It’s easy to see why Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is a major tourism hotspot. The city’s charm lies in its multifaceted personality: here you’ll find temples sharing the skyline with skyscrapers; go-go dancers walking on the sidewalk with elderly monks; and modern supermalls existing harmoniously with ancient palaces. Coupled with its location at the center of the Southeast Asian “Banana Pancake” backpacking trail, it’s not surprising that the City of Angels has no problem attracting millions of tourists from all over the globe year after year.
Read our guide if you’re planning to see Bangkok’s wonders for yourself!
Most major airlines fly have regular flights to Bangkok. The travel time from Manila is around four and a half hours.
From Suvarnabhumi Airport, you can simply ride a train to get to the city proper. For 90 baht, you can take a 15-minute ride aboard an SA Express Line, which will take you directly to either the Phayathai or Makkasan stations. Riding the SA City Line, which has six stops, will take up to 30 minutes and will cost you 15 to 45 baht. Keep in mind that the train service operates only from 6:00 a.m. to midnight—you’ll have to take a cab otherwise.
Getting downtown is a bit more complicated if you’re landing at Don Muang Airport. If you’re on a very tight budget, you can either ride Bus No. 29 or catch the hourly train to Bangkok’s Central Railway Station in Hua Lamphong, but it’s not recommended if you have a lot of luggage and little time to spare. Riding a metered taxi to the main city will cost you around 350 baht, but it’s the fastest and most convenient option.
You can also ask your hotel if they provide airport transfer services. The hourly bus service from the Khao San Road to Suvarnabhumi Airport should cost you around 130-150 baht, depending on where you book your ride.
No matter your budget, you’ll never be hard-pressed to find accommodation in Bangkok given its status as one of the world’s top travel hubs. You could check in at a five star hotel like the Mandarin Oriental and The Okura Prestige, or hole up at one of the many affordable yet cozy inns around the city like Bangkok City Inn and Tara Place. There’s also no shortage of lodging for solo travelers, who can easily make new friends from around the globe at well-appointed hostels like NapPark, Lub d, and Saphaipae. A bed at a nice hostel dorm room costs anywhere from 300 to 600 baht a night, while private rooms at decent hotels can go from 650 to 2000 baht. If you want to splurge, expect to cough up at least 3,000 baht for a room at a fancy hotel.
Location also matters: Most people usually stay at either Siam, where the city’s most popular shopping centers are located; Silom, the business (and red light) district; or Rattanakosin, where you could find some of Thailand’s most famous historical attractions.
The Grand Palace, Wat Phra Keaw, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun should be on everyone’s itinerary. Visit the massive Chatuchak Weekend Market and the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market for a unique shopping experience and take a stroll along Khao San Road, dubbed the center of the backpacker universe, to hobnob with travelers from all over the globe.
5,000 baht for three days and two nights in Bangkok should be more than enough for a no-frills traveler to have a blast in the city. Save cash by riding trains or metered cabs instead of the touristy tuk-tuks, and fill your tummy with their delicious street food. Don’t forget to haggle when shopping.
Super Rich International Exchange offers the best rates in Bangkok. However, it’s best to exchange your Pesos to Baht in the Philippines as the exchange rate might not be in your favor in Thailand.
Telephone companies give away free SIM cards at Bangkok’s airports. Top it up with load at a convenience store and subscribe to the Internet package of your choice to enjoy fast, unlimited Internet on the go.
Shorts, above-the-knee skirts, and sleeveless tops are not allowed to be worn inside several temples. You could borrow a sarong at the temple entrance if you’re not properly covered up.
Bangkok is best enjoyed from December to February, when the weather is neither too hot nor too rainy.
PHOTO: Songchai/Pixabay, Chrissy H/Flickr Creative Commons
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