Reading and watching videos about Bangkok has opened up my eyes, and it appears to be one of the most intimidating places that I am going to be visiting on my round the world trip. Cities have always being my favourite places to visit because I love the atmosphere, smells, hustle and bustle. The city has a reputation for being the world’s sex capital, a haven for scammers, and somewhere you will either love or hate.
Here is a list of Bangkok travel tips that are worth knowing before you arrive.
Pointing with your feet
Thais consider feet to be dirty, so it’s offensive to point them; you might be thinking “why would I point with my feet?” but when you’re at a market (especially the floating markets) a lot of the produce will be on floor level, so, you might be tempted to point with your feet. Also, do not point your feet at Buddha statues.
As I mentioned, Bangkok has a reputation for being a haven for scammers, and I’ve done quite a bit of research on this topic. Popular scams include fake police officers handing out fines, tuk tuk drivers informing you that the temple is closed, and the typical taxi scams where you’re over charged. It’s worth doing some research to find the more popular travel scams when travelling to new destinations.
In many countries the banks add on a hefty ATM fee – in Thailand: banks charge foreign card users 180BHT per transaction, that’s nearly £3.50! After a bit of research it appears if you use a Citibank ATM, then you ‘might’ get away with paying the fees. I’ve read mixed reports, it appears to depend on the location of your bank, but I will give it a try while in Bangkok and report back my findings.
Be prepared to barter at markets
In England market traders would be offended if you tried to barter with them, but in Bangkok they expect it, so barter hard with the traders and be prepared to walk away. Remember that they inflate their prices quite a bit for tourists, so go in low, and only purchase if it is a price you’re happy with.
Carrying your passport with you at all times
The Foreign, Commonwealth Office (FCO) website offers the latest Thailand travel advice, and they advise that you must carry your passport with you at all times. If you don’t and a police officer asks you for your passport, you could be arrested. Rather than run the risk of losing my passport, I’m going to carry a photocopy with me, and if they need to see the original, it’ll be at the hotel.
Eat at busy street food stalls
The street food in Thailand looks so mouth watering (and cheap), but you do open yourself up to potential stomach upsets and food poisoning, so the advice I’ve read is that you should only purchase food at busy street food vendors, because if the locals and other tourists are queuing there, it’ll have a good reputation.
In February, I am going to be spending the month travelling around Thailand, with a week in Bangkok, so I will update this post with anything that I find out on my travels. You can also subscribe to the Explorelist YouTube channel where I will be uploading daily videos of my journey round the world.