We flew into Bangkok from New York and stayed there for one night before flying to Chiang Mai (you can read about that here!) the next morning. Our last leg of the trip was also spent in Bangkok before flying back home. Bangkok is a busy bee city, full of people, cars, bikes and tuk tuks. Super interesting stuff to do… More info after the jump!
Day 0 – Tue (Before Chiang Mai)
- Arrival 12:40PM at airport, used Grab app (Thai Uber) to order a car
- Checked into Aloft hotel
- Walked around area at night
- Went to Terminal21 mall and ate dinner at Thai Street Food Express in Food Court
- Hotel pool
Day 1 – Mon (After Chiang Mai)
- Check-in to Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers
- Walked to Chinatown
- Dinner at 511 Cafe
Day 2 – Tue
- Breakfast at 7-eleven
- Water ferry from hotel to Wat Arun Rajwararam
- Wat Pho
- The Vihara of the Reclining Buddha
- The Grand Palace
- Temple of the Emerald Buddha
- Lunch at Ama Art & Eatery
- Rest in hotel
- Dinner at Sukishi Buffet at MBK Center (all you can eat – hot pot belt go around)
Day 3 – Wed
- Breakfast at The Coffee Club at River City
- Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall
- Dinner at Enjoy Bkk Bistro Bar
Day 4 – Thu
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
- Maeklong Railway Market
- Lunch near railway market (try the Khao Man Gai!)
- Headed to airport
This article was helpful for me to figure out that areas to stay in in Bangkok – there are so many different areas so it really depends what kind of vibe you’re looking for.
TBH, I had Marriott (RIP SPG) points to spare and the only Thai city that had reasonably-priced properties (at that time) was in Bangkok. I chose to stay in Sukhumvit at the Aloft because it was near busy streets filled with shops and restaurants as well as a roof-top pool I knew I had to check out. For one night, it was great – walked around, went to the mall, ate some food and left the next morning. Aloft was really comfortable and clean too. We informed that it was our honeymoon and they decorated our room and gave us a free cake!
For the last leg of our trip and since it was our honeymoon, we read that the Riverside was gorgeous and romantic. It’s definitely a more ritzy area but it was our honeymoon soooo chyeah, we’re doing it. Using my points, I booked the 5-star Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers which was right on the Chao Phraya River. It also has a public pier for the boat service (tickets needed but I think it was like 50 cents) to take you to attractions such as Grand Palace, the Temple of Dawn, and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha but also a free shuttle boat to the Taksin BTS Skytrain station (that area has restaurants and shops too) as well as the fancy ICONSIAM shopping mall (which I don’t think was open yet while we were there). I gave them a heads up that it was our honeymoon and they upgraded us to a sweet river-view suite with a free cake. Room comforts and service was phenomenal at the hotel.
Things We Did
I’m pretty sure my family has subtly instilled in me the belief that I must pay homage to the Chinatown of a city if they had one or I would bring shame to my ancestors. So ‘course we went there. It was pretty busy with lots of people — I couldn’t tell if there were actual Chinese people but there were sure a lot of Chinese restaurants. Cool to walk through and check out but not a must. We were able to walk here from our hotel (~15 min).
2. Temple Hopping
There are tons of beautiful temples to see in Bangkok but a few seem to reign supreme (at least with the number of people going to see them). We only had time to visit a few but all the temples we did go to were so shiny and beautifully decorated. Even though they were busy with people, they had a sense of serenity and peace. Love the Buddhist way. We were able to get to all these temples using the public ferry on the Chao Phraya river.
- Wat Arun Rajwararam
- Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
- Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) inside the Grand Palace which also has other temples
3. Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall
It was a rainy day in Bangkok and as we were a little exhausted, we wanted to do something with a slower-pace. I found this museum through Trip Advisor with really raving reviews. It turned out to be pretty neat! It was all about Thailand’s history and culture and has only guided-tours. Tours are in Thai & English. They offer 2 tours, 2 hours each – one about culture and the other about history. We did both. I liked the culture one better and my husband liked the history one better. Great rainy day activity or if you’re out of things to do.
4. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
We wanted to go to a floating market but this one was the only open market during the weekdays – this one was super touristy but the better, more authentic ones are only open on the weekends. We booked a private tour for this floating market and the Maekong Railway Market via TakeMeTour. Both of these destinations are pretty far (1 hour drive) from Bangkok so we felt more comfortable booking a tour instead of taking public trans (would’ve taken forever). We also did this on our last day in Thailand so we needed a shorter half-day tour in order for us to make it to the airport on time. Found Mr.Sinchai’s tour that fit our bill; it was a personal tour with free pickup and drop off from our hotel. Mr. Sinchai was really great – hospitable, knowledgeable and friendly. He brought us to this lunch place that had amazing chicken and rice at the end of our tour and he stopped roadside for fresh coconut and bananas. I felt like we wouldn’t have been able to do those things with a tour bus. He also took photos of us and sent it to us after.
He arranged for us a long-tail boat to go down the canals and stopped at a coconut sugar farm where we sampled some sugar. He advised us not to buy from the shops on the canal as they are really marked-up (he said he could take us to a cheaper place to buy souvenirs if we wanted). Before we left the market, we had breakfast river-side from this grandma who made our delicious and cheap bowls of noodles right in her long-tail boat. Such a cool experience to watch! He also bought us some yummy mango sticky rice.
5. Maeklong Railway Market
As mentioned before, this was part of the tour. One of the largest fresh seafood markets in Thailand is also centered on the Maeklong Railway track. Whenever a train comes, shops pull back their fronts and awnings from the rails in 20 seconds and then puts it right back once the train has passed. It’s truly a unique sight to see. We also bought some food souvenirs such as freeze-dried durian bites to take home for gifts and some fresh fruit such as mangosteen to eat later. The tour ended with the guide taking us along the streets near the Railway Market (if you want additional shopping, he would take you to those shops) to get lunch. I wish I took note of what the restaurant was called because their khao man gai (chicken with rice) was amazing.
Where We Ate
1. Thai Street Food Express
Our first meal in Thailand was pretty good initially but then we realized that was only average compared to all the other great tasting food we had in Thailand. But hey, no problems there.
1. 511 Cafe
Cheap and good food near a the Hua Lam Phong Railway Station so it was fun to people watch. Small place with lots of tourists (I believe it’s attached to its own hostel). It was about a 10-15 min walk from our hotel (and Chinatown).
2. Ama Art & Eatery
We stopped here for lunch after visiting the Grand Palace, feet tired and super sweaty, before heading back to the hotel. This restaurant was really busy and we had to wait maybe 10 minutes for a table. They gave us a bowl of ice cubes to cool down while we waited! I remember food and service being good, though they did try to rush you.
3. Sukishi Buffet at MBK Center
After 3 weeks of constant Thai food, we wanted to take a break and this all you can eat hot-pot-go-around place definitely intrigued me. It was like $12 USD and filled me up goooood. They have small plates of raw food going around the restaurant on a conveyer belt, like the sushi-go-round, and you just take what you want. They also have a small section of cooked foods that were decent. The MBK Center is also nice to walk around after you had just stuffed yourself.
4. The Coffee Club at River City
We got breakfast here only because it was next to our hotel, right next to the pier to take the public ferry. Since it’s a chain cafe, it reflects American pricing. I think I got a congee dish and it was fine. I wouldn’t recommend here for any good Thai food.
5. Enjoy Bkk Bistro Bar
We took our hotel’s complimentary shuttle ferry service to the Taksin BTS station to take advantage walking around that area. The original place we wanted to eat at had over an hour wait so we quickly used TripAdvisor to find a secondary eatery in the area. It’s part of a hostel so the staff/owner were really nice but I didn’t think the food was that great.