One night in Bangkok and the world is your Oyster…. Right? According to Murray Hill, Yep! Annually Bangkok has more visitors than it does locals, but it still manages to keep its authentic Thai charm, so you’ll definitely feel like you’re immersed in the authentic culture. A few tips to keep on hand from the experts to make your Thailand experience unforgettable:
Bangkok has two airports: BKK (Suvarnabhumi) or DMK (Don Mueang International). Both are extremely tourist friendly! (DO pass through customs and DO collect your passport stamp!)
Before leaving the airport:
-Visit an information kiosk located just beyond customs and ask for the WiFi info. Connect to the internet before you leave the airport, grab that screenshot of your destinations address in English AND in Thai (this will make it easier if you need help)!
-Visit an ATM and grab some local currency “baht” (secret: the exchange rate on ATMs is usually much better than currency exchanges)
TRANSPORT FROM THE AIRPORT
Follow signs for public transport and pick your poison, but we recommend a taxi for only $10 USD in paper money, but a trillion dollars in good choices after a long journey to Bangkok.
TAXI - In order to grab a taxi, you’ll need to grab a ticket from the kiosk and find the taxi waiting at the numbered row coordinating with your ticket. Tell your driver to use the meter and be firm! Politely ask and ask again before suggesting you’re going to take your business elsewhere, they will usually accept your request.
WHERE TO STAY
1. BUDGET FRIENDLY & QUIET: Our favorite place to stay is Soi Rambuttri. It's a quiet, yet lively “alley” that’s very walk able and has some of the bet night markets and shopping stalls in the city. The biggest perks: It's within walking distance to some of the best Bangkok attractions like Khao San road and attractions such as Wat Phra Kaew the Grand Palace.
Budget: You can get a basic room in a guesthouse on Rambuttri for $10-15/night, or at Rambuttri Village Inn (that has a great rooftop pool) for $20+
2. HIGHER END WITH CREATURE COMFORTS: If you want to be in the center of some of Bangkok's finest restaurants, shopping, and nightlife, you should head to Sukhumvit. One of the perks is how many incredible hotel infinity pools there are (you know, to the keep the gram and snap feeds looking their best).
Budget: Most of the nice rooms are going to be $75+ but there are plenty of hostels scattered throughout as well.
3. ALWAYS A PARTY & BACKPACKER FRIENDLY: Around the corner from Rambutrri, Khao San Road is a backpackers paradise. At night the street comes alive as shops and stalls sprawl out into the streets. Think Vegas meets Amsterdam and they had a baby in Thailand. Grab yourself a cold Chang (beer), sit down for a foot rub, and take it all in. And don't forget to grab some delicious food from a food cart on your walk home!
Budget: Most places on Khao San will be anywhere from $10-20/night. There are some nicer accommodations like D&D Inn (which also has a bomb rooftop pool) if you want to stay in the action but want a little room upgrade.
HOW TO GET AROUND
Like any other metropolitan city, you can:
1. Take the metro lines: Skytrain (BTS) or Subway (MRT)
2. Public buses: Cost 9-19 baht and are google maps friendly (put your destination into google maps and select bus routes and you will be golden)
3. Taxis: Easy to get, but drivers don't always want to travel to certain areas of the city, and ALWAYS make sure they run the meter
4. Uber: Very affordable
5. Tuk tuks: Local to Thai culture and great for those who like to negotiate because you should never accept the first price (also beware of drivers trying to convince you to stop at jewelry stores or tailor shops, be firm and stick to your guns about where you want to go and when)
WHAT TO DO
1. Visit the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew. If you’re interested in beautiful Thai architecture and history about Thailand and its' “Ramas” aka Kings, this place is incredible. No cameras are allowed inside Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha), but photos are welcome pretty much everywhere else. And always remember, be respectful with your photos! (Bums inside pants, where they belong)
Cost: 500 baht ($15 USD)
2. Head to MBK shopping center. Give yourself a few hours for the seven floors of this major shopping center. From handmade Thai goods, to knock-offs, to brand name items, they have almost anything you could need here. Don’t forget to come hungry, the food options are endless!
3. Visit Khao San Road and play wristband roulette! If you're on the street after 7 p.m. it won't take long for you to spot Thai people walking around with boards of the most vulgar bracelets you've ever seen. Close your eyes and run your finger down the board of handmade bracelets to pick your handmade souvenir for the rest of your trip- just don’t show your mom.
4. Get a Thai massage! This ancient deep tissue massage incorporates assisted yoga and chiropractic techniques to stretch and crack you into a new person. It can be a little jarring for a first timer, but you feel so fantastic at the end.
5. Other goodies to indulge in Bangkok: Inexpensive salon services (hair cuts, nails, waxing, facials) and cheap custom tailoring (suits, dresses, coats).
WHAT TO EAT
First rule of street food, TRY EVERYTHING:
Some of our favorites are:
•Various Noodle Soups
•Mango Sticky Rice
•Thai pancakes with Nutella
Your stomach will thank you and your palette will be forever searching for Thai food.
For the more brave stomachs, check out the carts of crispy fried insects, yes insects, fried scorpion sticks and questionable drunk decisions made of squid jerky. I mean when in Thailand right?
WHAT TO DRINK
BEER: Chang! Brew of Thailand and #1 initiator to the “Chang-over” club
OTHER BEER: Singha, Tiger, and Leo!
BUCKETS: The ever classy Bucket-o-liquor. Quite literally a child's sand pail filled with ice, a mickey of liquor and your choice of mixers. They will throw you back about $6-10 USD, but the memories will be priceless, make sure there’s enough straws to share!
THE FINAL TIP
Get lost in this amazing city!! You will find the best hidden gems and secrets to the city if you’re wandering around and taking in the sights. Don’t be afraid you won’t make it back to your accommodation because you have a screenshot of the the directions on your phone you snagged at the airport right? ;)