Bangkok for Beginners


  1. Jane says:

    I’ll totally back you up on the Jim Thompson House recommendation! It’s beautiful but also serves as a peaceful respite from an otherwise crazy manic city (which I love all the same)! I always recommend it to anyone going to Bangkok.

  2. Chris says:

    First of all: Bangkok is one of my favorite cities! To me there is always this magical feeling when I visited.
    Last time I went to Bangkok I went to the Jim Thompson House because it had very high ratings on Tripadvisor. I was disappointed though, I thought it was pretty boring. At least it is close to the MBK where I always stop by when I’m in Bangkok.
    I will check out Wat Traimit, Sri Maha Mariammam and Koh Kret next time I’m in Bangkok, thanks for the tips.

  3. Rebekah says:

    honestly Bangkok has always made me a bit nervous based off watched Broken Down Palace in the 90’s and other travel blogs…. I’ll be in Thailand sometime this spring and have been debating if I really want to go there…. but it seems a shame to completely skip it. I think these are some good tips, I may try to spend a few days there and I’ll def refer back to this.. Especially at hostel/hotel recommendations- I have the worst luck picking out my own

    • Alana Morgan says:

      Please don’t let a move deter you from visiting! In 2013 Bangkok was the most-visited city in the world beating out London and Paris. Chances are you’ll be flying in or out of the city at some point during your trip, just check it out for a couple days 🙂

  4. We just visited Bangkok for the first time at the beginning of September. We made it a bit easier on ourselves and hired a local guide for our first day, to see all the major sights: Wat Arun, Grand Palace, Wat Traimit, Chinatown, Wat Pho, etc etc. It was a great decision–we would have gotten overwhelmed and cranky trying to figure out–in the heat–which direction to go, what kind of transportation to take, etc. It made the city seem so much more accessible.

    Then, we explored on our own. We did visit the Jim Thompson house–definitely spectacular if you like Asian art! It’s a beautiful home and really takes you away from the bustle of the city. Plus, we had a really delicious meal at the cafe–I know it’s more expensive than the 50 baht pad thai right outside, but it was super tasty.

    We can’t wait to go back.

  5. David says:

    Excellent wrap-up of a world class city … it’s a great place for anybody that loves the pulse of an urban area, and the chaos that comes with such a massive place!

  6. Found you via Facebook and SEA Backpacker – nice write-up. I lived in Bangkok for 6 months (and am still in Thailand) and wanted to clarify a couple of things:

    The bus system *is* complex, but not beyond all understanding. Pick up a bus map in most Asia Books bookstores for about 100 baht. They’re not perfect, but they’ll do fine. Alternatively, the Bangkok Bus Guide’s free app ( is worthwhile.

    If going to Don Mueang, get to Mo Chit BTS and catch an airport express bus (it’s an orange bus with A-1 as the route number). Quite a few other buses go there from the big bus stop, since it’s pretty much a straight run down the highway. Taxi drivers have a sixth sense as to whether you’re in a hurry.

    • Alana Morgan says:

      Thanks for the app suggestion, Chris – I didn’t know about that. You can definitely get around on the bus (and it’s SO cheap), I just don’t think it’s worth the effort for most first time visitors…it is an experience though 🙂

  7. Juli says:

    Actually, I loved BKK right away! Ofcourse, it does help if you have a guesthouse pre-booked and have them pick you up from the airport… which I would highly recommend first time visitors do. We were the same about taxis – until we found out it was CHEAPER to get a taxi than having to take the expensive ‘night boat’ back. There is so much to do, see and eat – can’t wait to visit again!

  8. Agnes says:

    Wonderful tips! Thanks for all the details 🙂 It’s time to head to BKK soon!

  9. Emily says:

    I just wanted to say a huge thank you for this post, it made our holiday! I had heard so many stories about people not liking Bangkok during their first visit, but we were lucky enough to stumble upon your tips before we headed there. So we booked a room at the Shanghai Mansion hotel as per your recommendation (stunning hotel and excellent location in Chinatown) and we also used your tips as a guide to the attractions and activities we chose to see/do. I’ve been meaning to thank you for a couple of months now and I finally managed to sit down and write…..THANK YOU!

    • Alana Morgan says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, Emily – it made my day! I’m glad you found the post helpful and enjoyed your time in Bangkok – I love hearing about people connecting with the places I love so much!

  10. Gabby says:

    Reading this just made me waaay excited for my upcoming trip to Bangkok. I am visiting for the first time at the end of this month but only for 3 days. Do you think that would be enough to see all the major sites and get a feel of the city?

  11. Thanks for this awesome collection of To-Dos and what to know in Bangkok. I’m glad you’ve found you like the city more and your advice is incredibly helpful! I also thought it was good you mentioned heat and hangry. It’s easy to get impatient or frustrated when traveling with someone else, but most of the time it’s because you need something to refresh you.

  12. Rheanne says:

    Thanks for these awesome tips! The hubby and I booked our flight for March to stay for 2 weeks! It will be our first trip to Thailand. Reading your blog and some of the comments, looks like 2 weeks is more than plenty of time to see more than just Bangkok. I was planning for Phuket, also… but looks like I may be able to squeeze in some areas in Northern Thailand. Thanks, again!

    • Alana Morgan says:

      Yes, definitely see more than Bangkok in that amount of time! Depending on what type of island experience you want I’d also consider going to a different island since Phuket is so large and built up…

  13. I’ve been weighing up the pros and cons of a move to Thailand to teach English so I’m really glad I found Paper Planes! I was so out of my comfort zone upon my first visit to Bangkok, but now I’ve grown to love the energy the city has so much I could live there!

    My faaaavourite thing to do in Bangkok (after three visits) will forever be the Chatuchak weekend markets. You could never have the same day twice in there. Really hope you don’t mind me sharing my experience of them in more detail, and some tips for anyone considering visiting:


  14. Ray says:

    This made my day! Would love to try some of your tips as I already back from Bangkok and missing it so much! I will be back soon!

    The one thing I did and really enjoyed was participating in a bicycle tour through Bangkok. At first I thought it was to hot but not at all. Cold drinks were also provided so it was amazing!

    Ok, back to dreaming over Bangkok… And what you wrote about Koh Kret.. Not heard of that one yet.

  15. Eric says:

    I back you up with the Jim Thompson House, should have a small break for food at this small place next to the 7/11 always full of locals and head to the Bangkok Art and Cultural Center next door!

    What I usually recommend for the newbie in Bangkok is to take their first day and do a tour de ville:
    – Skytrain to Chit-Lom
    – Walk to Pratumam (shopping, pay respect to the Erawan Shrine)
    – Take the Khlung Taxi to the Golden Mount (last station)
    – Take a Tuk Tuk to Khao-San-Road
    – Walk Khao-San-Rd, Soi Rambutri, stop at Chomp on Sam Sen Soi 1 for a very good smoothie (and if it’s on a weekend, do a stop at the music academy down Soi 1)
    – Take the Chao-Phraya Express (tourist version with a guide telling you what is at every pier)
    – Stop at Central Pier, go to the Bridge Café and Art Gallery (have another lunch)
    – Take the Sky Train back to your hotel

  16. Vijay says:

    There are so many things to do in Bangkok but you nailed some of the best ! Great article

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