I will propose you some posts about what to do in Bangkok in a limited amount of time. Let’s begin with 1 day as I know a lot of people come to Thailand and directly fly to Phuket or Samui.
Why so quick ?
One day is clearly not enough to make the most out of Bangkok as it’s quite a large city (over 8 millions people live in the center) and plenty to do. So yes, if you have the opportunity, stay a big longer.
But ok, you’re here for 1 day, you booked your tickets, maybe stayed 1 night in Manila before, no problem. Let’s make the most out of it !
Early wake up : Monks receiving alms
Between 5 and 7am, you can spot monks walk around in the streets and markets to receive alms. Everyday, they can spotted as they receive rice or other gifts. As it’s very pictural and so exotic for a western, I’d recommand to experience this and to take the appropriate etiquette and avoid disturbing the monks.
There are many places where you can spot them so it’s difficult to propose a specific place. I’d suggest to ask your hotel for the local information (in thai, you can ask for “Tak Bat”.
Chao Phraya : down the river
A good way to feel the vibe of Bangkok is to take a boat and cruise the Chao Phraya. There are many ports you can hop on a boat get down a few stations later. The price is extremely low and the ride is really enjoyable. Personnaly, I like to take the boat at Tiwet pier and get down in Banglamphu.
Beware : some piers propose some “touristic” river cruise which are much more expensive. It’s fine if you want to take more time and really want to enjoy your cruise, but if that’s not what you’re looking for, just hop on the boat and pay inside, not outside (should be less than 20thb).
Temple and massage : Wat Pho
Since you won’t have time to visit the major temples of Bangkok, I would suggest to visit Wat Pho as it is my personal favorite. It is less crowded than the nearby Royal Palace, more quiet and serene. The reclining Buddha is absolutely stunning and it makes a fantastic visit. You can also join the visit with a massage as Wat Pho is the home of probably the most famous Thai massage school.
Have a pad thai or a phad kha pao in a stall. You can’t come to Bangkok and not experience the thai food. There are streetfood stalls almost anywhere, even if the situation changed a bit recently. But even now, you can still find lots of places to eat. If you’re not sure, just ask the locals, they’ll help for sure.
Experience Khao San
Even if it’s not the part of Bangkok that i like the most, I’d recommend to spend the evening in Khao San Road and Rambuttri. You’re not forced to drink in every bar or to dress like an australian backpacker, just wander around as it’s overall a lot of fun. Note that the taxis there are extremely reluctant to use the metter and they will ask for an overpriced fee (Tuk Tuks are probably even worse). If you want to avoid this either call a Uber / Grab, or walk 500m outside of the zone, it will be much easier.