Have you heard negative things about Bangkok? Planning a visit but you aren’t sure if you are going to like it?I feel ya! Having visited Bangkok twice (in a three-week trip) first I hated it, and then I fell in love. So I decided to put together this short post with 6 Ways to Avoid Hating Bangkok.
Having spoken to, and read, posts by other female travellers who haven’t had good experiences in this city I thought I’d share some of my experience, and offer a few ways to avoid wanting to stay in your hotel room!
So what went wrong? Why so much hate? And how can you make sure you get it right?
1. Get your accommodation right.
I did a lot of research and read a lot of reviews on Booking.com to make sure we booked into a great hotel.
I decided to pre-book a mid-priced hotel (as I knew it was going to be a long flight we wanted to know where we were staying so we could get a taxi straight there and get some sleep) so I could sleep off the jet lag in a bit of comfort.
When we got to the hotel, it was fine. BUT it was too far out-of-town, the staff were nice, but not particularly helpful. I think this was a big factor in my lack of love, it just made everything that bit more difficult and when you are tired and a little culture shocked that’s the last thing you need.
So stay at The Yard Hostel – If you don’t believe me take a look at their reviews. It was spotless, beautiful, and friendly and although it was central it felt like a million miles away from Bangkok. I know if I’d stayed there the first time the staff would have helped guide us around the best things to do and places to see and it would have drastically improved my first impression of Bangkok.
2 Unless you are a super human who doesn’t get jet lag don’t plan to do much on day one.
Eat close to where you are staying and just get some sleep. I decided to wander the streets in search of food. Jet lag, culture shock and not knowing the area was a terrible mix and it didn’t end well…there were almost tears and I don’t even want to think about what I ate!
3 Rise and Shine
If you are going to be spending day 1 catching up on sleep make sure you get up extra early on day 2 and head straight to the Grand Palace (that is if you want to see it). It gets incredibly busy there and the earlier you can get there the better. Plus it’s a bit cooler in the morning, which you will be grateful for.
Get it out of the way first thing and then work your way through the other places you want to visit from there. If I’m honest I preferred Wat Po, it was peaceful, there weren’t as many people and you can get a Thai Massage. I had an hour-long foot massage and it was incredible.
4 Issue caution haggling with Tuk Tuks
Now I know people say you need to haggle when getting taxis and Tuk Tuks, however, we didn’t do this at all and we didn’t have any issues whatsoever. I’d read all the warnings about being taken to shops for fuel tokens and horror stories about getting ripped off.
None of these things happened to us. We agreed on a price most of the time before we got in and didn’t question that price and our reward was being taken to where we wanted to go without any hassle what so ever. I didn’t feel ripped off by the prices we paid and the drivers didn’t need to take us to these places because we were paying them well.
I know people may disagree with this, but it worked for me. Bangkok like many other places is somewhere you need to watch out for scammers. Make sure you know what to look out for before you travel. This article gives you the top 10 scams to look out for when travelling.
5 Embrace Koh San Road
I was one of those “oh no I won’t be going to Koh San road” people but after wandering around clueless on arrival in Bangkok I was actually relieved to find a road full of fellow travellers, street food and places to get a beer. We got talking to people straight away who gave us loads of great advice. We found out the hard way how strong the local beer is, and tasted some local delicacies…
6 Skip Bangkok altogether on your way in, and do it on your way out.
I did what most people do: Spent a few days in Bangkok when we first arrived in Thailand and then only spent a night there on the way back. If I could do it again I would do it the other way round. It takes a while to get into the swing of life in Thailand and if it’s your first time there it could take you even longer.
After 3 weeks travelling around, I returned to Bangkok with a completely different attitude and confidence. I swear the first time I was there I wandered found for 2 days in a total daze and I really didn’t it at all. When I went back I felt so sad that I didn’t have any spare time to have a few days there before returning home. Oh well, guess I’ll have to go back then…
If you are planning a trip to Thailand I have a lot of great blog posts to help with your trip: