • On our last trip to Thailand we sadly did not stop at Bangkok – looks like a great place to spend some time! Love the pictures of you and Paul at Art in Paradise!


  • Georgina

    I loved bangkok so much – I would love to go back!


  • stephaniestraveldiary

    I have been to Bangkok a few times but never had the time to visit Lumpini park.
    Hopefully I will get there someday 🙂