48 Hours In Bangkok
Bangkok is teeming with global jet-setters, many of whom are likely making a quick stopover en-route to the nearby idyllic islands, mingling with the 8+ million who call the metropolitan oasis home. It’s a fast, gritty and heaving city, gripping onto it’s traditional Thai roots, yet influenced by the foreign investment landing on it’s streets.
Roaming the city, you will feel a sense of the grind of New York City and the pumping energy which flows between the crowded, careening streets. Yet in the next step, you are transported into ancient culture and ritual, with each experience interwoven with the renowned friendly, hospitable nature of the Thai people.
As is the best way for fleeting visits, I went straight to the expert source, getting the inside scoop from friends who have called the city home for many years to find out exactly what to check out in two short days.
This guide is not the one for those who are wanting to check out the major sights, such as the numerous famed temples dotted across the city, or if you’re wanting a little history on the city. Instead, this is your itinerary if you’re wanting to soak up some culture, find out some of the best restaurants in town, get a feel of the hustling metropolis and strike a balance between exploring and kicking back.
8am - arrival
Bangkok airport is a breeze to land into – modern, efficient and easily navigated. Arriving early in the morning will have you off the plane and out of customs with speed. However, traffic in Bangkok is notoriously terrible. So expect a commute via taxi of around one hour into the city centre to reach your final destination!
9.30am - check in
When infamously cheeky industry-insiders Mr & Mrs Smith Hotels – the boutique hotel experts who clue you in on not only the best spots to stay, but where to romance your beau close by and of course, the best cocktail to sip on – rate the opulently elegant COMO Metropolitan as its top pick in Bangkok, you know by booking in here you’ll be checking in for an outstanding stay.
Sexy, sleek and sophisticated, the COMO Metropolitan doubles up as not only a luxurious inner-city escape, but a wellness-explorers dream inner-city retreat. Renowned globally for their commitment to the wellness traveller, this bougie boutique hotel embeds healthy living into all aspects of your stay. From the exclusively designed meditation chair (charged magnetically from the base to deepen your state of meditative trance) to the mindfulness pull cards placed on your pillow at night, to the health-focused and holistically catered for GLOW breakfast buffet menu that will set you up for the day of exploring ahead.
A subtle nod towards the discerning traveller that the COMO Metropolitan generally attracts, there are only an exclusive 160 rooms, varying from executive twin rooms to expansive suites that attract celebrities and diplomats alike. The tasteful outfit and interior design elements feature stone accents, pouring light from floor-to-ceiling windows, lounges that invite you to sink into and a tropically inspired pool, complete with coconuts on demand. Within a few hours here you’ll easily be inspired to find a state of calm contrasting the bustling business of the city streets outside the front gates.
Make a dinner reservation: If Michelin starred restaurants are your thing, then the famed Nahm restaurant, consistently rated as one of Bangkok’s “top tables”, sits on the hotel premise. With an alluring, gentile decor the restaurant befits the clientele that frequent its tables, from the high-flying businessmen securing a place for lunch, to the inquisitive foodies entertaining over the traditional Thai menu. Start the night by dropping by the Met Bar for a pre-dinner cocktail and enjoy a spot of people watching from the long bar.
10:30am – brunch
Rocket Coffee Bar
You should plan a brunch visit to Rocket Coffee Bar for as much to swoon over its Scandinavian influenced interiors as to munch on its delectable all-day dining menu. Co-owned by three Swedish expats, this modern eatery features a mouth-watering menu ranging from fresh brunch options (think Acai bowls and herb omelettes), through to waffles, open-faced sandwiches and supper options. With an in-house bakery and artisanal coffee brewing, a stop off here will quickly perk you up for the day ahead!
12pm - Sweat
Base Bangkok, Sathorn
If there’s just one spot to fit in a sweat while in Bangkok, make a beeline for BASE Bangkok, the locals favourite fitness studio for MetCon, Cardio Conditioning and Strength Building sessions. In the small group classes, you’ll be guaranteed individual focus from the attentive instructors, ensuring your form stays on point as you move through the sweat-inducing workout.
If that’s not quite your fitness fancy, check out Physique 57 (the infamous New York barre studio’s first Asian outpost), Absolute for a serious spin or Pilates session or RSM Muay Thai if you want to be put through your paces in the traditional Thai boxing workout!
Check out A Fit Girl’s Guide To Bangkok for more of my favourite Bangkok fitness recommendations.
1.30pm – Recover
The King And I, sathorn
Is it really a visit to Thailand if you don’t book in for at least one Thai massage?! Bangkok does wellness, oh so well, with massage centres dotted on near every street across the city where you can experience their unique style of deep tissue release and mobility-inducing stretching. Thai massages may not be the most relaxing massage you’ve ever experienced, but they do create some serious magic on tired, tense muscles. Though you may feel a little bruised and battered after the nimble masseuse has climbed all over your body, all that contorting and twisting will quickly eradicate any pent up stress and physical tension out of your body!
3pm – Explore
My local expert expat [read her interview here] promised that Thonglor is the area to check out for all that is trending in Bangkok. More gentrified than other neighbourhoods, but still managing to retain strong elements of its cultural heritage, Thonglor is a mix of flourishing new businesses, teeming night-life, fitness studios, cafes and cocktail spots.
5.30pm – Sunset happy hour
Octave Rooftop at The Marriott
It appears everyone in buzzing Bangkok loves a rooftop bar, and I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for a sunset too. There’s numerous picturesque spots for sundowners and city views, but for a sweeping skyline view check out Octave at The Marriott. Spread across three levels, for your best viewing pleasure, head to the pinnacle of the bar well in time for happy hour to begin!
Tip: Get there around 5:30pm to ensure you grab a prime seat for sunset viewing, it gets rather crowded as happy hour kicks on!
7pm – Dinner
Soul food Mahanakorn
Every street corner turns into a kitchen in Bangkok, with street vendors hawking their fares at every turn, but if street-food isn’t quite your style, there’s an equally vibrant restaurant scene catering to locals and visitors alike. Soul Food Mahanakorn is the sort delightful neighbourhood spot you wish was on your doorstop at home. A modern take on traditional Thai cuisine, the menu literally comforts the soul in the way that only delectable home-cooked, high-quality dishes can. As a bonus, there are plenty of options for plant-based diners.
8.30pm – Continue the evening
When it’s time to kick on post dinner, simply continue cruising up Soi Sukhumvit 55 where you’ll find a whole bevvy of bars, serving up, er, beverages! Whatever your tipple, along this road you can find romantic date spots or lively outdoor bars to suit your mood.
Iron Fairies is a magical infused bar modelled on an iron-smith’s workshops, the candlelit bar feels directly exported from the Toulouse-Lautrec’s Montemarte, complete with absinthe cocktails on the menu if you are so inspired. Amidst the maze of staircases, nooks and alcoves you’ll feel a million miles away from the Bangkok streets outside as you settle in for the live jazz band that takes the stage from 9pm. This is the perfect spot for a romantic interlude, hidden away from prying eyes.
The Commons is oft referred to as “Thonglor’s playground” and the atmosphere when dropping by in the evening definitely reflects its favoured place in the more affluent local’s heart. The open-air, multi-levelled architecturally designed hang out, features a range of restaurant outposts, a coffee roaster, stores, bars and even a fitness studio. The focus here is on gathering community together and has a feel reminiscent of StreetFeast in London or Teatern in Stockholm.
72 Courtyard is a collection of bars, restaurants and cafes sitting across two levels which sets the scene for a casual drink (or two). Similar in style to The Commons, this alfresco location is a great spot for groups to gather to kick start the evening ahead!
8am – Move
Yoga at The Como shala
One of the best wellness perks of staying at the Como Metropolitan (aside from the luxuriously bespoke equipped gym, recovery spa and healing steam room that is) is the complimentary yoga sessions taking place each morning. Led by some of the top instructors in town, the style of class rotates throughout the week, offering holistic variations of power Vinyasa or rejuvenating Yin formats.
Setting the tone of the day with intention, purpose and a deeper connection back to the self, you will quite literally float to breakfast next door post-class.
9.30am – Refuel
GLOW by Como Metropolitan
Continuing its wellness-centric focus, the COMO breakfast selection throws the old buffet variety out the window in favour of a refreshingly healthy and nutritious ala-carte offering. Featuring gluten-free, keto-inspired and plant-based options, expect to find avocado topped house-made seeded bread, alkaline bowls with green goddess dressing and rye-oat porridge. Supplement your meal with the array of fresh tropical fruits, freshly squeezed juices, smoothies and delectable morsels of chia pudding and bircher museli, you will, just as the name suggests, be glowing from the inside out after fuelling up!
11am – Explore
When it’s time to hit the streets jump in a tuk-tuk (#tourist) and be on your way to explore the sights. From the Sathorn region (where the COMO Bangkok is located) take an explore around artistic and culture centre of Pathum Wan down through to Lumphini and beyond to the slightly seedier Khlong Toei Nuea. If you’re a keen shopper, stop by some of the renowned luxury malls along the way, including Siam Square, CentralWorld and Central Embassy.
12pm – Coffee Stop
Boyy & Son Café
If you’re on the hunt for the most instagrammable café in Bangkok, it’s got to be Boyy & Son. This fairly new coffee haunt is a bloggers dream, complete with Terrazzo floors, tables and even matching cups. There’s an inlaid aquarium complete with tropical fish and chic pops of millennial pink and turquoise offset with gild gold furnishings. The fact they brew up a mean coffee and iced matcha – well, you’ve just completely won us over!
Located on the ground floor on the luxurious Gaysorn Village mall, you can nip in between shopping rounds, or literally make it a must-see spot for those ‘gram purposes!
1pm - Lunch
Plant-based foodies rejoice, this is an eatery that celebrates all that is divine about vegan cuisine! With numerous locations dotted around the Thai capital, Broccoli Revolution is a go-to all day dining café that will nourish and satisfy those hunger cravings come lunch time! The diverse menu offers healthier options amidst the traditional Thai cuisine, which while delicious, is questionably nutritious. The team at Broccoli Revolution heavily utilises locally grown and produced ingredients while promoting a healthier lifestyle shift for their diners. Drop by for a grounding lunch, a grab and go smoothie or a leisurely brunch.
Hot tip: the gluten free, vegan banana bread is actual heaven…
3pm – Spa Time
It’s mid-afternoon, you’ve been strolling around town for a few hours and there’s only one thing for it – another massage! Making the most of the opportunities to relax and unwind, you have your pick of any of the numerous stores filled with masseuses down any road, so the hardest decision is simply, what type of treatment do you fancy now?
5pm – Market Adventures
Patpong Night Market
Bangkok is famed for its vibrant and colourful night-life, setting the scene for many raucous stories of bachelor parties and girl’s weekends away. But when on a more wellness centric visit, well it wasn’t so much on the agenda…However if you want to take a peek into after-dark side of the city, take a stroll down Patpong Night Market, where you can find all that expect of Bangkok nightlife and marketers hawking their (questionably authentic) goods.
8.00pm – Dinner
Namsaah Bottling Trust
The culinary highlight of this dashing visit to Bangkok had to be the experience at Namsaah Bottling Trust. Your first glimpse of the early 20th century grand villa that has received a shocking hot pink makeover, is just a taster of the extravagant experience that awaits you inside. The two level restaurant cum bespoke bar is adorned with opulent furnishings competing for your attention at every turn. From the ostrich feather chandeliers, to the jade velvet cushions decoratively thrown just so against jewel-tone wallpaper, each and every detail has been attended to – right down to the hot-pink chopsticks at your table setting (which if you ask really nicely, they may just let you keep as a souvenir!)
Thankfully, while they may have won you over with the interior styling, the kitchen delights and delivers equally, if not more than the atmosphere created. Described as a “Thai-gastropub” the fare here is a modern-twist on traditional Thai and features plant-based options alongside conventional selections. As you work your way through the menu, complemented with signature house cocktails of course, you will be well and truly looked after with impeccable and humorous service from the tongue-in-cheek staff.
9:30 pm – After-hours Cocktails
A throw-back to prohibition style speak-easy’s as you descend the stairs in Maggie Choo’s, you enter a world of opulence and excess. The cocktail bar turns into a rowdy jazz club and cabaret show nightly, with performances kicking off from 9pm, so you drop by for a drink and stay to soak up the dimly lit, sultry atmosphere and stay for the showgirl’s!
7am - Morning Hotel Workout
8am – Check-out, Cab, Catch ya later!
Heading into peak hour traffic, it’s time to grab some breakfast from the buffet on-the-go, say your farewells to the stunning hotel and fight against the heavy commuting crowds in a cab on the way to the airport – promising yourself you’ll be back for more Bangkok adventures soon, for 48 hours is simply not enough in this city!