What to Know Before Traveling to Bangkok
Are you ready for your first trip to Bangkok? Check out these travel tips to make the most out of your stay in a city that offers plenty of adventure.
Bangkok is the most visited city in Thailand. After all, you can go on a cultural trip, explore some fantastic attractions, and participate in the vibrant nightlife, to start with. Every visitor likely has their own reasons for choosing to visit the city.
Like in any other global tourist destination, traveling to Bangkok requires some preparation for a hassle-free trip. Here are some of the dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
Tourist Price vs. Local Price
The concept of tourist prices is nothing new for anyone traveling to major cities around the world. As is to be expected, Bangkok is no exception.
You’ll find many touristy parts of town where prices for anything from food to clothing and services can cost three times as much as in other areas.
So, try to explore the city as much as you can to find the best deals. Doing a bit of research online before traveling to Bangkok wouldn’t hurt, either.
Be Mindful of Taxi Drivers
Making your way around the streets of Bangkok City shouldn’t be expensive.
Although it’s against the law for cabbies to take passengers without turning the meter on, many do it, especially when hauling apparent tourists. If your driver doesn’t want to turn on the meter, you can step out. There are plenty of taxis in the city so you won’t have to wait too long to hail a vacant.
There’s also the option to use a taxi app and increase your chances of finding a decent driver.
Get Your Train Tickets
If you want to hit every attraction in and around Bangkok, you’ll need to use the train. Keep in mind that the city has two train lines – the MRT is a subway, while the BTS is a Skytrain.
The BTS Skytrain always has a fixed fare. Meanwhile, ticket prices for a ride on the MRT will vary depending on the passenger’s age. Make sure to invest in a Bangkok map for all train routes to avoid getting lost. It won’t cost you much.
Also, never throw away your ticket. You’ll need it for the entry gate, on the train, and to exit the station once you reach your destination.
Hold On in the Tuk-Tuk
You may not know this, but tuk-tuks are actually pricier than taxis. Despite this, many tourists traveling to Bangkok can’t wait to jump into one of those small three-wheeled vehicles. They look fun and are easier to breathe in than old cabs after all.
That said, you have to negotiate a price before you ride. It can be difficult to avoid a touristy price on a tuk-tuk, but you don’t have to pay a fortune for the experience. Maybe you even can split the cost with other people.
Make sure you hold on tight while on the road. Tuk-tuk drivers aren’t known for impeccable driving skills.
Expect Anything from the Service
The hustle and bustle of Bangkok are now legendary. Tourists and locals alike all seem to be in a rush. But aside from the busy streets, there’s one more thing you should keep in mind…
When dining at a Bangkok restaurant, observe the staff’s behavior. Try to do some research rather than eating out at any random spot.
Unwanted charges on the bill are common in sketchy places. You can end up paying for things you didn’t order or wait a long time before someone brings you your change.
That’s not to say that you can’t find great establishments in the city. It’s just that some of them may have “special” policies for tourists.
Bangkok is Not Pure Thailand
Some people who want to visit Thailand make Bangkok their one-stop-shop. But the city isn’t representative of the whole country. Yes, you can discover most of the country’s culture here but the city is very westernized.
If you want exciting nightlife action while on vacation and some things that remind you of home, then Bangkok is a great destination for you. Just don’t judge the entire country by the clash of cultures you’ll find in the capital city.
For all its quirks, the city isn’t really expensive for most western tourists. That said, when traveling to Bangkok, remember that local ATMs charge a lot.
It’s best to use your credit card wherever you can to avoid hefty fees. Another good idea is to take out as much cash as you can so you won’t have to pay for multiple transactions.
If you need to make a withdrawal, getting your money from ATMs inside bank branches is less risky than street ATMs.
The Best Food is Not at Your Bangkok Hotel
Granted, there are plenty of high-end hotels in Thailand’s capital city. But if you’re traveling on a budget, odds are you’ll want to stay at an affordable place.
And if that’s the case, here’s another budget tip: don’t waste your money on meals. Some of the most delicious food in Bangkok is out on the streets. You’ll easily find authentic yet cheap dishes in various markets across the city.
It’s Safe, but You Should Still Keep Your Guard Up
There’s not a lot of aggressive crime in Bangkok. It’s a relatively safe city, certainly safer than many US cities. And yet, everyone knows that pickpockets thrive in the hustle and bustle of this tourist destination.
Pricing scams aside, pay attention to your belongings and you’ll be fine. Other than that, there’s nothing that should have you too worried.
When to Visit
Like the rest of Thailand, Bangkok’s weather is tropical. You can visit all year round and enjoy the warmth if you don’t mind the humidity and rain.
According to the locals and most tourists, the cool season that runs from November through February is the best time to visit.
Temperatures still average around 82 degrees F, but what makes a big difference is that these are the driest months of the year. This means you’ll only have to contend with sporadic showers. Therefore, exploring on foot is quite pleasant this time of the year.
An Affordable and Exciting Destination
Is Bangkok the best city in Thailand? It can be for many tourists – it always depends on what you expect to find.
Make no mistake – it has no shortage of cultural and historical wonders. But it’s also a more modern and vibrant destination, which is why many prefer to make it their go-to spot in the country.