Budget Scale: 1-5
1-least expensive; 5-most expensive
2– Despite its massive size and prominence as an international hub city, travelers can still do Bangkok on the cheap. It’s one of those rare cities where backpackers can get by on $15-$20US/day and luxury travelers can spend 20 times that.
Indie Travel Scale: 1-5
1-not a good Indie Travel destination; 5-a great Indie Travel destination
4– There are a lot of touristy aspects to Bangkok, Khao San Road being the center of non-indie travel activity. But if you get away from the backpacker ghetto of Khao San and explore just a little bit, you can find treasure upon treasure in this amazing city.
Indie Travel Tips
If you are a first time visitor to Bangkok and Southeast Asia, beginning on Khao San Road may not be a terrible idea, but it’s not necessary and you can easily find somewhere less horrific to stay. If you’re looking for a more authentic Thai experience, take the following tips to heart.
- Go have a drink on Khao San Road, but don’t stay there. It’s as inauthentic as it gets.
- Consider staying in an area like Sukhumvit. It is more of an expat area and still isn’t the most authentic of Thai experiences, but it’s much better than Khao San Road, and you still won’t be completely overwhelmed.
- Markets, markets, markets. By all means visit the night market and infamous weekend market, but you’ll be amazed at the markets you can find by simply wandering the streets and getting lost.
- Explore the temples on your own. Bangkok is home to literally thousands of temples, and shady tuk-tuk drivers will try to swindle you into a tour day after day, but that tour will most likely include spending half your day in gem and carpet shops. I hate to say it, but don’t trust the tuk-tuk drivers, explore on your own.
- Use public transport to get around – the Sky Train, subway, and river boats are all cheap, easy, and effective ways of avoiding the chaotic Bangkok traffic and shady tuk-tuk and taxi drivers, plus they are great ways to see the city.
Why you should add Bangkok to your RTW travel list
- Start your travels in the main travel hub of SE Asia
- Break away from your usual life in a city that offers a totally different lifestyle
- Take a tuk-tuk down busy streets (but agree on a price or force them to use the meter before entering)
- Experience Thai culture up-close with a traditional Thai massage
- Leo DiCaprio didn’t start his trip here for nothing
- Nightlife that rocks: Thai boxing, dancing, drinking and the famous red-light area
- Why not take a Thai cooking course and please your family back home?
- Visit the amazing floating market on the Chao Praya river
Why you should not add Bangkok to your RTW travel list
- Some get completely overwhelmed by Bangkok and hate everything about it. You have to come with an open mind to get the most out of it.
- Pushy touts and dishonest taxi and tuk-tuk drivers get really old really fast.
- It’s huge, the traffic sucks, it’s dirty, polluted, and just an overall crazy city.
Are you heading to Bangkok? What do you need to do?
- Buy an international plane ticket to/from Bangkok
- Book a Bangkok hostel
- Book a Bangkok hotel
- Talk to travelers on the Asia message boards
- Read travel articles on Bangkok