Bangkok – Thailand’s capital city and travel hub – has become one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, over recent years. Whatever your travel needs and desires, this city has got you covered!
Bangkok is one of the coolest cities in the world, with with a plethora of things to see and do. This post is all about those things and how you can maximise your time and experience in this stunning part of the world.
As with any other trip, you’ve got to be prepared and know what to bring with you.
A good rule for any traveller is to only bring the things that you’re going to need. This means, research what the weather is like, what activities you’re going to be doing, and anything else that may impact what you bring with you.
If possible, try to stick with carry-on luggage only. This may seem extreme, but you’d be amazed at how little you have to bring with you – even if you’re planning to travel for a while.
This will also save you money when booking flights, as you’ll avoid those sneaky additional fees you have to pay for check-in bags. For more info, read my post on How to Travel the World with just a Backpack.
So what do you actually bring with you?
Bangkok has a very hot and humid climate, so you’re going to want to bring hot-weather clothing. A great minimalist travel tip is to bring enough clothes to last you a week, regardless of how long your trip is. So only pack your favourite stuff to wear! You won’t be short on laundry services during your stay. You can wash your clothes without too much trouble, and this is cheap too!
You’ll mainly be wearing flip-flops/sandals but bring one pair of shoes for travelling in. Because you won’t be wearing shoes much, you’ll be fine with just one or two pairs of socks.
Also, think about what toiletries to bring. Bear in mind that most hotels will provide you with some toiletries and often towels too. Maybe look out for these freebies when booking accommodation.
You should also bring some bug spray to help you against the inevitable onslaught of mosquitos!
Just be brutally honest with yourself during the packing stage!
Remember, the lighter your bag, the further you can walk, explore and enjoy your Bangkok experience!
People often wonder if they need a visa when travelling to Thailand.
If you’re from the UK, you can travel to Thailand for a month* with no visa, as long as your passport is valid for at least 6 months.
*They say 1 month, but watch out, this means 28 days! I didn’t realise this when I visited and ended up having to pay a 1000 baht fine for over-staying two days. You will be face a 500 baht (£15) fine for each day you stay past your due date of departure.
This is the case for many other countries but be sure to check anyway.
Always remember to allocate a budget for your trip. Here’s the things you’ll need to account for:
- Flights – A return ticket from Edinburgh to Bangkok will probably cost you between £300-400 (with just hand luggage). I would advise using Skyscanner.
- Daily food budget – Don’t be too harsh here. Thai food is REALLY good!
- Transport – You can usually get a tuk tuk on the cheap.
- Accommodation – This depends on your preference between hotels and hostels or something else like Airbnb or Couchsurfing.
- Activities – Don’t forget about this one!
A great resource to use – to help you get a rough estimate of your daily budget – is budgetyourtrip.com. You can select the part of the world you’re travelling to (Bangkok) and it will give you the average daily cost of travelling there.
Another tip; use a debit card to take money out of an ATM. Also, take a substantial amount out at one time in order to reduce service fees that you’ll be charged each time you use an ATM machine.
Prepare yourself for a variable array of transportation options during your stay in Bangkok.
You might find yourself in a regular taxi cab one day, a moped the next day and then a traditional Tuk Tuk the day after.
Seriously, if you get the chance, ride in a Tuk Tuk. They are insanely fun – especially if you get a driver who likes to race round the streets like a rally driver!
There are a couple of things to be aware of when choosing to ride in a Tuk Tuk:
- Negotiating the price down is acceptable. It helps to know how far away your destination is so you can have a rough idea of how much you’re willing to pay.
- Most of the Tuk Tuk drivers have sponsors (usually tailor shops). They will often try to take you there and get you to buy a suit or something. I know, this sounds weird! Try to avoid this if at all possible, or just go in and out of the shop without buying anything (this happened a couple of times with some pretty persistent drivers).
It is possible to get by in Bangkok, knowing only English, but I would highly recommend learning a few basic words/phrases to use during your trip.
This will make day-to-day interactions a little bit easier, and, people will admire the effort you’ve put in, to try to learn a bit of their language and respect you for that.
Thailand is a Buddhist country, and this is evident pretty much as soon as you get off the plane. There are numerous signs and billboards, informing you about Buddha and how you are not allowed to show disrespect of any kind.
During your stay in Bangkok, you will realise that there are Buddhist temples everywhere. Now, while you are allowed to enter a lot of these, you will have to be respectful at all times and abide by the rules of the temple. This will include taking your shoes off before entering. You will not be allowed in if you are wearing a sleeveless t-shirt or a short skirt, or any other clothing that is viewed as disrespectful.
Keep this in mind when visiting “The Golden Temple (Wat Traimit)” – one of the main tourist attractions in all of Bangkok.
Another aspect of Thai culture – that I touched on earlier – is the subject of haggling/negotiating. Like I said, it’s ok to haggle over a Tuk Tuk price. You can also haggle if you’re at a market.
If you’re looking for a cool market to go to in Bangkok, Khao San Road is probably the most famous one. But, there are so many more spread throughout the city. For example, if you head to Chinatown, there are a number of “hidden” markets, down narrow alleyways that are definitely worth checking out.
To sum up; just be respectful!
P.S. – don’t touch a monk or someone who is praying, as this is illegal!
Thai food is one of my favourite cuisines in the whole world – green curry and pad thai noodles being obvious standouts! You will have no trouble finding delicious spots in Bangkok!
Famous for its street food, you can get some amazing local dishes from stalls and carts dotted around all over the place. Fill up on these cheap, mini, delicious street food dishes while exploring the city’s markets!
If you’re feeling more adventurous however, how about trying an insect of some kind!?
Yes, this is actually an option in Bangkok! Insects will be on sale at a number of the markets you visit. When I was at Khao San Road, I had the pleasure of trying a scorpion on a stick!
If scorpions aren’t your thing, there are other options, including cockroaches, centipedes, flies and a host of other “yummy” choices!
While the food is usually safe to eat, be a little more cautious when it comes to water! Avoid tap water completely, as this is often not safe to drink. People will also tell you to avoid getting ice with your drinks. You may want to air on the side of caution on this one. Personally, I was a bit more relaxed when it came to ice and I was fine!
The most important part! What to do in Bangkok.
Bangkok is such a diverse, vibrant city, overflowing with activities and things to see.
A couple of the more well-known sights and activities are:
- The Floating Market – Located a bit outside the city, the floating market is exactly as the name suggests. You’ll find that a lot of Tuk Tuk drivers offer day trips here and you’ll be able to find one for a decent price. While the market itself is amazing, I strongly advise against elephant riding and any of the other activities (here’s why).
- Khao San Road – This night market is probably the most well-known market in Bangkok. Filled with stalls, bargains, insects to eat as well as plenty of bars, this place can become quite crazy later in the evening.
There is an endless list of things to see and do in Bangkok. Other items that should be on your to-do list:
- The Grand Palace
- The Golden Temple (Wat Traimit)
- Woeng Nakhon Kasem (Thieves Market)
- Siam Paragon (huge shopping centre)
- Getting a Thai Massage
To find out more about these amazing things to do in Bangkok, check out this post.
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