14 million people live in the greater metro area in and around the city accounting for 22% of Thailand’s population. Thus, it is a large sprawling metropolis and a lack of city planning during the 80s and 90s has made things a little difficult to move around.
Unlike Japan or Korea the subway and railway systems do not go everywhere, so your best bet is to walk or take a taxi to your destination.
Monorail in Bangkok
Hailing a cab is easy, and most cab drivers will understand English, but it can help to have your destination written down in Thai, to make it easier for the driver.
(I learned this the hard way as it took 1 security guard, one Good Samaritan, and 30 minutes to get me a cab back to my hotel)
If you are hailing a taxi in a tourist area, realize that you will be charged a slightly higher rate. Nothing major, but something serious budget travelers should be aware of.
I recommend walking a few blocks away to hail a cab as most taxi drivers outside the tourist area will not charge you a higher rate.
Tuk-Tuk Bangkok, Thailand
My only advice is to take them at your own risk.
Another option is the ubiquitous Tuk-Tuk which I consider to be a three wheeled monstrosity first brought to Thailand by the Japanese in 1934.
My only advice is to take them at your own risk, as I think they are an accident waiting to happen. The upside is they are cheaper than taxis and they are everywhere. You don’t even have to hail one they will come to you.
FYI- they can be a little pushy at times, so if you don’t want one, make sure not to look in their direction and keep walking.
Alright enough of the negatives now on to the fun stuff, and there is plenty of fun stuff to do in Bangkok.
The city has it all, shopping (Everyone seems to know where to go to get a suit), food, nightlife, culture, and history.
If you can only do three things in Bangkok, Thailand I recommend these Top 03 Things To Do In Bangkok.
- Grand Palace
- The Queen’s gallery
- Take a bike tour of the city.
Top 03 Things To Do In Bangkok
1- Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang | The Grand Palace
The grand palace quite literally is the heart and soul of the country. It was built in 1782 when the capital moved from Thonburi to Bangkok.
It was the residence of the royal family until 1925, when they moved to Chitralada Palace. The palace also held various government offices until 1932, when the absolute monarchy was abandoned.
Today it is a major tourist attraction but it is still used by the government on occasion for various functions. The Thai people also care deeply about the palace with every being meticulously maintained and protected.
Mere words cannot describe the palace, but I will try. The palace itself is a sprawling 2,351,000 square feet (218,400 square meters).
I highly recommend bringing sunglasses even if it isn’t a sunny day, as all of the gold, jewels, and bling, might just blind you.
I also recommend that you make sure your camera battery is charged up, and you have plenty of space on the memory card.
The palace is very photogenic even if you can’t take pictures inside the buildings.Also, please don’t try to take pictures inside as the Thai tourism police take this very seriously, and I saw them take another tourist’s camera.
Some of the highlights of the palace complex include the Emerald Buddha, which has a different outfit depending on the season.
The statue was carved in 1434 and spent time in Laos until the Thai brought it back in 1552, before moving it to Bangkok in 1778. A fun fact is that the Buddha is not actually emerald, but Jade.
2- The Queens Gallery
Even if you are not a huge fan of the arts I can’t recommend this museum enough. Established in 2003 it highlights the best traditional art Thailand has to offer. However, the real history of this museum started back in 1976, when the queen began a program to promote local arts and crafts of the underprivileged families of Thailand.
Within two years she began a training centre to train the underclass of Thailand in various traditional art forms.
“I am very proud of our people. The Thais are natural artists, no matter who they are or where they are living, whether they are farmers or other professionals. Thais are also a sensitive people with an artistic sense that enable them to swiftly absorb and develop creative skills.”
Some of the art forms you will have the pleasure of viewing, include wood carving which I found fascinating for the 3D effect the artisans are able to create. I have yet to see anything like it.
Beetle wing decorations are another highlight, and these beetles must die a natural death or the wings lose their characteristic green colour, which makes them look like emeralds.The embroidery is also stunning, with complex designs that seem to jump from the canvas.
Of course no pictures are allowed, but you will remember these views for the rest of your life.
3- Bike Tour In Bangkok
Personally I like to think that you haven’t seen a city until you have biked it. Cycling through a city gives you a real picture of the life of the locals, while seeing a good portion of what the city has to offer.
Now I will admit some cities are safer to bike than others, and I felt completely safe riding through Bangkok. However Bangkok is not a city for someone brand new to cycling, or a road warrior who has only rode on the smoothest sections of pavement.
There are some spots that get a little bumpy, some interesting turns, and a few narrow spots.
There are many bicycle tours in Bangkok, and I went with Follow Me Tours, which has excellent English speaking guides, and well maintained bikes, in a wide range of sizes.
There is far more in Bangkok than just these three, but if it is all you have time for, then you can leave knowing that you have at least had the opportunity to experience some of what Bangkok and the Thai people have to offer.
If you are planning a Holiday to Thailand do not forget to include these Top 03 Things To Do In Bangkok…
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