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Bangkok: 7 Things Travelers Need To Know Before Visiting

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While many travelers only pass through Bangkok when in transit, the city itself is well worth a proper visit.

Bangkok is a whirlwind for the senses and a far cry from the relaxing islands and beaches that so many tourists seek out in Thailand.

But visitors who embrace the hustle and bustle of the city will be rewarded with a beautiful experience. With incredible food, welcoming people, and vibrant culture, Bangkok is just waiting to be explored.

View Of The City Of Bangkok In Thailand, Southeast Asia

But before setting off to Bangkok, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. In this post, we'll cover everything you need to know about traveling to Bangkok, including:

  • What are the costs for travelers?
  • Things to know about culture and etiquette
  • What are the top attractions?
  • How safe is it?
  • Local food and drinks
  • How good is the WiFi?
  • How long can you stay?

Ready? Here are the top 7 things you need to know before visiting Bangkok:

Thailand Market in Bangkok

Did you know… Bangkok is home to the world’s largest market. Each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the Chatuchak Weekend Market welcomes over 200,000 people visit who come to shop at the thousands of stalls. Here you’ll find everything from incredible street food and inexpensive clothing to unique artwork and quirky souvenirs.

1) Bangkok Affordability

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Travel throughout Thailand is generally very affordable, although there are plenty of high-end options if you have money to spend.

The currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht or THB. The current exchange rate is ฿‎1 THB = $0.03 USD, and $1 USD = ฿‎34.52 THB.

Here are the average costs for travelers in USD:

Accommodation

  • Average hotel price: One night at a 3-star hotel typically costs around $45, or $75 for a 4-star hotel.
  • Luxury 5-star hotels: You can find luxury 5-star hotels for less than $200 a night in Bangkok, although there are more expensive options if you want to indulge – like the Capella Bangkok, which has suites with private plunge pools starting at $1600/night.
  • If you're on a budget: Bangkok is a backpacker's paradise, with countless options for cheap hostels. A bed in a well-rated hostel in a central area costs around $14/night or $23 for a private ensuite room.

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a tourist in Bangkok Thailand navigates the streets

Food

Not only is the food in Bangkok incredibly delicious, but it is also really cheap! You’ll find amazing street food all over the city at remarkably low prices.

  • A 3-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two costs around $30.
  • For a cheap meal at an inexpensive restaurant or from a street food vendor, expect to pay around $3.
  • A beer costs between $2-$3, while a cappuccino is about $2.
Young Couple Having Dinner Together At Street Market In Bangkok, Thailand

Transportation

  • Getting around Bangkok on public transportation is a great option. You’ll find an extensive network of buses, a Skytrain, and a subway. Fares are calculated by distance, but on average, a single journey on the BTS Skytrain or the MRT Subway costs between $0.50 and $1.75.
  • River taxis are a great way to avoid traffic while also taking in some beautiful scenery. You can get a full-day pass for river taxis for under $3.
  • Taxis are another option, although the streets are usually congested, so you’ll likely be paying to sit in traffic. Rates start at $1 plus an additional $1.90 per mile. Make sure you ask the driver to use the meter before getting into the vehicle. Motorbike taxis are also common; a ride can cost around $0.50.  
  • Bangkok’s preferred rideshare service is called Grab, and it works the same way as Uber. Rates are sometimes cheaper than taxis.
  • Many tourists choose to get around at least once by Bangkok’s iconic tuk-tuks (three-wheeled taxis), and drivers are notorious for overcharging tourists. Skilled negotiators should be able to get the price down to $1.50 for a short trip.
Aerial View Of Downtown Bangkok, Silom, Thailand, Southeast Asia

Did you know… The real full name of the city of Bangkok is actually Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit?

It has the longest city name on earth!

2) Culture And Etiquette In Bangkok

Check this list before your trip! Here are some of the major Dos and Don’ts in Bangkok.

  • DO remove your shoes: when entering a temple or a home, be sure to remove your shoes.
  • DON’T use your left hand: only use your right hand when handing objects or money to someone, as the left hand is considered unclean.
  • DO return a wai:  A common gesture in Thailand is the wai  – if someone holds their hands together in a prayer-like gesture and bows their head, do the same. Similarly, if someone smiles at you, smile back.
  • DON’T point: Using your finger to point at someone or something (especially statues or images of Buddha) is considered inappropriate.
  • DO show respect to monks: You’ll see plenty of monks during your time in Bangkok, and be sure to show them extra respect. Greet them with a wai, and always offer them your seat on public transportation.
  • DO leave a tip: 10% is customary at restaurants and 25% at hammams
a tourist takes a selfie at wat-arun-bangkok

3) Top Attractions in Bangkok

Here are a few of the top things to see and do while exploring Bangkok:

  • Wat Pho – An impressive temple complex and home to Bangkok’s largest reclining Buddha and the country’s largest collection of Buddha images.
  • The Grand Palace – The former royal residence and the most popular tourist attraction in the city. The Grand Palace has over 100 buildings set across 230 acres.
  • Lumpini Park – A lush 140-acre oasis in the busy city complete with leafy walking paths and a lake with paddle boats.
lumphini park bangkok

4) How Safe Is It For Tourists?

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

As with many Asian cities, Bangkok is very safe for travelers. However, there are still some things that travelers should keep in mind to stay safe during their visit:

  • Beware of thieves: bag snatching and petty crime are common, so be sure to take extra caution with your valuables.
  • Don’t do drugs: Thailand has very strict drug laws, and tourists have been known to end up in jail for breaking them.
  • Watch out for scammers: Taxi drivers, in particular, are known for taking advantage of tourists. If a driver doesn’t turn their meter, find another taxi. Also, make sure you are buying tickets for attractions from the source itself, as there are many imposter sellers.
  • DO get travel insurance: Travel insurance can help in health emergencies as well as with covering the costs of any travel mishaps during your Bangkok trip. For 5 great options, read more here.
Khao San Road is busy with people in the night

5) Local Eats And Drinks

One of the best parts of travel is checking out the local cuisine, and Bangkok is a fantastic place to try new foods. Be adventurous and don't let yourself leave without trying at least one of the following:

Food

  • Tom yum goong – a spicy hot and sour soup with shrimp, lemongrass, and chilies
  • Som tam – a spicy salad made with fresh green papaya, carrots, and peanuts
  • Pat tai – stir-fried noodles with meat, seafood, or tofu along with egg and bean sprouts, served with lime
  • Khao niew mamuang – sweet, sticky coconut-flavored rice with fresh mango slices

Drinks

  • Fresh juice – what better way to beat the heat than freshly squeezed pomegranate, orange, or sugarcane juice
  • Thai milk tea – black tea sweetened with condensed milk, served hot or over ice
  • Sabi Sabi – A cocktail made with Mekhong liqueur, lime juice, syrup, and basil.
bangkok streetfood masks

6) How's the WiFi?

Using Ookla, an internet speed testing service, the average internet speeds in Bangkok for January 2023 were 41.96mbps download and 15.05mbps upload.

Bangkok traffic at night

7) How Long Can I Stay?

U.S. Citizens do not need a visa to enter Thailand if they have six months of validity on their passport and can show proof of an onward journey.

Visitors can stay up to 30 days, with the option to extend their stay an additional 30 days by paying a fee of $55 to the Thai Immigration Bureau office.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Tom

Thursday 23rd of March 2023

About the drug laws - yes, don't be a dumb tourist and indulge. That stated- Thailand is a corrupt country, laws are often bent or enforced only for the benefit of enforcing officials and it's not Singapore. If you're caught for small time drug use or possession a negotiable fine, which could start out quite high, is much more likely than being thrown in prison. A bigger deal will be made for traffickers, with anyone not able to pay a large fine going to jail. However, most foreigners on drug charges end up being pardoned eventually, after serving say 5 years. In Singapore and Malaysia, they'll come home in a body bag. In Indonesia, the outcome tends to be similar.

This article strangely does not make mention of the fact Marijuana is now essentially legal, with dispensaries open everywhere, especially in tourist areas. It's perfectly legal to purchase weed just don't consume it out in public. You can smoke it on your hotel balcony or porch, discreetly. Or a quiet beach. Or in the dispensary itself if there is a designated area.

Tom

Thursday 23rd of March 2023

Tipping? There is no tipping culture in Thailand and no expectation to tip at all. You can give a bellboy 20 Baht for carrying a bag for you (if you want) but for restaurant meals you really don't need to give anything much less 10%, only gullible westerners (particularly Americans and Canadians) do that. The more westerners tip, the likelier it is that Thais start stretching out their hand whenever they see a white person hoping for an extra tip.

Besides, many restaurants have a service charge and VAT, you'd be silly to pay any extra on top of that.

It's considered polite (though not essential) to give a small tip to a masseuse, if you feel you've had a particularly good massage.

Rachel

Tuesday 21st of March 2023

Why use an image featuring a masked up woman when the article doesn't even touch on covid restrictions? Are you trying to incent or deter your readers??? Poor choice for this article. People are so over it.

Tom

Thursday 23rd of March 2023

@Rachel, Thais absolutely live and breathe the Covid scam. No one questions anything and most people are still living in fear.

As I write this comment, an average of 95% of all Thais outside of tourist areas will wear a mask in indoor settings. 85% of Thais in all major cities and larger towns wear masks outdoors. 99% of Thais wear masks on public transportation nationwide (lower only in Pattaya and Phuket due to the large number of tourists and foreigners). This includes a large percentage of children aged 18 months and up (I've seen babies as young as 4 months wearing masks in Thailand).

100% of Thai public and private school students in the cities (and I literally mean 100%) are wearing masks all day at school with no end in sight. Most continue wearing their muzzles after school, unless they're eating or drinking something while walking down the street.

International school students are not required to don masks anymore but public schools still virtue signal or the children's parents force the schools to continue with this madness.

Thailand is the ONLY country in the world where anyone appearing on TV, including news anchors inside the news studio, were wearing masks during Covid. Some persist with this habit, despite the end of the mandate. Even the sign reader, who signs for deaf people was wearing a mask!!!

Tom

Thursday 23rd of March 2023

@TONY, actually, you won't find that anymore in other East Asian countries, only in Thailand. Thailand has by far the largest percentage of mask wearers of any country in the world, barring Japan. In Laos, there is about 2/3 less mask wearing than in Thailand. There is half as much mask wearing indoors in Malaysia as in Thailand. Vietnamese mask up at banks and airports and while on motorcycles but far less than Thais in every other setting.

TONY

Wednesday 22nd of March 2023

@Rachel, you will find that the majority of thai people wear face masks, as they do in most East Asian countries, especially busy built up cities.