Bangkok

THAILAND πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡­

Airport ✈️

The two main airports of Bangkok are:

Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) - Thailand’s main international air hub is 19 miles east of the capital and handles the majority of long haul international flights. Suvarnabhumi (pronounced "Su-wan-na-poom") is a very modern airport with plenty of amenities.

  • The Airport Rail Link (ARL) πŸš† is a good way to avoid Bangkok's horrendous traffic. It takes 30 minutes to reach Phaya Thai station (downtown Bangkok). Trains run between 6 a.m - midnight and depart every 10 minutes during peak hours. The standard fare for the City Line is between 15 – 45 baht (approx $0.45-$1.35) depending on distance.
  • If you are travelling in a group of three or more, a taxi πŸš• will be the more economical optional. Look for the β€œPublic Taxi” desk outside arrivals for the metered taxis. Expect an average journey time of 45-60 minutes into Bangkok costing around 250 - 400 baht (approx $7.50-$12). On arrival at your hotel, an airport surcharge of 50 baht (approx $1.50) that is not shown on the meter is added, plus possible expressway tolls of 25 - 50 baht (approx $0.75-$1.50).

Don Mueang Airport (DMK) - Don Mueang is the smaller of the two Bangkok airports serving mostly budget regional airlines such as Air Asia. As the much older of the two airports, Don Mueang lacks much of the impressive modernness of the larger Suvarnabhumi airport.

  • A taxi πŸš• can take you the 15 mile journey to the inner city in under an hour, depending on traffic. Expect to pay around 350 baht (approx $10.50) plus a 50 baht (approx $1.50) surcharge.
  • Buses 🚌 are frequent and very cheap. Bus number 29 runs 24 hours a day and costs around 20 baht (approx $0.60). Ride the bus to Mo Chit BTS Skytrain station for connections to much of the city.

Getting around πŸš•

Be warned: Traffic in Bangkok is horrendous. At rush hour especially, the roads are choked with cars. Public transport is quite extensive so if you can use the Skytrain or other services then do so unless you want to spend hours on a highway.

Skytrain (BTS) - The Sky Train is an elevated train made up of two lines, the Silom Line running West to South, and the Sukhumvit Line running North to East. Not all ticket machine takes bank notes so make sure you have the right change. The Sky Train is an affordable and efficient way to travel to any of the major areas of Bangkok. An unlimited travel one day pass costs 120 baht (approx $3.60).
Bangkok BTS map

Underground (MRT) - The Mass Rapid Transit network runs below the streets of Bangkok and unlocks more areas than the Skytrain. You can swap from the subway to the Skytrain at Silom and Asoke stations. The MRT consists of two lines, blue and purple, and run frequently every 5 minutes at peak times. Single journey fares are between 15 – 40 baht (approx $0.45-$1.20) depending on your destination.
Bangkok MRT map

Taxi - All taxis are metered so you can't settle on a cost upfront (jump out of the taxi if the driver driver tries to negotiate a fixed fare with you). Fares start at 35 baht (approx $1.05) for the first 2km and an additional charge is applied during traffic jams the vehicle is moving less than 6km per hour. As mentioned above, Bangkok's traffic is notoriously bad so factor additional time for traffic.

Tuk tuk - The perfect transportation option for short journeys and nipping in between the backstreets to get to your destination. As with most things in Thailand, the fare is negotiable, so before jumping in you can negotiate a better price with your driver. What tuk tuks lack in safety (no seat belts) they make up for with a thrilling ride.


Weather ⛅️

Given its proximity to the equator, Bangkok experiences year round warm weather. Expect hot season from March to June where daytime temperatures regularly reach 35Β°C (95Β°F) and above. July to October is rainy season where you may be caught in huge downpours and frequent thunderstorms. Rainy season is somewhat of a welcome change that will allow you to cool down slightly. While downpours are frequent and cause local flooding, they tend to be over very quickly. November through February is cool season and probably the most comfortable time to visit. Night time temperatures drop to low 20's Β°C (low 70's Β°F) but expect day time highs to still hit 30Β°C+ (86Β°F+).
View current weather forecast


Power πŸ”Œ

Thailand uses 220V/50Hz. Power outlets accommodates both flat prongs (like in the U.S. and Japan) and round prongs (like much of Europe and Asia).

  • Plug Type A (two flat pins)
  • Plug Type C (two round pins)

Currency πŸ’΅

The official currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB). Similar to other South East Asian countries, Thailand is considered a relatively cheap destination so your money should stretch quite far. ATM's are plentiful if you need to make cash withdrawals but be aware there is a 200 baht (approx $6) surcharge for foreign transactions. Credit & debit cards are accepted in the large malls and higher end shops, restaurants and hotels but don't expect to use it many other places, cash is your safest bet.

Street food stalls, restaurants and malls have fixed prices, so don't attempt to haggle the prices there. However you can try to bargain with vendors in the various markets of Bangkok. Bargaining is part of the Thai culture so often times the price sticker is a starting point, not the final price. In these markets, don't be afraid to haggle if you're serious about purchasing an item, start with your lowest offer and expect a counter offer from the vendor. Keep the negotiations friendly and casual and you will be on your way to a cheaper price.

  • Coins are available in 25 satang, 50 satang, 1 baht, 2 baht, 5 baht and 10 baht denominations.
  • Banknotes are available in 20 baht, 50 baht, 100 baht, 500 baht and 1000 baht denominations.

View current exchange rate


Average costs πŸ”

  • Inexpensive meal πŸ₯˜ = 80 baht (approx $2.40)
  • McDonalds meal πŸ” = 185 baht (approx $5.60)
  • Bottled water πŸ’§ = 11 baht (approx $0.35)
  • Coffee β˜•οΈ = 75 baht (approx $2.25)
  • Beer 🍺 = 90 baht (approx $2.70)
  • Cocktail 🍸 = 350 baht (approx $10.50)

Tipping πŸ€‘

  • Tipping is not required in Thailand. If you do receive great service then a small gratuity is very appreciated but it's not required, a 10 or 20 baht (approx $0.30-$0.60) tip should be adequate for an average priced meal.
  • Street food vendors do not expect tips, in fact they may appear confused if you attempt to.
  • Taxi drivers will round up the fare and there's no expectation to tip tuk-tuk drivers either.

Language & phrases πŸ—£

The Thai language is notoriously difficult to speak. Thankfully many of the locals speak a good level of English. If you do insist on using some local phrases, understand that certain words change depending on whether you are male or female. To make a request or greeting sound more "polite", males should add "Krub" to the end of the sentence and females should add "Kah".

  • Hello/Goodbye = Sawat-dee
  • Thank you = Khop koon
  • Sorry/excuse me = Khor thoad
  • Yes/no = Chai/Mai chai
  • Delicious = Aroi

Famous for πŸ™

Grand Palace - The most famous landmark of Bangkok, the Grand Palace is an opulent, spectacular complex of buildings and the former home of the King, located in the heart of the capital. Visitors are asked to dress respectfully, men must wear long pants and women must be modestly dressed too, no bare shoulders etc.

Floating markets - The floating markets have become somewhat of a tourist trap but nonetheless they represent a Thai tradition. Delicious local dishes, fruit, flowers and all manner of goods can be purchased from the makeshift markets on the waterways. Be careful of shady 'tour operators' who overcharge visiting tourists.

Wat Arun - Translated as the "Temple of Dawn", not surprisingly this beautiful riverside temple is best viewed from the river at sunrise (or sunset) for a picture postcard view.

Street food - Bangkok is an exciting destination for food lovers. Thai street food is very cheap and very delicious. Snacks or dishes such as Pad Thai, green papaya salad, spicy shrimp soup and coconut pancakes can be enjoyed twenty four hours a day.


Local tips πŸ’‘

  • Do not insult the King or the Royal Family. Thai people are highly respectful of the monarchy, that includes anything bearing the King's image.
  • The street food is delicious but take sensible precautions to avoid poisoning. A good tip is to eat where the crowd is, chances are the food is fresher.
  • Avoid taking the roads if possible, traffic is terrible. Public transport is good.
  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially if you're outside in the scorching afternoon sun. Convenience stores selling cold drinks are easy to find throughout Bangkok.
  • If you intend on visiting palaces and temples (you should), some have strict dress codes.

Useful links πŸ”—

Bon voyage πŸ‘‹