I guess you’ve already taken your first pictures from the airplane while landing, now you’re waiting for a taxi, willing to pay anything to get yourself to your hotel and getting ready to spend your first day in Bangkok. You can’t wait for your shower, to grab your wallet, camera, sunglasses and run into the city, right? Whoa!!! Why rush and spoil something that you might wish to remember also in a year or two? If you would like to know how to adjust your mind and body slowly and in peace, the following post is for you. Here you will find some Bangkok travel tips to make your first visit easier.

The best part? This doesn’t only apply for your first time in Bangkok. Any new place, especially on another continent, requires your patience and respect to its pace.

Since we visit Bangkok regularly, at the end of the post we will give you also some advice on the best area where to stay in Bangkok for the first time. We strongly suggest you to book a room with HotelsCombined, we use it all the time and we can assure you that you will find some great deals for sleeping in some of the best hotels in Bangkok.

So let’s start with with our tips for Bangkok:

1. Breath and be happy you have survived the flight

There is nothing better than stretching all your limbs and taking a deep breath after all the hours spent in an airplane.

first day in Bangkok

A statue of a smiling monk in the Grand Palace complex in Bangkok, Thailand.

2. Stop at the airport

Give yourself a minute, look around, and absorb the very first, unrepeatable impressions. Slow down. Cry, if you feel like it.

3. Get a new sim card

It is definitely going to be useful, especially if you plan to stay for longer than two weeks. At the Suvarnabhumi International airport you will find a stall offering you mobile packages with top-up or 3G, too.

first day in Bangkok

Girl checking her mobile in a shop of Yaowarat, the Chinatown of Bangkok, Thailand.

4. Spot a comfortable place with Wi-Fi

Take your time, check your emails if necessary for your next move in a new destination.

5. Recharge your electronic devices

You might need it when contacting family, hotel, (local) friends, etc.

6. Order a drink and practice your first Thai words

To say “hello” and “thank you” in the local language to a waiter is probably the best way to start. You cannot imagine how pleased a taxi driver or a receptionist will be anytime you make an effort to use their language.

first day in Bangkok

A street vendor preparing pomegranate juice in Yaowarat, the Chinatown of Bangkok, Thailand.

7. Relax

After having done the previous things, just sit and observe. See what you see. Do your best not to compare everything and everyone to what you have been used to so far. Enjoy the uniqueness of the moment.

8. Get a free map

You will find plenty of them at the airport or at your place of accommodation. It is always good to have a look at it once you check in to a hotel and you wish to have a look around.

9. Use public transport

Do it, of course, if you do not have to carry heavy luggage or if you’re already being picked up. Depending on which airport you arrive at and where your hotel is located, you can choose one of the Airport Rail Links: City Line or Express Line. We took the first one from Suvarnabhumi International Airport to Phaya Thai, which cost 42฿ (baht) per person, around 1.35 USD. Then you will probably need to use one of BTS skytrains or the MRT (metro train).

Check out your route here: Bangkok transport Vending machines are user-friendly, as there is an English language option too. In any case, you can ask for help from a staff member at the station. The majority of the staff speaks English and is very helpful. To prevent chaotic searching for the right train or bus in your jet-lagged condition, ask the hotel staff what is the best way to get there (if is not mentioned on their website). By the way, all trains are fully air-conditioned… sometimes even ‘over’-conditioned.

first day in Bangkok

View of traffic from Mo Chit station bridge in Bangkok, Thailand.

10. Change your money outside the airport

A wise option is to change a small amount of cash in your departing country so you can pay transport, first small refreshment, etc. But if you need to change your cash in Bangkok then we suggest to use Super Rich exchange company as their rates turned out absolutely great.

11. Have a shower at the hotel, relax for a couple of hours

There is no need to rush to see a lot the first day you arrive. Let your body recharge itself for a new adventure.

12. Drink sealed water

However tempting iced water or juice with ice offered on the street might be, drink bottled water (buy only those that have a seal) to prevent any stomach-ache or more dramatic situations, at least during the first hours of arrival when your body is readjusting.

first day in Bangkok

A fruit vendor reading a newspaper in Or Tor Kor Market in Bangkok, Thailand.

13. Don’t eat too many different kinds of food

Start with fresh fruits and a simple dish, maybe similar to one you used to eat at “home”.

14. Meet a local friend or a friendly traveller visiting the city

Get some first-hand info about the city, tips about the places worth going to. At the same time, trust your “inner schedule” and make your own plan. You know your priorities of your travel more than anyone else.

first day in Bangkok

Incense sticks burning on an altar in a Chinese temple of Yaowarat. Bangkok, Thailand.

15. Let things flow

Take a walk around your place or to the centre if is not too far. If you can resist, leave your camera in the hotel. Your eyes will get loads of sensational input later on. That’s guaranteed. Take the first hours easy, have a foot massage, rest and get ready for the following days!

If you are traveling solo to Bangkok this is a great article to read.

Best area to stay in Bangkok

Where to stay in Siam, Bangkok

We stayed in the area many times and honestly, it’s one of the best areas to stay in Bangkok. If it’s your first time in Bangkok, you’ll experience the commercial part of the city here. Many of the main shopping malls are located in Siam Square and it’s easily accessible by sky train, too.

Oriental Residence Bangkok

Oriental Residence Bangkok

Located within walking distance to BTS Station the hotel features free wi-fi, refrigerator, swimming pool and gym.

Grand Deluxe King: $147

Mercure Bangkok Siam, Bangkok

Mercure Hotel Bangkok Siam

This stylish hotel is located only 10 minutes from Siam BTS Station. Each room has city view and private bathroom.

Superior double room: $88

Urbana Langsuan Bangkok

Urbana Langsuan Bangkok

A modern 4-star accommodation with infinity pool and outdoor tennis court. Rooms with balcony and dining area.

Studio, 1 King Bed: $61

Where to stay in Sukhumvit, Bangkok

The nightlife in Bangkok doesn’t concentrates only in Khao San road. If you like some fancy clubs and looking for some of the best hotels in Bangkok, you should check the Sukhumvit district.

The Continent Hotel Bangkok

The Continent Bangkok

A 5-star accommodation with a rooftop pool. Rooms with aircon and equipped with a mini bar.

Deluxe room: $104

S31 Sukhumvit

S31 Sukhumvit Hotel

A 5-star accommodation with a state-of-the-art fitness centre with sauna and steam bath facilities.

Deluxe single room: $76

The Aetas Bangkok

The Aetas Bangkok

This 5-star hotel offers a free shuttle service, a kids club and a fitness centre with a swimming pool.

Deluxe room with breakfast: $60

Where to stay in Yaowarat, China Town, Bangkok

This is probably our most favourite part of Bangkok and it’s on the top of the list of our Bangkok tips. If you’re a street food lover, this is the place you have to go! We went to Yaowarat on our first day in Bangkok and got to experience the true hustle of the city.

Shanghai Mansion Bangkok

Shanghai Mansion Bangkok

A 4-star accommodation close to China Town. The hotel is situated within walking distance from the Golden Buddha statue.

Superior Double Room: $72

Grand China Hotel Bangkok

Grand China Hotel Bangkok

Only a short stroll from China Town. This hotels features a ballroom, a spa with jacuzzi and a wellness centre.

Deluxe room: $66

Hotel Royal Bangkok

Hotel Royal Bangkok Chinatown

The hotels offers free wifi, swimming pool, fitness centre and a 24-hour room service. Not far from Bangkok train station.

Superior Double Room: $55

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which at no extra cost to you, will earn us a small commission and reduce the costs of running this site.

These are just some of the things that worked for us on our first day in Bangkok. Do you have any other tips or tricks to add to the list? We would be happy to hear them.

19 Responses

  1. Richard Hou

    Try to find any “free city tour” to save the budget but it’s seems much popular in European cities.

    Reply
    • Ivana

      Yes, that’s definitely one of the options, too, Richard. So far, we have not seen any free tour, but could be worth to seek for it :)

      Reply
  2. Anwesha

    Nice tips. I loved your pictures. Have never been to Bangkok but it is definitely on my list.

    Reply
    • Ivana

      Thank you, Anwesha, nice to hear from you. BKK is worth to visit, especially if you are metropolitan lover 😉

      Reply
  3. LOL

    Thank you for the useful tips. Especially #1. Some people might forget to breath :O

    Reply
    • Ivana

      Well, yes, one can be indeed breathless and speechless especially when coming from different and cooler season :) Cheers!

      Reply
    • Ivana

      Happy to hear you found them helpful, Peter :)
      I guess you will find many more discoveries on your journey here, as it is a country of beauty and surprises for “newbies” as we are :)

      Reply
  4. Shama Kern

    Here are a few more tips: Don’t accept any tuk tuk rides where the driver claims that the government is paying for the gasoline and he promises to take you around the city for a very low fee. You will end up in high priced and high pressure situations where someone will try to sell you low quality jewelry or similar things with the claim that you can sell it in your home country for a huge profit. I met several people who lost lots of money this way. There are scams going on all over the world, but this one is one to watch out for in Bangkok.

    Be aware that taxis are required to use their meters. If the driver does not turn it on, ask him to do so. Tuk Tuks (3 wheeler mini taxis) generally try to overcharge you a lot and you have to bargain vigorously. In general it will be cheaper to use metered taxis. Plus Bangkok has good and efficient public transport. Get yourself a public transport map at the airport. It will come in handy. A sky train or subway will get you to your destination a lot faster than taxis in general.

    A great way to start sightseeing from a different angle is to hop on one of the public Chao Praya river boats and go for a complete round trip up and down the river. It only costs a few baht and you will get great panoramic views of the city. There are plenty of people who will try to sell you expensive tourist-only boat rides, but the public river boats will give you a great view for a fraction of the price.

    If you are in a bind with something, try to smile. It will get you through many tight spots. Don’t get upset or angry since it will generally get you nowhere, and as far as the Thais are concerned you just lost face and their respect. Smiling works much better.

    Reply
    • Ivana

      Oh, yes, tuk tuk might become the most expensive transport in BKK :) It happened to us once, that a driver wanted to show us a beautiful place “around the corner”, but we insisted that our friend was waiting for us around the other corner, which was actually true. Luckily, we succeeded.
      You are right, smile is a good answer (or question) in many situations. This we mentioned in the other post, from Chiang Mai:
      http://nomadisbeautiful.com/travel-blogs/12-lessons-learnt-after-one-month-travelling-thailand/
      Thanks for following up, Shama.

      Reply
  5. Katie @WorldWideVegetarian.com

    Thanks for the tips! I think sticking to food that you are familiar with is a good idea, after traveling such a long way there’s no need to add more immediate stress on the body. Also, you photos are lovely! Thanks for sharing,
    Katie

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Katie, nice to hear from you! I guess you have some good tips on how to keep on with the right diet when being on the road in particular :)

      Reply
  6. David

    Great info, love Bangkok. Been there 5 time’s since 2008! The last time we rented a apartment in business district, it was a different side of BK. We also spent New Years last year on khao san road. It was 100% what you think of Bangkok.
    There’s also some great unknown markets along the river that are not tourist markets but sill great to walk though and take photos!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hey Dave, thanks for reading. Wow, NYE on Khao San Road, that mush have been epic! We do love the river markets too, especially those further from the center, for example Khlong Lat Mayom. Any plans for coming back to Asia any time soon? Cheers!

      Reply
  7. RAJESH MALVIYA

    going to bangkok with my wife . its very useful information and made us comfortable.

    Reply
  8. thomas

    no. 13 is true for the first day or maybe two, but I have seen so many people stick to pad thai and not trying the rich culinary culture thailand has to offer. I was not as brave as I would have wanted to be, but most streetfood stalls are realy good and the food is superb and cheap! So go and try something you are not familiar with!

    Locals busses saved us on our first day. We were so overwhelmed with everything that moving by ourselves felt wrong. We stepped into a supercheap localbus, that went all over the city and just sat there and watched outside the window. Best way to see something but not getting too overwhelmed.

    Getting scammed: Tuk Tuks are the most expensive way to get around, and taxi drivers will try to overcharge you. Just ask for the meter when getting in the cab, if the driver is not putting it on, take another cab. And most important: Smile! Even if you are getting overcharged, it´s most likely you just lost a dollar or two. That´s not the end of the world. Be wiser next time but don´t loose your face and start to get angry. Chances are, you will have then lost all respect with your counterpart…

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Thomas,

      Thanks for the additional! Well, as the title says, being cautious with the food is good only on the first day :) You’re right, getting out of the familiar zone of food is the core of authentic experience. Regarding taxi, we hardly ever had a problem with taxis (we were suggested to take only pink ones) since we always ask to put the meter on before we get on. Local buses rock, although we never tried one in Bangkok. Cheers and happy travels!

      Reply
  9. Kayla

    I feel number 6 is very important! No matter where you go, I have always found that even attempting the language makes people happy and more inclined to help.

    I have been seeing so much about Bangkok lately it has skyrocketed up my list of places to go.
    Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Kayla, thank you for reading! Indeed, it’s worth trying to speak a few basic words in a local language, total icebreaker :)
      Hopefully you’ll get to Bangkok soon so you can experience Thai hospitality yourself.

      Cheers!

      Reply

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