10 Travel Tips for Bangkok
Hey Folks!!! Extra exclamation marks today because after 3 weeks of deliberating which website provider to use i’ve finally purchased my domain! – which means a website is on its way! 🙂
After recovering from the South East Asia jet lag all roads will now be leading to Microsoft Word for the next few days, weeks and hopefully months! I’ll be sharing a series of “Top 10 Travel Tips” on all the locations I visited during my 1 month trip in SE Asia. So starting with my first stop – Bangkok – here’s 10 tips – you can thank me later! 😉
1. Bangkok for 2-3 days!? It’s more than enough…
Bangkok is a big bustling city so it is inevitably expensive, polluted and populated compared to other Thai cities. Just like many other major cities most people reside in Bangkok to work, work and simply work. To see authentic Thai life i’ll recommend heading to other parts for much longer.
As Bangkok is the international hub of Thailand flights into the city tend to be cheaper than other Thai cities, so using Bangkok as a transit stop for a few days can be a good idea. Also, if you are a shopaholic (no judgement lol) Bangkok’s ‘shopping scene’ is a must see as there are literally shopping malls on every street corner.
2. Bring cash in your home currency
Carry a small amount of Thai Baht with you for the first day or so to avoid changing money at the airport – the rates at the airport are terrible, as expected!
To my surprise the local money exchange vendors had rates that were more favourable than at home in London. I’ll highly recommend using them but be sure to bring CASH in your home currency (or USD) as the vendors do not take debit/credit cards. Be very CAREFUL and ask locals before using a local money exchange vendor as scams are high in SE Asia. However, I did notice that most vendors were trusted and safe in Bangkok.
3. Check your countries VISA requirement
There are a number of countries with a Tourist Visa Exemption into Thailand such as the UK, U.S.A, France and Japan. Nationals of these countries are entitled to entry into Thailand for 30 days without a visa. Make sure you check whether your countries requirement before you travel.
4. Scooter Taxis
If you are adventurous i’ll recommend getting around in a local scooter taxi. They are super cheap, you get to bypass the crazy city traffic and you can find them all around the city! Simply wave at the dude in an orange hi-vis jacket, tell him your destination and hop on. Most of my rides only cost about 40 THB (not even £1)!
5. Bottled water only!
I know you want to fully immerse yourself into local Thai life but don’t even consider drinking the tap water lol! On arrival head to a 7/11 or local mini-mart and stock up on bottled water – they are pretty cheap and you do not need to purchase Evian water (which was about twice the price of the other brands).
Things to do:
6. Don’t forget to bring a change of clothes when visiting temples
Temples are sacred places in Thailand so it is required to cover up upon entry into most temples. Of course the weather is usually roasting in Thailand so simply pack a scarf or some long trousers into your bag to change into before entering the temples. If you happen to forget (as I did) most temples hire/rent clothes to the general public for a small fee or refundable deposit.
7. Get a Thai Massage!
They are everywhere, completely inexpensive and generally good quality! It is very hard to ignore the hundreds of Thai ladies asking “you want Thai massage” so once you’ve given in i’ll recommend the full body Thai massage. 1 hour sessions range from 200-300 THB (£4-7). Foot and back massages are even cheaper!
Small print: Experience a true “non-touristy” massage in a local massage parlour (rather than on the main tourist streets). You are more likely to have a 1 hour massage rather than 45 minutes (they can be cheeky lol).
8. Head to Khao San Road Night Market
I now understand why it’s known as the “backpackers/travellers heaven”. Open daily from about 6pm until the early hours of the morning you’ll find cheap street food, a bunch of buzzing Thai market stalls and pop up style cocktail bars.
Khao San road is a good spot for people watching and they have tons of money exchange vendors here too!
9. Eat lot’s of street food – don’t be scared, it’s delicious (well most lol)!
You never really know if it’s tasty or a “safe” place to eat but I made it out alive so you’ll be just fine lol. If there’s a queue or better yet, if locals are eating from the food vendor you should be OK too!
10. The Grand Palace!
Besides the street food this was my Bangkok highlight! The complex of buildings which once housed Thai Kings is full of stunning mansions, temples and statues.
It is a sacred place so make sure you are covered up (yes even in almost 40 degree heat). You can rent clothes for 200 THB at the palace entrance but I managed to buy over-sized traditional Thai trousers (pictured above) from the local shops right outside the palace for 100 THB.
Admission is 500 THB and you probably won’t regret it.
I hope you jotted down a few tips for your visit to Bangkok/Thailand! As always, do share this post, let me know your thoughts and give me a shout if you have any travel related questions. I’ll be posting 10 tips for Chiangmai next so look out for it!