When planning our our honeymoon, we gave ourselves only 2 days to experience Bangkok. We knew that it would be tight and we would likely miss some things but since Bangkok is a hub in Southeast Asia, we figured that we would be back someday to explore the things that we missed.
What We Did During Our 2 Days in Bangkok
Wat Arun was the top thing that we wanted to see when we were in Bangkok. We even booked a room at Inn A Day which had an amazing view of the temple.
Since we were right across the river from Wat Arun, we took a commuter ferry boat to easily get there. It was super cheap, only 3 baht or 9 cents per person and very fast as the ferries continually run throughout the day.
The entry fee was a very reasonable 50 baht or $1.50 charge per foreigner. The first thing that we noticed was how well maintained the temple was, a wide difference from the Cambodian temples that we had seen just a week earlier. Wat Arun is well maintained and was actually undergoing renovations when we were there. While it was somewhat frustrating that there was some scaffolding, it was contained to smaller chedis which still allowed for nice photos.
Wat Pho is the home to the reclining buddha as well as 99 chedis. What is a chedi you may ask? A chedi is an alternative term for a Buddhist stupa, mainly used in Thailand.
Admission was 100 baht or $3.00 per foreigner. This fee covered both the reclining Buddha as well as admission to the rest of the Wat Pho complex.
Proper attire was heavily enforced at the reclining Buddha so you have to wear long pants and sleeves or are required to cover up with a robe which they have available to borrow. You also have to take off your shoes when you enter the reclining Buddha. To make it easier to hold all of your personal items the temple provides a bag for your shoes.
When we were viewing the reclining Buddha it was quite crowded. There were signs everywhere warning of pickpockets. While we didn’t have any issue, I could see how it would be very easy to pickpocket someone there. Nobody is really paying attention to their surroundings because they are looking at the reclining Buddha and there is a high concentration of tourists that likely have high amounts of valuables on them.
The reclining Buddha was massive at 50′ tall and 150′ long. There was decorative mother of pearl on the bottom of the Buddha’s feet which was really cool looking. The worst part about the Buddha was getting a good picture. Since it is so large it was very difficult to frame a picture or get a picture with you next to the Buddha.
The rest of Wat Pho was very nice. We walked around and took some pictures with the chedis as well as the countless Buddha statues that adorned the area. While it was beautiful, I believe that it paled in comparison to the taller and more ornate Wat Arun.
Wat Benchamabophit is a temple made out of marble and is somewhat removed from the Wat Pho/Wat Arun area. We negotiated what we thought was a good rate with a tuk tuk driver outside of Wat Pho to take us there. We later learned that we had gotten involved in the most famous scam in Bangkok.
The temple itself was less ornate than Wat Arun and Wat Pho but beautiful in its own regard. The marble was a material that we did not see elsewhere in Thailand so we can see why this temple is special to the locals.
While I am glad that we went to Wat Benchamabophit, I don’t know that I would recommend it to anyone that is going to be in town for only a short period of time. It was a little removed from other popular attractions and less impressive than other temples in the area.
Wat Indra Viharn
Also known as the tall Buddha, this was one of the things that we saw as part of our loop with our scammer tuk tuk driver.
The Buddha is 100′ tall which is tall but less ornate than I expected it would be. When we visited, there was a tent that blocked part of the Buddha which was a little frustrating since it blocked our pictures of the Buddha.
I wouldn’t go out of my way to see Wat Indra Viharn, but if you’re nearby it’s a quick 5 minute stop for some pictures.
Khao San Road
One of the things that I was told I had to see when I was in Bangkok was a visit to Khao San Road at night. It was within walking distance of our hotel so we were able to easily check it out.
My first stop when we arrived was to get a pedicure since my polish was in total disarray after our fish foot massage in Cambodia. After that, Andy and I decided to splurge for a foot massage. It felt amazing after another long day on our feet.
This is the part of town that attracts the backpacking crowd so it’s a little crazier than other parts of Bangkok. One of the funniest things that we saw were places that made fake documents – you could get anything from a driver’s license, press card, diploma, diving certification and more.
Andy wasn’t feeling well so we didn’t eat out for dinner. I just got some Pad Thai from one of the street vendors for $1. It was absolutely delicious and I still can’t believe how cheap it was.
While I don’t know that it is a destination that you need to see when you go to Bangkok, it is a nice walking street with lots of things to see and do. If nothing else, it is a good place to people watch. Be warned that unless you’re in your early 20’s you’ll likely feel pretty old around all the young kids that frequent the area.
Bangkok Flower Market
The flower market was a short walk from our hotel so we checked it out first thing in the morning when there were the most flowers and everything was fresh. The market had a number of beautiful flowers, my favorite being the orchids in a whole rainbow of colors.
While it was nice to see the flowers, I wouldn’t go out of my way to go. It is smaller than I imagined that it would be, but an easy 10 minute stop if you’re nearby.
We wanted to enjoy a boat ride down the Chao Phraya river. There are longtail boats that you can hire as well as cruises down the river. Both of those options were inflated and catered to tourists. We wanted to go the local route and got the boat that the locals use.
Our intention was to catch an express boat but we ended up getting on a local boat which made all stops. It was a little annoying to have to keep starting and stopping, but it ended up being relaxing getting us off of our feet for a bit. The trip was a steal, getting us from our hotel all the way to the end of the line for 20 baht or 60 cents each. We were able to catch an express boat back which was the same price.
Since traffic can be so bad in Bangkok, these boats are a great option as they are not only faster but also cheaper than taking a taxi.
Things That We Didn’t Get to See
When you only have 2 days to see such a large city, there are going to be things that you won’t be able to see. As disappointed as I am that we didn’t get to see these things, it gives us something to look forward to seeing the next time that we’re in Bangkok.
Grand Palace was one of the places that we wanted to see when we were in Bangkok. We probably could have pushed ourselves and done it, but were so tired and decided to slow down and relax.
I’m still kicking myself for not getting us to one of the floating markets since they are such a cool and unique thing. Had I realized that we could have gotten to the floating markets by the same boats that we rode down the Chao Phraya river on, I would have taken the boat in the direction of the markets.
Red Light District
We were looking forward to going to the red light district and seeing all the ladyboys. Since we only had 1 night in Bangkok, we chose Khao San Road instead. It was a hard choice since we wanted to see both, ultimately we went with location since it would have been quite a journey to get downtown and back.
Getting a drink at Vertigo and Moon Bar
Andy really loves looking at views of cities from tall buildings. We had planned to grab a drink at Vertigo and Moon Bar located on top of the Banyan Tree Bangkok but decided to opt out when we realized that it was not only far from our hotel but also quite expensive and had a dress code.