My first trip out of the country (besides several Caribbean islands) began in Phuket for five days and continued in Bangkok. Bangkok is completely different from Phuket in my eyes. I consider Phuket to be more of a country like experience and Bangkok is 100% the city. I would go so far to even compare Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok to Times Square. There’s restaurants, clubs, traffic, lots of people, tall buildings and shopping. Bangkok also has really beautiful temples and culture. Just like my Guide to Phuket, I want to provide you with everything you need to know about Bangkok.
There are several cheap airlines that take you from Phuket to Bangkok in an hour. I chose to fly AirAsia for $59 from Phuket International Airport to Don Mueang International Airport. Bangkok has two airports, Suvarnabhumi International and Don Mueang. I flew into Don Mueng from Phuket because it was cheaper and much closer to my hotel. I flew out of Suvarnabhumi to go home.
What to Bring and Wear
Bangkok is different from Phuket when it comes to attire. I would still suggest wearing sundresses and comfortable cool clothing but here you can be a little more trendy and stylish. Most importantly if you plan to visit any temples, make sure you have clothing that covers your shoulders and knees, especially women. If you try to go to most temples (if not all) temples without proper attire, they will not let you in.
How to Get Around
Taxis and Tuk Tuks are popular ways to get around Bangkok. The first thing I will tell you is please be careful. For some reason, these drivers in Bangkok try to scam you out of your money any way they can. They will raise the prices and try to tell you you destination is way further than it actually is. My suggestions are to only take a taxi if they turn on the meter and always negotiate your fair with the Tuk Tuk drivers. I would even go so far as to say do your research before you get into the vehicle with either driver. Research how far your destination is first, ask your hotel concierge the best form of transportation and carry small bills so you don’t overpay your driver. Lastly, Tuk Tuk’s are good if you’re going a short distance. I would suggest riding in a Tuk Tuk further than two miles.
Bangkok BTS Skytrain is also an excellent means of transportation. It’s basically an overground subway system. Trains arrive every couple of minutes, the fares start at 15 BAHT (roughly 47 cents) and increase depending on your destination. They’re much cleaner than the New York subway so I enjoyed the experience.
The Grab App and Uber App are also perfect means of transportation. I would highly suggest using these apps instead of hailing taxis because you don’t even have to worry about being scammed. I just know that in some areas it may be a challenge to use the app when you’re unable to connect to wifi.
Grand Palace is said to be one of the most popular landmarks in Bangkok. It was built in 1782 and was the home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of the government. The temples here are beautiful and really gives you an essence of Thai culture. The Entrance Ticket to the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha costs 500 Baht (roughly $15.)
Located a ten minute walk from Grand Palace complex is Wat Pho (The Temple of the Reclining Buddha.) In this temple is a huge gold Buddha that fills the room. Entrance to Wat Pho costs 100 Baht (roughly $3.)
You want to be appropriately dressed when you visit Grand Palace and Wat Pho. I also highly suggest that you wear shoes that you can easily slip on and off because you absolutely must take your shoes off to enter the different temples inside the complex.
The floating market was on the top of my bucket list when visiting Bangkok. There are several floating markets in Bangkok but the largest most popular floating market is called Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. The concept of the floating market I believe is so unique. You get in a boat and your helmsmen (boat driver) takes you through the market that is located on the river. Along the ride you tell him (or her) what shops interest you and he will pull over (for lack of better words) and you can shop right from your boat. The first key thing to know is always negotiate the price. During the entire trip in Bangkok you will negotiate prices, especially at the floating market. Do not ever take the first price they offer you. Also, Damnoen Saduak floating market is absolutely huge. I made the mistake of not knowing how many shops there were and I spent my money very early in the experience. I say wait until you past at least 5 to 10 markets before you start making your purchases. You can pay in Baht or you can use your credit/debit card at some shops. Always alert your bank that you are traveling so you don’t have any issues. The entrance fee to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is 2000 Baht per person (roughly $63.) I know what you’re thinking, what? Why does it cost so much. Your guess is as good as mine. I kept thinking wait, I have to pay for the experience and then shop? The answer is yes! YOLO right? Also, allow at least an hour for this experience and go early in the day.
Also, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market was extremely far from my hotel, Mövenpick Hotel Sukhumvit 15 Bangkok.It was about a 45 minute drive from my hotel. Luckily my hotel concierge arranged for us to have a taxi take us to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market from our hotel, wait for us to finish and then rush us to the airport because we were leaving right after. The taxi cost us 2000 Baht to be our all day chauffeur.
Maeklong Railway Market
The Maeklong Railway Market is a traditional thai market selling fresh fruit, vegetables, seafood (some fish and other catch are still alive) located on a train line. When the train slowly passes through, vendors lower their umbrellas and move some of their produce further away from the train tracks. When the train is not there, you can walk along the train tracks and purchase food. I bought some fresh spices.
The Railway Market is very far from Bangkok City as well. I was able to stop here on my way back from the floating market when I was heading to the airport. The railway market is less than 10 minutes from the floating market so I was able to do both in a short time frame.
I sadly didn’t make the time to do a Thai massage and I regret it but I hear this is a absolute must while in Thailand.
Where to Party
Bangkok’s party scene is different from Phuket. Here people a more dressed up at the club and the clubs do charge an entrance fee. Most people wore a nice top and wedges, heels or any close toe shoes. Guys wore jeans and a nice shirt but flip flops are not allowed. Insanity Nightclubis a big nightclub and they play Electro House music. I really enjoyed Levels Club & Lounge. They had live music and the vibe was great and more of my style.
Where to Eat
Street food is really popular in Bangkok. I would suggest pulling up a seat to one of their street vendors and ordering some authentic thai food. You’re in Thailand, you mind as well try it out.
- How do you get wifi? Wifi is free and available at most shops, hotels, restaurants and main locations.
- How did you get around? Taxi, Tuk Tuk, BTS Skytrain, Grab App, Uber, Hotel Shuttle, Scooter, Walk
- What form of currency is used in Thailand? Thai Baht, $1.00 US Dollar is equal to 31.32 THB.
- Where did you exchange your money? Exchanged it at the airport and exchange store
- What currency converter app did you use? Currency (It’s a green icon with different money symbols)
- How long does it take to get from place to place? It can take anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour. Traffic is terrible in Bangkok especially during rush hour.
- Where can I purchase necessities such as snacks, toiletries and basic needs? There is a 7Eleven and Pharmacy on almost every corner. You will find everything you need there.
- Do people speak english? Yes, surprisingly there was a decent amount of people who spoke english pretty well. This includes cab drivers, restaurant staff, store attendees and even some locals.
- Did you have to have the converter piece for your charger? No, I only charged my phone in the hotel and they had several types of chargers connecters but it doesn’t hurt to have one just in case.
- How is the weather? Sunny for the most part, 80s but it does rain from time to time so be ready for that
Cost of Trip Breakdown
Flight $59 (From Phuket to Bangkok)
Hotel $100 per night (Mövenpick Hotel Sukhumvit 15 Bangkok, 2 nights, I paid one night)
Food $50 (Breakfast was included at Mövenpick Hotel Sukhumvit 15 Bangkok
Transportation $100 (Keep in mind, my hotel was walking distance from everything on Sukhumvit road)
Total Spend: $410