The first time in Bangkok or Southeast Asia in general might be overwhelming. Surprising smells, new sounds, a different culture you’ve never encountered before can bring more challenges that one would wish. Or not. Maybe you’re a person who jumps into a new environment easily, adjusts to a new timezone, cuisine and embraces new traditions without any hesitation.
In any case, if you’re heading to Thailand and looking for some practical Bangkok tips, you’re coming to the right place.
This Bangkok blog is based on our personal experience in the city which has become our second home during our travels.
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Bangkok tips for your first time in the city
Choose the best time to visit Bangkok
Want to have a pleasant weather and no rain? Then number 1 Bangkok travel tip would be traveling there between November and end of February.
Find the best hotel in Bangkok
If you haven’t booked a room, do it now. Not sure which are the best areas to stay in Bangkok? Here are three of the most tourist-friendly districts and hotels in Bangkok you might want to consider.
We stayed in the area many times and honestly, it’s one of the best areas to stay in Bangkok. Get ready for a commercial atmosphere here. Many of the main shopping malls are located in Siam Square and it’s easily accessible by sky train, too. Check last minute hotel deals on TripAvisor
The nightlife in Bangkok doesn’t concentrates only in Khao San road. If you are for the first time in Bangkok and you like some fancy clubs and looking for some of the best hotels in Bangkok, you should check the Sukhumvit district. Check last minute hotel deals on TripAvisor.
This is one of our most favourite parts 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! Find a vendor with a steamy stall with grilled food, grab a beer, find a free table on the pavement and indulge in the street vibes of Bangkok. Check last minute hotel deals on TripAvisor.
Always make sure you travel with travel insurance! Be adventurous, but not careless.
If you love animals and you prefer going local during your travels, try housesitting, which is an amazing way to travel the world while taking care of the pets whose owners are on vacation. If you use TrustedHousesitters with this link you’ll get $20 discount on annual membership.
Get a new SIM card
At the Suvarnabhumi International airport you will find a stall offering you mobile packages with top-up or 3G data for tourists. Go for Happy Tourist SIM card from DTAC (great deal of 299 THB for 7-days with unlimited data and 100 THB calling credit). If you plan to stay in Bangkok and Thailand longer, we suggest AIS SIM card with good monthly deals.
Get a free map of Bangkok
If you’re a paper map person, grab one at the airport or at your place of accommodation.
How to get around in Bangkok
Use public transport. This is the best way to get around Bangkok. From the airport you can take the Airport Rail Links: City Line or Express Line and then use one of BTS skytrains or the MRT (metro train). Check out the routes at the official website of transport in Bangkok. http://www.transitbangkok.com/
Vending machines at the metro stations are user-friendly, as there is an English language option. 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. By the way, all trains are fully air-conditioned… sometimes even ‘over’-conditioned.
Taxi in Bangkok are very affordable and safe. Pink taxi are very reliable. Just agree with the driver that he switches on the taximeter.
Local public buses are super cheap. You just have to figure out which number will bring you to your destination as the schedule on the bus stops is either in Thai, or you won’t find it at all.
Ask for directions at the hotel and explain you wish to take a bus, as they would most probably advise you to call a taxi.
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.
Get some great street food in Bangkok
Street food in Bangkok is absolutely safe, and we encourage you to explore the night markets in Bangkok and sample exotic dishes at different stalls.
Head to the Yaowarat district, check out JJ Green market, Suan Lum Ratchada, Siam Gypsy Junction, or new Talad Neon night market.
You MUST visit Chatuchak market with thousands of stalls and some great street food, too. Open on Saturday and Sunday from 9am-6pm and Friday from 6pm-midnight. Once you’re at the Chatuchak, don’t miss out the Or Tor Kor market with some good food.
Read more articles about Thailand
- 15 Things to Do and Best Hotels in Koh Lanta
- What to Pack for Thailand: the Ultimate Packing List
- Discover the Marvels of Thai Massage
- Ayutthaya Day Trip from Bangkok
- Need an escape from busy Bangkok? Visit Bang Krachao Island!
Get your first Thai massage
This will be sooooo good after a full day of walking or a long flight. Find a spa or massage parlor, and let the Thai professionals do their job. If it’s going to be your first Thai massage ever, ask for „bao bao”, which means gently. Read more about Thai massage in our article.
Explore the city independently
You don’t really need a tour guide in Bangkok. Check the landmarks you want to visit in advance, save them in your Google Map or in offline map Maps.me on your smartphone, and venture around the city by your own. The public transport will take you everywhere you want to go.
Go shopping at the Bangkok malls
In case you’ve forgotten something at home and you need it urgently for your vacation in Thailand, we recommend MBK Center, Central World, Siam Paragon, Platinum Fashion and funky Terminal 21.
Watch a Muay Thai boxing match
Great stuff! Get a ticket and watch a real Thai boxing match. The best place to do it is the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, Ratchadamnoen Stadium, or Channel 7 Stadium.
Check out the real floating market
There are many floating markets in Bangkok, but only a few of them are real and not for tourists. We visited Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market and loved it!
You’ll be able to have some of the best Thai food here. Go for a short ride on a river with smiling local ladies selling fruits & veggies.
Avoid a trip on a bigger boat at the floating market. A cruise lasts nearly 3hr, they’ll take you to a place along the river to buy souvenirs, you’ll visit a random temple and they’d encourage you to eat at their friends. Not worth.
Go jogging or have a walk in the Lumpinee Park
If you come early in the morning, you might see locals and expats practicing yoga, tai-chi, or just running in the „green lungs of Bangkok“ as they call the park.
Have a drink on a rooftop bar
Sightseeing is perfect, but watching the city of angels from above is a must. You might want to check Sky Bar, Above Eleven, Vertigo or Octave.
Generally, Bangkok and Thailand is a very safe country. But when visiting Bangkok first time, there will be situations when you’ll need to be more attentive.
Avoid getting on a tuk-tuk that approaches you as drivers charge insane prices. If you must take a tuk-tuk because there is no other option, agree on a price before you jump in.
Don’t agree on any guiding tour from a random person on a street. They tend to promise to show you the main landmarks, but will take you for a tour to souvenir shops instead. Needless to say, they would overcharge you for that.
Get on a taxi only after a driver agrees to switch on the taximeter.
Be careful when buying gold in Yaowarat district as it might happen to be fake.
Hopefully these suggestions will help you to make your Bangkok trip great. Enjoy Thailand!
Do you have any other Bangkok tips or tricks to add to the list? We would be happy to hear them!
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