One of the most common layovers in the world is in the bright, bustling city of Bangkok. I never planned to have a layover when returning to the UK from Australia, however it saved me hundreds of £££’s to spend 2 nights staying in Thailand (even after the accommodation and spending money). We left Australia in a hurry, and did not have the time to research where to say, what to do, or even if we needed visas- but everything fell perfectly into place.
Firstly – stay in a hostel that is by the Chao Phraya river – we stayed in New Road Guest House which I would completely recommend – cheap private rooms, incredibly friendly staff, clean, and best of all – cheap but out of this world Massaman Curry in the cafe! For more reviews, here is the hostel on Tripadvisor.
Getting Around Bangkok
So, you have one day to see the best of the best in Bangkok. Luckily, the best attractions are on the banks of the river, and very close to each other. We found that the most convenient way to get from place to place was to use river boats on the Chao Phraya.
If you’re staying in the New Road Guest House, the closest Pier stop is Number 3, which is right out of the hostel, then a short walk down the street until it is a right again, then straight down to the river. You’ll come across a rickety old pier, and wait until either an orange or blue flag transport boat comes.
Jump onto the boat (literally, good luck as both pier and boat constantly move), and wait for someone to come around and collect 50 baht in exchange for a ticket.
Not only is travelling along the river quick and cheap, it is also a great way to see more of Bangkok.
Wat Pho – ‘Temple of Reclining Buddha’
Once you’ve had a good breakfast, head to Wat Pho for the temple opening. Wat Pho is the most visited tourist attraction in Bangkok, although when we went for it opening there was no one there! For the best part of an hour we were able to walk around this huge complex in silence, and it was great to see the monks at their early morning chant.
The Buddha here is huge and awe-worthy, and the level of detail on the pearl inlaid feet are incredible.
This large complex needs a good 2 hours of your time to appreciate the architecture. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, think again!
Honestly I have over 100 photos of statue after statue.
The true beauty in coming to Wat Pho early is getting to see people at prayer.
Once the crowds start to pick up and the heat becomes even more unbearable, its time to move on!
At this point you have two options.
Either: Go to The Grand Palace, which is a 5 minute walk from Wat Pho, or go back to the river and take a boat back one stop, across to the other side of the river, to visit Wat Arun.
We actually attempted to do both, getting into the grounds of The Grand Palace, as seen in my photo above, however there was a memorial on for the late King and the crowds of mourners was understandably huge. Therefore we left, and crossed the river to Wat Arun.
Coming in behind Wat Pho as the second most recommended place to visit in Bangkok (according to Tripadvisor), Wat Arun, or Temple of Dawn, is a Buddhist temple complex with a soaring spire of white and coloured glass as its centre point.
The temple offers great views over the banks of the Chao Phraya River, with lots of tourist friendly shops and cafes nearby.
As you can see on the photos, the main spire was having restoration work done to it, which was no biggie, it was still worth visiting, and I would return when its finished. Wat Arun is also worth seeking out in the dark, as it is beautifully lit up.
Lastly, there is also one thing left to do to have the full Bangkok experience. Get in a tuk tuk and go and find yourself a massaman curry! You’ll never have another one outside of Thailand!