If you are travelling to Bangkok for the first time, you’ll likely arrive and stay in Bangkok in the beginning. The first time in Bangkok or anywhere in South East Asia can be a bit overwhelming. New sounds, surprising smells, a whole different culture you’ve never seen before can be a little more challenging than one would want.
We have listed down some useful travel tips that will hopefully help you travel to and around the Thai capital and make it easier.
- Get a good map:
Bangkok can be a bit confusing. The winding river, the moving street names, the expressways, the lack of clearly identifiable neighbourhoods. Sometimes it seems like there is a severe lack of urban planning in the city.
The solution is simple, though; get yourself a decent map with the street names in English. Google Maps is also a big help.
When travelling in Bangkok, figuring out how to use the buses, the Sky Train and Metro, to cross the city seems like a challenge. But once you’re able to get the hang of it, you’ll be able to navigate the city like a professional!
Bangkok is one of those cities which have the worst road traffic blockage in the world. Even though there have been recent improvements, it is almost impossible to avoid traffic congestion if you travel by bus or taxi. Metered taxis are abundant, but the prices vary largely depending on your compromising skills.
Bangkok also has a Metro system, but the best way to get around the city, by far, is to use the Sky Train. It is a cool, clean, and cheap way to cross Bangkok easily.
- Drink lots of water:
This tip applies anywhere in the whole world, even to the Antarctic. But packing a sufficient supply of water in Bangkok’s stifling, sticky heat is even more critical for your wellbeing. Always drink more than you sweat! Fortunately, there are drink vendors all around the city. And always make sure that bottled water is sealed.
- Beware of scammers:
A stranger approaching you in the middle of the street isn’t always looking for a casual chat. It usually begins with a polite stranger; you tell them where you’re from, and, before you have even had a chance to shake their hands, they’ve scammed you.
- Plan ahead:
Bangkok is not exactly a very walkable city. So making the most of the intimidating spread of crowds, culture and commerce require a bit of planning. Work out what areas around the city you want to see, where they are located using a good online or offline map, and then devise a reasonable route.
Taxis are less likely to be avoidable, along with a bit of footwork, but wherever possible, use the favourites: underground, the waterways, and the Skytrain.
- Carry a photocopy of your passport:
Whether it’s an unprepared demand from a local policeman or a request from the security at one of the city’s nightspots, carrying your ID is a must in Bangkok. Instead of taking your actual passport around with you, it’s better to bring a photocopy of it instead.
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