Bangkok for the Cultured Traveller: Recommended 1st-Day Schedule

The Wat Arun in Bangkok. Photo via Fotopedia by Mark Fischer.
The Wat Arun in Bangkok. Photo via Fotopedia by Mark Fischer.

The City of Angels – no, we are not talking about Los Angeles, but one of the world’s most magnificent cities: Bangkok. The Thais call their capital city by the name of Krung Thep – rather than by the name of “Bangkok- which literally means “City of Angels”.

Bangkok certainly has plenty of things to offer – from some of Asia’s largest shopping malls to locals markets, from Thailand’s leading fine dining spots to traditional food vendors and from sparkling skyscrapers to temples, centuries old; Thailand’s bustling capital is without a doubt the pulse of the country.

Let’s take a look closer at Bangkok’s cultural parts: its history, food, temples, palaces and klongs; but before you should get already overwhelmed by the number of temples, we selected the most historical parts for you – and created a cultural day tour for you:

08:30 – The Grand Palace

A trip to Bangkok without visiting the Grand Palace would be an incomplete trip to Bangkok. Why? Until 1925, it was the official residence of the kings of Siam. Furthermore, the palace is adjacent to Wat Phra Kaew complex, which is considered as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand, as it houses the legendary Emerald Buddha.

Note: a smart casual dress code is applicable, no slippers/sandals/flip flops.

The Grand Palace

Opening times: Daily from 08:30 – 15:30
Entry fee: 500 Baht per adult, inclusive of access to Wat Phra Kaeo, The Royal Thai Deorations & Coins Pavillion and Queen Sirkit Museum of Textiles.
Na Phra Lan Road,
Phra Nakhon,
Bangkok  10200

Grand Palace Bangkok. Photo via Wikimedia by Andy Marchand

11:00 – Bangkok National Museum

Located just a stone-throw away from the Grand Palace is the Bangkok National Museum, which is also Southeast Asia’s largest museum. Initially opened by King Rama V to exhibit gifts given by his father, it now showcases items from significant importance from prehistory to the Ayutthaya era.

Bangkok National Museum

Opening times (Wednesday – Sunday): 09:00-16:00
Entry fee: 50 Baht per adult
4 Na Phra That,
Phra Nakhon,
Bangkok 10200

12:30 – Have traditional Thai food for lunch

Well, if it comes to food, Bangkok is THE mecca of food. Whether you dine in a splurge restaurant or on the market, indulging into the colourful cuisine of Thailand is a must!

It is quite difficult to really select a number of good restaurants or markets here in Bangkok, since each place is unique in its own way and you can find a meal everywhere. Therefore we have selected a number of delicate must-try specialities:

  • Som Tam (green papaya salad)
  • Pra Goong (shrimp salad)
  • Gai Pad Prik Gaeng (chicken stir fry in red curry)
  • Tom Kha Gai (Curry with coconut milk and oyster musrooms) – one of Thailand’s most famous dishes
  • Pad See Ew (fried noodles in broccoli, meat/chicken, egg and soy sauce)

Prices start at 35 Baht (US$1) for a meal in a market.

Som Tam (green papay salad). Photo via Wikimedia by ‘Takeaway’.

14:30 – Experience the Venice of East

Forget the hustle and bustle on Bangkok’s busy roads – now it’s time for you to discover the klongs of Bangkok, also known as the Venice of the East; a network of manmade canals at the banks of the Chao Phraya River.

Catch a long tail boat and drive past old stilted wooden houses, floating markets and bathing locals to get a sense of how the citizen of Bangkok really used to live.

The Klongs of Thonburi, Bangkok, 
Klong Mon & Klong Bangkok Noi,
Western banks of the Chao Phraya River

16:30 -The Marble Temple

Carved out of carrara-marble by the end of the 19th century, Wat Benchamabophit (its original name) is considered one of Bangkok’s most beautiful temples.

Wat Benchamabophit

Opening times: Daily from 06:00-17:00
Entry fee:  20 Baht
69 Sydney Road,
Bangkok 10300

20:00 – Siam Niramit: A traditional Thai dance show

Siam Niramit is a Guinness World Record Award winning show and ranks continuously high on TripAdvisor. The show depicts Thailand’s cultural history along with world class special effects.

You can book the show with or without dinner.

19 Tiamruammit Road,
Bangkok 10320

Tickets from 1500 Baht

Traditional Thai Dance. Photo via Flickr by Jason D’Great