Traveler Type 1: All Business (in town on business)
Day 1: Massage, Siam, Dinner on the River
So you’re here on business, and after all of the meetings and paper work you are left with 1, 2, or 3 full days …why not start with a massage. Thai spas are found all over the city, including near BTS/MRT stops, and a nice foot, Thai, or oil massage is a good way to kill one to three hours whilst avoiding the sweltering hot Bangkok weather.
- Thai massage & spa can be found anywhere in Bangkok. Cr: http://www.travelfish.org
Next, head out to Siam via the skytrain or taxi. Siam is a region within the city that is loaded with outdoor and indoor shops, entertainment, restaurants and heavy pedestrian foot traffic. It is a popular destination for locals as well as tourists.
If the weather is tolerable, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a nice stroll through Siam Square on the south side of Rama 1 Road and maybe grab lunch at a local establishment; I’ve eaten at several fantastic places here such as Som Tum Nua
If you prefer the cool confines of an air conditioned monolith, then I would suggest perusing through the shopping malls on the other side of Rama 1 Road: Siam Center, Siam Discovery, and the prestigious Siam Paragon. Window-shop, catch a movie or grab something to eat. At Paragon, you have the option of international restaurants or the much cheaper option of a food court (either way, you probably won’t be disappointed).
- Siam Paragon
- Siam Center Cr: www.flickr.com by Paramit Zhang
Dinner on the River
Cap off the night with dinner and drinks at a restaurant on the Chao Praya. There are several traditional Thai restaurants that overlook the river, and the scenery is much, much more pleasant at night. A place I have been to and can recommend is “The Deck” at Arun Residence. Unfortunately, neither the skytrain nor subway provides access to the river so your best bet is getting a taxi cab from Siam.
- The Deck by Arun Residence Cr: http://www.krungthep101.net
Day 2: Grand Palace, River Boat Cruise, Asiatique
- The Grand Palace or Wat Prakeaw (where the Emerald Buddha is sitituated.) Cr: http://www.sightseeinggroup.com
So you have a second day to explore the city of angels. At this point, I don’t think the Bangkok experience would be complete without a visit to the Grand Palace. It might be crowded and it will almost certainly be hot, but it is still a must see. It probably helps to get a guide and also, since you’re in the area, make sure to check out Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew, and Wat Mahathat. Unless your hotel is nearby, you will have to take a taxi cab to get out here.
River Boat Cruise
After lunch, since you are already close to the river, I recommend taking a ride in a traditional Thai long tail boat. These rides are pretty fun and provide great views of the city around you. The long tail boat rental should cost around 400 baht an hour, for 2 hours try negotiating.
Come evening, hop in a taxi cab and head to Asiatique, a new outdoor night market built along the edge of the Chao Phraya. What used to be a fishing pier was refurbished into a nautical themed market place that is very popular with the locals. IMHO, the design was really well executed; it’s very fun without looking too Disney-ish. It’s a good place to buy a souvenir, pick up cheap or novelty apparel, or just people watch. There are several options to choose from for dinner and drinks. From what I remember, the restaurants facing the river are more expensive but less crowded.
Day 3: Benjakiti Park, Terminal 21, Rooftop Dinner
After an activity filled second day, use your time on the third day to relax and take in the local feel as much as possible. A great place to do this is at Benjakiti Park. I love this park. To me, it’s a sanctuary in the middle of chaos. This park provides unbeatable views of Bangkok and when you are in this park you won’t feel like you are in the same city. From the inside looking out you will feel like you’re in a well-planned, modern, 1st world city.
Best way to get here is by BTS to the Asok station or MRT to the Queen Sirikit Station. If it is really hot, I recommend going in the evening.
A short walk from Benjakiti Park is Terminal 21. Terminal 21 is another one of Bangkok’s mega shopping malls, but this one has a bit of a twist with an airport/cities-of-the-world theme to it. Just like Asiatique, the design was very well executed and the result is a really popular destination for locals and tourists, especially Chinese tourists. It’s a cool place to explore, and while you’re there you should grab a meal from the food court. There you’ll find a wide range of very cheap, delicious Thai food.
A good way to cap off a three day stint in Bangkok is to wine and dine at one of the many hotel rooftop restaurants. You are guaranteed fantastic views of the city, a more upscale crowd, and dishes prepared by an internationally trained cooking staff. Often these hotels also have drinking lounges/night clubs as well, so if you want to keep the good vibes going after a proper meal, you wouldn’t have to venture out too far. I have been to the State Tower and Hotel Muse pictured below but some others include Sofitel So, Centara Grand, and Banyan Tree