Things to Remember Before Visiting Bangkok


bangkok

Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and is its largest city. It is in the Chao Phraya River delta in the north of the country on the east side of the Gulf of Thailand. Bangkok has about eleven million people, representing just under 20 percent of all Thais.

Bangkok’s nicknames are “The City That Doesn’t Sleep” or The Big Mango. It is because Bangkok is a major shopping center! And because of its nightlife scene that attracts both Thais and foreigners alike. The city truly never sleeps, with clubs open for business at all hours of the early morning.

Here are ten things you should know before visiting Bangkok.

Taxis and Tuk-Tuks aren’t metered!

A large body of water with a city in the background

Bangkok is known for its number of taxis and tuk-tuks, which do not use meters. And instead, fares are negotiated in advance with the drivers. The best way to prevent getting ripped off is to use the meter. Sometimes drivers will agree to bring it out, but only if you leave your destination and come back again.

Another good practice is not getting into any taxis that are waiting in queues or parked up at street corners, these are usually ‘tourist’ type options, where the driver has already agreed on a fare with you in advance.

Do not park in blue zones! The parking in Bangkok is organized by the authorities. They have blue-zoned areas where cars are not allowed to park at all times of the day. If you get caught in one of these zones, it will be towed away but beware, this will cost you around 400-500 baht!

Public transport only costs 20 Baht!

A large body of water with a city in the background

The government increased the price of bus fares in December 2011, causing protests by people who use public transportation daily. The prices are now at 20 baht for buses and air-conditioned buses, 50 baht for the Skytrain / BTS, still only 15 baht for motorcycles and tuk-tuks, and 50 baht for taxis.

The BTS Skytrain is the best way to quickly get around Bangkok, as it’s quick, clean, efficient, and easy to use! The MRT / underground system is also relatively clean and very cheap. It is the best way to see the city, although it’s not easy to use. For example, some stations are virtually impossible for foreigners to navigate through but that’s what Google Maps is!

Be cautious about what you eat and drink!

There are various things that Thais will eat which may seem disgusting to foreigners. Live baby octopus is one popular dish where live octopus is chopped up and placed in a bowl with some sauce, though the suckers are still active! Also popular are fried insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, and silkworms.

If you’re a non-vegetarian, this will likely be your worst nightmare not only are the main dishes often spicy, but they contain animal products. For example, the yellow curry that you see in almost every dish with non-vegetarian ingredients such as fish sauce and shrimp paste. If you’re vegan, your best bet is to stick to noodle soups such as Khao Soi, which use coconut milk instead of dairy products.

Another thing to consider is the cleanliness of drinks sold on the street, so it’s best to buy bottled water. Tap water in Thailand is often not safe for drinking even if you boil it or purify it with tablets. Some foreigners have fallen ill after drinking tap water. Also, be careful about purchasing drinks from street vendors, as sometimes the bottles have been refilled and mixed with tap water.

Learn to bargain!

One of the best ways to get an affordable price in Thailand is bargaining. It is easier than you think because Thais often start high for foreigners to see if they can barter them down. If you’re still not sure about the price, it’s usually best to start low.

As a general rule, if you pay more than 200 baht for something, then you’ve probably paid too much! It is not always true though, because there are markets where prices are fixed. But still, be aware that the odds are very much in your favor. If you think you’ve paid too much, just say “Mai Ow” which means I don’t want it, they’ll usually lower the price instantly!

Expect to be snapped!

If you see a pretty girl or man wearing a rather revealing outfit, then expect to have your picture taken with them for a small fee. It often dresses in traditional clothing for tourist attractions such as temples, parks, and markets, so be prepared to have your picture taken with anyone wearing this attire!

The city is said to be one of the most visited places in Southeast Asia, but be wary of scams in Bangkok. However, remember that most people are genuinely friendly and will go out of their way to help you if you’re lost. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions, and always carry a map with you just in case!

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