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 Agoda. When in Asia 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.