Bangkok Travel Guide
Places To Go | Things To Do | Hotels & Resorts | Tours | Getting There & Around | See & Do | Day Trips & Excursions | Where To Stay | Typical Costs | Money Saving Tips | Safety Tips | Recommended Resources | Transport | Travel Blog
Welcome to Thailand Travel Hub’s complete guide to Bangkok, Thailand’s capital and one of the most exciting and fascinating cities on the planet. Bangkok is a frenetic, buzzing mix of east and west where you will see enormous, modern skyscrapers just a stone’s throw from old Chinese shophouses, and upmarket celebrity chef restaurants next to traditional noodle soup vendors. You will see millions of Thais going about their day-to-day business, and the sights, the sounds and the smells combined with the intense heat and the welcoming locals will leave you with an experience that you will never forget.
In Thai, Bangkok is called "Krung Thep", which is a very shortened version of its full name (luckily, as it is the longest place name in the world at 168 characters), and the city started it's life as a tiny trading post in the 15th Century. It then flourished and expanded, and in 1782 it became the country’s capital, taking over from Ayutthaya. The economy developed, the population grew, and during the Vietnam war Bangkok became a place where US soldiers could go to relax, and so the seeds of Thailand’s modern tourism industry were sown.
The rest is history, as they say, with Thailand now a mecca for holidaymakers the world over, and Bangkok being the first port of call for most travelers. The city is known as a foodie heaven and a shopper's paradise, with modern shopping malls and open-air markets where you can buy seemingly anything for a knock-down price, and the city's raucous nightlife is infamous. With nightly accommodation from $5 to $5000 and beyond, the city has something for everyone and attracts families, backpackers, businessmen, spa enthusiasts looking for a bit of pampering, party animals and people just looking to sample some of the legendary local cuisine. It is also a popular destination for budding photographers and Youtubers, having seemingly endless places to explore down thousands upon thousands of side streets and alleys, with many fascinating spots for some candid photos.
In short, you can’t fail to have a good time in Bangkok – indeed some visitors end up never leaving as evidenced by the Western ex-pats that you can see around the lower Sukhumvit area. It can be an intense place, with outrageous traffic problems (and the associated poor air quality that goes with it), but if you go to Bangkok with an open mind you will be well rewarded and be able to see why it is the most visited city on the planet.
Weather & When to Go to Bangkok
Bangkok is very hot and humid, and the heat will hit you as soon as you step out of the airport, with temperatures usually ranging from 25°C to 35°C. Certainly, walking around the city in the middle of the day may be uncomfortably hot for some, but there are many air-conditioned malls, bars and restaurants you can stop at, plus around the Sukhumvit Road area you are largely sheltered from direct sunlight by the huge flyovers and the BTS Skytrain infrastructure.
Thailand has three seasons, although not as distinctly different as those in, say, the UK and these are hot, rainy and cool. But don't be fooled, the cool season is still hot by Western standards. The rainy season is May to October, during which the monsoon downpours can be intense, but don't let this put you off as there is so much to do in Bangkok when it's raining, plus it is still hot even during the torrential downpours. Bangkok's ancient sewer system is not particularly advanced and sometimes gives up after several days of non-stop rain resulting in flooding, with some areas of Banglamphu and Sukhumvit prone to it.
April is a fantastic time to visit Thailand as you will get an opportunity to experience the incredible Songkran festival, which lasts for several days and involves everyone splashing each other with water from buckets or water pistols. It’s a lot of fun with roads being closed off and large sound systems popping up outside bars and restaurants, probably the best place in Bangkok to experience it is the Khao San Road area. In 2020, Songkran starts on Monday the 13th of April and in 2021 it will be on Tuesday the 13th of April. It’s a great way to cool off and experience one of the most fun aspects of Thai culture, it will certainly be an experience that you won’t forget.
Getting to Bangkok & How to Get Around
Arriving at the airport - International visitors will arrive at the clean and modern Suvarnabhumi airport just east of Bangkok. Once you’ve changed some money at the basement level (look for SuperRich who consistently offer good rates), you’ll need to decide on transport to your accommodation. There are buses, but if this is your first time in Bangkok you probably won’t know where to get off and may have a lot of luggage, so the two most practical options are taxis and the airport rail link.
Getting in to Bangkok by taxi - If you’re staying at a fairly central hotel such as the Ramada or Mercure, a taxi from the airport will set you back around 400 baht ($13) and the taxi driver may well ask you for some small money during the journey for the tolls, don’t worry this is not a scam so make sure you have some small bills (you can buy a drink at the 7-Eleven in the airport if you need change). There is also a 50 baht fee for taxis who collect customers from the airport and you will be expected to pay this.
Getting in to Bangkok by airport rail link - For many travelers, the airport rail link will offer the best combination of price, comfort and convenience. Just past the money changers in the basement of the airport is the escalator which takes you to the rail link train, tickets cost 45 baht ($1.50) to go to Phaya Thai which is fairly central. Then from Phaya Thai BTS station, to get to your hotel you have the option of walking (if your hotel is close enough), taking the BTS/MRT, or taking a taxi to your hotel. Again, if you have a lot of luggage, an airport taxi might be more convenient, but the air-conditioned rail link is very cost-effective and offers so great views of the city’s architecture.
Getting around Bangkok - To get around the city, there are many options. There are taxis, which should generally be avoided as they very often refuse to use their meters and will try and quote you double or triple the price, plus you will quite often get stuck in traffic. Motorcycle taxis are much cheaper and faster but not for the faint-hearted or those with lots of shopping. Tuk-tuks are a great experience, but they charge a fixed price for each journey, agreed in advance, and are even more expensive than taxis. The BTS/MRT are excellent, very cheap and reliable, but they don't cover the whole of the city. And then there are the riverboats and canal taxis which are very, very economical but again, only cover certain areas. In practice, most people often use a combination of transport options to reach their destination, using a taxi as a convenient, if expensive, last resort.
Best Things To See & Do In Bangkok
Visit Bangkok's Amazing Temples and Shrines
There are more than 400 temples in Bangkok, but you'll be pleased to hear that you can whittle that number down to half a dozen, and if you only have a limited amount of time then you should still make sure that you visit the Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. Thai temples are stunning, with multi-layered roofs, ornate decorations and carvings, stone statues and plenty of luxuriant gilding. These three temples should be at the top of every visitor's list, the level of detail in the temples is amazing and offers visitors a great photo opportunity, feel free to offer a small donation if you have enjoyed your visit.
Temples play a very important role in the life of Thai people, with more than 90% of the population being practicing Buddhists. Thai people attend their local wat regularly to pray for good health, good fortune and to seek the advice of the monks, who are revered and respected in Thai society. Thailand has many religious bank holidays known as “Buddha days” in Thai, and on these days you will see hundreds of locals flooding the local temples to make merit for themselves and their families. To find out more about Thai culture, checkout our post 'A Travelers Guide To Thai Culture'.
Visit the Night Markets, Floating Markets and Shopping Malls
Bangkok is a shopper's paradise. There are a huge number of modern and stylish shopping malls, local night markets, clothes markets, food markets, and of course, the famous Chatuchak Market, one of the largest open-air markets in the world where you can buy anything from a used pair of Levis to a newborn chipmunk.
There are dozens upon dozens of night markets in the capital, but the biggest one is at Srinakarin soi 51 (behind the Seacon Square shopping mall), which is enormous. You can find anything and everything there, from classic car parts, used clothes and household goods to antiques, iPhone parts or designer trainers, there are so many stalls you probably won't be able to see everything in one visit.
Likewise, there are several floating markets, the most well known being Damnoen Saduak which is actually about an hour’s drive from Bangkok so you’ll need to wake up at the crack of dawn to visit but it’s well worth the effort. There are also at least 60 shopping malls in Bangkok but the best ones are MBK (huge mall with low prices), Terminal 21 (themed mall with lots of restaurants), Platinum Fashion Mall (extremely cheap clothes) and Siam Paragon (high-end designer mall).
Visit the Grand Palace and Museums
The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings which forms the official residence of the king of Thailand and should be the number one must-see attraction for anyone visiting Bangkok. It consists of many intricate and beautiful buildings, many of which were added by successive kings since the initial construction began in 1782.
It is situated in the heart of Rattanakosin island on the banks of the mighty Chao Phraya River, which winds its way through the capital. This sprawling complex is also home to Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which is the most sacred Buddhist temple in the country and is visited by thousands of tourists daily.
Bangkok is home to many fascinating museums. Of particular note are the Bangkok National Museum which houses the largest collection of Thai art and Thai artifacts in the country, and the Museum of Siam which houses an intriguing combination of ancient and modern art pieces. Also, there is the Corrections Museum which offers visitors an insight to the punishments meted out to criminals in Thailand over the years, and the Human Body Museum in Siam Square which is home to 14 real-life dissected human bodies and not for the squeamish.
Sports Activities, Classes and Workshops
Bangkok has a plethora of sporting activities for visitors, including Muay Thai boxing, world-class golf courses, tennis courts, squash, football, ice-skating, ten pin bowling, dance classes, water sports and even surfing lessons! Bangkok is also home to hundreds of gyms and fitness centres where you will find all kinds of classes for the active traveler, with most able to offer membership on a daily basis. Many can also offer personal training in English or Thai at very reasonable rates.
In addition, there are many other classes which welcome visitors, including cookery classes, Thai language classes, dance classes, yoga classes, cocktail making classes and fitness classes to name but a few. In particular, the cookery classes are exceptionally popular and great value, showing you the secrets to making that sensational pad Thai or green curry which you can then make at home to impress your friends and family. Many of these cookery classes will take you to a Thai market in the morning to show you how to buy the best quality ingredients before going back to the class to cook up a storm, there are dozens of cookery class operators in Bangkok so take the time to choose one which suits you best (they are offered in several languages, plus there are vegetarian and vegan classes too).
Concerts, Shows and Theatres
Bangkok is a megacity with a population of over 8 million, so you won’t be surprised to hear that it features regularly as a stop for popular artists from around the globe. There are numerous large venues in the capital able to host huge concerts from pop groups to classical musicians, and everything in between, with Korean artists being particularly popular with the locals at the moment. Recently, Bangkok has played host to well-known artists such as Justin Bieber, Green Day, Guns N’Roses, Foo Fighters, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and many, many more.
Unfortunately, Bangkok doesn't have very much for the theatre lover, mostly offering traditional Thai theatre and dance performances. The good news is that the Thai performances are cheap and very interesting, with Thai-style music and intricate costumes; head to the National Theatre website and expect to pay around $4 for a ticket (a bit of a difference to prices for a show in London!). Also, Bangkok offers several more esoteric shows including Thai puppet shows, lady-boy cabarets and traditional Thai dance shows. It is advisable to try and see one of these shows whilst visiting Thailand as you almost certainly won't get another chance to see such a spectacle in your home country.
Take a Break and Visit the Nature Parks
In amongst the chaotic traffic, street food vendors and huge skyscrapers, there are many parks where visitors can go to relax and retreat from the bedlam of the concrete jungle. There are at least 30 parks dotted around the city featuring all kinds of facilities including football pitches, paths for jogging, swimming pools, tennis courts and even fitness equipment in some cases. You will see locals keeping fit, eating on their lunch break, and just enjoying the surroundings whilst trying to get some fresh air. Some of the parks feature small lakes where you can hire pedal boats but be warned – pedalling hard under the hot Thai sun can be more tiring than you might expect!
Amongst the biggest and best parks in the capital are Lumpini Park (next to Silom MRT station), Benjakitti Park (close to Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre MRT station) and Chatuchak Park (next to Mo Chit BTS station). They are great places to get away from the hustle and bustle, take a stroll and grab a delicious and cheap lunch from the food vendors. Or the more energetic visitors can go for a jog, but make sure you take a bottle of water with you as the midday heat can be oppressive.
Indulge in Bangkok's Street Food and Cuisine
The food in Bangkok is worth traveling halfway around the world for, make no bones about it. In the West, if you want the best food in your town, you usually have to go to a high-end restaurant and pay through the nose, but in Thailand, the best food is usually served by the side of the road, which might be a bit of a culture shock. Yes, you can be sat at the side of the road on a children's size plastic chair eating something which you paid $2 for, but when you taste the food you'll understand how it works here.
Although if you do want a "proper" restaurant, Bangkok has many of those also, around 11,000 of them! In general though, Thai people like to stick to Thai food, but Bangkok is much more cosmopolitan than the rest of the country, and in the capital you can find practically any kind of cuisine that you have a hankering for. Whether you fancy pizza, poutine, pie and mash or pierogies, you can find it in Bangkok. However, it's the Thai foods which are done best and which cost the least, so get ready to pull up a plastic chair and be amazed with some spectacular local dishes.
Relax and have an Authentic Thai Massage
Getting an authentic Thai massage in Bangkok is one of the highlights of the trip for many tourists. There are thousands of massage parlors in Bangkok where you can get a real Thai massage for as little as 200 baht ($6.50) for a one-hour session. The massage places are easy to spot as they will have the masseuses sitting outside and possibly some loungers to sit on if you prefer to be outside. Thai massage can be quite intense, therefore the women who ply this trade tend to be strong-looking, so be very wary of massage parlors which have slim young girls in bikinis outside, these places almost certainly will be offering a different kind of service.
You can choose from a full body massage, a head and shoulder massage, a leg and foot massage, or one of many other options, and if you don't mind paying a little extra you can have a massage incorporating aromatic oils or hot stones. A real Thai massage can be a little forceful, but they are amazingly rejuvenating and will leave you feeling incredible for the rest of the day – an experience not to be missed.
Experience Bangkok's Buzzing Nightlife
Bangkok's nightlife is notoriously raucous, the capital is undoubtedly a great place for travelers to let their hair down after a hard day at the temples and shopping malls. The sheer variety of options is mind-blowing, there are countless places where you can just sit and watch the world go by whilst drinking a cold beer. Or if you want to have a cheap plastic bucket cocktail and meet other travelers, Khao San Road is the place to be, and if you fancy chilling at a sports bar with a few games of pool, Sukhumvit Road has got you covered.
Maybe you want to push the boat out and go for a more upmarket night out? Then you can hit the RCA plaza and mingle with the well to do young Thais, provided you've brought some smart clothes with you, or maybe chill in the trendy district of Thong Lo with it's unique and quirky (read expensive) cocktail bars. A trip to Bangkok wouldn't quite be complete without witnessing the gaudy neon excesses of the capital's most famous red-light areas, Nana Plaza on soi 4 and Soi Cowboy behind Terminal 21, but the easily offended need not bother!
Tours, Day Trips & Excursions In Bangkok
For those who want to explore outside the city limits, there are many options including trips to the temple complexes of the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, the famous “Bridge Over the River Kwai” at Kanchanaburi, the floating markets of Damnoen Saduak, the monkey-infested town of Lop Buri and the seaside city of Pattaya.
Damnoen Saduak floating market - The Damnoen Saduak floating market is arguably the most popular. It kicks off at around 8 am and is a two-hour drive from the centre of Bangkok, meaning that you'll need to wake up early, but you’ll be rewarded with the incredible sight of vendors peddling their wares from beautiful long-tail boats. You can take a tour of the market aboard a boat where you will have the opportunity to buy from the vendors who sell many types of fruit and vegetables, plus plenty of other goods including souvenirs, handbags and t-shirts. It’s an amazing experience and a fantastic photo opportunity. A full tour can be booked from your hotel or a travel agent which includes return taxi journey, the services of a tour guide and a short trip on a boat, bank on around 3000 baht ($100) for the trip.
Kanchanaburi - Kanchanaburi is a beautiful destination and a full one-day tour of the area can be booked for as little as 1000 baht ($33) per person. This will include a visit to the war cemetery, the JEATH war museum, the bridge over the River Kwai and a trip aboard the "Death Railway", before stopping for lunch. After lunch, you can see the stunning Saiyok Noi waterfall, before heading back to your hotel. Kanchanaburi is about two hours from Bangkok but it's a very scenic and relaxing journey.
Lopburi - A day trip to Lop Buri is certainly interesting, and well worth it if you are traveling with children. In the centre of the town are the remains of an ancient temple complex, yet the whole area is now overrun with thousands upon thousands of monkeys. The best way to get there is by train from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong station, it takes around 2 hours and costs a little over 300 baht ($10). There are vendors selling bananas in the town for those feeling brave enough to feed the monkeys.
Ayutthaya - Ayutthaya was the ancient capital of Thailand until 1767 and is now home to arguably the most impressive set of ancient temples in the country, being the Thai equivalent of Cambodia's Angkor Wat (although not quite as impressive). It's a very popular day trip for tourists, and for good reason, the place is awe-inspiring and a fantastic place for photographers. To get there you can take a bus from the north-eastern bus terminal (recommended) which is close to the Mo Chit BTS station, or you can get the train from Hua Lamphong. The bus is about 60 baht ($2) each way.
Pattaya - If you want to experience the beach and neon gaudiness of the infamous city of Pattaya, then that can easily be accomplished in a day-trip. Pattaya is just over 2 hours from Bangkok. You can book a tour package which will usually leave at around 6 am and then depart Pattaya at around 5 pm back to Bangkok, or you can stay a bit longer to see the crazy nightlife and take a taxi back to Bangkok later in the evening. A day-trip tour of Pattaya from Bangkok starts at around 1100 baht ($36), a taxi between the two cities costs around 2000 baht ($66). The train is not practical as there is only one train per day. Wondering how to get to Pattaya and want to organise transport yourself? Checkout our post on how to get to Pattaya from Bangkok.
Where To Stay In Bangkok
Bangkok is a huge city and there are countless regions and districts. However, the majority of visitors will choose to stay in the Banglamphu (Khao San Road) area, or the Sukhumvit/Silom area. There are hotels and guest houses almost everywhere in the city and prices can vary wildly, however you will find that the cost of accommodation in Bangkok is much more reasonable than Paris, New York or London, and you get a lot more for your money.
Khao San Road - For younger travelers, backpackers and gap year students, Khao San Road is probably the most suitable area. There are dozens upon dozens of decent accommodation options in the Khao San Road area coming in at under 1000 baht ($33) per night, and still many choices at under 500 baht ($16.50). Also, food and alcohol are pretty cheap in the area, with lots of partying late into the evening. It's close to the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho and Sanam Luang, it has a stop for the Chao Phraya Express (at Phra Arthit), plus there's plenty of shopping to be done at the numerous shops and market stalls. It's a great place to start your trip as the locals are very used to Western travelers and many will be able to speak at least a little English. Khao San Road is like a little enclave within Bangkok where you can meet like-minded people, book cheap tours and tickets, and have a great time in the evenings, but unless you venture out of the area a few times you won't get the true experience of Bangkok.
Sukhumvit - If your budget is a little higher, or you don't fancy the late-night partying of Khao San Road, Sukhumvit Road is a safe bet. Sukhumvit Road is huge (it stretches for 488km), and is better served by public transport, having BTS Skytrain stations dotted along it. Here you will find a huge range of restaurants, all kinds of nightlife, and enough shopping options to make your head spin. It offers a much better experience of Bangkok than Khao San Road and includes the notorious red-light hotspots of Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy, but just prepare yourself for the traffic which is atrocious at many times of the day.
There are thousands of different places to stay in Bangkok, other areas worth a mention include the trendy Siam Square district, the hyper discount clothes shopping area of Pratunam and Bangkok's Chinatown in Yaowarat where you can find some cheaper options.
Prices, Expenses & Typical Costs In Bangkok
Accommodation - There are accommodation options in Bangkok to suit every budget, starting at 150 baht ($5) hostel beds, and going right up to 25,000 baht ($820) luxury spa hotels and beyond. The part of Bangkok you stay in will dictate the price to a degree, with more upmarket areas and places close to a BTS station commanding a premium. In the backpacker enclave of Khao San Road, you can find private double rooms from 300 baht ($10) a night, but more comfortable accommodation with a private bathroom and air conditioning will be in the range of 600-1000 baht ($20-33) per night.
In lower Sukhumvit, around the BTS stations of Nana or Asok, a small, basic double room will cost around 1000-1500 baht ($33-$50) per night, with rooms in 4-star hotel starting at around 2400 baht ($79). The best deals in Bangkok are the top of the range 5-star hotels, which incredibly can be had from as little as 3000 baht ($100) a night, a fraction of the cost of Western countries. Airbnb operates in the city and is becoming more popular and arguably offers more for your money, or for long-term visitors, it is possible to rent serviced apartments in the city for 3000-15000 baht ($100-$500) per month.
Transportation - The most convenient way of getting around Bangkok is by air-conditioned taxi. However, you should bear in mind that at certain times of the day the city is gridlocked and you could end up spending a lot more time in the taxi than you anticipated. Plus, Bangkok taxi drivers are not particularly trustworthy, with many refusing to use their meters and quoting an upfront price which is many times the actual fare, so avoid any driver who refuses to use the meter. You may also find that some drivers simply don't want to go to your destination and will refuse the fare. A 5-minute journey should cost no more than 60 baht.
Tuk-tuk drivers are also quite unscrupulous and will try and charge whatever they can get away with. Tuk-tuks are great fun, but you will breathe in a lot of smog and you'll still get stuck in traffic. Motorcycle taxis are an excellent compromise, they can weave through the traffic, getting you to your destination in record time and are very cheap, but are not for the faint-hearted. The BTS and MRT systems are excellent – clean, modern and cheap (as little as 15 baht), but they don't cover the entire city, unfortunately, so check beforehand and use them wherever you can. The riverboat taxis are very convenient and incredibly cheap but again, they only service a few areas – check the map beforehand as these are a very fun and economical way to travel.
For travelers using a combination of transport options but mostly relying on taxis, visiting a few attractions/malls during the day and then coming back to your hotel, a good budget for transportation would be 300-450 baht per day ($10-$15).
Food & Drink - Food and drink is another area where you can spend as much or as little as you want, with the most basic street food dishes starting at around 30-40 baht ($1-$1.30) per plate or bowl, and often this will include drinking water. Basic local restaurants will charge 60-100 ($2-$3.30) baht per dish, with Western or foreign dishes being noticeably more expensive. Expect to pay upwards of 200 baht ($6.50) for a whole steamed or grilled fish somewhere popular with the locals, with 10-20 baht ($0.33-$0.66) for steamed jasmine rice.
Western fast-food chains in Bangkok are expensive relative to the local offerings. A large McDonalds meal can be around 200 baht ($6.50), with Burger King being even more, and as such for many Thais, these places are something of a treat rather than the convenience meal that they are in the West. There are all kinds of restaurants in Bangkok, including fine dining options where you can drop over $1000 per head on a meal cooked by a famous foreign chef if you so desire.
Despite Thai food being cheap, alcohol is not. A large bottle of beer in the supermarket will be 60 baht ($2), and in a bar or restaurant, this will be 80-150 baht ($2.65-$4.95). Expect to pay 300 baht ($10) or more for a fancy craft beer in a trendy pub or bar, and a similar price for cocktails. Imported wine is subject to a very steep import tax and most bottles will start at 1000 baht ($33) and in many cases, it will double the cost of the meal or more – not worth it for most people. A small bottle of beer in a high-end nightclub can stretch to over 300 baht ($10), especially if you also leave a tip (although it's not expected).
Recommended Budget - It’s difficult to try and quantify a budget for Bangkok because it attracts so many different types of traveler from shoestring-budget backpackers to millionaire businessmen, but if we break it down into categories then we can make a good approximation.
Backpacker budget (no alcohol): 900 baht ($29.50) per day, Young traveler budget: 1500 baht per day ($49) per day, Nightlife enthusiast/party animal: 4500 baht ($148) per day, Family of four: 9000 baht ($296) per day, Honeymoon budget: 9000 baht ($296) per day, 5-star luxury budget: 16000 baht ($525) per day
Bangkok Money Saving Tips
Avoid expensive taxis - Avoid expensive taxis and tuk-tuks and try to stick to the BTS/MRT, riverboat taxis and motorcycle taxis wherever possible. Not only will you save money, but in most cases, you will also save time, crucial if you only have a few days in the city. And don’t be scared of motorcycle taxis.
Eat street food - Western-style restaurants charge a premium and usually don't offer anything more than the cheap local restaurants. Try to stick to smaller, basic places and street food stalls and you will save a fortune, you can eat five street food meals for the price of one large McDonalds meal! Look for where the locals are eating, a busy restaurant is always a good sign in Bangkok.
Don't buy currency before you go - Don't buy your currency in your home country. You will get 10-15% more by changing it once inside Thailand. Even at the airport in Bangkok, you will get a much better rate than back home, but they are very picky about torn or defaced bills.
Don't forget to haggle - Don't be scared to offer less – Thais respect a decent haggler! You can haggle with tuk-tuk drivers and at markets, but not in shops or restaurants. Don't come in so low that you insult the vendor, about 50% or a little more is a good place to start proceedings. Many Bangkok vendors are aware that prices are cheap for westerners and will try and raise their prices accordingly.
Don't throw buts - If you are a smoker, always ensure that you dispose of your cigarette butt responsibly. Throwing it on the street or even down a drain is not allowed and if spotted you could be charged a 2000 baht ($65) fine. Try to find an ashtray if possible.
Ask for discounts - If you are planning on staying several nights at the same hotel or guesthouse, and you haven’t booked and paid in advance, ask for a discount. More often than not you may be given a token amount such as 100 baht ($3.28) per night deduction, but you will then be asked to pay upfront. Most places will charge a deposit of 1000 baht for the key or key-card, so don’t lose it, and don’t forget to reclaim your deposit upon departure.
Get clued up at the ATM - Try to avoid using your foreign debit card in a Thai ATM as the charges are sky-high. There is a 220 baht ($7.25) charge on foreign card transactions which cannot be avoided, plus your bank back home will add on their foreign withdrawal fee and may also use an unfavorable exchange rate meaning that you could lose $25-$30 per withdrawal. For budget travelers this could easily be a day's budget lost so look at other options before traveling. Some banks offer debit cards with no foreign transaction fee (but you'll still pay the 220 baht each time), plus there are international money cards which can be preloaded with funds. Failing that, you should either bring as much cash with you as you feel comfortable with or make use of travelers cheques.
Is it Safe To Travel Around Bangkok
Bangkok is safe but be vigilant - Bangkok is very safe indeed, especially when compared to other capital cities around the world. The majority of crime in the city is Thai on Thai, and as a tourist, you are unlikely to be targeted for anything other than the classic scams which are very easy to spot and avoid. There are people on the streets at almost every hour, and it is safe to walk the busy areas at night as long as you show the usual precautions that you would in any capital city. Some residential districts can be dangerous at night but you almost certainly won't go anywhere near those, and unlit alleyways should be avoided at all times.
Be clever and cautious - Violent crime against foreigners is almost unheard of, but bag snatching does very rarely take place. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t openly display expensive jewelry, the contents of your wallet, or that $2000 DSLR camera – be discreet because even though the Thais are very decent people, the bad eggs will gravitate towards areas where there are rich pickings from tourists.
Be careful what you drink - Thai people also understand food hygiene and in general, the food is very safe to eat; you could probably eat from the street vendors every day for a year and not get sick. However, the tap water is not safe to drink but bottled water is ubiquitous and cheap. Ice is delivered to businesses almost daily and you can check that your ice is the safely produced kind as the pieces will be cylindrical with a hole through the middle, these come from a factory and are produced from filtered water.
Two biggest dangers - The two biggest dangers to tourists are the traffic and scams. The traffic in Bangkok is horrendous, and Thai roads are the second most deadly in the entire world. Therefore it is highly advised that you do not drive in Bangkok, and take extreme care when crossing the road. The scams in Bangkok are numerous and there are whole websites describing them in more detail. In short, don't trust anyone you just met, even if they say that they come from your home town, don't be coerced into going anywhere you're not sure of, and never, ever believe anyone who tells you that your intended destination is closed (it won’t be). Also, don't buy a suit unless you have thoroughly researched the tailor, many will produce very poor quality suits held together with glue, and never, ever buy gems in Thailand unless you are a jeweler and know exactly what you are buying. Many people come to Bangkok and end up going home with very expensive pieces of colored glass, don’t let that happen to you.