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My Top 3 Travel Tips for Bangkok, Thailand
During my travels in 2011, I had the privilege of vising places such as Tokyo, Japan (an other cities) and then make my way to Thailand. The city we arrived in was Bangkok, a rich, vibrant and dirty city that is like non others in the South Asian area.
Out of the month my friend and I were in Thailand, about 2 weeks of it were in Bankok which gave us a lot of insight about the city along with finding great deals and experiences which we didn't find in travel books.
I'd like to share my top three travel tips, I discovered, while in Bangkok, Thailand.
1. Be Wary of English Speaking Thai People
This isn't meant, in any way, to be discriminatory against people but what I found, while traveling in Bangkok, is that the vast majority of people that spoke English were out to get you for every bit of money they could.
I'm not talking about ex-pats or transient people; I'm talking about the locals, especially around the touristy areas. The reason I say this is because those that speak well enough English are generally the ones that are trying to get you to sign up for travel guides, purchase suits or gifts.
There was a point, on my travels in Bangkok, that a Thai local that spoke decent English lead us on for three hours before trying to take our money and trick us into signing up for a travel agency (locals can make money referring you to these businesses that charge outrageous prices).
In all, take your contact, while in Bangkok, with a grain of sand because a lot of people are out to get your money. Not all Thai people are like this, obviously, but it seems to be commonplace in Bangkok.
2. Avoid the Tuk Tuk's
Tuk Tuk drivers are notorious for charging you outrageous prices for travel. Most of the time, you're getting charged 2 - 3x the amount the locals are charged.
A trick Tuk Tuk drivers like to pull is doing "stops" where they drop you off at travel agencies, tailors and other shops where you might fall for purchasing things you don't need and the driver gets a "sponsor" which gives them money - it's very common and how people haggle you down from your Tuk Tuk ride.
I highly recommend that you go with taxi's because they are very cheap (as long as they're on the meter, of course). Taxi rides are generally about $1 - $2 nearly anywhere you're going in Thailand compared to the $3 - $4 you'd pay for Tuk Tuk's.
However, Tuk Tuk rides can be fun so I wouldn't avoid them completely; have fun with them but avoid them if you don't want to be hassled.
3. Go with Street Food
The street food you find in Bangkok will, no doubt, turn your stomach sometimes because it literally is food just sitting out, baking under the sun. You immediately think that you're going to get some kind of food poisoning but during my trip, I never once got sick from street food.
The awesome thing about street food in Bangkok is that it's incredibly cheap and immensely delicious. For about $1, you can get a full plate of rice, duck and veggies - there's a ton of other options but many dishes will come with rice.
Don't be afraid to eat the street food because you'd be missing out on a lot of great dishes. There are some people cooking the same dishes for years; they've become the master of their art and even though it may not look delicious - believe me, it truly is.
My Thoughts on Bangkok, Thailand
I love sharing my travel tips while abroad because I think I bring a few things that you generally don't hear from travel shows or travel books (although they can be very resourceful).
I'm not a master of travel but I do take the time to learn the areas that I'm in and make friends with the locals. Without making friends with the locals, I would have never understood how so many people were trying to rip my friend and I off nor would we have found a lot of the cool places that aren't just the touristy areas.
What I recommend, above all else, is to take enough time to explore Bangkok on your own accord. Don't try to cram everything in within a few days; get down deep into the city and wander around.
Bangkok is an incredible city but it does have its dirty side; all of it makes for an incredible trip that you won't forget.