Bangkok, one of the most famous and visited cities in the world, is a great place for a short (a few days) getaway. The food there is cheap, the hospitality is great, and the entire cost of your travel is low. Hence, making Bangkok a favorite city for most.
This capital of Thailand has a lot to offer, from shopping to local street food to a great massage, you can find almost anything that suits you regardless of your preferences.
One thing you have to understand is that this is not the city where you will want to visit just for once. You will come back to Bangkok over and over again because it has too much to offer and a short weekend trip is just not enough.
So, if you are visiting Bangkok for a weekend trip, what can you do? What do you eat? And where do you go?
Here are a couple of my suggestions…
Shop until you drop
One of the best things to do in Bangkok is none other than shopping. It is a vibrant city with a dynamic culture. If you are a westerner, Bangkok is a must-visit destination in South East Asia.
So, if you ever visit Bangkok, make sure you plan for extra baggage. There are so many things to see and buy. From the local street markets to high-end shopping malls, this is a city where people come to shop.
Don’t be surprised when you find tourists from all over the world buying things in Bangkok, because it’s normal and this city is synonymous to a huge shopping paradise.
Where do you shop in Bangkok? Here are some ideas:
Chatuchak Weekend Market
The Chatuchak Weekend Market is huge. It covers about 35 acres of land with over 8,000 stalls. If you want to check out the street market in Thailand, you must visit Chatuchak weekend market.
There are plenty of things to see and buy, including antiques, ceramics, furniture, souvenirs, and of course, lots of local street food.
Looking to buy some clothes for your Bangkok trip? Then come to Pratunam market, where the main selling products are clothes.
There are over 4,000 stores here and you can find both casual and expensive dresses available.
Talad Rot Fai Srinakarin (Train Night Market)
There are 2 Talad Rot Fai, one is the Srinakarin, and the other is Ratchada. This is the street market where the youngster hangs out for the night.
Although Talad Rot Fai is known as a train night market, it has nothing to do with train. Most people come here to the food. You can find all kinds of foods here.
Maeklong Railway Market (Hoop Rom Market)
If you have seen YouTube videos where there’s a busy market located right on the railroad where the train comes and goes and the people have to stop for a moment for the train to pass, this is the market.
The Maeklong Railway Market has everything you need to know, from clothing, antiques, souvenirs to food. And of course, a lot of tourists come to this market for the amazing sight where the train passes by the busy market.
After going through the street market, now let’s go to the shopping malls. BMK Center has a huge selection of electrical stuff and accessories. You can find mobile phones with great prices here.
Besides that, MBK is also known for its fashion items such as clothing. You should visit the BMK Center if you are looking for Thai brands and designs.
Although Siam Center may have been around for over 40 years, it is still a great place for shopping. It was renovated and relaunched in 2013 to bring a different kind of shopping experience to the people in Bangkok.
Siam Center is famous for its high-end boutiques and many international brands can be found here. It is a convenient mall to visit because it is located just next to Siam BTS with a covered walkway. By the way, Paragon Mall is just nearby to it.
Centralworld Bangkok used to be the largest shopping center in Thailand and the third largest in Asia. With over 500 stores, 100 restaurants and cafes, this 7-floor shopping complex is a place you don’t want to miss out.
There are plenty of international brands here like Zara, Topshop, Adidas, and more from level 1 to level 3. On a higher level, you can find electronics, home furniture, and on the highest level, the restaurants are there.
Icon Siam is another famous shopping mall around the Chao Phraya River area. It is often known as the “mother of all malls” because it is huge and features cool and high-end brands.
There is also an indoor floating market to wow visitors, and art gallery, exhibition space, and a beautiful river-view of downtown Bangkok. You can take the BTS to Sapan Taksin Station and head to the pier to hop on the free river shuttle that drops you right in front of the mall.
Asiatique is a different style of shopping experience. It has combined the concept of a bazaar and a mall and brings you over 1,500 boutiques and 40 restaurants under a huge replica of the warehouse complex.
There are shows performed every night called the Calypso ladyboy cabaret and also a classic Thai puppets performance.
Siam Paragon, the largest mall in Bangkok and in all of Asia, covers over 50,000 square meters with over 250 retail shops comprise of another 40,000 square meters of retail space.
It is a high-end and luxury mall. You can find big brands like Chanel, Versace, Hermes, etc, in this mall. Besides that, there are also car showrooms within the mall like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, and more.
At the ground floor, you can find the food court with plenty of food selections from locals to the international. There is also an oceanarium called Sea Life located in the mall.
Relax and get a good massage
There is no way you can miss out on getting a good massage in Thailand. Bangkok is the capital city and is known for its massages.
Whether you are going in for a full-body massage or just the simple foot massage, it will make you feel relaxed and get rid of all your tiredness. If you have never tried out a massage in Thailand before, get one. If you had, then you might want to check out and learn more about it.
I suggest you take your massages after an entire day of walking and shopping. You want your body and muscle to relax. More importantly, the massage in Thailand isn’t expensive at all. Anyone can afford it.
Types of massages to try in Bangkok
In Bangkok, you can find many types of massages available. Here are some of the famous ones…
This is the traditional Thai massage from over 2,500 years of ancient practices ago. The traditional Thai massage focuses on stretching, pulling, and compressing you along the lines and joints of your body. Don’t worry, you will be fully clothed and usually, be given a loose pajama and trousers. No oils or lotions are used in traditional Thai massage.
The oil massage can be found in most spas and massage parlors throughout Bangkok. Like its name suggests, oil massage requires the use of essential oils that is very relaxing and calming. It is similar to Balinese massage and some of the most common oils used are such as the coconut oil, avocado oil, baby oil, sweet almond oil, etc.
Yes, this massage is only to your foot. This is a very popular kind of massage throughout the entire Thailand. Unlike reflexology, foot massage is relaxing to your body by compressing the pressure points on your legs. Please take note that oils will be used and foot massage usually starts from your toes to your shins and calves.
Where to get a good massage in Bangkok
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of massage centers in Bangkok, so which one should you go to? Here are a few suggestions:
- Baan Sabai Spa at Sukhumvit Soi 26
- Yunomori Onsen & Spa at A Square, Sukhumvit Soi 26
- Health Land at Sukhumvit Soi 21 and 63
- Sook Sabai Spa at YJA Building, Saladaeng Soi 1
- Zense Massage at Nanglinchee Road
- Infinity Spa at Silom Soi 21
- The Touch at Soi Ruamrudee
For more suggestions, you might want to check out this post from TripCanvas:
What you need to know about getting a massage
Most massage parlors don’t speak English, but they can understand the very basic words. If you feel hurt, just say “jep” which means hurt/pain in Thai.
For most massages, you will be given a shirt and pant. You can wear your own clothes, but it is better to wear clothes provided as they are loose-fitting and comfortable.
Most Thai massage includes pulling, stretching, and compressing, plus, they will use their body like elbows and knees to press on you.
It is better to visit the proper massage center. As you know, Bangkok is known for its red-light districts and you may not want to visit an improper massage center.
Should you tip for your massage?
It may not be compulsory to tip for a massage service, but it is advisable to tip. If you want to learn more about the tipping etiquette in Thailand, read this article.
Depending on how much your massage is going to be, typically, a 10% tip will be sufficient.
For instance, if your massage is 350 baht, you can tip 50 baht. Of course, if the service is really good and you like it, you can tip more like 100 baht.
Enjoy the delicious Thai cuisine
What else should you do visiting Bangkok over the weekend? Try out their delicious food. There are tons and tons of local and international food you can taste in Bangkok. Depending on your preference, you can check out the street food in the market or dine in a high-end bar and restaurant.
What to try
There are way too many nice and delicious foods to try out when you get to Bangkok. Here is a list of some of the most famous food you must check out…
- Boat noodles (Kway Tiao Rua)
- Grilled pork (Moo Ping)
- Sticky rice mango (Khao Neow Mamuang)
- Fried banana pancake (Prata – Roti Gluay)
- Crispy pancake (Kanom Bueang)
- Spicy Thai seafood soup (Tom Yum Goong)
- Coconut ice cream
- Sweet Potato Balls (Kanom Kai Nok Krata)
- Thai Fried Noodles (Pad Thai)
- Crepes (Kanom Bueang)
- Duck Rice
Where to eat
Now you know what food to eat, but where should you go check them out?
For most of the local street foods, you can find in most night markets. Of course, some may taste better and some may not. You will have to try it yourself to know.
Here are a few suggestions of where to hunt for delicious food for your weekend Bangkok trip…
Som Tum Nua
Location: Siam Square Soi 5 or Siam Centre Level 3
What to eat: Som Tum (papaya salad) and chicken wings
Location: 49-51 Soi Phading Dao, Yaowarat Road
What to eat: Seafood, from grilling shrimp and fish to the sizzling oyster omelet
Location: Soi Chula 8, Surawong, Ratchada, UdomSuk, and Sam Yan
What to eat: Famous for its fried curry crab
Famous coconut ice cream
Location: Chatuchak Weekend Market, Section 2 entrance, near Kamphaeng Phet MRT station
Thip Samai Pad Thai
Location: 313 Mahachai Road, Old City
What to eat: Pad Thai shrimp and orange juice
Wattana Panich Restaurant
Location: 336 Ekkamai Soi 18, Sukhumvit Road
What to eat: Beef noodles
Lek Seafood Silom
Location: Underneath Chong Nonsi BTS Skytrain Station
What to eat: Steamed catfish in chili and lime, and spicy cockle salad
Get on the Chao Phraya River dinner cruise
There are many choices and cruises for you to hop on. Check out this list here.
Krua Apsorn (Michelin Guide restaurant)
Location: They have 2 branches, one at 169 Dinso Road and the other at 503 Samsen Road
What to eat: Crab omelet (Kai Foo Boo) and green curry
Raan Jay Fai (Michelin Star Street Food)
Location: 327 Mahachai Road
What to eat: crab omelets, crab curries, and dry congee
Here are 2 blogs to fulfill your Bangkok gastronomy:
Explore the local temples and pray for inner peace
There are hundreds of temples or wats around Bangkok. And being in a country that is famous for its peaceful religion and beautiful temples, how can you skip visiting one or two of the wats?
There is no way you can possibly visit all of the temples over the weekend, so I have chosen some of the most worthy-to-visit temples for your suggestion…
Wat Arun is famous among tourists. It is an iconic temple located next to the bank of Chao Phraya River and opposite to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. It is called the Temple of the Dawn because its view on sunset is truly amazing.
Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
Famous with its Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is one of the largest and oldest Buddhist temples in Bangkok. Inside, you will find a big reclining Buddha statue with 15 meters high, 43 meters long, and covered with gold lead.
Wat Saket is often known as the Golden Mountain because it was built on top of a high hill in the old city of Bangkok. And because it is located on top of a hill, be prepared for a short hike. The view on top is beautiful especially when the weather is nice.
If you love to visit other temples in Bangkok, read this article from Bangkok.com.
Visit the amazing Grand Palace
If you have never been to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, you must visit it. Regardless of whether you’re in for a short or long trip, it is a must-visit and I highly recommend it.
The Grand Palace is spectacular and the most famous landmark of the city. It was built in 1782 and was the home of the Thai King for over 150 years. You will find plenty of amazing sights and interesting architecture in the palace. It is huge and may take up to a few hours to visit.
The Grand Palace opens daily from 8:30 to 15:30 and you will need to buy the entrance ticket at 500 baht each. It may seem expensive, but the visit will be worth it.
Check out the official website of the Grand Palace here.
Have fun with Bangkok nightlife
Finally, Bangkok is also famous for its nightlife. Some people visit Bangkok just to have parties and drinks. It is a city full of night activities from shows to parties.
The nightlife in Bangkok is lively and has evolved throughout the years. From nightclubs to rooftop bars to the red-light district, Bangkok is a city that has plenty to offer after the sunset. Here are some great places to enjoy the nightlife in Bangkok.
Tawandang German Brewhouse
Like a traditional German beerhouse, Tawandang provides long tables running the entire room, from the sparkling stage at the front to the brewing tanks at the rear. This place is always full every day of the week.
Khao San Road
Khao San Road is famous for its nightlife for backpackers. There are bars and nightclubs with live music and performances, stalls selling clothing, massage centers and plenty of street food stalls too. Street performers are also a common sight at Khao San Road.
Soi Cowboy is a red-light district in Bangkok. It is famous for its adult entertainment, but there are also quieter bars and places to chill while watching the others enjoy their nightlife there. Soi Cowboy may not be for everyone, but if you want to check out pole dancing and how Bangkok nightlife red-light district really looks like, you should check it out.
Visit the rooftop bars
If you want to get a drink and enjoy the night city view of Bangkok, you should check out rooftop bars across Bangkok. There are many you can visit. And of course, rooftop bars are higher-end places to get dinners and drinks. But if you are willing to spend, some can be a good experience.
Vertigo and Moon Bar – Banyan Tree Bangkok
Banyan Tree Hotel is famous for the 2 bars located on top of its roof, Vertigo and Moon Bar. Both bars are on the 61st floor and are associated with luxury. The bars and restaurants offer exotic drinks and amazing view.
Sky Bar – Lebua State Tower
Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower is the world’s highest open rooftop bar at 820 feet above ground. The movie, Hangover 2’s opening scene was featured here. With fully transparent walls for panoramic views and a huge dome, you can truly admire the night view of the city.
Three Sixty – Millennium Hilton Bangkok
360 Bar at Millennium Hilton may not be the highest rooftop bars, but it has a lot to offer. The bar itself is made up of two distinct areas, where one looks like a flying saucer that provides fantastic city view.
If you are keen to visit rooftop bars in Bangkok, you may want to check out this article from Timeout.com.