Bangkok first time guide
Bangkok is an amazing city where you'll find everything you want and more. But saying it can be overwhelming is an understatement.
There's so much going on that it can be hard to figure out how things work, especially if you're only spending a few days there.
So for tourists, business travelers and expats, here are our best tips.
Right to the point, here's what you need to do as soon as you arrive.
1. Buy a SIM Card
Buy a Sim Card at the Airport. All you need is your passport, a few $$ and they will set it up for you in a few minutes.
AIS and True tend to work great all over the country. AIS might be even slightly better if you plan to get out of the main cities.
Mobile Internet is so cheap with this tourist plans that it would make no sense to stay off the grid for your stay here.
2. Currency Exchange
Change the minimum you need at airport. Most of the shops accept all the main currencies, no need to exchange money back home as the rate to get Thai bahts is usually not as good as in Thailand.
At the Airport, exchange just enough to pay for the taxi and your hotel if you need to pay in cash.
Then, once in the city, look for the nearest Super Rich shop to exchange your cash, they usually get the best exchange rate.
3. Airport Transfer
Both Bangkok Airport have an area where you can grab a taxi. They have to put the meter, but you will have to pay for the highway (30฿ to 100฿) and the airport fee (50฿).
So don't be surprised if you end up paying up to 400 or 500฿ for the trip, it makes sense.
And if you want an VIP airport transfer or need Fast Track, you can contact First Class Bangkok (by far the most legit and reliable service)
Recently, Grab Taxi have also launched their own airport transfer service. You've got different options from taxis to SUV and minivans and the prices are really competitive.
- Download Grab Taxi and get 40฿ Off your first ride.
4. Bangkok Maps
To make your life easier, we've made two maps of Bangkok with all the points of interest you might want to see.
The first one include all the main touristic attraction, money exchange, shopping malls, night markets... that's the basics you need if it's your first time in Bangkok.
And we've got a second one with all the trendy bars, restaurants, clubs, rooftop bars... that you might want to checkout during your trip in Bangkok. Enjoy !
(Shopping Malls, Markets, Currency Exchange, Activities, Touristic Places)
(Cocktail Bars, Sports Bars, Rooftop Bars, Gogo Bars, Gentlemen Cubs)
Where to Stay in Bangkok ?
3 words for you : Location, Location and Location
Traffic is the worst thing in Bangkok. So stay as close as possible to the places you want to visit.
Want to see the temples and other touristic attractions? Stay close to Khaosan Road if you're on a budget. Otherwise, pick Silom, Chinatown or the Old City if you want more comfort and amenities.
Want to party? Stay in Silom/Sathorn or Sukhumvit area (between Asoke and Ekamai).
How to find the right place to stay.
For a few days >> Hotels/Serviced Apartment
For 1 week to 3 months >> Serviced Apartment / Airbnb
- Use Airbnb and get 950฿ off your first Booking
For 3++ months >> Get an Agent
- You can ask for recommendations in Facebook Groups like:
(if you plan on staying in Bangkok for a while, request to join this groups anyway, it's a good place to ask questions when google doesn't have the answer.)
For more ideas on where to stay, have a look at our list of hotels and suites we recommend. We've tried all of them and can vouch for it.
How to get Around Bangkok ?
What you need to know:
- Always use taxi if you got 2+ people unless you're going close to BTS/MRT Stations, it's usually cheaper
- Avoid taxis during rush hour (usually 4pm til 8pm), then use BTS/MRT + Moto Taxi
- Taxis should always put the meter.
- Tuk Tuk, Moto Taxi, always ask for the price before you get in/on
(note: you can't trust Google Maps prediction most of the time, with the traffic, it will usually take a lot longer that what google maps says)
Taxis are by far the best way to get around and often the cheapest, especially if you got a group of 3 or 4 people. But always remember to make sure they put the meter as the course start, or get off and get another one.
If you don't want to explain where you're going or negotiate, use Grab Taxi (like Uber)
- Download Grab Taxi and get 40฿ Off your first ride.
2. BTS / MRT
The BTS is the sky train that you see over the main roads. The MRT is Bangkok's Underground. The 2 are connected at different stations.
If you're traveling somewhere along this lines, it's definitely a great option and the best during rush hour. But again, if you've got a group of 3 or 4 and there's no much traffic, it will probably be cheaper to take a taxi.
Mojo Tip: Buy a card that you can recharge. Just go at the counter and ask for a card. It's 2 different cards, one for the BTS, one for the MRT. Each cost 100฿.
But this way you don't need to get coins to use the other machine and to queue at the coin machine to get a ticket. It's worth the 100฿.
3. Moto Taxi
Motorbike taxis are super convenient. They're often at every corners in city center and the best way to travel short distance, especially when there's a lot of traffic.
Usually prices are listed at their "station" but if you're going to different areas, always negotiate before.
And if you don't want to negotiate or explain where you're going, use apps like Grab or Line that also have motorbike taxis.
4. Tuk Tuk
It's clearly a touristic attraction more than a real mean of transportation but it is still fun. Always negotiate before you get in.
Fun when you're going between different locations to party, you can easily fit 5/6 people in there.
Restaurant Bookings and Food Delivery in Bangkok
Bangkok is one of the food capital of the world. You'll find all sort of Thai Food and almost every style of cuisine you can crave, around the clock.
There's a ton of awesome restaurants in Bangkok and it's impossible to list them all but if you need inspiration, BK Magazine is a great place to start. They've reviewed almost every restaurants in the city.
But there's also 2 apps that can help you make your choice:
- Eatigo give you between 10 and 50% discount on a selection of restaurants in the city. Perfect to try new places and save money on your date nights.
- Download it now and get 100฿ off your first booking
- Chope let you make a booking in almost every main restaurants in town. No all will give you a special treatment or discount but you'll get rewards in the app. Super convenient too.
- Download it now and get a 250฿ voucher after your first dinner.
For this lazy morning, hangovers, netflix and chill... Bangkok got plenty of options to get food delivered to your door.
The main app is Foodpanda.
It's got a lot of options, great deals but their drivers sometimes get lost and their customer service is almost inexistant. It's not, it works (most of the time), but it's not perfect.
- Download Foodpanda and get 150฿ off you're first order
Grab also offer food delivery
They offer way more Thai restaurants and street food too but the only downside is that some menus are only in Thais, with no pictures. If you don't read Thai, keep it for when you feel adventurous.
Because you never know when you're gonna crave Pizza. Gallery Pizza delivers anywhere in Bangkok UNTIL 4AM ! (and the pizzas are delicious)
More coming soon...
What should we add to this guide ? What's your favorite Bangkok Hack ?
Let us know in the comments !