Bangkok city view hero

48 Hours in Bangkok

Exotic tastes, heavenly sunsets, tantalizing cocktails, and shopping galore.

Photo: Unsplash
June 2023
Hopefully, you get to spend more than just a couple of days in Bangkok, but even if you’re only there for a short stay, there’s plenty to see and do in the city. Here are just a few of the hotels, bars and restaurants, shopping destinations, and attractions to check out.



Start your day with a private boat tour through the canals of Old Bangkok. As you enjoy a few tranquil moments in the heart of this bustling city, you’ll pass by Wat Paknam, where an enormous golden Buddha towers over the landscape, and the Wat Arun Dawn Temple. The boat captains, who live in the old wooden houses along the canal, allow you take your own food and drink onboard. You can book a tour with Hidden Bangkok Tours.

After the boat ride, make your way to the nearby Grand Palace, the former home of the King of Thailand, but be prepared for teeming crowds of tourists. Between the palace, the beautiful architecture, the emerald-green Buddha, and the giant reclining Buddha statue, Wat Pho, you get more than your money’s worth. Make sure to follow the Asian custom of bringing along an umbrella so that you get some respite from the grueling hot sun.

Bangkok Chinatown
Photo: Unsplash


If you want to feel like a local, hop a bus from the Grand Palace to Chinatown. Otherwise, simply take a taxi. Chinatown is always worth a visit, day or night. The neighborhood transforms from a hectic market by day into a street food Mecca once the sun goes down. Get off on Yaowarat Road and head into the winding alleys. Make sure to grab a late lunch at one of the popular restaurants – it’s guaranteed to be one of the best meals you’ve ever had.

After your brave expedition to bustling Chinatown, proceed toward Talat Noi (“the little market”). This quaint, historic neighborhood is a virtual treasure trove full of hip cafés, austere temples, sullen alley cats, and memorable photo-ops – like the abandoned, broken-down orange Fiat or the Mother Roaster café with its iconic collection of classic auto parts. Take a break afterwards at one of the lovely cafés, such as Wallflowers or Hong Sieng Kong. Order a coffee or other beverage before heading back to your hotel to change clothes or relax at the pool (see our tips for hotels below). Talat Noi is also a great place to spend an evening if you enjoy live music.

Thai food
Photo: Unsplash


If you get an early start, head to the restaurant Rongros to catch the sun setting over the majestic Wat Arun Dawn Temple. If you arrive too late, it may be impossible to find a table, but luckily there are other restaurants nearby with outdoor seating.

If your budget permits, make sure to check out Bangkok’s lively fine-dining scene. The city is home to four of the top ten dining establishments on the prestigious list Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. Which one to go to is a question of how much you want to spend. The newly opened North Restaurant, which specializes in northern Thai cuisine, is a more affordable option. A nine-course meal will only set you back 2,888 baht (around SEK 890) and you’ll find creative versions of traditional Thai dishes like khao soi (a coconut-milk curry) and khan toke (a sharing appetizer).

Lumphini park
Photo: Unsplash


Shopping and parks

American expat Jim Thompson helped save the Thai silk industry in the 1950s and ‘60s. Although he disappeared without a trace in the jungle in 1967 and was ultimately declared dead in 1974, his name lives on in the form of the Jim Thompson brand and his namesake homestead, a museum with an adjoining silk shop and restaurant. Hop a taxi and visit the home he built to display his vast art collection. While you’re there, make sure to check out the shop, where you can buy (fairly expensive) items made from Thai silk.

Afterwards, cool off in one of Bangkok’s verdant parks. Begin with the newly designated Benjakitti Forest Park (previously a tobacco plantation) and follow the “green mile” path to nearby Lumphini Park. Stop at one of the hilltop cafés perched all along the trail and enjoy an inexpensive glass of fresh juice, or descend to the road below and buy a tasty lunch from one of the street food vendors. At Lumphini, your kids will enjoy frolicking around the roughly 400 harmless monitor lizards that roam the park.

After a day in the intense heat and humidity, it’s always a welcome pleasure to cool off in one of Bangkok’s malls and enjoy the shopping, entertainment, and dining options. If you’re a bargain hunter, MBK Center is the ideal destination while if you’re looking for luxury items, there’s no better spot than ICONSIAM. If you still haven’t eaten lunch, you’ll find arguably the nicest food court in Thailand on its ground floor.

Vertigo Banyan Tree Bangkok
Photo: Vertigo Banyan Tree.

A rooftop bar and restaurant

As dusk descends on the city, get your evening off to the right start in one of Bangkok’s numerous rooftop bars. The best ones are Vertigo in the Banyan Tree hotel and Tichuca, whose interior was designed to reflect the atmosphere of a forest in South Africa. Looking out over the iconic Bangkok skyline and the mighty waters of the Chao Phraya when the sun goes down is an experience you’ll never forget. Make sure to book a table in advance as both places fill up quickly.

After you’ve enjoyed the sunset and downed your drinks, head over to Lily Fu’s. The popular bistro has a cool, open atmosphere and simple but delicious menu items. Order the crab omelette or the drunken noodles with shellfish and sit back and enjoy the music of the DJ while you hang out with the hip, young locals who frequent the joint – the perfect way to conclude your stay before your journey sweeps you onward.


Centrally located but tranquil

Asai Bangkok Chinatown

Modern, minimalistic, and in the heart of bustling Chinatown. This is a funky little hotel with lively events, including drag shows and art exhibits. You can even practice yoga or take a sound bath (a type of meditation with gongs or Tibetan background music) in their wellness courtyard. Once you’re sufficiently relaxed, the popular Yaowarat Road beckons around the corner.

Check availability, book and earn EuroBonus points here.

A room with a view

Eastin Grand Hotel

This new luxury hotel in the heights offers restaurants, bars, a rooftop pool terrace, and stunning views overlooking the Bangkok skyline. Getting around the city is easy – just hop on the BTS Skytrain via the adjacent walkway (the only accommodation in the city with such direct access).

Check availability, book and earn EuroBonus points here.

Hot off the presses

Bangkok Publishing Residence

This unique adult boutique hotel (15-year-old age limit) is housed at the former site of a print shop. It’s best to book well ahead of time as there are only eight rooms here. The on-site museum describes the fascinating history of the premises, which housed the printing presses of the legendary Bangkok Weekly newspaper.

Check availability, book and earn EuroBonus points here.


Hidden Bangkok Tours
109 Thanon Itsaraphap, Khwaeng Wat Arun

Grand Palace
Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang

Mother Roaster
1172 Soi Chareonkrung 22, Khwaeng Talat Noi

Wallflowers Café
31-33 ซ. นานา Khwaeng Pom Prap

Hong Sieng Kong
734, 736 Soi Wanit 2, Khwaeng Talat Noi

392 16 Maha Rat Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang

North Restaurant
8 Soi Sukhumvit 33, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea

The Jim Thompson House
6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Road

Benjakitti Forest Park
Khwaeng Khlong Toei

Lumphini Park
Lumphini, Pathum Wan

MBK Center
444 Phaya Thai Rd, Khwaeng Wang Mai

299 Soi Charoen Nakhon 5, Khwaeng Khlong Ton Sai

21/100 S Sathon Rd, Khwaeng Thung Maha Mek

ตึก T one 8 ชั้น 46 Soi Sukhumvit 40, Khwaeng Phra Khanong

Lily Fu’s
18 Soi Sukhumvit 11, Khwaeng Khlong Toei Nuea

Text by Daniel Björk