Growing up in the worlds most popular city, has inspired me to write to first time visitors to Thailand. The best time to visit Bangkok is between November and the end of February that’s generally the cooler time of the year, and not the rainy season. Finding the right accommodation is critical for any trip. In Thailand, accommodations range from guest houses to five-star hotels. After booking your flight and accommodation, here are a few tips on how to “survive” and thrive in Bangkok, the worlds most popular city.
Go to a Clinic for Your Travel Vaccines
This is a proactive approach for people who are traveling for the first time to a new tropical country because your body may not be used to the new environment. There is a special vaccine to protect you from food where the sanitation is not up to international standards. Carry an appropriate medical kit with treatment for possible problems such as gastro, pain, wounds, coughs and colds. Be sure to bring a mosquito or insect repellent when you go out for dinner in outdoor places. My favourite one is Sketolene. Already got a bite? Try Zam Buck (green wax). It will help you stop the itch. There are lots of pharmacies in the city but you can find repellents and Zam Buck from 7-11 stores as well.
Explore Street Food
The one thing I miss the most about Thailand is street food! There are street food stands and night markets everywhere in the in the worlds most popular city. I recommend Chinatown (Yaowarat) for a variety of street food. Food ranges from many kinds of noodle soups, Guay Jab (large rolled rice noodles with crispy pork belly), Hoy Tod (crispy mussels pancake), other seafood dishes (steamed/deep fried whole fish served with different sauces, huge barbecued prawns, crabs, etc.), fresh fruits (durian is a must try!), Thai and Chinese desserts. My favourites desserts are ‘Bua Loy Num Khing’ – rice balls stuffed with black sesame paste served in a hot ginger soup, or try ‘Tao Tung Yen’ – shaved ice with an assorted mix of the toppings and covered with syrup. If you are done with street food, be sure to check out Bangkok’s best riverside shopping, its a real treat or head out and find fun things to do in the city of thousand events.
Try as Many Public Transportation Options as Possible
From the airport you can take the Airport Rail Links: City Line or Express Line and then use the BTS (sky trains) or the MRT (subways). Sky trains and subways are quick, safe and reliable. It is the best way to travel during busy rush hours. Traffic is crazy in the world’s most popular city! Taxis in Bangkok are very affordable but I recommend Uber because the service is better to find all the fun events this week. You can plug in the address you want to go to without having to explain in Thai to a driver and the fare will be charged on your credit card. Tuk tuks (three-wheeled) are also popular. Some of them have organized tours to major tourist attractions and some turn into mini-clubs at night (we’re talking disco lights and music!). Boats are also a fun transportation choice if you want to cross to the Thonburi side of the city where there is a famous temple called Wat Arun. Avoid motorbike taxis and buses as they are not very safe. All bus stops are also in Thai so it is difficult to read the signs unless you can rea the Thai letters!
Just like all other big cities in the world, there are always some people who will try to take advantage of tourists. Watch when you are walking around if someone tries to get your attention, there might be another person aiming for your purse or valuables. Do not leave your valuable in plain sight. I see a lot of people in Starbucks or restaurants with their phones and purses on the floor or table. That’s risky. One major thing about walking around the worlds most popular city Bangkok is that you should always look at least twice before you cross the road. Crossing with a group is a smart idea. Pedestrians do not always have right of way and the cars will not stop for you like in North America. Motorbikes are everywhere and sometimes they drive on footpaths or into oncoming lanes! Use elevated footbridges is recommend for your safety when crossing major intersections.
There are over 400 temples in the worlds most popular city of Bangkok but the most famous and important temple is the Grand Palace and the Royal Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Strict dress code is enforced at this temple out of respect for the holy ground of the temple and because the place is still use by the Royal Family on ceremonial occasions. The basic rule is that you should wear clothes that cover most of your skin, mainly your shoulders and knees for both men and women. The reason is that Tank tops, camisoles, crop tops, see-through tops, ripped jeans, mini skirts, or shorts are not allowed. Wear longer shorts, capris, pants/trousers or a knee-length-or-longer skirt. A T-shirt, blouse or golf shirt is fine. Note that at certain times of year the palace and temple may be closed for special ceremonies. For example, the Royal Cremation Ceremony, when the Royal Temple and the Grand Palace will be closed for a few weeks for the Royal Funeral Rites. Thais wear dark colors clothing for mourning periods of the Royal Family. If you are just looking for fun things to do in Bangkok, then remember to dress appropriately as the weather can vary from the rainy seasons (May, June, July, August, September and October to the dry seasons.
Do Not Carry Lots of Cash in the Worlds Most Popular City
For your own safety when traveling to other countries, you shouldn’t carry a lot of cash with you. Exchange the amount of currency that’s just enough for food and transportation for the first few days. Then you can change more in Bangkok as you need it. I also recommend Super Rich Exchange Company as they usually have the best rate available. They have kiosks in major shopping malls. You will get a better rate than from the Airport kiosks. Always count your change when you are shopping or dining because some of the vendors may not give you the correct change, and it’s a challenge when dealing with notes and coins from a new currency.
Learn to Bargain Nicely
There are lots of shopping options ranging from markets to upscale shopping malls. You can only do haggling in the markets not in shopping malls. Bargaining can be fun if you do it right Generally, you can bargain 30%-40% off the original price. Most markets inflate the price to make a profit from tourists. Try to be as neutral as possible because the more you act like you need the item, the higher the price it will be. You can shop around before you decide to buy. The store down the street might have a cheaper price for the same item. Before you decide to buy, you could try the “walk away” technique. It can be risky but if done right, the shop owner will call you back and drop the price. Bangkok is one of the best shopping destinations in the world. Have fun and good luck!
Fun Things to Do in Bangkok
You never need to worry about discovering fun things to do in Bangkok as there are always activities year around. Some of the top festivals include: Songkran (April), King’s Birthday (December), Loy Krathong – festival of floats (November) and Chinese New Year. As the worlds most popular city, Bangkok is filled with memories and once in a lifetime Instagram photos.
About Ann Choltida
Ann Choltida is a licensed Realtor at Right at Home Realty Inc., Brokerage. Real Estate has been her passion since she moved to Canada many years ago. Growing up in the worlds most popular city of Bangkok, she was inspired by high rises and skyscrapers being built in several areas. With her Business degree background, she loves marketing properties via social media. She loves to travel and has explored Europe since she was 15 years old. She has worked in the jewelry industry for several years before becoming involved in real estate. She is an avid supporter of Habitat for Humanity.