Bangkok 1 2 3: Three tips for living in BKK
Finding a Place to Stay
1. AFFORDABLE ACCOMMODATION
Bangkok is full of very affordable crappy apartments. If you want to be real cheap, you can rent rooms for less than a hundred bucks per month . Certain areas are cheaper than others. Sukhumvit is one of the more expensive areas due to its central location. It is proper downtown Bangkok and where you find two of Bangkok's main red light districts; Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy. There are tons of options for hotels around here. If you're only coming for a short trip and you are here for the excitement of nightlife, stay in Sukhumvit.
If you want a nice impressive condo for a short term stay, check out www.airbnb.com. They have tons of condos available starting at $20 US per night.
Just north of Sukhumvit you will find Ratchadapisek Road. Known by locals as simply Ratchada is well connected to the city by the MRT subway system which makes it very convenient to get anywhere in Bangkok. Rents in Ratchada are considerably lower than Sukhumvit and you aren't surrounded by touts and tourists. Remember, the further you get from central Bangkok the cheaper the rent.
If you will stay for a long period of time keep in mind that there are plenty of cheap places if you are willing to escape the smog and bustle of central Bangkok.
Some websites to help your apartment or condo search:
Thai noodle soup (Goy Teo)
Eating Cheaply Like the Locals
2. STREET FOOD the food you can find on the streets in Bangkok is simply amazing in it's flavor, variety, and price. It is very easy to eat a good meal for about 1 dollar (US). A great variety of Chinese style noodle soups, stir fries, curries, and all kinds of fried goodies are found everywhere in Bangkok. Some places are better than others but overall the best food in the city is found on the street. Some western tourists avoid street food because they think it's dirty or that they can't drink the water. I have lived in Bangkok for more than a year and have never gotten ill from street food, nor have i had any food poisoning. I understand concern about the cleanliness of food stalls and sometimes you see things that make you a bit weary about eating the food. I will reiterate that I drink the water and eat the food on the street everyday and have never had a bad experience. However your body will probably need time to adjust. It took me about two weeks before my system was regular. I never vomited and never felt bad. I just had to use the toilet a bit more than usual. This subsided after two weeks and now all systems GO!! And if you just can't bring yourself to live off street food you can find restaurants where you can still eat fairly cheap 100 - 200 baht a person which comes out to roughly 3-6 dollars per meal. Western food can be had easily but it's not cheap. Every once in a while I need a pizza or a burger so I will splurge. On average a good Italian style pizza will run you about 7 bucks. A burger will cost about the same. With all that said I strongly urge you to eat on the street. The Thais know that this is where you find the best Thai food in Bangkok and with a little practice you eat for 3-4 dollars a day.
I know It can be a bit intimidating ordering from street vendors when you don't speak Thai, however start by looking at what everybody is having for a reference. If you're not too picky just go up to the vendor and say "one with everything" they will understand you and if all else fails just Smile real big. Thai people love a good smile.
Some street stalls on Soi Rangnam
3. TRANSPORTATION Traffic in Bangkok is notoriously bad. Getting across town just a few miles can take an hour or more in a taxi during rush hour. Luckily there is the BTS Skytrain, check out the route map here: www.bts.co.th/en/map.asp. The skytrain will get you where you need to go most of the time. There are two lines which span the city and many new stops in the construction phase. It's about 1 dollar per ride depending on how far you go. Another major artery is MRT subway system. Check out the route map here:www.bangkokmetro.co.th/map.aspx?Menu=8&Lang=En.
If you don't feel like making the effort to use public transport or your destination cannot be reached, taxis are fairly cheap. The meter starts at 35 baht (1 dollar) and you can get anywhere in Bangkok for roughly 100 baht (3 dollars). BE CAREFUL what time you take a taxi. Traffic can easily leave you stranded in traffic for 2 hours if your not careful.
Tuk-tuks can be helpful if you use them when you have things to carry. Most supermarkets will have tuk-tuks waiting outside to help you get your groceries home. This is the only time that I use them. Outside of transporting groceries you need to be aware of tuk-tuk drivers and their motives. Some are salesmen who will offer you all kinds of services including soapy massages, tailors, ping-pong shows and bargain gemstone dealers. Only get a ride from a tuk-tuk if there is no other option and never accept any offer that sounds to good to be true.
For more info on a popular Bangkok scam: