Beginners Guide to Thailand. First stop Bangkok.

The first time I landed in Bangkok, back in 2010, I had no plans to stay in the city for to long. We went straight from the bus station to the airport. Now I regret it a little, because Bangkok is one of my top favorite cities in the world to start my adventure in. Most travelers hate the city, its big, its smelly, its dirty. But for me its my favorite travel HUB. It has everything I need to start my trip, it has a lot of travelers like me, to talk to, it has amazing shopping spots and delicious food. Its a perfect place to switch to the new Time Zone.

Most people say the best time to visit Thailand is from November to February when the northeast monsoon is blowing cool, dry air. During cool season, the temperature ranges from 18 to 32 degrees Celsius. The summer period, or hot and dry season, is from March to June.  My favorite time to fly to Thailand is March.  The arrival of March in Thailand signifies the start of the hot summer months. Try and avoid April, unless you plan to be permanently be submerged in the ocean, because this is the hottest month across the country.  From July to October is the monsoon.

What To Bring To Bangkok:

  • Map
  • Water Bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Power adapter
  • Clothes for temples (cover-ups)
  • Walking sandals
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera
  • Small Snacks

How to prepare before you fly:

  • Adjust yourself to the time zone ahead of time. If you are flying from other parts of the world to Souneast Asia, the chances are you will be exhausted. You don’t want to waste your time sleeping all day after arriving. If your flight lands very late do not sleep in the plane, but if your plane will arrive in the morning make sure to sleep on your flight and be active all day, and try to hold the sleeping until the evening.
  • Do not buy money before you fly. Go to the ATM at the airport.
  • Have your accommodation name and address ready (if you can print it in Thai for your taxi driver) Check you destination on the Google Maps, so your driver is not wasting time asking locals for direction. Pick your first night accommodation well. It should be comfortable so you will rest well and fight the jet lag.
  • Know the Law Before You Travel. Thailand’s drug laws are very strict. There’s no slap on the wrist.
  • Make sure to Unlock Your Phone before coming to Thailand, so you can use local Sim card.

After you arrive:

  • Pick up a SIM card. International roaming is expensive. If you’re staying in Thailand for a week or more, getting a plan that is targeting tourists is a good choice.  The best and easy spot to do so is Siam Paragon shopping center or at the Airport. Dont forget to bring your passport with you. Its required to get the card. Currently there are three main cell service providers in Thailand: AIS, Truemove, DTAC.
  • Be careful with the food on the first few days. Yo need to slowly adjust to the new diet.
  • Go to the 7/11 and get yourself bottle of water, its a great way to break your bigger notes, because you will need some small change .
  • In Bangkok, try to schedule your sightseeing for earlier in the morning or late afternoon, to avoid heatstroke. Remember to stay hydrated.

On a short trip to Bangkok, these are the not-to-be-missed sites you should try and see:

  • Siam Square – shopping
  • Floating Markets – sightseeing and shopping
  • Chatuchak Market the biggest market in Bangkok. It spans 35 acres of land and it has everything. Open only on the weekends.
  • Pratunam Market. Filled to the brim with bargain clothes, shoes and other accessories, Pratunam market is one of the most visited in Bangkok for its fantastic deals and fun atmosphere. Open round the clock
  • Buddhist temples – sightseeing
  • Jim Thompson’s house
  • Chinatown and its Night Market. The China Town area is a giant complex of bustling markets with anything under the sun. They are littl more  expansive then rest of the markets in Bangkok and can be overwhelming.
  • Khao San Road – drinking, nightlife 
  • Soi Rambuttri
  • Muay Thai Kickboxing. 500-year-old traditional Thai sport is known as the art of 8 limbs. Fists, feet, knees, and elbows.

In all of Thailand (not just Bangkok) people are exceptionally kind and hospitable.  Thai people have a pretty good handle on English. Getting around is easy .Take advantage of Bangkok’s Public Transportation. Wherever you end up, make sure to take a break and enjoy another of Bangkok’s indulgences, Thai massage.  For dinner, make sure you sample some of the fantastic street food Bangkok has to offer.  if you’re new to Thailand, please don’t listen to people telling you to skip Bangkok. If you only  a couple of days in Bangkok, try to stay in an area that’s close to cultural sights. Traffic is bad in Bangkok. Some days it is terrible but  motorcycle taxis are your best bet and they make getting around traffic easy!

There are several popular beaches only an hour or so away from Bangkok. If you are interested in dipping your toes not too far away into the country, that could be your best option for a Day trip.

Next “Thailand” blogpost will be about Island Hopping !

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Bangkok Guide

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