Last week I spent a long weekend in Thailand. It’s actually closer to Taipei than I imagined, a mere 3-hour flight. Spent a couple of days in Bangkok, it was a nice experience overall. Even had cake for my birthday. Here is a small summary of what I remember from this trip. Nothing super original I’m afraid if you’re already familiar with Thailand.
Don’t be stupid
Yup. I got scammed in my first five minutes outside of the metro. A very friendly guy will stop you, ask you where you’re going then tell you the mentioned place is closed today. Then will proceed to send you to another place where you can get a nice and overpriced tour. It could have been worse for me (I lost an hour and maybe 50 euros), but in hindsight I realize it was the most basic con people are pulling in Bangkok. In my defense, it was very plausible due to the King’s mourning time.
The old Bangkok tour
During those couple days, we decided to visit the old Bangkok. It was a very classical tour: Grand Palace, a couple of Wats, the Emerald Buddha, Chinatown, river tour, etc. For this part, you can check a bit the picture gallery. I had a very good time, as Thai architecture is amazing and their culture extremely vivid. Just make sure to check opening hours and dress code. They are extremely specific about that. And don’t buy tickets from anyone. Basically, don’t listen to anyone friendly around the major tourist spots. Oh and cats. Cats everywhere.
Chatuchak weekend market
This market really surprised me by its size. I wasn’t expecting it to be so gigantic and one can truly spend the day there if wanted. You can find almost everything you need and much more: souvenirs, clothes, massage, food, etc. Special mention to the cotton ball lamps that are sold at 10% of the Parisian price. Be sure to bargain everything and visit as many shops as you want before purchasing anything. I’m not good at bargaining so I’m pretty sure I got ripped off, but you can do better than me.
Getting around in Bangkok
For people who know me, I often rant about Taiwanese driving style. Then I realized it’s actually perfect compared to Thai standards. People have no regard for basic rules and human life in general. And being stuck in traffic for an hour isn’t uncommon. Here are a couple of advice for Bangkok:
- Tuk Tuk: great for short distance trip. Be sure to bargain as they will try to rip you off.
- MRT: clean, fast, relatively inexpensive. Extremely convenient but can be crowded. Reminded me a lot of Taipei own MRT.
- BTS: I did not take it, but for tourists it sounds like a great occasion to look around, since the lines are above the streets. Fun fact: it’s not the same system as the MRT, so if you buy a pass with the BTS, it won’t work with MRT.
- Metered taxi: haven’t tried them
- Uber: if you have Internet (and I strongly suggest you get it), you can use Uber to roam around. It’s cheap, safe, and convenient. Use it as much as possible. Pretty useful if you need to go to the airport.
- Boat: you can use public transportation to navigate on the river, it’s super cheap but expect craziness as the boats are crowded and the queuing process is nothing short but messy. Must do, especially if you visit the old Bangkok.