Flights To Bangkok
The largest city and capital to Thailand, Bangkok is situated southwest in the Chao Phraya River delta close to the Gulf of Thailand. Bangkok that pulsates day and night with excitement around every corner entertains more visitors than any other city in the world. Indulge your taste buds with local dishes from modest street vendors or have a romantic meal at a rooftop restaurant as you savour the best of eastern cuisine and hospitality. Pamper your tired body with a range of massages from beautiful petite oriental ladies that leave you rejuvenated and brand new to explore the night-life.
Temperatures are normally always high with May being the warmest month and December the coolest. January is the driest month and September the wettest. Bangkok’s rainy season is from May through to October.
The warm season, from late March to early May, experience temperatures of over 35°C with lows of 26°C. The cold season, from late October to mid-January, encounter daily temperatures of below 32°C while the coldest day of the year is 25th December with an average low of 21°C and high of 31°C.
November to April is Bangkok’s high season and the most expensive time to visit. Flights and hotels should be booked at least three months in advance to get the best rates before the best hotels are fully booked. Peak month of the year is January with rates often doubled for hotels while during February and particularly March, better value is obtained on hotel accommodation. Naturally during this period, venues are crowded with streets having increased traffic.
May through to October is mixed with days of clouds, sunshine and frequent rain but still a great time to visit. September and October are the wettest months but it’s a much more relaxed experience with streets and venues not as crowded as in the high season and some of the best hotels offering astonishingly low rates, it’s an ideal time for bargain shopping and affordable excursions.
Why Visit Bangkok
Why not visit a multi-faceted metropolis dating back to the early 15th century dripping in culture and history with royal palaces, temples and the largest teak building in the world; the river Chao Phraya meandering through and disappearing into the Gulf of Thailand some 25 kilometres south of the city; shopping, dining and a nightlife like nothing you’ve experienced; boat trips down canals with views of traditional architecture and a different way of life; floating markets, silk looms, parks, rice paddies and orchids, why wouldn’t anyone want to visit!
Getting Around Bangkok
There are buses, mini-buses, taxis, tuk-tuks, motorcycle taxis, trains and water buses to get you around.
The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) dominates the bus service with concessions granted to private operators. Buses and mini-bus vans service a total of 470 routes throughout the region. A rapid bus transport system owned by the BMA has one line operating from the business district at Sathon to Ratchaphruek on the western side of the city.
Taxis are everywhere and a popular mode of transport and if you need a quick ride somewhere, opt for a motorcycle taxi that you can find at a regulated rank with a fixed or negotiable fare. Taxis have earned a bad reputation for refusing to transport passengers when the destination doesn’t suit them.
Bangkok Train Station (Hau Lamphong) is not complicated with the entrance leading you directly to the ticketing and waiting area. It’s the main railway terminal for travel to northern, eastern and southern Thailand and connects with the ‘MRT’ underground. Time-tables can be seen on two enormous electronic displays in both English and Thai. Ticket fares vary with seating and trains so ensure, before purchasing your ticket, you understand the various options available. First class provides up to 24 single-passenger compartments or seats while second class caters for 26 to 40 seats per compartment. You have a choice of six trains, from fastest to slowest: Special Express; Express; Rapid; Ordinary; Bangkok Commuter and Rural Commuter. Besides destination trains, ‘State Railway of Thailand’ (SRT) has a few one-day excursion trains that travel to major regional attractions. Also provided are overnight excursions perfect for travellers wanting to relax, with time to spare and who enjoy travelling by train. Each trip includes meals, guides and accommodation either on the train or at selected resorts but not included are fees to visit monuments or museums.
A great way to explore and get around Bangkok is with the ‘Bangkok BTS Skytrain’ (BTS). Planned routes allow you to get more out of your BTS-hopping experience with trains arriving every 3 to 6 minutes from 6.30 a.m. to midnight. Comprising two lines, the ‘Silom Line’ runs west to south while the ‘Sukhumvit Line’ runs north to east, connecting at ‘Siam Station’ and interconnecting with the underground MRT at ‘Sala Daeng and ‘Asok’ stations. Be aware that during peak periods, these trains are fairly packed.
Not to be missed is travelling by river boat, be it a river taxi, long tail boat or an express boat. The ‘Express Boat River Taxis’ offer five options with different coloured flags, or no flag, indicating services and stops provided.
Long Tail boats can be hired for private use and offer a more personal journey along the Chao Phraya River and canals.
When you need to get from one side of the river to the other, simply take a ‘River Crossing Ferry’ available at 32 different ferry crossings.
Visitors staying at luxurious 5-Star hotels travel for free in ‘Hotel Shuttle Boats’ that ferry them to and from their hotel to the ‘Sathorn Central Pier’ where the ‘BTS Skytrain’ connects at ‘Saphan Taksin’.
Large ‘Canal Boats’ are found moving up and down Bangkok’s biggest canals, the largest being the ‘Saen Seab’ that divides the ‘Old City’ from Bangkok. These boats, in the early morning and late afternoon, provide a vital link for office workers with little seating available but afford visitors a fascinating glimpse into the everyday lives of Bangkok people.
‘River Cruise’ boats operate from 7 p.m. each night winding past iconic sights with dinner available.
Car rental vehicles are available but it’s not advisable as drivers in Bangkok can be belligerent besides traffic being hectic. If you have to travel by car rather hire a car with a driver for the day.
Getting to the airport
Easier than taking a bus or taxi to Bangkok’s ‘Suvarnabhumi International Airport’ is the ‘Airport Rail Link’ with two non-stop express routes (SA Express), departing from ‘Phayathai Station’ and ‘Makkasan City Interchange Station’. Travellers flying with ‘Thai International’ or ‘Bangkok Airways’ (with their ‘Express Line’ ticket) can conveniently check-in their luggage at ‘Makkasan’ which is open daily from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. with a check-in time of three hours prior to flight departure or up to 12 hours in advance.
Passengers departing ‘Suvarnabhumi International Airport’ will find the ‘Airport Rail Link’ on the first floor and all it takes is a quick 15 to 18 minutes to downtown Bangkok, operating from 6 a.m. until midnight.
The ‘Airport Rail Link’ connects with the ‘MRT’ underground at ‘Makkasan City’ (MRT Petchaburi Station) including the ‘BTS Skytrain’ at ‘Phayathai Station’.
Visitors with not much luggage and not in a hurry can opt for the ‘SA City Line’ with six stops between ‘Phayathai’s’ downtown station and the airport and the trip taking 30 minutes.
Tickets can be purchased with either bills or coins from Automatic Token Dispensers located at all stations either as single trip tokens, suitable for temporary visitors, or pre-paid ‘Smart Passes’. The ‘SA Express’ has flat rate of 90 baht while the ‘SA City Line’ starts at 15 baht up to 45 baht.
Visitors of two or more or in a group benefit more by taking a taxi to the airport.
There is a weight restriction of 32kg for checked-in baggage at the ‘City Air Terminal’ irrespective of the airline’s maximum limitation.
Smart Passes’ from the ‘Airport Rail Link’ are not compatible with the ‘BTS Skytrain’ or the ‘MRT’ underground.
When visiting the ‘Grand Palace and ‘Temple of the Emerald Buddha’, you have to be properly attired before being allowed in. Men must were long pants, shirts with sleeves and socks while ladies should be modestly dressed with no bare shoulders or see-through clothing. If not prepared, there is a booth at the entrance that provides applicable clothing.
Check out ‘Cheap hotels’ in Bangkok that are not equivalent to those in London or New York! In Bangkok you can get excellent value for money for accommodation in a budget hotel with a spacious bedroom and a host of amenities and in the middle of the city.
Very popular for backpackers, ‘Khao San Road’ has budget accommodation, shops and bars, attracting visitors from all over the globe.
Indulge in a romantic, magical night-time cruise along the ‘Chao Phraya River’ on the 120 year old luxurious river barge ‘Apsara’. Gaze in absolute awe as you float up river, stopping to take photos of the majestic ‘Temple of the Dawn’, the ‘Grand Palace’ and the ‘Rama VIII Bridge’ while being treated to a scrumptious 5-course candle-lit Thai feast with superb service and hospitality.
See how many magnificent temples, from more than 400 scattered around Bangkok, you’re able to view, speechless with their individual architectural beauty.
Take a few early morning hours to visit ‘Pak Klong Talad’ (Bangkok Flower Market) pulsating between 3 and 4 a.m. Lose yourself in a kaleidoscope of vibrant, colours as truck loads of flowers are brought in from all over the country.
Have loads of fun and laughter during April, the month of ‘Songkran’, as Thai people celebrate their new year by saturating each other and everyone else with cold water.
Escape the city chaos and relax in nature at ‘Lumphini, ‘Suanlaung Rama IX or the ‘Chatuchak-Queen Sirikit-Wachirabenchathat’ park with a picnic basket.
Get to the ‘Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, centrally located but keep a day or more to view many other museums, public and private galleries not forgetting the performing arts featuring traditional theatre and dance.
Take a ‘Long tail’ boat to one of five floating markets. Just 12km from Bangkok, open all day is ‘Taling Chan’.