This Bangkok overview contains 2 pages. After viewing this tour you will even know how to say elephant in Thai.
A relatively new change. From the year 2022 Cannabis is legal in Thailand. It is a change because before that, tourists could end up in jail for smoking this stuff. Now Cannabis is sold in every corner in Bangkok (and in the rest of Thailand). Is is especially popular in the Khaosan Road, the backpackers quarter.
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
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.
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.
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 in Bangkok. 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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
There are two words in Thai that you will not be able to ignore during your visit:
- 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 as does the yellow guy in the picture above, with the two hands joined together.
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.
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 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.
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.
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. Video sail on Chao Phraya river
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
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 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…
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.
There are two metro systems in Bangkok : The Skytrain (BTS) which runs above ground and the Metro (MRT) which runs underground. They reach: The center of Bangkok (Sukhumvit, Siam Center), the week-end market (Chatuchak), the big palace and the big river (Chao Phraya) at pier 0. Unfortunately, they don’t reach the Khao-San road . More Info & Maps.
Video of a ride on the Sky-Train of Bangkok
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 and the Pratunam market .
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.
There are goods for all tastes in Bangkok big malls but I am specially fond of the teddy bears, made in Thailand.
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
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 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
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
Bangkok is also known for its famous red light districts. There are three main centers: Pat-Pong, Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy.Between the clothing vendors there are the go-go clubs with loud music and girls dancing on tables. (see Map).Before you sit down to have a drink, make sure you know the price. See the page about the Go-Go bars in Bangkok.
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
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. See the page about Chatuchak market. 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.
Don’t forget to visit the part with the animals
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 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).
China Town is a large area, beside the river Chao Phraya (see Map). You will find here an interesting market, restaurants, some temples and a unique atmosphere. It is even more animated and decorated on the Chinese new year. Video of a walk in China town
Vimanmek is a former royal palace built in 1900 by king Rama V. See Map.
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.
Note : Vimanmek may be closed for renovation. Please Check, before visiting.
More on Bangkok and Thailand :
- Where to Stay in Bangkok – Potential Zones for the Hotel
- How to book Trains, Buses, Flights, Hotels for Thailand
- What to Visit in Bangkok ? – The Tourist Attractions
- Bangkok Transport – Airport, Metro, Buses, Boats…
- To the Islands – Which Island to visit + Stay + Arrive
- To Chiang-Mai – What to Visit, Stay, Transport
- To Pattaya city – What to Visit, Stay, Transport
- The Cost to Visit Bangkok – Common Prices
- The Nightlife of Bangkok – The animated zones
- Visa for Thailand- Basic rules and how to extend
- Internet in Thailand – Buying a local SIM
- Useful Products for the Trip to Thailand
- Maps of Bangkok – With places of interest and Transport
- Bangkok FAQ – Weather, Distances etc…
- Bangkok Shopping – The big Malls and the Markets
- The Khaosan Road Survival Guide – The famous Backpackers
- A Tour of Bangkok – An overview
- Taxi Scams in Bangkok – Common Scams of Taxi and Tuk-Tuks
- Go-Go Bar Scams in Bangkok – What to expect
- Vegetarian in Bangkok
Other Stuff :
- Info about 2 more cool cities: Barcelona and Tel-Aviv
- What to Pack ? the visual list that will help you prepare the suitcase.
- Visit my Vegetarian Page. Why be Vegetarian ? What to eat ?
- Visit my Salsa Dance Page. Salsa main Styles. Why Dance Salsa ?
- Listen to nice Songs with translation in French, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew.
- Listen to basic Words In Spanish, French, Hebrew
If you find incorrect data on this page, like a restaurant that has closed or a big river that has moved or you want to tell me something, please write me to contact.