What to expect in your visit ?
Page 1 2
Information about Bangkok.
The Khao-San Road
Khao-San and its surrounding streets (see Map)
are the tourist backpackers area.
If you are on low budget, you should definitely search your guest
here. Even if you don't intend to stay, you should visit the KhaoSan
its unique atmosphere, especially at night.
You will find in the Khaosan area: Budget Hotels, Restaurants, Street
agencies, Massages, small Shops, Bars, Dancing clubs and a
lot of young travellers. Video
KhaoSan in the afternoon
Khaosan at night
The Pad-Thai stands at the Khao San road are for tourists (Thai people
are eating much more
interesting things). If you want to eat for cheap (30 baht), you can
away a Pad-Thai which is basically noodles with vegetables. You can
choose to have it with eggs, chicken or prawns. Other popular fast food
stands at the Khaosan road:
Mango with sticky rice, Corn, Shawarma, Spring rolls, Fruit stands,
Natural juices and the very loved Pancakes with chocolate and banana.
If you prefer, you can try the bugs stand. Don't ask me about that, I
am vegetarian. Some tourists like to be taken in photo while
Eateries at the Khao-San road
If you like to sit, you can eat in one of the many eateries
around the Khao San road, the food is usually excellent.
Vegetarians can eat quite well around the Khao-San road. There is even
small street (behind Tanao road - see Map
vegetarian restaurants, among them the
famous May Kaidee's
where you can participate in a cooking course.
Otherwise it can be tough to be vegetarian in remote places in Thailand
(and in Asia in general), you will find
yourself eating a lot of "fried rice with vegetables" luckily
without creatures inside.
(The funniest part is to make yourself understood in non vegetarian
restaurants in Asia.)
If you wonder what to drink in Thailand, there are lots of fruits and
especially Coconuts. Pineapple and watermelon juice are especially
tourists. Fruit shakes vendors are everywhere.
The Durian Fruit
Difficult to ignore this special fruit in Thailand.
It has a very unique look, taste and smell. In fact, the odour is so
strong that it is prohibited in some
Some adore the taste, so you'll have to judge by
Look at the sign, the Durian fruit is not allowed in the metro...
This is a typical Thai fruit stand, the vendor gives you the sliced
fruit in a small plastic bag with a wooden chopstick:
Thai food is excellent, but if you are like most western tourists,
a while you will find yourself looking for pizzas and milk products
in case you don't know: traditional Asian diet excludes milk
products. In other
Asian countries or in small places in Thailand it could be a problem,
but not so in Bangkok, it is a big city with plenty of restaurants of
all kinds. The big malls have restaurants for all tastes. Still, cheese
is not so popular as in the west and it is relatively expensive.
There are two words in Thai that you will not be able to ignore during
- Sawasdee-kap - which means hello, welcome.
- Kapunka - which means thank-you.
The way to salute and say thank-you in Thailand is by slightly bowing
the yellow guy in the picture above, with the two hands joined
This is one of the favourite activities of tourists in Thailand and for
a good reason: It is very professional and not expensive. Three main
types of massages are offered in Thailand: Thai Traditional
massage, Oil massage and Foot massage. In the traditional Thai massage
you stay fully dressed and the massagist is streching and bending you
during one hour (or half an hour). Not everyone like this type of
massage, it can be stressful. Oil massage, is with oil on the body and
relaxing and foot massage seems to be the favourite of tourists,
especially after a long day of walking in the sites of Bangkok.
Another popular massage is the fish massage. It is mostly fun,
especially when you are with friends with a Singha beer in the
hand. The little fishes are eating dead skin on the foot and it makes a
pleasant tickling sensation.
It is very hot and humid in Bangkok during all year, you will be
an air-conditioned space. Thailand is close to the equator and so it
has a tropical climate. At day time temperatures are around 32 Celcius
and at night it doesn't drop much (around 25 Celcius). There are two
main seasons: the dry season (highly touristic) from November to May
and the rainy season in which there are showers of rain and sometimes
big thunderstorms but it is also hot when it rains. See
There are mainly two options as to where to stay in Bangkok:
- The town center, around Sukhumvit road, Nana skytrain station for
- Around the KhaoSan road, the backpackers neighborhood (Map).
advantage of the first is the central location, it is close to the
malls and to nightlife. The advantage of Khaosan is the abundance of
and good prices but then you have to spend time on travelling to the
minutes each way, depending on traffic and the way of transport (on the
other hand Khaosan is in the old city, so the big palace and other
tourist attractions are at a walking distance). Everything is more
in the center: restaurants, hotels, massages etc.
backpackers don't reserve a guest house for the Khao-San area,
there are simply a lot of them but if you are looking for hotels of
medium and high class you can reserve your hotel at TripAdvisor.
are big hotels like Hilton and Sheraton along the Chao Phraya River.
The Chao Phraya River
Chao Phraya is the big river of Bangkok. There is an efficient public
transportation along the river with many stops, among them the Grand
Palace (pier 8) and a connection to the metro at Saphan Taksin BTS
station (pier 0). The khaosan road is at pier 13.
sail on Chao Phraya river
The Khlong Saen Saeb
This is a narrow canal going from east to west. You can use the public
service in order to arrive from the Khao-San road area (Need to walk 20
minutes) to the center of town. Don't jump
into the water, it is very dirty and there are crocodiles waiting (no
kidding, I saw one). Video
sail on Khlong Saen Saeb Canal
This cool vehicle is called a Tuk-Tuk. Your intuition probably
tells you that it is cheaper than a regular taxi, but if you are a
Tourist, it is
not. There is not a taxi-meter inside and you'll have to negotiate a
price with the driver before the ride, and since you don't have a clue
as to the distances and the common prices, the driver will try to
charge you as much as he
can. An advice: After you have tried this fun way of transport, just
take regular taxis, they are cheaper and safer. And also: Pretend you
don't speak any language unless you want to be persuaded to visit a
"Ping pong show" or a Jewelery.
In case you wonder, it looks like this, from the inside:
Even better, look at the engine. The guy told me it has 3 pistons.
Bangkok is a city with a lot of motos and some of them are taxi-motos
that will take you wherever you want in town (just one
easy to recognize them, the driver wears an orange gilet.
There is no
taximeter for the ride. There are some fixed tariffs for the
trajectories but you are a tourist...
The service is efficient and relatively
cheap. The only problem is that you are a tourist and more often
than not the driver will try to bypass the
taximeter. For instance, let's say you are in downtown and you want to
go to the Khaosan road. A taxi ride in non rush hours, should cost
around 80 baht, but a typical conversation with
the driver might go like this: "I want to go to the Khaosan road,
the khaosan road, very very far, 300 baht".
What you have to do is look
for another taxi, the third (or fifth) one will usually accept to take
the taximeter running.
Get familiar with some lines and you will have no
problems using buses in Bangkok. It is cheap, sometimes they don't even
charge you in the non air conditioned
buses. There is an excellent plasticized bus map (by Thinknet) that you
can buy at the main book shops. Here are some bus lines you can take
from the Khaosan road:
To town center-(National Stadium, MBK mall, Siam center mall),
Silom and Lumpini park: buses 47 and 15.
To town center (Central World mall, Fashion mall, Computer mall),
Sukhumvit street, Nana and Asok: buses 2 and 511.
To Chatuchak Market (week-end market): buses 3 and 524
of a bus ride from Khaosan to the center
There are two metro systems in Bangkok: The Sky train with 2 lines and
one line. They interconnect at Asok station (Sukhumvit). They reach:
center of town (Sukhumvit, Phloen Chit), the main train station, the
big river at pier 0. Unfortunately, they don't reach the Khao-San
road and the big palace. Video
of a ride on the Sky-Train of Bangkok
Metro official site
Shopping is one of the interesting activities in Bangkok. You
can spend entire days inside the big malls around the Central World
For instance, start with the MBK center, continue along Rama1
to Siam Discovery Center, Siam Paragon, Central World then turn left at
Ratchadamn Rd and left again at Phetchaburi Rd and you will find the
Fashion mall, the Pratunam market and the Pantip computer mall.
There is also a very nice mall at Asok station called: Terminal 21.
of a visit in the big malls of Bangkok
There are goods for all tastes in Bangkok big malls but I am specially
fond of the teddy bears, made in Thailand.
The Computer Mall- Pantip
Even if you don't need anything for your computer, just visit this mall
This is probably the first tourist site you will want to
visit in Bangkok (Unless you prefer the malls). This
amazing place was till 150 years ago the
home of the
King and all his administrative government. The Grand Palace (see Map)
open every day. (Don't believe Tuk-tuk drivers who will tell you it is
closed today and propose to take you elsewhere).
One way to arrive to the Grand Palace is with the public express boats
Chao Phraya River, get down at pier 8 or 9. If you live at the Khao-San
road, just walk to the palace. "Wat" means
of a visit in the Grand palace
Just behind the Grand Palace is the Wat Pho complex. the big reclining
Buddha is there. This is also a must visit. The ticket entrance is
Wat Arun is at the other side of the big river, in
front of Wat Po. It is also a very impressive monument. The view on the
river from this shrine
is great. There is a ferry boat that will pass you to the
other side of the river for 3 Baht.
of a visit at Wat Arun
The Golden Mount - Wat Saket
A nice temple with a panoramic view over the city (see Map)
is free. It
is at a walking distance from the Khao-San road and it is right at the
first station of the boat public services on the Khlong Saen Saeb
of a visit at Wat Saket
Red Light Districts
Bangkok is also known for its famous red
light districts. There are three main centers: Pat-Pong, Nana Plaza and
Soi Cowboy. (see
Pat-Pong street is very touristic. In fact it is so touristic that you
will mainly see T-shirts for sale. Between the sellers of clothes
there are go-go clubs with loud music and girls dancing on tables.
Before you sit down to have a drink, make sure you know the price.
Talking about the red light districts, Lady boys (called also Kathoey)
are socially well accepted in
Don't be so sure you can differentiate between a real lady and a
Chatuchak - The Weekend Market
This is a must visit in Bangkok. It operates only on Saturdays and
Sundays and it is considered the biggest open market in the world,
there are even agencies of the big shipping
companies (Fed Ex etc) so you can send your
purchases directly home. (see
Map) See this video
of a visit in Chatuchak market
There are really strange things sold in this market, it is much better
than any museum.
Don't worry the cute dogs you see in the picture are not for eating.
Jim Thompson's house
Jim Thompson was an American who after world war 2 settled in Bangkok
and contributed to the silk industry. The house he built for himself
represents traditional Thai architecture and also contains nice
furniture and art collections. It is very easy to reach this place, it
is in the very center of town, close to the MBK mall, so no excuse for
not visiting (see
Situated close to the main Railway station (see
. You will find there an
restaurants and unique atmosphere. Even more animated and decorated on
the Chinese new year.
walk in China town
You receive a free ticket to this site when you visit the Grand Palace
but it is situated in another area, near the Dusit zoo, 15 minutes with
a taxi from the Khaosan
Vimanmek is a former royal palace built in 1900 by king Rama V.
The annoying part of the visit is that you will have to take off your
shoes, you won't be
able to use your camera and there are draconian security measures, even
the person who sold me a coconut was a military.
The Zoo is situated near Vimanmek Mansion (see
and it is a very nice one
(Can you touch the elephants in a European zoo ?).
Better to visit the zoo on a week-end when there are many Thai families
kids, it has a more special atmoshpere. Also, there are demonstrations
of animal feeding during the week-end.
of a visit at Dusit Zoo
Situated in Silom area near the MRT station Silom (see Map)
The best part of this place is the live shows of different snakes and
of venom extraction.
visit snake farm
to page 2 of Bangkok