A first-timers’ experience in Thailand, and dealing with the essentials of getting around the capital, Bangkok.

We’ve actually found Bangkok to be surprisingly easy for tourists, with an excellent transport infrastructure. UK tourists are included in the Thai Visa Exemption arrangements for many countries. An immigration form is handed out for completion on the plane, with one part handed in upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi International Airport and the second part upon departure from the country.

Tourist SIM
Tourist SIM

Internet connectivity is a doddle. Several kiosks in the arrivals hall sell tourist SIM packages offering unlimited 4G/3G data for set periods of days. We chose the 15 day Happy Tourist SIM from the DTAC counter, for 599 Baht. No formalities other than a quick check of your passport, and you are connected!

BTS Skytrain
BTS Skytrain

Next, transport to our hotel. Taxis are readily available, but we opted to use public transport. The airport express rail link runs regularly to Phaya Thai station in the heart of Bangkok, taking maybe half an hour and costing less than 50 Bahts each. From Phaya Thai there are links to the BTS SkyTrain network and also Bangkok’s Metro. Again, tickets are just a few Baht.

River crossing ferry at Sathorn pier.
River crossing ferry at Sathorn pier.

We’re staying in the Thon Buri area, so we need to use both of the BTS lines through the city, changing at Siam station where the two lines meet. Our destination, Saphan Taksin station on the banks of the Chao Phraya river, where we interchange with our final mode of transport, a cross-river ferry from the Sathorn pier across to Thon Buri. Tickets only 5 Baht each! Then just a five minute walk to our hotel for the next few days, the Ibis Riverside.

View across the Chao Phraya river from the Ibis Riverside hotel.
View across the Chao Phraya river from the Ibis Riverside hotel.

Tomorrow, we venture out to explore some of Bangkok’s attractions.

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