Dynamic, exotic and richly cosmopolitan, Bangkok is one of Southeast Asia’s most vibrant and cherished travel destinations. A city of contrasts, this cultural epicentre and shopping paradise entices millions of travellers each year to its bountiful markets, luxury hotels, stunning scenery and tantalising cuisine. Where ancient and modern coincide, Bangkok’s glorious golden temples and world-class skyscrapers await. Revel in the frenetic pace as you soak up the sights, shop until you drop then tuk-tuk around town for a zesty slice of Bangkok’s indulgent and risqué nightlife.
Thai Baht (THB)
THB10 ~ US$0,30
Tourist Police: 1155
Police, Ambulance: 191
Fire Brigade: 199
Shops are generally open Mon-Sat 8 am-9 pm. Banks are generally open Mon-Fri 9.30 am-5 pm except on public and bank holidays. Banks located in major shopping malls are generally open Mon-Sun, 7 days a week, 10 am-7 pm.
Tourism Authority of Thailand TAT
1600 New Phetchaburi Road, Makkasan, Rajatevee, Bangkok
+66 2 250 5500
To arrive in Bangkok is to be thrust into the pulsing heart of the Orient, a sprawling mega city encompassing 50 districts and six ever-expanding provinces. Truly, the engine room behind ‘Amazing Thailand’, Bangkok will amaze, dazzle and humble the most seasoned global wanderers with its exciting fusion of cultural, spiritual, historical and cosmopolitan charm.
Dusit is the political core of Thailand, home to lavish architecture and gardens, while Bangkok’s rustic ‘Old Town’ Rattanakosin holds ‘must see’ sights such as the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and royal gardens of Sanam Luang.
The city throbs and pulses with relentless heat and frantic pace, as tuk-tuks zip along concrete boulevards and Skytrains zoom overhead. Glitzy Siam Square carves the city’s commercial core with an array of shops, malls and boutiques - a true shopper’s paradise. Multicultural Yaowarat and Pahurat provide a feast for the senses, with the cuisine of Chinatown and flurry of Indian markets.
Sensational Sukhumvit Road roars at night with fine restaurants, bars and raunchy clubs, while the ever-indelible Khaosan Road area is a delight for budget travellers and revellers alike, buzzing with curbside vendors, stalls and wild nightspots. Known to the Thai’s as ’Krung Thep,’ South East Asia’s own ’City of Angels’ epitomises the East meets West tradition, where ancient trends blend and thrive with cutting edge sophistication.
With a relentless array of sights, sounds, scents and tastes all immersed in a bevy of hidden treasures, Bangkok has an overwhelming variety of things to discover and absorb.
Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
Wat Phra Chetuphon (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
Wat Arun (The Temple Of Dawn)
Wat Saket And Phu Khao Thong (The Golden Mount)
Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World
Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall
Jatujak Weekend Market (Chatuchak)
Sala Chalermkrung Theatre: Khon Masked Dance
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
National Science Museum
Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (BACC)
Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum
Museum of Counterfeit Goods
Queen Saovabha Institute Snake Farm
Bangkok Doll Museum
Batcat Museum & Toy Thailand
If nothing else, Bangkok serves as an epicentre of South East Asian culinary sensation, with endless cuisine varieties and flavours to boot. Tantalize your taste buds with a journey thorough Bangkok’s endless flurry of fine restaurants, delectable eateries and simmering roadside food stalls. Comprising the best places to dine with such a short list is an impossible task. However, here’s what each of Bangkok’s main culinary areas have to offer the gastronomic aficionado, with a sneak selection of some of the stand outs:
Eat Me Restaurant
La Dalat Indochine
Took Lae Dee
Lan Na Thai - Face bar
Well known for its great selection of coffee beans and roasters, Bangkok offers a wide range of cafés. Don't hesitate to take a piece of cake to go with your tea or coffee.
Old Town Cafe Bangkok
Authors' Lounge at Mandarin Oriental
Ceresia Coffee Roasters
Hello Kitty House
Gallery Drip Coffee
Bocha Tea & Bakery
Audrey Cafe Glamour
When the sun comes down, Bangkok is well-versed on how to have a seriously good time. A city infamous for its wild nightlife, Bangkok’s bars, clubs, taverns and lounges light up the streets, bustling and bursting with action. Partiers and revellers will rejoice with an abundance of rock pubs, jazz cafés and sleek cocktail bars. Many nightspots have free entrance, though some more popular venues charge a modest entry fee. The city also yields an array of sophisticated entertainment for more refined pleasure seekers, including Broadway-inspired stage shows, traditional performances and night time river cruises.
Khaosan Road Area
RCA - Royal City Avenue
The Bamboo Bar
Vertigo and Moon Bar
Have we mentioned that Bangkok is a veritable shoppers’ paradise? You’ll find pretty much everything and anything you could ever want, need or desire in this town - from fashion to electronics, novelties and crafts. Hit up and indulge in Bangkok’s enormous array of modern shopping hubs, contemporary stores, cosmopolitan boutiques and exotic, labyrinthine markets for every conceivable consuming penchant.
Clothing & Tailors
Jatujak Weekend Market (also: Chatuchak)
Patpong Night Bazaar
Mahboonkrong (MBK) Center
Siam Centre & Siam Discovery
Panthip Plaza Bangkok
Step One Tailor
Suvarnabhumi International Airport
Suvarnabhumi International Airport is a major international gateway to Asia. This immaculate, shining Suvarnabhumi Airport is the newest of Bangkok’s airway hubs. It is located in Samut Prakan Province, just 30 kilometres east of Bangkok. Suvarnabhumi — pronounced soo-WAHN-ah-poom, means ‘golden land’ in Thai — and this new airport welcomes thousands of visitors daily who are anxious to see the country’s golden attractions.
Getting into Bangkok is easy with regular shuttle bus and airport taxi service. The recently opened Suvarnabhumi Airport Link provides direct train service into the terminal city station. Airport Express also provides four main direct bus services to various inner city hotels. A 24-hour public bus service is also provided from the Bus Terminal at the Transport Centre.
Taxis can be found on Level 1 of the terminal. Alternatively, take a shuttle bus (Express route) to the Transport Centre taxi stand.
Address: Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok
Phone: +66 2 132 1888
Don Mueang International Airport
Bangkok’s first airport now serves mainly short-haul flights for budget airlines on domestic routes. It lies 25 kilometres north of central Bangkok. There is a 500 metre walkway that connects the International and Domestic terminals, with a free Thai Airways shuttle bus available.
Address: Don Muang International Airport, Bangkok
Phone: +66 2 535 1192
The Skytrain (BTS) is an extensive, modern air-conditioned monorail network. It is composed of two lines that reach the popular destinations of Bangkok. One line stretches east to Sukhumvit Soi 77 at the On Nut terminus all the way north to Jatujak Park and the Northern Bus Terminal at the Mo Chit terminus. Its other line runs from National Stadium at MBK Shopping Centre south across to the west side of the Chao Praya River at the Wongwan Yai terminus. Individual ticket fares are available, as well as a continuous top-up card.
Bangkok’s iconic transport, the three-wheeled mini taxis known as tuk-tuks, are not as common for transport these days. Producing new tuk-tuks has been banned by the government due to the pollution they produce. However, these three-wheeler ‘mobile lawnmowers’ are a true adventure ride. Let your locks flow in the breeze as you absorb the sights, sounds and frenetic chaos of Bangkok’s bustling roads in these hair-raising open-air carts. Price depends on distance, time of day (peak hour afternoons) and the mood of the driver. A common offer by tuk-tuk drivers is a ride around the city for a good price as long as you stop off at an over-priced tailor or jeweller afterward. Be wary of these offers.
Bus lines are a very common form of transport for locals getting to work and around the city. For visitors from foreign countries, it is less ideal as the lines follow major traffic arteries that are often clogged with traffic. The bus routes aren’t laid out in English, so find a Thai speaker to help out with getting from here to there. The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority does have a website in English for bus numbers that reach popular tourist attractions.
Envisioned as a key rail artery from the city districts to Bangkok’s major airline hub, commercial airport link services connect Suvarnabhumi Airport and Makkasan area in downtown Bangkok.
The express service is a 15-minute non-stop journey between the City. Alternatively, the commuter rail service is expected to make stops at eight different stations along the network, connecting with both the subway and Skytrain services.
The underground MRT train line runs north to south and covers the eastern edge of the city that the Skytrain doesn’t serve. Its northern terminus is Bang Sue Station in the Northern Bus Terminal/Jatujak Park area. Its southern terminus takes passengers to the edge of Chinatown (Yaowarat) at Hua Lamphong Station.
Taxis are readily available all over the city. Be sure to make sure the driver shows a working meter prior to the ride. Avoid touts offering a taxi service for a fixed fee, which is illegal and unsafe.
Generally, post offices are open from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm, though some refuse international parcel shipments after 3.30 pm. Many shopping centres and stores will send purchases from their locations during their business hours.
Main Post Office:
Address: Charoen Krung Road, Bangkok
More Information: International phone calls can also be made here
Thailand pharmacies are exceptional with most pharmacists speaking excellent English. In tourist areas, many stay open until midnight or 1 am. Bangkok pharmacies will generally sell most medicines over the counter without prescription. The pharmacy directly across from Nana complex is open 24 hours.
Country code: +66
Area code central Bangkok: 02
In restaurants (not noodle shops or local cafés) a 7% VAT is applicable. A service charge of around 10 to 15% is often added in hotel restaurants and bars. If your bill doesn’t contain a service charge, then a tip of around 10% is appreciated if the service has met your expectations. However, tipping is not expected in Thailand.
Royal Reverence: A Special Reminder
One of the first things tourists arriving in Thailand will notice is an abundance of portraits of the King and the Royal Family. Thais hold a profound respect for their King, and foreign visitors are expected to also respect this reverence. Disrespecting the King is a punishable offence in Thailand, and it includes jail time, fines and/or deportation. While you’re in the Land of Smiles, remember to be respectful of the culture, and your travels will be all the more pleasant.