Bangkok was the first place I set foot when I landed overseas for the first time. For that reason and that reason only, it will always have a special place in my heart. Don’t get me wrong, there are some pretty cool things to experience here, I am just not a fan of huge cities. That aside, it is still a place I think everyone should experience once or twice.
LANGUAGE: Central Thai, English
CURRENCY: Thai Baht
CLIMATE: Tropical (hot & humid), Monsoon seasons are July – Oct
DRESS CODE: Casual, Cover shoulders, knees, and midriff in temples
GETTING AROUND: Grab, MRT, Motorbike, Tuk-Tuk, Local taxis
COST OF VISITING: $ – Hostels start at $6 per night and street food is a little as $1 to $2 (USD) per meal
TIPPING: Tipping is not expected, common to leave behind loose change on bill at restaurants
SAFETY: Generally a safe city, be mindful of thieves and pickpockets when walking around
PACKING ESSENTIALS: Shawl to cover up in temples
VISA: No visa needed for tourist visits under 30 days for US citizens, Must have passport valid for at least 6 months and have proof of an onward or return ticket exiting the country
FROM SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT
Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is Bangkok’s main Thailand’s biggest airport. There is also another major airport there, Don Mueang Airport (DMK)- see info below. It is useful to pay attention to which airport you are flying into and out of. My friend and I missed a flight because we didn’t realize we were flying out of the other airport. BKK is about 19 miles east of Bangkok CBD (city center) which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours depending on the time of day and traffic. (Bangkok traffic can get pretty bad at times, there are over 13 million vehicles there.) Below is a pretty general explanation as I don’t exactly remember how I got to the city center but here you will find a more detailed explanation.
I didn’t take a taxi from BKK but there is a taxi station located on level one. Head there to the taxi stand and tell them where you are going. They will give you a ticket for you to hand to your driver. Grab is more convenient and cheaper obviously, but not 100% sure if they still pick up at the airport. It would be best to research this ahead of time.
There is the Airport Rail Link system leaving from the airport and will take about 40 minutes to get to central Bangkok. From there you can take a taxi or tuk tuk to your destination. The trains run pretty late but I do remember getting in after 11pm and taking the train to Bangkok only to find out there were no taxis waiting at the station. Now with Grab, it should be more convenient, just make sure you have data on your phone to use.
Shuttle buses also leave from the first floor. There are various shuttle options that will bring you to the Bangkok city center.
FROM DON MUANG AIRPORT
It has been awhile since I have flown out of this airport, so here is a pretty detailed guide on your options. I am pretty sure Grab is also an option there if you want to try that so that you can avoid the hassle of negotiating taxi rates.
WHERE TO STAY
WHAT TO EAT
FOOD TO TRY
Sticky Rice Mango (Khao Neow Mamuang)
WHAT TO DRINK
WHERE TO DRINK
WHAT TO DO
My favorite thing to do in Bangkok is honestly just to walk around and take it all in. If you have never been there before, there is so much going on all around you. But below are few of the attractions we did end up seeing that I would highly recommend.
SEE THE SITES
158 Thanon Wang Doem, Khwaeng Wat Arun, Khet Bangkok Yai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10600 (Map)
Known as the Temple of Dawn, this is a beautiful spot to come and watch the sunrise. It is easily one of the most magnificent temples in Bangkok and located right along the river. It is almost directly opposite of Wat Pho, making it easy to see both of them. We took a taxi to get there since it was so early in the morning, but you can check the boat times if you would prefer to head there that way. Here is more info on how to get there by boat.
Na Phra Lan Rd, Khwaeng, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand (Map)
2 Sanam Chai Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand (Map)
Charoen Krung Rd, Khwaeng Yan Nawa, Khet Sathon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand (Map)
GET A MAGICAL THAI TATTOO
TATTOO ARTIST NAME AND CONTACT INFO
TAKE A BOAT DOWN THE RIVER
After watching the sunrise at Wat Arun, we hopped on a boat and took it down the river, getting off at various stops to eat and walk around. We had no planned itinerary, so it was pretty cheap to ride the boat, not to mention an excellent way to see the city. I also had the best pad thai of my life at one of the docks. The second time I was in Bangkok, my brother and I tried taking a tuk-tuk to Wat Arun and the driver ended up bringing us to a dock where they sell tours for a pretty expensive price. We told him no thanks and he ended up following us around until we disguised ourselves and lost him. I am sure we could have negotiated down, we just weren’t in the mood for a few hour long tour down the river.
GET A THAI MASSAGE
You will likely be offered a Thai massage the first time you set foot on the Bangkok streets. For an hour long massage, it only costs around $3 or $4 USD which is a steal. I remember my first Thai massage. It was super relaxing although a little rough (I am pretty sensitive) and the guy behind the curtain next to me was getting a happy ending. Not the best background music to get your massage but what can you do.
TAKE A STROLL THROUGH THE PARK
Thanon Rama IV, Khwaeng Lumphini, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand (Map)
A beautiful 142 acre sanctuary located in the middle of the crazy Bangkok streets. Take a stroll around or rent a duck shaped boat and paddle yourself around the pond while you enjoy views of the Bangkok skyline. One thing to note is that there are over 100 monitor lizards located throughout the park. We were a little startled as we didn’t have any idea they would be there. These lizards can get up to over 10 feet long! But don’t worry, they aren’t a threat to humans (unless you feed them) as they eat mainly dead fish, birds, and turtles.
WATCH KICKBOXING (MUAY THAI)
PARTICIPATE IN A CITY WIDE WATER FIGHT