• Hannah Cartwright

A Guide to Thailand: Bangkok

In May 2017, my friends and I spent three weeks travelling around Thailand. We had the best time and saw so many amazing things. We started and ended our trip with a couple of nights in Bangkok. It was an amazing city to see but probably wasn’t the highlight of my trip. While there was a lot of culture here in terms of the temples, they were very touristy and crowded. We also found that we were more likely to get scammed or tricked here too. Here are some tips and things I found from my short stay.

1. Taxis. This is an area we actually researched before travelling to Thailand. Despite this we still made mistakes and were still ripped off by the drivers a couple of times. When getting in a taxi be sure to check that they have turned the meter on as you are pulling away. Without the meter the driver is able to make up his own prices to charge you, which could be triple what the meter would’ve said. If they claim that the meter is broken and try to agree on a price with you then you need to be firm and tell them no and that you’ll get a different taxi. When this happened to us, it was on the way to catch our flight and we didn’t want to risk being late so did try to attempt some bartering. As we expected this did not work and we paid double the expected price. On another occasion the meter was on but the taxi driver insisted we pay him double that price at the end of the journey. As tourists to the city, exhausted from travelling and desperate to get into our hostel, we paid him without arguing. He even helped himself to a service charge out of the change.

2. Tuk-tuks. An alternative to taxis in Thailand is tuk-tuks. As they don’t have meters, the drivers are free to charge you whatever they want so make sure you discuss a price prior to the journey. Because of this they tend to be a lot pricier than a taxi driver so are probably better for shorter journeys. You also need to be firm with the driver about your desired destination as they’ve been known to make stops along the way to try and get tourists to spend more money. You need to be firm in telling them that you only wish to go to that one specific place.

3. Khao San Road. This is the number one tourist spot during the night. It’s the place to go to eat, drink, party, shop for souvenirs and even watch Ping Pong shows, if that’s your cup of tea! Everyone here will try to sell you something so try to avoid stopping and speaking to the reps unless you are actually interested in what they are selling. If you’re not interested, just keep walking. You should definitely try the street food here as it’s so good and much cheaper than any restaurant and café.

4. The Grand Palace and Wat Pho. A must-see if you’re in Bangkok! The temples are incredible and like nothing I’d ever seen before. We visited The Grand Palace first as it closes at 3:30pm. It cost us 550THB per person for entry (approximately £12.50), which was completely worth it for the amount we got to see. As it is a huge tourist attraction it was incredibly busy and sometimes hard to get from place to place. Expect to move around it slowly. We visited the Wat Pho afterwards, home to the reclining Buddha. It cost us 100THB (£2) for the Wat Pho which again was more than reasonable pricing. It was also a lot quieter here as it was later in the day. When visiting these Temples, make sure you dress respectfully as you will be refused entry and pointed to a nearby clothes shop if not. Your legs need to be covered and you should wear a top that is high necked and covers your shoulders.

5. Accommodation. For our time in Bangkok, we stayed in Bed and Bike Hostel, which we found through Hostel World. It was by far the nicest hostel of our trip. We had a little four-bed room to ourselves which was spacious and fully air conditioned. The staff were all so welcoming, making us feel at home with them. The common room area was lit with fairy lights and always had quiet music playing in the background creating a relaxing vibe, a stark contrast to the bustling city outside. It was the perfect space to come back to after a hectic day exploring Bangkok. We loved it so much that we booked ourselves back in for another two nights at the end of the trip! I would highly recommend this hostel for anyone staying in Bangkok! It’s location is also perfect being a 20 minute walk from Khao San Road and a ten minute walk from the Grand Palace.

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