What to Do in Bangkok to Avoid Hating It

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Have you heard negative things about Bangkok? To get the most out of your trip you need to know what to do in Bangkok to avoid hating it. 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 my 6 Ways to Avoid Hating Bangkok.

What to do in Bangkok | Bangkok temple

Having spoken to, and read, posts by other female travelers 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!

What to Do in Bangkok to Avoid Hating It

1. Get Your Accommodation in Bangkok Right

I did a lot of research on the best places to stay in Bangkok 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 in Bangkok (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, especially as we only had 2 days in Bangkok. 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.

The Solution to Avoid Hating Bangkok Since the First Day

Stay at The Yard Hostel – If you don’t believe me, take a look at their reviews. It was spotless, beautiful, friendly, and although it was central it felt like a million miles away from Bangkok. I know if I’d stayed there for 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.

The Yard Bangkok | What to do in Bangkok



Booking.com

2. Don’t Plan to Do Much on Day One in Bangkok

Unless you are a super hero who doesn’t get jet lag, don’t plan to do much on your first day in Bangkok. Eat close to where you are staying and just get some sleep. There is so much delicious Thai street food around you won’t need to go far.

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. Get to the Temples in Bangkok Nice and Early

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 in Bangkok

Now I know people say you need to haggle when getting taxis and Tuk Tuks in Bangkok, 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 traveling.

What to do in Bangkok | tuk tuks in bangkok

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 travelers, 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 of traveling 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.

If I haven’t convinced you yet then take a read of this amazing post from Dominican Abroad. It’s full of some great advice to help you enjoy Bangkok. Or my friend Nic from See Nic Wander wrote a great post on exploring Ancient Bangkok.

Are you planning your Honeymoon in Bangkok take a read of this great guide to help you plan your stay.

What to do in Bangkok

If you are planning a trip to Thailand I have a lot of great blog posts to help with your trip:

If you are planning to visit Thailand check out my other posts:

How to see Thailand in 3 weeks

Top Tips for First Time Visitors to Thailand

What to pack for a backpacking adventure in Thailand

5 Reasons to do Yoga in Thailand 

Yoga in Thailand

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What to do in Bangkok

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

If you are planning a trip right now then you NEED to think seriously about insurance. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything! Travel insurance has always been high on the list of things to get before you travel but now more than ever it should be at the top of your list! I’m pretty sure we have all had travel plans messed up because of COVID and not all insurers covered this. So you need to find an insurer that covers travel disruption due to COVID-19, World Nomads, Safety Wing, or Travel Insurance Master are the ones to go for.

World Nomads is great for incidents that happen prior to your trip, so if you get sick or are unable to travel due to travel restrictions some of their policies will cover that as cancellation cover.

Safety Wing goes the extra mile and covers quarantine outside your home for up to 10 days, they also have a really handy map on their website showing requirements and restrictions for each country.

I also use Travel Insurance Master for some short vacation type trips as they are cheaper than World Nomads a lot of the time.

If you are doing shorter trips or a longer backpacking trip then WorldNomads or Travel Insurance Master are the best option. If you are a digital nomad or planning travel of at least 6 months then go for SafetyWing.

What to do in Bangkok

This post was proofread by Grammarly

2weekendwanderers

Sunday 10th of June 2018

Great tips! I completely agree with the hotel location, it makes a huge difference! We luckily stayed in a central hotel in Bangkok at the beginning of our trip and it was so convenient when it came to waking up early to beat the crowds. At the end of our trip the hotel was in a different part of Bangkok and we were stuck in traffic all the day, it was a nightmare!

https://2weekendwanderers.com

Katie

Thursday 5th of January 2017

These are some great tips!! I hated Bangkok for the first three days and then over night (once I adapted to street food, traffic, heat and fish sauce smell) I fell in love with it! So much so that I am moving there this year yay!

Claire Summers

Monday 23rd of January 2017

No way! Thats so cool. Yep its a grower :-)

Shem

Friday 30th of December 2016

Girl, I seriously wish I had read this 3 weeks ago! I did end up choosing to put Bangkok towards the tail end of my trip, but only having 2 nights and 3 days there (half of which felt like I was sitting in traffic) didn't feel like enough time to get the lay of the land. I also ended up doing Grand Palace at the worst time possible and if I could re-do my trip to Bangkok, I'd definitely use your pointers!

Claire Summers

Monday 23rd of January 2017

Oh no! So sorry to hear that. Hopefully we will both get to go again and do better ;)

Susanna Kelly

Friday 30th of December 2016

Awesome tips! I had this happen to me recently in Singapore where I was SO tired the first day, but I tried to push myself to the point of just crashing. It's important to recover, so your advise on resting up the first day is great. I've been to Thailand, but we flew in and out of Chiang Mai, I would love to go back and use your tips to help me plan my trip.

Claire Summers

Monday 23rd of January 2017

Thanks Susan. Ah jet lag in a new place like that is the worse!

Megan Jerrard

Thursday 29th of December 2016

Thanks for the great tips - I haven't yet been to Bangkok but it seems to be one of those destinations that people either love or hate. As always it's based upon personal experience at the time, and realistic expectations for the trip. Your tips help - thanks!

Claire Summers

Monday 23rd of January 2017

Thanks Megan. Glad to help :-)