Bangkok has always been in my Places To Go list. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this place, especially that it is where a lot of people go for thrift shopping. This was also supposed to be a solo trip, but my fiance insisted to come. *laughs*
Before heading the adventure there are, of course, a number of things we had to prepare for the trip to be a success and as stress-free as possible. We found it easy to do so since we listed down everything we need to accomplish.
AIRFARE: I’ve always been a cheap-flight girl; that’s why I always check if there are seat sales.
Good thing we were able to get a round trip ticket during one of Cebu Pacific‘s seat sale last year, and only paid roughly around Php 7k for two people. It really helps to sign up in their newsletter as they constantly send e-mails about their promos. It is also a good idea to sign up for their Get Go Membership (similar to PAL’s Mabuhay Miles). For every trip you’ll have an equivalent number of points that you can accumulate and use in the future. I also downloaded an iOS app- Airline Promos- that prompts me whenever there are seat sales. You can find the app here.
LODGING: We looked for a cheap but decent place to stay through Agoda. Things we considered: accessibility to public transportation, cleanliness, rating/reviews, and cost per night. Since we know we’ll be using the room just as a place to rest and sleep, we chose a place that is cheap, but safe and pocket-friendly as well.
We booked Diamond Bangkok Apartment Hotel, just a few blocks away from Ratchathewi BTS. The well-known wholesale mall – Platinum Mall, and thrift shopping area – Pratunam Market are also a few blocks away. There are also other nearby hotels such as Bangkok City Hotel and Samran Place.
Agoda also has a “book now, pay later” option where you can book the place and then pay for it at a later time (usually a few days before your reserved date). There is also an option (for some hotels) where you can cancel your booking for free. I would also suggest signing up as a member (it is for free!) because there is this called “insider deals” where you can get the room rate at a lower price if you are a member.
BUDGET: Since there’s the two of us, we decided to bring money both in THB (Thailand Baht) and USD. I suggest bringing both currencies to that you wouldn’t have to exchange your USD in the airport.
This is Bangkok we’re talking about! Shopping everywhere! For thrifty shoppers like me, this is like heaven. If you are a thrifty shopper like me, I suggest you bring a specific amount that you are willing to spend on clothes and other pasalubongs. Believe me, clothes are cheap in Bangkok!
CULTURE AND LANGUAGE: Most Bangkok natives can understand English, but do not assume all of them can do. It would be best to learn simple words and phrases such as the Thai equivalent of “hello” and “thank you”. I’ve come across this site and made a PDF file that I can review while on the road.
It is also best to research about the culture in Bangkok. There are some things you can and cannot do such as mentioning anything (especially ill words) about the royal family. They are revered by the people so much that anyone speaks ill of any member of the royal family are frowned upon. This website is helpful in a lot of ways in getting to know the place before stepping on its soil.
MODE OF TRANSPORTATION: Bangkok is well known for their tricycle aka tuk-tuk. While it is a must to experience riding it even just once, it is also good if you have alternatives. Ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Grab are used by people in the city. If you do not have one prior the trip, I suggest you download and register so that you can use it while in the city. You can pay either through credit card or in cash. (In our experience, Uber and Grab are cheaper than tuk-tuk.)
WIFI CONNECTION: Data connection is one of the important things we considered having. It will be of so much help in navigating and searching of different places. Even if Bangkok has a lot of places offering free WiFi, it would still be a good idea to have a device or connection you can bring anywhere.
We came across Flytpack, a Philippine company that rents out wifi dongle for outbound travelers. They have a list of countries they cater to, its corresponding daily rate, and the daily FUP (fair usage policy). In our case, the daily rate for the Flytpack rental is at Php 180/day, with a refundable deposit of Php 2,800, and an FUP of 500MB/day. Compared to subscribing to a data roaming promo of a local telco, this one is much cheaper.
As they say, preparation is key. There were quite a number of things we had to consider, but it was all worth it.