Bangkok - What to expect in your visit ?
Information about Bangkok.

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starThis Bangkok overview contains 2 pages. After viewing this tour you will even know how to say elephant in Thai.

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 house here. Even if you don't intend to stay, you should visit the KhaoSan road because of its unique atmosphere, especially at night.
You will find in the Khaosan area: Budget Hotels, Restaurants, Street food, Travel agencies, Massages, small Shops, Bars, Dancing clubs and a lot of young travellers. See the Khaosan Road Survival Guide
Khaosan road

Pad-Thai stands

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 take 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.
Pad thai

Bugs Stands

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 tasting them.
bugs

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.
eateries khaosan

Vegetarians

Vegetarians can eat quite well around the Khao-San road. There is even a small street (behind Tanao road - see Map) with several 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). Visit the page: How to survive as a Vegetarian in bangkok.
vegetarians khaosan

Drinks

If you wonder what to drink in Thailand, there are lots of fruits and especially Coconuts. Pineapple and watermelon juice are especially popular with tourists. Fruit shakes vendors are everywhere.coco

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 public places.
Some adore the taste, so you'll have to judge by yourself.
durian
Look at the sign, the Durian fruit is not allowed in the metro...
no durian
This is a typical Thai fruit stand, the vendor gives you the sliced fruit in a small plastic bag with a wooden chopstick:
fruits stand

Western Food

Thai food is excellent, but if you are like most western tourists, after a while you will find yourself looking for pizzas and milk products everywhere, in case you don't know: traditional Asian diet excludes milk and bread 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.
western food

Sawasdee-kap

There are two words in Thai that you will not be able to ignore during your visit:
  1. Sawasdee-kap - which means hello, welcome.
  2. Kapunka -  which means thank-you.
The way to salute and say thank-you in Thailand is by slightly bowing as does the yellow guy in the picture above, with the two hands joined together.
sawasdee

Massages

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 is very relaxing and foot massage seems to be the favourite of tourists, especially after a long day of walking in the sites of Bangkok.
massages

Fish Massage

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.
fish massage

Weather

It is very hot and humid in Bangkok during all year, you will be happy to enter 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 Bangkok average temperatures.
weather

Hotels

There are plenty of hotels in Bangkok, for all Budgets.
See the page : Where to stay in Bangkok for an overview of the possible zones with the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
You can reserve your hotel at TripAdvisor  and also read travellers' opinions.
hotels bangkok 

The Chao Phraya River

Chao Phraya is the big river of Bangkok. There is an efficient public boat 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. Info & Maps  Video sail on Chao Phraya river
chao phaya river

The Khlong Saen Saeb Canal

This is a narrow canal going from east to west. You can use the public transport boat 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). Info & Maps  Video sail on Khlong Saen Saeb Canal
khlong bangkok  

Tuk Tuk

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.
tuk tuk
In case you wonder, it looks like this, from the inside:
tuk tuk interior
Even better, look at the engine. The guy told me it has 3 pistons.
tuk tuk engine

Taxi-Motos

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 person). It's 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...
taxi motos bangkok

Regular Taxis

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, please". "Oh, 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 you with the taximeter running.
Read the page : Common Taxi Scams in Bangkok.
taxi bangkok

Buses

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), Pat-Pong, 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
more Info & Maps
Video of a bus ride from Khaosan to the center bus bangkok

Bangkok Metro

There are two metro systems in Bangkok: The Sky train with 2 lines and the MRT with one line. They interconnect at Asok station (Sukhumvit). They reach: the center of town (Sukhumvit, Phloen Chit), the main train station, the week-end market, the big river at pier 0. Unfortunately, they don't reach the Khao-San road and the big palace. more Info & Maps
Video of a ride on the Sky-Train of Bangkok
metro bangkok

Commercial Centers

Shopping is one of the interesting activities in Bangkok. You can spend entire days inside the big malls around the Central World area. (see Map)
For instance, start with the MBK center, continue along Rama1 street 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.
More on the malls of Bangkok.
Video of a visit in the big malls of Bangkok.
malls bangkok
There are goods for all tastes in Bangkok big malls but I am specially fond of the teddy bears, made in Thailand.
teddy bears bangkok

The Computer Mall- Pantip

Even if you don't need anything for your computer, just visit this mall for its special atmoshpere.
computers-mall bangkok

The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew

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) is 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 on the 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 temple in Thai. Video of a visit in the Grand palace
grand palace bangkok

Wat Pho

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 separate.
wat pho bangkok

Wat Arun

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. Video of a visit at Wat Arun
wat arun

The Golden Mount - Wat Saket

A nice temple with a panoramic view over the city (see Map). 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 Canal. Video of a visit at Wat Saket
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 Map)
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.
pat pong bangkok

Lady Boys

Talking about the red light districts, Lady boys (called also Kathoey) are socially well accepted in Thailand.
Don't be so sure you can differentiate between a real lady and a Kathoey. See this Video
ladyboys bangkok

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.
week-end market bangkok
There are really strange things sold in this market, it is much better than any museum.
chatuchak markrt bangkok

week end market bangkok
Don't worry the cute dogs you see in the picture are not for eating.
chatuchak market bangkok

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 Map).
Jim Thompson house bangkok

China Town

Situated close to the main Railway station (see Map). You will find there an interesting market, food, restaurants and unique atmosphere. Even more animated and decorated on the Chinese new year. Video walk in China town
china town bangkok

Vimanmek Mansion

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 (north). (see Map)
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.
vimanmek bangkok

Dusit Zoo

The Zoo is situated near Vimanmek Mansion (see Map) 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 with kids, it has a more special atmoshpere. Also, there are demonstrations of animal feeding during the week-end. Video of a visit at Dusit Zoo.
dusit zoo bangkok

Snake Farm

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. Video visit snake farm
snake farm bangkok

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starMore on Bangkok :

Where to stay in Bangkok (Potential Zones for Hotels)
How to book Trains, Buses, Flights and Hotels for Thailand
Bangkok Overview – (How is Bangkok, A Tour of Bangkok)
Bangkok Must See (What to visit in Bangkok?)
Bangkok FAQ (Weather, Distances etc…)
Bangkok Transport (The skytrain, Boats, Airport Train…)
Bangkok Taxi Scams (Common Scams of Taxi and Tuk-Tuks)
Go-Go Bar Scams in Bangkok (How they intend to make you spend)
Bangkok Shopping (A guide about the big Malls and the Markets)
Khaosan Road Survival Guide (About the famous Backpacker’s zone)
Bangkok Maps – (Maps with places of interest in Bangkok)
Bangkok Wi-Fi, Internet (Calling and using Internet in Thailand, the cheapest way)
Bangkok Visa - Where to extend the Thai Visa in Bangkok, what to bring
How to Survive in Bangkok as a Vegetarian ?
How much does it Cost to Visit Bangkok ? Common Prices in Bangkok
Where to Go at Night in Bangkok ? The Nightlife
From Bangkok to the Islands - Which Island to visit and how to get there
From Bangkok to Pattaya - Where to Stay in Pattaya + Info Pattaya
From Bangkok to Chiang Mai - What to Visit, where to Stay, Transport...

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