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things I need to know--tips, converters etc before Bangkok

things I need to know--tips, converters etc before Bangkok

Mar 16th, 2009, 05:57 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 24
things I need to know--tips, converters etc before Bangkok

Can someone go over who I give tips to and how much (the same as U.S.) taxi drivers, if I get a mani/pedi, masseuses , tour operators, maids at the hotel,waiters, etc, . I still need a converter if I'm bringing cell phone, digital camera etc? Does anyone wear shorts in Bangkok? I realize you can't wear them to some sights but I want to be comfortable if I'm just walking around.
jeffyj is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 07:05 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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I'll try to answer a few of your questions/concerns, from my own experiences in Bangkok.

Tips.. I will tip the person who does my hair maybe 200baht. That's roughly $6. The price of a haircut varies greatly with different places. Name brand salons cost more. I go to a salon at the Central Chidlom Department Store.

I leave the maid 60-80 baht per day. If I've left an unusual amount of dirty dishes or something, I'll leave 100 baht. I'm usually in my serviced apartment for at least 10 days to two weeks, so it adds up to a good tip.

The taxi ride to/from the airport is about 300baht plus tolls. I end up paying about 500baht each way because the driver usually gets what is left from 500baht note. Other taxi rides within the city, I'll give the driver the change from a 50 or 100baht note, depending on the fare.

Waiters will get about 15% from me. I know, I know, they don't expect it. But I'm usually a pretty good tipper; and I pay for good service. The wait staff are usually very courteous and try to please.

You will need plugs that adapt your camera and phone to the electrical outlet configuration. Now-a-days, cameras and phones have chargers that work in other countries without worrying about meeding current converters for 220. You should be fine with just the little plug adapters.

I don't wear shorts in Bangkok. I usually wear capri length cotton pants and lightweight cotton tops.

I don't do tours so cannot comment on tipping a tour guide. I also don't have massages so can't tell you what I pay.

Did you ever say when you'll be in Bangkok? I can't recall. I'll be there for about two weeks, then end of April and beginning of May.

Have a great time! (did you decide which river hotel you wanted?)

simpsonc510 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 07:36 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,926
carol has it all right but then if we went there as often as she does we would have it right too...

tips...give what you like...i usually do 10-20% in restaurants where i am served..

bell hops...you may need their assistance later so give them maybe 100-200 B with 3 cases...

maids, as you feel like...

drivers and guides: again depending on how much it cost for the service and how well they served you....i often give a guide over 20% if they did good...drivers less of course---usually 10%

taxis....none, if they are jerks....round up the fare to the next higher bill.....so if the ride was 40, give 60.....

don't do massage, so don't know....

you will see lots of people wearing shorts, but many of us feel that this is not appropriate, except at the beach...you might feel out of place in many situations...
do wear light weight, natural fiber clothing that is loose fitting...

don't forget a hat and bathing suit...

always as for a hotel card when you leave the hotel...handy for taxi drivers to bring you back...

many hotels will have american style plugs (larger chain hotels)...others will require two round prongs...

current converters are a thing of the past... almost all new consummer goods have them built in...not hair dryers however....you will need a 220 hairdryer if your hotel does not supply them....most do...
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 07:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Here is what I generally recommend as tips in the local currency Baht.

Taxis - I tip taxi-drivers because I think on the most part they do a wonderful job under very trying circumstances. From the Bangkok airport, if the driver has been helpful, courteous and driven at a reasonable speed a 50 baht tip is about right. In the city, if the fare for example is 90 baht, pay 100 (or about 10% of the fare).

Restaurants - Many eating establishments will add a service charge onto the bill and in these cases a small tip (10-20) should be left only if the service has been exceptional. Where there are no service charges about 10%.

Hotel Breakfast - At the free breakfast buffets a small tip is appreciated 20-40

Hotel Porters 20-40 per suitcase.

Hotel Maids - If the service is good then a 20-40 each day is about right. If you leave a mess, then maybe a little more.

Lavatory ladies 10-20

Bell Hop/Room service 20-40

Massage 1 -2 hrs 50-100

Hair shampoo 20, Hair cut /curl 40-80

Tours 10%
Scotters is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 08:00 PM
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Just a couple more things to add:

Some restaurants in Bangkok will add 10% service charge to the bill. Check this before you tip. Of course, ALL hotel restaurants add a service charge, but a few outside of hotels do as well.

Most outlets in Thailand will take round or flat pronged plugs, but none will take US three-prong plugs.

As the others have pointed out, shorts are not entirely appropriate, although you will see many people wearing them in the hot season. They won't necessarily make you more comfortable, as your legs will be exposed to sun, mosquitoes and other hazards. Plus, when you go inside any air conditioned place, you'll be too cold.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 10:30 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 74
Thanks for the post jeffyj - I am leaving for Thailand in two days & this is helpful info. Thanks to everyone - I feel as though I have already visited the country - you all give great details
goalis7continents is offline  
Mar 17th, 2009, 05:56 AM
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thanks everyone. It sounds as though I have never traveled out of the country with my questions and although I've traveled all over Europe I alway used a disposable camera and never thought to bring my cell phone. rhkmm great tip about taking a hotel card with you for taxi driver. I leave the last weekend in march. I decided on The Royal Orhard Sheraton as I was hesitant about the other side of the River. Next time I hope to make it to The Shangri La or Pennisula (I know wrong side of the River).thank you all throughout the Fodors site who continue to amaze me at how helpful they are with advice and their trip reports. You all have gotten me so excited about my upcoming trip.
jeffyj is offline  
Mar 17th, 2009, 09:22 AM
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Make sure you eat at the Gallery Cafe, it's just around the corner from the ROS. walk out of the lobby and turn right. Follow the road (Captain Bush) around as it bends to the left when passing the Portugese Embassy on your right and the bronze statues of animals on your left. Walk up towards Charon Kreung (New Road). Gallery Cafe will be on your right before you get to the main road.

You can also easily walk to Harmonique and Tongue Thai. For Harmonique, follow the above directions, but go up to tye main road. Turn right and walk down past the large post office. H will be down an alley (Soi) on your right. You can see the sign.

For Tongue Thai, walk farther down the main road until you get to the road leading to the Oriental Hotel, turn right and then turn right immediately at the next alley (Soi). TT will be about 30 feet down on your right. It is across from the rear entrance to Oriental Place.

All of these restaurants are wonderful. Try as many as you can.

Another tip is to find some time to relax at the Garden pool at the ROS. It's a little hiden away. You walk out by the regular pool on your right and continue walking. Tou'll pass the restrooms and walk to an open door. Down the stairs and you'll be at the garden pool. Very relaxing after a frenetic day in BKK.
Gpanda is offline  
Mar 17th, 2009, 05:47 PM
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when getting a taxi always use the doorman at your hotel, all the ones on the street there are rip-offs....tuk tuks too...

check out those other hotels by taking their boats...
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 17th, 2009, 08:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 197
Please help me understand the shorts thing a bit better because I'm starting to think I made a big mistake in selecting Thailand. I will be utterly miserable if I can't wear shorts when I'm not entering religious buildings.

In other words, is this like the "don't wear white tennis shoes in Europe" guidance you get on the Europe forums on occasion (which I think is pure rubbish) or something more substantial?
Statefan is offline  
Mar 17th, 2009, 08:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 48
My 2 cents worth :


If you would want to eat where all foreigners eat, go to Harmonique. If however, you want to taste food that at least some locals eat at, go to Somboon or other places.

We were disappointed with Harmonique :

1.) Its not exactly the easiest to find.
2.) The food, not exactly bad, but we've had much much better meals in BKK.
3.) No locals in sight. -- Not a good sign. I live by the mantra of 'do what the locals do, eat what they eat'.

Just my 2 cents.

TravelFreak168 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2009, 07:13 AM
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Posts: 24
thanks again for all the advice. Gpanda I appreciate the restaurant advice. There are some days/nights when you don't want to wander that far away from your hotel but you don't know whats a delicious joint. Unlike a lot of your fodor posters I don't rank dining as my top priority. Yeah I LOVE food but I'm not a foodie. Pools are a big priority for me. Might have never discovered the garden pool thanks.Travelfreak168 (love the name) agree with go where the locals go;however is Somboon close my hotel--ROS. Statefan know what you mean about shorts. I have to wear them.I wasn't even going to bring a pair but might change my mind. Thanks again everyone.
jeffyj is offline  
Mar 18th, 2009, 11:00 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Here's the deal about shorts. Shorts are not considered appropriate city wear. They are resort or beach wear. There are tourists who wear shorts. They do stand out (and not in a good way). If your dress and behavior are otherwise appropriate, you'll do ok even though you are violating a cultutal norm. The Thais are very tolerant, and won't say anything as long as you don't go into wats in shorts, or the Oriental Hotel, etc.

So if you opt to wear shorts, do make sure you are respecting other cultural norms.

In tropical climes, you are often better off covering up rather than exposing more skin. Exposing more skin means more risk of sunburn and in non-city places, more risk of mosquito bites. The sun directly on your skin feels hotter than the sun on light clothing covering your skin.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 18th, 2009, 12:00 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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J-that's exactly what we do. Whever we've had a tiring day out and about, we choose one of the local food options. We're never disappointed. There's also a close and good Indian restaurant, Him Cha La (Sp?).

On the shorts issue, I sweat like a pig, but never wear shorts in Asia. I've found that wearing shorts appears to be slightly off-putting to the Thais. They NEVER wear them. When in Rome.... I wear very light cotton pants and do not suffer too much. You'll see what I mean when you get there. Thailand is so great, a small change from the norm should not put anyone off.
Gpanda is offline  

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