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Travelling to Bangkok, Thailand (First Time Solo)

Travel Forums Asia Travelling to Bangkok, Thailand (First Time Solo)

1. Posted by Doug GL (First Time Poster, 1 posts) 7 Oct '09 01:56

I've read some of the input you guys put out for Thailand and I just wanted to thank you. I will be in Bangkok in around Dec 2, 2009 and wandering if anyone out there is going to be in the area. Or give any ideas where I should go. From Canada

2. Posted by Cyberia (Travel Guru, 1748 posts) 7 Oct '09 13:52

Early December is a good time to go as not too hot (air-conditioning is still good) and past the rainy season. I trust you have booked accommodation already? If not, do so. December 5th is the King's birthday and lots of places might be closed. Bangkok has lots to offer and where you go and what you see depends on what you like. A handy site:

http://bangkok.sawadee.com/

Though taxis are cheap in Bangkok, traffic is a nightmare so use the Skytrain or subway if possible (easy to use. Just watch others). Buy a map of Bangkok with bus routes. Non air-conditioned buses are flat rates so you get off when you want. Mo Chit Skytrain station is the huge weekend market. National Stadium is the large semi air-con Mah Boon Krong shopping centre (a fair number of similar malls about where you can shop and eat in a cool place) with Siam Square just across the road, as well as Jim Thompson's house. The Grand Palace is good but don't let any con artists tell you it is shut. It is not (apart from maybe King's birthday). Vimanmek Mansion area is the old palace of the kings of Bangkok.

Sala Daeng is the Skytrain stop (Si Lom the subway stop) for the big night market on Silom, incorporating Pat Pong. Gets very busy after 8pm till gone 1 am. (most public transport stops about midnight though night buses still run). Be careful of crowds in markets, on buses etc as there are pick pockets about. Chinatown has a few daily markets around the back streets as well as a large Sunday market.

Saphan Taksin Skytrain stop, take the entrance towards the river and you can get a ferry there along the river for peanuts, getting on or off at any of the many stops. Last stop is Bang Na, a shopping area in a suburb of Bangkok. 70 minutes, cost me 18 baht 2 years ago. The floating market trip you see some old ladies selling rubbish from boats.

Do be careful not to fall for the taxi at the Arrival Hall at the airport. That is an expensive Limo service. Get a real taxi, or down to the ground floor where you can get a shuttle bus to a number of common destinations in town (was 150 baht last year).

3. Posted by blissbliss (Budding Member, 14 posts) 8 Oct '09 23:12

Use the security box in your hotel for your valuables. If you go somewhere alone with a tour or driver tell the hotel staff who you are with. Also, keep your family or friends informed of where you are going or will shortly visit by e-mail.

Don't flash money around. When you change your money over make sure you have small bills for paying vendors and taxi cabs. If you take a taxi cab tell the driver "meter only," it will be cheaper than bargaining. Avoid taxi cabs parked at or near hotels or bus stations they will be more expensive and want to bargain. Hail a moving taxi cab.

Don't overdress with expensive clothing or jewelry, you would be a target in any country! Besides, if you look wealthy the price quoted by the street vendors starts even higher than the normal tourist mark up.

Don't bring any valuable jewelry, watches, etc. with you that you would really cry over if they became stolen or lost in some way. Travel light!

4. Posted by travelfrik (Inactive, 22 posts) 9 Oct '09 01:12

hey i will be in thailand middle of december and will celebrate the new yr in koh phangan island. how long u gonna be there?

5. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru, 1301 posts) 9 Oct '09 05:12

Quoting blissbliss

Use the security box in your hotel for your valuables. If you go somewhere alone with a tour or driver tell the hotel staff who you are with. Also, keep your family or friends informed of where you are going or will shortly visit by e-mail.

Don't flash money around. When you change your money over make sure you have small bills for paying vendors and taxi cabs. If you take a taxi cab tell the driver "meter only," it will be cheaper than bargaining. Avoid taxi cabs parked at or near hotels or bus stations they will be more expensive and want to bargain. Hail a moving taxi cab.

Don't overdress with expensive clothing or jewelry, you would be a target in any country! Besides, if you look wealthy the price quoted by the street vendors starts even higher than the normal tourist mark up.

Don't bring any valuable jewelry, watches, etc. with you that you would really cry over if they became stolen or lost in some way. Travel light!

Couldn't say it any better myself!

Good luck.

6. Posted by Aegisint (Budding Member, 13 posts) 9 Oct '09 19:13

Some must see places in BKK, some good some not so good.

1. Grand Palace only because its there. Previous advice is good re touts trying to tell you its closed. You cannot wear shorts or singlets in any temple in any Buddhist country so make sure you wear jeans or long cotton trousers and have a shirt with at least 1/4 sleeves. You can rent a sarong if you wish, very normal to do so, and pretty cool for a photo op!

2. River Cruises. Bangkok is the river. There are scores of tours and boats and ferries. Try them all. The night dinner cruises are really good fun, food can be patchy but absolutely a lot of fun, usually a live band is playing anything from Disco to Emo. Make sure you take the floating markets tour and the bangkok canal tours, then you will have seen all of Bangkoks rich history

3. SuanLum night market is a must, inside Lumpini. Previous post also suggested. Great craft shopping, great beer garden and live music in the beer garden all night. Get there around 7 and stay late.

4. Oriental Hotel. Sneak in and take a look at the writers room. Its more than 100 years old and has a history of famous european and american writers you will not believe. Its also a really cool room. The Oriental has arguably the best riverside buffet too, wonderful for an evening if you feel like stuffing yourself completely.

5. Vertigo: restaurant on top of Banyan Tree. Its literally the top of the world. cant recall how many floors, but plenty

6. Bars and clubs: 3 main areas. Soi Cowboy, Patpong and Nana Square. Cowboy is perhaps the best for first time tourists. Beers are reasonable and you are not likely to get ripped off as much as in Nana or Patpong. Go around 10 or 11 for the full buzz of the street. Dont be shy about going in, you will be one of 100's from all over the world. STay at long or as short as you want. Check out bangkokbob site for more specific details on these places.

7. Tuk Tuks: These are dangerous contraptions and I suggest you only take it once, they are more expensive than taxi and dont have aircon. Can be a lot of fun but you are likely to be taken to a tailor, gift store, jewelery of other shop that you didnt want to go to and so you end up having to take a can anyway.

8. Transport. Very few taxi drivers speak english. Take a cab from a hotel, any hotel. The concierge will interrogate the driver to make sure he knows where to go. Tuk Tuk drivers usually speak more english as they are mixing with more tourists, but they will cahrge you a lot more.

9. TAxi: its generally accepted that the minimum fare, regardless of whats on the meter is 100 baht (3 bucks). These guys work very hard for their money and so a 40 baht fare is going to kill them.

10, Dining. Stongly recommend Lana Thai (look it up) if you want a fanatastic local dining experience in beautiful surrounds. Its also known as Faces and Kinara, its around Soi 36 from memory. Other great place near Patpong is the Mango Tree. Food is awesome and the staff are great. Its a cool little place that the local expats know well. There are a lot of Irish bars in Bangkok, go figure. Check out bangkokbob site he has a directory of them too. and ratings.

11. Sukhumvit is the main shopping tourist area, take the time to wander down the side lanes, called Soi. All are numbered so hard to get lost. GO inside the small lanes and warrens, its very safe if you dress down and look like a backpacker or a retiree! Take a massage, cheap and good, but be careful as the 'oil' massage may give you more, or exactly, what you want.

12. Erewan. Very famous and popular temple with locals, great photo op and a great place to earn some karma. Its on the corner across from the Gaysorn centre.

13. MBK Plaza is the place for all cheap stuff, phones, knowck offs, anythign really. Its worth a visit if you want a pirated dvd a month before it hits the cinema screen in USA, maybe even have Windows 7 by now?

That should be enough to keep you in or out of trouble!

Learn the 'wai' which is the traditional Thai greeting, you can find on the web, its not essential but it will guarantee you a much happier and pleasant time as the Thai's really appreciate your attempt to understnad their culture. Learn the difference between sawasdee krup and sawasdee karp, unless you want to end up with a katoey (ladyboy).

Good luck and enjoy

7. Posted by travelfrik (Inactive, 22 posts) 10 Oct '09 06:48

thnx aegisint for the informative post.....m also heading thr middle of december!:)

8. Posted by esmithai (Budding Member, 2 posts) 13 Oct '09 04:20

wow, good answers thus far.

depends on what you are looking for what to see in bangkok.
solo it would be fun to meet other people so maybe start around Khao San because that is where all the travelers are but also most of the sights. Watch out for tuk tuk guys around there (taxis are actually cheaper) and then just head out. One fun thing to do is pack a change of clothes in your backpack and get a massage in the late afternoon. They will let you shower so you can change into fresh clothes after and then you can keep exploring in the evening without having to go back to your place. (the massage is also a good mini nap). Otherwise these two sites have good run downs of the attractions: everyone has different tastes so... (i like exploring china town and random neighborhoods down the Sukhumvit odd numbered sois)
http://ultimatethailandexplorers.com/no_cache/destinations/bangkok/highlight-attractions/
http://www.travelfish.org/sights/thailand/bangkok_and_surrounds/bangkok/bangkok

9. Posted by opospa (Travel Guru, 1836 posts) 14 Oct '09 15:43

Quoting Aegisint

2. River Cruises. Bangkok is the river. There are scores of tours and boats and ferries. Try them all. The night dinner cruises are really good fun, food can be patchy but absolutely a lot of fun, usually a live band is playing anything from Disco to Emo. Make sure you take the floating markets tour and the bangkok canal tours, then you will have seen all of Bangkoks rich history

By tours? Not a good idea i guess...but you can try.... I would suggest D.I.Y which will be cheaper and flexible...

6. Bars and clubs: 3 main areas. Soi Cowboy, Patpong and Nana Square.

Those places are red light districts... For better club, you can try RCA (Royal Club Avenue)... Not so pack with Farangs... Mostly Thai teens...

12. Erewan. Very famous and popular temple with locals, great photo op and a great place to earn some karma. Its on the corner across from the Gaysorn centre.

Get down from Chidlom BTS and walk backwards... You will find Erawan Shrine...

13. MBK Plaza is the place for all cheap stuff, phones, knowck offs, anythign really. Its worth a visit if you want a pirated dvd a month before it hits the cinema screen in USA, maybe even have Windows 7 by now?

DVD? If you are heading to the Friendship Brigde (Duty Free area over the Lao side), Nongkhai-Vientiane, I suggest you not to buy it in Bangkok... Its only 20 Baht for 1 DVD for all movies... They have all new movies...

[ Edit: Edited on 14-Oct-2009, at 15:45 by opospa ]

10. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member, 454 posts) 14 Oct '09 18:42

How long are you staying? are you onlygoing to Bkk??