Solo Travel Destination: Bangkok, Thailand
We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Doris, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Doris is from the United States, and submitted the following report about Bangkok. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 2 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: Thai, English, Chinese, Malay, Lao
Reasons to go: Bangkok offers a great value for exploring juxtapositions of history, culture, and religion with modern commerce, nightlife, cuisine, and shopping, set amid picturesque topography.
The affordability of options for dining, entertainment, shopping, and transportation make Bangkok a well-known value travel destination.
The rich depth of history, culture, and religion surround you on each corner, from the unexpected shrines on the busy city sidewalks to the lavish temples with some of the most-recognized religious icons in the world including The Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho and the Demon Guardians and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha at the Grand Palace.
In sharp contrast to the deep religious roots, Bangkok is also known for its infamous nightlife in districts such as Soy Cowboy, Patpong, and Nana. Current-day elegant nightclubs, live music venues, and exceptional restaurants go far to diminish the seedy reputation of the past. Current government restrictions limit the operating hours of most establishments, but for the true party goer, there is always an after hours party to be found!
A wide array of dining options can be found in Bangkok – from limitless choices at nightly street food vendors, to casual spots set in lush tropical landscaping, to upscale dining with spectacular views of the Chao Phraya River. The famous Cabbages & Condoms is something definitely out of the ordinary.
Shopping in Bangkok should include a visit to one of their affordable tailors – suits, dresses, and shirts, custom made andshipped to your home at a fraction of the cost of one off-the rack suit. Another part of the shopping experience in Bangkok is the late night and floating markets. Some of the best late night markets are Saphan Phut, Patpong Night Market, and Asiatique. Floating markets include Taling Chan Market, Bang Ku Wiang Market, Tha Kha, and Damnoen Saduak.
If you have never taken a crazed ride through a city in a Tuk Tuk, it is a perfect way to zip around town – if you’re not too queasy! You can often negotiate a deal with a Tuk Tuk driver for the whole day for less than separate trips from one destination to the other.
However, when dealing with the price of almost anything (other than a restaurant, for example) you must be ready to negotiate! It is by no means insulting, as long as you do it in a polite manner. Do some research online to find recent travelers’ posts of price guides and keep a list with you as you enter the shopping arena – suits, gems, souvenirs, even tuk tuk rides. I also like having a pre-printed exchange rate sheet, partly so I don’t have to continuously do the math while I am focusing on my negotiations…but mostly because the vendors see my sheet and begin to give me a modicum of respect that I am prepared and ready to do business. You must be well prepared and wise, since there are a few scam artists out there that appear to be incredibly friendly and helpful while they steer you to one particular store or another (and collect their kickback at the end of the day). Unfortunately, some of the shop keepers will take advantage of you if you are not prepared. But once you establish respect via proper negotiating, they are very friendly.
Familiarize yourself with and use the very clean and safe public transit system and don’t waste money on a river tour when you can take a commuter ferry on the Chao Phraya River to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way to the Grand Palace. Just make sure to not sit in the section reserved “Monks Only.”
Between the value and amazing cultural sights, Bangkok has something to offer for everyone and is a city most definitely worth more than one visit!
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety - 3 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language - 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 3 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 2 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult)