Last updated on August 16th, 2018 at 05:53 am
Our first destination for our 3-month Asian trip is Bangkok, Thailand. We arrived there after an early flight from Manila. We actually had to spend the night at the airport since we live 5-6 hours from the international airport in Manila. We got to Bangkok early in the morning and we headed straight to its most popular place, Khao San Road. It is where many travelers (mostly backpackers) decide to stay. Since Khao San Road is full of life 24 hours a day, there are many hotels around to choose from. In this post, we will provide all the information on how to get to Khao San from the international airport in Bangkok and things to do in Bangkok.
How to get to Khao San Road from Suvarnabhumi Airport
Suvarnabhumi Airport is located around 30 km from Bangkok city. There are a few options to get to Khao San Road from the airport:
By Taxi – The journey will take around 30 minutes, depending on the traffic. It costs around 400 Baht ($13 USD). This option is best for those traveling in group so you can split the cost.
By Airport Rail link – You have to take the BTS Train to Phya Thai Station to reach Khao San Road. The trip costs 45 Baht ($1.5 USD). From there, you need to get to Bus 59. You then head to Century Movie Plaza. The bus ride costs 16 Baht (.50 cents USD). In total, you will spend around 60 Baht which is only $2 USD. The whole journey will take about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
By Bus – Here’s some great news: There is a bus headed straight to Khao San Road for 60 Baht ($2 USD). The journey takes an hour and the bus’ departure is every 30-40 minutes from Suvarnabhumi Airport. You can find Bus S1 in Exit Number 7. We tried all of the ways to get to Khao San Road we mentioned and so far, this is our favorite because of the low price yet high quality of the ride.
We decided to spend 3 days in Bangkok before going to Ko Chang for the first time. If you are heading to Bangkok soon, we will give you a few quick facts:
The exchange rate is around 1 USD = 31 Baht. It means that, if you exchange 100 USD, you will have 3100 Baht. You can click here to know the exchange rate before your trip. We recommend you look for a good money changer in the city and avoid changing cash in the airport. If you will be using ATM, there is a withdrawal fee of 150 Baht per transaction.
SIM Card+ Internet promos come in different prices. If you want to have a SIM card for 30 days, prices go from 400-600 Baht for 1.5 GB to 15 GB of mobile data. If you want a SIM card for 7-15 days, prices go from 300-600 Baht.
Book your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.
Best time to visit Bangkok
Thailand is a beautiful tropical country with lush surroundings and a weather perfect for growing the most delicious fruits and the most captivating flora. Bangkok, being the country’s capital, is a thriving metropolis set in a humid and warm landscape that can be visited all year round.
For those who want to explore during its cooler months, the best time to visit Bangkok is from December to February. However, the rich culture and heritage of Bangkok is celebrated during the Thai New Year (or Songkran) during April, one of the countries hottest months along with March and May. Finally, Bangkok’s low season lands on May to October but the city can still be enjoyed, especially by budget travelers who prioritize good hotel deals over sunny weather.
Daily budget to visit Bangkok
Bangkok is an Asian melting pot and visiting a city as colorful as this comes with a cost. Luckily, there are ways to navigate Bangkok for a much cheaper price than the average tourist. You can look for local restaurants that serve meals that go as low as 30 to 50 THB, while beers go for 40 THB a bottle. For your accommodations, a modest room can cost around 500 THB (less than $15 USD) while a mid-range one can go for 665-1665 THB ($20-50 USD). There are also Airbnb for $20 USD, click here to get $30 USD free credits with your first booking!
There are many things to do in Bangkok and some of them come with ticket fees. For example, a visit to the Grand Palace costs 350 THB while the Reclining Buddha ticket only costs 50 THB. Just put aside $15 USD or less for your entertainment budget in Bangkok.
For around $2 USD, you can rent a bicycle to go around Bangkok. You can learn more about the other transportation options below.
Transportation around Bangkok
As an iconic tapestry that represents Asian culture really well, Bangkok is a beautiful city that you can easily navigate with different modes of transportation. If you have plenty of time to stay in the city, I suggest you try each of the following vehicles.
If you’d like to explore Bangkok away from the traffic or pollution of the busy streets, you can ride BTS Skytrain. It covers the downtown area and is perfect for traveling to the Siam Square. Skytrain offers a tourist pass for unlimited rides at 140 THB per day or a multiple-ride pass for 345-550 THB.
There are several train stations in Bangkok for traveling long distances, Hua Lamphong being the most important one and is found near Yaowarat. There’s also the Thon Buri Train Station which has trains to Kanchanaburi via Nakhon Pathom and the Wongwien Yai Train Station which is a commuter line. Finally, Bangkok’s MRT has 2 lines that connect to different stations and multiple areas all over the city.
There are all sorts of buses in Bangkok which vary in fare, condition and color. The cheapest ones recommended for tourists are the red and the white and blue buses. These buses are more spacious than the cramped small orange buses and only cost 6.50-8 THB. On the other hand, there’s an airconditioned version of the orange buses at 11 THB. The most luxurious buses that move around the city are colored pink and white, with a 20 THBflat rate.
Bangkok has 3 public bus terminals. The biggest is the Northern Bus Terminal, also known as Mo Chit 2. From here you can take a bus to Chanthaburi, Pattaya, Rayong and Trat. The Eastern Bus Terminal (or Ekkamai) also travels to the destinations mentioned above, along with Ban Phe and Ko Chang. If you want to visit Cambodia, look for the bus headed to Aranyaprathet and say that you are getting off at Poipet. The Southern Bus Terminal (or Sai Tai Mai) has long distance buses that go to areas in Southern and Western Thailand like Krabi, Ko Pha Ngan, Nakhon and Phuket.
By tuk tuk
A trip to Bangkok would not be complete without at least trying the tuk tuk, the famous 3-wheeled motorbikes of Asia. It’s honestly hard to get a good price for a ride but they are quite efficient. You just have to be smart enough not to get swindled into paying more than you should. Here’s a tip: hail tuk tuks from the main road instead of the tourist spots as many of the drivers there expect more payment than they actually deserve.
Taking a boat through the Chao Phraya River is one of the many things to do in Bangkok for tourists. However, the river is not enjoyed by travelers alone. The Chao Phraya Express Boat is used by everyone in Bangkok and has different lines traveling to all sorts of destinations. For the complete tourist experience, you can go on the Tourist Boat for 150 THB a day and 50 THB for a single ride. There’s also the San Seap Express Boat that go through the canal and river taxis that can be hired to reach areas outside the routes.
There are also plenty of taxis in this Asian metropolis. You can also use Grab or Uber if you have the budget and would rather travel in a car all to yourself.
Things To do in Bangkok
How do you get to Unicorn Cafe from Khao San Road, you ask? We rode a taxi from Khao San Road and paid around 70-80 THB for a 20 to 25 minute ride to the cafe. Make sure the taxi driver turns on the taximeter so you can’t get overcharged for as much as 200-300 THB for your ride.
Have you ever heard of Unicorn Cafe in Bangkok? It was our first time in the cafe and we can recommend it as one of the things to do in Bangkok. This is also where we met Anna Everywhere for first time. She is one of our favorite bloggers and Instagrammers. We really loved the place and had so much fun with Anna. We shared experiences about our travels, and we tried to take creative and colorful shots. Unicorn Cafe was definitely one of our favorite things to do in Bangkok.
When you visit the cafe, you can rent your unicorn onesie as your costume while drinking juice and eating yummy waffles with ice cream. The place is so colorful! It’s really nice to take pictures here, it’s definitely an Instagram-able cafe. We loved how the plates were arranged and served, too.
We ordered Blood shake and Waffles with Ice Cream during our evening visit to the cafe. The shake was really delicious and the waffles with ice cream complemented with strawberries and banana were amazing, too. Renting a unicorn onesie costs 100 Baht ($3 USD), while the smoothies and desserts cost around 300 Baht ($10 USD) and are good for 2 people.
Experience a Day Tour with Explorenique
We teamed up with Explorenique for an off the beaten path day tour. We visited sites with hardly any tourists, which means there were no lines to take pictures. Most of the time, it was just locals going around. Our local guide Geng explained to us the history and story of every place that we were visiting with complete details. The tour was very informative and enjoyable. Below, we will name all the places that we covered in the lovely tour we had with Geng.
We know Bangkok is very busy but you can find quiet places like the Toproof view. This particular one is located in Talad Noi and it had really great views of the river. You can enjoy the views here while sipping your fresh drinks. and talking about Thai culture. Aside from the river, you can also see the neighborhood from this location. It was so nice to just walk around, visit second-hand stores, and try the local street food. It was a truly authentic way of moving around Bangkok.
Don Wai Floating Market
The market is a 30-minute drive away from Bangkok. The ferry trip lasts an hour and you will find houses and temples all around. You can also feed fishes during the tour. This is also another destination with hardly any foreigners and tourists around. Before the boat ride, you can grab some local food from the market. There are snacks and sweets that we haven’t seen before in our previous trips to the country. We chose to eat duck for lunch and bought a few snacks as well. For dessert, we tried the steamed banana. It was truly delicious and sweet.
Cruise in Chao Phraya River
It’s a very interesting experience to cruise around Bangkok’s canals and observe the locals’ way of life. There were people living around the canals, kids swimming in the water, and even some flamingos and lizards lurking by. We made a stop to visit a unique temple that’s shaped like a boat. The temple was under construction at the time and was surrounded by water.
Walking Around Bangkok
We visited a few temples and a Portuguese church during our tour. This trip was not only a walking tour, but a food tour as well! We tried typical food like bread, coffee, tea and everything was so DELICIOUS! We also discovered the oldest Queen’s childhood home. The place was very beautiful. The garden was was really peaceful and kempt.
Sunset at The Golden Mount
Finally, our last stop for the day was watching the sunset at the Golden Mount. The temple Wak Saket is located on the top of a small mountain. You need to climb the stairs for around 5-10 minutes to reach the top and enjoy the pagoda, the Buddha statues and, of course, the lovely views bathed in the light of the sunset. Despite being a touristic place, it’s still totally worth it to visit. And we believe if you love chasing sunsets like us, this is the perfect place for you.
There are many temples around Bangkok and we managed to visit the most hidden and most peaceful ones. We enjoyed the explanations of our guide Geng and we learned a lot of new things about Buddhism that we didn’t know before.
Visiting Local Markets
This is our favorite activity in every country- to visit local markets at lunch time. You can see fruits, different dishes, and desserts all around. All the food was delicious. People in Bangkok are friendly and you can find very affordable prices in the local market.
Dinner Toproof View
To wrap the day up, we finished the way we started: by eating. We had dinner outside Khao San Road for the first time at the night market. We tried local dishes like coconut soup, Thai pancake and chicken belly. It was so yummy and we devoured it with some cold local beer. It was really fun to explore Bangkok with Geng. He explained so many things about Thailand and Bangkok that we haven’t hear before. The day was amazing and we can 100% recommend Geng and his excellent tours. Click here to check his website and feel free to ask him questions about touring Bangkok.
Patpong Night Market
From the Unicorn Cafe, we headed to Patpong Night Market. It was less crowded than Khao San Road’s night market and was just a 10-minute walk from the cafe. In Patpong, you can actually find many Class A rip-offs of branded clothes, watches, etc. There are also bars and restaurants everywhere. We walked around and had dinner here. A bowl of yummy noodle soup costs around 50 Baht (less than $2 USD), and it was so really so good! We absolutely love Thai food because it’s both healthy and delicious. We didn’t stay until late, though, but if you feel like going out, there are many bars to have drinks at and to meet new people.
More Things To Do in Bangkok
What to do in Khao San Road
In Khao San Road, you can literally find everything. From shopping stores to restaurants and bars, the prices are very affordable. The street is alive 24 hours a day! Much like New York, Khao San Road never sleeps. If you are wandering what do in Khao San Road, you won’t run out of new things to discover and explore.
You can have dinner starting from 50-60 Bahts ($2 USD) in Khao San Road’s night market. Our favorite budget dishes are noodle soups, pad thai and fried rice. Other local food choices costs pretty much the same, like the papaya salad and Pad Krapow, for example. A small bottle of beer can also be availed for $2 and big ones cost around $3. Prices for beer in bars and restaurants are actually the same. I love beer, and my favorite brands in Thailand are Leo and Chang.
Where To Stay in Khao San Road
For this visit in Bangkok, we decided to team up with Ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai Hotel. The hotel in the heart of Khao San Road is very new, modern and really stylish. Check out these shots of our room:
We felt at home in Ibis Styles Hotel. We were happy to meet Gift, who showed us around and shared with us some cool tips in moving around Bangkok. The room was big enough for the two of us and had all the comfort we needed, from hot water to toiletries, etc. Plus we really loved the location, especially at night time because it’s fun to think that we’re sleeping so close to the night market, bars, and restaurants. Check out the shots below if for the bigger rooms they have that are perfect for traveling with friends or family. The decor is great and we love the pillows that reminded us of Songkran Festival, the most popular feast in Thailand.
The breakfast was great! They had Asian and Western choices, so both us were happy. Rachel enjoyed her Asian breakfast while I loved my vegetables, omelette, and bread. There is a bakery in the hotel and they also have a bar for guests who want to enjoy live music at night.
Our favorite place in the hotel is the swimming pool, as usual, ha! It was super colorful and a perfect place for relaxing during the day.
Book your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.
Festivals in Bangkok
The most famous festival in Thailand is called Songkran, a water festival that’s basically three days of water fights all over the country. Aside from the water guns, balloons and buckets, the streets also overflow with parties. The festival is held from April 13 to 15 each year.
If you’re traveling to Bangkok in November, you’re in luck. You can attend Yi Peng, the lantern festival held by the banks of Peng River. Like in the movie Tangled, paper lanterns are released into the sky and creates a beautiful sight. There are also parades and religious ceremonies during this celebration.
If you want to read more of our experiences in Bangkok. If you want to read our expense guide for traveling in Thailand in a low budget.
How much it costs traveling to Thailand read our travel budget guide post!