Last Updated on May 20, 2023 by Jerardo Gomez
10 Insider Tips for Making the Most of Your Bangkok Adventure in 2023
Get ready to embark on an incredible journey with this travel guide visiting Bangkok!
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is a city that is both chaotic and charming. Known for its stunning temples, delicious street food, and bustling markets. However, navigating the city as a first-time visitor can be overwhelming, which is why we’ve created this guide to help you plan your trip and make the most of your time in Bangkok whether it’s your first trip or not.
Bangkok is a very popular tourist area among Asian countries, young Europeans, and Americans. Bangkok is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, attracting people from all over the globe. It has everything from shopping to culture and outdoor adventures to nightlife.
In this post, we’ll cover essential travel tips for Bangkok, including the best time to visit, what to wear, and how to stay safe.
We’ll also share our top must-see destinations, where to eat and drink, and where to stay in the city.
Whether you’re a backpacker on a budget or a luxury traveler looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, our guide has got you covered. Our Bangkok travel tips will help you discover everything you need to know to navigate Bangkok like a pro!
*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
Best Travel Tips to Bangkok, Thailand
1. Getting to Bangkok!
Research, research, research
Taking the time to research before you go can save you from having any surprises or disappointments while on vacation and prepare you for what’s to come.
Having an itinerary will help ensure that you make the most of your time in Bangkok and get the most out of your experience. An itinerary is also the best way to ensure that all of your activities are organized and accounted for during the trip. It also allows you to make adjustments as needed without feeling overwhelmed or stressed out while on vacation.
Researching will also help you find great deals on flights, accommodation, and activities so that you can maximize your budget. So if you are reading this then you are in the right place!
When you get there, take a deep breath. You may get overwhelmed and be jetlagged so take it easy the first day. If you visited Bangkok then you know.
Take it step-by-step and make sure you don’t exhaust yourself or overheat.
2. How to get around
Bangkok is a bustling city with plenty of public transportation options to get you around. From busses, sky trains, and canal boats, there are many ways to explore the city.
The Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) Sky train is one of the most popular methods of transportation in the city. It’s fast, efficient, and relatively inexpensive. The BTS runs from 6 am to midnight and covers most of the major areas in Bangkok. You can buy tickets at any station or use a stored value card for easy access. You can use the Sky Train from Suvarnabhumi international airport to get to downtown Bangkok.
The Metropolitan Rapid Transit (MRT) is an efficient and cost-effective way to get around Bangkok. It connects much of downtown and some of the suburbs via its underground train system. A single fare will cost you between 15 and 40 THB, depending on your destination, while those who travel frequently can opt for a metro card and save even more!
Taxis are another popular option for getting around Bangkok. They’re affordable and can be found all over the city. Just make sure to agree on a price before you get in the car and that the taximeter is on, if you can’t agree find another taxi!
*Bonus Tip* In addition, many hotels are able to arrange free transportation from the airport to the taxi which means they are reliable and safe since the hotel is responsible. If it’s not free, ask if they can still arrange a reputable taxi for you when you get there. Many hotels have a list of reputable taxis that they work with for their customers which is always my recommendation.
If you’re looking for a more unique experience, take a ride on one of Bangkok’s canal boats. These boats travel along the Chao Phraya River and offer great views of the city skyline. You can hop on and off at various stops along the way, making it an ideal way to explore some of Bangkok’s lesser-known neighborhoods. It was also very cheap.
Tuk tuks is a small three-wheeled vehicle—another great way to get around Bangkok. While these motorized rickshaws are cheaper than taxis, it’s important to negotiate a price before hopping in. Tuk tuk fares usually range from 50 THB for short trips within the city up to 500 THB and more for day trips outside of Bangkok. It’s also the riskiest mode of transport for scams but one of the cheapest. Tuk Tuk drivers can drive a little crazy.
Grab is the leading app in Southeast Asia, providing everyday services such as deliveries, mobility, and financial services. In Thailand, Grab offers a variety of services including GrabCar, GrabTaxi, and food delivery. With the Grab app, users can easily book a ride or order food from their smartphones with just a few clicks to a hotel.
GrabCar is an on-demand car service that allows users to quickly get to their destination without having to worry about finding a parking spot for their car. It’s fast and safe and available in major cities across Thailand.
GrabTaxi is another popular service offered by Grab in Thailand. It’s a smartphone-based taxi booking and dispatching service that makes it easier than ever to get around town. The vision of GrabTaxi is to revamp the Thai taxi industry by making it safer and more efficient for everyone involved.
3. When you get there
If you need money immediately, you can exchange it at the airport, but if not then I recommend exchanging it in the city as they typically have better rates to save money. You may also need to buy a sim card which you can do at the airport.
Don’t try to go to every Temple
Bangkok is full of beautiful temples that are a must-see for anyone visiting the city. While it may be tempting to try and visit every single temple that everyone recommends online, it’s important to take your time and choose only the ones that interest you the most. Trying to see all of them can lead to burnout, rushed visits, and an overall feeling of being overwhelmed.
Pick 3 that you would like to see unless you want to spend all week driving through the city for temples. I have recommendations for my itinerary article.
When deciding which temples to go to, it’s best to pick a few of your favorites or those with fascinating history or architecture. This way you’ll have time to enjoy each temple without feeling rushed or overwhelmed by all the sights.
This can also be a great opportunity to do a guided temple tour.
*Bonus tip* Wear conservative clothes when visiting temples, more info can be found in my tips section
Visit Bangkok by planning city regions one at a time
Bangkok is BIG and traveling from one tourist area to another can take up to an hour, especially with traffic.
One of the most important things that I do when planning out my travel guide is map activities by geography so that a day is spent hitting all the areas in a neighborhood.
4. Where to stay in Bangkok and the best time to go
Siam is a shopping and entertainment hub in Bangkok, popular with tourists and locals alike. It’s home to some of Bangkok’s largest malls, including Siam Paragon, Central World, and MBK Center, as well as numerous restaurants, cafes, and bars. For luxury accommodation, consider the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok or the InterContinental Bangkok. If you’re on a mid-range budget, check out the Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square or the Mercure Bangkok Siam. There are also a few budget-friendly options in the area, such as the Glur Bangkok Hostel or the Lub d Bangkok Siam. Siam is conveniently located near the BTS Skytrain, making it easy to explore other areas of the city.
You can find the best hotel in this area when staying here. Also, the malls are can be just a huge complexes and the biggest ones in Bangkok Thailand can be found here. Most hotels have air conditioning.
This is a popular area for travelers, known for its trendy bars, restaurants, and nightlife. It’s also conveniently located near the BTS Skytrain, making it easy to get around the city. If you’re looking for luxury accommodation, check out the Siam Kempinski Hotel or the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit. For mid-range options, consider the Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 or the Park Plaza Bangkok Soi 18. If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of hostels and guesthouses in the area, such as the NAP Hotel Bangkok or the Bangkok Hostel Sukhumvit.
Silom is another popular area for tourists, known for its shopping, restaurants, and lively nightlife. It’s also home to the famous Patpong Night Market, where you can find everything from souvenirs to street food. For luxury accommodation, check out the Banyan Tree Bangkok or the Le Meridien Bangkok. If you’re on a mid-range budget, consider the Ibis Bangkok Silom or the Furama Silom Hotel. For budget options, there are plenty of guesthouses and hostels in the area, such as the Baan K Managed By Bliston or the Silom Art Hostel.
Khao San Road
If you’re a backpacker or looking for a more budget-friendly option, Khao San Road is a popular area to stay in. Known for its lively backpacker scene, street food, and cheap shopping, Khao San Road is a great option for those on a tight budget. Some of the most popular hostels in the area include Mad Monkey Hostel and Bodega Bangkok. If you’re looking for a mid-range option, consider the Rambuttri Village Inn or the Dang Derm Hotel.
If you’re looking for a more peaceful and scenic location, consider staying along the Chao Phraya River. This area is home to some of Bangkok’s most luxurious hotels, such as The Peninsula Bangkok and Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. For mid-range options, check out the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers or the Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok. If you’re on a budget, there are still some affordable options in the area, such as the Riva Surya Bangkok or the Sala Arun.
When is the best time to go to Bangkok?
The weather in Bangkok is generally warm and humid year-round, making it an ideal destination for any season. The peak tourist season in Bangkok runs from November to February when temperatures are cooler and more comfortable for pleasant weather. This is also when the city experiences its highest levels of rainfall. If you’re looking for a quieter experience, then consider visiting during the summer months of March to May but temperatures can reach up to 38°C (100°F). September is the rainy season.
5. Best Things to Do and Must-see Destinations
You can get a Thai massage just about anywhere in Bangkok for very cheap. You should go on your first day to help you relax on the first day and you can ask them to do it gently. Different parts of Thailand do Thai massages differently.
Be warned, many places will ask you if you want a “happy massage” if you know what I mean.
Dont Skip the Shopping Malls
Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise, and its many shopping malls are a testament to this. From high-end luxury brands to affordable streetwear, Bangkok’s malls offer a diverse range of shopping options. Here are some of the best shopping malls in Bangkok:
- Siam Paragon
- MBK Center
- Terminal 21
Opened daily, it costs 500 Thai Baht to get in and there are numerous temples around. This is the official residence of the king which is a symbol of the home country of the Thai people.
Take a guided tour or cooking class
If it’s your first trip to Thailand, I recommend either taking a guided tour or a cooking class, or even both. I think you get a lot out of these activities and it’s fun to do.
Explore some of the markets
It’s open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with different hours for each day. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Plant section is open from 7 am to 6 pm. On Fridays, it’s open from 6 pm to 12 am for Wholesale only. And on Saturdays and Sundays, the whole market is open from 9 am to 6 pm.
Wake up early to see the monks
If you get up early, you can see many monks walking in the streets heading to temples.
Go to a Rooftop Bar for great views and drinks
This is the perfect way to see the city and find the highest-rated bars, restaurants, and observatories. I wrote an article about this in more detail.
6. Where to eat and drink
Thai Cuisine is one of the best foods in the world and many travelers do so to sample amazing street food!
I encourage you to try the different night markets in your area of stay to eat street food. Pad Thai is here amazing but there are many Thai restaurants serving dishes you have not heard of.
There is also amazing food that can be found in hotels, malls, markets, and street food. Bangkok is renowned for good cooking and has a professional school for chefs. It’s also home to some Michelin Star restaurants.
You can research fine dining if you would like that, but some places to buy loads of food include:
- Chatuchak Weekend Market
- Floating Markets (touristy) in the central pier
- Street Markets / Street vendors
- Central World mall
When traveling to Bangkok, it’s important to be aware of local customs and etiquette to show respect for the culture and avoid offending the locals. Here are some tips on how to behave in Bangkok:
Dress modestly: When visiting temples or other religious sites, it’s important to dress modestly out of respect. This means covering your shoulders and knees, and avoiding tight or revealing clothing. You may also be required to remove your shoes before entering certain areas.
- Remove your hat and shoes: It’s customary to remove your hat and shoes before entering temples or someone’s home.
- Don’t touch someone’s head: In Thai culture, the head is considered the most sacred part of the body.
- Use your right hand: In Thai culture, the left hand is considered unclean, so it’s important to use your right hand for eating, handing over money, and other social interactions.
8. Scams in Bangkok
Avoid Tuk-Tuk scams
Many will want to charge you high prices, so make your destination clear and agree on a price beforehand. If you cannot come to a reasonable agreement, I would suggest public transport or asking the hotel for a reliable taxi.
I have heard of tuk-tuks, and private transport drivers driving unreasonable routes or even leaving passengers in random places. So use reason to use trusted drivers or easy places for Tuo-Tuks to take you to.
Avoid Guided tours by Strangers on the Street
Tour guides who are not licensed or certified may not have the necessary knowledge and experience to provide a safe and enjoyable experience. Additionally, these tour guides may not be insured or have the proper permits required for certain activities. Furthermore, they may lack the resources to provide adequate customer service in case of an emergency.
Also most importantly, they may just take you to random places and not the actual places you wanted to see wasting your time and money.
It is therefore recommended that tourists only take tours from reputable companies such as Viator, TripAdvisor, Hotels.com, and Klook. By doing so, tourists can ensure that their safety and satisfaction are guaranteed during their time in Bangkok.
Use a Taxi only when the Taxi driver agrees to turn on the taximeter
Don’t buy luxury goods
A bit self-explanatory but you should only buy high-priced items from reputable sources like Gucci Store, Nike, Addidas, and real jewelry stores.
This is because vendors in small shops, markets, and street popups only sell fake goods and you should bargain every time! You shouldn’t accept an offer to buy fake shoes of Nike for 50$ USD even if they start the bargain at 120$. A lot of shoes, clothing and jewelry only costs a few dollars to make, and it’s not of great quality.
I know bargaining is stressful for some people and I do not like the back and forth at all. But Bangkok is the place you have to do it in a lot of places, but not every place.
Bangkok is a great place to bargain for goods and services. You can find bargains in markets, shops, and even on the street. The key to successful bargaining is to know the right places to go and how to haggle for the best deals.
When it comes to shopping in Bangkok, several popular destinations offer great bargains. Chatuchak Market is one of the largest markets in Thailand and offers a wide variety of items from clothing and accessories to furniture and electronics. Pratunam Market is another popular spot for bargain hunters, offering everything from clothes and shoes to jewelry and souvenirs. Other markets such as Asiatique The Riverfront, Siam Square, Talad Rot Fai (Train Market), JJ Green Night Market, and Suan Lum Night Bazaar also offer great deals on a variety of items.
When it comes to bargaining, it’s important to remember that prices are usually negotiable in Bangkok. Start by asking for a lower price than what is initially offered; most vendors will be willing to negotiate if you show an interest in their product or service. It’s also important not to get too emotionally attached during the negotiation process; if you don’t feel like you’re getting a good deal walk away – there are plenty of other places where you can find what you’re looking for at a better price.
If you do not like bargaining, set your limit price initially, and if they don’t agree then say thank you and walk away. You don’t want to stress or waste your time if haggling is not your thing.
Finally, it’s important not to bargain at certain places such as department stores or high-end boutiques where prices are fixed. Don’t bargain at commercial stores or sit-down restaurants. Make sure the price is on every item ordered on the menu.
For more scams to avoid, read this article here.
9. How to stay safe
Bangkok is generally a safe place for travelers as long as they take the necessary precautions. The most common way to stay safe in Bangkok is by being aware of your surroundings and trusting your instincts. It is also important to dress conservatively and keep expensive items out of sight, such as jewelry and electronics.
Avoid walking late at night especially alone, in the dark, and intoxicated. This is why I suggest staying near or at your hotel if it has nightlife activity going on but I know Bangkok has great nightlife elsewhere that many don’t want to miss out on.
For solo travelers, take extra precautions and don’t tell anyone you are traveling alone, not other foreigners or cab drivers. And no, this is not your first time in the city; Is what you will tell people if they ask.
Solo female travelers and backpackers should always keep an eye on their drink as a precaution, as human trafficking is heard of here like anywhere else in the world.
Returning back to scams, if you don’t feel comfortable such as the taxi drivers won’t turn on the taximeter, just get out and find someone else.
When going out to a party, only take the amount of money you will need, and leave your wallet in a safe place at your hotel.
Don’t take any illegal substances or drugs in Thailand. They have very strict rules and are known to arrest foreigners for their use. Also, you don’t really know what you are taking so it’s not the best idea to do.
The emergency number is 191.
Make copies of your travel documents just in case and let loved ones know where you are going.
Travel insurance is an essential safety precaution to take when planning a trip, as it helps protect travelers from the often-unforeseen circumstances that can occur during their travels. It can cover things like medical expenses, lost and stolen items, cancellation of trips due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather or natural disasters, personal liability protection, and more.
In some cases, travel insurance may even be included as part of a package with booking flights or hotels. Getting travel insurance gives you peace of mind so you can enjoy your trip knowing that if anything were to happen unexpectedly during your travels then you have the financial coverage to help cover any potential costs associated with it.
10. More tips for first-timers
- Don’t speak ill of the royal family
- Try the best Thai food by finding recommendations online
- Visit the Grand Palace, Wat Pho is next door
- First-time Bangkok trip for budget travelers should include visiting Khao San road where you can save money on cheap hostels, and budget hotels.
- First-time visitors should have a Bangkok itinerary
- Avoid Rush hour when visiting Bangkok as it’s known to have the worse traffic in Southeast Asia.
- Learn basic Thai Phrases with a language app
Visit Bangkok to explore the amazing country of Thailand. With its vibrant culture, delicious food, and stunning temples, it’s easy to see why so many people flock to this bustling city every year. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious vacation or an adventurous getaway, Bangkok has something for everyone.
Other things to do
- Tourist attractions such as Jim Thompson’s house. Jim Thompson House is a museum and art center of an American who revitalized the country’s Silk industry.
- If it’s your first trip then a floating market is good for Instagram and boat rides
- Scuba Diving is another option outside of Bangkok
- Golden Mount Temple, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Wat Saket, Koh Tao
- Visit major attractions such as the National Gallery
Travel Costs | Budget | Suggested budget
Travel costs to Bangkok vary depending on your needs. Usually, there are 3 types of travelers, backpacker’s budget, mid/family budget, and luxury budget. A good place to find average costs can be found in Nomadic Matt’s blog post.
Great tips for saving money
Bangkok is known for its affordability, so it’s possible to enjoy all the city has to offer without spending too much. Accommodation is one of the biggest expenses when traveling, but there are plenty of budget-friendly options available in Bangkok. From hostels and guesthouses to Airbnb and hotels with air conditioning, you’ll be able to find something that fits your budget.
One of my favorite money-saving tips is when it comes to food, food stalls are a great way to save money. You can get delicious Thai dishes like pad Thai for as little as $2 or $3 USD per meal! There are also plenty of restaurants offering set menus at reasonable prices. It is also a way to enjoy Bangkok and learn about its culture.
Public Transportation is another area where you can save money while in Bangkok. The Skytrain and Metro are both fast and affordable ways to get around the city. Taxis and tuk tuk drivers are also an option if you don’t mind paying a bit more for convenience.
If you’re looking for things to do during your stay in Bangkok, there are plenty of free or low-cost activities available. Visit some of the city’s many temples, explore local markets like Chatuchak Weekend Market, take a riverboat tour along the Chao Phraya River, or just wander around and take in all the sights and sounds of this vibrant city! Floating Market is free to visit and Khao San Road has many cheap options.
Flights: Plan your trip using Skyscanner to get the best deals
Book Tours: To get activities and tours I recommend Klook, or
Travel VPN: Private VPN
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
No, tipping is not customary in the country in general, however, people would leave a small tip if its a nice restaurant.
Do not bring illegal drugs. You can be prescribed medications for up to 90 days and can only be from a category 2 drug. Another thing to consider is necessary items such as warm clothing, or expensive things.
You can in many areas, and it’s common for people. Some places such as nightclubs and temples may have restrictions.
Like always, food safety comes down to sanitation, cleanliness, food safety, and other factors such as temperature. You can find the best street food in the world here, but like any place, there is a risk of getting sick from a bad good stall. Make sure to inspect stalls for cleanliness, if food has been out a long time, and hygiene.