Bangkok for Beginners: 20 Surprisingly Useful Tips

Bangkok might be one of Asia’s biggest and most overwhelming cities, but with the right tips and tricks, it might be your favourite travel destination yet! We tracked down our local expert for his top tips on experiencing this megacity.

In the pantheon of  the world’s greatest cities for travelers, Bangkok is rightfully placed alongside the cities like New York City, Paris, and London as one of the “greats.” Because of its status as such an iconic travel destination, there’s no shortage of information regarding where to go and what to see in the city. Helping to cut through the fuzz, this My Way travel list will get you right into the action of one of the world’s most exhilarating destinations.  

1. Don’t “over-plan” your Bangkok stay.

By all means, visit the famous highlights, but Bangkok is a city that rewards spontaneity in dividends. Embrace the chaotic nature of this buzzing city by spending at least some of your time wandering aimlessly through its many alleys and neighborhoods (or follow us on our own back-alley Bangkok adventures).

2. Get your cycle on.

The Green Bike Project: free bike rentals around the Old City! It’s a great way to get around the traffic jams in the area. There are 8 rental stations in Rattanakosin area. The easiest station to find is near the Grand Palace.

3. Know your (rocket) boats.

A long tail boat is cute (just one of money cool boats in Southeast Asia), but did you know he has a smaller and (much) faster cousin: the rocket boat? They usually fit two people and a boatman. If the Bangkok heat made you drowsy, a ride in one of these will wake you right up.

4. Snag a Rabbit card.

If you plan on staying in Bangkok for more than 1 or 2 days, get a rabbit card. These cards can be loaded with trips for the Bangkok Skytrain. If you plan on moving around a lot (which you should!) this can save you up to 50% on your Skytrain expenses.

5. Eat on the street!

Bangkokians are always in the know on the best street food. If you see locals lining up at a street food stand, chances are it’s either the hottest new thing or a legendary eatery.

6. Make time for some Pad Thai.

Speaking of legendary foodies: try “Lueng Pha”  or “Thip Samai Phad Thai” shops located close to the Golden Mount (Wat Saket). Follow the crowd for what many consider the best Phad Thai in Bangkok. Better yet? Head out with us on a Street Eats by Tuk Tuk tour and discover this along with some of Bangkok’s best foodie secrets!

7. Go local by night.

Phra Athit Road. is where the hip young crowd goes to eat. It is super scenic thanks to the beautifully lit old fort and absolutely packed with restaurants. Surprisingly the smallest and least fancy looking restaurant, “Roti Mataba”, is the most famous one amongst Bangkokians.

8. Don’t skip Little India…

You know Bangkok’s tasty Chinatown, but don’t neglect Little India! Phahurat or Little India sits right next to China Town and is famous for textile trade. A great place for finding your own fabrics if you want to get tailor-made clothes made in Bangkok and of course… Indian food!

9. … or Little Japan.

If you want to take a little break from everything Thai visit J-town. The 2 streets across Emporium shopping mall are dominated by everything Japanese. Japanese shops, Japanese food, Japanese (shady) massage places and Japanese businessmen. KAMPAI!

10. Eat with the old souls.

If you want to find out how the oldies spend their days in Bangkok hit the food court on the top floor of “The Old Siam” plaza. The food is nice, but the seniors taking turns on the Karaoke stage are the true highlight.

11. Prepare for a good ol’ fashioned creepy museum.

A new museum seems to appear almost every week in Bangkok, each better than the last. One of the older and oddest ones though is the Museum of Forensic Science located in Sirirat Hospital – just one of many bizarre places to visit in Asia. Not for the faint of heart!

12. See Asiatique (and shop your heart out).

Bangkok’s newest Riverside attraction is the Asiatique night market. Built in a set of abandoned pier warehouses, the place features a host of small shops with trendy local products and great restaurants. The best way to get here is by taking the free shuttle boat from Suphan Taksin BTS.

13. SHOP!

Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise, but there’s so much more than MBK. For great shopping malls try the newly renovated Siam Center or the airport themed Terminal 21 near BTS Asoke.

14. Branch out from the mega malls.

When around BTS Siam it is tempting to dive into one of the air-conditioned malls right away. Stop and cross the street to Siam Square instead. There are tons of small shops opened by the young creative crowd here worth checking out if you like something different from the traditional brand names.

If you are interested to see the latest local trends and youth fashion, visit the night market under Saphan Phut. Be sure to give the fried squid eggs a try as well. It’s a market specialty!

15. Nurture your inner-child.

For all grownups who still have the hidden love for games and seek to revive your childhood, a visit to Saphan Lek Market not far from Chinatown is a must. Tucked away underneath a bridge, it’s a toys-for-boys heaven on earth. Games, Movies, Electronics all for unbelievably low prices.

16. Don’t pass up a “Temple Fair”.

If you happen to come across a “Temple Fair”, make sure to enter the temple grounds and join the festivities.  These are public events organized throughout the year at most bigger temples for various celebrations and festivals. Festival in Thailand means eating…lots of eating.

17. Get high (above the city).

There are so many rooftop bars in Bangkok it’s hard to pick a favorite. “Vertigo” is well established and always a success if it doesn’t rain, otherwise try one of the newer bars such as “Scarlett” on Pullman Silom.

18. Party like a local!

Want to party like a Bangkokian? Hit the Thong Lor and Ekamai Area! Clubs like Muse and Funky Villa are loaded with Bangkok’s well to do youth… so many pretty people!

19. Branch out from Khao San Road

It’s tempting to dive into a familiar looking bar on Khao San Road, but Bangkok’s bar scene is always changing and getting better. Try some of the newer bars like Apoteka and Le Derriere Q Bar in Sukhumvit 11 or Maggie Choo’s on Silom, these are more like theme parks for grown ups!

20. Travel with a local!

No matter how well you plan, there’s no better way to explore the city like a local than to actually travel with one. We’ve got lots of great local who know the city like the back of their hand. Head out for a day with them for a glimpse at what it’s like to grow up here!

Is it gonna be your first time to Thailand – the land of smile this summer and Bangkok will be where you start your trip? Let our travel experts in Bangkok guide you around to explore the city the local way. Click here to check out our wide range of Bangkok tours and Thailand tours in other cities.


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