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Bangkok Travel Tips

4.0 stars

Insider advice for your Bangkok vacation


Marc888
High Speed Motorbike Taxi through Bangkok’s Traffic! 5 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Since I was not in the mood to walk to Bangkok’s BTS station and wait for the train, I decided to take a the trip all the way from Pantip Plaza to Ekkemai Bus station…. by motorbike. This is a nearly 7km journey and the route takes you down Pechaburi Road’s main busy 6 lane highway. I was “lucky” to have the maddest driver from the motorcycle taxi rank who truly drove like a maniac, but he also seemed very competent – if he hadn’t have been I would have stopped him (something I would strongly recommend). After an exciting journey I reached my destination ahead of time - and this was a trip to remember!

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Marc888
Bangkok Buses! 4 stars
If you want to travel around Bangkok the way that the locals do, then the Bus services are the way to go. There are actually so many buses that you will rarely have to wait for one for more than a minute or so. But there is choice to make. Bangkok's main bus companies operate both aircon buses and normal non-air conditioned ones on the same routes. If you take a normal bus then you will find that there are fans set in to the ceiling but these do not do a great job of keeping the vehicle cool. Neither do the rows of open windows, which only serve to let in pollution form the busy streets. The only reason to get a normal bus would be if you can't stand the wait in Bangkok's heat for an Aircon bus - as they do unfortunately seem to be few and far between on most routes.

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Marc888
Bangkok's Klong Tom on a Sunday 4 stars
After a Saturday night walking around Bangkok’s busy Klong Tom market I found that I had forgotten to buy something and so decided to return the following day. I had heard that the market was less busy on Sundays and was only open in the day time until around 4pm at which time the streets which host the main market are re-opened to traffic. When I arrived at 11 am it certainly was not quieter than the previous day, but just as busy. Curiously I found the same sellers in some spots, but in others there seemed to be a host of newcomers. By 3pm things were starting to wind down, and my feet needed a well deserved break. Unfortunately for me, the seller that I wanted to see wasn’t there, and so I will just have to go back once again!

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Marc888
The Bangkok Marathon 4 stars
On 18th November 2007 Bangkok Hosts its Marathon which is growing in size every year. I had the "pleasure" to take part in last years event, though I chose the 10km course instead of the full marathon. (It was still a killer!). There is also a 5km fun run available so that you can enjoy the day even if you are not normally a marathon runner. Maybe I will choose that this year! Around 30,000 people flooded on to the main streets of Bangkok last year and it is expected that this number will grow even higher. An interesting facet of this marathon is that the full marathon runners commence their run pre-dawn at around 5am - in part this is because the morning heat would be too much to bear, but it is also so that the roads can be re-opened to Bangkok’s ever increasing traffic before lunchtime!

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Marc888
The best way to see Bangkok 4 stars
If you are in Bangkok and need to replace your glasses or just want to buy some new ones then here is a good tip to save you lots of money. Most opticians make their money on the frames and whilst you might be enticed by the cheap prices in the shop (typically $50 to $60), there are better bargains to be found. The best bet is to go to any of the local markets (which basically exist on every street!) and pick up a pair of sunglasses or ready made reading glasses – the price just 100 baht, barely $3. You are then quite welcome to take these back to any opticians and they will gladly give you a free eye test and cut new lenses for your just recently purchased pair of market frames! The lenses cost only $10 – so that is quite a saving and the frames from the market are just as strong and hard wearing. You could even buy 2 pairs and have one set of lenses tinted to become prescription sunglasses!

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Marc888
Bangkok Ice... 5 stars
There used to be an ice skating rink at Bangkok’s Central World Plaza, but it is no longer there (having been replaced by a movie theatre and a bowling alley). But if you are still looking to enjoy the experience of ice-skating whilst in Bangkok then there are 2 places that you can go. The first one is at imperial World just south of the Bang na intersection which is a large rink ... but it is in an older building. Alternatively you could try the brand new plaza in Ratchada Road about 4km away from Asok Station. This place has a smaller but newer Ice rink on the top floor. Both offer long sessions at a reasonable cost and this can make for an interesting afternoon or evening out.

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Marc888
Mail Box Inc in Bangkok 4 stars
Here’s a good tip if you want to post a letter or package in Bangkok or any Thai city and you are far from a post office or just don’t know where to go to find the main government post office. The trick is to use one of the many small independent mail operators such as Mail Box inc who have a small kiosk located in most malls and supermarket retail areas. For a small extra charge they will take your package, process it and then at the end of the day will transfer it to the post office so that you don’t have to. Some of these operators also have accounts with major couriers such as DHL or Fedex and so can offer those services too.

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Marc888
Bangkok by Motorbike taxi... 4 stars
It is enticing to take a motorbike through the crowded streets of Bangkok, and I find myself choosing this mode of transport more and more. But some care needs to be taken. First of all, whilst strictly speaking it is illegal to not wear a crash helmet, most motorcycle taxi drivers will not offer you a helmet, and even after you ask for one they might just shrug off your request saying something along the lines "the police will turn a blind eye, so don’t worry about it). Worry about your head though! Even in slow moving traffic you can come off a motorbike and so you should insist on a helmet. The Thai word is "Mwak-a-nok" and if you have no lucking getting your taxi driver to provide one then try another driver

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Marc888
Durian Etiquette! 4 stars
The best way to buy Durian in Thailand is to look for freshly opened fruit. Most supermarkets have a counter where the fruit can be opened up there and then. Durian fruit that is at its best should be firm and a very pale yellow, but not too hard. A soft durian will have a strong smell. Its still edible but it will give you an aftertaste which is not so pleasant. It also won’t keep for long. Most hotels don’t allow durian in the rooms because of the strong smell so it might be best to buy a small amount and eat it en-route!

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Marc888
Dream World 4 stars
Its a place of fun. Its on the outskirts of Bangkok. And its called Dream world. This is a mini theme park at least as compared to American standards but it is growing all the time. A modest roller coaster a range of traditional large scale fairground rides all greet you as you walk into the main entrance. But for me the centre piece is the water ride where you board "cars" resembling large hollow logs and end up at the bottom of a steep water channel with a splash. There is a spectators bridge but it is, predictably, mounted a bit too close to the action. So if you thought you were going to just watch your friends get soaked instead of riding yourself... you might find you get just as wet whilst watching them from the bridge!

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Marc888
Bangkok Street Fare 3 stars
I generally don’t like to eat food from street stalls in Bangkok, but most travelers are keen to try this fare as it is certainly true that it is a taste of the real food of Thailand. My view is that whilst the food looks quite nice you just don’t know where it has come from, nor do you know what has happened to it whilst its has been trundling around the crowded streets. If you cant resist though, then the barbecued beef or pork or a skewer is very nice and if cooked well should be safe to eat as well!

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Marc888
Japanese food in Bangkok 4 stars
Japanese food is a quite fashionable in Bangkok with a number of Japanese restaurant chains opening multiple outlets. Most notable is Fuji restaurant chain who have a very clean and modern chain of restaurants. Japanese food isn’t for everyone but I would highly recommend eating raw salmon in the form of sashimi or sushi at least once. It is not as unappetizing as most people think indeed it takes like smoke salmon but just not as salty and so you might find yourself becoming quickly converted or even hooked!

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Marc888
Bangkok gratuities 4 stars
I like to show gratitude for good service but for mediocre service at a restaurant I generally go by the following rule. If there is a service charge already on the bill… and it will usually be 10%, then I would normally just leave lose change. If there is no service charge then maybe 5% is adequate as the waiters and waitresses do work hard and rely on tips. If the service ahs been excellent then a larger tip is certainly worth giving, but it is still worth checking if you already tipping them by way of the service charge in the bill. You can also usually see this specified on the menu too.

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Marc888
Choice eatery at MBK Bangkok 4 stars
MBK centre is a very popularplace to go in Bangkok - but it is quite difficult to navigate for the first time. If you get hungry whilst there then the best place to eat would have to be the Cassa Loco restaurant which I visited recently. Its on the Ground (1st) floor and is split into 2 halves with Japanese cuisine on one side and an Italian-Thai mix on the other. But whichever half you sit in you get both menus and can eat a mixture!. The food is great and if that choice is not enough for you then they even have English and German food including T bone steaks and Sea Bass. Prices are low And satisfaction is very high!

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Marc888
Thai Tanduan 4 stars
If you are in Bangkok then you might soon find that traffic can be a real inconvenience especially on a trip of over 10km. But there are some ways to avoid traffic if you know how to speak to the taxi driver well. For example if you want to get from Sukhumvit road to Ladprao raod then it can be a hard task especially with the traffic. But there is a motorway near to On Nut that makes this journey an absolute breeze. The trick is to ask your taxi driver to use the Tanduan which is Thai for "tollway". The price of the motorway is 30 baht and this will be above the price of the meter. Unfortunately most taxi drivers would not dream of using it unless you ask them becasue of the extra cost. But you may just find yourself saving money as the meter would tick up more than that if you choose a slow route and get stuck in traffic jams!

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Marc888
Bangkoks BTS Tip 4 stars
Here’s a really good tip if you are looking to beat the queues in Bangkok BTS stations at peak times. It is especially useful if you are in a rush and are short of change as you will find that it is necessary to queue at the ticket office to get change and then queue again to get a ticket from the ticket machine. The way to beat the system is to either ask the kiosk clerk to give you a ticket directly, buy a one day ticket, or just skip the queue to get change and buy the lowest priced ticket you can with whatever few coins you have. Once you get to your destination you can pay the difference without queuing!

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Marc888
The world's Largest Airport Terminal Building 4 stars
My first trip to the new Suvanahbumi airport was some 9 months after it opened. I felt like the last person in the country to go and visit it. The terminal building is billed as the largest terminal building in the world, though the international press largely ignored this feat when it was built and so it is hardly famous even in spite of being so huge. What it is though, is extremely impressive. A glass and cable suspended building as big as it is intricate. Apparently with it running at capacity already, it is in fact .. too small!

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Marc888
Off the beaten track: Patthamawikorn Market 4 stars
Here's a good find if you are in Bangkok and like to go to large outdoor markets but wish to avoid other tourists. Patthamawikorn market lies near the intersection of Nawamin and Kasset roads not far from Ladprao road. It is a large market, mainly with secondhand goods. It looks like an English style car boot sale without the cars! This suits everyone as most people bring their goods on motorcycles and in any case space is at a premium and so the lack of cars gives you the market go-er more choice. There are about 400 stall holders there many of them actually just sit on a mat with their goods piled up in a little mountain!

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Marc888
The Banyan Tree Restaurant 5 stars
Stunning views, outdoor patio and delicious food. Sounds Good. That’s what I experienced at the Banyan Trees 52nd floor Thai restaurant. The menu prices were not much more than you would find in a typical mall! The restaurant has an outside bar with fantastic views of the city, but what is really great is that this is not the roof, it’s a large open atrium. That means that you can experience an outside patio bar even when its raining .. as the high roof will keep you dry. Highly recommended.

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Marc888
Bankok boutique hotels... 2 stars
Its getting much harder to find a nice hotel in Bangkok at a price that is cheap. Previously the cheap haunts provided fairly good rooms at knock down prices but with a real estate boom in progress many of these have been bought out and refitted as “boutique hotels”. The room rates for these places have tripled or more and some of the rates or exceeding those in 5 star hotels. So it might well be worth looking at some of the larger 4* or 5* places as these are more likely to be big enough discount their rates.

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