Earlier last month (December) my wife and were in Bangkok for 2 full days and, despite doing my usual research, I had no idea how we were going to see the key sights in the short time available.
I then decided to hire a guide for the day (9 to 5) and we were lucky enough to have Apple as our guide.
Apart from speaking good English and having a lovely easy-going personality that makes you want to ask questions, Apple is very efficient in working out how best to view the sights we had selected (The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun etc) taking into account when the sights would be less crowded and how best to incorporate a trip on the river, which we wanted to do but had no idea where to go.
As a result she quickly got us into the main sights, where we were able to spend all the time we wanted and she explained everything about what we were seeing, whilst keeping us in the shade as much as possible, as it was very hot. She then hired a ‘long’ boat for us to go on the main river and down the canals, which are fascinating and a side of Bangkok many tourists would miss, finishing up at a traditional Thai restaurant, where we had a delicious lunch of dishes chosen by Apple.
After lunch and visiting Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn), which is incredibly beautiful especially when viewed from the river, we eventually ended up walking through Chinatown, which brought back memories of Singapore in the 60’s.
We had the opportunity to ask any questions about Apple, her family, religion, the kings of Thailand as well as about the different temples – the Reclining Buddha and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha amongst them – and the Grand Palace which is awesome in every way. Buying tickets to enter was handled quickly and the only time we had a bit of a wait was for a ferry to Chinatown.
In summary, I would strongly recommend getting a guide if you are short of time or want to learn more than you would on your own, and I hope that you are lucky enough to get Apple as your guide.