A Bangkok Itinerary for Budget Minded Travelers by JetSettingFools.com

Bangkok Itinerary: The Best 4 Days in Bangkok, Thailand

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For anyone planning a trip to Thailand, passing through Bangkok is inevitable. On our first visit to Thailand, we only skipped through the airport while traveling from Siem Reap to Chiang Mai. We had heard Bangkok was a love-it-or-hate-it city and we weren’t looking for a challenge. However, we felt like we missed out and on a return trip to Southeast Asia, Bangkok easily made its way onto our Thailand itinerary. Planning our Bangkok itinerary, however, proved to be a bit more difficult.

Although it doesn’t boast a particularly long list of sights, Bangkok is a sprawling metropolis filled with numerous distinct districts. Each neighborhood has its own character – and there is a long list of unique things to do in Bangkok. We wanted to explore Bangkok – and not just the typical tourist spots. There was no way we could enjoy all that we wanted to see with just one day in Bangkok. Instead, we spent 7 days in Bangkok, slowly discovering (and eating our way through) the ‘City of Angels’.


Bangkok Itinerary 4 Days

However, spending 4 days in Bangkok is plenty of time to see the highlights and get a good feel for the city. We created a Bangkok 4-day itinerary to help travelers easily navigate around – and we’ve included tips at the end of the article for people who are looking for a longer (or shorter) Bangkok itinerary.

Note: Our Bangkok trip itinerary is ideal for travelers who want to experience Bangkok on a budget. The city is well-known as a budget destination, but costs can add up quickly. We’ll share more on our Bangkok trip expenses later in the post.


4-Day Bangkok Itinerary

Storms at sunset from Brewski rooftop bar in Bangkok, Thailand

Our tips of what to do in Bangkok for 4 days includes the top highlights, neighborhoods and local cuisine. Additionally, we have included links to more information and a helpful Bangkok map for travelers.

It’s important to note that not all Bangkok attractions are open every day of the week – which makes planning a 4-Day Bangkok Itinerary a little challenging. We designed our 4-Day BKK itinerary with specific days of the week in mind – Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Key sights that are day-specific are the Chatuchak Weekend Market (Saturday and Sunday only), the Night Train Market (Thursday through Sunday), Free Muay Thai Fight (Sunday) and Chinatown Food Vendors (many close Monday). Keep days of week – and opening hours – in mind when planning your Bangkok 4-day trip. This 4-Day Bangkok City Tour includes everything you need to know to plan your trip!

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Day 1: Essential Bangkok

Central Prang (tower) decorated in ceramic tiles at Wat Arun in Bangkok, Thailand

On Day 1 of our itinerary for Bangkok, you will visit some of Bangkok’s most iconic places – from the Chao Phraya River to the best temples to a classic meal of Pad Thai – then end the night on the famous Bangkok party street, Khao San Road.


Ferry Ride on the Bangkok River

Boats on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand

Kick off your 4-Day Bangkok trip with a ferry ride on the Chao Phraya River. The river has long played an important role in Bangkok, with the first settlements along the riverbank dating to the 15th century. The river was – and still is – a major transportation route.

Cheap commuter ferries take passengers up and down the river for as little as 15 baht (40 cents USD) per ride. A ticket on the Bangkok Tourist Boat costs more than 10 times as much – 150 baht ($4.50 USD), but the ticket is good for unlimited rides throughout the day…and is still fairly inexpensive in terms of transportation costs.

Top Tip: Ride the inexpensive Chao Phrya Express Ferry to Tha Chang Pier and begin your Bangkok Temple Tour. 


Temple Tour Bangkok

View of Wat Arun from Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand

There are hundreds of temples in Bangkok…and thousands throughout Thailand. Four of the top temples in Bangkok are Wat Phra Kaew (within the Grand Palace), Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Golden Mount. Most temples charge a small fee to enter and appropriate attire is always required.  

Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew

The Grand Palace was built in 1782 when King Rama I designated Bangkok as the new capital city of Siam. It served as the royal residence until 1925 and is still used for royal functions. The complex is made up of several buildings, including Wat Phra Kaew – The Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The Grand Palace Bangkok entry fee for foreigners is 500 baht ($16.50 USD) and appropriate, respectful dress is absolutely required. Plan to spend at least a couple of hours at the palace and Emerald Buddha Temple. 

Top Tip: The Bangkok Grand Palace hours are 8:30am to 3:30pm. The palace can be closed for ceremonies, however, ignore the tour operators outside (who are trying to get you to take a tour with them) who say the palace in closed; instead, inquire with the ticket office. Check the official Wat Phra Kaew website and read other traveler reviews of Grand Palace Bangkok on Trip Advisor

Wat Pho

Wat Pho is Bangkok’s oldest and largest temple – and home to the famous 151-foot-long reclining Buddha. The expansive grounds include a multitude of chedis, statues and the School of Thai Medicine (where you can stop and get a massage). Entrance into the complex costs 100 baht ($3 USD), which includes a bottle of water and information pamphlet. Official website and traveler reviews of Wat Pho on Trip Advisor.

Wat Arun 

Hop across the river to Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn), which is easily accessible via a cheap Chao Phraya ferry crossing. The most striking feature is the central prang (tower) that is decorated in colorful ceramic tiles. Read traveler reviews of Wat Arun on Trip Advisor

More Sights on the West Bank of the River

Wat Prayurawongsawat Worawihan or Wat Prayoon in Bangkok, Thailand

Want to get off the beaten path and escape the tourist crowds? If it is still early enough in the day (and the heat hasn’t gotten to you yet), consider staying on the west bank of the river and taking a stroll south to a few lesser-visited sights.

Wat Kalayanamitr – The colorful temple dates to 1825 and features a large sitting Buddha.

Kuan an Keng Shrine – Dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy, this Chinese temple has been standing for more than 200 years. 

Santa Cruz Catholic Church – The church was first built in the 1770s after the arrival of Portuguese friars.

Wat Prayoon (Also called Wat Prayurawongsawat Worawihan) – The prominent feature at Wat Prayoon is Turtle Mountain, which has small spirit houses and is surrounded by a lake full of turtles. 

Check here for a map of Bangkok sights on the west bank. Although the map routes the walk through the streets, there is a shoreline walkway that you can also take. At the end of your West Bank walk, cross Memorial Bridge and continue to the next temple (either on foot or by tuk tuk).  

Wat Saket: Temple of the Golden Mountain

Sitting atop a man-made hill is a Bangkok landmark: Temple of the Golden Mount. The gleaming structure is encircled by 300-plus steps, which visitors can climb to the top. The path is lined with bells and at the top, guests are treated to incredible 360-degree city views. Get info and read reviews on TripAdvisor.


Thip Samai for Dinner

Plates of egg-wrapped pad Thai at Thip Samai in Bangkok, Thailand

Thip Samai has a reputation of churning out the best Pad Thai in all of Bangkok. A line will surely wind down the sidewalk, past the busy cooks at the outdoor kitchen. Don’t worry: it’s worth the wait! The signature dish is Pad Thai wrapped in egg and a fresh orange juice. It may sound like an odd combination, but it is amazing! Read reviews on TripAdvisor.


Khao San Road

Khao San Road at night in Bangkok, Thailand

End your ‘one night in Bangkok’ with a few drinks on the famous Khao San Road. Known as a backpacker haven, Khao San Rd is chock-a-block with cheap accommodations, rowdy bars and trinket shops. At night, the music is turned up, the neon lights are turned on and the street vendors peddle an incredible array of goods.

Top Tip: For a less full-on version of Khao San Road, head to nearby Rambutri Road.


Day 2: Bangkok Culture

Long tail taxi boat on canal in Bangkok, Thailand

On Day 2 of our Bangkok trip planner, you will immerse yourself in Thai culture – including a visit to the city’s largest market, a ride on a canal, a peek at life inside Bangkok’s malls and a Muay Thai fight. Note: Day 2 is best completed on a Sunday, when all of the mentioned attractions are open. 


Chatuchak Weekend Market

Vendor sells fresh fruit at Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, Thailand

Touted as the largest weekend market in the world, the Chatuchak Market has more than 15,000 booths covering 27 acres just north of the center of Bangkok. The market is divided into 27 sections where shoppers can find everything from clothing and kitchenware to artwork and statues.

The market has an entire section of live animals – puppies, fish and squirrels being among the most popular. And, of course, delicious prepared food is offered throughout the Chatuchak Market. (We recommend grazing as you shop) While we navigated the market, we stumbled onto a stall that was turned into a bar with live music and cold drinks!

Top Tip: The Chatuchak Market is only open on weekends; if your trip doesn’t coincide with a Saturday or Sunday, consider a market experience at Pratunam Market instead. 


Muay Thai Fight at Channel 7

Fighters in the ring at a Muay Thai Fight at Channel 7 in Bangkok, Thailand

Thai Boxing – or Muay Thai – is the national sport of Thailand. The fierce competition takes place in a ring and the opponents use fists, feet, shins and elbows to fight their way to victory. The rowdy crowds surrounding the ring cheer with each strike and frantically place bets with their bookies standing nearby. The Free Muay Thai Fights at Channel 7 only happen on Sundays after 2pm.

Top Tip: If your trip to Bangkok doesn’t include a Sunday – and a Muay Thai Fight is high on your list of things to see in Bangkok – you can always purchase tickets to a Muay Thai Fight.


Ride a Longtail Ferry Boat along a Khlong

Passenger boat sails under low bridge on Saen Saep Canal (Khlong) in Bangkok, Thailand

Long before Bangkok was a city of scooters, tuk tuks and cars, it was navigated by boat in the many narrow channels that served as streets. The canals (khlongs) earned Bangkok the nickname of The Venice of the East. However, most have been filled in for vehicular traffic and only a few remain. A popular Khlong in the Bangkok city center, Saen Saep Canal, runs east-west and offers both commuter ferries (costing between 10 to 20 baht, depending on distance traveled) and a tourist boat (200 baht – $6 USD – for an all-day ticket). Unlike the ride on the river, the canal boat ride offers a glimpse into local life of those who live on the Bangkok canals.

Top Tip: From the Chatuchak Market or Muay Thai Fight, ride the MRT Line to Phetchaburi. From the station, walk to the canal pier, Asok. Ride the ferry west to the Ban Krua Nua pier (via an interchange at Pratunam) to the next stop on our itinerary, the Jim Thompson House.


Jim Thompson House

The Jim Thompson House is an art museum located in central Bangkok. The structure was built in 1959 in the traditional Thai style by Jim Thompson – an American who owned a well-to-do Thai silk company, but mysteriously disappeared in Malaysia in 1967. The featured art at the museum is part of his personal collection of paintings and statues. Tickets cost 200 baht ($6.50 USD); the museum can only be visited on a tour and the last tour is at 5:00pm. Official website


Bangkok Malls

We are rarely proponents of spending time in malls while traveling, with the exception of Bangkok…and it’s not for the shopping! A trip to the mall in Bangkok comes down to one incredible thing: air conditioning! Okay, two things; many malls also have stellar food courts that dish up cheap, local eats. We often found ourselves lingering over meals while cooling down and being easily entertained by the busy Bangkok mall atmosphere.

However, serious shoppers will delight in the choice of goods. Each mall is dedicated to a certain type of product – whether it be cheap clothes (MBK), upscale designers (Paragon) or electronics (Pantip Plaza). Some malls are designed with a theme in mind like Terminal 21. The airport-themed mall is complete with a ‘pilot’ that salutes you on your way in! More information on Bangkok Malls here

Top Tip: To get between several different malls, visitors can use the Skywalk – a raised walkway the runs below the BTS Skytrain in Bangkok’s central shopping district. The Bangkok Skywalk keeps walkers off the street and offers an elevated viewpoint of the city. Toward the eastern end of the Skywalk is the Erawan Shrine, which was built in 1956 to honor the Hindu god, Lord Brahma. Note: The elevated and free Skywalk is not to be confused with the King Power Mahanakhon Glass Observation Deck, which is also called Skywalk and requires a ticket. 


Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 

Cowboy Soi in Bangkok, Thailand

Sukhumvit Road is one of the longest boulevards in the world, running from Siam Square in the west almost to the border with Cambodia in the east. In central Bangkok, the road is home to luxury high-rises, malls, eateries, bars and some of Bangkok’s most (in)famous nightlife: sex clubs. The two best known red light districts on Bangkok Sukhumvit are Nana Plaza (located on Sukhumvit Soi 4) and Soi Cowboy (located at Soi 21). Both of these notorious Bangkok streets are filled with go-go bars, prostitutes and ladyboys all working under the glow of neon lights. 

Top Tip: Want more details on Bangkok’s sex industry? Sorry, no first-hand experience here, but if you’re curious, you can find a complete (and I mean complete) guide to Bangkok’s go-go bars online at Bangkok Redeye. 


Bangkok Craft Beer

Glass of craft beer at Dog Step in Beacon Place in On Nut Bangkok, Thailand

For those not interested in Bangkok’s sex-trade streets, but looking for some fun places to drink good beer, there is plenty of that on Sukhumvit, too! Producing craft beer in Thailand is not permitted – but there are loopholes, as well as plenty of dedicated Bangkok craft beer bars serving imported brews from around the world. 

Mid-Sukhumvit Craft Beer Bars

Mid-Sukhumvit is home to numerous Bangkok craft beer bars, like rooftop bar Brewski in the Radisson Blu (with more than 10 taps and a huge selection of bottled beer). Several other bars dedicated to craft beer like Hair of the Dog, Ekamai Beer House, Uppercut Beer Room and HOPPY HOURS have opened in the area as well.

Upper Sukhumvit: On Nut

The On Nut district of Bangkok has a few craft beer bars and a lot more than that going for it! Find out more about the On Nut craft beer bars and district in our Guide of Things To Do in On Nut!

Bangkok On Nut 11 Things to do in On Nut and Sukhumvit 77 by JetSettingFools.com

Top Tip: A word of caution for budget travelers: neither rooftop bars nor craft beer is cheap in Bangkok – expect to pay premium prices for both. 


Talad Rod Fai Train Night Market

Classic cars on display at Train Night Market in Bangkok, Thailand

Although it appears to be a typical market from afar, Talad Rod Fai Night Bazaar is almost posh, with only a touch of the grittiness that is the standard of most Southeast Asia markets. Talad Rod Fai is located east of the Bangkok On Nut district (and best reached by Grab Taxi for about 100 baht from the BTS Station).

The Bangkok Train Night Market has an eclectic mix of vendors selling everything from retro gear to home goods to classic cars. In addition to the stylish wares, there are food trucks, pop up bars, trendy tattoo parlors and old-school barbershops – and several of the Talad Rod market’s permanent bars feature live bands.

Top Tip: The Bangkok Night Train Market is open Thursday through Sunday from 5:00pm until 1:00am. 


Day 3: Exploring More of Bangkok

Houses along a canal in Bangkok, Thailand

On Day 3 of our BKK itinerary, you will spend the morning with locals at the city park and then peruse the booths of an authentic market. Then, in the afternoon, get pampered at a spa and take in the views over Bangkok from a rooftop bar before navigating to a lesser-known neighborhood for dinner.


Lumphini Park, Bangkok

In the center of Bangkok’s soaring skyscrapers and sprawling concrete is Lumphini Park. The 142-acre green space was the first city park in Bangkok (designated post-World War I). The urban retreat includes trees, lakes, jogging paths and a giant statue of King Rama VI, who built the park in 1920 on Thai Royal grounds.


Khlong Toei Market

Fresh fish and produce at Khlong Toei Market in Bangkok, Thailand

The Khlong Toei Market is considered one of Bangkok’s last authentic markets. Rather than catering to tourists, the fresh market appeals to chefs and street food vendors from around the city who need to stock up on fresh meat, seafood and produce.

The sights and scents are not for the faint of heart. Instead of kitsch stands selling gold cats waving a paw, shoppers at Khlong Toei Market will find entire stalls dedicated to one fruit or vegetable. We saw crates of eggs stacked 30 high, fish on ice that were still wriggling and tables packed with an obscene amount of raw chicken. Get details and read Bangkok market reviews on TripAdvisor.


Thai Spa Treatment

As a budget-minded traveler, pampering myself at a spa is a rare occurrence, but totally affordable in Bangkok. There are hundreds of spas around Bangkok offering ridiculously inexpensive massages. A quick foot massage can cost about $5 USD, while a two-hour traditional Thai massage can cost less than $15 USD. Just beware: Thai massages are all about applying pressure and stretching the body – and often feel more like a trip to the chiropractor than a relaxing massage. I think they are spectacular, but not everyone (like Kris) agrees with me. Read about our first Thai massage in Chiang Mai.


Bangkok Sunset on a Rooftop Bar

Colorful sunset from rooftop bar Brewski in Bangkok, Thailand

Far from the scents, sounds, hustle and bustle of Bangkok’s chaotic streets are the uber-posh rooftop bars. The open-air venues provide stunning views over the city and are a fantastic place to watch the sunset in Bangkok. The most popular rooftop bars – Sky Bar (featured in The Hangover 2) and Vertigo – come with a dress code and steep prices. Instead, we recommend heading to Zoom where they have a daily happy hour from 5:30pm to 7:30pm – and try the Bangkokpolitan!


Suan Plu District, Bangkok

After sunset drinks, head to Suan Plu – a wonderful Bangkok neighborhood that has a fantastic mix of expats and locals plus a fabulous culinary scene. There are chic cocktail bars, like Smalls and Junker and Bar (Junker even has a happy hour with $3 USD cocktails…Cosmo on the Rock is highly recommended!) and cheap beer bars.

In the evening, food vendors can be found along the main road and down Soi 8. Also on Soi 8 are permanent restaurants serving international food at reasonable prices – like Uncle John (French) and Nando Kitchen (Italian – NOT the chain!).


Day 4: Unique Bangkok

Woman in boat on a canal in Bangkok, Thailand

On the last day of your Bangkok, Thailand Itinerary for 4 days, see a completely different side of the city. Go for a bike ride in a secluded jungle retreat, seek out street art murals in one of the oldest Bangkok districts and end your day with a feast in Chinatown. 


Bang Kachao Island, Bangkok

Man stands with bicycle on bike paths in Bang Kachao in Bangkok, Thailand

Go for a bike ride in Bangkok! Right in the heart of the city is a little-known (but not so little) oasis: Bang Kachao Island. The rural landscape is often called the Green Lung of Bangkok – and is encircled by the Chao Phraya River. A network of narrow, elevated paths weave around fields and through forests…and are ideal for a bike ride.

Top Tip: Find out more about Bang Kachao in our Guide to On Nut Bangkok!


Refreshing Mid-Day Swim

After ticking off the top places to visit in Bangkok in 4 days, it’s time for some poolside R&R. There is nothing more refreshing that cooling off in a pool after days of Bangkok sightseeing. Hopefully you booked accommodations with a pool (more about where to stay in Bangkok in a minute). We once made the mistake of getting a place sans-pool – and (every. single. afternoon.) we regretted the money-saving decision. 

Top Tip: If you make the no-pool mistake like we did, there are a few places in Bangkok that offer day passes for pool use. The nicest – and most expensive – is Sofitel. The family-friendly Blue Parrot has a small pool and but requires a food and drink purchase to use it and The Ambassador Hotel offers pool/gym/sauna day passes.


Talad Noi District and Bangkok Street Art

Nestled along the river just south of Chinatown’s main thoroughfare is the historic Talad Noi District. Offering very few ‘sights’ and almost completely void of tourists, the neighborhood offers a glimpse into typical life in Bangkok. 

In 2016, Bangkok hosted the BUKRUK festival that invited street artists to spruce up the neighborhood with paintings. Interesting Street Art murals now decorate the ancient structures along Trok San Chao Rong Kueak and throughout the district.


Chinatown Food Walk

Glowing neon signs in Chinatown in Bangkok, Thailand

Ethnic Chinese people settled the district that is now called Chinatown in 1782. Most of them started selling goods shipped in from China. Today, Chinatown still is very much rooted in trade. Under the glow of neon lights, Yaowarat, Bangkok Chinatown’s main thoroughfare, comes to life at night.

At dusk, vendors begin setting up carts along Yaowarat (expect fewer stalls on Mondays). Food vendors line the main street and creep down alleys. Some of the top places to eat in Chinatown are Jek Pui Curry (on a picturesque corner off the main street), Fikeaw for seafood, Krua Porn Lamai for sizzling dishes and Odean (a permanent restaurant) for crab wantons. 

Top Tip: There are a few must-see Bangkok sights in Chinatown that should not be missed! Make sure to stop by Wat Traimit (Golden Buddha Temple) and Wat Mangkon. Read more about Chinatown exploration or join one of the many Bangkok Chinatown Tours


Day Trips From Bangkok

Bangkok is filled with vibrant markets, historic temples and interesting neighborhoods, but there are a few sights that can be reason to leave the center of Bangkok. The most popular Bangkok day tours include a floating market, Ayutthaya, and the Bridge on the River Kwai. If you can make room in your Thailand Itinerary, we suggest checking out one of these tours. 


Floating Market

When Bangkok was a maze of canals, goods and produce were sold from boats rather than booths – thus, the name: Floating Market. Although very few traditional and authentic floating markets still exist, there are a handful of markets where vendors still paddle their goods down canals. Search for a Floating Market Tour to add to your Bangkok itinerary. 


Ayutthaya Tour

Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand, was first settled in the year 1350. By 1700, it was the world’s largest city with 1 million residents – until it was almost entirely burnt to the ground in 1767. However, a few ruins remain – including temples and palaces – and the city is now registered on the list of UNESCO Heritage Sites. Look for an Ayutthaya Tour to add to your trip to Bangkok! 


Bridge on the River Kwai

The Burma Railway was built by the Japanese during World War II (1943) to connect Burma to the sea. The task was completed by forced laborers (prisoners of war) and many died during the construction. The war story is told in a 1952 book, The Bridge on the River Kwai. A tour to the Bridge on the River Kwai includes history about the war. 

Note: With some extra effort, you can organzie this trip on your own for less money. Read about how to get to the Bridge on the River Kwai without a guide.


More Tours in Bangkok

There are many tours in Bangkok that don’t leave the city at all! If having a Bangkok tour guide is a more appealing way to see the city sights, consider finding a guide on Viator or for the many tours available – like a Temple Tour, Thai cooking class or a Night Tuk Tuk Tour

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Bangkok On A Budget

Baht, Bangkok currency

As we mentioned before, BKK is an affordable city and our Bangkok, Thailand itinerary was designed to showcase how you can experience it without breaking the bank. There are many cheap things to do in Bangkok – with several sights being free or only charging a few dollars for entry (with the exception of the Grand Palace).

However, Bangkok expenses can quickly add up – so it’s important to set your Bangkok trip budget before going. Whether you are backpacking Thailand on a bare-bones budget or seeking a bit of luxury, it’s easy to design a Bangkok budget trip.


Thai Currency

The Bangkok currency is the Baht, which is used throughout Thailand. You can check current conversion rates here. Typically, we prefer to take out cash from local bank ATMs. However, in Thailand, an astronomical fee of 220 baht ($7 USD) is now applied to every transaction – in addition to fees your bank may charge for foreign ATM and conversion. Money exchange offices actually offer good rates, but that means you have to carry a lot of cash on your trip to Thailand.

We’ve used a combination of both the exchange office and ATMs on our trips to Thailand. On arrival, we like to have a large amount of US dollars or Euros to exchange at the airport (which costs about 100 baht – or $3 USD). Then, when we need to withdraw cash from an ATM, we calculate how much more cash we will need and take out one large sum, rather than returning to the ATM every couple of days and getting hit with the high fee. 


Bangkok Trip Cost

The biggest cost of a Bangkok trip is the accommodations – as it almost always is. Our second biggest expense was food, followed by drinks and then transportation. We barely spent any money on entertainment, as Bangkok prices for entry into most sights is low and much of our time was spent exploring markets and walking in neighborhoods.


Budget Trip to Bangkok Breakdown of Costs

Finding a place to stay in Bangkok was a major task – which we detail more in a bit. After choosing where to stay in Bangkok, we searched for places that offer private rooms with air con, a kitchenette or included breakfast and a pool. It is also essential to be close to a public transportation line. Apartments and hotels that fit this bill can range in price from about $40 USD to more than $100 per night. 

Eating in Bangkok can be downright cheap, with most meals only costing a couple of dollars (unless eating Western food, of course, which costs about 2-3 times as much). Street food and Mom-and-Pop restaurants are the best Bangkok budget options for cheap food.

Beers in Bangkok cost about $2 per bottle at a bar. Happy hours are a great opportunity to drink inexpensive cocktails – and beer is often discounted as well. Craft beer and all drinks consumed on rooftops are going to cost more…a lot more.


Bangkok Transportation

Train arriving at BTS Skytrain station in Bangkok, Thailand

Getting around Bangkok is a little complicated, but doesn’t have to be expensive. We like to get around most cities by walking, but for our Bangkok travel itinerary that would be impossible. The city is just too big…and too hot! Tuk tuks can be cheap, but negotiating a fair price is sometimes a struggle – especially since there are no posted rates. Short Bangkok tuk tuk rides often cost about 100 Baht ($3 USD). 

However, we often used the Grab Taxi app, which was convenient for the set pricing and the detailed route map (so that we didn’t end up getting driven around in circles). Most of our Grab rides cost less than $4 USD, even when traveling longer distances.

The one caveat is that the traffic in Bangkok is deplorable – and minutes spent sitting in traffic cost money. Therefore, we mostly relied on public transportation that got us off of the roads– either the BTS Skytrain, the MTR subway or the ferries. All three systems use different payment methods: BTS requires a paper ticket, MTR uses tokens and ferries accept cash on board (or in advance from a ticket seller at the pier) – but, it’s a cheap and efficient method of traveling through Bangkok. Fares on the BTS and MTR are charged by distance, with most rides costing about $1 USD. Tickets are purchased from machines and it is best to have small change available.


Our Bangkok Trip Budget

So, how much have our trips to Bangkok cost? We set our Bangkok trip budget at $100 USD per day for two people (for accommodations, food, drinks, transportation and entertainment) – and we came in slightly under that amount at $98 USD per day.


Bangkok Itinerary Options and Tips

The famous haunted Wat Mahabut Temple in On Nut Bangkok, Thailand

Our Bangkok in 4 Days itinerary can be used as a base for planning your trip to BKK, even if you have more or less time in the city. Simply adjust our itinerary in Bangkok to best suit you! Here, we offer suggested BKK sightseeing recommendations for shorter or longer stays.


Bangkok Itinerary 2 Days

With only 2 days in Bangkok, we would see the iconic sights on the first day (Day 1 of our Bangkok itinerary) and then on Day 2, spend the morning at a market (and, if Sunday, at the Muay Thai Fight), the afternoon at a spa, sunset on a rooftop and the evening in Chinatown (combining  – and eliminating -some sights from the remainder of the itinerary).


Bangkok Itinerary 3 Days

For a Bangkok 3 Day Itinerary, we would stick to the first three days as outlined in the above itinerary for Bangkok, perhaps skipping Suan Plu and heading for Chinatown instead.


Bangkok Itinerary 5 Days

If you are wondering what to do in Bangkok for 5 days, use our above outlined Bangkok itinerary and on your last day in the city take one of the popular day tours from Bangkok (check top-rated tours on Viator!). 


Bangkok Itinerary 7 Days

For a one-week Bangkok itinerary, use our Bangkok 5 Day Itinerary, then on Day 6 spend your entire day at the markets. You can start at the popular riverside Flower Market or Amulet Market. Mid-morning, take a trip to the Maeklong Railway Market outside of the city and stay long enough to watch as a train chugs through the center of the market, forcing vendors to pull their merchandise off the tracks. 

By Day 7 you should have a feel for the interesting things to do in Bangkok – so revisit what you liked best! Navigate deeper into a specific neighborhood, go back to a favorite restaurant, get a second spa treatment or take in the view from a different Bangkok rooftop bar. Alternatively, take another one of the top rated Bangkok day trips!


More Tips for your Trip to BKK

On Nut Sky Line, Bangkok, Thailand

We have a few last tips and packing hacks for your trip to Thailand!


Where To Stay in Bangkok, Thailand

Searching for the best place to stay in Bangkok is no easy task! The city is huge – so the first step is to find the neighborhood you think you will like best. This Bangkok neighborhood guide can help you choose where you want to stay, but important factors include distance to transportation, local vs touristy areas and area sights. The second step is to determine how much you want to spend on Bangkok accommodations, which is based on several factors, such as air conditioning, pool and included breakfast. 

During our first visit to Bangkok, we stayed in Suan Plu in the Sathorn District at the Parvena Hotel. Although the hotel didn’t have a pool, it cost less than $30 USD per night. The room was clean and basic with a balcony and small fridge. The hotel offered a free breakfast of toast and coffee/juice and free tuk tuk transportation within a 3km distance. We absolutely loved the neighborhood, which was a mix of locals and expats, yet not overrun by tourists. 

On a return visit to Bangkok, having a pool was a priority, as was finding accommodations near a public transport line. Our search led us to the On Nut area in Upper Sukhumvit. Rather than booking a hotel room, we opted for an Airbnb Apartment. The spacious apartment, which we rented for about $40 USD per night, had a small kitchen and the condo complex had a pool and gym. The one caveat is that technically short term vacation rentals are not permitted in Thailand (although the rule seems seldom enforced as we saw hundreds of Airbnb listings just in Upper Sukhumvit!). 

For those looking for accommodations in Bangkok, be assured: there are many, many, many Bangkok hotels to choose from, so it really comes down to what amenities you want and how much you want to spend. Check out these top-rated hotels (based on guest reviews) priced around $100 USD/night for your upcoming trip: Hotel Clover Asoke, Centre Point Chidlom, and Aetas Lumpini

In the On Nut area – which we really enjoyed staying in – there are two highly-rated hotels – Avani Hotel and X2 Vibe – that were very close to the BTS station. 

Budget travelers who want to spend less can search for Bangkok Hostels – like The Cube Hostel or Dreamcatcher Bangkok

Pro Tip: Read our complete list of insider tips for finding the Best Airbnb or Hotel or Hostel for your trip to Bangkok!


Getting To Bangkok, Thailand

There are two major airports that service Bangkok: Suvarnabhumi International Bangkok Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang International Airport (DMK).


Suvarnabhumi Airport

There is a Suvarnabhumi Airport to Sukhumvit Train that makes getting into central Bangkok cheap and easy. Passengers need to ride the Airport Rail Link to the end of the line (Phaya Thai) and then transfer to the BTS SkyTrain.


Don Mueang Airport

The easiest way for getting from the Don Mueang International Airport to central Bangkok is to take a Grab Taxi. Visitors can also book a less-expensive shared airport transfer in advance online

Our preferred method of getting anywhere is by flying (we are JetSettingFools, after all!) and when we need to purchase plane tickets, we start our search for the best deals on flights to Bangkok on Skyscanner.


Before You Go to Bangkok, Thailand

  • We covered a lot of ground while in Bangkok – and it’s important to have good travel shoes! Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes for your trip. I (Sarah) always pack these shoes by Columbia and Reef. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell.
  • We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos. We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures and is a slim and lightweight budget camera).
  • It’s easy to get turned around in any foreign city…and especially BKK! Make sure to have a good city map and/or guidebook before arriving in Thailand.
  • Whether you use a backpack or a suitcase, you’ll also want to be sure to travel to Bangkok with a great Day Bag to organize all your daily travel essentials!
  • If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip to Thailand, consider traveling protected with World Nomads.
  • Get and stay organized for your vacation to Thailand with our Travel Planning Printables!

Travel Planner Printables by JetSettingFools.com


Heading for other Thailand destinations – like Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Koh Lanta, Koh Chang or other Thai Beaches? Find all of our Thailand tips and advice on our Thailand Travel Guides page! 


Start planning your trip to Thailand! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!


We want to know: Have you spent time in Bangkok? What would you add to our Bangkok Itinerary? Did you know that Bangkok is one of the Best Places to Spend NYE? Tell us your best tips in the comment section below! 


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A 4-Day Bangkok Itinerary for Budget Minded Travelers by JetSettingFools.com

6 thoughts on “Bangkok Itinerary: The Best 4 Days in Bangkok, Thailand

  1. Kim

    Your post is really informative for first-time travelers. We will be reaching Bangkok around afternoon around 3 pm. Can you guide us on what should we plan for that day? We will have another two days on our way back from Krabi.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Kim,
      Thank you! Bangkok will likely be overwhelming at first, so don’t plan too much! Depending on where you’re staying, maybe just explore your neighborhood. If you’re close to a BTS or MTR, that would be best for getting around, because even though Grab Taxi’s are affordable, when it’s gridlock, it’s doesn’t really matter much! Maybe make your way to Chinatown (depending on what day you’re in BK) for some great food and fun.
      Enjoy your trip,
      Sarah & Kris

  2. Pru

    Wow. Very comprehensive post and a lot to choose from.

    For us, Bangkok is really one of those places that is, at first hard to love.

    We found it overwhelming at first, so very big. I remember finding the sex industry there too in your face.

    Warmed to it the next time, mostly because we stayed in a residential area and got to know the communities in the laneways.

    By the last time, it really grew on us. Slowing right down, just walking tiny local areas. Getting lost. Just sitting beside the canal…

    We would add – see a traditional puppet show. We loved the free one at The Artists House in the Klongs so much, we saw it twice. Spend time with locals and bask in the glow of the smiles of new local friends. Magic 😉

    • Thanks for the comment, Pru! We also loved wandering the neighborhoods and loved how the vibe changed throughout the day. Thanks for the tip about the free puppet show!

  3. John

    I live in Bangkok and I’m from the States. You guys did a good job with this article, recommendations, etc. The train market ratchada is pretty awesome as well as the W district. Something worth mentioning. Super cheap beer and food. The best way to go with accomodations is Airbnb. You can stay in a luxurious condo for about $30 a night give or take. One thing I was dissapointed that you didn’t mention is the great exchange rates in Thailand. I do agree that in most countries the ATM is the way to go, but I can’t believe you didn’t mention how amazing the currency exchange boths are here in Thailand and that they are literally on every corner. Most countries and airports will rob you with the exchange rate, but in Thailand you can exchange money at almost the exact FOREX rate on the market. If you exchange $100 they only take about a dollar or so. It amazes me how these exchange places even make money with such amazing exchange rates.

    • Hi John – thanks for the comment! We agree about renting an apartment ~ we’ll definitely get an Airbnb our next time in Bangkok. We didn’t know that the exchange offices were so cheap! That is a fantastic tip!!! Thank you so much!

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