Thailand is home to many Elephants (and Monkeys) and on special occasions you can even see them in the streets of Bangkok. This photo was taken in the Khaosan road. There are at least 2 words in Thai to express Elephant: “Chang” (Yes, the famous Thai beer) and “Erawan”. Now you know two more words in Thai.
And elephants bring luck, especially if the trunk is pointing up.
There are Hindu and Buddhist shrines a little bit everywhere in Bangkok, even near the big malls. A famous one is Erawan shrine, just near the Central World mall. There are also traditional Thai dance performances at Erawan shrine. Video of Erawan shrine Bangkok
Whatever your beliefs, you will find a sort of calm and tranquility in a Buddhist environment.
Thailand is mostly Buddhist, you will see in Bangkok many monks dressed in orange and probably you will feel the need to have them in your photos.
if you want to learn about Buddhism and the other big religions you can read the best seller The World’s Religions (by Huston Smith). Also the book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind has a great overview of the religions.
Get familiar with the Thai flag:
Get familiar with Thai characters.
In Thai (and other Asian languages) the intonation in speaking is very important, that’s why many times you will not be understood by Thai people even while pronouncing simple words.
As you can see from the following picture, Thais don’t like to put space between the words. In all the languages.
There is a trend in Bangkok to take a drink at a bar in a very high building.
The view is amazing, especially at sunset. The cost of the drinks is also very high. One such bar is the Sky bar at the Lebua State tower near Saphan Taksin metro station (see Map), the other is Vertigo bar at Banyan tree hotel, near Lumphini metro station (see Map). From Skybar at sunset:
And there is also the skyscraper Mahanakhon with its glass floor.
In this particular type of boxing it is permitted to hit almost any body part of the opponent and also use the legs.
You can take a class in one of the many small clubs in the different neighborhoods of Bangkok. More professional fights are at Lumphini stadium and Rachadamnoen stadium. Video fight front MBK
There are many authentic and beautiful Thai made products to buy in Bangkok:
A lot of T-shirts at good price to buy from street vendors in Bangkok. Take note of this phenomena : At the beginning of your trip, you may find the T-shirts’ design a little bit Kitschy, with slogans like: “no money, no honey” but by the end of your trip after falling in love with Thailand and before your imminent return to your cold country, all the T-shirts will seem wonderful.
If you have a twisted mind, you can buy T-Shirts with a cruel Micky Mouse or Panda bear. If you don’t want to see this kind of T-shirts, go to Laos, the quiet and peaceful neighbouring country. (There are also excellent French restaurants in Vientiane, the capital of Laos).
You know what, if the evil T-shirts are not enough for you, buy Voodoo dolls:
If you want to relax from Bangkok busy life, you can go to one of the parks. Lumpini park is right at the center of town (see Map). It is hot during the day so you will probably want to visit the park in the morning or afternoon. Another park is Chatuchak, just near the Chatuchak week-end market.
See the page about the Parks in Bangkok.
I wouldn’t mention this issue without a reason. It is very difficult to find trash bins in Bangkok, there is not a public service for collecting garbage and each vendor is responsible for managing its own. So as a tourist, you will find yourself wandering during long times, searching for a place to put an empty plastic bottle and if you finally put it at a vendor’s private trash can, good luck with his reaction.
The problem of the Trash Cans can partly be solved if you remember that in Bangkok the 7-eleven grocery stores are situated at a looking distance from each other(Usually with a Mac-Donald’s in the middle). In fact, these stores are quite convenient, they are open 24 hours a day and they have a lot of stuff inside, I even found a Super-Glue for my faked Sandals.
There were times in which tourists were looking for Wi-Fi everywhere in Bangkok. These times are gone. Now you can get a local SIM with a lot of Gigabytes at a reasonable price.
See the page : How to get Internet and make calls in Thailand.
In case an important part of your stay will be spent on drinking beers, get familiar with the two Thai national Lager beers: Singha
There is also a Thai Whisky called Sang Som. Thai alcohol can be strong.
Wherever there are foreigners having parties in Thailand, you can find these alcohol buckets. They are specially popular in Ko-Pangan, the island with the full moon parties, but you can find buckets also in Bangkok, in the khaosan road for instance. A bucket is usually composed of 3 elements: An alcohol drink like vodka or whisky, a soft drink like coca-cola and an energy drink. you get many straws in your bucket for all your friends.
The coffee in Thailand (and in Vietnam) is excellent. There are lots of modern Starbucks and other coffee chains in Bangkok. If you drink the coffee in a small local place, it will be cheap. If you drink the coffee at Starbucks it will be expensive.
These lines are dedicated to the last Papaya salad I couldn’t eat because it was too spicy. If you think you like spicy food and that it is not an issue, think again: Thai spicy is not like western spicy and if you won’t mention anything to the waiter, every now and then you will receive a plate so spicy that you will begin to cry in front of everyone.
Thailand is one of the best cost-effective destinations on earth. In simple words, it means that you are going to have a lot of fun.
Thailand is relatively a developed country and some services are even better than in Europe (some commercial centers, for example) so when you get this at a good price, it is a great bargain.
Look at the Bangkok Cost page to see common prices in Bangkok.
In Bangkok, Bars can come in many shapes. It is enough that a Van finds a parking space and that it has alcohol and hostesses and there you have a Bar.
Dancing clubs in Bangkok are exactly like everywhere else in the world except that if you are a male tourist you will be approached by a lot of local girls.
See the page about Bangkok Nightlife.
Salsa in Bangkok ? Yes, there are salsa clubs everywhere in the world and also in Thailand. If you want to take a break from the tourists, come to dance Salsa, it is an excellent way to meet local people and expatriates. The party usually begins with a class, so even if you are a beginner, you can join. There are several Salsa organizers in Bangkok. Visit the Nightlife page – dancing Salsa, for more details.
Video: Bachata demo at La Rueda Salsa Club Bangkok.
Video: Salsa at one of the Sky Bars.
This is not Switzerland nor the Netherlands and I really don’t know why there are bike paths because I (almost) didn’t see persons riding bikes in Bangkok. This is not a city suitable for bikes: first it is very hot and humid and second the traffic is intense. Anyway, as you can see in the picture the bike path is occupied.
Strangely, there is a bike rental service, I even saw one tourist using it, he was probably from Switzerland.
Update: The situation has improved, there are now a lot of Bike tours in Bangkok.
It is celebrated in April and it lasts 3 days. 3 long days and nights in which people are splashing water at each other by all means. At the Khaosan area it is a war zone (but fun). Avoid bringing your camera if it is not waterproof, the water will finally reach you and your camera. You know the festival is approaching when you see sellers of enormous water guns:
And you know that the festival is getting really close when you see that the water guns are sold also in the fruit stands:
And you know you are in the festival itself, when you see this:
(It means also you are wet, there’s no escape) Watch this Video
The fact that it is above 30 degrees outside, doesn’t change the resolution to celebrate the New year and Christmas. The snow man and the Christmas tree are in every corner.
And the Thai Teddy bears are also dressed for Christmas:
If you have already seen everything in Bangkok, You can escape out of the city for one day trips or even half day trips. The easiest way to do these trips is with an organized tour which is sold in all travel agencies, they also pick you from your hotel.
The floating markets are a popular destination, the most touristic one is called Damnoen Saduak and is just at 80 Km from Bangkok (see Map). Another floating market is Amphawa which is more popular with Thais tourists. Very nice T-shirts and souvenirs are sold in Amphawa.
Video of a visit at Damnoen Saduak floating market
Another popular day trip is to Ayutthaya, one of the previous capitals of Thailand (Siam, then). It is about one hour from Bangkok and you can get there by bus, train or even by boat on the river but the easiest way is with an organized one day trip that will take you from one site to the other in Ayutthaya (see Map), (see Video).
Have you seen the famous old movie with the famous whistle song ? The bridge is situated in the Kanchanaburi province. If you take an organized tour they will also take you ride an elephant, ride a train, ride a bamboo raft, caress tigers and see waterfalls, all this in one day (see Map), (see a Video).
The railway is not just for decoration in this market, there is a train passing in the middle of the market eight times a day. When the train passes, the vendors take away their stands and only bring them back when the train is gone. Organized tours run on the week-end and they combine the Amphawa floating market because they are close to each other (see Map).
Video of the Train Market filmed from the train
For more than a century, it used to be the main train station of Bangkok. Now, there is a new one in the north of the city. You can see details in the page about the station.
The old station is still active for some suburban lines and is worth visiting.
You can admire the architecture of the old station, in the area of China Town.
Taking the train in Thailand is a nice experience. Night trains with sleeper coaches are comfortable, clean and relatively cheap.
If you need a train in Thailand, visit the reservation page.
Video of Bangkok old main railway station
Suvaranabhumi is the main airport of Bangkok and is one of the world’s best. This airport has so many shops and food and it even has a massage place (more expensive than downtown). The airport is located 25 Km from the city (see Map) and there is an efficient train line that goes to the center of town in 30 minutes. The last train station in town is Phaya-Thai (see Map) which is two sky-train stations from Siam. To go to the Khaosan road, you need to take a taxi from Phaya-Thai. You can also take a taxi directly from the airport,
just be aware that at rush hours the roads are jammed. (more info).
If you need a flight to or inside Thailand, visit the reservation page.
Video of a flight from Laos to Bangkok.
At the South lies the famous beautiful islands and you can get there with an overnight train and a connection of a bus+boat.
At the right side of the land you can find the islands: Ko-Samui, Ko-Phangan and Ko-Tao. Ko-Phangan is where are held the famous full moon parties although there is a party there every night without any connection to the state of the moon. At the left side of the land are the big island of Phuket and the famous island of Ko-phi phi in which the movie “The Beach (Leonardo DiCaprio)” was filmed. See the Islands page for more details.
At the north of Thailand you will find a more cool weather, mountains, agriculture fields, hill tribes including the famous long neck women, the city of Chiang-Mai, the golden triangle area and the historical site of Sukhothai.
Visit the Chiang Mai page for details about the city.
Pattaya is the second largest city in Thailand after Bangkok. It is close to Bangkok, just two hours drive and it has beaches but Pattaya is not the best option for beautiful beaches, it is rather known for its very developed sex industry. The walking street at night is very animated with hundreds of bars and clubs. See the page about Pattaya.
One last note. While you visit south east Asia, you should adopt a very cool attitude and a flexible mindset, especially if you are travelling on a tight budget. The bus travel in town can take you 15 minutes or 1 hour and usually you will not be able to predict it, same thing with the meal you order at a restaurant. Local people can be at times very kind and helpful and sometimes rude (Usually, locals who do not work with tourists, are kind) and of course there is the culture difference that at times can frustrate the tourist. Be patient in your visit.
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.