There are probably some of the questions that you’re asking yourself if you plan to start exploring and touring Bangkok. It can be quite intimidating to plan a new trip to any country, however you can rest easy in the fact that Thailand is one of the easiest places to explore.
Thailand, specifically the City of Bangkok, is a popular tourist destination for foreigners due to the pristine beaches, sparkling temples, mouth watering cuisines, and the relaxed and simple way of life.
Although it’ll be your first time touring Bangkok, there are some tips and tricks that you will have to know ahead of your travel. Not only will this help you keep safe and have a stress free trip, this will also help you make the most of this adventure.
<H2> Thai Culture
The dominant religion in Thailand is Buddhism. Over 90% of the population identify as Buddhists, which is why you will find majestic temples across the entire country, which if you ask me never fails to impress.
We’ve briefly mentioned that Thai culture is laid back, relaxed and simple. However, you can still easily offend if you don’t respect their culture and the social rules. Simple acts of addressing people the right way, taking off your footwear before entering somebody’s home, are all expected even for foreigners.
Despite having a wild reputation, you can still experience the raw Thai culture in most parts of the country. That said, the North of Thailand is far more conservative than the South. Here you can enjoy more cultural experiences, whereas the South is far more tourist orientated.
As always, we insist on acting respectfully at all times when backpacking Thailand. Remember you are in somebody else’s home. Pay attention to the rules, have respect for local traditions, and act in such a way that leaves a good impression.
Tips and Tricks for Exploring Bangkok
In this travel hack, we will list down some of the few tips and tricks that you will need to explore Bangkok and travel to Thailand.
- Use Public Transportation
Using public transportation will allow you to save more money than you can imagine. Renting a private vehicle for you to drive will be convenient, however they are also the most expensive option for going around town.
The city has a comprehensive public transportation system, thus you will have tons of options available to you when travelling in Bangkok. From the culturally iconic Tuk tuk all the way to taxi cabs and a rail system to quickly slice through town. Using Public Transportation systems is also one of the best way to see Thailand.
Some public transportation options are unregulated by the Thai government though, so you will have to haggle to settle for a reasonable price on the ride.
- Use Landmarks over addresses
A quirky aspect of using public transport in Bangkok is that in order to go around town, you don’t give the driver the exact address, rather you tell them the nearest landmark or major establishment. You might have to walk a short distance towards your exact destination, however this will be an even faster option than trying to explain to the driver which point you actually want to be dropped off at.
- Always have some cash handy
This might be a bit of common sense right? Well, in western countries, you have the option of cashless transactions. While cashless transactions are the new norm in western cultures, this is not so true in the city of Bangkok. There are initiatives to move towards more cashless transactions in the city, however only well established institutions have followed suit.
Cash is also the main payment method for public transportation. The Metro Rail Systems do offer reloadable cards for faster processing, but the majority of the public transportation options you will mostly be taking advantage of prefer the use of cash.
When you plan to withdraw cash from local ATMs though, make sure you withdraw the maximum amount as local charges can go as high as $7 per transaction, and that’s not including the charges of your home bank’s international exchange fee.
- Skip the expensive restaurants
Luxurious restaurants are stress-free options to dine in. They guarantee good food and sanitation. However, in order for you to fully experience the Thai culture, consider dining in the local diners. This will give you a good insight into how locals live and will immerse you in cultural Thai cuisines.
Street food around Bangkok is also prized all over the world. You will be hard pressed to find much that compares to Thai street food, which is why while you’re still in Bangkok, make the most of your time there by trying every street food available. A heads up though, seek the advice of trusted locals on where to find the best, most affordable, and cleanest street food.
- Expect language barriers
Literacy in the English language in Bangkok is increasing every year. However, there are still a good number of individuals who aren’t as adept in using the English language. This will consequently lead to a language barrier, which is something you should prepare for.
Basic Thai phrases will get you far which is why you should start learning these phrases before you get to the city. You can breathe a sigh of relief though, as hotel employees do speak good English, so you can always seek their advice on places to visit and places to dine in.
- Dress Appropriately
This sounds a bit weird for visiting a “relaxed” country. However, this is something that you will have to bear in mind as you’re going through Bangkok.
A lot of the tourist spots in Bangkok like the Grand Palace, Wat Pho (also known as the temple of the Reclining Buddha), require you to be dressed properly before being admitted in.
You will predominantly be on day trips when touring Bangkok, so the humid climate does play a factor in what is comfortable to wear. This means that you have to wear clothes that cover your shoulders and clothes that make it at least to your knees, to make sure that you make it into sacred temples without any problems.