Bangkok’s bustling metropolis has much to offer, from sparkling skyscrapers to ancient temples, but it is often the older districts of Thailand’s capital that beguile visitors the most. If you have just one day to see old Bangkok and want to take in the most important historical sites, this guide will show you the way.
Chao Phraya River
Bangkok’s mighty waterway isn’t just an attraction itself, it’s probably the best way to get to the city’s must-see ancient sites. Whether you choose a private shuttle or the cheap but efficient public boats, travelling on the Chao Praya is an excellent way to get around.
Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
A glittering complex of buildings just steps from the east bank of the Chao Phraya, the Grand Palace is one of Bangkok’s most-visited tourist attractions. The official residence of the Kings of Thailand since 1782, the palace is home to Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and other must-see attractions.
Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
A short walk south of the Grand Palace is Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Recognized as one of the most important temple complexes in Thailand, it dates back to King Rama 1 who helped establish the complex on an older temple site.
Wat Arun (Temple of The Dawn)
A short boat trip across the river brings you to Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, whose iconic spires remain one of Bangkok and Thailand’s best-known landmarks. While the temple dates back to at least the 17th century, the famous spires, also known as ‘prang’, were built in the early 19th century.
A short boat ride south will bring you to Chinatown, a bustling neighborhood of stalls, markets, gold shops and all kinds of unusual delicacies. Wander the alleys, stop into a local eatery for a snack and a cooling drink, and witness daily life in one of Bangkok’s most vibrant destricts.
Khao San Road
After a busy day of sightseeing, why not check out a completely different side of Bangkok’s old quarter. Khao San Road has been Bangkok’s backpacker haven for decades, a vibrant strip of restaurants, bars, stalls and street life that says open long into the night.