If you’re visiting Bangkok for the first time (or the second time, or the hundredth time), you may not know where to start. After all, there are tons of temples and palaces to visit and tasty restaurants to choose from, and you only have so much time to see it all. Check out the following guide for fitting as many exciting attractions as possible into one day.

grand palace
The Grand Palace in Bangkok.

Morning: Visit the Must-See Attractions

The one place you can’t skip is Rattanakosin Island. Also known as the old city, this central area is home to some of the most famous buildings in the city. To get there, take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Maharaj Pier and start walking to your first attraction.

You must visit the Grand Palace; the Thai King lived there for 150 years. Take a palace tour and then check out the nearby Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This sacred spot houses a Buddha statue carved from jade. Next, head over to the oldest temple in Bangkok: Wat Po. You’ll know you’ve found it when you see the huge reclining Buddha statue.

Other attractions in the area include the National Museum, Saranarom Park, Lak Muang — the city pillar — and other temples such as Wat Mahathat and Wat Ratchapradit. Just remember that many of these sites have a strict dress code: That means no tank tops, ladies! And you men don’t get off scot-free; you must wear long pants. If you forget to dress appropriately, you can rent cover clothing.

Noon: Grab Lunch At A Restaurant

When you’re finished sightseeing, stop by a nearby restaurant and fuel up for the afternoon. Seven Spoons, located at 211 Chakkrapatipong Road, offers sandwiches, salads, burgers, pasta, and more. Seafood fans might like the pan-fried snapper with mango-avocado salsa. Are you vegetarian? Try the gnocchi with cremini mushrooms and herb pesto.

Another popular eatery is Steve Cafe and Cuisine, which is north of the Grand Palace on 68 Sri Ayuthaya Road. Located on the riverside, it’s a relaxing place to enjoy authentic Thai cuisine. The dishes include deep-fried prawn with tamarind sauce and fried tofu with red curry. For drinks, you can get a regular soda or try something unusual like the lemon grass drink.

chatuchak
The Chatuchak Weekend Market.

Afternoon: Go Shopping

If it’s a weekday, you should spend the afternoon in Chinatown; more of its shops are open during the week than on the weekend. This area is southeast of the Grand Palace in Yaowarat District, so you’ll need to take the boat to get here. Sampeng Lane is one of the most popular shopping areas, so head over and start haggling at the many street markets.

If it’s the weekend, you can’t miss the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market. You can get to it by crossing the river with the express boat and taking the Sky Train or subway to the Phahonyothin District. This enormous market has 27 sections and more than 8,000 stalls, making it the place to find anything you want — and probably a lot of things you never knew you wanted! Items for sale include antiques, books, clothing, food, handicrafts, ceramics, and more.

wat phra kaew
The Wat Phra Kaew.

Dinnertime: Enjoy Some Thai Street Food

Chinatown has plenty of street stalls selling authentic Thai food, so you may as well eat your dinner here. One of the more popular eateries is Lek-Rut Seafood on the intersection of Yaowarat Road and Thanon Phadung Dao Street.

Did you spend the afternoon in Chatuchak? There’s a huge selection of food at the market, so consider grabbing dinner from a food stall before you leave. One place to get delicious pad Thai or massaman curry is the Saman Islam restaurant. For dessert, get some ice cream from the market’s original coconut-ice-cream stall: Coco JJ.

wat arun
The Wat Arun.

Late Night: Hang Out in the Bars and Clubs

The most popular spot for backpackers is Kao San Road, which is north of Rattanakosin. However, anyone looking to party can visit the clubs and bars. For live ska and reggae music, check out the Brick Bar. Want to dance the night away? The Club plays electronic music, serves cheap drinks, and has fun visual effects like lasers and smoke machines. If that’s too crazy for you, you might like the live jazz music at Brown Sugar.

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the infamous red-light district, Patpong. Adventurous visitors can find it between Silom Road and Surawong Road in the Silom District. Popular bars include The High Bar, Safari, and Twilight.

Bangkok has an amazing selection of food, shopping, and historical monuments. To make the most of your visit, plan and book your trip here at GoDoTrip.