After seeing many of images of beautiful temples and unique structures, we knew we wanted to go to Bangkok, Thailand. We took out a piece of paper and listed the places we wanted to visit while we stayed in Thailand. We grouped the places by proximity and decided how long we’d need to visit all the places we wanted to visit. Everything else we just sorta figured out along the way.
-The Earlier the Better
Same with any other big trip you’re planning for, you should buy your plane tickets way ahead of time. We bought our tickets about 7 months prior to the actual flight. Doing so allowed us to have a bit more of a guarantee that Sky and I would be able to sit next to each other. Plus, Bangkok has become a pretty touristy area. You will definitely have a hard time trying to find last minute flights to Bangkok. Make sure to plan ahead.
-Which Airline to fly with
This can make your flight a very good experience or a very bad experience. We were flying from the Narita Airport in Japan to the Don Muang International Airport in Thailand and there were many Low-Fare Airlines in Asia; knowing which one was the best was hard to tell (we’ve flown with Scoot and AirAsia so far). All Low-Fare Airline tickets will allow you to take a carry on bag with nothing else, so if you have any large baggages, you will need to buy a special checked bag package with your ticket. Some airlines have better package deals than others. Unfortunately for us, we flew with Scoot. The 5 hour flight from Japan to Thailand was painful in that our package didn’t come with a meal plan, and their itinerary told us that we couldn’t bring any food onto the plane. The seats were alright except for the arm rest, which buttons for the light and to call the flight attendant were installed into it. So, whenever I’d try to rest my elbow on the arm rest, the light above me would pop on. In the end it’s just going to have to be based on which airline has the best ticket package as well as which airline schedule best fits your trip.
Just so you know, if you want some food during your flight, get a package with AirAsia.
How to get Around:
-Pictures of Words and Places
Although most countries have representatives that speak English very well almost anywhere you go (especially the airport), Thailand isn’t one of those countries. We had a hard time finding anyone who can actually communicate with us. Even the man who was trying to get us to rent a SIM card was having a hard time trying to get anything through to us. We found that simply taking screenshots of places or addresses or even words made communicating with people much easier and less stressful.
When we first arrived in the Don Muang Airport, we figured we’d need to get a taxi to get where we were staying. The first place we saw that advertised taxis were offering to get us to where we were staying at for 980 Baht (almost $30 US). We thought that was kinda expensive for what we were looking for. We soon found the location of the normal taxi service which was at gate 8. These taxis charge by the meter instead of a set price, which is actually way cheaper. If it weren’t for the taxi meter service in Bangkok, we’d be broke or probably still at the Don Muang Airport wondering what we should do. Seriously, the taxis in Bangkok are numerous, cheap, and reliable. The cars come in all different colors from green, pink, yellow; we tended to stick to waving down cars that had both green and yellow colors.
Something to note, the taxi drivers are not always honest and will tell you how much it is to get to a place. THAT’S NOT USING THE TAXI METER!! Before you get into any taxi, always ask, “do you use taxi meter?” or “do you use meter?” and point to the little box sitting on the car dashboard. Make sure they say yes or nod. Then we’d show a picture of the place we wanted to go or a screenshot of the name of the place in Thai. It was simple and got us around quickly and cheaply.
Pocket Wifi and SIM Cards:
Both devices were available for rent, but we didn’t get either. We felt that we didn’t need it and didn’t want to bother trying to figure how to return the items, but you can rent them from little places all around the airport. The AirBnB we stayed at had wifi, so we’d just plan where we wanted to visit the next day then just take a taxi to get around. Since we had our AirBnB home address as well as some instructions on how to get there for the taxi driver, we never got lost. In case you’re worried about whether or not there will be a taxi in your vicinity, trust me when I say that 50 percent of the cars on the road are taxi cars. Don’t worry!
Place to Stay:
There are a lot of hotels as well as homestays in Bangkok, Thailand; both have their pros and cons. Hotels are nice and have convenient things such as tour booking and shuttle bus pick-ups and such. The draw back is that they’re expensive. If you’re like me, a poor college student, then you’d probably avoid hotels; plus we’re out on the streets most of the day, so, why would you need nice appliances and stuff? We chose to stay at an AirBnB. The room had everything we needed; it had air conditioning, a large space, a nice bathroom, and street food nearby. The apartment maid was also super nice!
Stuff to Bring:
It’s hot and humid in Thailand. You’re going to sweat A LOT, so drink and bring lots of water. Don’t ever drink from the tap. The water is dirty and could make you very sick. So, if you don’t have a water bottle, go buy one from a Seven-Eleven. They’re everywhere.
During rainy season, there is a lot of spotty rain. Rain just comes and goes and having a small umbrella is pretty nice during those times.
If you’re a foreigner like me, you’re going to want to bring some Pepto-Bismol or some kind of anti-diarrheal medication, because your body is most likely not going to be used to the foods in Thailand. If you’re going to any foreign country, bring medication.
Street Food and Street Shopping:
Instead of eating at a nice restaurant, you should really try the local foods. The best place to get it is on the street and street vendors are everywhere in Thailand. Thailand is famous for their stir-fry dishes, but expand and experiment. You might find something you like!
If you go to Khaosan road, or anywhere there’s a shop, you’re bound to find something that you like/want. When that happens, make sure to use your bartering skills. Compare the different shops before you buy anything and don’t forget to barter and you may be able to get as much as 30-40% off of the original price of the item.
Places we Visited:
Our trip to Bangkok, Thailand and how we did it.Note: Every temple or palace is bound to have an entrance fee, so be ready for that. Also, there is a clothing code on temple grounds that discourages any revealing clothing. They won’t necessarily kick you off the premises, but it’s more respectful.