Welcome To Our
Bangkok Travel Guide
(A Ongoing “Work in Progress” Page)
24 Hour / Military Time
Be aware that when you arrive to Thailand people here are accustomed to using 24 Hour (Military) time.
Currency – Thai Baht
The currency used in Thailand is called the Thai Baht. As of the today (1) Thai Baht is equal to 0.031 US Dollars. To give you an idea how this has fluctuated over the years, history has shown that the Thai Baht reached an all time high of 55.50 in January of 1998 and a record low of 20.36 in July of 1981.
How to Eat at a Food Court in Bangkok
Many shopping centers and complexes throughout Bangkok have wonderful Thai “Food Courts”. Generally they offer very good – authentic Thai food for a great price. But if you have never experienced one of these before please be aware that there is a process that you have to follow. Most food courts have an area that you enter and an area that you exit. The biggest difference comes down to how you pay – either you pay before you eat or after you eat.
So, how do you eat at a food court in Bangkok?
Method One (Pay Before) – Find the area that you enter the food court. Here there should be a cashier person that will give you a pre-paid Food Voucher. Determine the amount that you want to pre-pay. After paying you then can enter the food court area. Its a good idea to walk around checking out all of the food items that are offered. When you find some you like, tell the cook then hand them your food voucher card. They will enter in your food item by scanning your card. This will subtract the amount off your prepaid card. You may repeat this process until you reach the total amount of your prepaid card. When finished eating find the area to exit. Here the cashier person will take your card and refund the difference remaining.
Method Two (Pay After) – Find the are that you enter the food court. As you walk into the food court area there should be a person here to give you a food voucher card and a napkin. It’s a good idea to walk around checking out all of the food items that are offered. When you find some you like, tell the cook then hand them your food voucher card. They will enter in your food item by scanning your card. You may repeat this process until you have ordered all the food item that you want. When finished eating find the area to exit. Here the cashier person will add all of the items you ordered and give you a total amount to pay.
Become Familiar with Sukhumvit Road
Sukhumvit Road between Siam Paragon and Central World
The main thoroughfare road that travels through the middle of Bangkok is called “Sukhumvit Road” (pronounce “SOO-khoom-WIT”). This is one of the longest roads in Thailand – traveling all the way to the Cambodian border.
Due to the nature of how this road travels through the heart of the business and shopping districts of Bangkok it’s a good idea for first time travellers to use it as a point of reference. Also, one of the main BTS Skytrain routes (Sukhumvit Line) travels down the middle of this road (above ground). Most tourists (and first time visitors) to Bangkok will most likely select a hotel that will be either on or near Sukhumvit Road.
An elevated rail system – the BTS Skytrain is an easy and convenient way to get around the business and shopping districts of Bangkok. There are two main lines in this area, the Sukhumvit Line which runs from North to East (down the middle of Sukhumvit Road) and the Silom Line that runs West to South.
A “Single Journey Ticket” can range in price from 16 Baht (0.50 cents) to 44 Bhat ($1.36 US dollars). They also provide a “One-Day Pass” which coast 140 Baht ($4.33 US dollars) which is good for unlimited rides for one day
Service runs from 06:00 am to Midnight but beware of riding during rush hour times which can be extremely crowded.
BTS Skytrain Gallery (click on any picture)
Bangkok offers an unbelievable range of shopping options:
Bangkok Shopping District:
CentralWorld – opened on 2006, it is the largest shopping complex in Thailand (11th largest in the world). Easily accessible from the BTS Skytrain, this shopping complex offers all kinds of upscale clothing boutiques, hip and funky fashions, computer and electronic gadgets, bookstores, designer furniture, international food and groceries, banks, beauty salons, gourmet restaurants and a ice-skating rink. Each floor is dedicated to a specific theme – 2nd (Womens), 3rd (Mens), 4th (Electronics), 6th (Kids), 7th (Large Thai Food Court, Restaurants and Gourmet Market). The 7th and 8th floors also include an impressive movie theater. As many as 150,000 people shop here daily
Siam Paragon – opened in 2005, it is the 3rd largest shopping complex in Thailand (13th largest in world). We consider Siam Paragon to be a bit more upscale than CentralWorld. The luxury wing here has such brands as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Marc Jacobs and Armani. Exotic automobile bands Lamborghini and Ferrari also have stores here. Bangkok’s largest bookstore Kinokuniya is located on the 3rd floor. South East Asia’s largest aquarium Siam Ocean World is located on the bottom floor. The 5th floor here has one of Bangkok’s most impressive movie theaters (3D, 4D and IMAX).
Siam Center – Located just next door to Siam Paragon, Siam Center. This shopping complex is not as big as CentralWorld or Siam Paragon but offers a more traditional shopping experience. Here you will find brands such as DKNY, Armani Exchange, Sephora, MAC, Victoria’s Secret, Adidas and Nike. The design and style here is a bit more trendy and modern with darker mood lighting (seems overly dark when walking through the complex).
Siam Discovery – remodeled in 2016, this smaller scale shopping center has won several awards for its design (one calling it the “most cutting edge in the world”). It has a unique open floor plan (similar to designs from Japan and Korea). This is one that you will have to see to experience for yourself.
MBK Center (Mahboonkrong) – located across the street from Siam Paragon and CentralWorld, it is the 16th largest complex in Thailand. Nowhere near as glitzy as it neighbors, I would consider this shopping center to be a little rough around the edges. This is probably due to being one of the oldest shopping centers in Thailand (built in 1985). The vibe here is more local “Thai Market” than upscale. Its 8 floors are loaded with many smaller stores (around 2,000) that carries merchandise that favors local Bangkok and Thai residents. It tends to be very popular with tourists – probably because of its reputation as being one of the cheapest malls in Bangkok (especially Thai souvenirs). The top floor has a discount movie theater with new releases only costing $5. Generally very crowded during weekends – many people may find this atmosphere to be a bit “overwhelming” to the senses.
– MBK Shopping Tips –
- MBK Shopping Tip – When shopping here do not but at the first place you see something. You probably will see this item again in another store maybe – maybe cheaper. Also, in the smaller non chain type stores, you can negotiate or haggle for a better price. Generally there is no harm in trying this.
- Fakes Goods & Merchandise – Many of the smaller, non chain stores here will carry fake goods and merchandise. All items are fair game – merchandise such as shoes, clothes, electronics (such as iPhones), fragrances, etc. could all be assumed fake. This also includes pirated movies and software (which could carry viruses and malware). And adding to the all things fake, be extremely very careful about purchasing jewelry, gemstones and gold. Also when purchasing electronics not all manufactures honor warranties when purchased in a country outside of your own.
- Excellent Thai Food Court – The sixth floor here offers a wonderful, inexpensive authentic Thai food court.
- Skytrain (BTS) – Bangkok’s above ground transportation system. Also easily accessible from BTS Skytrain (Siam Station), this shopping complex is located a little West of CentralWorld. Here you will find Marc by Marc Jacobs, Diesel, French Connection, Miss Sixty, DKNY, Kenneth Cole, Fred Perry, Calvin Klein, Replay, Smart Travel and North Face (which I find funny for such a hot tropical climate). Bangkok’s Madame Tussauds can be found here on the 6th floor.
- Chao Phrya River Express Boat
- Motorcycle Taxi
- Tuk Tuk
- Airport Rail Link (ARL)
- Public Buses