Bangkok - Tourist Useful Information
Frequently Asked Questions:

star For an Overview, a guided tour of Bangkok see This Page

What is the weather in Bangkok ?

Here are the average temperatures and precipitations:

Month
Max (C)
Min (C)
Rain (mm)
January
32
22
10
February
32
24
28
March
33
26
31
April
34
27
71
May
33
27
190
June
33
27
152
July
32
26
157
August
32
26
188
September
32
25
320
October
32
25
231
November
31
23
58
December
31
21
10

As you can see from the chart, it is quite hot (and humid) in Bangkok during all year, at day and at night. Bangkok is close to the equator and it has a tropical climate, it is one of the hottest cities in the world.
There are mainly 2 seasons in Bangkok: the dry season from November to May and the rainy season from May to October.
April is (relatively) the hottest month, December is the coolest month, September receives the most rain. When it rains it can be quite intense (monsoons) and there can be floods.

What is the best time to visit Bangkok ?

If you like extremely hot weather, all year can be good to visit Bangkok, when it rains you can always go to a big mall or to another indoor place. If you don't like rain, avoid the rainy season (May to October) and visit in the dry season (November to May). April is the hottest month, but the famous Songkran water festival is held in April, it is an interesting event for tourists. September is very rainy. December is relatively the coolest month, you may not need air conditioning at night.
Take into consideration that there is a difference in hotel prices between the highly touristic season (little rain) and the rainy season.

How many days should I dedicate to Bangkok ?

In 3 days, you will see the main tourist attractions.
In 5 days, you will have time for an excursion outside of Bangkok, to visit a floating market or Ayutthaya.
I would stay in Bangkok one week, because I like big cities and Bangkok is one of the great (and fun) cities in the world.
See the page : What to visit and do in Bangkok.

When is school vacation in Thailand ?

In April, which is the Thai summer season.

Are shops open during the week-ends and feasts in Bangkok ?

Yes, the big malls in Bangkok are open 7 days a week and also during feasts. Small businesses may be closed.
Visit this page about the big Malls of Bangkok.

Is there a VAT Refund (Tax) for shopping in Thailand ?

Yes, it exists, it is in the order of 5 % of the purchase price (were you expecting more ?).
The important two things, not to forget :
  1. When you make the purchase at the store, you need to ask for a special form for VAT return, it must be stamped and the receipt attached.
  2. At the airport, you must go to a special VAT booth, before passing the passport controls (too many tourists are falling, on this one). You must show the item and then you get a stamp on the form.
After you pass the passport control, there will be another VAT booth, where you can finally get some money.
For further details about the VAT refund, see here on Tripadvisor and Suvarnabhumi airport.

How big is Bangkok ?

Population: There are about 12 million people in Bangkok, it is the capital of Thailand and the largest city. (Greater Bangkok area has 15 million inhabitants).
Size: To get an idea:
From the big Palace (or Khaosan road) to the center of town (MBK mall) it is about 5 Km. Usually, you need to use some kind of transport to get from one tourist attraction to the other.

How much does it cost to visit Bangkok ?

See this on the Bangkok Cost Page.

What types of public Transport exist in Bangkok ?

What is the best way of transport in Bangkok ?

Read about it, in the Transport page.

How to get from the Khaosan road to center Bangkok (and other destinations in town) ?

See this page : How to get from and to the Khaosan (airport, town center...)
See the Khaosan Survival Guide
See Map Khaosan area.
See more about Bangkok Transport

What are the driving distances from Bangkok to other cities in Thailand ?

Chiang Mai
701 km
Chiang Rai
830 km
Phuket
898 km
Surat Thani (for Ko Samui...)
644 km
Pattaya
136 km
Ayutthaya
88 km
Kanchanaburi
129 km

What is the Flight time to Bangkok ?

From Europe: Around 11 hours.
From the U.S: Around 17 hours.


How can I reserve a Flight, Train, Bus, Hotel in Thailand ?

Visit the page about the Reservations.

How can I get from the Airport to Center Bangkok ?

Visit the page:  How to get from the airport to different places in Bangkok.
Visit the page about the Train to the airport.

Where is the Train Central Station in Bangkok ?

The main train station is called Hua Lamphong and is located near China town (see Map), the MRT (metro) gets there.
You can visit the excellent site Seat61 for a lot of info about trains in Thailand.
See more about the Transport in Bangkok in the Bangkok Transport page.

Where are the Bus Central Stations in Bangkok ?

See this in the Bus page.

Do I need a Visa in order to visit Thailand ?

See about this issue in the Visa page.

In Which Zone to Stay in Bangkok and How to reserve an hotel ?

See the page : Where to stay in Bangkok for an overview of the possible zones where you can stay in Bangkok with advantages and disadvantages of each one.
You can reserve an hotel for Bangkok here, on Booking.

Where are the Nightlife zones in Bangkok (for bars and dancing clubs) ?

See the page about Bangkok Nightlife.

Where are the Red Light Districts in Bangkok ?

Visit the page : Go-Go Bars Scams in Bangkok

There are three main zones: (see Map) :
  1. Pat-Pong
  2. Nana Plaza
  3. Soi Cowboy
Pat-Pong area is very touristic, it is composed of two narrow parallel streets: Pat-Pong 1 and Pat-Pong 2 and it has also a night market, it is located in the Silom district. Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy are at one skytrain station from each other on Sukhumvit street. Nana Plaza is near Nana skytrain station (Sukhumvit street Soi 4) and Soi-Cowboy is near Asok station (Sukhumvit street between Soi 21 and 23). The "Soi" are the little numbered streets that are on both sides of Sukhumvit.

What can I do and visit in Bangkok during the day ?

Visit the page : What to Visit in Bangkok ?

Do Thais speak English ?

Thais who deal with tourists do speak a certain level of English. It is not always easy to understand Thais speaking English because of the special accent and they will not always understand you while trying to pronounce Thai words because in Thai the intonation in the speaking is important.
If you will try to converse in English with locals who are not in the tourist business, it will all depend on their level of education. Young Thais in Bangkok do speak English although they are much better at writing and reading than at oral speaking.
In Bangkok most of the important signs are written in English (like signs in the metro, names of the streets etc).

How can I find a good Restaurant in Bangkok ?

For restaurants in Bangkok you can look at this TripAdvisor Restaurant guide.
Note: Bangkok is known for its very developed street food eateries.

Where can I find Vegetarian Food in Bangkok ?

See the page : How to Survive as a Vegetarian in Center Bangkok

Is it easy to exchange Money in Bangkok ?

Yes, very easy. There are offices and banks all over the city with no commissions. At the airport the money exchange is open 24 hours a day and the rates are about the same as in the city. There are also plenty ATMs from which you can withdraw money and you can pay by credit card in most places.
Visit the Bangkok Cost Page.

Can I pay in Bangkok in foreign currency like with the Dollar ?

No. The expected currency is the Thai Baht. You can also pay by credit card. Visit the Bangkok Cost Page.

What is the cheapest way to make International phone calls ?

Visit the page : Calling and using Internet in Thailand.
The cheapest way to make International calls will be using a free Wi-Fi network in a café and a software like Skype. The second cheapest option is to buy a local SIM from one of the cell phone operators. Internet cafés will let you do International calls with a phone for a good price. Usually the most costly option will be using your SIM from your own country.

Which Electric Plug is used in Thailand ?

The voltage in Thailand is 220 Volt and the plug is usually a 3 flat socket but the best is to be equipped with an International plug adapter when you travel. Just remember that the adapter will not convert the voltage, so make sure your electronic device is also suitable for 220 Voltage.

Is there a Bike Tour in Bangkok ?

Yes, there are lately a lot of bike tours in Bangkok.
One popular bike tour is Co Van Kessel, they are located near the Sheraton hotel, pier number 3 of the Chao Phraya river boats.
Another tour, that starts at the Khaosan area : Velo Thailand.
More bike tours : Follow Me, Bike Tour Bangkok and Grasshopper Adventures.
Most companies offer also a night tour which is not a bad idea because it is quite hot in Bangkok during the day.

Can I rent a motorbike (scooter) in Bangkok ?

It's possible but not a lot of businesses are giving such service and it is not recommended unless you are a very experienced rider. On Thai islands like Ko-Pangan, tourists are renting scooters, there is only one road and still too many tourists are involved in accidents. In Bangkok the traffic is intense and the chances of being involved in an accident is much bigger. If you are an experienced rider it's another story, you may consider renting one. Financially, you will be better off, taking taxis twice a day than to rent a scooter. (both solutions are not expensive in Bangkok).
So after all this introduction, here are places I found that are renting motorcycles in Bangkok : BBR and BSR
Read also the next section, about the licence issue.

Do I need a motorbike licence in Thailand ?

By law, you need a licence but practically you will not be asked for it, unless you are involved in troubles.
On the Thai islands, it is very popular within tourists to rent a motorbike, it is the best way to move and explore an island. Rental shops will not ask you for a licence. The motorbikes are usually scooters of 125 CC (automatic gear).
So when will you need a driving license ? Two cases :
Case 1 : If you are involved in a road accident : If you need medical assistance, your health insurance (or life insurance) may "be unhappy" that you drove without a licence. If you made damage to other persons, the Thai police may dig into the license issue.
Case 2 : If you are stopped in a routine check-up barrier by the Thai police : The police are sometimes making controls of drivers. From my experience, on the islands they never ask for a license (putting an helmet, yes), but on cities like Pattaya they may ask for a license. They may give a small fine for not driving with a license or helmet.
Which license is needed : An international one. In most countries, before the trip, you need to go to a special office to convert your license to an international one. In many countries the car license includes also the permission to ride scooters.
As you can see, driving a scooter in Thailand can be tricky. Try not to do an accident and put an helmet. Drive slowly and preferably not when the road is wet.

Where can I dance Salsa in Bangkok ?

See this in the page Bangkok Nightlife - Dancing Salsa.

Is it safe to visit Bangkok ?

Bangkok is pretty safe. (All south East Asia as tourist destination is relatively safe). Bangkok is a big city but there is not a special rate of violence of any kind, Thai people are usually calm and kind. It is also safe for women to go in the streets of Bangkok at night, no special problem with that.
The risk for a tourist may be with accidents of many kinds, for instance driving a motorcycle without experience (In Bangkok, tourists can not rent a moto but in many places in Thailand, yes). Getting on and off a bus in Bangkok may be dangerous because the bus doesn't always stop completely, crossing the streets in general may be hazardous. The solution: beeing very careful, after a few days in Bangkok you will get more familiar with the environment.
Another issue for the tourist may be light stomach problems because of food, usually it is just because you are not used to the local diet and not because of hygiene problems, but anyway you should try to avoid these problems by eating and staying in clean places and washing your hands frequently.

Where Can I find a Book Guide about Bangkok ?

See Bangkok Book Guides in Amazon (Lonely Planet, Eyewitness...).
Amazon can send you the guide worldwide.

Do I need any vaccination before visiting Thailand ?

Only your doctor can give you the most up to date information as to the current medical risks in each part of the world.
Whether you are travelling or not, you should be up to date with the routine vaccinations, like the Tetanus.
See this site: Disease Control and Prevention Center for recommendations.
A lot of travellers who are just staying in main cities (like Bangkok) and not in rural places, choose not to do vaccinations for Thailand.
Again: stay in clean places, eat in clean places, wash your hands frequently and protect yourself from mosquitoes.

Can I drink tap water in Thailand ?

No. You should buy mineral bottles, they are cheap.

Where can I find a doctor or a dentist in Bangkok ?

Bumrungrad is a private international accredited hospital with all the services including dentistry. Prices are high for Thailand but normal by western standards. It is situated in the center of town near Nana Skytrain station.
For dentists in Bangkok you can also see threads in TripAdvisor forum: thread1, thread2, thread3

Which Island to Visit from Bangkok and how to arrive ?

See this in the Islands page.

How to go from Bangkok to Chiang Mai ?

See this in the Chiang Mai page.

How to go from Bangkok to Pattaya city ?

See this in the Pattaya page.

How long does Bangkok exist ?

At least 500 years. You can read more about the history of Bangkok here.

What to Pack for the trip to Thailand ?

First, remember that it is hot in Thailand, so there is no need to bring winter clothes. Second, you should realize that Thailand is a great manufacturer of textile and a heaven for shopping, so the more you leave space in your suitcase, the better.
I have prepared this Visual Checklist that will help you prepare your suitcase before any trip and not to forget anything. It is very useful, use it!

Where can I find a Map of Bangkok ?

Look here.
Also, when you arrive at Bangkok airport, look around you, there are stands with excellent free maps of Bangkok.

Where can I find a Swimming Pool in Bangkok ?

3 options :
Hotels : Many hotels in Bangkok have a swimming pool and most of them, don't accept persons who are not staying in the hotel. Budget hotels are more likely to accept non guests (with an entrance fee). If you are living in the Khaosan area (the backpacker's zone) see this page.
Luxury hotels, have nice swimming pools but if you will ask at the reception, they will almost always say that non guests cannot use the pool. I have heard about tourists who go to the bar or restaurant beside the hotel pool, they are ordering a meal and then entering the water.
Public pools :  In the Sukhumvit area, there is a good public pool at the skytrain station : Phrom Phong (beside Asok). The swimming pool is located at the rear of Benjasiri park (very nice park), which is right at the exit of the skytrain station, beside the Emporium mall.
poolThe entry price is very low (15 baht) but you will need first to do a pool membership and for that you will need to bring 2 photos, a photocopy of the passport and an authorization from a doctor that you are fit for practicing sports. Don't worry, it is easy and cheap to do. Another issue is that you are limited in time inside the pool : There are time slots of around 1 hour each. They want people to come to swim and not to lie in the sun, all day.
From my experience, the pool is good and not crowded. The length is 25 meters.
Gyms : Some modern gyms located in town center, have a (small) pool, but they will make you pay for using all the gym facilities and not only the pool. A one day entry, without membership, is relatively expensive in these clubs.
For example, there is EmQuartier fitness club, inside the EmQuartier mall, skytrain station : Phrom Phong.

Where can I see Videos with Bangkok scenery ?

Video: KhaoSan road in the afternoon
Video: Khaosan road at night
Video: Rambuttri street
Video: Sail on Chao Phraya river
Video: Sail on Khlong Saen Saeb Canal
Video: Bus ride from Khaosan road to Bangkok center
Video: Ride on the Sky-Train of Bangkok
Video: Visit in the Grand palace
Video: Visit at Wat Arun
Video: Visit at Wat Saket
Video: A walk in China town
Video: A visit at the Snake farm
Video: Video of Erawan shrine Bangkok
Video: Video of a Muay Thai Box fight in front of the MBK mall
Video: Video: Bachata demo at La Rueda Salsa Club Bangkok
Video: Songkran Water Festival   (recommended !)
Video: A visit at Damnoen Saduak floating market
Video: Train Market filmed from the train (recommended !)
Video: Bangkok main railway station
Video: A flight from Laos to Bangkok Airport

Where can I get more Information about Bangkok ?


starMore on Bangkok on this site :
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)
Where to stay in Bangkok (Potential Zones for Hotels)
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
From Bangkok to the Islands - Which Island to visit and how to get there
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 Pattaya - Where to Stay in Pattaya + Info Pattaya
From Bangkok to Chiang Mai - What to Visit, where to Stay, Transport...

star See What to Pack ? the visual list that will help you prepare the suitcase and not to forget things.

star See my Vegetarian page. Why be Vegetarian ? What to eat ?

star See my Salsa Dance page. Salsa main Styles. Why Dance Salsa ?

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star If you find incorrect data in this page, like a restaurant has closed or the big river has moved or you want to tell me something, please write me at contact.
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