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The Perfect 3 Days in Bangkok Itinerary for First Timers

You have 3 days in Bangkok and want to make the most out of it? This Bangkok itinerary will guide you through what to see and the best things to do in Bangkok in 3 days.

Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is one of the most visited tourist cities in Asia, and is known for its cultural diversity and vibrant nightlife. Set along the banks of the mesmerizing Chao Phraya River, Bangkok is home to wonderful temples, jazzy nightclubs, and overwhelming markets.

For a full list, check out also my super comprehensive post on the 41 best things to do in Bangkok.

To experience all that Bangkok has to offer, one would have to spend at least weeks in the city, however, if you are short on time and only have a few days to explore the heart of Thailand, you can still tick the main sights off your list and have your three perfect days in Bangkok before heading to the islands, maybe Phuket or Koh Samui. Wondering what to see in Bangkok in 3 days?

Check out this Bangkok itinerary and discover what to see and do in Bangkok to make the most out of your 3 days in Bangkok.

Day 1 | The Essentials: Temples, Chinatown & Khao San Road

Today is your first day in the city, so you should start with visiting some of the most popular attractions in Bangkok, which include a few temples, Chinatown, and the infamous Khao San Road.

You can totally visit the city on your own and move from place to place by using Grab (the local version of Uber), taxis, or public transportation, but if you prefer you can also explore the main highlights of the city and go through the same program that you find down here for the first day with a private tour.

Otherwise, check out these bike tours in Bangkok – a cool way to explore the city!

I find Grab very easy to use, and much cheaper than normal taxis. Uber was recently bought by Grab and isn’t available in Thailand, so make sure you download the Grab app for IOS or the Grab app for Android. Sign up with my referral code GRABEVERYSTEPH and get free rides and discounts.

9 AM: Coffee Time with a Cause

Your first day in Bangkok is going to be packed, so you might want to grab a cup of coffee before we begin. I suggest stopping at Elefin Coffee [394 / 1 – 2 Maharaj Road], which is right across the street from Wat Pho. This cafe serves coffee sustainably sourced in Chiang Rai, and supports hill tribe farmers with their operations. Also, their lattes look so good!

Elefin Coffee Opening Hours: 8am to 8pm

10 AM: See the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho

Let’s start your Bangkok temple tour with Wat Pho! Today you’ll visit quite a few temples, all incredibly beautiful and in my opinion what makes Bangkok special.

Also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is a must-visit spot for any first-timers in the city of Bangkok. The temple’s star attraction is the massive reclining Buddha, covered in gold-plated leaves. The statue is 46 meters long and is a sight to behold.

In the same room you find 108 bronze bowls, signifying the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha, at the corridor of the temple and if you want to bring some extra luck to your life, purchase a bowl of coins at the temple entrance and drop the coins in one of the bowls.

Wat Pho is also rumored to be the origin of the traditional Thai massage, and if you have time, I’ve heard the massages at the school here are to die for.

Wat Pho Opening Hours: 8am to 5pm daily
Wat Pho Entrance Fee: 50 Baht (approximately $1.50)

11.30 PM: Explore the Stunning Wat Arun Temple

Known to the locals as Wat Chaeng, Wat Arun is located on the western banks of the Chao Phraya River. Undoubtedly, one of the most stunning temples in Bangkok, Wat Arun boasts a unique design as compared to the rest of the temples that you will experience in the city.

Almost directly opposite to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Arun is also known as the Temple of Dawn, mainly due to its spectacular beauty at sunset.  Because of its grandiose architecture and intricate craftsmanship, Wat Arun is often regarded as one of the most picturesque temples in the country.

Wat Arun Opening Hours: 8.30am to 5.30pm
Wat Arun Entrance Fee: 100 baht (approximatey $3)

If you’d rather visit the main temples with a guide, you can join one of these two comprehensive tours:

BOOK HERE the Walking Temple Tour, that include Wat Pho, Wat Arun, The Grand Palace and more.

BOOK HERE the Best of Bangkok: Temples & Longtail Boat Tour with Lunch, which in one day will show you Wat Pho, Wat Arun, The Grand Palace, before having you experience street food and a bot ride on the river.

▶ If you’re interested in other boat tours (a great way to explore the city), check out this post on the best boat tours in Bangkok.

1 PM: Have Lunch + Head to the Marble Temple

After spending the first part of the day exploring two of the most spectacular and enormous Thai Wats, it is obvious for you to feel famished, so have lunch somewhere before heading to yet another temple…but trust me, they are all different and worth a visit!

Wat Benchamabophit, also known as the Marble Temple, is incredibly beautiful, made of Italian Carrara white marble and gold carvings.

I’m not sure why cause I found it spectacular, but Wat Benchamabophit is not as known as the other temples on this list, so you can easily have it all for yourself. When I was there, we were 4 people total! I don’t know about you, but I love escaping the crowds.

Wat Benchamabophit Opening Hours: 8am to 5.30pm daily
Wat Pho Entrance Fee: 50 Baht (approximately $1.50)

READ ALSO: 20+ Amazing Places to Visit in Thailand

3 PM: Go Up the Golden Mount (Wat Saket)

I hope you’re not templed out yet, ’cause you’ve got another one that’s worth visiting: Wat Saket.

Get yourself ready for a climb up 300 steps, needed to reach the iconic Golden Mount stupa that sits on top of the temple itself, built on a 80-meter high man-made hill. From the top, you have a good view over the city.

Wat Saket (Golden Mount) Opening Hours: 9am to 5pm daily
Wat Saket (Golden Mount) Entrance Fee: 50 baht

You also have the option to join a half-day tour to the Temple of the Golden Mount, the Pad Klong Talad Flower Market and Chinatown.  BOOK HERE the Chinatown, Flower Market and Golden Mount Walking Tour

4.30 PM: Stroll Around Chinatown

What’s the best thing to do after all these temples than paying a visit to Bangkok’s very own version of Chinatown!

Before you immerse yourself in the color of Chinatown, if you haven’t had enough of temples yet, take a moment to pay a visit to the highly popular Wat Traimit. The temple complex also comprises a museum dedicated to the history of Chinatown and can be visited by paying an entrance fee of 100 Baht.

One of the largest of its kind in the world, Bangkok’s Chinatown is full of market stalls, restaurants, a ton of noise and colors and smells. It’s also noted for its street-food scene, and walking around it not knowing what half of the stuff is is one of the most fun things to do in Bangkok.

Though there is no perfect time to visit here, you might like to flock here after sunset, that is when the historic streets of China Town turn in a bedazzling show of light and vibrancy.

You can also switch Chinatown and Khao San Road, your next destination, and join a sunset tour through Chinatown and the Flower Market.

BOOK HERE the Chinatown and Flower Market at Sunset Group Tour

You can also experience Bangkok’s Chinese heritage, by visiting the markets and stopping to eat at the best spots in Chinatown by joining this small-group tour.

BOOK HERE the Chinatown Highlights: Sights & Food Small Group Guided Tour

Check out this guide to the best Bangkok food tours that include some great tours in Chinatown.

7 PM: Spend the Night at Khao San Road

The infamous party street of Bangkok, Khao San is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city, and whether it is your first visit or the 50th, you are bound to end up here at some point or the other during your trip. Thus, it only makes sense that you get a fine taste of this place on your first day in Bangkok.

Khao San is one of the best places to visit in Bangkok at night, because this is when the streets here come alive to their full potential with an anything-goes vive. Described as “the center of the backpacking universe” by none other than the famous book (and movie), The Beach, Khaosan Road is a kilometer-long stretch of budget shops, cheap restaurants, quirky bars, and street-food stalls as far as your eyes can see.

Depending on how fresh or tired you feel, you could either use your time here to shop to your heart’s content or join hundreds of others in a frenzied night of exchanging stories and partying like there is no tomorrow. And, don’t worry whenever you feel like you have had enough, there is always someone smiling at you and offering foot massage. Something you can add to any Bangkok budget itinerary!

READ ALSO: What to Wear in Thailand: A Complete Thailand Packing List

Day 2 | Day Trips from Bangkok + a Quirky Cafe and Rooftop Bar

After spending an eventful first day, your second day in the city is to choose between two of the most popular day trips from Bangkok, and then spending the night at one of the most iconic rooftop bars in Bangkok.

Depending on what you prefer for your 3 days Bangkok itinerary, you could either spend the morning visiting two of the most unique markets not only in the city but anywhere else in the world, or you could explore the ruins of an extremely famous ancient city, Ayutthaya.

Both these options will take most part of your morning and afternoon, so prepare accordingly.

7 AM: Take a Day Trip to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and Maeklong Railway Market

Your first stop will be the extremely unique Maeklong Railway Market. Here, you will witness something that you may have never witnessed before – in one moment, you see rows of stalls selling their goods and buyers looking for the best, and in the next, you see everyone hurrying to make way for the train to pass as its deafening sound approaches the tracks. Slowly, so it’s not dangerous, but still a very unique thing to see.

Then you’ll go to one of the most popular floating markets in the country, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Once you arrive at the market by long tail boat, you can decide to take a boat (at a cost of about 150 baht, $4,60) through the narrow waterways of the market, or you can just walk around looking at the stalls from the mainland.

In the past few years, this market has become very touristy, so it’s not as authentic as it used to be, but it’s still something very peculiar to witness and one of the most amazing places to visit in Thailand.

BOOK HERE the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market & Maeklong Train Market Tour

With only three days in Bangkok, you are short of time and you must make the best out of it, which is why you might want to go on a private tour instead with your own guide and driver to maximise your time.

BOOK HERE the Damnoen Saduak and Train Market Private Tour

OR Take a Day Trip to Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya, the historic capital of Thailand, is located around 80 kilometers outside Bangkok. You could organize the trip yourself and save some money, but it may be time-consuming and arranging for transportation and everything else could be really hectic, so it’s again one of those occasions where it’s a good idea to sign up for an organized Ayutthaya day trip from Bangkok.

On the most popular tour to Ayutthaya, you will be picked up from your hotel and straight to Ayutthaya, the former capital of Siam and home to several UNESCO heritage sites. On your visit, you will get to experience Bang Pa-In Royal Palace. Also popular as the Summer Palace of King Rama V, the palace grounds comprise several intriguing structures and ruins that depict a variety of architectural styles, including Thai, Italian, Victorian, and Chinese.

After you have immersed yourself in Thai history, you will be escorted back to a cruise so you can enjoy the beauty of the Chao Phraya River while enjoying a lunch buffet at the same time. You’ll also sail past some of the most iconic landmarks in Bangkok on your way back.

BOOK HERE the Ayutthaya Day Tour by Bus & Boat

If you prefer the flexibility of having a private driver, check out this private tour.

BOOK HERE the Ayutthaya Day Trip with Private Driver from Bangkok

5 PM: Find the Kid in You at Unicorn Cafe

Assuming that you still have some energy after the amazing day you have had so far, it is time that you do something slightly different. What’s unique about a café, you think? Well, Unicorn Cafe in Bangkok [44/1 Soi Sathon 8, Khwaeng Silom, Khet Bang Rak] has been named one of the most magical cafes in the world, and I can’t disagree!

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Next life, I wanna be a unicorn. 🦄 This life, I just wanna keep this forever child soul. I wanna keep jumping in puddles, and go wow for the small discoveries of everyday, and keep dressing up and eating rainbow cotton candy. And I want to keep dancing in the street like nobody is watching, and feel the butterflies in my stomach, and laugh out loud for the stupidest jokes like a kid. Cause growing up doesn’t mean losing that sense of wonder for life. • Do you also feel a bit like Peter Pan? 🧚‍♂️ • Thanks to @veronica1.6 for taking these photos and dressing up with me. We all need friends who aren’t afraid of having fun.

Un post condiviso da Stefania Guglielmi (@everysteph) in data:

This quirky cafe in Bangkok brings all your childhood dreams about unicorns to life. One visit to this cafe filled with giant unicorn murals to over-sized pink furniture and everything unicorn is sure to lift up your spirits right away. Plus, their rainbow waffles and the enormous cotton-candy milkshake are to totally die for.

Rent one of their unicorn onesies like I did (they have adult sizes as well!) for a full unicorn experience and the most fun photos you’ll ever take.

Unicorn Cafe opening hours: 12-20 pm Tuesday to Sunday; closed on Mondays.

8 PM: Get a Cocktail with a View at Sky Bar at Lebua

This Bangkok blog post wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of the many rooftop bars.

The highest open-air bar in the world, Sky Bar at Lebua on the 63rd floor is one of the most iconic rooftop bars in the city. Suspended 820 feet over the city, the rooftop bar was made even more famous by the Hangover II boys.

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Innovative cocktails and its elegant ambience (there’s a smart casual dress code in place) are what make Sky Bar at Lebua [1055 Si Lom, Khwaeng Silom] such a hit among tourists and locals alike, and of course, those views! From the Sky Bar you have a spellbinding view of the city of Bangkok, which is incredible both at daytime and after dark. Even better, come at sunset!

Cocktails aren’t cheap, but the views make the price tag worth it, and it’s one of the best places to visit in Bangkok in 3 days for views and cocktails.

Sky Bar at Lebua opening hours: 6pm to 1am daily.
Average price of a cocktail: $15-20

Day 3 | Grand Palace, Markets, and a Night Food Tour

You are now on the last day of your 3-day trip to Bangkok, and it only makes sense that you leave the city with a heart full of memories, a relaxed body, and a bag full of amazing souvenirs.

9 AM: Visit the Grand Palace

Keeping the most opulent for last, your weekend in Bangkok isn’t complete until you have explored the majestic corners of the Grand Palace. The official residence of the royal family since 1782, Grand Palace, spread over approximately 218,400 square meters, is located on the banks of the glistening Chao Phraya River and is made up of numerous buildings, halls, garden spaces with pavilion, and courtyards.

Holding within itself a history over two centuries, the Grand Palace is also home to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaew. While a part of it is now a museum and is open to the common public, some parts of the palace are still used for official proceedings by the government and the royal families.

Considered as the most sacred site in the entire country, the Grand Palace follows a strict dress code – no tank tops, see-through dresses, bare feet, or bare shoulders, and they don’t allow scarves to cover up, so bring some long-sleeve t-shirt and long pants with you.

Grand Palace Opening Hours: 8.30am to 3.30pm
Grand Palace Entrance Fee: 500 Baht

If you prefer to visit the Grand Palace + Wat Pho and Wat Arun with a knowledgeable guide, join this half-day private temple tour.  BOOK IT HERE

12.30 PM: It’s Time to Shop!

For those of you who don’t already know, Thailand, especially Bangkok, is noted for the hundreds and thousands of shopping opportunities it presents to everyone, whether you are a luxury shopper or a budget one. Shopping in the city is a 24-hour event meaning that you can shop here irrespective of the time of the day.

For luxury shopping and brand-addicts, the Sukhumvit area and malls such as MBK, Siam Paragon, and CentralWorld have it all. It’s comparable to Orchard Road in Sinagpore, so if you’re heading there make sure to add it to your Singapore itinerary!

But for something totally different, time your visit to the city over a weekend so you can attend the largest market in Thailand, the Chatuchak Weekend Market.

With over 15,000 stalls and over 200,000 visitors every weekend, the market is where all your shopping demands come to realization.

Chatuchak Market Opening Hours: Saturdays and Sundays, 9am to 6pm, and Fridays 6pm to 12am.

OR: Get a Sak Yant Tattoo

If shopping isn’t your thing, what about a spiritual experience? The art of the Sak Yant Tattoo, made with bamboo, is an ancient one. Sak Yant tattoos are believed to provide protection, and there are over 1000 tattoo designs that provide different kinds of protection. The experience starts with a consultation with the ajarn (tattoo master), where you’ll talk about your life to decide together what kind of protection suits you best.

The only company I feel comfortable recommending you for such a delicate (and permanent!) ceremony is Where Sidewalks End. This sustainable small tour operator takes the whole experience very seriously by making sure first that the equipment is sterile and safe, and by pairing you with a private translator who will help you communicate with the tattoo master.

It’s not for all budgets, and definitely you can find cheaper operators out there. Is it worth it though? I heard horror stories about people not being able to communicate with the tatto master and ending up with a tattoo they hated. Plus, hygiene standards are not always respected and you might even end up with some nasty infection. I think that if you decide to go for this experience-of -a-lifetime, since it’s permanent, you should go with the best, not the cheapest.

Check out the Original Ink Experience that includes a private driver/guide/translator, a translated consultation before the ceremony to decide what tattoo designs suits you best, the Sak Yant ceremony and a meal afterwards. BOOK IT HERE

4 PM: Stop for a Thai Massage

Thailand is known all around the world for their traditional art of Thai massage, and Bangkok doesn’t disappoint in this regard. Scattered all around the city you can find thousand and thousand of massage places for all budgets. A traditional thai massage can cost as little as $6, and you can go as up as $100 at luxury spas.

I’ve spent a few months in Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand, and I was literally getting a massage every week!

Find a massage parlor or book in advance a massage at the Sukhumvit 31 branch of the Let’s Relax Spa chain, that’s in the area of the shopping so you can relax after all that walking. BOOK IT HERE

Choose between a Thai massage, aromatherapy oil massage, or hot stone massage, and get recharged before eating a ton!

7 PM: Go on a Night Food Tour by Tuk Tuk

Food is synonymous with Thailand. Forget the local Thai restaurant down the street from your house! To experience the best Thai cuisine, you need to get in the streets.

In my opinion, one of the best things to do in Bangkok at night is joining a night tuk tuk tour of Bangkok where an enthusiastic driver/guide shows you around some of the best night spots in the city and takes you on a food tour to taste some of the best delights that Thailand has to offer.

Among others, try the best Pad Thai and crispy noodles you can find in town before heading to a secret bar with amazing views of Bangkok, and to the Flower Market by night. I went on this tour, and it was incredibly fun!

BOOK HERE the Midnight Food Tour by Tuk Tuk

Otherwise, choose this other tour that focuses more on temples by night and of course, some great street food at a market & locals’ favorites.

BOOK HERE the Bangkok By Night Tuk Tuk Tour: Markets, Temples & Food

Another great option is to focus on the Chinatown area for your food tour. Join an evening food tour in Chinatown with stops at vendors listed in the Michelin Guide, and taste a variety of local dishes, drinks, and desserts.

BOOK HERE the Chinatown 3-Hour Evening Hidden Gems and Food Tour

And there you go! I hope this Bangkok itinerary for 3 days was useful to make your plans and decide what to do in Bangkok for 3 days. Enjoy your stay!

How To Get Around Thailand

I’m pretty sure you’ll head to some other beautiful destinations after Bangkok! I usually use the Bookaway website to book my transportation in Southeast Asia. It saves me time, and this way I’m sure I’ll find a seat. Buses and ferries can get full, especially if you’re traveling during the high season!
Here are a few options for travel from/to Bangkok:

Heading to Chiang Mai: BOOK HERE the bus or train ticket to Chiang Mai

Heading to Pattaya: BOOK HERE the bus or minivan ticket to Pattaya

Heading to Hua Hin: BOOK HERE the bus or minivan ticket to Hua Hin

Heading to Koh Samui: BOOK HERE the bus+ferry ticket to Koh Samui

Heading to Siem Reap (Cambodia): BOOK HERE the bus ticket to Siem Reap

or you can us the search bar down here to check out your transportation options:

Where to Stay in Bangkok

Book your accommodation by using the map below ⬇

My Recommendation: Amari Watergate Hotel

If you haven’t planned and booked your stay in the city yet, let me tell you: you gotta stay at Amari Watergate Bangkok. I mean, look at this pool on the 8th floor!

Do you still need more convincing? OK, here’s the deal.

An environmentally-friendly, five-star property, Amari Watergate has won awards (5 green leaves from the Green Leaf Foundation among others) for its work on environment protection, and it’s Bangkok’s most sustainable hotel.

Not only do they believe in reusing resources but they also invite guests to contribute by agreeing to save water and energy, reuse linens and towels, and avoid the use of chemicals for washing clothes. You can read here all the measures the hotel is taking to save the environment.

The check-in process was very smooth. Amari’s Executive Club rooms come with a dedicated reception area, so we were sent directly to the Executive lounge where there’s always someone happy to help Executive rooms customers.

My friend Veronica and I spent 3 nights in Bangkok and stayed in one of the 40-meter Executive Club rooms, that was elegant, spacious, and came with a wonderful hot tub.

By staying in this room, we had access to the Executive lounge on the 32nd floor, where guests can have breakfast instead of the main breakfast restaurant, and where complimentary soft drinks are available anytime with a stunning backdrop of Bangkok’s skyline. Reminds me of the view from my room in Singapore!

Between 5pm and 7pm, we could also choose between chilled cocktails, beers, win, and a selection of hors d’oeuvres, which was great after a long day out exploring the city.

Let’s now talk about the breakfast, and what a breakfast it is! I’ve stayed at plenty of luxury hotels in the past few years, and I honestly have never seen such an extensive choice for breakfast. You’ll find anything from freshly-made waffles and fresh fruit, to pastries and all sorts of cooked food.

There must be, no kidding, hundreds of choices, and the cool part is that you find occidental options, Thai dishes, Indian food, Chinese options… there’s something for all the guests, wherever they’re from and whatever their taste.

Amari Watergate is located in the Pratunam neighborhood, right next to the Pratunam Market and very convenient for most attractions in Bangkok. Rates start at $81 per night.


If you’re coming from Suvarnabhumi Airport and don’t want to deal with taxis, book here an affordable private transfer to your hotel. If you are coming from Don Mueang instead, book here.

Other Southeast Asia Destinations You Might Like

The Perfect 3 Days in Chiang Mai Itinerary

Koh Samui in 4 Days: Things to Do + Where to Stay and Play

16 Best Things To Do in Luang Prabang, Laos

The Amari Watergate Hotel kindly hosted me in Bangkok. No matter who footed the bill, my opinions can never be bought. This posts contains affiliate links, meaning that if you book through my links, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost for you whatsoever.

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.


Monday 1st of July 2019

I love your tattoo, i hope that on my next visit in Bangkok I will be brave enough and do one as well