Bangkok is the capital of Thailand. So far, nothing new, but hardly a person who goes to Bangkok comes out with the same thought about the city that had before arriving. This was our second visit (the first was in January 2014) and we were only in the hottest month in Thailand: April.
TOURISM IN THAILAND
Tourism in Thailand appeals to almost everyone. But people who do not like cold weather. The heat is infernal in April. So if you want a slightly quieter temperature, avoid this month. Tropical storms are also constant, although we have not experienced any here.
If it were possible to fly over the city and narrate everything we saw, we can sum up in a few main points. So let’s go to them:
– Yes, Bangkok has more Buddhist temples than evangelical churches in Brazil. Everywhere you walk, it’s easy to find one. Large, small, medium, multicolor, unicolor, full, empty, with gold Buddha, sitting Buddha, lying Buddha, the Buddha aside, but invariably full of gifts for the Buddha: smoothies, juices, Yakult, candy and more all that imaginable. It is tradition to offer edibles and loud as a form of worship and thanksgiving. You can only enter the largest temples barefoot, and You can not show the knees or shoulders. This is a rule! Cell Phones? What are these? They just do not take there. Basic respect to religion;
– The city is like a large open air market. By virtually everywhere you walk, you’ll find stalls (millions of them …) selling everything. Clothes, food, drinks, fruit, goodies, souvenirs and junk in general. The rule is ALWAYS bargain price. It’s good to say that you are Brazilian with a smile to pay less because normally the Europeans and Americans accept the first price and undermine the progress of the bargains. There are very few places where prices are presented as NO BARGAIN. When we said we were Brazilian, the price fell a bit. Therefore, always leave a quantity of exchanged baht, around a 200 handy and practice bargain in the open. Some products just do not know the correct price, as always are with inflated values and you can negotiate to exhaustion;
– If you consider the main temples to be visited, you’ll need about 4 full days in the city not to be so tired and can enjoy cool. Otherwise, 2 whole days are sufficient for a basic tour of the city without great temples;
– Do not miss (if you’re not staying there) Khao San Road. It is a place crammed with tourists and backpackers from all over the world. There, you can see the European and North American roasting in the sun with sleeveless shirts, no sunglasses or hats. They really like the sun! Two hundred million restaurants to suit all tastes, three hundred and twenty-seven thousand places to massage: thai massage, foot massage, oil massage, head massage, etc. Prices are usually tabulated for the massages and do not bargain in this case, because the prices are already good there anyway. One hour foot massage for 200 baht out (just over US$6). While you have lunch in a restaurant there, it may be that some local come with a small tray scorpions with sticks wondering if you care to scorpions as dessert. It happened to us and we almost lost the hunger because of the smell … But Khao San Road is a must if you go to Bangkok;
– The transport system in Bangkok is not perfect and is far from it. Traffic jams are worthy of San Paulo, Rio de Janeiro or Los Angeles or even worse. Taxis are cheap but get them on the street waving his arm is not as easy as it may seem. The taxi for, you ask the driver if it takes you to a certain place and he says it takes or not. He thinks about the trafficking route, distance and say YES or NO. If not, you will have to wait for the next one melting in the heat. Taxi prices are cheap. A journey of 20 km from the airport to downtown comes out to around US$7, not to mention the toll US$4. A much more friendly price than in Europe or Brazil. They have a meter, then, do not deal closed prices on taxis. Prefer the green and yellow, as are directed driven by the owners. The pink, all green and other colors are not as good, but also safe. Just ask the meter always;
– An alternative to the traffic jam and the taxi is the tuk-tuk, classic Southeast Asia, especially Thailand and India. They are not as cheap as you think. If you do not negotiate, can leave even more expensive than the taxi, but as they have Bangkok in the palm, go for lanes, alleys, everything to avoid traffic jams and leave you faster than normal taxis. But there are some basic rules for the tuk-tuks: NEVER accept the first price. Offer to pay the same you would pay in a taxi. Also tell him to take you directly to your destination because they usually stop along the way in local shops for you to buy something and he has the commission. Say you want to go direct, non-stop and if he stops anywhere, you will not pay anything for it. Thus, you will enjoy your trip, take a picture in the cart and swing a bit, but run the risk of getting smoked when you leave;
– As transport is also done by river (the Chao Phraya River) in Bangkok, beyond sight, you can take a boat to get from one point to another in the city. There are the boats stops. They are very cheap and an alternative to tuk-tuks or taxis. Avoid buses which are very, very old and do not have air conditioning. The subway is through restricted and there are two companies in the system. If you move from one to the other two passages should be paid because there is no integration between them. The boat stop is nice because you will see the city from a river perspective. It’s kind of a city tour, but paying very, very little. A passage costs less than US$0.50, depending on your path. And another good thing: the largest and most visited temples of Bangkok are very close to the river. Therefore, it is a great alternative shift, depending on your hosting place;
– Hotel matter where you are staying, ask then a hotel card or ask them to write in Thai the hotel address. Some taxi drivers simply do not speak any English and it is easier if you have the address in the local language;
– Finally, where to stay? There are many options and for all budgets, as in every capital around the world. In our case, we stayed in Silom, close to the downtown, in the Silom City Hotel (72 Soi Prachum (Silom 22), Silom Road, Suriyawongse, Bangrak, Bangkok, 10500), a 4-star hotel that has no pool, but has an excellent service. The breakfast is also good 6:30 am to 10:00 am. It has a 7 Eleven right in front, convenient and cheap. Good prices, around US$50 for the couple in the deluxe room with bath. It has a subway station two blocks down, but we did not get to catch it. Also little walk to the boat stop. There are many hotels near the river, some more expensive, but cheaper options too. In Khao San Road, there are many options, but the noise can be distracting. In the downtown, where we stayed, it’s nice because there are several open fairs, temples to be visited, but you have to consider the time to go to Khao San Road, for example.
These are simple and fast clues. Have you been to Bangkok and you did something different? Leave a comment and help other travelers! 😉