The beginners guide to Bangkok
Bangkok, in personal opinion is one the most under rated cities in the world. It is huge, extremely spread out, and it’s not a place you can just wonder around anywhere and fall into something amazing, unless of course you are in the right part. While most backpackers will tell you to go straight to Khosan Road, most older men will tell you to go to Soi Cowboy, and most shoppers will lead you to Asoke, the true treasures are in the train markets, after hour bars, and the rare events that bring the expats communities together with the Thais. Bangkok is a beautiful, magical city where it is easy to over pay to have a sub par experience. Here is a few tips and tricks to make the most of your time in the sky scrapers of Thailand.
When you get off at the airport you have a few options, first you could take a cheap bus to the metro, BTS or MRT, the bus comes every ten minutes at either airport. But after your long flight you are probably over traveling and just want to grab a cab. You could ask the airport for one, wait in line, and pay about three times the standard fair, or you can go upstairs to departures and grab a cab from someone who just arrived to the airport.
When using a taxi ALWAYS ask for meter, NEVER take a fixed price. You will notice in Thailand cabs will randomly just say no, even if you show them a map or tell them in your best Thai accent. This is because there is a weird sense of pride from cab drivers in Thailand, if they don’t know where it is, they don’t want to take you.
The Taxi drivers will ask “highway” because each highway in Bangkok is privately owned and you will be expected to pay the toll, they range from 50 to 70 Baht.
Uber and Grab work in Bangkok.
Do not take a Tuk Tuk unless it is a last resort, they are always more expensive unless you are with someone that speaks perfect Thai.
Use the motor bike taxis for short rides, but always negotiate price before you get on.
The two metros are the BTS and MRT and they are extremely easy to use, but the catch is the majority of the machines take coins. I find that even if you think you are going to use it twice just get the card and don’t try to do the coin system, at least with the BTS. I have found that I can’t carry coins and I loose out more then paying the 100 baht for the card. The most important thing to know is that during most hours of the day using the BTS can be much faster then a cab, and it is always cheaper. The best part of the trains is the AC, the worst part is it is crowded during peak hours at the peak stops.
Every night except for Monday is the Ratchada train market. Great food, great buys, great drink prices, and you can get just about anything you want that Thailand has to offer. It is one of my favorite things to do, a great place to bring your friends. It is a night market so doesn’t open until around 7pm and ends at midnight.
On the weekend things get really fun, if you take the BTS to Mo Chit, you will see the largest market in Thailand, it can be very over whelming, but do it right and you could have everything you could ever need for next to nothing. It has a day and night market, there are endless things to do, try not to get lost.
The last is a weekend night market that is a bit harder to find, but very worth going.
Rod Fai Night Market
Thailand, Srinagarindra Rd - Soi Srinagarindra 51, Khwaeng Nong Bon, Khet Prawet, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10250
Mah-rum-ba is my favorite place, it is weird, secretive, and super cool. I can’t give all the details to the internet but lets just say this is my number 1 choice for sure.
There are allot of night clubs: Shock and Love are pretty underground but the EDM music is good, if you are looking for something more upscale then look no further then Sing Sing Theater.
Insanity is fairly new but going pretty great.
Of course if you don’t know what to do, just do the tourist trap at Khosan Rd, you are garenteed to make some friends.
Bangkok is a huge hub for English standup comedy.
There is The Sportsman on Sukumivit 13 on Wednesday, it is an open mic that encourages first timers and hecklers.
999WEST on Khosan Rd Thursday, John Samson hand selects what Asia has to offer and puts on a great show FOR FREE.
Tenderloin puts on an amazing show every other Saturday, always a full house, price of admission comes with a buffet and a drink, best deal in Asoke.