Bangkok Itinerary: 4 Days & 3 Nights For First Timers

Day 1 in Bangkok: visit the most famous sites

Would you not check out the Eiffel Tower when in Paris or skip the Opera House in Sydney? Sure, they are crowded with tourists. But they’re iconic. So when you’re wondering what to do in Bangkok for four days, these monuments should come first on your list.

From Siam, catch the Skytrain (BTS) to Saphan Taksin (45 baht). It’s a two-minute walk to the Sathon Pier on the Chao Phraya River.

There, you may opt for the unlimited hop-on-hop-off tourist boat* which is slightly more comfortable, and bigger than usual boats used by locals. You’ll also be less rushed to exit and enter the boat, which can be a lot more comfortable for those not used to these kinds of transportation. Alternatively, you can catch the boat used by locals, the Express Boat (check the routes here) – which is the option I chose. It will take you to the same places for 20 baht each time you board.

It would be a shame to catch a taxi to visit these places. The river views are fantastic and part of the trip.

First stop: Grand Palace & Temple of the Emerald Buddha

I found this first visit overwhelming but a fantastic start to a Bangkok itinerary. With more than 100 buildings decorated with bright colors, gold, and diamonds, I felt like being thrown in at the deep end. But it’s sometimes the best way to learn!

The place attracts both international and domestic visitors, many of them. But if you manage to visit early in the morning (it opens at 8.30 am), you will at least avoid the crowd. Plus, starting your Bangkok itinerary with the Grand Palace will make you appreciate even more all the other spots that are less busy. 

Second stop: Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho is famous for its massive Reclining Buddha. And it’s indeed worth seeing. I didn’t expect it to be that bit: 46 meters long is huge! I like the sounds in the temples I visited during these four days in Bangkok. They often have left in a bell that tinkle with the wind, or bowls where people drop small coins that resonate.

Don’t stop your visit straight after seeing the Reclining Buddha. Wat Pho is one of the oldest and largest temples in Bangkok. It was a pleasure to wander around as there weren’t as many people as at the Grand Palace. At that time of the day, I appreciated the calm and the shade.

Third visit: Wat Arun

So once again expect a crowd when you visit. Its prang (the conical-shaped tower) is the highest one in Thailand, culminating at more than 80 meters high. It’s also one of the rare monuments that were built before the Thai capital.

With its prime location just in front of the river, the temple is very photogenic. And the billions of small pieces of colored glass and porcelain covering the spires are mesmerizing. The imposing Khmer architectural style of Wat Arun looks different from the other temples you will see during your four days in Bangkok.

Day 2 in Bangkok (weekend): Day trip to Samut Songkhram Province

First stop: Tha Ka Floating Market

Of course, it is less impressive than the big ones, like the famous Damnoe Saduak or even the nearby Amphawa Floating Market. But I appreciated the calm and authenticity at Tha Ka Floating Market.

Prices were incredibly low to buy fruits, veggies and food. They also serve a special kind of noodles in a pink sauce that was delicious. Unfortunately, there’s only a limited amount that can fit in my stomach, and I didn’t have a kitchen at the hotel to bring much back!

Second stop: Coconut palm sugar

I also chose Tha Ka Floating Market for the opportunity to visit a coconut palm sugar production. I’ve visited places full of coconuts in the South Pacific but no one ever mentioned making sugar out of it. So I was quite curious to find out more! From the market, we took a small boat on the canal to reach the remote coconut palm sugar production. I could see all the process and even taste the sugar at different stages.

Third stop: Wat Bang Kung, the Banyan Tree Temple

Amphawa is home to one of the most surprising temples ever.

It is covered by the roots of a gigantic tree that seems to hold the building together. I always find Banyan trees fascinating, and this one quickly earned a spot in the most incredible one I’ve seen during my travels.

Fourth stop: Maeklong Railway Market

The Maeklong Railway Market is the most unusual market I’ve ever seen.

Although it has become a major tourist attraction in the region, they kept things as authentic as possible. As you walk on the railway to check out the market stalls, you’ll smell dry fish, meat or fried frogs that no tourist would want to carry around. I don’t know if it’s always the case, but the number of flies around the food sitting next to the rails didn’t open my appetite. Most signs were only written in Thai. There were only a couple of stands targetting foreign visitors with jewelry or clothes.

We’d been walking in a line along the narrow railway for a while when people suddenly stopped and found a spot on the side. They are announcing the train is coming. It’s unbelievable, but the railway is still in use. I was expecting a bit of chaos when the train would arrive. But you can see they’re used to it. It was a funny scene to watch and surely a one-of-a-kind experience.

I decided to only walk around the market and watch the train pass. But if you want to spend more time at Maeklong Railway Market, you can also choose to ride the train through the market.

Day 3 in Bangkok: Day trip to Ayutthaya

Built in 1350, Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam (now called Thailand) for around four centuries. The massive archaeological ruins that remain give a good idea of how important the city was before the Burmese destroyed it in the 18th century. Those who’ve visited Angkor in Cambodia may not be as impressed as I was by Ayutthaya. But I found this UNESCO World Heritage Centre was a fascinating place to learn about Thai history.

There are many places to explore in Ayutthaya, and they aren’t close to each other. To visit Ayutthaya as a day trip from Bangkok, you can:

Catch a train from Bangkok Train Station (Hua Lamphong) to Ayutthaya and then hire a tuk-tuk for a few hours (my initial choice before I felt unwell)
Catch a train to Ayutthaya and hire a bike (I wasn’t at ease with the idea of cycling by myself considering the heat and the potentially hectic Thai traffic)
Join an organized or private tour* (choose carefully as they don’t all go to the same spots, guides aren’t all as good, lunch may be included or not, some include a river cruise, and some are conducted by bike)
Check tours with local experts* or request a personalized tour*

Day 4 in Bangkok: Less touristy sites in Bangkok

First stop: Boa Bae Market
This market is great for shopping only if you want to buy clothes in bulk. Prices are indicated for three items or more. If you buy less, you’ll pay the same than in most other markets. There’s a food market on the other side of the bridge if you want to grab some fruits for breakfast. But if you don’t need anything and you’ve already visited Thai markets, there’s no need to stop

Second stop: Loha Prasat
There are hundreds of temples in Bangkok. So after you’ve done the three most famous ones on your first day, it’s hard to make a choice.

I chose Loha Prasat for its unique architecture that caught my attention with all its spires (37, like the number of virtues toward enlightenment in Buddhism). It ended up being my favorite temple visit in Bangkok. It was quiet, educational and with fantastic views at the top.

Third stop: Wat Intharawihan
Wat Intharawihan is famous for its 32-meters high standing Buddha, one of the biggest Buddha in Thailand. It’s open later than other temples so you can go there at the end of the afternoon if you slept a bit late that morning (hence my photo by night…).

I enjoyed walking in the streets of Bangkok as it’s a great way to witness local life, but you may want to catch a taxi or a tuk-tuk to go up there. It’s not in the same area than the other things listed in the itinerary.

Fourth stop: Democracy Monument
In the middle of a traffic circle, the Democracy Monument with its four 24-meter high wings is hard to miss. It celebrates the 1932 Revolution that started Siam’s first constitution. I wouldn’t make a trip to this part of town just to see the monument, but it’s remarkable and worth a short detour when you’re nearby.

The Ratchadamnoen Avenue on each side was inspired by Paris’ Champs Elysees. I found it purified from what makes Bangkok a charming city. But the big photos of the royal family at the centre of the road gives a good idea of their importance in the Thai culture.

Night cruise on Chao Phraya River

I read many times that a night cruise on Chao Phraya River is a must-do in Bangkok. It may have risen my expectations a bit too high. Or maybe it’s because I opted for the cheapest way to see it. But except for the majestic Wat Arun, I wasn’t that impressed. Still, I believe it’s a nice way to spend an evening in Bangkok.

The cheapest Chao Phraya River night cruise I found was the one-way tourist boat ticket (60 baht). The cheaper Chao Phraya Express Boat (20 baht) finishes around sunset, so it can be tricky to catch the last one to see the sights by night.

The most common and probably the most delightful way to enjoy the Chao Phraya River by night is by joining a dinner cruise*.

If you want a good overview of Bangkok by night, as all monuments and temples aren’t near the river, you can also join a night tour* or go around by yourself with a tuk-tuk.

Credit : .myfavouriteescapes

Travel tips: 

Important things to pack for four days in Bangkok
Bangkok has more shopping malls than you need and more seven-eleven shops than you can imagine. If you forget something from your packing list, you will find it or at least a good alternative in Bangkok. But I thought these packing tips could help you for your four days in Bangkok.

Clothes to cover up and shoes easy to remove

To avoid travellers’ sickness

Anti-theft travel bag

Your unlocked phone

Sun protection

Refillable water bottle.

Reusable/collapsible bag

Important things to pack for four days in Bangkok

Clothes to cover up and shoes easy to remove

To avoid travelers’ sickness

Anti-theft travel bag

Your unlocked phone

Sun protection

Refillable water bottle

Reusable/collapsible bag