There are plenty of reasons to visit Bangkok, it is not only the food, the people, but the temples and the shopping and the buzz of an incredibly busy and frenetic city. We have given you some options for a 12-hour stopover in Bangkok plus further options on what to do if you have more time in Bangkok and especially more time in Thailand for your next holiday.
Whether you are a backpacker, flashpacker or like to travel in style Bangkok has so much to offer the visitor.
We also cover some of your frequently asked questions on safety, drinking water and transport options.
(Editor update March 2019)
The most famous Map of Bangkok with the latest insider tips is a must to purchase before you travel to Bangkok. Nancy Chandler the author shows you where the hidden shops, restaurants and bars are getting you off the tourist path and into areas less known. The guide is worth it for the detailed area maps of Bangkok City and even Chatuchak Market, one of our favourite markets in the world. It is unlike any market that you have been too and on such a grand scale, with so many products to buy and so many choices on where to eat at the local food stalls.
One of the questions we are asked regularly is ‘is it safe in Thailand for tourists’? Since 2013 we have spent over 4 months travelling in and around Thailand and we find it a destination that is safe for all ages. As in any country, you just have to exercise caution and be sensible where you go especially late at night. Scams do occur, especially around the Grand Palace.
Another question we are asked is ‘can you drink the water in Thailand’ – always drink bottled water. What about ice in your drinks? We have had no issue with ice in our drinks, we understand that ice is made from purifed water.
Do you know that you can order a 4G Sim Card to be delivered to the airport on arrival, have a private transfer ready and waiting to whisk you away to your hotel and even have your BTS One Day Pass delivered to the airport for collection.
- 1 Where is Thailand
- 2 Where is Bangkok
- 3 Places to visit in Bangkok (when you have longer than 12 hours)
- 4 More Options:
- 5 Places to Visit in Thailand
- 6 Where to Stay in Bangkok
- 7 Airbnb Bangkok
- 8 Getting Into Bangkok
- 9 Further Reading:
- 10 Travel Insurance
- 11 How to keep a check on your travel spend
- 12 Have you checked out our To Travel Too Travel Shop
Thailand is located in Asia and has borders with the countries of Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos. It is the 51st largest nation in the world.
The official language is Thai and the local currency is Thai Baht.
Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand and it is located in the Chao Phraya River delta in the central plains of the country.
Bangkok is a great stopover at any time especially when you travel from Australia to Europe.
A bustling vibrant city where the traffic is a nightmare, the heat intense, the noise deafening, but you can experience amazing temples, boat rides on the river, great food, friendly people and it is unique like no other place on earth. These are the reasons why we love Bangkok. But what if you only have a short stopover, what could you do and see in 12 hours.
Our recommendations on what you can see and do in 12 hours in Bangkok:
1. Chao Phraya River Cruise
We stayed at the Arize Hotel close to Phrom Phong BTS station. You can ride the BTS to Saphan Taksin (Central Pier) changing at Siam. The BTS is a great way to travel around Bangkok, fast clean and efficient.
An evening cruise down the Chao Phraya River is one of the highlights of visiting Bangkok.
You can pre-purchase your BTS One Day Pass here. Your pass will be delivered to the Airport for your collection.
You can now pre-purchase your BTS Rabbit Card, a time-saving card for the BTS so you do not have to queue. The card can be delivered to the Airport for collection on arrival.
For more information on Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain click here.
The Arize Hotel is located at 8/8 Sukhumvit 26 Road in Khlong Toei. Since 2013 we have stayed there over 6 times and now classify it is as our home away from home. The swimming pool is a welcome relief after a day sightseeing and there are some great local restaurants close by. The Arize Hotel is more like a boutique hotel. It has good wifi!
At Central Pier, a few minutes walk from Saphan Taksin BTS, you can travel via longtail boat for THB100 to the Grand Palace or THB25 by local ferry. The longtail boat will drop you at Tha Tien and then you walk about 15 minutes to the Grand Palace or you can get the local ferry and it drops you at Tha Chang which is located on the river by the Grand Palace.
2. The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is #16 of the world’s most visited sites. It is Bangkok’s most famous landmark. The Palace was built in 1782 and was the home of the King, the Royal Court and the administrative seat of government for 150 years. The complex houses the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, where it is believed that the small Buddha image is over 2,000 years old. Photos are not allowed inside the Temple. It is an awe-inspiring place well worth the visit.
Opening Hours: 0830 to 1530
Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Old City (Rattanakosin)
Entrance Fee: THB500 per person
NB. There is a strict dress code, no shorts or sleeveless t-shirts. Complimentary trousers and tops are available, but there is a deposit of THB400 per item.
Travel Scam: On arrival at the pier you will be greeted by locals who will advise that the Grand Palace is closed for the day or part of that day. They will offer you a local Tuk Tuk tour, ‘very cheap’ to see another Temple whilst you wait for the Palace to open. If you fall for this scam, you will see another temple but also a jewellery store, tailors etc with hard-sell salesmen who try their hardest and all their best tricks to help you part with your money.
3. Enjoy an ice cold coconut drink
Across the road from the entrance to the Grand Palace is a great place to purchase a cold coconut drink for THB40, very refreshing after your few hours visiting the Grand Palace in the intense heat.
End your day with a cold Singha beer at the Royal Oak Pub located at 595/10 Sukhumvit 33/1, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand. A popular place for travellers and expats to gather and watch sport on TV and on Wednesday nights they have a Pub Quiz. It is perfect for a beer before you head off to one of the many local restaurants.
4. Eat local food
Finish your day off with a local meal at our favourite restaurant a few blocks from the Royal Oak Pub.
At the start of Sukhumvit 37 Alley, you will find our favourite local Thai restaurant. Very reasonably priced Thai food and beer. The name is “Very Cheap Thai Food” and it is a popular local restaurant for Thais, expats and travellers.
Places to visit in Bangkok (when you have longer than 12 hours)
If you have longer than 12 hours and you are in Bangkok on the weekend why not visit the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market. It is located at 587/10 Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900. It is open from 6 am to 6 pm and can be reached on the BTS at Mo Chit station.
6. Visit Chinatown
Wander through the streets of Chinatown packed with market stalls, gold shops, clothing shops and a variety of food stalls that will whet your appetite. Head down at sunset and soak up the atmosphere of local food frying in the streets that will assault your senses.
7. Floating Markets
Bangkok is not short of floating markets. Here is the opportunity to see life on the canals, the floating markets, the way of life, the banter and the amazing array of fresh fruit vegetables, flowers and even food stalls.
8. Spa Treatments in Thailand
Spa treatments are popular in Thailand. After a day of sightseeing in the hot tropical sun a spa treatment is the best way to end the day.
9. Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World With Klook VIP Line
Enjoy a visit to the Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World with over 400 water species. The Klook VIP Line means that you do not have to spend hours in the queue.
10. Bangkok Thai Cooking Academy
Choose your favourite Thai dishes and learn how to cook them at the Bangkok Thai Cooking Academy.
Places to Visit in Thailand
One of the best places to visit in Thailand and one of our favourite places is Chiang Mai known as the Northern capital of Thailand.
Tripadvisor has nominated the top 10 best places to visit in Thailand:
Where to Stay in Bangkok
For 5 star luxury and one of the best locations in Bangkok, our favourite hotel is the Pullman Bangkok King Power.
Our favourite 4 star hotel that is suitable for families, couples and solo travellers – the Arize Hotel at 8/8 Sukhumvit 26 Road, Khlong Toei is a small boutique hotel, well located near the local BTS and local restaurants. They have a swimming pool, gym and good wifi.
Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21: 2/88, Sukhumvit Soi 19, Khlong Toei, Bangkok,- a hotel suitable for families with a Kids Club and an outdoor swimming pool which is centrally located.
Shangri-la Hotel: 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, New Road, Bang Rak, Bangkok. If you want the luxury of a Spa The Shangri-La is famous for its wellness centre – Chi – The Spa. The hotel is located in Silom with easy access to transport. Perfect for couples and families.
Dusit Thani Hotel: 946 Rama IV Bang Rak, Bangkok. The Dusit Thani has many facilities e.g. mini golf, wellness centre, squash courts, gym and is located close to Lumphini Park.
The Sukhothai Hotel: 13/3 South Sathorn Road, Sathon, Bangkok. 5 star luxury in Sathon in Bangkok close to restaurants and nightlife.
For more hotel options:
There are many accommodation options through Airbnb Bangkok.
If you have not booked an Airbnb property before we have a $$$ saving discount for you. Click our link below to find out more.
Getting Into Bangkok
Which airport is closest to Bangkok city? Don Mueang is the closest being 23km away. It is the airport for budget carriers.
Suvarnabhumi Airport is 39km away.
For the latest flight deals from all over the world we use Skyscanner click here for more information.
For Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok: Private Transfers click here.
For Don Mueang Airport: Private Transfers click here
The best time to take out travel insurance is when you start to pay for flights, accommodation, cruises or tours. You are covered from that date in case of cancellation due to health reasons. Always read the policy guidelines carefully.
If you are from Australia click here for the latest quote
If you are from outside of Australia click here for the latest quote
How to keep a check on your travel spend
We use Trailwallet to help keep our travel budget controlled. It is an app designed by other travel bloggers which we have used since 2013.
Have you checked out our To Travel Too Travel Shop
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Why not take our article with you around Bangkok and visit the sites we have mentioned:
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