10 Mistakes People Make on Their First Trip to Bangkok

Common Travel Mistakes in Bangkok

    This list of traveling mistakes made by first-time visitors to Thailand should remind you that everyone has to start somewhere and learn the ropes of a new destination. We’ve collected all the useful bits that we wish we knew back before many of us decided to stick around.

    From what to pack, where to stay and simply allowing enough time to discover the city, read on to see some of the most recurring mistakes made by wide-eyed tourists touching down in Bangkok for the first time.

    1

    Packing too many clothes

    Packing lightly for any trip, not just the Thai capital, is easier said than done. But Bangkok has so many shopping options that it really does make sense to pack light and buy most of your travel clothes and gear once you arrive in Bangkok. It’s obviously worth packing at least a couple of pairs of underwear though.

    2

    Booking a hotel in the wrong area

    Bangkok is big. It’s also congested. So it really makes sense to consider the location of your hotel carefully, staying as close to your intended activities as possible. The last thing you want to be doing is wasting time in traffic jams when you could be out having fun. It's a good idea to take a look at a rundown of all the popular districts of Bangkok to see which one is right for you.

    3

    Underestimating the sun at the start of your trip

    Many people enjoy a lazy morning lounging by the pool. But if you push for a deep tan too early, you could end up burning your skin and looking like a lobster for your whole trip (or even worse, peeling and going back home as pale as when you arrived).

    Always use sunscreen and slowly reduce the factor until you have a nice base tan.

    4

    Underestimating Bangkok’s notorious traffic

    Rush hour traffic in Bangkok can be gridlock. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time when traveling out and about, especially to the airport. Missing dinner plans is regretful, but missing your flight is a serious pain.

    The Bangkok Skytrain (BTS) continues to improve and is the preferred way to travel around downtown when you’re in a hurry.

    5

    Not giving yourself enough time in the city

    In your haste to get to the beaches down south, you might only give yourself one night in Thailand’s capital. This isn’t nearly enough time to appreciate all that Bangkok has to offer.

    Of course, there’s no beach here, but the world-class shopping, partying, dining and more mark Thailand’s capital out as a truly cosmopolitan world city. Take our advice and give yourself a couple of nights, minimum.

    6

    Not buying a local SIM card to use while in Thailand

    International roaming charges can cost a fortune while not having mobile data means missing out on the convenience provided by some seriously helpful apps. Make sure you pick up a Thai SIM card to use while you’re here. Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports both have True Communications shops with SIM cards and you can get them from plenty of other places around the city.

    7

    Not buying travel insurance

    Self-explanatory, really. Don’t travel without it.
    (Just to be clear…we’re not selling insurance)

    8

    Exchanging large sums of currency before your trip

    Another common mistake made by first-time visitors to Bangkok, and Thailand in general, is changing large amounts of cash at generally bad exchange rates in your home country.

    There’s really no need because exchange rates in Bangkok are almost always better, ATMs are widespread and most restaurants take credit cards. Plus, you spare yourself the constant patting of pockets or checking of hand luggage due to the anxiety of losing all your cash.

    9

    Not bargaining (or bargaining too much)

    Bargaining is all part of the game at Bangkok markets, and it’s fun too. Don’t be shy about bartering for a better price by using some of our tried-and-tested methods.

    Yet, don’t get carried away and start bartering in restaurants or 7-Elevens. If you’re being charged 20 baht for a bottle of water (instead of the usual 10 baht) at the top of a mountain, spare a thought for the poor soul who had to carry it up there and pay the extra.

    10

    Not being adventurous enough

    Bangkok is a safe city and, as long as you keep your wits about you, you can really explore this urban jungle from top to bottom. Don’t stick to shopping mall meals and western pubs, especially if it’s your first time here.

    Follow your feet and see where they take you in Bangkok – you’re bound to see something remarkable!

    Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveler

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