When to fly to Bangkok
The best time to take airline tickets to Bangkok is between November and March. Temperatures are in the mid 20s (Celsius) and humidity is at its lowest. At this time, hotels are often fully booked and rates can be double those during the off season.
If you don't mind it hot, humid and rainy visit in May, June, and September. Flights and hotels can be cheaper.
The shiny new Suvarnabhumi Airport is a fantastic introduction to Thailand's capital city. Colourful terminals, pieces of traditional Thai art in distinctive red and gold, cutting-edge architecture, excellent restaurants and stores and friendly people, it is a microcosm of Bangkok itself.
In the bustling city outside, Western commercialism and Eastern Buddhist traditions exist side by side. To really take the pulse of the city visitors would need to book cheap flights to Bangkok year after year, but a taster visit would take in the east side of the Chao Phraya where most of the major sights are: Grand Palace, Wat Po and National Museum.
To sample the Bangkok night-life revellers are not restricted to Patpong, the red-light district. The Khao San Road, where backpackers throng, is home to lively bars and clubs, and the central area has world-class clubs and bars. Thai boxing, with its Wai Khru ritual and Ram Muay dance, is the national sport and matches are popular with Thais and visitors alike.
The shopping alone is almost reason enough to visit. Bustling street markets such as Chatuchak and sparkling shopping malls and night markets cater for every whim.
Bangkok climateThe climate varies but hovers between 24 and 33 degrees Celsius (75-91 Fahrenheit). Travellers arriving on cheap flights to Bangkok in March, April and May will experience humidity. Monsoon season covers June through October. November through February is when the weather is cooler and less humid.
Getting around Bangkok
Getting around Bangkok
There are many different ways to navigate through the busy, crowded streets of Bangkok. Hop aboard the Skytrain, which runs on a raised monorail, for great views of the financial and shopping districts.
The train is connected with the underground, which is easy to use and covers the parts of Bangkok not connected to the Skytrain.
Buses crisscross the city, but the system can be confusing to navigate. You’re better off taking a taxi or tuk-tuk, both of which are inexpensive.
Don’t rent a car for your stay. You’ll learn quickly that Bangkok drivers are very aggressive and traffic is a nightmare. If you really want your own car, hire a car and driver for the day instead.
Heading out on foot is doable, but you’ll move slowly. Foot traffic crawls along, which is great if you want to experience the colour of the city, but slow-going if you’re trying to get somewhere.
The water taxis lining the Chao Praya River are another popular tourist option.
You’ll also find that Bangkok is the centre of Thai travel, so you can find a bus, train or flight to almost anywhere else you’re looking to go.
Bangkok insider information
- On Soi Kasemsan, opposite the National Stadium, is the fascinating Jim Thompson House. The American responsible for the country's silk industry settled in Bangkok in 1945 and put together the complex of six traditional houses from around Thailand. It is open from 9am to 5pm each day, cost 100 baht.
- The Royal Barge Museum is across the river from the Grand Palace. There are eight barges displayed here; eight out of the 50 used for formal processions. The barges are wonderfully ornate, carved and gilded and very colourful. Suphannahong (golden swan) needed a crew of 50 oarsmen.
- Bangkok is located on the Chao Praya river. Taking a ferry that you can jump on or off at different points along the river is a fascinating way to soak up the atmosphere. Make sure you get off at the Grand Palace. Further out, 45 minutes from Bangkok, is Ayutthaya, the ruined city. Don't miss the indoor flower market near Sapan Phat pier.
- Thailand's oldest massage school is at the back of the Wat Pho temple complex.
- After you land on cheap flights to Bangkok, hit the streets for lunch or dinner. Food stalls line almost every street. Delicacies include deep-fried grasshopper, but more pedestrian - and perhaps palatable - dishes include charcoal-grilled chicken (kai yang), spring rolls (pop pia) and sweet, filled pancakes (khanom beuang).
- For a panoramic view of Bangkok make your way to the Baiyoke Sky Hotel on Rajprarop Road. It's Thailand's tallest hotel with 88 floors. There is an observation deck and Sky Walk on the 77th floor and a revolving roof deck on the 84th floor. The Roof Top Bar and Music Lounge on the 83rd floor opens between 10am and 1.30am.
- The Suan Lum Night Market is smaller than the daylight-operating Chatuchak and less touristy than Patpong. The market sells clothes by up-and-coming Thai designers and silverware, jewellery, crafts etc.