Bangkok Travel Tips: 13 Things to Know Before You Go
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Bangkok Travel Tips: 13 Things to Know Before You Go


– 13 things to know before
you go to Bangkok in Thailand. I’m Chris, this is Topher. This is Yellow Productions. We do travel guides that are
fun, informative, entertaining. This is part of our series on Bangkok. In this video we’re gonna be telling you everything you need to know if you’re planning a trip to this city, Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. First we’ll start with some
general information about it. Number one, Bangkok,
capital city of Thailand, has 11 million residents. It is also the world’s most
visited city for tourists with 20 million tourists that
visit Bangkok every year. It is also known colloquially
as The Big Mango, kind of like New York
City is The Big Apple. And we’ll get to weather, but I’m gonna tell you this right now. It is really hot in Bangkok. So you just need to know that, and that will temper
pretty much everything throughout this video. So if you see a few beads of
sweat on my face, that is why, and you might be seeing me
wipe throughout this video every once in a while. I am not making this up. It is really that hot. Each one of these bits during this video, I’ll do in a different part of Bangkok, so you get to see Bangkok
as you learn about it. And first I’m here at the Royal
Palace, which I mentioned. But speaking of Bangkok, I
gave you the English nickname, The Big Mango. In Thai, it’s called Krung Thep, which means the City of Angels. Actually, the official
name is much longer. I’ll put it here on the screen because I’m not even gonna try to say it, but Bangkok actually has the longest name of any city in the world. Bangkok has 50 districts
and is basically organized around streets, canals, and alleys. The alleys are called sois, S-O-I, so you might see an address of something with a major street name, and then Soi 37, which tells you which
alley that it’s off of. The other defining feature in Bangkok is the main river that
runs throughout the city, and the big tourist attractions, they are right off the river, including the royal Grand Palace. The second thing to know
before you to go to Bangkok is about the weather. I mean, really the only
thing you need to know about the weather in Bangkok is it is hot. It is hot and humid. It is very hot and humid. Did I mention it’s hot and humid? Bangkok takes the cake as the
hottest city in the world, not because of the daytime highs, but because the nighttime
lows don’t cool down either. Most of the year round, the
highs are in the 30 Celsius, 86 Fahrenheit, even higher today, it’s 34 degrees Celsius,
90-some Fahrenheit. It is November 5th. By the way, Bangkok
really has two seasons. There’s the rainy season,
which is like April to October, and then there’s the dry season, which is November onwards
to February, March, April. It’s generally coolest
around that time too in the dry season, and
it’s coolest because the nighttime lows cool
down to be really cool, 21 Celsius, 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, that is as cool as
it ever gets in Bangkok. And so when you’re coming
around, if you’re like me, you will want to bring a towel, because it’s so hot and humid, you’ll want to wipe off
that sweat occasionally. I generally just bring
this out from the hotel, and I deposit it back, and
I get a new one every day. So take my tip. Bring a hand towel with you. The third thing to know
before you come to Bangkok is about getting into Bangkok. Chances are you’ll be flying into Bangkok. Bangkok has two major airports, BKK airport and DMK airport. BKK airport, that’s the
main international airport where most of the big
international carriers fly into. Chances are you’ll be
flying into that airport unless you’re coming in
on a discount carrier, which you might be flying into DMK. From BKK airport, there
is an airport train that you can take in that’ll
connect you to the BTS, which is the sky train. What we did, we took a taxi into the city. Taxis from the airport will
run you about 300 to 400 Baht, and the drive time can
be somewhere between 35 minutes to two hours
into central Bangkok, because the traffic can be really bad. If you’re connecting
between the two airports, well probably don’t, but if you were, then you’re coming internationally and you’re connecting domestically, allow for at least two
hours of travel time between the two airports. There’s like some shuttle buses that you can take between the two, but there’s no other rail
link between the two airports. The next thing you need to
know before you come to Bangkok is about getting around Bangkok. And if you haven’t heard,
Bangkok has some of the worst traffic of
any city in the world. And so you’ll want to pick
ways to get around Bangkok that don’t leave you sitting in that. This traffic is Sunday at five p.m., so you can imagine rush
hour, eight a.m. weekday is way worse than that. So you’ll be best off on
what’s called the BTS. It’s the sky train. The MRT, it’s the subway
that goes underground. Those are two great options. One of the most interesting
ways of getting around, and a lot of the guidebooks will tell you, is by boat along the river. And boat along the river
will cut down on the traffic because as you can see,
there’s a lot of boats, but it’s not bumper-to-bumper. But it’s bumpy, wow. So if you don’t like getting seasick, don’t do this for very long. Maybe just once and across
one stop to experience it. Do prepared to wait a
long time for the boats. The timetable, really time in Thailand, it’s sort of, it’s approximate what time those boats come. Taxis in the city, they’re really cheap. They’re really, like a 20-minute taxi ride will cost 100 Baht. I mean, it’s really inexpensive. But they’ll try to scam you. I’ve got a whole video about scams which you’ll learn more about
how to avoid taxi scams. You can find that link
in the description below. The word you’ll hear
through in Bangkok the most is probably tuk tuk. The tuk tuk, they’re these little things. Well, this one’s like a tuk tuk limousine. But the ones you see on
the street, they’re little. They have a driver, and they have basically a bench on the back. Tuk tuks are all fixed price. There’s no meter in them. They’ll cost you approximately three to four times what a taxi will. They’re not cheap. They don’t have doors. They do have a roof,
which actually makes it kind of hard to see from. But if you want the
quintessential Bangkok experience, definitely take a tuk tuk. Just not the one I’m driving. But the most interesting
way to get around Bangkok is motorcycle taxi. I’ve never seen this anywhere before. I’m sure it exists some places, but not cities I’ve been to, where these motorcycles will
let you sit on the back, and that way you can zip through traffic. They go between the lanes
and things like that. Sometimes they’ll offer you a helmet. You can hail them on the side of the road. You’ll see them in orange vests. Or if you have the Grab app, by the way, Uber doesn’t operate here. It’s been sold to Grab. Grab, you can get taxis,
nice cars, or motorbikes, and you say, “Hey, I’m here.” The motorbike comes, picks
you up, puts a helmet on, and you whiz through the
city, skipping the traffic. And you get a free massive heart attack to go along with that ride. As you are getting around Bangkok, no doubt you’ll be doing a lot of walking, and usually I say walking
is a really great way to get around cities. But because it’s so hot
and humid in Bangkok, you’ll want to try to get
around ways other than walking. Cause you just can’t walk as far here because of the humidity. And I will mention that the sidewalks aren’t really laid out all that well. What I mean by laid out is
like the height is different, there’s manholes, there’s potholes, and so you have to be really
careful where you’re walking so that you don’t end
up twisting an ankle. The next thing to know
before you come to Bangkok is about the money. In Bangkok, the currency is
the Thai Baht, spelled B-A-H-T. Sometimes you’ll see it
misspelled as B-A-T-H, as bath, but it’s Baht, and it
comes in coins and bills. The coins are one, two,
five, and 10 Baht coins, and then the bills are
20, 50, 100, and 1,000. At about the time I did this video, it was about 30 Baht to one U.S. dollar. That was about the conversion. You should really have cash
with you throughout the city because many of the street
vendors and the small vendors do not take credit cards. The high-end places, the
high-end restaurants do, but a lot of times you’ll find a minimum purchase
required for credit cards or sometimes an exorbitant
credit card surcharge. We ate at one restaurant that said the credit card surcharge was 10%. That’s pretty crazy. So where are you gonna get your Baht? Well, there are tons of
currency exchange places throughout the city, but I would recommend you get it from an ATM. Get it from an ATM, but
make sure when you do that, you do not select dynamic
currency conversion. If you get asked that question, say no. More information about
that I’ve got in my video about tourist scams in Bangkok. Basically they’re gonna
charge you a lot of money and give you less if
you select that option. The sixth thing to know
before you go to Bangkok is about what to wear. And did I mention it is so
crushingly hot in Bangkok and do I look like I’m melting? Well that’s because I am. And so you’ll want to wear clothes that are cool and dry quickly. Things like rayon, things
that are quick-drying fabrics and that don’t sop up a lot of sweat. If you are wearing cotton, and
I’ve got a cotton t-shirt on, make sure it’s a very, very thin one. Whatever you do, don’t wear jeans. You know, you may see some
Thai people wearing jeans, but they are used to this
heat over their whole life. You or I would likely
spontaneously combust wearing jeans in Thailand. Though a little bit of
a challenge, you know, if you’re a guy, you’ll wanna wear shorts. If you’re a girl, you’ll
wanna wear a short skirt, because it’s so hot. But if you’re going to temples, you go into fancy restaurants, they often have strict dress codes. Related to footwear, when
you’re walking around Bangkok, ladies, don’t wear high heels. These sidewalks, as I mentioned
earlier, are not that great. You’ll want some really sturdy footwear so you don’t twist an ankle. Athletic shoes, I think sneakers, are probably your best
bet coming to Thailand. And you’ll want socks, because
if you’re going to temples, you’ll have to take off your shoes and won’t want your feet
on that hot pavement. The seventh thing to know
before you come to Bangkok is about the language. The language spoken in Bangkok, same as spoken in Thailand,
it is the Thai language. In Bangkok, though, you’ll find quite a number of English-speakers. So if English is your only language, you’ll be able to get around
fairly decently in Bangkok. Signs for the public transportation
is in English and Thai. In the major department stores, in the higher end to
medium end restaurants, you’ll find English and Thai. Where you might have a
little bit of trouble is in some of the street food places. They might not have a lot of English, but you can always use
the point to order method. Just point at what you want,
maybe say one or this one. Most Thai people understand
basic English words. But if you’re taking a taxi,
I’d highly encourage you to have your destination
written out in Thai. Most hotels will give you a card that’ll have Thai address for the hotel. If you’re going someplace
like the Royal Palace, you could have the hotel
write that out for you in Thai so that you can show it to a taxi driver, because the taxi drivers here
don’t speak a lot of English. Or maybe none for the most part. The eighth thing to know before you come to
Bangkok is about shopping. And the first thing you
should know about shopping is there’s the local price
versus the tourist price. Haggling and bargaining is
completely alive in Bangkok, particularly if you’re at outdoor markets. Outdoor markets, they pretty much expect to be bargained with. And so if you’re a tourist, chances are the price that you get quoted is going to be two to three times more than the local price. So if it seems really expensive, you can just ask them, “Hey,
can you give me a discount? “Can you make it cheaper?” In places where no price is listed, they will not be offended by that. If you’re looking for an outdoor market, definitely check out the
Chatuchak weekend market, Saturdays and Sundays. It is the largest market
is southeast Asia. I have a whole video just
focused on that market. But there’s all sorts of other markets. There’s food markets, university
markets, flower markets, I mean, you can do a lot
of shopping in Bangkok. If you want high-end shopping, well definitely check
out the shopping malls. There are some very high-end
shopping malls in Bangkok. Some of my favorites are Terminal 21, Central Embassy, Siam
Central, Siam Discovery, Siam Paragon, there’s a
whole bunch of these malls that are all on Sukhumvit road, and very easily accessible
by the BTS sky train. What I like, the shopping malls, they are one, air conditioned, and two, they have
really great food courts. So if you want to know
more about the food courts in some of these shopping malls that you can have really good Thai food in some air conditioned spaces, well, check out my link
in the description below to the best food courts in Bangkok. And if you wanna go to kind
of a local shopping center and experience a shopping
center that locals would go to, a good one to check out in central Bangkok is called MBK, MBK. Or if you’re by Chatuchak market, you can check out the JJ Mall. Those are two very local
Bangkok shopping malls. And they look very different from a typical western shopping mall. The ninth thing to know before you go to Bangkok is about food. Food pretty much runs this city, and in particular, street food. Pretty much anywhere
you go, just like here, you will find food lining the
streets and the sidewalks. You know, in many cities,
sidewalks are places for people to walk and have
more pedestrian traffic. Here, sidewalks are places to set up for more food vendors,
and I’ll say, you know, if you’re feeling a little bit squeamish or not sure about the street food, well I’ll say, you know, eat at the ones that might look a little cleaner, might look a little more
prepared, be more busy. If you find cats walking on the produce, well, maybe you want to skip that one. If you wanna eat things that are inside in air conditioning, well
I’ve got a whole video about eating in air
conditioned food courts. You’ll find a link in the
description below to that. One of the Thai dishes that
you’re sure to know is Pad Thai. Pad Thai, is the famous
Thai dish around the world. The Pad Thai actually isn’t
quite as popular in Thailand as it is outside the world. It is often served as an appetizer, though you will find some places that specialize in Pad Thai. If you want Pad Thai, check those out. Speaking of specialization, that’s what you’ll find about
most of these street vendors or most vendors in Thailand. They specialize in one or two dishes, at least at the low end. At the high end, Thailand has a number of Michelin-starred restaurants, so you can go from cheap all
the way to really expensive. The quintessential Thai
drink, it’s Thai iced tea. Thai iced tea, it’s made of
Ceylon tea, kind a red tea, added with condensed milk and sweetened. You should definitely try it. Sometimes it’s served in a cup, sometimes you might get it
served in a bag with a straw. It’s probably advisable not to drink the tap water in Thailand, so if you’re at a restaurant
and you ask for water, they will likely bring it out to you in a plastic bottle and pour it. Don’t drink the tap water
unless you want to get sick. Usually the bottled water
is pretty inexpensive, something like 10 Baht, or
the equivalent of 30 cents. The ice is okay to drink though, because the ice typically
comes from a special vendor that filters the water to make the ice. Bangkok has a healthy live music scene that you’ll find all over the city. But much like the street food, it is also served with a healthy dose of car noise and car fumes. We’ve seen tons of places like this that are bars with music
right next to a busy road. This feels like a place
you should be in Waikiki, enjoying the ocean and the fresh air, but no, here you’re also hearing
cars and smelling them too. The 10th thing to know
before you go to Bangkok is that bug spray is your new best friend. If you’re walking around
with sandals and flip flops without any socks, and without
any mosquito repellent, well you will be nibbled on by the friendly mosquito species. This place is hot and humid. And so there are a lot of mosquitoes, so make sure to bring some
mosquito repellent with you. Spray it on your feet,
spray it on your legs, spray it on places that are exposed so you don’t get a lot of itchy
bumps from those mosquitoes. The 11th thing to know
before you go to Bangkok is to respect the king
and the royal family. You will see pictures of the
king and the royal family all over Bangkok. By the end of the trip, you will be very well acquainted with their image. But Thailand has anti-defamation laws, so it is illegal to speak negatively against the royal family. So just don’t do it. And because of those laws, similarly, it is illegal to step on Thai currency. If you’ve got a 20-Baht
bill and it’s flying away, don’t step on it to stop it, because that’s the same as
stepping on the face of the king. The 12th thing to know
before you come to Bangkok is to not touch anybody on the head. I don’t know why you would touch random strangers on the head, but in Bangkok and Thailand
in particular, don’t do it. The top of the head is considered sacred. You may think you’re being nice by patting someone on the
head, but don’t do it. Also, don’t try to point
your feet at strangers, particularly at Buddhas. This might be hard if
you’re on the subway, things like that, but
try to point your feet just a little bit away. If you’re in temples,
you’ll actually see signs to tell you to not sit with your feet pointed directly at the Buddha. And thing to know number 13
is that we’ve got more videos. If you like this video,
chances are you’ll like some of our other videos about Bangkok. You’ll find links in
the description below. You can click here and here to watch them. We won’t say goodbye, because we’ll see you in the next video.

56 Comments

  • Yellow Productions

    You might enjoy watching my other videos from Bangkok in this Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOVadUHX1B-LwjAEvvDE9JkY3U4ZRqhkt

    Tourist Scams in Bangkok: https://youtu.be/jMcCVSl9vA8

    Best Food Courts in Bangkok: https://youtu.be/oEAtr1pIkaI

    Chatuchak Market in Bangkok: https://youtu.be/Nd6XrO9iFvU

  • Colleen H

    Excellent video, I learnt so much about Bangkok. Great information on Thailand customs and do's and don'ts. I loved your description of how hot it was there. lol

  • Frank Smith

    Good video as usual. Some additional points from my experience:
    1. Sadly, there is no longer a "cool season" in Bangkok, as of the past 4-5 years…it's really showing the effects of global warming. I lived there from 2002-2008 (and I travel there every Dec. now), and yes, the weather used to "dip" into the low 20s in December….but no more. Or only VERY rarely.
    2. Anyone who knows better only takes those motorcycle taxis when absolutely necessary…those drivers drive like maniacs, and many of them are drunk and/or high on methamphetamine while working. Trust me on this.

  • Joe P

    omg !!! ha ha ha…. you look totally toasted Chris ! Thanks so much for the vid ! I got a little of that myself last week in Vegas… 112 degrees, and we were trying to walk on the strip 🙂

  • Ario Handoyo

    You always made a nice video, and i will be honest to you, american person like you has been inspiring me, you teach me how to appciate other coutries, i must say thank you to american people, thank you american people, you has been inspiring me.😁🇺🇸

  • Scottman895 Travel

    These are some really good things to know! I can sweat very easily in humid climates, so I probably would be doing the same thing by wiping my face with a towel. I also like how you included some tips toward the end about different customs such as not touching the top of someone's head although that is generally discouraged anywhere. Thank you for the great tips!

  • Emmannie

    I'm a big fan of your videos so thanks for this one on BK. The only Con is it showed me why I'd be best never visiting the city :). (Seriously, everything you showed made me go, "Hm no thanks!" 😅)

  • Jeff Mathwig

    Hey Chris. If you don't mind me asking how do you get the money and time off to go to all these cool places? I love traveling and I would love to find a job that allowed me more time off to travel. Love the videos!!!

  • The Laughing Lion

    yo what up Topher & chris, new subbie here #150,258, i enjoy your travel tips and intelligent analysis. I've travelled the world too and still feel there is so much to see.
    Thanks for the support too.

  • santi

    Excellent video, like all your videos. I congratulate you. Bangkok is a destination I've always wanted to go to, and now I'm getting more excited watching your video so I might finally decide to go 🙂 so thank you for all the information, and this video so interesting and at the same time fun ¡¡¡ 🙂 I have a good time watching your city videos. so thank you very much for making these videos that I imagine require a lot of dedication, editing, and a lot of hours, etc., so I really appreciate your time and dedication, and I'm sure a lot of youtubers, because they are videos to enjoy not just to get informacion, really, they are great¡¡¡ Thanks a lot again. best regards 🙂

  • General Eric

    When you've visited Bangkok there's no point in going anywhere else, First visit was in 2004 and still going back for more in Nov 2019 the greatest city on earth

  • LifeOfBD

    Fitting, I just released a story of a time I got scammed in bangkok for $900 USD on YouTube!
    Wish this video was out so i would had been more aware

  • Jennifer Lorence

    I like this Guy, the way he shows everything for us visitors to be prepared before we go visit a city. Thank You So Much.

  • Ajax7925

    Great Thailand videos! Did you plan all of your trip to Thailand yourself or did you go through a tour group? I look at a few tour groups online and none of them stop in Chinatown, food courts, shopping malls or do any cooking classes or do anything with street food 🙁 Please help me , I want to go to Thailand and do all these things 🙂

  • ตู่น้อย คอยรัก

    ขอบคุณที่ชอบประเทศไทย หวังว่าคงจะมีความสุขจากทริปนี้ครับ ของคุณครับ อาจมีการใช้แกรมมาที่ผิด ผมใช้ กูเกิลแปลภาษา
    Thank you for like Thailand Hopefully there will be happiness from this trip. You may have misused the grammar. I use Google Translate.

  • Tharach Wuthiwan

    It is a very diverse and affordable city. You can go with limited budget or experience the five-star of its kind in just a few blocks away. The best way to get a cab is using GRAB app. As a Thai people, I never get a local taxi, like.. never. Local taxis are not worth the hassle (I can change my mind if there’s a significant improvement). I’d rather take a train, drive myself, or Grab. Don’t talk to strangers who offered you any services. Plan your trip well, so you don’t have to expose to the hot weather. It’s like any big cities in the world that once you figured that out, you will enjoy the rest of the trip.

  • Deals togo

    Thanks for the great video. I am going there with my brother since he is going back for more dental work there which is 1/5th what it is in the USA. Your video is a great help on the city while he is getting his teeth worked on. Thanks!

  • Cookieboymonster1962

    Excellent video. My only comment is you should have emphasised more the bit about being respectful towards the Royal Family. It is very serious and you just don't expect it to happen. While I was there the airport got blockaded by some protestors because a tourist with mental problems did something to insult the King and the court convicted her and sentenced her to deportation back to her homeland.

    The protestors were upset that she was being sent home rather than sent to prison so they blocked the airport so she couldn't go home. That's just crazy. Don't insult the Royals! Ever!

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