As the airplane approaches Bangkok, a sea of city fills your stare, far from what the stereotypical Thailand imagery represents in your mind.
This is mainland Bangkok, the most frequently used international airport connection for Thailand.
If it’s your first time touching down in Bangkok, noting a few pointers will see you having a smooth & exciting journey, from touching down on the runway- to checking into your hotel!
Arriving in Thailand requires an immigration control check, so depending on your nationality this will require a queue; to be stamped in for an exemption, to purchase a Visa or to be checked for your existing Visa that you acquired outside of the Thai kingdom!
A fairly simple process, depending on the number of people arriving at the airport at the same time as you!
Be sure to hold onto your departure card, this little slip is to be shown when you exit the country (stamped & withheld by the desk).
Once through, collect your baggage & make your way to the exit.
Before boarding the plane in your start destination, it’s a good idea to get the details of your hostel or hotel loaded up while you have data to do so.
Download MapsMe & configure the Bangkok region!
It’s incredibly helpful to have a working mobile map when arriving in a new destination!
If you head out of the airport, map in hand, with a brand-new backpack, the taxi drivers will see you coming, you might be in for a nice expensive ride! Whatever fare their meter clocks up in the traffic, plus the toll fee.
If travelling solo, opting for the bus is a smarter move if on a budget, but if you find yourself with others to share the ride with, a taxi will get you there quicker (despite the crazy traffic!).
If you have data, ordering an Uber or Grab will be the cheapest private option, grab bike is by far the fastest option, but this depends on the size of your backpack, of course!
Having a usable map will really assist in getting you to your hostel, but failing that, if you know you are staying near Khaosan Road,
you’ll be dropped there, just find the nearest café with WIFI & you’ll be on your way!
Arriving in Khaosan Road, with no idea where I was, or where my hostel was, no data, after travelling for nearly a day, sleep deprived & hungry, was an experience that I can smile at looking back!
No matter what happens, you find your way
A few little plans prior to arriving can allow things to run smoother, having a map that will work, like MapsMe,
having the app for Grab/Uber (and data) or having the details of the bus!
It is far from essential to pre-book your hostel or hotel, Bangkok is bursting with accommodation! It would serve you just as well to rock up in Khaosan Road & wander around, or find some WIFI & scan the area for recommendations.
You may even make friends at the airport & want to head in their direction!
If Bangkok is your first stop after a long haul flight, it can be wise to splash out a little more for some nicer accommodation, to get your head down in peace & quiet with the luxury of air conditioning.
So pre-booking the accommodation, combined with the steps to making your journey run a little smoother, can often be gratefully received at the latter end of a long haul trip!
You don’t have to venture far from the main strip, known as Khaosan Road, to find accommodation that is nice, and quiet too ?
Buddy’s Boutique is a particularly well-known hotel/hostel. Offering beautiful private rooms for a reasonable price.
It’s only a one-minute walk from Khaosan Road but surprisingly isn’t too noisy at night! It also gives dual access to its partner hotel on Khaosan, which has a rooftop pool, bar & gym,
perfect for chilling (or working out) at in the daytime!
Touching down in Bangkok can be a bit of a shock to the system for those new to South-east Asia, given its usually a first stop, there are many backpackers in the same boat!
The hustle & bustle of the street vendors is real, it’s right there, in your face, revealing all.
From scorpions & deep fried bugs, to signage luring in the punters from the road, special offers on buckets
& drinks on every board flashed in front of you.
The party scene on Khaosan Road is well known to the backpacking community, everyone’s having a good time, sharing stories & making new ones.
During the day, this area of Bangkok is somewhat different, calmer to say the least.
Full of clothing & vendors, a leisurely (all be it HOT) stroll can be taken down the road & beyond.
Explore the side roads off of Khaosan too, for there are many hidden gems, little cafes and authentic hang outs, the kind of spots you can lose hours in, chilling in a hammock, people watching or getting to know new friends.
Spending that first day after touching down in Bangkok, finding your way to town, exploring the immediate area, the local hang outs, maybe planning some trips & speaking with some tours, is a day well spent!
Getting stuck in to the street food is also recommended, with so much on offer & so much to try, grazing is a good strategy!
Many people avoid raw fish from the street vendors, but that’s a personal preference, always play it safe if you are unsure about how something looks, or how it’s been cooked. This is Thailand, health & safety, hygiene, it’s a different story than western world.
Take it all in your stride but stay smart!
Remember to top up the H20 too, arriving in a hot country, after a long-haul trip, can leave you dehydrated if you aren’t watching your intake.
Coconut water is incredible for hydration!
Touching down in the Thai Kingdom Capital gets to be a walk in the park with a little pre-thought.