The traditional Thai name of Bangkok is “Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit”!!! Now that’s gotta be a Guinness record! This is the world’s hottest city, the birthplace of RedBull, and according to scientists, Bangkok is sinking at a rate of 2 cm per day and will be underwater in 15 years. Just an FYI… It is illegal to leave the house without wearing underwear, it is illegal to drive a motorized vehicle bare-chested, it is illegal to use a durian fruit as a weapon and a fine will be levied determined by how many thorns strike the victim. Let’s visit Bangkok!
Visiting Bangkok? Here’s What To Do
There’s really so much to do this city could keep you busy for days. Here’s a list of our must-see’s when visiting Bangkok.
Check Out Chao Phraya River!
Offering up some of the best views of the city, this 231-mile river runs through Bangkok from north to south and literally cannot be missed.
Visiting Bangkok? Take a Cruise
While there are a ton of “official tour companies” willing to take your cash, we recommend jumping on one of the water taxis that will take you from one side to the other for less than $1. From the boat, you’ll get stunning views the city including the Grand Palace and Wat Arun.
Visiting Bangkok? See a Floating Market
While Thailand’s most popular floating market, Damnoen Saduak, is about an hour and a half from the city center, head to Thewet Market just up the river for beautiful veggies, fragrant flowers, and fresh fish.
What is a Wat? In general, a Wat is a Buddhist temple, and Bangkok has no shortage of these unique and extravagant structures. Don’t forget, Wats are highly respected religious sites and you should dress appropriately. Make sure to cover yourself from shoulders to knees and wear slip-off shoes, as some will require you to remove them. From the most famous in the world to quiet and serene, here are our favorites:
Visiting Bangkok? Wat Arun
Located on the west side of the river, in the Thonburi neighborhood, the “Temple of Dawn” is arguably Thailand’s most famous Temple. Dating back to the 17th century and stretching 230 feet in the air, this gigantic temple is as beautiful during the day as it is at night.
Visiting Bangkok? Wat Suwan
Located on the west side of the Chao Phraya River, you’ll likely have the grounds to yourself at this quiet and peaceful Wat. Step inside to get a blessing from a monk, just make sure to leave a donation.
Visiting Bangkok? Wat Pho
Known as the “Temple of the Reclining Buddha” and located just south of the Grand Palace, this is one of Bangkok’s oldest temples. Measuring 150 feet long and 50 foot high, this peaceful, giant Buddha is not to be missed.
The Grand Palace!
This sprawling complex of buildings is the most famous tourist attraction in Bangkok. With over 30 notable structures spread over nearly 54 acres, it’s easy to spend a whole afternoon wandering around this walled palace. Don’t miss the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, The Golden Chedi, and Phra Mondhop.
Getting to Bangkok
Getting to Bangkok: TRAIN
Train travel throughout Thailand is safe, cheap, and is one of the best rail systems in the world. While it does require a lot of time to get from one place to another, the trains are comfortable and the scenery can’t be beaten. Get to Bangkok from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Siem Reap, and even Ho Chi Minh City via train.
Getting to Bangkok: FLY
If planned in advance you can find reasonable direct flights to Bangkok from most major airports in Southeast Asia. Affordable international flights like Vietnam for $29, Singapore for $30, Malaysia for $31, and Hong Kong for $48 can be found with our favorite flight search site, Skyscanner.
Bangkok Flight Deals
Getting to Bangkok: Bus
Buses are not our favorite mode of travel.. The seats are generally cramped, the ride is bumpy, and departure/arrival times can be unpredictable. That said, bus travel is generally less expensive. For example, the 9hour+ ride from Chiang Mai is only $12.
Airports to Bangkok City Center
Fly into one of two Bangkok airports, Suvarnabhumi Airport(19 miles to the east of the city) or Don Muang Airport(14 miles north of the city).
From Bangkok International Airport “Suvarnabhumi Airport”
Follow signs for ‘Airport Rail Link’ located on the lower B level. Find an electronic kiosk to purchase a ticket, which costs roughly $1. Take the train for about 20 minutes to Makkasan Station, where you can connect to the local city MRT. Follow the signs to ‘Phetchaburi Station’, purchase a ticket for roughly $0.50, and take a 15-minute ride into the city center.
Located on the first floor, just below the arrival level, find the taxi desk. Tell them your destination and you will be given a ticket to be handed to the driver. The 50 minutes ride into the city costs about $9.
From Don Muang International Airport
Find the taxi stand just outside Exit 8. Note that you will need to pay a surcharge for the driver(about $1.40), as well as any tolls, so make sure you have small bills before leaving the airport. Tell the desk attendant your destination and take your ticket to the taxi. The $10 ride to the city center takes about 50 minutes, depending on tolls and traffic.
Located outside of Exit 6, follow signs for ‘BMTA BUS’. For less than $1, Bus A1 or A2 will take you to the MRT or the BTS Sky Train in about 20 minutes, for transfer to the city center.
Getting around in Bangkok
We highly recommend taking at least one tuk-tuk ride while in Bangkok. These charming little three-wheeled rickshaws can be seen all over the city. Be sure and negotiate the price before getting in, and enjoy the ride!
We highly recommend Uber in Bangkok, as the taxi drivers are notorious for ripping off tourists(including us!). Uber takes the worry away.
Metro/ SkyTrain/ Boat
Public transport in Bangkok is very user-friendly and will have you well connected throughout the city. Between the underground MRT, the Skytrain BTS, and an extensive network of boats and ferries, you could easily get by without taking a taxi. If planning on spending some time in Bangkok, you might look into buying the BTS Smart Pass, good for 15-50 trips.
Where To Stay in Bangkok:
Where To Stay in Bangkok: HOTELS
Bangkok has a wide range of hotels to choose from. High-end hotels like The St. Regis Bangkok or InterContinental Bangkok run about $200 a night, while reasonably priced hotels like Modena by Fraser or The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam go for about $50 a night. When it comes to hotels in Bangkok, we recommend shopping Agoda.com.
Bangkok Hotel Deals
Where To Stay in Bangkok: HOSTELS
With over 300 hostels in Bangkok, you will likely find one that suits your needs. Prices generally range from $9-$15 a night for a dorm room, while private rooms cost a bit more at about $25-$50 per night. Hostelworld is our recommended resource when searching for hostels in Bangkok
Bangkok Hostel Deals
Where To Stay in Bangkok: AIRBNB
We love using Airbnb. From private rooms to entire homes, Airbnb is represented in all neighborhoods of Bangkok at an average price of only $37 per night. If you’re a first timer to Airbnb use this coupon to enjoy $35 off of your first stay.
Where To Stay in Bangkok: NEIGHBORHOODS
Choosing a neighborhood is an important part of trip planning that should not be overlooked! Bangkok is a large city, with 50 districts each subdivided into unique neighborhoods. While our general recommendation is to stay closer to the city center, here are some of the best areas to consider when deciding where to stay in Bangkok.
Known as the center of the backpacking universe, just north of the city, this is where you can sleep for cheap. If you’re a night owl and enjoy the laidback, carefree lifestyle, then this is the neighborhood for you.
Known as the place for shopping with plenty of designer and name brand stores, as well as local boutiques and department stores. This fast-paced, touristy neighborhood is located to the east of the city center.
Known at the ritzy part of town, this neighborhood is located to the southeast of the city center. Home to high-end real estate, exclusive restaurants, bars, and clubs, this is where the wealthy sleep and play.
This neighborhood is where you’ll find the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, and Bangkok Flower market. Known as the historical center of Bangkok, there’s lots of temples and tons of tourists.
Located on the west side of the river and south of the city center, this mostly residential neighborhood has a more traditional and slower-paced vibe. This former capital of Thailand is where you’ll find the iconic Wat Arun.
Bangkok Travel Tips:
Bangkok travel tips: Tipping
Tipping in Thailand is not customary, although a tip for good service is always appreciated. Tip 10% at restaurants, round up for taxi drivers, and leave 30 Baht per day at hotels.
Bangkok travel tips: Money
Thailand’s national currency is the Baht, and is currently exchanging at 35.57THB to $1USD. Credit cards are accepted most places and ATM machines are readily available.
Bangkok travel tips: Insurance
Traveling to Bangkok is exciting and safe, but you never know when some good travel insurance could come in handy. World Nomads offers the best coverage in the business, is affordable, and is quick to act should something go wrong. For more info, check out our recent World Nomads blog post.