Bangkok – Things To Know Before You Go

written by Hanie Hidayah September 26, 2017

Thailand is one of the most exotic tourist destinations on earth. It’s natural landscape – the inlands and the beaches are the biggest crowd puller but in between those are large developing cities and temples characterised by the people, the culture and the myriad of infrastructures that makes it unique. There’s hardly anywhere else in Southeast Asia that you will find luxury and budget nestling side-by-side with each other which makes Thailand a great destination for all types of tourists. Perhaps you will encounter unpleasant experiences, touts and what not but Thailand is still a crowd-pleaser – it’s relatively affordable to get anywhere and food are just simply amazing. In this post, I’ve broken down the basic things you need to know before heading to Bangkok for the first time.

bangkok

Here are some of the basic things that might help you if you’re heading to Thailand, especially Bangkok for the first time.

When To Go to Bangkok

November – February Cool & Dry, peak tourist season
March – June Hot & Relatively Dry, best for island and beaches
July – October Wet Season

Basics

Currency – Thai Baht (THB)

Language – Thai

Visas – 30-day free visas for arrivals by air, 60-days pre-arranged, 15-30 days (depending on nationality) for land arrivals.

From Airport to City of Bangkok

Suvarnabhumi International Airport

Airport Rail Link

  • Local service – THB 45 (every 15mins from 6am-12am)
  • Express Service – THB 90 (hourly from 6am-12am): Non-stop between airport and Bangkok City Air Terminal.

Local bus – catch the bus to the city via the free shuttle bus from airport to the airport’s public transport centre 3km away. Runs from about 6am – 10pm, fares start from THB 35.

Taxi – There’s always an option for either official airport cab, or the touts waiting outside. You can bargain with the taxis waiting outside the baggage claim and ask for meter but remember that it does not include toll fare and airport surcharge (about THB 100) extra. Most cabs to the city hardly costs more than THB400 with Khao San and Banglampu area being furthest but it also depends on traffic.

Internet or Wifi

Most vacation home rentals/ holiday home rentals and hostels provide free Wifi but that’s not always the case with hotels in Bangkok. Out of 5 hotels I’ve stayed in only 2 on average provides free Wifi. However, SIM cards are widely available in Thailand and they do have data packages for travelers. My favorite is from telco Dtac, in which you can get the traveler starter pack for about THB490 at 7-11s. This telco starter pack also have microsims for iPhones with English instructions.

Thailand happy tourist sim card

If you’re staying longer visit a Dtac store in any of the big malls (we went to the one in Siam Paragon) and bought a two week package as we needed more data for work.

More info on Dtac: http://www.dtac.co.th/en/

Where To Stay in Bangkok

Over the years going back and forth to Bangkok, I’ve stayed in many different places and it really depends on your budget and also your itineraries. However, transportation in Bangkok is ace and finding a place near the BTS Skytrain is easy. You could use HomeAway to find amazing spots within the city (or any cities in the world) to find a home away from your actual home and that’s exactly what we did during our last trip to Bangkok.

– USE THE CODE HomeAwayHanie WHEN YOU BOOK VIA HOMEAWAY –

If you’re in Bangkok to shop, stay in the centre – Most people who go to Bangkok would stay around Pratunam or Siam area as that’s THE place to be if you’re planning to shop your wallet away. There’s the Platinum mall for bargain hunters, Central World for mall-dwellers, the ever luxurious Siam Paragon, the highly curated Siam Discovery and the hip Siam Square. All of these are just around the Siam BTS Skytrain station or just a short walking distance away via the skybridge. If you’re planning to stay here, check out this listing on Homeaway that is just perfect for this. You could even take the train straight from the airport to the station located nearby this listing.

homeaway bangkok homeaway bangkok homeaway bangkok homeaway bangkok

Check out this listing by clicking HERE.

If you’re in Bangkok to explore, stay near a BTS station – We usually find stays around the BTS skytrain stations so we could easily get anywhere in the city.  Uber and taxis can be more comfortable but the ride could take really long as the traffic in Bangkok can be notorious at most times of the day. BTS Skytrains are the easiest option and is first-timer friendly. Check out this beautiful spot that is near the Siam BTS station, as well as within walking distance to the main shopping area in Siam. They’re even offering a free airport pick up if you stay more than three nights (which is very, very likely).

homeaway bangkok homeaway bangkok homeaway bangkok

Check out this listing by clicking HERE.

If you’re on a budget – Most backpackers stay in Khao San road but if facing drunk crowds on a nightly basis (and considering that it’s out of the way from any skytrain) is not your cup of tea, there are plenty other more convenient places on HomeAway that is not overly expensive. Budget stays for a private room in Bangkok could cost slightly over RM100 (depending on exchange rates) but it’s still a very decent price to pay for privacy and cleanliness. Here’s my choice of stay if I were on a budget whilst traveling in Bangkok.

homeaway bangkok homeaway bangkok homeaway bangkok homeaway bangkok

Check out this listing by clicking HERE.

If you’re looking for privacy – Check out this listing on HomeAway that has a private pool on it’s own! It’s definitely more luxe than the other listings I’ve mentioned above but if you’re looking to enjoy your stays in, this is definitely THE spot to book whilst you’re in Bangkok. It’s the only spot in Bangkok that has a private pool overlooking the city, in case you’d want to wind down after a day out with a glass of wine and your partners or friends. It’s also located in Thong Lor, one of the hippest areas in Bangkok right now with all the well-known cafes, restaurants and bars within walking distance. Note that even when the price per night seems a little steep, this apartment could fit 4 people comfortably so to be fair, it’s actually pretty affordable for such luxury.

homeaway bangkok homeaway bangkok homeaway bangkok homeaway bangkok

Check out this listing by clicking HERE.

If you’re traveling in a group – My last stay in Bangkok I booked a place via HomeAway that could fit up to 6 people comfortably. It’s a landed property located in Phloen Chit area – a short 5 minutes walk to the BTS Skytrain and surrounded by restaurants, convenience stores and also massage parlours just literally doors away! I loved that our group of friends could go out and explore together or separately and hang out at the common areas together at the end of the night in this home. The listing looked exactly as per photos and it’s even cosier than I thought it’d be. The manager of the property was so accommodating that she bought some essentials – food, snacks, juices and even alcohol for us to enjoy during our stay. There were even yoga mats, a foosball table, playing cards and private bathrooms in each rooms so we’d have privacy even whilst staying with a group of people.

Homeaway bangkok homeaway bangkok homeaway bangkok homeaway bangkokhomeaway bangkok

Check out this listing by clicking HERE.

Bangkok Transportation

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BTS skywalk, a convenient way to avoid motor traffic

BTS Skytrain – is the main transportation choice amongst the locals as well as travelers. They’re on point, takes you to most parts of Bangkok and it’s conveniently affordable. The only downside is the high amount of human traffic during peak hours and having to prepare coins to buy the passes (some popular BTS have coin changers).

Taxi – Taxis are also a common mode of transport in Bangkok. Contrary to certain parts of Southeast Asia, most taxis in Bangkok are safe and affordable as they run on meters. Make sure you ask if the taxi uses a meter before you hop in as I would suggest to avoid haggling. The only downside to this is that it might bring you through the insane peak traffic in Bangkok.

Uber – Uber is also a growing trend in Bangkok, although based on our experience it takes a while for Uber to arrive due to traffic. It is also, however a safe, cashless option if you’re heading to certain parts of Bangkok that you’re unsure of (or in our case, can’t pronounce).

Tuk-tuk – Although tuk tuks are synonym with Bangkok, I would personally suggest against taking a tuk-tuk. Most of these drivers get commission for bringing you around to tourist traps and we’ve heard plenty of horror stories to even begin. I’ve had pleasant encounters on a tuk-tuk, but as I look more local than a Westerner I am more unlikely to get cheated on. That does not make anyone safe from these touts, though as my Asian friend was once brought to a dodgy jewelry store and foreced to buy things before being left by a roadside in the middle of nowhere. When in doubt, skip the tuk-tuk (and they charge you higher than a taxi would).

Motorbikes for hire – Like Indonesians, local Thais rides bikes-for-hire where they get quick rides from riders to their destination. The only downside to this is that deals are done mostly in local languages. However, Uber is supposedly introducing this service in Bangkok (Ubermoto) so hopefully this would be a good alternative for single travelers.

Things To Do in Bangkok

I’ve also compiled based on my experience, things you could do in Bangkok. Click the photo below or HERE to be redirected to the article.

click to view article - Things To Do in Bangkok

click to view article – Things To Do in Bangkok

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