We're a ~40-ish couple, I've traveled a lot around the globe. I've never been outside of the airport in Thailand. We have 6 full days in Bangkok (maybe 5 1/2 since we arrive very late and need some rest after 3 flights from US). I've checked many of the major travel sites (TA, LP, T&L, VisitThailand, etc), the forums here, the itinerary page here, etc. I've found a few recommended must-do's: Ayutthya, Chatuchak Weekend Market, Grand Palace, reclining Buddha/Wat Pho, floating market, Chinatown, Patpong or Suan Luum Night Bazar, and we want to do a 1/2 day cooking school (I see a lot of recommendations on this too). Now it's time to start to put it all together - an itinerary with places to stay, transportation, etc. I want to come up with a general itinerary (even restaurants though we will work with HappyCow on this as we'll both be eating vegetarian). I saw [original VT link] and I'm even more inspired to plan this better than my previous trips to other places. The trip is about 10 days away (I booked just a few days ago). We love to have local experiences when/where possible rather than just tourist stuff but I realize our time is short in Bangkok. Our trip is in early October so I believe it's not bad as far as weather is concerned.
First, from the airport, do you recommend taxi, Uber, train?
Next, what parts of the city should I look at for hotels? I will figure out the hotel from there as my searching is complex with various variables. However, I welcome recommendations.
Is tuk tuk/train the best way to travel around the city?
Day 1 (Thursday) should be something light and easy since we arrive at midnight the night before.
Day 2 (Friday) - Buddha?
Day 3 (Saturday) - weekend market?
Day 4 (Sunday) - other weekend market (floating?)
Day 5 (Monday) - cooking class +
Day 6 (Tuesday) -
Day 7 - go home :( ...to airport via Uber?
I know there's a lot here. I welcome any and all thoughts including a single tip all the way through suggested itineraries. I'm grateful for your time - thank you.
From Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) you do have rail service to the city area. The Airport Rail Link connects with the Skytrain. This service not available for arrivals after midnight. For rail service you choose a hotel not too far from Skytrain stations.
Meter taxis available at the airport 24 hours a day. Taxis from either airport will be cheaper than a similar distance in the US. Taxis are regulated at the airport. You pay meter fare and surcharge at your hotel. During the ride you pay any tolls. (Not expensive, maybe couple bucks total for tolls.) Unless you choose a hotel far from tourist areas most taxi rides come in around 350-450 baht.) Have small bills for paying taxi drivers. In the city pay meter fare, if you pay a flat rate you pay more money! Have coins for paying city taxi rides too. (Taxi drivers usually cannot change big bills that's why you get some small bills when you change your money at the airport.)
Ride a tuk-tuk for fun. But to get around use a meter taxi or rail service. Tuk-tuks do show up in some of the various scams tourists fall for. Google up "tourist scams Bangkok" for details.
No problem changing US dollars 24 hours at the airport, also you get a better rate changing dollars in Thailand. You cannot use dollars to pay for things. In the city area there are many bank kiosks open just about every day for changing money.
Forum search will also give you some help with hotels, taxis and money. Bangkok is a very big city. Fortunately transportation is not that expensive. If you want hotel help include a nightly price range. My preference is the Siam, Nana and Asoke area so I can use the Skytrain. Some tourists choose Riverside, some choose Pratunam - depending on what you want to do. This link shows on several travel forums.
(The Skytrain can take you to MBK, Chatuchak, Siam shopping, Nana-Asoke for nightlife and restaurants, etc. But you will still have to use taxis for some other areas of the city.)
This is super helpful, thank you.
We are primarily looking to walk the city, see some markets, see Little India/Chinatown, and that sort of thing. Thanks for all the tips - very useful.
I use a very reliable driver called Mr Tom, his details are on my travel pages. He can do airport transfers, sight seeing trips etc. The Sukhumvit area is a good place for lots of hotels to suit every budget.
I have found in Thailand that it can be difficult to get truly vegetarian food, as they sometimes don't treat fish or seafood as a former animal, and some places even might give you chicken! This means you might get food prepared with fermented fish sauce. There are a lot of Buddhists, though, so the concept is there. I used HappyCow a lot, but sometimes there isn't a nearby place if you go further afield. On my fifth trip I finally wised up and prepared the attached photo which I could show on my iPad. It says something like (I forget exactly) 'I am vegetarian like a Buddhist. Please give me food without meat, chicken, fish or seafood.' It seemed to work whenever I used it!
We regularly stay at the Pathewan Princess Hotel, just next to MBK Shopping Mall and very close to Skytrain, most of the walk is covered , so if raining you will not get wet.
Suggest you take a day tour to Bridge on River Kwai, make sure it includes ride on the "Death Railway " , built by POW's during world War 2, also include elephant ride. See my Thai pages for photos.
[original VT link]
Also take the Skytrain to the river and then buy a day pass on the river ferry. Hop Off and Hop on at various places, refer to a travel guide to decide what you want to visit.
We always stop for lunch at one of the 5 star riverside hotels, such as the Oriental Hotel, The Shangri La Hotel etc etc.
Spoil yourself in Bangkok. My first visit was way back in 1977, and since I retired in 2002 we have returned at least 6 times. You are welcome to view my pages.
thank you all, Johnalex - I found the info for Mr. Tom and this will go in my pocket for sure. I've found that a good driver/service can make all the difference on a trip.
Gyppo - I am and have been concerned about the fish sauce thing. I will put that on my phone and have it at the ready - this is a great tip, thanks a lot.
Mikebb - will check out the pages. River Kwai is certainly going on the agenda. We talked about hop on hop off just today but the river is an even better idea.
5 more days until we leave - thank you all!
I am sure you will have a fantastic time in Bangkok, Enjoy!
Concerning Uber, here is a useful service to calculate the price of a future ride, check [original link] , may be will be helpful for someone. I find it rather useful while travelling, especially in the US.
How was your Bangkok holiday, tell us what you visited and enjoyed!
hi [VT member 9f189], It was really good? Thanks [VT member 9f189] asking. We did a lot including Chatuchak weekend market (spent 2 days there - unbelievable), spent a day seeing some of the major sites like The Temple of The Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho), Temple of the Golden Buddha (Wat Traimit), Grand Palace & Wat Prakeaw, tons of shopping (of course, the wife went nuts), a cooking class with May Kaidee (this was the highlight - really fun), We went to Chinatown, through Little India, and walked around Khao San Road.
We stayed at the HIE in Sukhumvit (Soi 11). A college roommate/fraternity brother I hadn't seen since college (more than 20 years) was 3 or 4 blocks away so we met him (he found out via Facebook that I was there - really neat).
Overall a good trip. I'd be happy to answer specific questions if anyone has one/some. Steve
Holidays are about enjoying yourself first, sightseeing 2nd. Sounds like you had a fantastic time in Bangkok.