Travel Tips for Bangkok

Arriving in Bangkok

When you arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport and need to arrange the transport to your accomodation on your own, head on to the public taxis. These are located at the ground floor. Ignore anybody offering you transport on your way – they are offering you limousine service (in a nice new car, but ridiculously overpriced).
At the ground floor follow the signs “Public taxi” and tell the Ladies at the counter the name and adress of your hotel.
Usually the big hotels are well known among the taxi drivers. If you are not sure note the telephone number of your hotel/guesthouse and hand it to the ladies or the driver.
A ride downtown or to Khao San Area should coust you around 400 THB (400 THB in EUR) plus 50 THB for the Airport Charge and eventually Highway Toll (70 THB).
If you arrive in the middle of the night or on a sunday morning there should be no need to use the highway.

Complaints about taxi drivers

If the driver tries to overcharge you (there are highspeed meters around), don’t accept the fare – I’ve heard from people that they payed 1000 THB for a ride from the Airport to Silom, which shouldn’t be more than 500 THB.
If that happens to you, tell him that you will call the tourist police.
At the counter at the airport you got a receipt that works also as a complaint form.

If you had any problems with your driver, you should invest the 3 THB and send the complaint form to the Public Transportation Center Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Saving money

Saving money on transport

Tuk Tuk in Bangkok

First rule for saving money for transport in Bangkok is:

Do not use TukTuks
You may be surprised, but a Tuk Tuk will – in 99% of all cases – cost you more than a metered (and by the way airconditioned) taxi.
The only case where a Tuk Tuk is cheaper than a car is if the distance is very short and you can bargain a price below 35 THB, as this is where the metered taxis start.
As a forreigner you usually have no chance to bargain such a low price without ending up in a tailor or a jewellery shop where the driver gets comission and petrol vouchers for bringing customers in.

A lot of Tuk Tuk drivers offer city and temple tours for 20 THB per person or even 20 THB per ride. Be aware that there is a 100% guarantee that you will end up at a tailor or souvenir shop and that you will be taken to temples where you have to pay for the entrance.
Anyway, if you have time and do not mind the one or two stops on the way and can resist buying anything there, you may enjoy it. I’ve heard from people who did.

Second rule for saving money on transport is:

Do not use taxis that do not switch the meter on
If the taxi asks you for a fixed price instead of switching the meter on, do not accept it.
The fare will be always higher as the metered one.
Sometimes and at some places it may be a little hard to find a taxi that uses the meter but it is always possible.
Some sites (for example the MBK Shopping Center) also have their own taxi desk where you wait in line for a taxi and the staff will tell the driver your destination and ensure that the meter is switched on.

Also be warned from the drivers hanging around for example in Khao San Road looking for customers. Instead, walk a few meters and catch a taxi driving on the road.

Express Boat Chao Praya River

Whenever possible, use the express boats
Bangkok is full of traffic and a ride from Silom to Khao San can take you anything from 20 minutes to 2 hours.
So whenever possible, use the express boats on the Chao Praya River. The boats are fast and the fare is cheap (5-15 THB per ride).
You buy the ticket on a counter on the pier or directly on the boat.

Saving money on accomodation

How to save money on accomodation depends on you budget.

1) Budget Traveller
Search hostels through hostelbookers. Unless you are travelling in the peak season (Christmas and New Year) do not book to many days in a row. Once you arrived you may find a lot better and maybe cheaper oppurtunities nearby, so stay flexible. Book one or two days and see if you like the place or if you have better options. If you like it you could even bargain for a discount on the internet price if you stay for a few days. As you are booking directly with the guesthouse, they save the comission for the booking website, wether it is hostelbookers or any other.
If they only offer you a price higher than the internet rate (becaus the so called *walk in rate* is usually higher), see the next internet cafe and book it online.

Choose the right room type:
Usually the cheapest options are dorm rooms or private rooms with shared bathroom. You can still find a room in Khao San Area from around 150 THB. Of course this room won’t have an aircondition or any other amenities except for a fan.

Starting from around 700-800 THB you can find an acceptable room with private bathroom, TV and Aircondition. Depending on your bargaining skills and on the season, you may get it even cheaper.

Some examples:

In Khao San and Rambuttri Road you find for example:
- Mango Lagoon Place (right behind the temple, very quiet rooms and nice garden, Double Room starting from 750 THB, rooms have aircondition + tv+ private bathroom – no fridge, highly recommended)
- Rambuttri Village (hundreds of rooms, pool on the roof, no breakfast, Singe Room from 600 THB, Double Room starting from 780 THB)

A few hundred meters away on Samson Road you can find

- Phiman Water View Guesthouse
- Khaosan Baan Thai (FAN Rooms from 290-420 THB, AC from 590 THB, Breakfast included, FREE WiFi, shared Bathrooms)
- Sivarin Guesthouse
- Pen Park Place Guesthouse

2) Midrange and upper class

Search your hotel through HRS. They have mostly the best price and nearly always the best booking conditions. If you booked an few weeks or month in advance, monitor the price of your hotel a few days before you arrive. If the hotel gets cheaper, make a new booking with the cheaper price and cancel the old one.

Most 4* and 5* Hotels are located in Silom and Sukhumvit. Those located in Silom mostly offer a shuttle service to the boat station.

Free WiFi in Bangkok

For free wireless internet in Bangkok, mostly around Khao San see: Free WiFi in Bangkok

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