Bangkok is a lively city both by day and night, although it is worth familiarising yourself with the local customs before arriving. You will have no problems using your personal mobile phone in Bangkok, providing that you have first arranged international access, although calls can be on the expensive side. Pay phones are readily available all over the city, at most hotels and also at Suvarnabhumi Airport, along with Internet access.
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When you arrive in Bangkok, the local Tourism Authority of Thailand offices, better known simply at ‘TAT’, are worth visiting. Also of importance, the Nation and the Bangkok Post newspapers contain regular information about city events, particularly in the weekend supplements.
Getting There and Around
International flights go through Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport, which lies 18 miles southeast of the city center. The Don Muang airport, located 16 miles north of the city, services domestic flights. Bangkok also has three bus terminals. The Mo Chit terminal is in the northern section of the city, with the Thonburi terminal in the southern section and the Ekkamai terminal in the eastern part. After arriving in the city, tourists face the daunting task of commuting around town. Buses run along myriad routes, and metered taxis abound. Don’t take a taxi that doesn’t have a working meter, as the drivers may try to overcharge you. A hotel concierge can arrange for a reliable taxi pick-up if necessary. Fodor’s Travel Guide also recommends using the Skytrain and Subway systems for going between the city center and the outlying train stations.
Where to Go
Bangkok features several prominent points of interest. The Royal Grand Palace, Wat Pho Temple and National Museum sit to the west of the Skytrain rail line in the Rattanakosin Island district, which overflows with hotels and tourist facilities. The Royal Grand Palace houses the Wat Phra Kaeo temple and the famous Emerald Buddha. Nearby lies the Wat Pho Temple, which ranks as the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok. A massive reclining Buddha statue with gold plating looms inside, and local monks mill about the grounds while concocting natural medicines and conducting prayer sessions. The iExplore Travel Guide also recommends the National Museum for its comprehensive collection of regional artifacts and free guided tours in English on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. East of the Skytrain railway line is the Sukhumvit Road area, humming with nightlife and shopping options. This district is also home to the Jim Thompson Thai House, a complex of Thai teak structures established by a silk baron in 1955. This attraction can only be seen as part of a guided tour. Additionally, iExplore suggests visiting the observation deck on the 77th floor of the Baiyoke Sky Hotel for panoramic views of the entire city. It should be noted that most temples, pagodas and palaces in Bangkok have strict dress codes. Tourists may not enter with skimpy clothing or flip-flops. Staff members require that guests dress in a slightly more formal and modest fashion if they are to be allowed entry.
When to Go
Thailand has a tropical climate. Fodor’s Travel Guide recommends November through March as the best months to visit. This period constitutes the dry season. Outside of these months the weather becomes very humid and rainy, giving way to unbearably sticky conditions and frequent flooding.
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