Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and very busy place!
There are many forms of getting around. Jon and I mostly used taxis or the Skytrain. Here are some tips for you about travel:
Do not take hotel shuttles- they are not metered so will charge you whatever they like or see if it is complimentary.
Skyline- cheap, fast and easy to use.
Tuk-Tuks- it is something you have to do as a tourist but I suggest using the ones in Chaing Mai, they are a bit more expensive but less pushy. The ones in Bangkok will tell you that the ones with yellow license plates are Government owned, they aren't, its a scam.
Always agree to take a taxi on meter only as it will be half the price that they are offering you. If they won't do it on meter, keep walking as someone will agree. The ones right outside of any attractions will generally not want to use meter.
Don't be surprised but taxis don't have seatbelts.
Traffic is a huge problem in Bangkok, so if you need to be somewhere, as the hotel how early to book your transport
Where we stayed
This was a lovely hotel in Bangkok's Downtown area. It was a bit out of the way in terms of being near attractions but a very cheap taxi ride would get you where you needed to go. We booked it through Tropical Collections and paid only £89 for 3 nights.
They had a pool, bar, restaurant and spa and the room was very nice. You will love the pool as its probably best to go see sights in the morning and late afternoon because it gets so hot.
Its in a quiet area but there are lovely restaurants around where we ate and drank. Also an internet cafe nearby will save you loads rather than buying Wifi in the hotel. I think we paid only 15 Baht for an hour!
Be aware of pickpockets.
Be careful crossing roads (we saw some tourists create accident by running across the road, they did not get hit but a motorbike hit the back of a truck and had to go to the hospital).
Be weary of any 'helpful' people near sights. They will direct you to Tuk-Tuks and other things.
These helpful people will also tell you that things are closed to non-Thai people, this is a lie. Keep walking and go to another entrance.
Haggle for anything, walk away if you aren't getting a price that you like.
If you are the first customer of the day, you might get a good deal as they think you are lucky!
Bring tissues with you, some bathrooms don't have toilet paper.
Plan to do things that are close together so that you get a taxi to drop you off in the area and then walk around from there.
Instead of paying for Wifi, eat at places that offer it for free and kill two birds with one stone!
Things to Do
Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo
This place has the Emerald Buddha which was originally in Chaing Mai. The Emerald Buddha is dressed for the season. It is one of the holiest places in Bangkok and used to be the residence for the King.
It is very busy here so be ready for crowds. It worth the visit. It cost us 400 Baht to get in.
Wat Po (Wat Phra Chetphon)
Wat Po is the oldest and biggest temple in Bangkok. It has the famous Institute of Massage there so if you have time, try it out.
It also has the Reclinging Buddha which is 150 feet long and on its feet has a very impressive design made out of mother-of-pearl of the true signs of Buddha.
This place is less visited so more peaceful. It cost us 100 Baht to get in.
River Cruise Caberet and Traditional Dancing
Another tour we booked with the travel agent at our hotel. The White Orchid River Cruise was a pretty good deal. We were picked up at our hotel, driven to the boat, provided a dinner with traditional dancing and a carberet with ladyboys and an amazing view of Bangkok at night on the River. Thsi was 1400 Baht per person.
Dameon Saduak Floating Market
This was another trip booked through the travel agent at our hotel. We first went to a coconut farm which showed us what they used coconuts for. Then we were taken to a long boat ride which was really nice and much longer than we thought it would be. It brought you through the houses of the people that live on the river and then down to the market. There are a lot of stalls and so you will be able to haggle for a good price. Also have a coconut drink! They are very hard sellers especially the tiger balm ladies (Jon got accosted by them and they would not take no for an answer!).
Muay Thai (Thai Boxing)
We went to Muay Thai at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium (this was one of the things that Jon said we had to do). We arranged this through the travel agent at the hotel for 2000 Baht for front row seats. I know the price was correct before I went because I looked into it beforehand. We were told that the boxing at Lumpinee was more professional. Even though I am not a big fan of things like this, I really enjoyed it.
Muay Thai is different from typical boxing as the fighters can use their feet and elbows. Before the match they do a ritual which differs from the boxing camp that they train at. There is a band that plays traditional instruments and they pick up the pace as the fight picks up.
You can see Muay Thai at Ractadamnoen Stadium on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and at Lumpinee Stadium on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
There are a few ways to get to Wat Arun since it is on the other side of the river. We were kind of forced into a Riverboat tour but haggled down to a very cheap price. That is why I say do not take the hotel shuttle unless its complimentary. The ride ended up being nice but I didn't want to go on it! Also we had to pay a boat landing fee (20 Baht)- so I recommend the ferry if you just want to get across. Instead ask to be taken to the ferry. This is only 3 Baht to get to the other side, which is what we did when we left.
Wat Arun is very impressive. The entire temple is covered broken porcelian. It is also very cool because you climb high up the temple to take in a beautiful view of Bangkok. This temple is on the 10 Baht coin. It cost us 50 Baht to get in.
River Ride on Long Tail Boat
Even though I didn't really want to go on this boat trip, it ended up being nice. You can rent one out for just you and it will take you through all the canals and the sights. The reason I didn't want to go on one is because the only place we wanted to go to Wat Arun as we had already seen some of the other places they were offering. We haggled pretty good because we just wanted them to drop us off at Wat Arun.
Pictures of Bangkok
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