Bangkok Travel Tips
Keep in Mind...
- You'll shop This city specializes in tailor-made clothes, gems, silk, and more. You'll find these items with price tags that put Western rates to shame.
- You'll eat From organic fruit juice on the Skytrains to Cantonese fare in Chinatown to tasty traditional Thai food everywhere, Bangkok's cuisine is excellent. Don't miss the Thai specialty som tam (a hot and sour papaya salad).
- You'll be hot Temperatures in Bangkok are always verging on 90 (if they're not soaring above it). Be prepared with bottled water, sunscreen, and light clothing.
Travelers have a hard time putting a pin in Bangkok's personality. Most first-timers see this city as one caught between the past and the present. Ancient temples and modern shopping malls comprise Thailand's capital, and Buddhist monks and regulars of Patpong (Bangkok's red light district) share the city's streets. The contrast can result in an exhilarating yet chaotic setting.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed here: Bangkok's dynamic environment requires a lot of energy, and consistently hot weather and persistent crowds take their toll on unprepared visitors. Yes, the city seems to boil over with everything from humidity to humanity, but it's this exotic over-abundance that charms travelers. Here, you'll find the world's largest open-air market, a world-class aquarium housed in an eight-level shopping mall, a 150-foot golden Buddha statue, and so much more. It's a city of vast surprises, so savor its delightful incongruity.
How To Save Money in Bangkok
- Avoid fancy food You'll find the most authentic and most affordable Thai food in small, family-owned restaurants.
- Shop smart Shopping is a major perk of visiting Bangkok. For the best prices on local goods, opt for street markets like Chatuchak rather than shopping centers.
- Sleep in the Old City Lodging is very cheap in Bangkok; even luxury hotels are affordable here. Still, you can save some baht by booking smaller boutique properties in the Old City.
Bangkok Culture & Customs
Thai is the official language here, although you'll find English-speakers at major hotels and heavily touristed areas. If you get off the beaten track, you'll most likely run into communication problems. Consider bringing along a Thai phrasebook. To avoid any miscommunications in transit, write down the address of your destination before you head out.
The predominant religion in Thailand is Buddhism, and you'll find temples and statues bearing the image of Buddha throughout the city. At most temples, you'll find that the dress code calls for modest attire (This means long pants, skirts that fall below the knee, and shirts that cover shoulders and midriffs.).
Don't disrespect the king! The Thai people are very proud of their royalty and will find it immensely rude if you're cracking jokes or criticizing their leader. Also, do your best to be polite. Thais put a high value on kindness and manners, so be considerate. One way you can do this is by practicing "the wai" or the Thai greeting. Join your palms together in prayer, and touch your connected hands to your chest as a way to respectfully say "hello."