Most travellers in Asia start with Bangkok. The place where sins are made, but don't let all the talk get you worried! Within all the lights and skyscrapers is a city filled with friendly people, amazing food and some of the most breathtaking sights Asia has to offer!
Before we get started on the exciting business, first a few words of caution.Although generally people are friendly and want to help, there are a certain few who just want your hard earned cash! They can spot your white skin, wide eyes and naive body language from a mile off! My first bit of advice is there is ALWAYS a better deal. The first price you get will always be the one to rip you off the hardest! It may seem like a deal when you convert the currency back to your home currency, but I assure you to them they have made the big bucks.
My second piece of advice is to take a tuktuk (motorbike with a cart attached) once, and only once for the novelty. Their prices again, may seem low but the standard taxi with a meter will be for sure cheaper and a much nicer ride. Last but not least, the most obvious of them all, keep your eye on your belongings, keep your money close, I suggest a fanny pack underneath your trousers. Pocket thieves are quick and most of the time you won't even realise what has happened until later in the day. I will be giving a few more words of caution within this article, but these are the main three that I think you should drill into your head before arriving in Sin City.
So you get out of the airport, first you need a place to stay.
I suggest booking somewhere online for your first night so you can get straight there dump your bags and get exploring as soon as possible to get rid of that god awful jet lag! Some people like the security of being with the bulk of travelers; this would be the notorious Khao San Road. Similar to a tuktuk ride, I suggest you go there to experience the madness, but honestly if you don't want a similar experience to being in your local city on a Friday night I would avoid this road at all costs! Plus the cost of a hostel on Khao San is often a lot higher than anywhere else! It is a very very small road of Bangkok, filled with foreigners, bars, booze and many people shouting "Ping pong show" with noises
Khao San Road is not close to subway or skytrain stops, so if you do decide to stay here it will be slightly harder to get around in the daytime. However you can find those gem of a hostels dotted about, close enough to both Khao San and very close to subway or skytrain. I suggest visiting a hostel called "WeBangkok", the people are super nice, it has a good vibe and a good location. If you want to have a night of luxury before slumming it I would check out Bangkok68 in Ratchadapisek, rooms are relatively cheap especially if you share a room, you can end up paying the same as a hostel bed for a modern hotel with roof top pool and gym.
So you have had a nights rest, or a night of partying hard and celebrating your safe entry to Thailand, want to check out Bangkok?
Skytrain/Subway are by far the quickest and cheapest way to get around there are stops all over Bangkok for most of the sights such as MBK shopping mall. You get your tickets first and then get on, all the menus are in English and all the stops are said in English, its fool proof. If you can't figure this out, then I wish you all the best in your travels as you will need it!
There's a huge list of attractions in Bangkok so narrowing them down is a toughy.
There's an array of temples to visit, every temple has it's own something spectacular. So really the choice is up to you which you see, or don't see. I myself have been to many but not all of the temples in the city, my favourite being The Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It has a huge golden Buddha lying down looking upon you with serenity, which is quite exquisite to see. It gives you a big insight on how much the country devotes to their religion. It's really quite a beautiful thing to witness.
If temples aren't really your thing there are many attractions and things to do, the shopping is fantastic in Bangkok however it is getting more expensive as the years go on so be quick in getting your deals! You can usually get a cheaper discount if you buy more than 1.
The best way to bargain is to walk away and say too expensive! Don't be scared to argue with them, it is all good fun and bargaining is all part of their daily life, so get cheeky and give them a big grin and see what happens. The worst they can do is say no and sometimes you can find yourself getting the bargain of the century! Chatuchak market is by far the biggest market you might ever see in your life, put aside a whole day if you plan to adventure into this place, you WILL get lost, and it WILL be super hot and sweaty. But it is an experience all must encounter, however keep your eyes peeled for the animals section, it can be quite disturbing to us sensitive types and worth avoiding.
The main thing I want to get across is to have as much fun as possible!
Bangkok gets a lot of stick in the press for being one of the most prevalent sex cities in the world, and scam artists hooking themselves onto every person who dares give them a look. But as long as you are aware of the problems you should find yourself ok. If you are in any trouble, do not hesitate to ask someone, most are helpful and your hostel/hotel will be lifesavers so keep their card in your bag. For most this will be the start of your big adventure so celebrate, take in the culture and try not to be those embarrassing folk lying on the corner of Khao San too drunk to walk ;).
Enjoy the madness.