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Bangkok has become one of Southeast Asia’s most mysterious and most talked about cities. The hustle and bustle, its many famous temples, golf courses, parks, restaurants, shopping malls, tuk-tuks, rivers, and theme parks lure in millions of tourists every year.
If you happen to be passing through Bangkok and do not want to miss out on the opportunity to soak up some of Thailand’s capital city’s atmosphere, then you are spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do.
This guide is specifically for those that have a layover or stopover in Bangkok before traveling on to another destination. Here, we have suggested things to do in Bangkok for layovers as short as 10 hours, and stopovers of up to 3 days in an easy-to-follow guide.
If you plan to leave the airport and explore Bangkok, then you have two options: option 1 is free while option 2 means you will need to pay a fee for a visa at a local Thai consulate.
Option 1: This depends on which country you come from. Passport holders from 57 countries, including the citizens of most European countries, Australia, and the U.S., can enter Thailand for up to 30 days without acquiring a visa beforehand. You generally do not need a visa for a layover in Bangkok. You can arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport or Don Mueang International Airport and head to immigration for a 30-day visa exemption stamp.
Please note: This is more than enough for a 72-hour stopover and the exemption stamp is free. Just make sure you have 10,000 baht if you are traveling on your own or 20,000 baht if you are traveling with your family as you may be asked to prove you have adequate funds.
Option 2: If you would prefer to prepare a visa before you arrive, then a Transit Visa (category ‘TS’) will suffice. You can apply for a Transit Visa at any Thai consulate in your country. The visa actually lasts for 90 days and so, once again, gives you ample time to stay in the country.
Important note: Upon applying for your visa, you will need to show 10,000 baht for yourself or 20,000 baht if you are traveling and applying for visas for your entire family. The cost of a visa varies from country to country but, generally, you should not expect to spend more than $30 for this type of visa.
If you want to go into the city, then you will need to have a minimum of a 10-hour layover. This gives you an hour to an hour and a half to get through immigration. You will also need to be back at the airport 3 hours prior to departure if you have an international flight, or at least 1½ hours for domestic flights, cutting down the amount of time you have available to visit the city.
If you have less than 10 hours, it is best to stay at the airport and avoid going through immigration. Both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports have plenty of coffee shops, such as Starbucks and Coffee World, which offer free Wi-Fi.
The usual fast-food chains, such as McDonald's, The Pizza Company, and Burger King, can be found plus there are plenty of Japanese, Chinese, and Thai restaurants. You can also visit any one of the numerous electronic, confectionary, and King Power duty-free shops to pass the time.
This time frame is still cutting things fine because Bangkok is notorious for traffic jams. You still have a few options available to you though, thanks to the Airport Rail Link service found in the basement and the taxi rank on the ground floor of Suvarnabhumi Airport. It is a little more difficult to get to places from Don Mueang International Airport because it is so far north of the city.
Please note: We have given you a few ideas for a 10 to 15-hour layover here — you will probably only have time to do one of these during a short 10 to 15-hour layover.
You could take your family to SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World in Paragon and/or Madame Tussauds, which is in Siam Discovery.
Just a short journey of 20 to 25 minutes away from the airport, there is a huge shopping complex called Mega Bangna, which is about 400,000 square meters in size. It offers you plenty of ways to relax. You can arrive and leave as you see fit. Here are some of the options available:
Another popular tourist attraction that does not take long to get to from the airport is Erawan Museum in Samut Prakan Province. The museum is famous because of its well looked after gardens surrounding the main feature, which is a three-headed elephant sculpture. This elephant is 29 meters high and 39 meters long. It is derived from Hindu mythology's Airavata, which is known as Erawan in Bangkok.
Inside the museum, you will learn all about the ancient Hindu culture as you wander through three floors. You will need 2 to 5 hours to take in the entire history of Erawan. Allow at least 1 hour to get there and 1 hour to get back.
If you have a full day to visit Bangkok, then you should plan to visit some of the more famous attractions that Bangkok is known for. You can take a taxi to visit the Grand Palace, get a river taxi to Wat Arun, and dine at the Sky Bar. All of these places are on the famous Chao Phraya River.
The Sky Bar was made famous by the movie 《The Hangover Part II》 as it has exquisite panoramic views of the entire city.
If you have a little more time on your hands, then you can also visit ASIATIQUE The Riverfront, which is not far from the Sky Bar. You could even give the Sky Bar a miss and head straight to ASIATIQUE The Riverfront where there are a host of Thai, Chinese, Indian, Italian, European, Korean, and Japanese restaurants.
There is also a Ferris wheel there as well as go-karts. If you would also like to stop there for some alcoholic beverages or for a little souvenir shopping, then ASIATIQUE The Riverfront has it all.
If you happen to have a little more time than 24 hours and you would like to go shopping in Bangkok’s well-known shopping area of Siam, then a 36-hour stopover could be perfect for this.
We could also arrange to chaperone you. We can book your overnight accommodation in Siam and take you around the Siam shopping district. You will be able to see more with an expert guide, such as the famous MBK Center, where you will be able to visit Bangkok’s Hard Rock Cafe, Siam Discovery, and Siam Paragon. Your guide will also be able to take you to some of the local markets in the streets that are in and around the shopping centers. Allow 4–5 hours for this.
In the space of less than an hour, you can catch the Airport Rail Link line to Makkasan Station where you will be able to change to the MRT (subway) system. The MRT station is called Phetchaburi. From there, you can catch the MRT to Silom MRT Station, and then change to Asoke BTS Station (the Skytrain) to reach Siam BTS Station.
You could also fit in Central World – Southeast Asia’s largest shopping complex – which is just a short tuk-tuk or taxi ride from Siam. Alternatively, you could walk there using the Siam to Central World skywalk.
Depending on which day you arrive in Bangkok, a 48-hour stopover gives you time to fit in the above-mentioned trips, plus you will be able to see the floating market in Bang Krachao or visit the infamous Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok where you can buy just about anything as long as it fits into your hand luggage! Allow 5–10 hours for this.
An alternative option is Bang Krachao: If your stopover is not on a weekend, then you can fit in a visit to Bang Krachao. Bang Krachao, Bangkok's green lung, is one of Bangkok’s secrets, hidden away in the center of the city. When you are there, you would never know that you are in one of Southeast Asia’s busiest cities. This is a national park with restaurants, parks, coffee shops, restaurants, and numerous Hindu, Chinese, and Thai temples.
You can hire a bike there for yourself or several bikes for the entire family. All hire shops have bikes with baby seats and kids’ bikes are available to hire all day for as little as 50 baht per bike.
We recommend planning to do all of these activities throughout the day:
We can help make your journey hassle-free by arranging your travel to any of these places as well as organizing an itinerary. This will allow you to cram in as much or as little as you want to without losing time spent planning or trying to find some of the best sights to see.
Visit one of Bangkok’s many golf courses for the day or take your family to one of the water parks or amusement parks, zoos, snake shows, or crocodile farms.
If you are traveling on your own and you like golf, then Bangkok is arguably one of the best places in Asia to find a decent golf course.
Siam Park City is by far the most popular amusement park for theme park rides but there are also plenty of water parks you can visit too. Some of these tourist attractions will take up your entire day while, with others, you will have time to visit one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Please feel free to contact us for us to arrange your stopover trip for you. We will plan your entire day, so you don’t have to worry about any delays to your journey.
You will sometimes be pressed for time during your stopover. Therefore, we would like to offer some tips to make sure your journey goes smoothly.
1. Luggage transfer:Make sure you have your luggage checked on to the next flight if you have a short 10 to 15-hour layover. Make sure you have double-checked with the airline if your luggage is being checked through to the next flight.
2. Luggage check-in:For longer stopovers, plan to leave your hotel 4 to 5 hours prior to departure so you can check-in your luggage 3 hours before your airplane leaves. Bangkok is a busy city and traffic can often slow down your journey to either of the airports, especially Don Mueang International Airport.
3. Use luggage lockers:If you have a short period of time in Bangkok, then you can use the airport luggage locker services. Make sure you check their opening times!
4. Plan your transportation: Make sure you have planned your transport for all of your trips in advance. Getting lost or confused as to where you are in Bangkok can take up valuable time.
5. Arrange a private tour: To make the best of your time during your stopover in Bangkok, we suggest booking a private tour with us. Your luggage, accommodation, and transportation will all be arranged for you, so you can relax and enjoy the ride.
Bangkok is one of Southeast Asia’s most visited cities by both tourists and business travelers alike. There is so much to do in the city that even a 72-hour stopover can seem like a 2-week holiday. We know the city well and can help you customize your stopover so you can fit in as much as you can within a short space of time and have an unforgettable time in another city (besides Los Angeles) that’s known as the ‘City of Angels’.
Your tours will begin from the moment you arrive at the airport and are tailor-made to suit the duration of your stopover. Check out the links below and start learning about our tours now: