Bangkok – what to do and not to do!

Bangkok

Bangkok

The crazy city of Bangkok

For such a vast city getting around Bangkok is relatively simple.  It has a Skytrain (BTS) which is easy to navigate and operates between 6am and midnight. To get a ticket go to the kiosk tell the kiosk operator where you are going and they will give you the correct change to put in the machines opposite.

Bangkok taxi’s are easily available and can be reasonable, although ensure that it is a metered taxi and the meter is on. If the meter is not on make sure you you agree a price before you get in. Travelling by taxi is fine though can be very slow due to the volume of traffic, so ensure you have enough time allocated.

Tuk tuks can be great fun, we have used them a few times and had a particular fun journey through Chinatown racing with our friends, but do make sure you agree your price before you get in and read the scam section below.

Bangkok

Fun with friends in Bangkok Tuk Tuk race!

There is a hop on hop off boat that goes up and down the river which is a fun way to get around. There are areas on the the boats where only monks have priority to stand so just be aware of that. Motorbike taxi’s are also available and very cheap but we have never been brave enough to use them!

Bangkok

Lebua Dome

For an awesome view of the Bangkok city sky line head to Lebua at State Tower Hotel and go up to the Sky Bar.

Bangkok

Fun with friends at Lebua State Tower

It is on the 63rd floor and is now famous for the Hangovertini, which was created for the cast of The Hangover Part II while they were filming at lebua. Get off at Saphan Taksin BTS stop and look up and you will see the dome of the hotel it is approximately a 10 minute walk. The drinks are expensive, they work out about £10 each but it was so worth it for the view.

Another Bangkok bar with a view is the Zoom bar on the 40th floor of the Anantara

Bangkok

Zoom Bar

Sathorn Hotel, the nearest BTS being Chong Nonsi. Normally the prices for drinks on the menu are 200 baht (£4) bottled beer or pint of Chang, wine 250 baht (£5) a glass but go during happy hour (530pm-8pm)  and you get 2 for the price of 1 so great value and a fab view.

Bangkok

Cabbages and Condoms

Cabbages and Condoms, can be found on Soi 12 Sukhumvit, nearest BTS Asok BTS. Great restaurant that proceeds go towards promoting better understanding and acceptance of family planning and have a better access to education. Most of the decor is made up of condoms, including the mannequin greeting visitors at the entrance. Free condoms are given out at the end of the meal.

Bangkok

First at Cheap Charlies gets a good seat!

Cheap Charlies Soi 11 Sukhumvit. Great bar at great prices, get there early if you want a seat, opens at 6pm. We have now visited 3 times and have always had a fab time and met some wonderful and bizarre characters. We have heard a rumour that area is being redeveloped and that from March 2017 Cheap Charlies will be knocked down. Not sure this is true, and if so is such a shame, so do check before visiting.

Bangkok

Whilst we stayed at the Chatrium Riverside Hotel, we discovered Asiatique a great place for a night out on the Chao Phraya river with plenty of shopping, eating and drinking options. We sat at a little bar on the corner by the main stage and had a JD bucket – 350 baht and vodka and lime soda 250 baht. There is also a Ferris Wheel which is 600 baht and has fantastic views.

Bangkok

The Ferris Wheel at Asiatique

The reason we keep going back to Thailand is the people, it certainly lives up to it’s name of the land of the smiles.

However, a few things to be aware of. Thai people do not like confrontation so always deal with any difficulties in a polite manner and do not lose your temper.  Always be respectful. If confrontation is necessary, it is extremely important to do it in private, not in front of other people. Thais are much more sensitive to “Saving face”, which is very important in Thai culture. There is never a hurry about anything so don’t expect things to be the same as in the UK, the culture is very relaxed. Family, friends, community and good food are most important.

Bangkok

Shopping

It is normal practice to barter, for example, if an item is priced 500 baht, you should start to offer to pay half of the price, the shop assistant will then give you a calculator and you will go back and forward until a price is agreed. Rule of thumb is pay what your happy to pay and if it is not the price you want to pay just smile and walk away.

Bangkok is a great city to visit, but just like most cities there are some unsavoury characters who will try and take advantage. Do not be put off with the following information, it is just to ensure you don’t fall for it.

Common Bangkok scams are –

  • You are approached by a smart dressed Thai man/women around the major tourist attractions, or at BTS stations who will inform you that the palace (or whatever is close by) is closed or it is a bank holiday. They will then offer to take you to another similar place for a very cheap price. This will then lead onto stops at a gem shop and possible tourist shops which will then lead to a hard sell. We were approached on our way to the MBK shopping centre by a well dressed Thai gentleman, he was saying that the MBK was closed and that he would take us to another shopping centre. We politely refused his help and carried on walking to find MBK was open for business as usual. Never believe that anywhere is closed until you see the ticket office at the attraction you are visiting.
MBK shopping in Bangkok

MBK shopping in Bangkok

  • Tuk tuk’s are great fun but make sure you negotiate the price before you get in and do not succumb to any scams involving stopping off at their family houses or jewellery shops as above.  If this happens just ask them to stop get out, pay and walk away.
  • If out of curiosity you visit Patpong market all bars on the ground floor have set drink prices, you will be approached by many individuals showing you very interesting menu’s.  The general rule is to not go to the unmarked upstair bars, as we have heard stories of after one drink, when the check arrives it can be 2000 baht (£40) including lady drinks that you are unaware of agreeing to, this will need to be paid before you leave.
Interesting menu in Patong Market

Interesting menu in Patong Market!

Be aware of these scams and don’t let it spoil your visit.  We really enjoy our visits to Bangkok, we have now been back 5 times and will no doubt visit again!

Check out our short video!

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Is there anything you would like to add we would love to hear in the comments below!

Do have a read of our other posts about Thailand –

8 Things to do in Khao Lak, Thailand

Chatrium Riverside Hotel Review – Bangkok

Elephant Nature Park – Chiang Mai

Baan Sijan Hotel review, Koh Samui

A day at Nikki Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand

Taxis – the cost of transport in Koh Samui, Thailand

Secret Garden Beach Resort, Bangrak, Koh Samui

Things to do in Ao Nang

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Bangkok

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Fun and banter in Bangkok

Fun and banter in Bangkok

Bangkok

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About paulandcarole

A travelling, cruising, housesitting couple who hope to inspire others along the way!
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38 Responses to Bangkok – what to do and not to do!

  1. Frank says:

    You’re pretty much spot on with your tips. I’ve been to Bangkok now 5 times and I’ve noticed that there seem to be more scam artists than ever before. Back in 2001 I was scammed for about $3000 on gems – rookie mistake at the time. But it still goes on. Makes you think that someone high up is in on it. Taxis are the other thing – always a hassle.

    Patpong is ok. But Nana more fun 🙂

    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Scams are a real problem and your probably right about the higher up engagement! We had a night at Nana Plaza that was great fun too. Thanks for taking the time to read our post and appreciate your comment. ☺
      Carole

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  8. As you know, this is perfect timing as we are about to fly to Bangkok today! I have taken some information but will obviously return to this post when we are there for more tips – pinned for when I need it! Great stuff #feetdotravel

  9. Elizabeth says:

    I have always wanted to go to Thailand! There are great tips!

  10. Anna Schlaht says:

    Thanks for all the great tips on where to eat, what to do, and what scams to know about in Bangkok! Mr. Nerd and I have been doing some research on Thailand lately and are really thinking that our next trip will probably be Thailand, so we’ll definitely keep all this in mind whenever we visit! Plus, Cabbages and Condoms is such an interesting idea for a restaurant, we kind of want to check it out. Haha. Thanks for sharing!

    • Yes it is a great concept and good food too! Thailand is a great place to visit in fact I think we have a bit of an addiction as already planning a return trip next pat year!

  11. I can’t wait to meet the people in Thailand, we have heard they are just lovely. Awesome post, as usual 🙂

  12. Tracy says:

    Good timing – although our travel plans are changing on an almost daily basis one place remains constant and that is Bangkok!! It will be our first visit so glad to have all the information re scams etc! Pinning for future consultation!!
    Tracy recently posted…Visiting Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017My Profile

  13. Oana says:

    Useful post that brings back some memories. We wanted to go to Condoms and Cabbage but we didn’t had time in the end. Thailand is a country where I will return for sure.
    Oana recently posted…Discover Basel in 48 hoursMy Profile

  14. Cat says:

    Thanks for the tips. Sounds like you guys had a blast. Love the pictures! 🙂

  15. Great places to visit in Bangkok like the Sky Bar and your tips are spot on. Great photos and I had to chuckle with the Cabbage and Condoms Restaurant. Great that its about education! Already mentioned but your tips and scams to look out for are great for the traveler. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  16. Travel Lexx says:

    After so many visits, I just find the scams funny now and have a good laugh with the guys and the taxi drivers who try and rip you off. One of the best things you can say is “I live here” and many will drop their prices straight away. Great tips!

  17. George says:

    Always good to know what not to do as important as what there is to do. Hope to visit Thailand someday and yes it is all about the people. Great article full of info.

  18. Awesome, looks like Bangkok is a place to visit (fingers crossed for that one day 😀 ), I will save this for later, thanks for sharing!

  19. Garth says:

    Great tips guys, we went to Cabbages and Condoms too! the food was great there and the atmosphere! Hopefully we’ll get to go back on a stopover in the future
    Garth recently posted…Mekong DeltaMy Profile

  20. These are great tips, especially about the drink prices. It is always good to know these things ahead of time! Pinned for later.
    Carmen Baguio recently posted…What to Eat & Drink in Rio de JaneiroMy Profile

  21. Our recent post mentioned some of these scams too. I am glad I read about the different types of scams out there before traveling. Helped know what to look for. We encountered the popular bracelets and flower scam and now that I think about it, we might have been targeted for the tuk tuk scam but they didn’t succeed. Great informational post!
    ThriftyTrails recently posted…Budget-Friendly Vacation in IrelandMy Profile

  22. Such a great post. The views from the Lebua and Zoom bar look great! Free condoms at the end of the meal! Hahaha. Now that’s an unusual restaurant. Thank you for the useful tips. Loved this post!
    Siddharth and Shruti recently posted…On the road in Iceland | Do’s and Dont’sMy Profile

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