Some people hate Bangkok. Some people say it is dangerous. Some people say it is dirty and you will get scammed. Well you will. If you do not have your wits about you, Just like you can get scammed and encounter danger in London and new york. Yes Bangkok can get pretty crazy, but crazy is good right!? Who doesn’t love a bit of crazy now and then… At least that is what I tell all my boyfriends!
I have spent a lot of time in Bangkok and I am certainly loving a lot that this city has to offer.
Here are a few tips I have learned that make the city that bit more enjoyable.
Always insist the Taxi is on the meter
Here is an example of why. from Khao San road I needed a taxi to Siam Plaza Mall. Every taxi would quote THB300 and only go down to THB250 when pushed. When asked to go on the meter they would say no and drive off. After 10 minutes I found a taxi agreeing to a meter and what do you know, it cost me THB90 to get there.
If the cab driver or anyone asks if you have been to Thailand before, say YES!
Barter – Nicely
The first rule of Bangkok shopping: No barcode or set price means you can haggling. It’s expected. However do not be too aggressive or try and go stupidly low on price. The seller does need to make a living. 30% off the original price is good. Yes feel free to walk away if the price is disagreeable. Most of the time you will get called back for another round of negotiations.
Beware of scams
The first being ‘The grand Palace is closed’. They will then try and take you somewhere else for double the price. And of course the Tuk tuk scam. The driver will offer you a discounted Tuk tuk to your destination if you make one stop. This stop being his friend’s suit or jewellery shop. Once inside some sellers can get very aggressive and not let you leave until you buy something. Most drivers are friendly but the discounted price is not worth the stop so ay that little bit more.
Always carry small notes
500 Thai Baht may only be £10 but that is a lot of money in Asia. Very rarely will a taxi driver or small food stall have change for THB500. They will sometimes refuse to serve you. If you are hungry or stranded in the middle of nowhere, this could be a big problem.
Use bum guns
It is there for a reason. The little spray gun attached to a hose. Spicy food can
make us westerners need a poop suddenly and a little more often than at home. No body likes pooing in a public toilet so for added hygiene, spray and then whip. Especially as it rarely comes out solid in Asia.
The greatest toilet I have found is in Terminal 21 shopping mall in Sukhumvit. It has a control panel next to the toilet where you can have a jet of water was your bottom and then warm air dry it. It takes personal cleanliness to a whole new level.
Eat the local food
Cheap and amazing. The food is cooked fresh to order in most places. The flavours are amazing and food upset stomachs are usually caused by not being used to the spice, not the food being bad.
Write down where you are staying
Yes I have spent many hours at 4am walking the streets looking for my hostel. Bangkok is a big city and adding in the language barrier, Taxi drivers often get lost. Write down the address of where you are staying and have a map of the area. It is all very well having it on your phone, until you loose it or your battery dies!
Respect the culture
An important thing to remember is that the King and Queen are highly revered in Thailand, visitors are expected to show proper respect towards their majesties. Daily at 8am and 6pm, the national anthem is played, and everybody within hearing distance will automatic stand and listen. If you continue walking at this time it is regarded as an insult.
Feet are considered dirty in Thailand. Do not put them on a table in a public place or point them towards a person or statue when sitting.
And here are a few more tips to keep you loving your time in Bangkok:
Leave your passport and money in a safe place. Only carry what you need and a photocopy of your passport. Don’t let Bangkok win. Pickpockets love a drunk foreigner.
You do not need a Thai Sim card. WiFi is everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Restaurants, bars, massage parlours, bus stations. If they don’t have it, the place next door will.
Use public transport. You can get right across the city for less than £1 on the BTS (SKy Train) and it is much faster than taking a taxi in the Bangkok traffic. The public buses are suer cheap too. Less than £0.20.
Most of the time people are not trying to scam you, but of course you would try and get as much money for a product or service as you could. It is business after all.
My last tip is probably the most useful of all… When you are hungry and need a quick snack, there is a 7Eleven everywhere you look in Bangkok. A cheese and ham toastie will set you back 25THB (£0.50). I am addicted!
Don’t let any of these warning put you off. Bangkok is a fun 24/7 city with so much to see and do. I am here for a month and worrying I won’t fit everything in. Who needs sleep though, right!?