Bangkok is a unique metropolis in many respects; to the new arrival, the city seems chaotic, yet it flows, much to the surprise of many. Known as the ‘City of Angels’, this sprawling urban concrete jungle is home to around 20 million people and if you are preparing to visit Bangkok for the first time, here are a few tips to help you get the best experience out of this amazing city.
- Hailing taxis – Much like every city, Bangkok has many taxis that you can hail on the street and they come in all colours; yellow, red, orange and pink, yet you should always look for a green and yellow cab, as they are driver-owned. Other coloured taxis can be hired for 12 hours by any Thai citizen, so to reduce the risk of a bad experience, always hail a yellow and green taxi.
- BTS Skytrain – There is a mass transit system called Skytrain, which is run by BTS and it covers most of the city. Using the Skytrain is a cheap and fast way to get around the city; search online for the various maps and opening times. As you would expect, there are several lines, indicated by colours and the system is being added to on an ongoing basis. If you are looking for the best place to stay in Bangkok, look no further than Villa Deva, an elegant boutique hotel in the Sathorn District.
- Avoid changing money at the airport – Aside from a few dollars for transport, you should wait until you arrive in the city before changing money, as the rates at the airport are the lowest. The best exchange booth is called ‘Super Rich’, which you can find in most parts of the city.
- Take photos of your passport –If you take photos of the main passport page and your visa, store these on your smartphone and should you ever be stopped by the police, show them these images and you are good to go. Most people are not comfortable carrying their passport everywhere they go and storing these images will satisfy any official who wants to see some ID.
- Explore the canal systems – Bangkok has a large network of canals and there are river taxis that stop every few kilometres (usually temples). The river taxis are a cheap and easy way to get around Bangkok; many Thais use the canals to get to and from their work because it is one of the fastest ways to get from A to B.
Bangkok can be best described as an assault on your senses and most people come away with a positive perception of this unique metropolis.