A Brief Guide to Bangkok
How will I get by in Bangkok you’re thinking? What do I do? Where do I stay? How do I get there in the first place? These are all valid questions and hopefully I can help you out with this. The city can be very overwhelming, and this isn’t just because of its massive 11 million people. The sights, the heat, sounds, the smells are all attacking the senses the minute you arrive. But you didn’t go all the way to Bangkok to sit in the airport.
Here is your fast-track first timers guide to Thailand’s Capital, Bangkok
POPULATION: 8.6 Million
LANGUAGE: Thai, Chinese and English
DOLLAR: Thai Baht
CLIMATE: Tropical Monsoon Climate (July-October is rainy season)
CITY MOTTO: “Same same but different”
“Glorious as if created by angels…”
A SPLASH OF SUMMER’S GUIDE TO BANGKOK
International visitors to Thailand will be pleased to know most nationalities do not need a visa if they plan to stay less than thirty days. Here is a full list of countries exempted from a visa in Thailand.
Bangkok has two airports: Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and Don Muang Airport (DMK). Suvarnabhumi is the main International airport while Don Muang is for air lines such as Air Asia and Tigerair. Both airports are approximately 30 kilometres from the city and transport time depends majorly on traffic. There is a free bus between both the airports but it is slow and on a good day it will take 50 minutes. Although it is crowded and everyone is very pushy so unless you want to wait another 15 minutes+ you should do your best to get on the first one.
There is various public transport options to get to the city but the most popular are Airport Rail Link or taxi (the fares are worth considering if there is multiple of you) but my recommendation is choose based on your time of day. If you are arriving during peak traffic hours the Airport Rail link will allow a fast express commute to the city. But my advise is to take time to make sure you know where to get off and how to use the rail system.
The metro system is manageable and efficient, making it the most popular method of transport around the city if covering large areas. Walking around the city is alright if you don’t mind humidity, We managed 30 minutes without collapsing in a pile of sweat. but this was in the warmer months with packs on our backs. Tuk-tuks and taxis are also another popular way to get around for travellers, though looks for a meter in the taxis and either method expect to barter you prices lower than the standard tourist fee they charge. We has to barter a full 10 minutes after our driver couldn’t find our accommodation (address and all) after confirming yes he did know where it was and dropped us back in the same place he picked us up from. We didn’t want to pay a thing but he refused to let our packs out of the boot of the car without payment.
First time visiting a South East Asian country? Expect some culture shock! nearly everything is exciting, strange and new. This included the culture, customs, foods, smells, language and people. Thai is the official language and most people within the tourism industry can speak moderate to limited English. Out of respect I always try learn a few phrases although I am commonly laughed at with my poor attempts:
Excuse Me, Sorry: Kha-Toor
WHAT TO DO:
Although I was limited with a bad case of food poisioning I have collated a list of to do’s in Bangkok.
Grand Palace and Wat Prakaew, Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn), The Floating Markets, Wat Pho (Old Town) and China Town.
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK:
Markets are the key: Rod Fai market, Flower Market and Papaya Vintage Stop.
Central World Siam, Siam Paragon, MBK, Terminal 21, and Central Embassy.
WHAT TO EAT AND DRINK:
This can be entirely up to you, everything is flavoursome and exciting on the palette in Thailand. There is mixtures of spicy, sweet and sour in most dishes. My personal favourites to always try are Pad Thai, Massaman Curry, Gaeng Daeng (Red Curry), Som Tum (Papaya Salad), Kai Med Ma Muang (Chicken cashew nut) and of course Spring rolls.
If you are planning an upcoming trip to Thailand feel free to ask any questions!