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Facts and information about Bangkok
At a Glance Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand and the most populous city in the country. The city occupies 1,568.7 square kilometers (605.7 sq mi) in the Chao Phraya River delta in Central Thailand, and has a population of over 8 million people. If there is anything to say about the city, there is never a dull moment in the vibrant Thailand capital! Best time to travel When preparing for a trip anywhere, it is usually appropriate to plan according to weather, however when considering travelling to Bangkok, there isn’t much to consider as it is almost always hot. The coolest time to visit Bangkok is late November to mid-January. The Thais call this period the “cool season”. The weather is a tropical cool, still humid, but comfortable. There still will be no need to pack those warm clothes. "Cool" does not mean you need to change your tropical wardrobe; it merely means you will sweat a little less. The time of year you may want to avoid is from March until the rainy season begins in May. Language Thai is the most widely used language across Bangkok, however the immigration of various non-Thai communities has led to the penetration of many other languages including English. Living Costs The general living cost in Bangkok is extremely cheap. Below are some examples of what you can typically expect to pay for certain things: A meal in a inexpensive Restaurant 60.00 ฿ - £1.23 A meal for two in a mid-range Restaurant, Three-course 600.00 ฿ - £12.21 Combo Meal at McDonalds or Similar 120.00 ฿ - £ 2.46 Domestic Beer (0.5 litre draught) 60.00 ฿ - £ 1.23 Imported Beer (0.33 litre bottle) 100.00 ฿ - £ 2.05 A regular Cappuccino 60.00 ฿ - £ 1.23 Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle) 15.11 ฿ - £0.30 Water (0.33 liter bottle) 10.00 ฿ - £ 0.25
The currency used in Bangkok is Thai Baht. By Thai law, any traveller arriving in Thailand must carry at least the following amounts of money in cash, travellers cheques, bank draft or letter of credit, according tovisa category: Non-Immigrant Visa, £314 per person or £629 per family Tourist Visa, £157per person or £629per family Transit Visa or no visa, £198 per person or £157 per family Please bare in mind that your funds might be checked by authorities. There is no limit to the amount of Thai or foreign currency you can take into Thailand. Upon leaving, you are permitted to take no more than 50, 000B per a person without special authorization; exportation of foreign currencies is unrestricted. Banks are commonly available where you can exchange money etc. and almost every bank in Bangkok has at least one ATM.Standard banking hours are 8.30 am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday, though some banks close at 4.30pm on Fridays.
Incase of an emergency below are some important numbers to jot down: Emergency Services 191 Fire 199 Tourist Police 1155
Country and People
Bangkok was instituted as the official capital of Thailand in 1782 and fundamentally is the history of Thailand. Several of the country’s important events have unfolded here, and today the language, culture and food of the city represent those of the entire country. The cities name of Bangkok, used commonly by foreigners, was derived from a name that dates before the city was built—the village or district (bang) of wild plums (makok).
Traditions and Culture
The traditional technique of greeting people in Thailand is known as Wai Prah. Thai people greet each other by linking both their hands together and bringing them towards their chins and by bending their heads forward slightly. This normal form of greeting is used instead of the western handshake. It is used for greeting, saying goodbye and to express respect.
In Bangkok, approximately 92% of people are Buddhist, 6% are Islamic, 1% are Christian and 6% are Hindu. There are also a few Jewish believers. Bangkok has on average around 400 Buddhist temples, 55 mosques, 10 churches, and 2 synagogues.
Canal taxi boats run along Khlong SaenSaep (Banglamphu to Ramkhamhaeng). These boats are typically used by daily commuters and pull into the piers for just a few seconds – jump straight on or you’ll be left behind. Fares range from 7B to 20B.
Bangkok’s public buses are cheap and comfortable way to get about the city. They are run by the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority(02246 4262; www.bmta.co.th). Most of the bus lines run between 5 am and 11 pm, except for the ‘all-night’ buses, which run from 3 am to midmorning.
Renting a car just to drive around Bangkok is not recommended. Parking is difficult, traffic is irritating and road rules can be baffling. If you still want to give it ago, all the big car-hire companies have offices in Bangkok and at Suvarnabhumi airport. Rates start at around 1500B per day for a small car. An Internationa lDriving Permit and passport are required for all rentals.
Bangkok has two main airports. Suvarnabhumi International Airport, 30 km east of the central Bangkok and Don Muang Airport, 25km north of the city. Bangkok is a major Southeast Asian air hub, and lots of airlines fly regularly between the Thai capital and Europe, Asia, the USA and Australia.
Bangkok’s thousands of brightly coloured are mostly new, air-conditioned and have working seatbelts in the front seat (though less often in the back!). You are able to flag down a taxi almost anywhere in central Bangkok.
Discover and Enjoy
There are many treasures that have given Bangkok is iconic status that must be visited including: Damnoen Floating Market The Damnoen Floating Market is the most popular floating market in Thailand and is a fantastic way of gaining an insight and an authentic experiences into by gone life. Chao Phraya River &Waterways Is one of the most scenic areas, the riverside mirrors a constantly changing scene day and night: water-taxis and heavily laden rice barges chugging upstream, set beside a beautiful backdrop of glitzy temples and luxury hotels. Chinatown in YaowaratIs an exotic, colorful and pleasantly chaotic area. The area is bursting with an array of different market stalls of which hordes of shoppers descend upon to grab a good bargain. The town is also known to be a food heaven to.
There are many festivals celebrated in Thailand’s capital that are a must see including: The VegetarianFestival Restaurants and street stalls across the city will put of yellow flags to announce their participation in the festival, which involves serving purely vegetarian dishes. Songkran Festival In the hottest month of the year (April) the entire city participates in a friendly water fight and hosts numerous street partys that last for an entire week. During this festival most businesses shut down completely. Chinese New Year In the official Chinatown of Bangkok (Yaowaraj) you will find one of the most exhilarating celebrations known to the City. The street is lined with hordes of people, dragon dancers, fire crackers and a of course is not complete without a Chinese banquet.
Bangkok has a unique shopping culture that enables you to drive some hard bargains. There are several market stalls found in the streets of Bangkok where you can certainly do this! Shopping centres and huge department stores include CentralWorld, The Emporim and the Gaysorn Shopping Mall where you will be able to find almost everything you can imagine! Most shopping malls in Bangkok are open daily from 10 am to 10 pm. It is Important to keep in mind that none of the shops let you try on clothing, which means you must think twice about what you buy! Also ensure thatyou make the most of Tourist Discount Cards and VAT refunds!
Sepak Takraw Is fundamentally a net game that is played with the feet and is a cross between football, volleyball, gymnastics and kung fu! This sport is a popular game played throughout the region and will guarantee to give you a good time! Cycling This is a great way to explore Bangkok as you will not get stuck in heavy traffic! If you take to the roads at the right time of day then you will experience a fantastic side to Bangkok. Cycling tours have recently become very popular in Bangkok for you are able to explore areas of the City that otherwise you could not by bus or car. Badminton Bangkok has numerous badminton courts, most of which have the rackets, shuttlecocks etc. available for rent. It is also advised to reserve these courts in advance as they are normally in very high demand!
Air force museum The royal air force museum is a small but fascinating place that has a small plane collection that covers the entire history of Thai Aviation since the very first double winged plane. Erawan Musem A Huge three-headed elephant statue will be the first and last thing you see upon visiting the Samut Prakans Erawan Musuem. Inside the museum you will find rare eastern antiques, rampant religious iconography, and extraordinary décor that will leave you speechless. Forensic Musuem Located inside the Siriraj Hospital on the west bank ofthe Chao Phraya river, you will find an exhibition that is extremely unusual and not of your typical museum.
Bangkok’s night life has a reputation for being a memorable one, in a relaxed and safe environment. Bangkok has a diverse nightlife scene that features everything from outstanding live music, jazz clubs and trendy bars. Hot spots for a great night out include Patpong, Nana and Soi Cowboy.
Food stalls line the streets on Bangkok and provide convenient, delicious and cheap dishes. Wherever you go in the city, these food stalls are plentiful and some are even open around the clock. There are numerous made-to-order' food stalls that do not provide a menu – as whatever you want, they will cook it for you. There is also a bewildering choice of restaurants in Bangkok that all provide luscious Thai cuisine. Typical food includes spicy northeastern favourites like 'som tum' (spicy papaya salad), the national dish 'tom yum koong' (a herbal and spicy prawn soup) and fresh seafood and yellow curries with a southern influence. Expect VAT to be added to the bill, as is 10% service, but do check. Last orders for food varys between 10.30pm and midnight. Which ever option you decide to go for, the city provides extraordinary culinary experiences, and it will not cost you a fortune!