Advance Planning

Three months before Book a room at a smaller boutique hotel, especially if visiting during December/January.

One month before Make reservations at the critically acclaimed nahm restaurant; if you plan to stay in Thailand longer than 30 days, apply for a visa at the Thai embassy or consulate in your home country.

One week before Book lessons at a Thai cooking school.

Resources

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/bangkok) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

BK (www.bk.asia-city.com) Online version of Bangkok's best listings magazine.

Bangkok 101 (www.bangkok101.com) Tourist-friendly listings mag.

Bangkok Post (www.bangkokpost.com) English-language daily.

@RichardBarrow Informative Thailand-based blogger.

Top Tips

  • Eat at the market or the street stalls for true Thai flavour.
  • Learn a few Thai phrases and always smile.
  • Don't try to cover too much ground in a day; Bangkok's heat and traffic will ensure that doing so is more of an ordeal than a holiday.
  • Simply ignore any taxi driver who refuses to use the meter.
  • The BTS (Skytrain) and the MRT (metro) are the fastest and most convenient ways to get around 'new' Bangkok; the Chao Phraya Express Boat is a slow but steady way to get to the older parts of town.
  • Keep your cool when bargaining or if you find yourself in an altercation with a local.

What to Take

  • Thai language phrasebook
  • Thailand electrical adaptor
  • GSM mobile phone and charger
  • A small day pack
  • Long trousers/long skirt/long-sleeved shirt (for visiting religious sights)
  • Lightweight clothes
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Comfortable sandals
  • Sunscreen (available but expensive in Bangkok)
  • Earplugs

What to Wear

Light, loose-fitting clothes are generally the most comfortable in Bangkok's tropical, urban heat. Shorts are usually acceptable and comfortable, but when you visit temples, wear clothes that cover you to your elbows and knees (both men and women). Likewise, sandals are cool and easily removed at temples, but bring at least one non-shorts-and-sandals outfit if you plan on clubbing, fine dining or visiting any of the city's nicer rooftop bars.

Pre-departure Checklist

  • Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months past your arrival date
  • Confirm your airline's baggage restrictions
  • For visits longer than 30 days, apply for a tourist visa at a Thai embassy or consulate in your home country
  • Inform your bank and/or debit-/credit-card company that you'll be travelling
  • Arrange for appropriate travel insurance