There are at least 6 reasons to visit Bangkok City, it is not only the food, the people, but the temples and the shopping and the buzz of an incredibly busy and frenetic city. Have you visited?
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. We visit Bangkok regularly and stay in different hotels each time. There are so many hotel options in Bangkok. Some of the best family hotels in Bangkok are so affordable for families that what you save on accommodation can be put toward some great family experiences.
We regularly update our article on where we stay and what we do each time we visit.
Whether you are a backpacker, flashpacker or like to travel in style Bangkok has so much to offer the visitor. Scams are a fact of life when you travel these days, it happens everywhere, but if you are a first-timer to Bangkok it is better to be forewarned before you travel.
We also cover some of your frequently asked questions on safety, drinking water and transport options. Do you need any reasons to visit Bangkok? Have you travelled to Bangkok?
(Editor update 2020)
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 8 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.
You may enjoy reading: Things To Do in Chiang Mai
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 Bangkok 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.
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Time in Thailand
Thailand: GMT + 7
Transport Around Thailand
For transport details in and around Bangkok and Thailand, we use 12goAsia.
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 Many Reasons To Visit Bangkok
Our recommendations on what you can see and do in 12 hours in Bangkok:
1. Chao Phraya River Cruise
An evening cruise down the Chao Phraya River is one of the highlights of visiting Bangkok.
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.
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!
2. The Grand Palace (one of our favourite reasons to visit Bangkok, this is a must-do)
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.
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.
A favourite tour is Flexi Walking Tour visiting the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun with a local guide for between 2 – 4 hours.
Opening Hours: 0830 to 1530
Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Old City (Rattanakosin)
Entrance Fee: THB500 per person (USD$16.00)
NB. There is a strict dress code, no shorts or sleeveless t-shirts. Complimentary trousers and tops are available, but there is a deposit of THB400 per item.
Travel Scam: On arrival at the pier you will be greeted by locals who will advise that the Grand Palace is closed for the day or part of that day. They will offer you a local Tuk Tuk tour, ‘very cheap’ to see another Temple whilst you wait for the Palace to open. If you fall for this scam, you will see another temple but also a jewellery store, tailors etc with hard-sell salesmen who try their hardest and all their best tricks to help you part with your money.
3. Enjoy an ice-cold coconut drink
Across the road from the entrance to the Grand Palace is a great place to purchase a cold coconut drink for THB40, very refreshing after your few hours visiting the Grand Palace in the intense heat. Coconut water is particularly good for keeping you hydrated in hot climates.
End your day with a cold Singha beer at the Royal Oak Pub located at 595/10 Sukhumvit 33/1, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand. A popular place for travellers and expats to gather and watch sport on TV and on Wednesday nights they have a Pub Quiz. It is perfect for a beer before you head off to one of the many local restaurants.
4. Eat local food
Finish your day off with a local meal at our favourite restaurant a few blocks from the Royal Oak Pub.
At the start of Sukhumvit 37 Alley, you will find our favourite local Thai restaurant. Very reasonably priced Thai food and beer. The name is “Very Cheap Thai Food“ and it is a popular local restaurant for Thais, expats and travellers.
You can enjoy a local dish of Pad Thai for THB60 (USD$ 2.00) and a large bottle of Singha Beer for THB110 (USD$ 3.60).
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.
Local Weekend Market Tour to Khlong La Mayom and Chatuchak Tour
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.
Chinatown 3 hour Food Tour With Tastings
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.
Thailand Floating Markets Tour
8. Hands-on Cooking Class and Market Tour
This tour from Get Your Guide includes the following “Explore Bangkok’s largest market, Khlong Toei, and shop for fresh ingredients. Find out how to make four authentic Thai dishes, and then cook them yourself. Savour delicious food, fill your stomach, and head back home with recipes and new global friends.”
9. Visit Bangkok’s Most Instagrammable Spots and a Half Day Temple Tour
10. Travel Bangkok With Your Own Personal Photographer to get those amazing photos
11. Vegan Food Tour with Bitemojo
One of the fun things we have done is a Vegan Food Tour with Bitemojo. You download the Bitemojo app on your phone, pay for the tour, an itinerary showing your 6 ‘bites’ and places of interest along the way and off you go. Trigger warning: do not eat before you go.
Read all about the Vegan Food Tour of Bangkok here and how to book it.
These are some of our reasons to visit Bangkok, what will be yours?
More Reasons to Visit Bangkok:
Best 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
Where we have stayed in Bangkok since 2013:
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.
Another 4-star favourite hotel that is suitable for all travellers who wish to stay in the heart of Sukhumvit – The Amora Neoluxe Hotel at Soi Sukhumvit 31, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110.
For the largest rooms we have stayed in Bangkok you can’t go pass In Residence at 23/2 Sukhumvit Road, Soi Sukhumvit 13, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110. The breakfast buffet is excellent, good clean large rooms, swimming pool, gym and good wifi.
For a funky 2 star hostel stay in Bangkok close to Sukhumvit we have stayed at the Sleepbox 22 Sukhumvit. Sleepbox is funky containers created into a hostel in a quiet back street just off Sukhumvit 22. Very clean and comfortable with a basic breakfast included. We find that the WiFi is weak in the hotel especially in the bedrooms and you need to move to the common room on the 2nd floor. Address: 404 Soi Sainamthip 3, Sukhumvit 22, Klongtoey, Khlong Toei, 10110 Bangkok,
For budget accommodation, a bit further away from Sukhumvit is Baan Mek Mok, a basic studio apartment but clean and comfortable. Address: 306 Soi Sukhumvit 64, Bang Chak, Phra Khanong, Bangkok 10260
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: Shared Transfers click here.
For Don Mueang Airport: Shared Transfers click here
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Why not take our article with you around Bangkok and visit the sites we have mentioned: