Fascinating, intoxicating and chaotic, Bangkok deserves at least 48 hours to experience its temples, palaces, markets, malls and street food.
Undoubtedly the city’s must-see landmark is the dazzling Grand Palace complex, a former royal residence now used for ceremonial occasions. Amidst the gold-spired temples, courtyards and manicured gardens is the notable Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the highly revered Emerald Buddha, meticulously carved from jade. Close by is Wat Pho, which features an enormous golden reclining Buddha while across the river is the exquisite Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), where if you climb to the top just before sunset, you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable views.
The Chao Phraya River adds zest to the city landscape with its backdrop of temples and hotels. It’s a constant hive of activity with water taxis and longtail speedboats whizzing along, or heavily laden barges chugging sedately upstream. Leading off the river are a network of criss-crossing klongs (canals) which trickle past precariously perched houses, floating villages and markets.
On land, the skytrain and subway are your best way to get around, and no visit would be complete without a hair-raising ride on a tuk tuk!Whether you’re hoping to snag a bargain or splurge on designer labels, shopping in Bangkok is an around the clock activity. Top spots include MBK Centre, ICONSIAM, CentralwOrld, Siam Paragon, Chatuchak Weekend Market, Asiatique the Riverfront and Terminal 21. In addition, tours to floating markets just outside the city are available.
Another big draw is the food, and with over 50,000 places to eat there’s no danger of going hungry. From humble street stalls with their fragrant aromas to classy fine dining restaurants, there’s always tasty treats on the menu. Bangkok’s nightlife has evolved over recent years with the emphasis now firmly on swanky rooftop bars with panoramic views, chic nightclubs and lively jazz lounges as well as microbreweries and hip cocktail bars.
GMT +7 hours
Bangkok is approximately 11 hours 30 minutes (non-stop flights) from the UK.
Bangkok is hot year round thanks to its tropical monsoon climate with temperatures fairly consistent and usually in excess of 30ºC. It’s possible to experience rain at any time, although usually just a short, sharp downpour, but the driest months tend to be between November and March.
During this half day tour see three of Bangkok's most notable temples: Wat Trimitr which is home to the world's largest golden Buddha; Wat Pho, a royal temple with a huge reclining Buddha; and Wat Benchamaebopit, a stunning temple constructed from Italian marble.
A 90 minute tour to the stunning Grand Palace complex is a “must-see” landmark for all visitors to Bangkok. Tour the complex's temples and pagodas, including the magnificent Wat Phra Kaew - the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and regarded as the most sacred temple in Thailand. As you stroll the complex, admire the golden domes, inspirational spires and exotic, richly carved murals.
On this fun half day tour, explore Chinatown on foot, stopping at the massive Sampeng Market. Ride by tuk tuk past Little India and visit Bangkok's biggest flower market. Then, board a boat for a ride on the busy Chao Phraya River to River City Pier.
This half day tour begins with a drive through Samui Songkram Province to see the timeless lifestyle along the canals. Later, travel by boat through the scenic waterways to the floating market. On arrival, continue on foot taking in the bustle and canoes laden with fresh produce and crafts.
Discover bustling Yaowarat (Chinatown). Stroll the main street towards Paklong Talad flower market, then stop along Khao San Road which brims with restaurants, pubs and market stalls. Tour not available Mondays.
A full day tour to Ayutthaya, once a thriving capital but today only ruins remain. Those of the Palace and temples are quite spectacular with many still intact giving some idea of its former splendour.
On this full day tour take the local ferry across the Chao Phraya River to the man-made island of Bang Kachao. It’s then a bike ride to the Botanic Gardens and on to Ban Thoop for some community activities, and then visit Bang Nampheung local market. After lunch, it’s a rickshaw ride back to the pier and return to your hotel.
A half day tour offering an insight to Muay Thai (Thai boxing), the national sport of Thailand and unique martial art. A professional boxer at Galaxy Gym will take you through the basics before weight training with a sport science trainer. Afterwards, relax with a Thai traditional massage.
A full day tour taking in the spectacular ruins, pagodas and temples of Ayutthaya, travelling by train and local truck. Highlights include Wat Mahathat and Wat Pra Srisanphet.
From £99 (inc lunch)