Hello lovelies, it’s my first ever travel guide. I’ve spent the past five days exploring the crazy city that is Bangkok, let’s just say it’s been a roller coaster of a first destination on my travels. From delicious food and amazing temples, to police disasters and expensive beer. I’ll share with you my experience of Bangkok, what to do and how to do it!
Flights from the uk average between £400 and £1000 for a return all depending on where you’re flying from. For a direct flight between £250 and £700, again depending on where your flying from. I flew with Air India, the flight was packed. The food was very average and would highly recommend going with someone else if you like having a little room to yourself, I had a random lady sat next to me that thought it was perfectly ok to just fall asleep on me. No. Excuse me. My side. Last year on my trip to Thailand we flew with Qatar Airways which was a very nice, clean and relaxing airline to fly with.
The Sky scanner app is the best to book flights with. It’s super easy to use and very reliable. It took two flights to get to Bangkok, one which was 8 hours long and the second which was 5 hours long. Safe to say I had a numb bum all the way through both.
Where to stay?
Bangkok has some great modes of public transport and it’s a good idea to make sure your staying near one. Bangkok is massive and it takes forever to walk anywhere. So ensuring there is a train/met/boat stop next to or easily accessible from your location will make your stay a whole lot easier.
I used air BnB to book my apartment, it was literally on the door step of the ferry taxi and only cost me £20 a night. Our host was lovely. He gave us bread, eggs, butter, water, and soft drinks which was super cute. The apartment was in JC Tower which was in short walking distance of bars and restaurants whilst also managing to be nice and secluded from noisey night life.
Other great apps to use for booking hotels and apartments is Booking.com This is great for cancellations and paying when you arrive.
How to get around?
There’s so many different ways to get around Bangkok. You can get taxis, uber, motortaxi’s (motorbike taxi) the sky train or the under ground train, and my favourite the ferry taxi. It’s crazy cheap if you use the public transport and after the first couple of journeys you soon become a pro. It also helps if you have internet on your phone so you can see a map when ever you need it. At the airport they sold sims that had unlimited data on them. These cost about £3/4 for 7 days and we’re totally worth it. Up to 30 days is also available for a little more money, but it’s still super cheap.
The boat taxi was around 10/20 baht which is about 20p/40p. This was pretty mental at first. You basically have about 5 seconds to jump on or off the boat before it takes off again. And trust me you do not want to fall in that river. Its pretty disgusting, so pull up the plastic covers.
The trains were around 30 to 50 baht which is around £1. If your on a budget these are the best modes of transport to get around Bangkok. These were the quickest and smoothest ways of getting around. Very similar to the manchester metrolink…..without the delays.
Taxis are more expensive and the traffic around Bangkok never stops so it was usually easier, quicker and a lot cheaper to just jump on the public transport most of the time. You can grab an uber here which comes in pretty handy if, like me, you have no idea where you’re going. But again the traffic is a big spoiler for this mode of transport.
What to visit?
If your coming to Bangkok, be prepared to shop. The place is filled with markets and shopping centres and after you’ve done a couple you’ve basically done them all. My favourite shopping centre was Union Mall, it was huge and sold everything you could need. Also super cheap prices. Don’t be afraid to barter, I wanted to buy a bag, the original asking price was 2200 baht and it eventually went down to 900 in a matter of seconds. Chatuchak market was amazing. It was filled with 100’s of stalls, selling anything and everything. Another shopping mall to visit is Terminal 21. Each floor is themed as a different country. Towering 9 floors filled with dozens of shops. Its amazing.
For food and drink, don’t bother going to the restaurants. The street food is sooo yummy and a fraction of the price. Be sure to visit some of the night markets for some tasty grub. Top tip, always buy from the stalls that look the busiest because more likely their food will be fresher. They have stuff to suit everyone. You’ll be seriously shocked at how much £2 can get you at a street food stall. Its great.
I found it quite expensive to go out drinking in Bangkok with beers costing the same price they do back home in Manchester but there’s plenty of places to drink here. If your up for a fancy speak easy style cocktail bar head to down The Rabbit Hole, but you’ll have to keep your eyes pealed because it’s not easily spotted.
For a nice little break away from all the madness visit Lumpini park and Chatuchak park. Both adorned with flowers, trees and lakes. An extra treat in Lumpini park is the giant monitor lizards, averaging around 3ft in length and having nothing better to do with their time than just chill. You’ll find the locals participating in an array of activities on the parks. Including Thai Chi, Meditating, Charity runs etc. Its very fun to ‘people watch’ here, if you’re into that.
Head towards the palace and explore the area, there’s loads of temples and old school shops. I decided not to go in the palace, one because it costs 500baht and two because apparently travellers had waited hours to get in. But we visited the famous reclining Buddha which was huge. There’s also lots of temples that are free to explore if you just have a wonder around.
Things to look out for
All bars and restaurants charge a mandatory 10% service charge.
Always carry your passport with you. The police will be looking for any way to get some money out of you. Me and Matt learnt the hard way and were threatened to be taken to the police station if we did not ‘support the local police fund’. After much manly arguing, Matt paid them 500baht and they finally let us go. This really ruined Bangkok for us, so be on the look out.
Be weary of tuk tuk drivers around the site seeing spots. They will tell you that you can’t visit the temples and sites till 1pm because it’s ‘Buddha day’, this isn’t true just say bye and be on your way. Tuk tuk drivers will tell you that they can take you round all the sites but will more than likely take you to a load of shops where they get a kick back on anything you purchase in them. Best option is to just walk around. Everything is within a 15 minute walk of each other for the main sites.
The pollution is really bad. Forget about getting a sun tan here, the sky’s are filled with pollution which dims visibility of the city.
The traffic is insane. Imaging the 5pm rush hour all day every day. That’s Bangkok for you. It’s terrible so take that into consideration when figuring out where you’re going. See if you can opt for the trains or boats, they’re much cheaper and faster. Oh and less likely to try and scam you.
I personally wouldn’t go back to Bangkok now that I’ve been. If your visiting, honestly, don’t stay there longer than 3 days otherwise you’ll just be wasting money. I had fun exploring Bangkok and experiencing a different culture but I wouldn’t go back there. So that’s Bangkok What to do and How to do it post. Next stop Chiang Mai.