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10 Things You’d Love To Know Before Your First Bangkok Trip

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So, you’re planning a trip to Bangkok. Great! It’s a fascinating metropolis that attracts over 22 million international visitors annually. And if that’s not enough of a testament to prove what a hit of a holiday destination it is, traveling to Thailand’s capital city is considerably affordable and also visa-free for Filipinos! But… you probably already know that. 

Now, let’s get down to the less-talked-about side of traveling to Bangkok because all the planning and preparation can get overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time visiting. Read on as we share with you 10 things you should know before visiting Bangkok:


Pack long pants and shirts with sleeves. 

Yes, it is HOT in Bangkok for the majority of the year, and it would be smart to bring outfits suitable for the weather. But aside from comfy shorts and cute tank tops, make sure to pack a pair of long pants (or a skirt that falls down to your ankles) and shirts with sleeves, too! This is because temples as well as The Grand Palace have strict dress codes that even foreign tourists are expected to follow. As for footwear, it would be best to wear closed shoes like a pair of sneakers—which your feet will thank you for since you’ll be walking a lot!


*Big Sky Tip: Choose light-colored clothes made with 100% cotton fabric, so you don’t end up looking like a sweaty mess while sightseeing!


Wear sunscreen!

If sunscreen (or sunblock) still isn’t part of your arsenal of travel essentials, well then, for this trip, it must be! Touring Bangkok involves many hours of being under the sun, so it’s only right that you take extra care of your skin and protect it from harmful UV rays. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, but if you can get a product with SPF 50 and PA++++, you’ll have an exceptional defense against UVA and UVB rays, which are associated with skin aging and burning. 


*Big Sky Tip: Sometimes, wearing sunscreen isn’t enough to shield your skin from the sun. In such cases, bringing an umbrella with a protective UV layer is a lifesaver!


Book a private airport transfer. 

While this isn’t exactly the cheapest way to get from the airport to the city center, it sure is the most comfortable and it doesn’t cost that much either. If you’re traveling with a group, that’s even better as you can split the fare! For a one-way trip, the rates of most private airport transfer services start at 610 THB, which is approximately 950 PHP.


*Big Sky Tip: Landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)? You can take the Bangkok Airport Rail Link—a rail line that connects Suvarnabhumi Airport to Phaya Thai (BTS) Station via Makkasan Station (MRT Phetchaburi)—if you wish to cut back on transportation fees and don’t mind commuting after your flight. The fare to Phaya Thai Station is 45 THB, while going to Makkasan Station will cost you 35 THB. 


Cash is king.

Although major establishments in the city accept credit card payments, small-time vendors at local markets like Chatuchak or Pratunam don’t. Cash is still king in Thailand, so prepare banknotes before hitting the shops or going on food trips. 


Speaking of food trips… food courts in Bangkok usually require you to “borrow” a cash card at the entrance. You will then top it up with a certain value to make it usable for payments. If you don’t use up the amount on your card, you can get a refund before leaving.  


*Big Sky Tip: If you can avoid it, do not withdraw money from ATM terminals at the airport. Their transaction fees for foreign cards are higher than those in the city center. 


Familiarize yourself with the Bangkok transit map before you go. 

When planning your itinerary, take note of the BTS or MRT stations that are closest to the places you wish to visit. This will spare you from all the guesswork, in turn, saving you some sweet time during your holiday. You may also download helpful apps like Google Maps  and the Bangkok Metro Transit Map to get the approximate schedules of train arrivals and departures. 


*Big Sky Tip: Don’t be quick to pre-purchase MRT and BTS transit cards for tourists. They’re quite costly and you might not get value for money if you’ll be taking other modes of transportation within the city throughout your trip anyway. You’ll be glad to know that purchasing a single-journey token (or ticket) is fairly quick, cheap, and easy!


Don’t ride tuk-tuks like you would a taxi!

The iconic tuk-tuk is awfully overpriced for tourists, and if you’re not good at haggling, you can end up paying more than what your short trip is worth! Keep in mind that a short tuk-tuk ride should cost no more than 100 THB. That being said, reserve just one tuktuk ride or two for the experience and take other cheaper and more reliable modes of transportation for the rest of your trip. 


*Big Sky Tip: Don’t fall for tuk-tuk driver scams! There are tuk-tuk drivers who will tell you that a particular attraction is closed and then offer to take you to another place that is supposedly “better.” If you get told this, do not take the ride! 


Book that Thai massage session. 

What’s a trip to Bangkok without getting a relaxing Thai massage? It’s a great way to ease your tired muscles and unwind during your trip. To make sure you don’t walk in to some shady spa in the city that provides “extra services,” look up reputable spas near your hotel and make an appointment. This ensures that professional therapists are taking charge of your treatment and experience. 


*Big Sky Tip: In case you haven’t experienced it before, Thai Massage involves a lot of stretching, pulling, and rocking that might upset your stomach if you had a heavy meal prior to your appointment. Have a light snack an hour before your session and save the delicious Thai meal for later. 


Download ride-hailing apps.

Although you are unlikely to get scammed on metered taxis, having ride-hailing apps on your phone is highly recommended when in Bangkok! The city’s two most popular ride-hailing apps are Grab and Bolt. You can download both and compare the prices before completing your booking. 


*Big Sky Tip: Some drivers of ride-hailing apps may strike a conversation with you about your trip so far and offer to drive you to nearby areas that you haven’t explored yet. Some are well-meaning and are just doing it for the hustle, but if you’re uncomfortable with the idea, you can politely decline, say you already have your plans ironed out, and divert the topic. 


Get a portable wi-fi device.

Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group, having a portable wi-fi device is a must! Navigating Bangkok requires a lot of searching on the Internet and app usage. Carrying a wi-fi device with you ensures that you’re connected to a reliable private network that also keeps your sensitive personal data protected from the prying eyes of public networks!


Dive into the sights and flavors of Bangkok and share your experiences with your folks back home using a trusty wi-fi device that fits right in your pocket and keeps you connected to high-speed Internet!

Big Sky Nation, the #1 Travel Connectivity Provider in the world based on verified customer reviews and ratings, offers a variety of travel internet products and packages that will suit every traveler’s budget! Check out your options now!

***Featured image by Florian Wehde on Unsplash