What can we say about Bangkok?! With sky high roof top bars overlooking epic panoramic views of the city, ancient intricate temples covered in beautiful carvings and so many different types of markets you won’t know where to start. This city is bustling with life 24/7 and is eclectic mix of the old and modern Thailand. Here’s everything you need to know if you’re planning your first trip to the big city.
Location & Time Zone
Near the Golf of Thailand in Thailand – Indochina Time Zone (UTC +07:00)
Bangkok actually has two main airports. The first, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is known as the official airport; and the second airport is Don Mueang Airport (DMK). Both airports offer domestic and international flights into and out of Thailand. Both airports are located about 40-50 minutes out of the city (depending on the traffic), in different directions.
The cheapest and fastest way to get from the airport to the city is the train. The Airport Rail Link (ARL) City Line leaves every 15 minutes and takes just 25 minutes for the whole trip. It only costs 45฿ per person and stops at 6 stops. From your stop you can grab a taxi to your hotel.
If you’re grabbing a taxi make sure you always take a metered taxi as opposed to a private taxi service. A metered taxi generally costs about 350-450 ฿ to get into the city, while a private taxi service will be at least three times more expensive. Double check and agree on the price with the driver before you get in to avoid being ripped off.
If you’re only transiting in Bangkok, ALWAYS make sure your flights are arriving and leaving from the same airport. This is especially important if you are booking two separate flights yourself (different airlines, etc) and not a connecting flight. There is a free shuttle bus that runs between the two airports, but they are located about an hour away from each other, and you do not want to miss your flight because of a mistake like that.
Thai Baht ฿. You can find ATMs around in the city and credit and debit cards are generally widely accepted. It is always a good idea to carry some cash on you though for tuk tuk drivers, taxis, markets, or emergency situations when credit cards may not be accepted.
Thailand does not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days for visitors travelling on an Australian or USA passport.
While Bangkok generally has high temperatures all year round, there are two distinct wet and dry seasons. The dry season is between January and December, where the temperature is also a little bit cooler. From May to October there is very high rainfall, with September being the wettest month. All year round Bangkok can also be very humid and sticky while the sun is out.
Thai is the official language of Thailand, however most people you come across will also be able to speak and understand English.
We found Uber to be one of the easiest ways to get around for us. Fares were ridiculously cheap (one trip only cost us 8c AUD) and it was easier to just call an Uber to pick us up right where we were rather than try and find public transport. The train network in Bangkok is extensive and efficient though, and is an excellent way to get around the city. Tuk tuks are also available in the Bangkok, but since this is a big city with highways and high speed roads connecting different parts of the city it can be quite unpleasant to be travelling that quickly in an open air vehicle, with air smashing you in the face the whole time.
Read more: 7 Most Popular Streets in Bangkok
High speed wifi was very easy to access, with all major attractions, shopping centres, popular public places and many restaurants offering free wifi for visitors. No matter where you are you’re usually not more than a few steps away from wifi, with the exception of when you’re exploring inside temple grounds.
The city of Bangkok is definitely a lot larger and more spread out than I thought before I visited. There are different suburbs and pockets of Bangkok all over the city that all offer their own main street and different experience, depending on where you visit. However, some of the most popular streets in Bangkok for all visitors are Khao San Road, Soi Rambuttri, Sukhumvit Soi 38, Thonglor & Ekkamai, Royal City Avenue, Maha Rat Road & Rama I Road.
Best Time To Go
Between November and March are the best times to visit Bangkok. This is considered the dry season, when rainfall is considerably lower, and while temperatures are hot during the day you are avoiding the hottest and most humid time of the year between March and May.
Can’t Miss Experiences
+ Visit the extravagant Grand Palace & Temple of the Emerald Buddha
+ Take the ferry across the river to visit the beautiful temple of Wat Arun
+ Explore Bangkok’s oldest temple Wat Pho and see the reclining Buddha
+ Shop up a storm at the MBK Centre for a crazy mix of everything you might ever be looking for
+ Take a day trip out to the infamous Floating Markets
+ And the CRAZY Maeklong Railway Market
+ Get lost in Chatuckak Weekend Market
+ Have your hangover moment and take in the epic views on the 64th floor at Sky Bar
Good To Know
The city of Bangkok is actually quite spread out and can take a little longer to get around then you might think. Many top attractions are more than a half hour to 45 minute drive away from each other and it’s not always the easiest to walk around. Make sure you do a bit of research about the different areas of Bangkok and choose a place to stay that is the most central to the sites and attractions you want to see most. Making sure you’re close to lots of food and restaurant options can always be very helpful too.
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