More than 8 million people (over 12% of the total Thai population) live in this mix of modern and traditional metropolitan city.
Dating back to at least the early 15th century, it can be a hot, humid city but is a must visit often as part of a multi-centre trip.
Voted 14th in the 2020 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards Popular Destinations.
The most popular time to visit Bangkok is during the cool season between November and February. Temperatures are still warm between 21°C/70°F at night and 33°C/91°F highs. December is the coolest month. This period also has low rainfall.
The hot season is between March and June when average temperatures can hit 31°C/88°F with highs of 35°C/95°F and a low of 25°C/77°F. This can result in high humidity especially later in the hot season. Rainfall increases as you move through the hot season with June having rain on around 18 days and averaging 180mm through the month. Rain can be heavy at times.
The rainy season runs from July to October. Temperatures still average around 29°C/84°F and you can see 5 or 6 hours of sunshine a day. Torrential showers are common however which can sometimes lead to flooding.
Most international flights arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Direct flights are offered by British Airways, Eva Air and the Thai national carrier Thai Airways all from London Heathrow and take around 11 and a half hours. Cheaper flights are often found by flying indirect which also means that other departure airports are available.
My personal preference is Thai Airways, leaving on the midday flight (there is also an evening flight) from Heathrow which gets you into Bangkok at breakfast time ideal for connections and maximising your time in country. I like the midnight flight from Bangkok which lands at breakfast time in London which gives a full day in Thailand before leaving, the alternative is a lunch time return.
Suvarnabhumi provides a wide range of connections throughout Thailand, South East Asia and the rest of the world. Bangkok’s other airport Don Mueang provides alternate connections especially with budget carriers. Make sure you check which airport flights are leaving from if you have a tight turnaround for connections.
Airport Rail Link – the fastest way from Suvarnabhumi to central Bangkok with links to the MRT and BTS. The link has 8 stops and takes 30 minutes end to end. The service runs from 6am to midnight.
Taxi – often the main alternative to the rail link, unless you have pre-booked a transfer. Bangkok traffic can be hectic to say the least and transfer from the airport can take as little as 30 minutes but if you hit the traffic it can be double this.
Taking a taxi around town can be the most convenient way of getting around as there are plenty around until it rains when it can be more of a challenge. It may be worth having your destination written in Thai if possible as many drivers don’t speak much if any English. Fares are cheap but be careful to make sure they use the meter.
The Sky Train (or BTS) is a great way of getting around the city and escaping the traffic. It runs through the main city centre districts at a low cost and stations are close by many of the popular hotel districts.
The Subway (MRT) gives access to more areas and is an excellent combination with the BTS. There are interchange stations at Silom and Asoke. Both the MRT and BTS are clean and safe ways around the city.
If you have the time you must experience the Chao Phraya Express boats. They provide a perfect way of seeing Bangkok from the river and can be the best way to travel to certain parts of the city to escape the traffic. The ferry starts at Central Pier (Ta Sathorn Pier) easily accessible from the Saphan Takin BTS station. Key piers to stop at are Rachawongs (N5) for Chinatown, Tha Tien (N8) for Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Tha Chang (N9) or Maharaj Pier for the Grand Palace and other temples and Phra Arthit (N13) for Khao San Road (backpacker central) and the boutique shops and cafes at Phra Athit Road
Everyone wants to ride in a Tuk-Tuk right? These three wheel forms of transport can be found all over the city. Take care though. Make sure you agree a price before your trip as they do not have meters. They are also not the safest form of transport around Bangkok streets so be warned. You can find Tuk-Tuks all over Thailand and can be a safer option in less crowded street outside of Bangkok.
Motorcycle taxis can be the fastest way around the city for shorter trips and are found on many street corners. Again agree a price before you start your trip. Make sure that the driver supplies you with a helmet and wear it.
Find out about the different districts in Bangkok and the best places to stay during your trip
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