Visiting the bustling, vibrant city of Bangkok? There are endless amounts of information on the internet about how to travel Bangkok. Our experience won’t really be anything all that different, but you can enjoy the adventures of two nerds as we spend 10 days in Bangkok. If nothing else, maybe you’ll find it amusing and enjoyable.
If you’re visiting Thailand, check out our info on living in Chiang Mai.
Where We Stayed in Bangkok
We stayed at a serviced apartment complex about a 15 minute walk from the Central Rama 9 mall. Called Sitara Place, it was not very centrally located but was a good price, had decent amenities (like laundry and a small gym), and provided a free shuttle to the MRT station.
Though the location was located fairly close to the MRT station, we would have preferred to stay in a more central location. Certainly, one of the most popular neighborhoods to stay is Sukhumvit. We also really liked the look of the area around Lumphini and Benchakitti Parks.
How We Spent 10 Days in Bangkok
We didn’t always go out and explore every single day we were in Bangkok. There were days when we stayed in the apartment and worked. Sean also got a pretty nasty cold a few days into the trip, so there were also days where we just rested. But here is a glimpse of our 10 days in Bangkok.
Our First Day in Bangkok
With a heavy heart, we left Chiang Mai around 9:30 AM and arrived in Bangkok close to 11 AM. Taking a cab from the airport, we arrived at Sitara Place to check in. Getting a taxi at the Bangkok airport was a different experience. Typically, we use services like Grab when we arrive in a new location. But Bangkok was a bit more confusing as to where they would pick up or even if they allowed ride share.
Either way, we walked to the taxi area where you received a number. Similarly to the DMV in the US, numbers will appear on a screen to tell you which desk to go to. Even though we were a couple of hundred numbers away, the process was pretty quick. I think it took us around 20 minutes for our number to appear.
From there, you go to the desk with the location you want to go and they give you a price. To be paid with cash to the driver at the end.
Using the MRT and BTS in Bangkok
Anyway, once we arrived and settled in, we decided to learn the area and the MRT. Instead of taking the shuttle, we walked 15 minutes in the heat and hectic traffic. The MRT is super easy! You can either go to the pay stations to buy a single ride, or you can go to the booth to buy passes.
We ended up just doing single rides because we were confused by the card. But if we were to do it again, we would get a pass. This website has some great information on using the MRT system.
If you do single rides, you can just go to the pay station, select the station you will be exiting at and then pay the price. It will spit out a token that you will use to get through the gates. Hold on to the token in order to exit at your destination.
Wat Pho & The Reclining Buddha
Wat Pho is a temple complex that is one of the most visited Buddhist temples in Bangkok. It houses the popular giant reclining Buddha statue. Though to be founded in the 16th century, Wat Pho is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok and was established by King Rama I.
Depending on how much you want to see, you could spend a couple of hours exploring Wat Pho. It has 4 giant chedis decorated with mosaics, many smaller chedis, and multiple shrines, pavilions, and gardens. Not to be missed is the reclining Buddha, which represents the entry of Buddha into Nirvana. It is one of the largest Buddha statues in Bangkok at 49 feet (15 m) high and 151 feet (46 m) long.
Day 2 in Bangkok
The next day we decided to take a trip to Wat Suthat. While walking there, we were approached by a very nice Thai man who happened to be walking in the same direction. He struck up conversation with us, eventually telling us that it happened to be a day where there were specials running on tuk-tuks for 50 baht to be taken to various temples. He said it was a deal happening to increase tourism in Thailand.
Well, Sean and I were already aware there were scams in Thailand, but this guy did not have a tuk-tuk and seemed to just be randomly walking in the same direction as us. In fact, he was actually walking ahead of us when we came to the street. So in our naivety, he seemed like a friendly local trying to help us out. Even writing down the places we should have the tuk-tuk driver take us.
Scammed in Bangkok
As you can probably guess where this is headed, we ultimately got scammed. We told the guy we were interested and where to go to find these tuk-tuks for the deal. He offered to help and flagged down the next tuk-tuk to drive down the street. We’re still not sure how he was connected or what he gains from scamming, but obviously something.
Anyway, we were first taken to 2 temples which were nothing special and actually closed. After that, we then started to get taken to suit and jewelry shops. At this point, we started to guess this was a scam, but figured if he still took us to the temples and for only 50 baht, we would suffer through a couple of stops at these shops. Neither of us had any intention of buying anything.
However, after 3 or 4 shops in a row, and feeling extremely hungry, we assertively told the tuk-tuk driver that we would not go to any more shops and wanted to be taken somewhere so we could eat. He dropped us off at the Golden Mount, and instead of pleasantly telling us he would wait for us, he matter-of-factly said “You pay now.” So we gave him the 50 baht and off he went.
Despite all that, it was a minimal amount of money for us and we got a funny story and to ride around in a tuk-tuk.
Wat Suthat & The Giant Swing
Thankfully, the driver took us back to the area we started in. So we happened to be closer to Wat Suthat and the Giant Swing. Built in 1807, this temple had some beautiful design and artwork. It also happens to be across the road from the Giant Swing.
Constructed in 1784, the Giant Swing was, at one point, an actual swing. In 1935, the swing was removed due to several fatal accidents. As of now, it is mainly just a great photo opportunity and a cool structure.
The Next Adventure in Bangkok
At this point in the 10 days in Bangkok, Sean started to get a pretty bad cold. This meant a few days of resting and relaxing. During that time, we did try to venture out a bit. Taking the MRT, we planned on going to see the golden Buddha at Wat Traimit and explore Chinatown.
Situated in a large white and gold temple, the golden Buddha is one of the largest golden Buddha statues. Supposedly, the statue is 40% pure gold, the chin to the forehead is 80%, and the hair and the topknot are 99% pure gold. Tickets to see the Buddha cost 40 baht (~$1.00 USD) per person and entrance to the museum costs 100 baht (~$2.60 USD) per person.
Seeing the golden Buddha will likely only take you 20-30 minutes. Afterwards, we walked to Chinatown. Which ended up being a bust as the day was so hot. Sean was still sick and it was just too crowded. So after walking down the narrow, crowded alleys full of many, many unknown meats, we decided to call it quits.
The Erawan Museum & Samut Prakan Ancient City
Going to the Erawan Museum and Ancient City are basically full day activities. Start with the Erawan Museum, as it is closer to Bangkok. Take the BTS and get off at the Pu Chao stop. The best way to get to the Erawan Museum from the BTS stop is to take either a Grab taxi (recommended) or a songthaew (cheapest). If you use a local songthaew, which should cost around 10 Baht ($0.30 USD), make sure to verify where you want to go with the driver using the address or map. The songthaews just make a circuit around the area and you could potentially end up farther from the museum than intended.
Known for its gigantic three-headed elephant statue, the Erawan Museum is hard to miss. The museum displays a beautiful interior that depicts Hell, the mortal realm, and Heaven. It costs 400 Baht (~ $12 USD) per person.
Samut Prakan Ancient City
From there, it is best to take a Grab taxi to the Samut Prakan Ancient City as the BTS does not go that far. By far one of the best experiences we had in our 10 days in Bangkok. The cost for the Ancient City is 700 Baht (~$21 USD) per person. Considered the world’s largest private outdoor museum, you’ll be able to experience various landmarks from all over Thailand.
We recommend renting a golf cart (or other vehicle). The price for a 4-seater golf cart was 350 Baht (~$11 USD) for the first hour, with it being 200 Baht (~$6 USD) per hour after that. It can be expensive, as you will likely be longer than 1 hour, but fun and worth it. If you want to be thrifty, you can instead get a bicycle (for free with admission I believe) or walk (I wouldn’t recommend this).
Exploring Thailand’s Largest Market
The Chatuchak weekend market is Thailand’s largest weekend market and it is gigantic. Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am-6pm, the market has over 15,000 stalls. You’ll find almost anything you need here. It’s both incredible and overwhelming. To get there, take the MRT and get off at the Chatuchak Park stop – as simple as that!
In all of our 10 days in Bangkok, this was where we got to see some amazing artists on display in the same location. Make sure to walk through the art area and marvel at the talent.
Visiting the Parks of Bangkok
We spent the last few days of our 10 days in Bangkok exploring Lumphini Park and Benchakitti Park. Lumphini park has a beautiful man-made lake where you can rent boats. We missed out on this as they closed the rentals by the time we arrived.
Benchakitti park is a giant public park that makes a great location for biking and jogging. There are a massive amount of wooden walkways that weave around the wetland area. It’s a beautiful spot at night to view the city.
Wat Arun & Wat Paknam Phasi Chroen
Visiting Wat Arun is a popular thing to do in Bangkok. You can get to it easily using the MRT (getting off at Itsaraphap and walking a bit) or taking a boat across the river. Known as the Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun, costs 50 Baht (~$1.50 USD) per person. The facade of the giant prang (spire) is decorated in porcelain mosaics.
After visiting Wat Arun, head to Wat Paknam Phasi Chroen. Take a Grab taxi or hop back on the MRT and exit at the Bang Phai stop. From there you will have to walk a bit (maybe 15 to 20 minutes). There are two sights at this location that are a must. The large seated Buddha, which is the largest in Bangkok, and the emerald glass stupa. Entrance to both of these were free.
Shopping and Visiting the Malls
Bangkok seems to have an infinite amount of malls. It seems that every MRT station is the location of a mall. The malls are massive and a great way to cool down from the heat. One of the most popular is Central World. You can find almost anything you need at these malls.
There was a lot we missed in our 10 days in Bangkok. The most popular attractions being the Royal Palace and Khao San Road. That was a personal choice that had to do with time and being sick. Even though those places are popular tourist attractions, we did not really feel the desire to them, especially Khao San Road.