As an expat (I’m American-born) with Thai lineage and citizenship, and whose lived in Bangkok, on and off, the past 2 years, here’s some tips / recommendations on visiting the big city.
- Bring a pollution mask. Sometimes, the smog can be hazardous to your health.
- When it’s hot, peruse the air-conditioned malls. Consider an umbrella. Don’t battle heat stroke.
- Don’t worry too much about pickpockets and thieves. Generally, Thai people are nice, docile folk. Still, be a little cautious.
- Street food is infamous, cheap, and tasty, but might not be clean. Eating at a mall’s food court is a little more expensive, but more sanitary.
- Bangkok traffic is the worst in the world.
- Try to use the BTS and MRT electric train system. It is public transportation that can get you around to the most touristy spots in BKK. This is probably the safest means of seeing the city. Look for an online map, study it, and buy a multi-day pass.
- Taxis, even metered, can rip you off, taking longer routes to extend the fare. Another reason to take the electric train.
- If you need a taxi, Grab is the Uber in Southeast Asia. Download the app. If you book a Grab car, have patience while you wait to be picked up—it can take several minutes.
- Tuk-Tuks are tourist traps. They are fun and will cost you double the regular fare.
- Search for areas near a train station.
- AirBnB is available, but for monthly rentals. Short-term stays are discouraged and some tourists have been thrown out, snitched by residents of the condo complexes.
- Hotels are relatively inexpensive and much easier to deal with, especially since some natives do not speak English well. Check out agoda.com
Places to see
- Siam Paragon—so much opulence, it makes you want to throw up a little.
- Baan Ice—southern Thai food.
- Central Embassy
- Terminal 21
- Pier 21 food court—wide variety of Thai dishes at affordable prices.
- IconSiam—obnoxiously ginormous shopping center.
- MBK Center—Foreigner-friendly market-in-a-shopping mall.
Good Thai Food
Other Good Food
- Vespyr—speakeasy cocktail lounge. Very chill.