Bangkok is a familiar name worldwide. However, not many people know a lot about the interesting things Bangkok can offer, including stunning architecture and amazing nightlife. If you’re thinking of booking a trip but have wondered things like what to do in Bangkok or where to stay in Bangkok, then you’re in the right place. Read through this beginner’s guide to Bangkok to have all of your questions answered.
Bangkok guide and facts
Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand, and has a population of over 10 million. It’s a bustling city with an interesting mix of cultures, both local and international. It’s been a tourist hotspot for years, and this has obviously impacted what there is to do in Bangkok.
Importantly for many travellers, English is spoken in the city, although it’s mainly a second language of the elite classes. However, due to the influence of tourism, many hotel workers and tour guides have good English speaking abilities.
The city benefits from a tropical climate, meaning it’s always warm, but not always sunny. Monsoon season runs from May to September, during which time it’s very hot and humid.
The dry season runs from November to March, during which time it’s slightly less hot and humid. However, the climate is always warm and the humidity may surprise some travellers. It shouldn’t be enough to put you off though; just make sure you bring the right clothes.
What time is it in Bangkok?
The time in Bangkok is always 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, which is also UK time. However, Bangkok remains 7 hours ahead during British Summer Time, during which the clocks go forward an hour.
In short, this means that during the British summer, the time in Bangkok is technically 6 hours ahead. For example, if the time is 12 noon in the UK, then the time in Bangkok is 6pm on the same day.
This is important to know when it comes to travelling, as you might experience a small amount of jetlag as you become used to the time change. This should only affect you for a day or so, and it’s easy to overcome if you book the right flight times.
Flights to Bangkok
Flights to Bangkok from the UK are never direct, and will involve at least one transfer as part of the journey. Flight times start at around 13 hours, but may be more depending on transfer and wait times.
The Cheapest Flights for this Month from London to Bangkok
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Bangkok airport transfers are fairly easy to organise. If you’re booking a package holiday, most will include an option for airport transfers. If not, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to book one through a local Bangkok airport transfers company.
There are also public transport options for Bangkok airport transfers, but a local taxi company offers the easiest and fastest way to reach your hotel. What’s more, they’re not very expensive either.
Where to stay in Bangkok
If you’re thinking about where to stay in Bangkok, then you’ll be spoilt for choice. There are hotels to match any kind of budget, from luxury all-inclusive resorts to hostels designed for backpackers.
Some of the best hotels in the city include the Millennium Hilton Bangkok and the Rembrandt Hotel. Although both are considered to be fairly high-end hotels, you’d be surprised at the room prices. Bangkok benefits from fairly inexpensive living costs, which are reflected in hotel prices.
Hotels Bangkok: 5 stars
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Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok
Alternatively, if you’re thinking where to stay in Bangkok that won’t break the bank, you still have plenty of hotels to choose from. Many are catered towards backpackers or travelling tourists, and so offer everything you need for this kind of stay.
Basically, there’s no shortage of places to stay in Bangkok, which is another benefit of it being quite a tourist-centred city. Just make sure you do some research before choosing a hotel to ensure you’ve found one that matches your needs.
For example, if you plan on doing lots of sightseeing, then you’d benefit from a hotel in central Bangkok. However, if you’re using it as a base to explore the surrounding area, a hotel on the outskirts of the city might be better.
What to do in Bangkok
Obviously, if you’re planning a trip to Bangkok then you’ll be wondering what there is to do in the city. You’ll be unsurprised to know that there’s a wide range of activities suitable for all kinds of holidays. Here’s a list of some of the best to inspire you.
Visit Wat Pho
Wat Pho is a Thai temple that’s home to the famous reclining Buddha. If you’ve seen pictures of the statue then you’ll already know something about it, although pictures can’t do it justice.
The statue is 15m tall and 46m long; the feet alone are 5m! If that’s not enough, the rest of the temple is a beautiful sight in itself and a perfect representation of the stunning architecture that makes Bangkok famous.
We guide you how to travel by sky train in Bangkok
It’s not often that public transport makes a list like this. However, if you’re wondering what to do in Bangkok, then riding the sky train is an experience in itself. The track sits above the roads, so you’ve always got an amazing view of everything around you.
Although it’s not the only way to travel around the city, it’s definitely one of the most stylish. The carriages are air conditioned, offering a welcome break from the humidity of the city. You don’t need any guide to do this activity in Bangkok
Visit Chatuchak Market
Visiting a local market is always a great way to get a handle on an area’s culture. It’s fair to say that Chatuchak Market is no exception. It has around 8000 stalls spread over 27 acres, and is not only the largest market in Thailand, but one of the largest in the world.
You’ll find everything from food to jewellery to home décor, and it’s all really affordable too. What’s more, it’s not that touristy, so be prepared to spend hours here immersing yourself in the local culture.
Spend a night on the town
There’s no way you could write a list of what to do in Bangkok and not include its incredible nightlife. That said, this is something you should experience on your own terms.
If you’re looking for a fairly easy experience, there are plenty of hotel bars that attract tourists and business people. However, taking a few steps off the beaten track will land you in some of the most interesting bars and clubs you’ve ever experienced.
Spend a day at the Grand Palace
Another way to gauge the culture of a city is to visit the homes of its ruling classes. The Grand Palace in Bangkok is one of the most famous landmarks, and for good reason.
It covers over 214,000 square metres, so be prepared to spend the day here. Also, bring a pair of sunglasses because all of the gold can be blinding in the sun! Please be aware of potential scammers hanging around the Palace’s gates; only buy tickets inside the venue or take a guided tour.
Enjoy a Thai massage
How could you travel to Thailand and not have a massage? It’s fair to say that no one does them as good as the people of Bangkok, and you’ll be in need of one after all the sightseeing.
Some larger hotels will have their own massage parlours, but if not they’ll be able to suggest a reputable one nearby.
Visit Lumpini Park
If you’re wondering what to do in Bangkok that doesn’t cost loads of money, you could do a lot worse than visiting Lumpini Park. Spread over 500,000 square metres in the middle of the city, it offers a welcome break from the business.
It’s a fairly common sight to see locals doing Thai Chi in the park. Why not grab yourself some food from a local shop and spend the day relaxing by the lake?
Drink above the city
If you’re looking for a bar with a difference, look no further than the Vertigo and Moon bar in Bangkok. You’ll find it on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree hotel, and being so high gives it amazing views over the city.
What’s more, the whole bar is outdoors, so it’s a great way to enjoy a cool evening with a nice breeze. However, you might want to steer clear if you don’t get on with heights!
Sample some street food
No trip to Bangkok would be complete without sampling some of the amazing street food on offer. Street food has always been popular in Thailand, but now more than ever.
There’s no real way to tackle street food; simply walk along the street and take your pick. However, you should be able to find some good food tours if you want a bit more direction. Your guide will show you the best street food parlours in Bangkok.
Travelling to Bangkok is an amazing experience because the city has so much to offer. Its status as a tourist hotspot means that flights to Bangkok are easy enough to book, and there isn’t a shortage of places to stay.
Just make sure you do your research our Bangkok guide before travelling in order to get the most out of this amazing city.