Tips for Visiting Bangkok

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In 2016, Bangkok was once again the most visited city in the world. It has a lot to offer, and it can be daunting to decide how to spend your time here - checkout Things to do in Bangkok. Below are some basic tips to help you get on your way.

Scams to Watch Out For

  • Grand Palace Scam- On the grounds of the Grand Palace, scammers will approach you and inform you that the Grand Palace is closed until 3PM for a variety of reasons. The scammer will then suggest a few other landmarks to visit until that time, and offer to transport you on their tuk tuk for a fee, taking you to a number of jewelry shops along the way. The scammers may pressure you to purchase items as they receive a commission.
  • Taxis- Before entering a taxi, be sure to check with the driver that the meter is turned on. Otherwise, bargain and agree on a price for your journey before stepping in.
  • Tuk Tuks-Since tuk tuks do not run on meter, settle on a price for your journey before boarding. Also state with the driver to go directly to your destination. Tuk Tuks are known to take tourists a number of shops before reaching the final destination.
  • Ping Pong Show- Many tourists in Bangkok have had the experience of witnessing a ping pong show with the promise of inexpensive drinks and free covers, but at the end of the experience was presented with an expensive bill and hefty cover charge. Promoters frequent the busy streets of Bangkok at night with drink menus, shouting low prices, with the ultimate goal of attracting as many tourists to their venue as possible. Before stepping foot in the establishment, be sure to double check the menu for drink prices as well as a formal list of cover charges so there will be no surprises at the end of the night.
  • Thai Gem Scam- A jewelry shop owner will attempt to sell you a variety of gems, claiming they are easily sourced and abundant in Thailand, hence the low price. According to them, these gems, which are plastic most of the time, are rare everywhere else in the world,so you will be able to transport them to your home country and sell them at a substantially higher price.

Checkout for more information on scams in Bangkok.

Simple Tips

  • Use BTS/MRT for places near the lines. Use taxis otherwise. Taxis are quite cheap and typically run under $3 for a 20 minute cab ride.
  • Avoid taxis during rush hour.
  • Tipping - Normally in Thai culture you don't tip but you leave small change leftover after paying (optional). However, in malls and western-style restaurants in Bangkok you'll often find a 10% service charge automatically added to the bill (plus a 7% VAT).
  • Mondays in Bangkok are reserved for street cleaning, and therefore the majority of roadside food stalls will be closed.
  • Any item at the markets without a price tag is up for bargaining, and prices can be reduced between 25-50% of the asking price. Approach the vendor with a sense of humor and lightheartedness.

Useful Phrases

Below are some helpful phrases that will help you navigate Bangkok a little easier. In Thai, suffixes are gender dependent. Males will use "krab" while females will use "ka."

  • Hello (สวัสดี) = Sawadee Krab (Male)/ Sawadee Ka (Female)
  • Thank you (ขอบคุณ) = Khob Khun Krab (Male)/ Khob Khun Ka (Female)
  • What is your name? (คุณชื่ออะไร) = Kun Cheu A-Rai?
  • How are you? (สบายดีไหม) = Sabai Dee Mai?
  • Don't want (ไม่เอา) = Mai Ow. This one is especially useful for the touters on the streets.
  • How much? (เท่าไร) = Tao Rai Krab?/ Tao Rai Ka?