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How to Spend the Perfect 3 Days in Bangkok

How to Spend the Perfect 3 Days in Bangkok

Looking for the perfect 3 days in Bangkok Itinerary? We’ve lived in Thailand for multiple years, and after dozens of visits to Bangkok, here are our favorite activities, restaurants, & tips! This list is for both first-time visitors to Bangkok and those returning to the city looking to dive deeper. 

You could spend a lot more time exploring the city, but 3 days in Bangkok is a good length of time for your first visit. Bangkok is a huge hub for Southeast Asia and is also an excellent place to kick off a trip. It’s a big, bustling city, and it’s best to see it as a first stop if your travels allow.

3 days in Bangkok for most people means 3 nights in Bangkok, and the first day in the city begins with landing from a long international flight. The key to adjusting and making the most out of your first day in Bangkok is getting your body in the local time zone.

No matter what time you get into Bangkok, it’s a must to stay up late enough to get on a schedule. If you arrive early in the morning, an afternoon nap may help with exploring the city.

Jump to information on Bangkok:

Best overall hotel in Bangkok – The Westin Grande Sukhumvit

Best place in Bangkok to stay - Sukhumvit Street in Bangkok - Where to stay in Bangkok

Where to Stay In Bangkok?

For a short trip to Bangkok, it’s important to stay somewhere with easy access to the city to make the most of your time. Whenever we are in Bangkok, we always stay in the Sukhumvit, Siam, or Silom area of town.

Both areas are great parts of Bangkok to stay in and have good hotel options, but we like Sukhumvit slightly better. For our complete guide to where to stay in Bangkok click here. 

  • Westin Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok Affordable Luxury on Sukhumvit Check Prices
  • Maduzi Hotel Boutique Hotel on Sukhumvit – Check Prices
  • Lub’d Hostel Budget Siam Hotel/Luxury Hostel Check Prices
  • W Bangkok Luxury Silom Hotel Check Prices
  • Amari Watergate Hotel Affordable Luxury Siam Hotel Check Prices

We always try to stay in a Bangkok hotel that is close to the BTS so that we can easily get around the city. You can’t go wrong with staying on Sukhumvit near BTS stops Siam, Nana, Asoke, Phloen Chit, Chit Lom, and National Stadium. That way, you can jump on the BTS easily, or you have the option to walk as there are tons of restaurants/shops/bars/sights in the area.

Related Article: 6 Reasons To Stay At The Westin Bangkok

woman at grand palace in Bangkok Thailand

Day 1: First of 3 Days in Bangkok

Bangkok is as beautiful as it can be, just as overwhelming. For a first-time trip to Bangkok, I would recommend taking an organized tour to get your feet wet in Bangkok, especially if this is your first holiday in Thailand.

One, in particular, I would suggest is the Bangkok by night Tuk Tuk Tour from Viator. On our last trip to Bangkok, we cruised around the city in the back of a Tuk Tuk with a guide and tried some incredible food, and saw some of the city’s best sights.

This tour also keeps you moving until 11 p.m., which should help you transition into the Thailand time zone.

3 Days in Bangkok

Rather do it independently? We’ve got you covered too. You may need some caffeine to get you going after your long flight, so what better place to get your fix than one of Bangkok’s Cat Cafes? This unique experience lets you enjoy a latte while surrounded by fluffy cats.

We would like to call this a soft introduction to Thailand. Most Cat cafes require you to leave your shoes at the door, and we were provided footwear inside, as well as wash your hands to keep the cats healthy. Prices are higher than standard cafes at 90+ baht for a drink. Deserts are also available.

  • Caturday Cat Cafe – located: 115 Phayathai Rd
  • Nearest BTS Ratchathewi – On the Sukhumvit Line, just a 9-minute walk from Siam Discovery Mall
3 Days In Bangkok Purr Cat Cafe

Muay Thai Fight – If after your coffee you are still fighting your jet lag, put up a fight and check out a Muay Thai fight. The action of a traditional Muay Thai fight will be sure to help you kick through your first day in Bangkok. The most famous place to see a fight is the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.

  • Tickets: 500 – 2,00 Baht – Note locals pay a different price than visitors, and prices vary if they are sold by a tour company.

Not a fighter? Another one of my cheap and favorite things to do in Bangkok is to watch the sunset over the river. The best spot is midway up the river, where you can see the sun sink behind Wat Arun on the opposite bank of the river.

3 Days in Bangkok Wat Arun

You can take a private river cruise at sunset and watch the sky change colors from the long tail boat, or you can get the same experience for 15 Baht on the public water taxi if you are on a budget, it can get crowded, but it’s still a fun ride.

Plan your ride for about 20-30 minutes before the actual sunset because that is when the sky will be the most colorful, and you can watch it go down from the boat.

Directions: Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin Stop on the Silom Line, Use exit 2 toward the water ferry. See Map 

Hannah and Adam Face the tattoo ajarn after receiving their Sak Yant tattoos

Get A Tattoo – 
Get a souvenir that will last a lifetime. On our last visit to Thailand, we each got a Sak Yant tattoo, which is a magical tattoo done by a monk in a temple. Sak Yant tattoos are believed to have magical powers and are blessed by the monk.

Naturally, we got tattoos to protect us while traveling. We recommend going with the company Where Sidewalks End. They have an organized Sak Yant trip.

Stay out, but stay close to home. If you are staying in the Sukhumvit area of town, you are staying in the middle of a great area of town, and there is no need to go far from the hotel to find some amazing food and nightlife. If you are staying outside this area, it’s a quick BTS ride from most places in the city. Some of the best places are on and around Soi 11 and Sukhumvit.

Don’t forget your insurance! You never know when you’ll need it. We suggest getting travel insurance with Safety Wing. Which coverage includes medical, trip interruption, lost luggage, and more. Often, rates are as low as $12 a week. 

Day 2 in Bangkok

Your first full day is a great day to get a lot of the main sites of Bangkok checked off and then have a fun and relaxing evening. To start the day, try one of Bangkok’s favorite morning treats, the Thai iced coffee.

You usually find a street-side cart whipping up these sweet coffees every few blocks. You should run into one on your way to the train, with an average price is 15-20 baht.

3 Days in Bangkok

To start the day, take the BTS toward the Saphan Taksin Station, which is on the Silom line. Here, you will catch the water taxi up the river toward the sites along the river.

Before jumping on the river taxi, take a minute to check out the street food scene between the train station and the water taxi terminal. Make sure to read our What to Eat in Bangkok Guide to discover the best Thai foods to try. 

Are you afraid of street food? You shouldn’t be. Make sure to read our street food safety guide. There is always a bunch of good eats in that area. Click here for a map of the BTS system and Bangkok.

After a quick snack, head to the water ferry terminal and look for the public water taxi line. This is the boat with the orange flag. The fare is 15 Baht and comes every few minutes at this station. Take the water taxi to the 8th stop, which is the Wat Pho Stop.

Although the water taxi isn’t the fastest mode of transport, I love it and try to ride it at least once while in Bangkok.

Wat Pho

3 Days in Bangkok Wat Pho

It is famous for its giant reclining Buddha that lies within the temple. This is one of my favorite temples in Bangkok. In addition to one of the largest reclining Buddhas in the world, Wat Pho also holds four pretty impressive Stupas that are dedicated to past kings of Thailand. King Rama, I, II, III, and IV each is represented by massive Stupas that are covered in intricate and colorful tile work.

The temple grounds are impressive too, and the whole place is looked after by much larger-than-life-stone warrior statues. The temple is also said to be the birthplace of Thai massage, and you can get an original massage on the temple grounds. Wat Pho is a must-visit on any Bangkok itinerary, and most people spend between 1-1:30 hours at Wat Pho.

Cost: 100 Baht – The grounds are open 24 hours, but the temples close at 6:30 pm. The dress code is more lenient. They provide free sarong for women to cover their knees/shoulders.

busy afternoon at the Grand Palace with golden tile covered traditional Thai architecture - Top Things to do in Bangkok

The Grand Palace

A walk or a short ride up the river brings you to one of the most famous sites in all of Thailand, the Grand Palace. Inside this massive complex is the pinnacle of Thai architecture. Take time and admire the details put into the huge buildings. Most people take about an hour to visit the entire complex.

There is a dress code to enter. Everyone must wear pants (must be well below the knee past the calf if wearing capris). Also, the shoulders must be fully covered. If you are not dressed properly, you can borrow clothes for your visit from the visitor’s office, to borrow a shirt, there is no charge, but a pants rental is 30 baht, or purchase 100 baht outside the temple.

The earlier you go, the better not only to beat the crowds but the heat.

After the Grand Palace, your jet lag, the heat, and the crowds might get to you. It’s best to find a Tuk Tuk and get some lunch or a happy hour drink, depending on how early of a start you have. Head up to the Khao San Road area of town.

Cost: A reasonable fare for this ride is about 80 baht and should never be more than 100 baht.

Night at Khao San Road - Best places to stay in Bangkok

Khaosan Road

Famous or infamous for being a city of travelers within the city of Bangkok. The streets are lined with bars, restaurants, and shops selling almost everything. We usually like to go to this area of town once every trip to Bangkok.

The main Khao San Road is busy at all times of the day and is absolutely packed at night. We prefer to get a drink or have dinner in a quieter area across the street, which is usually quieter and more chillier. This is a great place to spend a few hours.

We usually start by having a drink at one of the old VW buses turned bar for a beer, then a street-side snack to follow, maybe a 120 baht foot massage before or after dinner. For the brave, you can find a few street carts selling the infamous bugs, including grasshoppers, silkworms, and even scorpions.

Related Article: Eating Bugs In Bangkok

man holding a locust- eating bugs in Thailand

If you are looking for a lively nightlife scene, then stay here for the night and have drinks with people from around the world. A ride home from Khao San Rd at the end of the night should be around 125-200 baht, depending on where you are staying.

Most cab drivers this late at night will not want to run the meter and charge a flat rate. If you find one that will run the meter, it will be slightly cheaper, 100-120 baht.

A tip to remember: Always grab a card from the front hotel desk with the address and the phone number of the place to give to the driver. Many hotels are small, and rivers will not know them. It’s best to have an address and, better yet, a phone number so the driver can call to verify. See Map

– or –  If that’s not your nighttime scene, after a Chang beer and a foot massage, head over to Chinatown. Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the world’s largest and is full of amazing and unique foods. Nighttime is the best time to visit because the streets are full of vendors selling their Thai-Chinese specialties.

The smell of freshly roasted chestnuts is thick in the air, with many vendors fresh roasting nuts right on the street. Come with an empty stomach and an open mind, and you will have some of the best food you have ever tried.

See Map – Directions: Take the BTS to the Saphan Taksin Station, follow the signs to exit 3, and from there, walk up Charoenkrung Road. It will be a busy road full of street vendors and tasty food.

3 days in Bangkok Thai Food

If the street food scene is intimidating to you, it’s more fun to go with a guide the first time. We have taken this street food tour just about every time we are in Bangkok. It’s always great, and we try things I wouldn’t have tried or even found on my own. It’s a great way to spend one of your 3 nights in Bangkok.

Bonus—For early risers only: One of the best places in the city is Wat Arun, which is also known as the temple of the rising sun. From the temple, you can watch the sun rise over the river and the city.

Located on the west side of the river, the temple gives great sunset views and is less crowded early in the morning. Depending on what time you make your way to the temple, public transportation may not be running. A taxi may be your best option. Just make sure you tell them the meter. See Map

Day 3 in Bangkok

3 Days in Bangkok

The Floating Market in Bangkok

Float along with the markets and haggle for deals. There are a few floating markets that remain in the city and just outside. The most famous of which is the Damnoen Saduak floating market 100 kilometers Southwest of Bangkok.

The narrow canals were originally built to help farmers bring their heavy produce to market, but now the market is predominately for tourist items and ready-to-eat food. A trip to the market is something special for the first trip to Bangkok.

The floating market gets very busy, with tour buses arriving around 9:30-10 a.m. and it’s best to go early in the morning. Tours of the market can be arranged all over the city for about $30pp.

3 Days in Bangkok Floating Market

The Maeklong Train Market Bangkok

Another add-on to most floating market tours is a short tour of the train market. This is more of a local market built around the train station and right on top of the train tracks.

Every day, vendors come to sell their produce and goods within inches of the train tracks and the tracks are still in service, and trains come through several times per hour.

It’s a must to see the train come through if you make it to the Maeklong Train Market. It’s amazing chaos. Located: Samut Songkram, 60 minutes outside of Bangkok and on the way to the floating market.

couple at the train market in Bangkok with train coming

TIP: Hire a private car to bring you to the floating market and tie into the train market for a great day trip outside of Bangkok. More info on the train market in Bangkok.

Top-Notch Shopping: After your morning excursions outside the city, the afternoon can be spent taking advantage of some of the top-notch shopping located in central Bangkok. There is everything from high-end shops in malls like Siam Paragon (including a Rolls Royce dealership if you’re in the market) to bargain shopping at MBK and everything in between. We find ourselves at MBK to find unique, one-of-a-kind things you can’t find elsewhere.

After a busy day in hot and sticky Bangkok, go back to the room to freshen up is in order before enjoying your last night in Bangkok.

3 Days in Bangkok Red Sky Skybar

Rooftop Sunset at a Bangkok Skybar

Finish your 3 days in Bangkok by watching the sun melt into the horizon from the top deck of one of Bangkok’s rooftop bars. Made famous by a scene in ‘The Hangover” movies, rooftop bars are very popular, and the famous one is pricey and hard to get into.

We prefer a more affordable one with just as good of a view called Red Sky. Located in the Centra Grand hotel attached to the Central World Mall on the 55th floor. Get there about an hour before sunset to ensure you get a good set facing westward to watch the sun go down.

Golden sunset over the city of Bangkok viewed from a rooftop Sky Bar

Another selling point to Red Sky is their happy hour specials from 5-7 pm daily, buy 1 get 1 drinks. Still, on the high side for Bangkok, drinks are priced at 300-400 baht, which at happy hour are $5-6 per drink.

All rooftop bars have a dress code. For Red Sky, men have to wear pants & shoes NO shorts or sandals are allowed for men. Women, however, can wear whatever. We have visited Red Sky four times, and each time saw men wearing shorts & sandals, but I wouldn’t want to go all the way there to be turned away because I was out of the dress code. The better value is mixed drinks. For more information, see our guide to Sky Bars in Bangkok.

Bonus – Do you have a later flight the next day? Still want to see more of the city? For some interesting people-watching, head over to one of Bangkok’s Red light districts. The city’s most famous is the Patpong night market.

If you want the full experience, don’t go until after 10 p.m. (or even later). The party and the rest that goes on here don’t start until later. Be prepared to be invited to ping-pong shows, banana shows, and a bunch of other things you have never heard of.

Ladies will be wearing or holding numbers for reasons you can probably assume. There will be lots of explicit things for sale on the street carts (it’s probably not a place to take the kids). Map to Patpong

3 Days In Bangkok Patpong

The Patpong night market is a little far from the main areas to stay, like the Sukhumvit hotel area, but there is a smaller version closer. Check out the street that has been coined ‘Soi Cowboy’, (Soi means small street in Thai).

Located near Terminal 21 Mall off of Sukhumvit Rd. Soi Cowboy is a smaller version of Patpong, but it is enough for most people. It’s a different side of Bangkok, and by no means am I promoting what goes on here as good. The city would probably be better off without it, but it’s like a car crash. You can’t help but gawk.

Directions: Take the BTS to Asok station (Sukhumvit line). Use exits 3 or 6. Soi Cowboy is 50m north of the main road Sukhumvit. (you’ll see the lights).  Map to Soi Cowboy

– or –

3 Days In Bangkok Flower Market

If you looking for the softer side of Bangkok without the red lights, check out the Pak Khlong Talat flower market. The market is at its busiest at night to prepare for the morning. Ladies work through the night with baskets overflowing with flowers, making offerings used by Thai people to put on their cars, businesses, and homes.

A trip to the market is a rush to all of the senses. Brightly colored flowers fill the air with their scents. I was blown away by our first trip to the market as part of our Tuk Tuk by night tour.

Directions: The market is best accessed by taking the water ferry to stop 7 and walking from there. Other than that, there is no train service that runs to this area, so a taxi or Tuk-Tuk may be the best option. See Map.

Note: Do not just search Google Maps for the flower market. It will bring you to the wrong market far away. Use the coordinates on the map link above.

Thai Woman making Phad Thai on the strrets of Bangkok - Must Try Street food

Where to Eat in Bangkok?

Bangkok is a city full of amazing food options, and on a three-day trip to Bangkok, you couldn’t eat at all the great spots the city has to offer. Make sure to read our What to Eat in Bangkok Guide to discover the best Thai foods to try. 

Here is a short list of places we try to make it to every trip to Bangkok that you should check out on your 3 days in Bangkok.

Baan Somtom – Translated means “house” of the papaya salad, and as you can imagine, this place serves up the Thai classic in a ton of different tasty ways. Papaya salad may sound fruity and sweet, but not papaya salad.

The salad is made from unripened green papayas and seasoned with some serious heat. It’s best to order a few plates with a group and share. There is so much good stuff to try, it’s the best-enjoyed family style. Isan and Thai food, average plate cost: 45-100 baht. Located at 9/1 Si Wiang Rd Sathorn; Open daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

3 days in Bangkok Thai Food

Thip Samai – Considered by many as the best Pad Thai in all of Bangkok, this restaurant consistently has a line down the street, and it’s good. Allow 15-25 minutes to get a table most nights. As you wait, you can watch them making plate after plate of Pad Thai, so the wait goes by pretty quickly. Located at: 313 Th Maha Chai | Banglamphu, Bangkok, Thailand Open: 5 pm-2 am

25 degrees – This is one for the homesick traveler or if you need a break from Thai food, but after only 3 days in Bangkok, I would find that hard to imagine. However, this is one of our favorite boutique burger chains and is a must for us every time in Bangkok. This is one of only four and the only non-US location.

They serve up some amazing burgers with all the premium toppings. Cost: 330 baht for a burger, 80 baht for fries. Daily lunch specials and happy hour deals make it more affordable. Located at the bottom of the Pullman hotel at 188 SILOM ROAD and is open 24 hours.

Visit During Thai New Year-  For one of the craziest and most unique festivals in the world, plan your visit April 13-15th to take part in the Songkran festival. Locals and tourists wash away last year’s sins in the world’s largest squirt gunfight.

This list doesn’t even scratch the surface of the amazing food found in Bangkok. Go out and find your very own Bangkok favorite! Have a good one? Leave it in the comments!

Woman sitting on the glass floor on the Mahanakhon Skywalk - Tallest building in Bangkok

Tips to Make the Most out of Your 3 Days in Bangkok:

Buy a one day BTS pass to save time and money. On days when you will be using the rail system to get around a lot, the BTS one-day pass makes sense, and you won’t have to buy a ticket every time you ride. Tickets are valid only for that day, not for 24 hours. The trains stop running at 11:45 p.m., so if you are staying out later, plan to take a taxi back.

Use ATMs at the airport or inside a secure location. ATMs can become tampered with, and they can then give your information to criminals to get access to your cash. Avoid using ATMs out in the open or in non-secure locations. Plan your transactions because the ATM fees are quite high at 180 Baht charged at the terminal, plus whatever your bank charges.

If you can, a Charles Schwab debit card is great for travel; it has no international fees, and they refund any ATM fees. This has saved us hundreds of dollars over the course of our round-the-world trip.

Eat at restaurants and street stalls away from the main tourist sites. The places around the main stops are often overpriced and lower quality food. They simply try to maximize profits from tourists. You will have a much better experience of dining at places further away. Don’t shy away from the street food stalls, either. They can cook up some of the best food in Thailand.

Head to the weekend market: If you are in town on the weekend, head to the Chatuchak Market for a fun and crazy shopping experience. This market is massive, and it’s one of the world’s largest weekend markets. You likely have never been to a bigger market than this one.

Get lost and explore the market in the morning or afternoon. Food, souvenirs, everything you could ever want, and some stuff you probably don’t can all be found here.

Don’t always trust online map addresses – We have run into many issues with addresses listed on Google Maps or Trip Advisor that are just incorrect. Always verify with a second source before navigating to the address, or better yet, ask them at your hotel to confirm where the place is. Streets in Bangkok can be tricky the way they are named. It’s best to ask rather than be in the completely wrong part of the city.

Blue and Red Tuk Tuk motor taxi in Bangkok during a night tour of Bangkok - must do activities in Thailand

Things to Avoid in Bangkok

Don’t waste your precious time in Bangkok. Beware of the common scams

The ‘it’s closed’ scam: The most common scam in Bangkok is that a Tuk Tuk Driver or someone working with a driver will tell you whatever you want to go to is closed. Some stories are very believable, but as soon as someone says the word ‘closed’ you need to remember they are probably trying to pull something when it comes to transport.

The Cheap Tuk Tuk ride scam: Riding in a Tuk Tuk is not the cheapest way to get around. Often, it will cost much more than a taxi. When a Tuk Tuk prices sound too good to be true, it is. If you are quoted a fare of 10 or 20 baht, they are going to drive you around to a bunch of shops that they get a commission from before you get to your destination.

If you only have 3 days in Bangkok, you have lots to see and don’t have time for these games. If you are quoted a price that’s too good to be true, don’t take that ride; they will waste your time.

Pants Scams: Respect the local culture and come prepared to the Grand Palace and the temples of Bangkok. To enter many of the main important sites in Bangkok, you need to have your legs and shoulders covered. You can rent pants and shirts from the office at the Grand Palace; pants are 30 baht, and shirts are free to borrow.

However, renting clothes takes time and is a hassle, so it’s best to dress properly when leaving the hotel. Many people outside the temples and Grand Palace will tell you what you’re wearing is wrong and try to sell you overpriced items. I have seen some vendors try to act as official people, tell you you can’t enter, and direct you toward a vendor selling clothes that they probably work with.

Khao San road scams and theft: This is the largest tourist section of town, where many people go to drink and party, and where there is a large concentration of people with money, there will be scammers and thieves. The best bet is to carry only enough cash for the night here and avoid bringing valuables.

Also, avoid using the ATMs on this street. They are all outside and can easily be tampered with. Generally, Thailand and Bangkok are very safe, but if there is an area to be cautious in the city, it would be on Khao San Road (nothing violent, just petty theft, but still not fun).

If you liked this guide and are looking for more articles, check out the rest of the Bangkok and Thailand articles. If you are a solo traveler, make sure to check out these solo Bangkok travel tips.

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Saturday 13th of May 2023

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading your blog post and how much I appreciate your detailed information. It sounds like you had a fantastic time exploring the city and soaking up all its rich culture and history.The advice on getting a SIM card and using Grab to get around is really helpful for anyone who may not be familiar with Bangkok. Your recommendation for a hotel in the Khao San Road area is spot on, as it is a perfect location for anyone looking to experience the nightlife and street food scene.


Friday 18th of December 2020

Actually, I need more than 3 days to enjoy Bangkok, but this planning is great and more than enough for those who want to spend a weekend in this amazing place.

Thank you for sharing and I look forward to more in the near future.


Tuesday 2nd of February 2021

3 Days is the minimum time we suggest in Bangkok, but you could easily keep yourself busy for a week! It's an awesome city!

Ross Alexander

Thursday 17th of December 2020

I found Bangkok a visual feast when I was there years ago. I did have a lot of problems with the pollution though unfortunately.


Tuesday 2nd of February 2021

Bangkok is stunning, but the air quality can be poor at different times of the year. Generally around April when the temps are high and before the rainy season starts can be worse. Earlier in the year the temps can and humidity can be better which play into the air quality. Also in some parts of Thailand in March and April they burn the farm fields which also compounds the problem.

Nouran Adel

Saturday 16th of November 2019

I’m most interested to visit Bangkok, Thanks for inspiring me :)


Friday 22nd of November 2019

It's a great city! Hope you get there some day soon!


Monday 7th of October 2019

Great tips and photographs guys!