Me and my firend are off on a rtw trip in november and our first stop is Bangkok. We're both first time travellers so wondering if anyone had any advice for us.
Anyone got any good info on Bangkok? What to do/ not to do? Any scams we should definately avoid? Any bars or hostels etc you can reccommend?
Also any tips on how to avoid jet lag would also be appreciated.
Bangkok is quite a safe city for tourists as long as you use your common sense e.g. only carry small cash with you/only use registered cabs and keep you wits about you......you'll love it though when i did my trip it was my first destination and its an amazing culture shock......make sure you travel in a tuk-tuk (only once though!) go to a ping pong show in pat-pong and if you get chance see some thai boxing
have a good time i wich i could go again
oh and i stayed at a nice little place called the kawassdee kho san inn its just off Kho shan road (you can book it on STA travels website) in a good location and its cheap and clean.
Never take a taxi - or a tuk tuk - that is parked on the street or the sidewalk (yes, they will sometimes do this!) in Bangkok. These are the guys that will try and rip you off and not use a taxi meter. If you need transport around town (best to take the Skytrain or Subway, if possible), flag down a passing taxi and use that one.
Here's my list again!
Here are40 things to think about when visiting Thailand…
1. Bring a cell phone “unblocked” and buy a Thai SIM card for it on arrival, they’re cheap (apprx. 250 baht) and include some credit already on them
2. e.g. - International calls to UK are about 8baht per min…
3. Don’t bother with Travellers checks in any currency…they are too much hassle - I have witnessed a friend being refused.
4. Bring ATM and/or credit cards. - check fees and tell your bank your are going abroad.
5. Very little cash – you tend to get a better rate of exchange here than any home country. Just enough to get you out of the airport to somewhere nice for the first night - avoid carrying large amounts of cash...you’ll lose it when drunk or get it nicked.
6. Beware! - The 1000 baht note looks very similar to a 20baht note. You might give an overlarge tip!
7. Very few clothes – they are so cheap here and you’ll only bring stuff that is too warm.
8. Very little luggage – this makes you more mobile if you need to be and less vulnerable to taxi touts and undesirable men….
9. Before you go home you can buy any extra luggage (cheap) to take souvenirs etc.
10. There are baggage storage facilities at Bkk airport…and elsewhere - hotels etc.
11. Mozzie spray – especially if you have the stuff from Oz. Anything with DEET. You can get “OFF” here.
12. Good quality sun-cream – especially if you have the stuff from Oz. Something that stays on in water, you’ll burn your shoulders in the pool.
13. Get some travel insurance – hospitals/medicine is cheap but why pay? Trailfinders is good.
14. Check out a few “jabs” – don’t bother with the malaria ones – too heavy! You can get tetanus or rabies here if you’re bitten by a dog - it’s cheap.
15. Internet access is everywhere – even on the beach… you can get all your photos copied to CD
16. If you have a lap-top you can connect it (broadband) at most cafes.
17. Thai food is very unlikely to give you food poisoning but can contain more chillies than you ever thought possible…
18. Western (“farang”) food is extremely likely to give you food poisoning – fridges are not part of Thai cooking lore yet…beware of Western Fast Food outlets and hotel buffets - food that has been out for over an hour or so. Thailand is not used to fridges/chill-serve etc.
19. Use common safety sense – it is easy to relax too much here…when it comes to petty crime the rate is certainly lower than in places like the UK…but every country has its share of con-men and psychopaths…..
20. Get a phrase book – lonely planet is good as is their guide to Thailand (better than the rough guide)….
21. Make a friend on the plane and safe money on a taxi to your hotel when you arrive in Bkk. Check out the ways of getting out of Bkk airport. This requires caution and common sense; it is most useful if you’re going further e.g. Pattaya.
22. If you can, avoid spending your first night or few days in Bkk – go there at the end of your stay –its better once you’ve acclimatized, and the airport is about 45 min from the centre. You can fly straight on to Samui and several other destinations or get a bus or taxi to Pattaya, Koh Samet. Etc.
23. Remember the new airport will open at the end of September...this is about 30 min nearer Pattaya and the Eastern Seaboard.
24. Don’t be afraid to go to Pattaya – it is the sex capital of Thailand but they don’t jump out at single women and has good, cheap hotels, shopping and food. Not a bad place to start off for Koh Chang, Koh Samet or Cambodia.
25. Remember Thailand is more than beaches – there are beautiful cities, national parks, forests and lakes up North – your guide book will help you there…
26. Bring an international driving licence – although most national ones are accepted by motorbike and car hire companies and anyone else who wants to hire you something….
27. In Thailand they drive on the left - cars are Right-hand-drive. However driving is really only for the experienced. Be especially careful on a motorbike - Samui has the highest accident rate in Thailand.
28. Public transport is cheap. Planes, Trains, Buses, Minibuses, Taxis, from town to town.
29. If you’re in a minibus or taxi tell the driver you’ll tip him if he keeps the speed below 90/100 kmph!
30. Around Bkk try to use meter taxi with the meter on...it’ll be cheaper than the tuk-tuks.
31. Take a tuk-tuk once for the experience then use meter taxis.
32. Don’t let the drivers take you out of your way...they’ll try to take you to some store where they get commission
33. Check up on Thai manners and customs – this will earn you more respect from the locals.
34. Keep up some dress sense – how you dress in Thailand is quite important.
35. Don’t go topless without checking out if it’s acceptable where you are – usually it’s frowned upon.
36. You’ll notice that Thai women (even sex workers) are very modest in public –they usually swim fully clothed.
37. Check out table manners – Thais tend to eat from communal dishes in the centre of the table – don’t pour everything onto your own plate!
38. Don’t knock the royal family – even in jest.
39. Don’t point your feet at people – the body is seen as hierarchical and the feet are the lowest part and should not be waved about (this is like a “fingers up” sign.
40. It’s not necessary to “Wai” people - the Thai greeting - as you’ll probably get it wrong. If they Wai you, you might wai back.
Wow thanks evryone some great info there that I'm sure will come in handy.