There’s a reason Bangkok was the most visited city in 2016, it’s an amazing city!
I’ve traveled to Bangkok 4 different times and still can’t get enough of it.
Thailand’s capital is southeast Asia’s most enigmatic city, a head-on clash between tradition and modernity. First time visitors may be a little taken back by the concrete canyons and futuristic, billboard covered skyscrapers, but take a few steps away from the main roads into one of the city’s countless alleys and traditional Thai culture is everywhere; an urban cornucopia of smells, tastes, sounds and sights that one is unlikely to forget.
Bangkok has 2 international airports, the main one being Suvarnabhumi Airport which is also known for being South-east Asia’s busiest international airport. The fastest, most efficient way to get to the city would be by the Airport Rail Link to avoid the horrendous traffic the city often experiences. The non-stop express line brings you directly to either Makkasan or Phaya Thai station in 15/18min for 90 baht($2.70 USD) one way, with plenty of space for luggage. Express trains leave Suvarnabhumi Airport every 20-30 minutes, but check the destination: Phaya Thai offers an easy transfer to the Skytrain whereas Makkasan station is technically at walking distance of Phetchaburi MRT station. The slightly slower City Line is a commuter rail line that stops at all stations. Trains leave every 15min and cost 35 baht($1.05 USD). Given the fact that it runs more frequently, the City Line may effectively bring you to your destination sooner than the Express Line. Metered taxis are also available and reasonably priced but it is advised to avoid it during the peak hours as Bangkok’s traffic can leave you on the road for easily up to a few hours!(30-40 minutes without traffic). English is understood at the airport’s Public Taxi desk but I would recommend for you to have the address of your accommodation with a map printed in Thai as well. However, I would take Uber instead which is cheaper and they know exactly where you are going, and to get to the center of Bangkok will only be about $10.50 USD.
Currency And Weather
Currency: Thai Baht (THB, ฿). THB100 is roughly USD 2.95
Modes of payment: Cash. Although some restaurants and hotels accept credit cards, smaller establishments prefer cash.
Electricity Info: 220V. The most common socket type accepts both two flat. Many Thai outlets will take an American 2 prong bladed plug.
*Graph from the World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal
Rainy season is from May to October, but the wettest months are September-October.
The peak season, which has the pleasant weather, begins in November and ends in April, during Songkran Festival (Thai New Year, April 13-15).
How To Stay Connected In Bangkok
I personally use T-Mobile which works perfectly fine all over Bangkok and Thailand. However, if you don’t have international service or want faster service here’s a few options.
You have two options: 4G Pocket Wifi and 3G/4G Sim Card.
4G Pocket Wifi. You’ll find many pocket wifi rental booths around Bangkok, but if you want to stay connected from the get-go, you can reserve one in advance via Klook and just pick it up at the airport. Klook’s 4G Pocket Wifi provides hi-speed internet provided by AIS that can be used anywhere in Thailand.
- Connect up to 10 devices at once, which is great if you’re traveling with a group because you could just split the cost.
- Pick up and drop off at a 24-hour booth at Suvarnabhumi Airport or Don Muang Airport, so make sure you get it upon arrival.
- Inclusive of a power bank that can last 6-8 hours on top of the 8-10 hour battery life of the WiFi device.
3G/4G Sim Card. Klook’s Local 3G/4G SIM card allows internet connection anywhere in Thailand.
- Pick up at Suvarnabhumi Airport or Don Muang Airport.
- Unlimited data for 7 days anywhere in Thailand (64kbps after the first 2.5GB)
- Inclusive of THB100 call credits
Bangkok hotels range from luxury international chains to one-off boutiques with only a few rooms. However, choosing the one that perfectly lives up to your expectations depends very much on the purpose of your visit. Business travelers will feel right at home at one of the high-end hotels in Ploenchit-Chidlom and Sukhumvit areas, while enthusiastic shoppers might want to stay in or nearby Siam, where glittering mega-malls are just a few steps away from the hotel’s doorstep. Khao San and Silom are the epicenters of Bangkok’s pulsating nightlife scene and both offer an extensive lineup of hotels that cater to a wide range of budgets. If culture and history is a major part of your trip, then stay close to the riverside for easy access to the Old City’s attractions, including Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Arun, the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.
My personal recommendation is the Somerset Ekamai. A 5-star hotel with rooms around $35 USD a night with awesome city views. Bangkok also has really nice private room hostels low as $8-$12 USD a night with breakfast included.
Thai Street Food
Bangkok street food is known worldwide, not only in Bangkok is known as the outdoor dining capital of Asia for good reason, the street food you will find in Bangkok is nothing less than jaw dropping, taste bud popping and flat out amazing.
When you visit this fascinating city, your trip will not be complete if you don’t sit down a plastic stool under the wide open sky and chow down on Thai street food on a makeshift table and experience an explosion of exciting flavors. Whether you’re a foodie or not.
What makes Thai cuisine special is the blend of sweet, sour, salty, and spices. The spiciness of Thai dishes is balanced out by sweet basil, lemon grass, galingale, roots, and grasses.
Bangkok street food can be found in various places: roadside carts, in markets stalls, or in shops. Normally the freshest and cleanest ones are in the busy areas. However, there’s some very eccentric eats as well.
Nightlife In Bangkok
Forget about Vegas! If there’s one city that will feed your thirst for debauchery, hunger for entertainment and sense of adventure. What happens in Bangkok, stays in Bangkok is what I was told.
Bangkok has one the greatest nightlife in the world for the common man. Outside of being asked how do they treat black people and do you really get happy endings after a massage, has to be how’s Bangkok night life.
Bangkok have four big nightlife areas located at different places in the city.
Bangkok Nightlife Areas
1: Khaosan Rd (My favorite)
2: Sukhumvit Rd
5: Rod Fai Marked 2
Different nightlife areas attract different types of people. While Sukhumvit Rd attracts mostly men because of the red-light districts, Khaosan Rd attracts a younger generation of tourists that just want to party hard and have fun. Khaosan Rd is packed with tourists from all over the world 365 days of the year. Khaosan Rd is especially popular for backpackers, both men, and women.
Khaosan Rd is party-hard from sunset to sunrise.
The street is packed with bars, many of them with live music playing popular music from the America. After midnight the street is usually packed with drunk tourists dancing in the street.
How to get there:
If you are not staying near Khaosan Rd a few ways to get here is by Uber, taxi or tuk-tuk. There is no Skytrain or metro line that goes to this area of Bangkok.
Sukhumvit Rd is probably the most known nightlife area of Bangkok. You’ll find everything here. Beer bars, nightclubs, two of BKK’s most well known red light districts and a countless number of restaurants and massage shops. Most of the nightlife at Sukhumvit, especially from Nana to Phrom Phong, is catering to foreign men from 20-60 years old.
Nana – Nana is located at the beginning of Sukhumvit road. Nana Plaza is filled with 20-30 bars and a handful of beer bars.
The best way to get to Nana is to take the BTS Skytrain to Nana station.
Asoke – Just one BTS station down the road you’ll find another avenue of nightlife, Asoke. Here you will find one of Bangkok’s most famous red-light districts, Soi Cowboy. Just as Nana Plaza, it houses around 20-30 bars + some beer bars and restaurants on the corners of the street.
Phrom Phong – Just one BTS station down the road from Asoke. You have Phrom Phong. A handful of bars and karaoke bars.
RCA or Royal City Avenue is a nightlife area that is mostly catering to Thai people. You will find a handful of high-end nightclubs and a lot of bars here.
Even tho this area is catering to Thai people, foreigners are also welcome. What is good about this place is that the people are authentic.
How to get there:
Take the MRT to Phra Ram 9. Then walk to exit number 2. Take a Uber, taxi, or tuk-tuk from there to RCA.
Asiatique The Riverfront is located alongside Chao Phraya River (the biggest river through Bangkok).
This avenue seems to be catering mostly to Thai, but I have seen some tourists here too. For some reason, The locals seem to really enjoy this place. It’s open from 5 pm until midnight. There are some small roof bars also with a nice view and live music.
The Avenue also has a pretty big Ferris wheel and some other minor amusement park like facilities. The Ferris wheel costs 300 baht.
How to get there:
The easiest way to get here is to take the BTS Skytrain to Saphan Taksin station. From there on there is a free shuttle boat that will take you to Asiatique. The boat goes every 10 minutes.
Rod Fai Night Market 2
This area I’ve just found out about, and I actually love it. It’s similar to RCA, but instead of nightclubs and expensive drinks, it’s just a street filled with small cozy bars that sell mostly beer. All bars have small rooftops where you can look down to the main street while enjoying your food and drink.
There are around 20-30 bars on this street packed together.
How to get there:
To get here you have to take the MRT to Thailand Cultural Center, then you walk to exit number 3. When you exit you walk take left, then the bar street is behind the first big shopping mall with the name Esplanade Shopping Mall. *Closed on Mondays*
Top Places To Visit In Bangkok
If you only visit one major historical tourist attraction in Bangkok, this should be the one. The royal compound lives up to its name, with spectacular structures that would put the most decadent modern monarchs to shame. It’s also the home of Wat Phra Kaeo, which houses the Jade (or Emerald), Buddha.Built in 1782, the grand palace was the royal residence for generations and is still used for important ceremonies and accommodating heads of state. Dress modestly when visiting the Grand Palace, which basically means covering your arms and legs.
Hours: 8:30am-3:30pm daily
Admission: 500 baht
Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon
Located immediately south of the Grand Palace precinct, Wat Pho makes an excellent addition to your tour, provided your feet are up for more walking. Also known as or Wat Chetuphon, the temple was built by King Rama I and is the oldest and in Bangkok. It has long been considered a place of healing and was famous centuries ago for its pharmacy and as Thailand’s first “university,” both established by King Rama III. You can get a Thai or foot massage at the traditional medical school on the premises, but the prices are significantly higher than what you will find at massage parlors elsewhere in the city.
Today Wat Pho is best known for the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, where you’ll find a statue so big (45 m long and 15 m high), it cannot be viewed in its entirety only appreciated in sections. The soles of the feet, inlaid with a myriad of precious stones, are particularly interesting with the 108 signs of true faith. Also look for the long earlobes signifying noble birth, and the lotus-bud configuration of the hand to symbolize purity and beauty.
Hours: 8:30am-6pm daily
Admission: 100 baht
Address: 2 Sanamchai Road, Grand Palace Subdistrict, Pranakorn District
Wat Arun is something of a triumphant complex, dating back to ancient battles between the former Siam and Burma. Having fallen to the Burmese, Ayutthaya was reduced to rubble and ashes. But General Taksin and the remaining survivors vowed to march “until the sun rose again” and to build a temple there. Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, was that temple. It is where the new king later built his royal palace and a private chapel.
If you climb to the top of the prang just before sunset, you will be rewarded with a dope view as the sun sinks over the Chao Praya River.
Hours: 8:30am-5:30pm daily
Admission: 20 baht
Location: Arun Amarin Rd
Apart from its delightful architecture, this temple boasts some exceptionally interesting wall paintings. Wat Suthat is less popular than some of the other temple complexes in the city, so you’ll enjoy a more peaceful and intimate experience here.
Hours: 8:30am-9:00pm daily
Admission: 20 baht
Location: Bamrung Muang Road, Sao Chingcha, Phra Nakhon
National Museum & Wang Na Palace
Until the mid-1970s, this was Thailand’s only museum, which explains why its collection is so big. Fortunately, just about every exhibit is labeled in Thai and English and guided tours are also offered in English, so you won’t miss out on any of the country’s fascinating ancient and contemporary history.
The old Wang Na Palace built by Rama I remains essentially as it was, and stands as a testament to Thai history. Visitors can see regalia, religious and ceremonial artifacts, ceramics, games, weaponry, musical instruments and the Viceroy’s throne, as well as an impressive collection of Buddha figures arranged according to period.
Location: Na Phra That Road, Bangkok
Hours: 8:00 am.- 5:00 pm
Admission: 40 baht
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
The outside towers and walls show an elaborate intertwining of Hindu deities, and the footpaths surrounding the temple burst with vendors selling flower garlands and fruit to be offered to a sacred image of the mother goddess.
The temple is dedicated to Maha Mariamman (aka Maha Devi), the female creator/destroyer goddess who is also believed to have the power to protect against disease and misfortune.
Location: Corner of Silom Road and Pan Road
Hours: 6am-12am. 4:30pm-9pm
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
For an even more interesting market experience, you can visit Damnoen Saduak, a famous floating market located in Ratchaburi (about 1.5 hours outside Bangkok). The popularity of floating markets once earned Bangkok the nickname “Venice of the East”, bear in mind that this has now become something of a tourist trap. However, you will still be able to buy fresh and delicious foods and interact with locals in an authentic way.
Lumpinee Stadium-Muay Thai
Prior to my accident, I was training to do a Muay Thai fight in Thailand and still contemplating it. Muay Thai, also know as the art of eight limbs, is the national sport of Thailand, and the Thais themselves are immensely proud of it. Unlike boxing with its two points of contact, the fists, the fighters use their elbows, legs, shins, and feet just as much as their fists.
Lumpinee Stadium is located at Lumpini Park. This stadium is one of the most well known of all the Muay Thai stadiums in Bangkok. Due to its popularity, this stadium can get very busy and very loud. But it’s all part of the atmosphere.
Fight nights take place on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6.30p.m, on Saturday afternoons between 5 and 8 p.m. and Saturday nights from 8.30p.m onward.
Top 6 Scams in Bangkok
1. The Grand Palace is Closed Scam – This scam can happen near any tourist attraction but still happens a lot outside the Grand Palace. As you approach, someone will tell you that the palace is closed for various reasons. Ignore them as you will end up in either a gem store or a tailor shop.
2. Thai Gem Scam – If you are not an expert on gems then I strongly urge you not to take the word of other people on how much money you can make if you sell these gems on return to your home country. People are losing a lot of money every day. Don’t make the mistake that you are different.
3. Wrong Change Scam – A common scam at places like 7-Eleven and Family Mart in tourist areas is to give you change as if you gave them a 500 baht note instead of a 1,000 baht note. Many tourists are not familiar with Thai money and often give the wrong money or don’t notice that their change is incorrect. Most shops will say out loud the denomination of any paper money you give them. Check your change!
4. Ping Pong Show Scam – Don’t believe the touts outside who say free sex shows and drinks for only 100 baht each. You will end up paying a bill in the thousands. Stay clear if you are alone as they can turn violent if you refuse to pay.
5. Airport Taxi Scam – Official looking touts will pretend that they are meter taxis and tell you that it is 500-1000 baht to go into town. The meter taxi outside is less than half this. The police have tried to crack down on them but they are back. Ignore anyone who asks if you want a taxi. The real taxi drivers are waiting outside by their cars.
6. Lady Boys- Self-explanatory; Beware.
Please remember, most scammers are successful because they play on the greed of their victims. If something is too good to be true then it probably is. As kind as Thai people are, they are also very shy. Thai people are not normally so forward. However, please give them the benefit of the doubt, but be wary of any unsolicited help.
Hopefully, these tips and recommendations will help make your Bangkok trip awesome.
Just remember to take the same safety precautions as you would back home.
*This blog is my personal recommendations. However, I’ve linked a PDF Bangkok guide for additional recommendations and ideas. Enjoy! Click → Bangkok PDF Guide