Need To Know
Practical information & general advice to prepare your trip
Bangkok is a beautiful city, but it can be hard to open up for tourists... However, I'm sure you'll get to love and understand it! It has so many different things to see and do that noone could get bored here, although it may seem that there are not many 'tourist attractions' like in other big touristic cities. Explore the streets, markets, food stalls, parks, monuments and everything the city has to offer and you'll get a true feeling of what this city is about. Enjoy!!
Bangkok uses Thai Baht. EUR 1 = 33.6 THB. You could always download a Money Converter App on your phone to make sure prices aren't too high.
As in any touristic city, there are lots of pickpockets, so be aware of your belongings at all times. However, if you're careful there's no more danger than in other places. (Of course this doesn't apply to more sordid places in Bangkok (prostitution, drugs, ...), but you won't be near there)
Caution: As a tourist they will try to scam you almost every time, bargaining will be part of your day to day. It's basic, a must. Prices will be higher almost everywhere, especially in tuk-tuks, motorcycles, taxi-boats and markets. Make it as if it were a game, in which every day you will be better, set yourself challenges ;). It's difficult to give advice but in transport try to get down to half of the first price they offer.
Dress code: Make sure to dress properly when visiting temples: covered shoulders and legs.. I recommend having a light shirt to throw on and a long skirt or pants is best. They do provide a cover-up at some temples for visitors who are not dressed appropriately.
Directions: it's always good to have your desired destination written in Thai lettering. Many thais don't speak English and they don't always understand the names written with our alphabet.
There is really no bad time to visit Bangkok, it is hot all year round. There are three main 'seasons':
The hottest season, which runs from March to June, with April typically being the hottest month. The rainy season runs from July through October, expect rain on most days. Thunderstorms can appear suddenly and unleash huge amounts of water that leave the streets completely flooded. The most comfortable season in the city is between November and February. The city is still very hot, but there are some days when the temperature dips into the 70s.
One amazing characteristic of Bangkok is that you'll find something open at any time of the day!
Temples tend to open every day from 8:30 to 17:30, each of them vary a little bit.
Shopping malls generally open from 10:00 to 22:00.
Restaurants are the ones that vary the most depending on each one. Some open early at 6:00, some at noon until midnight and some are open all day long. Bars tend to open from 20:00 to 1:00 and longer during the weekend.
The BTS sky train has stops in most of the tourist destinations. It has 2 lines: Sukhumvit line and Silom line. It’s relatively cheap. You can buy a card and top it up in the stations depending on how much you’ll use it or you can buy a day pass (only worth it if you’ll use it a lot).
The MRT is the metro. It has its own card and you can also buy single tickets.
Buses: they are not advisable because they often take a while to get to destination due to heavy traffic. However, they are cheaper than the other public transport options. To pay there are two possibilities: either the driver will receive it or there’s a person that will collect the payment from your seat.
Taxi: Demand the taximeter to be set, if not just get off and try another one. For 100 Baths you cover an important distance. Sometimes taxi drivers will refuse to take passengers because of the destination and decide they don’t want to drive there. It’s not personal, although it can get frustrating. Other drivers may refuse to turn on the meter. Keep trying until you get a taxi for a price that works for you.
Moto Taxi: during many times of the day it is ideal since in Bangkok the traffic is horrible and the motorcycle easily gets through. It’s also cheaper than taxis, for a short distance (1-2km) you should be charged around 30 Baht.
Grab taxi: it’s a ride sharing app like Uber or Cabify. You have to download the app and call the ride whenever you want to, with a set price. You can call either a car or a moto taxi, the last one being cheaper and better for single riders.
Tuk-Tuk: they don’t have many advantages over taxis, but it’s a bit more fun for short distances (1-2 km, 50 Baht approx.). Always negotiate the price and beware if they offer you one that’s too low, they will take you away to buy something and if you don’t buy they’ll charge a lot to return.
Chao Phraya Express Boats: If you move around the temple area near the river it's a good option. You pay based on distance.
Long tail boats: The water tuk-tuks. You have to negotiate, I recommend it only for the visit to the klongs.
Hop-on Hop-off Boat Chao Phraya River: this boat allows you to get on and off at any of its 9 piers along the river, with stops that include Wat Arun and Pak Klong Taladd. The price goes from €5.94 for one day. You can check more details and buy tickets here.
Here are some words in Thai language in case you want to make locals smile. Men use the Kráp version and women the Ká version:
Hi! – Sàwatdii Kráp/Ká!
Good morning – Arun sàwat
Thanks – Khop khun Kráp/Ká
You're welcome, it doesn't matter – Mâi pen rai Kráp/Ká
How are you? – Sàbai dii mái Kráp/Ká?
I'm fine – Sàbai dii Kráp/Ká
I'm not good – Mai sabai Kráp/Ká
What's your name? – Khun chû arai Kráp/Ká?
My name is – Phǒm/Chǎn chû …
I dont understand – Mâi kao-chai
Good luck! – Chôk dii Kráp/Ká/Ná
Yes – Chai
No – Mâi chai
Not so spicy - ped nig noi crap
Not spicy - mai ped crap
There are different ways to get from Suvarnabhumi international airport to the city center:
The cheapest way: Public Transport
Airport Rail Link: It takes about 40 min. to get to central Bangkok. At Makkasan or Phaya Thai stations you can connect with the BTS and MRT systems. Not advisable if you have a lot of luggage because it get pretty crowded at rush hour and you'll have to walk for a while for the connections. The price is between 15-45 baht depending on your destination.
Buses: there are several bus lines that get to the city center, but they are very slow and get really crowded. They cost a flat fare of 35 Baht.
The cheapest door-to-door option: Shared Shuttle
With this service you'll have a private transport shared with other passengers. The cost depends on where you're going, but calculate from € 12.36 per person, and the time depends on whether the van is full of passengers or not, and if you're the first ones to be dropped off or the last ones. You can book a shared shuttle through this link.
The most comfortable door-to-door option: Private Transfer
Taxis: you can get a taxi either from the terminal building or from the Public Transportation Center (10 min away from the terminal with a free shuttle bus). There's often a huge queue of people waiting for a taxi, so I would suggest booking a private car beforehand. The trip will take from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the traffic and your destination. Also, besides what the taximeter sums up, you'll have to add a 50 baht airport surcharge.
If you book the Private Transfer service you'll have a driver waiting for you at the Arrivals Hall to take you directly to your accomodation. The price depends on how many people there's in the group and the luggage, but calculate around €30 per group of up to 2 people. It takes around 1 hour to get to destination. You can book a car in this link.
With this pass you can choose 3 or 5 attractions from a list of 15 sites, including a Chao Phraya Cruise, a Muay Thai live show, SEA LIFE Bangkok, Siam Niramit Bangkok and Dream World Bangkok. Specially good if you're traveling with kids. The price goes from €63.08 per pass. You can check out more details and buy the pass in this link.
Probably the most famous movie set in Bangkok is "The Hangover 2". The city also appears at the beginning of the film "The Beach" with Leonardo DiCaprio and in "The belly of the beast". Some parts of Bangkok also appear in "All I see is you" and the sequel of Bridget Jones' Diary.
Have you just started to plan your trip? Too many things to decide? Too long do it all by yourself? Special needs or wishes? Then, you should plan your trip with a local to get tailored travel plans & advices.