Bangkok, the City of Angels and the capital of Thailand, is one of the most diverse, enthralling and entertaining cities in the world – quite a lot to fit in if you only have two days in the city.
Yet that's not to say it can't be done. Take a page out of Bangkok's book by fitting in more activities in 48 hours than you usually would in a week with this quick guide.
Beyond the city limits
Even though Bangkok is a hectic city, it's just a stone's throw from Thailand's very first national park, the UNESCO World Heritage 2,000 sq km Khao Yai National Park. Book a day tour to this glorious hazy green forest area for a taste of rural Thailand, and perhaps even some of the luscious fresh fruit that grows there.
A guided tour will pick you up from your accommodation in Bangkok, let you ride in an ox-drawn cart and show you through a rural market on your way to the park. When you arrive, you'll be on the lookout for monkeys, tigers, creepy crawlies and all manner of forest inhabitants! The day trip ends with an up-close encounter with an elephant in the jungle, a great opportunity for photos and a chance to hand feed these majestic animals sugar cane as thanks!
No trip to Bangkok is complete without coming away with a souvenir you won't find anywhere else – a suit, shirt, dress or other clothing item made to measure with your choice of fabrics. Take in a picture of the style you'd like and get measured on the spot for your new garb. Many tailors in the city, such as around the hubs of Sukhumvit or Khao San Road, can turn around a simple item within 24 hours, but be sure to check if your item can be made before you leave.
Flex your haggling muscles
Bangkok's night markets are legendary. After the sun goes down, the streets become lined with the sights, colour and sounds of hundreds of tiny stalls, each manned by a wily stallholder ready to haggle to sell you their wares. You'll find everything from sunglasses, jewellery and clothes to artwork, gadgets and high-end knock-offs. Whether you end up haggling the price down to a quarter of the original quote or simply pay full price, you're bound to pick up a bundle of bargains, some great souvenirs and have more fun shopping than ever before.
Khao San and Sukhimvit Road are also major market areas, but you could also consider Asiatique, Khlong Lod, Khlong Thom Market or the Ratchada Night Bazaar.
Tour the temples
Religion is a very important part of the Bangkok identity, with 95 per cent of the population identifying as Buddhist. Finding a temple here is like looking for a hay bale in a haystack, but the best way to see a lot of them quickly is to book another tour.
Some of the best include the awe-inspiring Wat Pho with its giant lounging golden buddha statue, Wat Phra Kaew with its single-block jade buddha, iconic Wat Arun on the banks of the Chao Phraya river and Wat Suthat, one of the oldest temples in the city.
A souvenir that lasts a lifetime
Thai food is more than a necessity – it's an institution. So tasty that you can find a Thai food outlet on just about every block of every major city in the world, a whirlwind tour of Bangkok is the perfect time to pick up some Thai cooking skills that you can use for the rest of your life.
Learn the secrets to a glorious green curry or finesse the perfect Penang at one of the many establishments offering these skills such as the Bangkok Thai Cooking Academy, Bai Pai Cooking School or the Blue Elephant.
A night to dine for
Pick up your new suit/dress/shirt on the way back and get ready for a dinner out on the town. Head to Sirocco, a multi-award-winning 200m-high rooftop restaurant located on the 63rd floor of the Lebua State Tower.
Dine on delicacies such as the Wild Blue Fin Tuna or French Dombes Duck, then finish out the night with a few of the restaurant's infamous signature Hangovertinis and other innovative cocktails at the Sky Bar.
Bangkok is a hectic, busy city, but you can get more than just a taste in only 48 hours. Although, we guarantee it will leave you wanting more.