U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
Old 09-01-2012, 05:23 AM
 
Location: Australia
19 posts, read 13,991 times
Reputation: 20

Advertisements

Love to know some great tips and places to see when im in Bangkok. Not going till October. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-01-2012, 09:56 AM
 
5,096 posts, read 8,075,591 times
Reputation: 3069
Quote:
Originally Posted by boredwife View Post
Love to know some great tips and places to see when im in Bangkok. Not going till October. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
There's a lot. A lot depends on how much time you want to spend in Bangkok.

When you arrive in Bangkok, the first thing you'll need is Thai currency. There are currency exchange bank booths at the airport where you can exchange Traveler Cheques, or foreign currency. ATMs can be found both at the airport and all over the city. You'll need Thai money for transportation and what-not. I presume you know what hotel you'll be staying at. The airport is a fair distance out of the city, so you'll need transportation to get to your hotel.

There are booths at the airport where you can pre-pay for a taxi to your destination. It's not necessarily the cheapest way to get into the city, but it's certainly convenient and you won't have to be concerned about having the right amount of money to pay the driver. He gets his money and instructions to your destination from the stall at the airport. If you're not certain about where to find places or services in the airport, ask any employee who works there for help.

For what-to-see starters, a visit to the Grand Palace/Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Keow) is a typical must-see location that's an impressive eye dazzler. Located next to it is Wat Po which houses a gigantic impressive reclining Buddha image. Both are located along the Chao Phraya River. You don't need to remove your shoes when walking around the grounds, but do remove them before entering the temples or palace buildings. Flip-flop sandals are easy to slip off and slip on again. You don't have to dress fancy, but modest clothing is strongly encouraged. No revealing or tattered clothes. Clean blue jeans or slacks are fine. Bangkok has a large number of buddhist temples.

Taking photos or videos inside the palace buildings and the Emerald Buddha temple is not permitted, although you can take photos and videos of the Buddha image at Wat Po and many other temples. Most of the time there will be signs (in English) letting you know if photos are not permitted. If you're not sure, it's best to ask first.

A trip to the Chatuchak (also spelled Jatujak) Weekend Market is a great place to visit with vendors selling everything under the sun. This market is extremely large. You won't be able to see everything there. It's also very hot and crowded. There are plenty of food stalls where you can get cool drinks and something to eat. Next to the Market is the Chatuchak (JJ) mall which is air conditioned.

Other interesting shopping spots are the Night Bazaars scattered around the city. The largest is the Pat Pong Night Bazaar. Pat Pong is noted for its (ahem) adult entertainment, but the outdoor streetside night bazaar, which is blocks long, is worth a stroll in the evening.

When it comes to money, be aware that crowded areas are ideal spots for pickpockets. Chances are extremely slim that you'd become a target, but it's still a good idea to keep an eye on your belongings and don't flash money around where it might be obvious and noticable. Be as discrete as possible with handling your cash in public.

By all means, do take advantage of Thai food. There are food stalls all over the city. If you like spicy food, there's plenty available. If you're not too keen on dishes that are too spicy (flame inducing), you can say "mai phet" (my pet) which means not spicy, or "phet nit noi" (pet nit noy" which means a little bit spicy. Many times food vendors will have a display of images showing what the dishes look like and you can just point to what you want. Prices are often shown and sometimes the dishes are written in English. Food from these sources are wonderful, flavorful and cheap. If you're not certain about cleanliness, look around. Spots where you find lots of other people is a fair indicator that it's a good spot to go for food.

Bangkok has a lot of transportation available. Buses, the skytrain, metered air-conditioned taxis, tuk-tuks, etc. Tuk-tuks are fun for first-time visitors. A lot of tax drivers may offer to take you on shopping tours or sightseeing tours. Skip it. These guys get kickbacks from the shops, and the shops are not always reliable. You can always ask at your hotel check-in counter for various tour recommendations. Hotels often have canned or packaged tours, but they can also suggest individual spots to visit as well.

If you want some more ideas and suggestions, feel free to send me a Direct Message and I'll try to help if I can.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-02-2012, 03:25 AM
 
Location: Australia
19 posts, read 13,991 times
Reputation: 20
Thanks Nightbazaar for your great travel tips with the airport money exchange and taxi pre paid, especially not knowing how much we should be paying to travel to the Novotel in Siam. Will be writing out your ideas, obviously you have been to Thailand plenty times before. Cheers.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-02-2012, 05:55 AM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
21,359 posts, read 21,922,845 times
Reputation: 33574
The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free, you'll find a god in every golden cloister and if you're lucky then the god's a she.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-02-2012, 11:33 AM
 
5,096 posts, read 8,075,591 times
Reputation: 3069
Quote:
Originally Posted by boredwife View Post
Thanks Nightbazaar for your great travel tips with the airport money exchange and taxi pre paid, especially not knowing how much we should be paying to travel to the Novotel in Siam. Will be writing out your ideas, obviously you have been to Thailand plenty times before. Cheers.
It's been quite a while since I've last spent any significant time in Bangkok, apart from going there for occasional medical exams or shopping trips to the Chatuchak Weekend Market. My wife and I spend part of our time in the US, and part in Thailand. We have a house out in the boonies in the province of Saraburi. Unlike many visitors to Thailand, we don't need to use public transportation since we have family and friends pick us up at the airport. I haven't spent much time in Bangkok over the last few decades, but I do have friends in the city that keep me posted on some of the changes taking place. We're planning to buy a house in Chiang Mai for retirement in the next year or two.

There are times when just my wife and I go into the city, so we do use the buses and taxis to get around. From what I understand, all taxis in Bangkok are now required to have meters so the fare is reasonable. There used to be so-called unmetered taxis, which meant someone using their own car as a taxi to make a little money, and metered taxis would sometimes turn off their meters. Bargaining for a good price was expected. It wasn't always a bargain though for people who had no idea what a fair price would be between Point A and Point B, so it could end up being a lot more expensive than taking a metered taxi. Outside of Bangkok, and in other parts of the country, there are still all sorts of "taxis", metered and unmetered, that you can choose from.

Even now though, it can take a bit of familiarity, which takes time, in knowing the shortest routes between two points, as some of the metered taxi drivers will take longer routes just to add more kilometers on the meter which ends up costing more than it should. Anyway, that's the main point of opting for a pre-paid taxi into the city from the airport. It still isn't the cheapest way into the city, but it is convenient and less hassle.

You mentioned travel to the Novatel Siam, I assume that to be in the Siam Square area. Looks like Novatel has some pretty nice features. You might find yourself giving the swimming pool some good use. If it's the same hotel you mean, there's plenty of nearby shopping, entertainment and public transportation in the area. There's a Hard Rock Cafe in Siam Square. Take full advantage of the check-in counter for suggestions of sightseeing spots around the city. Pick up a few of the hotel's business cards - they include handy directions written in Thai to make it easier for taxi drivers, but most drivers will know where Siam Square is, and probably the Novatel Hotel as well.
Hotel Novotel Bangkok On Siam Square: travel, stay or vacation, holiday at BANGKOK

Some irritations in Bangkok, are touts. Touts are usually found where there are loads of tourists. These guys can range from people trying to hustle you go to a certain business, etc., to so-called representatives asking for 'donations' claiming to be from various charity organizations (like the Boy Scouts). They'll usually approach you with a great big friendly smile and ask you where you're from to get you engaged talking to them so they can deliver the scam. Don't answer them, just ignore them and keep going. Once you know about that, then it's not such an irritation.

The weather should be fairly good and a little cooler in October, although there can be rain showers now and then. Take the word "cooler" with a grain of salt though. It's still hot, just not as hot as other seasons.

One thing to know about Bangkok is that, as a busy city, there are plenty of traffic jams, especially during rush hours, but it can extend well into the night. Even though I don't spend much time in Bangkok anymore, it's still a fascinating city to explore and experience.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-02-2012, 12:34 PM
 
8,266 posts, read 10,717,560 times
Reputation: 4774
Remember nothing is free. When the friendly English speaking man near the tourist destinations says there is a special and this tuk-tuk will take you on a tour to see some temple you've never heard of, it isn't a temple it is some place that sells stuff. Same with any tour of a factory where crafts are made, it is somewhere that will give you a strong sales push to buy things. Tuk-tuk rides in the city are generally cheap, it isn't worth being tempted by promises that don't even seem realistic.


NB mentioned Wat Po, a good idea if in that area templing is to take water taxi across the river to Wat Arun. Its quite close, is lovely both from a distance and near, and you can climb up on it to get some nice views of the city and river.




Another cool thing to do is the snake farm downtown. You can see cobras and kraits, they show how they are milked, its a relatively inexpensive good time. If you hail a taxi and draw a picture of a cobra they'll know where to take you.



Pat Pong (and the other similar areas Nana and Soi Cowboy) are great people watching. My wife and I have had many a fun evening just sitting outside at a cafe sipping beers and watching all the westerners looking for action. Take a look at the boad the touts have in front of some of the clubs, its hilarious. Who'd have thunk that female body part could do things like blow up a balloon or make change?




Kao San is another popular tourist destination, it used to be the backpacker mecca but has become kind of the everything mecca for partying tourists. You can get a cheapo hour long foot massage, smoke hookah, try all kinds of street food (crickets anyone?) and generally have a great time. Last time we were there it had spread to the street North of it too, the whole area is like a people zoo.


Last edited by slackjaw; 09-02-2012 at 12:52 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-02-2012, 01:45 PM
 
5,096 posts, read 8,075,591 times
Reputation: 3069
Quote:
Originally Posted by slackjaw View Post
Remember nothing is free. When the friendly English speaking man near the tourist destinations says there is a special and this tuk-tuk will take you on a tour to see some temple you've never heard of, it isn't a temple it is some place that sells stuff. Same with any tour of a factory where crafts are made, it is somewhere that will give you a strong sales push to buy things. Tuk-tuk rides in the city are generally cheap, it isn't worth being tempted by promises that don't even seem realistic.
Good points Slackjaw. The offers from street touts, and some of the tuk-tuk drivers, of so-called shopping or sightseeing tours should be avoided. The touts and drivers get a kickback for bringing people in. It's not worth it and the quality often less than desirable. Speaking for myself, I've seldom encountered tuk-tuk drivers offering "tours". Most seem to just get you to where you're going. But that's just been my experience. I have come across a few, but not many.


Quote:
NB mentioned Wat Po, a good idea if in that area templing is to take water taxi across the river to Wat Arun. Its quite close, is lovely both from a distance and near, and you can climb up on it to get some nice views of the city and river.
Excellent suggestion. Wat Arun is a tall, impressive sight against the skyline on the Thonburi side of the river. Taking a water taxi to get there is great as there's often a nice cool breeze on the river.


Quote:
Another cool thing to do is the snake farm downtown. You can see cobras and kraits, they show how they are milked, its a relatively inexpensive good time. If you hail a taxi and draw a picture of a cobra they'll know where to take you.
Never been there, but I have been to the small croc/cobra farm along one of the canals in Thonburi. it was entertaining to watch an act by a handler messing with the cobras. I went with some Thai friends. We hired a water taxi to cruise the canals with another stop to see the Royal Barges. I think the whole thing was about 2 or 3 hours and cost us about 200 baht. Entry fare to the croc farm and the stop at the Royal Barges were included at no extra charge. That was a long time ago. My friends did the haggling on the price.


Quote:
Pat Pong (and the other similar areas Nana and Soi Cowboy) are great people watching. My wife and I have had many a fun evening just sitting outside at a cafe sipping beers and watching all the westerners looking for action. Take a look at the boad the touts have in front of some of the clubs, its hilarious. Who'd have thunk that female body part could do things like blow up a balloon or make change?
Just an added note to say there are lots of people watching spots all over the city.


Quote:
Kao San is another popular tourist destination, it used to be the backpacker mecca but has become kind of the everything mecca for partying tourists. You can get a cheapo hour long foot massage, smoke hookah, try all kinds of street food (crickets anyone?) and generally have a great time. Last time we were there it had spread to the street North of it too, the whole area is like a people zoo.
That's another district I've never been to, although I'm familiar with it. It's still a backpacker location, but like you mentioned, it has since gained appeal for a wider range of tourists and budget-minded travelers. Hookah smoking? I didn't know that. Sounds like the Grace Hotel off Sukhumvit on Soi 3. I presume mostly shisha tobacco at Khao San, although I suppose there are a few backrooms around.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top