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24 Hours in Bangkok

Bangkok Skyline

Thailand's capital city is sadly underrated - backpackers will tell you to head straight out to the islands, while business travellers suggest sticking to the hotel bar. Both parties are missing out on a vibrant city with plenty to offer. If you give Bangkok a little time, you'll be rewarded with beautiful temples, super flash drinking dens and the hospitable nature of its people. See our 24 hour guide and find out the best place to watch the sun rise, enjoy an alternative shopping experience at the floating market, or sip a cocktail on the 64th floor...

Lumphini Park

An oasis of calm in the city centre, the park is transformed into a huge exercise class in the cool hours before work. Early birds might see martial arts, t'ai chi, ballroom dancers, while birdwatchers can spot pied fantails, leaf warblers and mynas.

  • Address: On the north side of Rama IV, between Ratchadamri and Witthayu

The Marble Temple

Carved out of Carrara marble in 1899, this is one of Bangkok's most beautiful temples. Visit the temple at dawn - when the barefoot, saffron-robed monks come out to receive alms.

  • Address: Between Thanon Si Ayutthaya and Thanon Natkhon Pathom
  • Tel: +64 9 309 7067
  • Website: www.tourismthailand.org

Le Fenix Hotel

Graze from globally inspired comfort food at this futuristic rooftop restaurant, then plan your day from the lush, courtyard garden.

Khlong Bangkok Noi

Avoid rush hour with a boat ride down one of the canals, or khlongs. Catch one at Tha Chang and float past stilted wooden houses, bathing locals and the Royal Barge Museum. There are also a clutch of floating markets that you can't miss.

  • Address: Boats leave from Tha Chang Pier regularly (Pier Number 8)

Grand Palace

One of the city's must-see sights is a glittering gold-encrusted showcase of classical Thai architecture containing the palladium of Bangkok - the Emerald Buddha that protects the city. Make sure to dress conservatively - meaning no flip flops, shorts or bare shoulders.

  • Address: Thanon Na Phra Lan

Ta Prachan Market

Thousands of thumb-sized buddhas and monks vie for attention at this amulet market near Wat Mahathat. The grubbier ones command the higher prices, with amulets said to protect you from danger (Pra Rod), bring you wealth (Pra Leela Thung Sethi) and good fortune (Pra Nang Praya). For good all-round protection, ask for a Somdej Rakang.

  • Address: Near to the Grand Palace (above) on Thanon Na Phra That

Almeta Silk

Some of the best handwoven silk in town is to be found at this à la carte shop where customers can can order high quality silks in about 1,000 colours. Their expert seamstresses can also make silk outfits to order.

  • Address: 20/3 Sukhumvit Soi 23
  • Tel: +00 66 2 258 4227
  • Website: www.almeta.com

Bangkok Bike Rides

Tired of the city? Get a taste of village life on the 25km Bangkok Jungle bike ride tour which will take you across the river into Bangkok's surprisingly rural Bang Kra Jao district. The company also organises various trips around the city and beyond.

Yum & Tum

If you can battle past the office workers, Yum & Tum has a huge variety of salads - or rather yum - to choose from. The spicy tuna salad with lemongrass, sweet chilli and mint is highly recommended, as is the iced lemongrass tea.

  • Address: Groundfloor of Life Centre, on corner of South Sathorn and Rama IV
  • Tel: +00 66 2 260 2746

Ruen Nuad

Time to put your feet up - and get them massaged. Some of the most experienced masseuses in the city are to be found at this traditional wooden house near the Sukhothai Hotel.

  • Address: 2nd Floor, 42 Thanon Convent
  • Tel: +00 66 2 632 2663

Authors' Lounge

Write your postcards over a cup of Earl Gray and a plate of finger sandwiches. You'll be in good company: Noel Coward, Graham Greene and, erm, Barbara Cartland all stayed at this classic, colonial-chic hotel. Safari suits optional.

Cooking with Poo

Thai cuisine is an explosion of colour and smell that has become a favourite of food lovers everywhere. Cooking with Poo (the chef's name is Khun Poo) is a great way to learn a bit of Thai cooking. Coupled with the unique learning environment of Klong Toey slum, this is an unmissable Thai experience.

Yoga Elements Studio

Take time to really relax and let go at Yoga Elements. This world-renowned studio offers a mix of ashtanga and vinyasa, as well as meditation. It's great for beginners and all classes are taught in English.

  • Address: 23rd floor, Vanissa Building, 29 Soi Chidlom
  • Tel: +00 66 2 655 5671
  • Website: www.yogaelements.com

Arun Residence and Wat Arun

Watch the sun go down from the rooftop bar of this small, river-side hotel. Directly opposite is the bobbled spire of Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn. The temple plays host to the rare Royal Barge Procession - happening again in October 2011 after a four year absence.

Siam Niramit

History comes alive at Siam Niramit with performances documenting the rich unique history of the kingdom of Siam (the former name of Thailand). The show concludes with a range of festival highlights.

Long Table

That's 24 metres long, so you should fit most of your friends in at this uber-cool restaurant. Order reinvented Thai favourites such as stir-fried Alaskan king crab, and mango balls and sticky rice, and enjoy the view.

  • Address: 25/F Column Residence, 48 Sukhumvit Soi 16
  • Tel: +00 66 2 302 2557
  • Website: longtablebangkok.com

Mambo at the Washington Theatre

Life's but a cabaret at this long running Broadway-themed show. Expect feather boas, high-kicks and all that razzmatazz. And the girls look lovely. Hang on a minute, are those real girls?

  • Address: 496 Thanon Sukhumvit, by Soi 22
  • Tel: +00 66 2 259 5715

The Westin Grande Sukhumvit

Hit the high notes - or attempt to - on the 26th floor of The Westin Grande Sukhumvit Hotel where you'll find the Horizons Sky Lounge and karaoke bar. There's a pretty good cocktail list, too.

SkyBar at Lebua, State Tower

The city's new-found head for heights is best experienced at the State Tower, where the open-air Sky Bar floats 64 storeys above the city as part of the Lebua Hotel. Waltz down the Vegas-style steps to the live jazz, but hold onto your drink tightly.

  • Address: Silom Road, Bangrak
  • Tel: +00 66 2 624 9999
  • Website: lebua.com

Chinatown

In England, street food means a bag of crisps. In Bangkok it means a sizzling outdoor banquet. Head to Yarawaj, the main street in Chinatown, for late-night egg noodle soup with fish dumplings, and radish cakes with bean sprouts.

  • Address: Yarawaj, south of Dusit and Banglamphu

Saxophone

Blues, jazz, a mixture of Thai and western food and a house cocktail: The Saxophone Dropper (Vodka, Brandy, Blue Curacao and lime juice). What more could you want? Check the rolling programme for gigs.

Tunnel Club

The city has an official curfew of 1 or 2am, but you can usually count on this after-hours favourite to keep you awake till the early hours.

  • Address: Lang Suan Road Soi 5

Pak Klong Talat

Bangkok's biggest flower market is blooming at this time, which is when most of the professional buyers go. The air is filled with the scent of jasmine and roses. Expect more orchids than you've ever seen before.

  • Address: Maharat Road, nr the Memorial Bridge, Phra Nakon

Kho San Road

You'll be walking up and down Kho San Road - the backpacker hub of Bangkok - during your time in the city. It's a hectic, colourful, place to be, but if you want to see it at a slightly quieter time, now is your chance.

  • Address: Kho San Road

Last Updated: December 2009