Bangkok was recentely named first destination in the world (in number of tourists) and attracts more an more every year..
So i felt like starting a thread with useful tips about Bangkok for first-timers (others are also welcomed and experts are welcomed to share other tips).
First of all, when travelling to Bangkok, the wisest thing is to get a map of the city as it would be easy to get lost within the small streets and arteries that could make that city a labyrinth. Find a map with the public transportation on it in order to make everything easier for you. Most of the attractions are anyway easy to reach once you have a hold of your directions.
As traffic is hard to predict, plan in advance where you're planning to go or what you wanna see. And use the public transports as often as you can, there are a lot of ways to get around (BTS/Skytrain, MRT/Subway, Boat..). BTS and MRT have day or week passes that can make things easier and cheaper (although one ticket fare is quite cheap already).
For those who prefer to use 4-wheelers (taxis): Make sure that the driver turns on its meter before driving, unless you're very good with directions and fares already. Sit back, relax and enjoy the lovely music
Always carry a copy of your passport (whether than the original one), especially at night. The Police is often blocking the roads to do some random checkings and that might be useful. Most night clubs are now checking the IDs before letting anyone in (no matter if you're Thai or foreigner).
Try some interesting tours, whether by yourself or organized (if you're not familiar with the city and country, the latter would be more advised). These tours can take you to parts of the city that you wouldn't think about at first, most of them are cheap and easy. I'm thinking of Ayutthaya, Cha-Am, of Floating Markets day tours.
Thai Ethics: - Never touch a Thai on the head as it is believed to be the most sacred part of the body.
- Don't show the palm of your feet and don't point it to anyone as, opposite the head, the feet are the lowest part of the body (...I have a Master's Degree)
- Before entering a temple, make sure to wear proper clothes that wouldn't disrespect the religion.
- Never say anything bad about the King or Royal Family in public as they are very loved and respected by locals. At certain hours in BTS/MRT stations, or parks, a "royal" anthem is played and everyone has to stop moving (it's not a freeze, no!). Or in cinemas, in between two trailers will be shown a short film as a tribute to the King's life and his achievements, you will then have to stand up during that film. (The first time, I imagined what it would be like with the French president and I could not imagine that much respect).
- Learn how to "wai"= Thai greeting, especially your elders.
And finally, MAKE SURE to learn the real Thai name of Bangkok or else you won't be allowed in the country:
"Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit"
which basically means:
"The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn"
If anyone thinks about more, feel free to add
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