A fascinating city where old meets new
Bangkok is a bustling city filled with modern skyscrapers and brimming with shopping and entertainment venues. However, there is another side to the city which takes a little exploring to find; where ancient temples, traditional Thai architecture and a slower pace of life show a glimpse of the old Bangkok.
When to go and how to prepare
Bangkok is hot more or less all year round and the monsoon season is from June to November, when there is a little relief from the heat, but there is heavy rainfall. Bangkok knows how to celebrate, there are festivals throughout the year including Wan Trut Chin, the 1st day of Chinese New Year (in February, dates vary). The traditional Thai New Year celebration is called Songkran and runs between April 13th and 15th, it is basically a giant water fight all day long. In November, the Loi Krathong Festival of Light brings a little calm to the festivities, with lanterns being released into the sky and decorations being floated on water, dates vary according to the full moon.
What you need to know before you travel
British Passport holders don't need a visa for stays of up to 30 days, passports must be valid for at least 6 months from date of entry (but please always check entry requirements with the Thai Embassy in due time before travelling). Recommended vaccines include Hepatitis A, Typhus, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Rabies and a Malaria prophylaxis, ask your GP for advice.
Thailand is known as The Land of Smiles, so always smile. It is considered rude to show negative emotions including anger in Thailand. The price of food is much lower and the cost of living is generally lower than in the UK. Bangkok time is GMT +7 hours, clocks are not changed to summertime in Thailand.
Getting around and staying in Bangkok
The Airport Rail Link stops regularly at the airport with direct access to the terminal. Tickets from BKK airport to central Bangkok on the Airport Link Express (direct train) cost about 100 THB, then change lines or take a taxi. The Airport Link City Line (with stops) takes longer and is slightly cheaper.
Accommodation is available from around 360 THB upwards. Popular areas for hotels are the Sukhumvit Road Area, Chinatown and the Khao San Road Area. Public buses are cheap, but are not easy to use, the metro is cheap and signs are all in English. Taxis are popular, fast and also cheap, however Tuk-Tuk's, while fun, are tourist traps and expensive.