Is Bangkok a good vacation spot?

I just got back from Mexico City, which was amazing, but now I want to start planning my next trip, and a friend wants to go to Bangkok. I’ve never looked into it going there much, is it a good place for going for vacation? It doesn’t look expensive to get and stay there, and I’ve heard American money goes far. Would it be hard for two American women who don’t know any Thai to get around and figure things out?

Also, she found a flight July 16-24, and usually on vacations I don’t stay in one city for that long without getting restless, are there good day trips around there? Or a good city to fly out of after going to Bangkok? It looks like there are a lot of flights to Singapore from Bangkok, and I’m also interested in going there. I know in July it will also be hot there, but I will be flying from Houston so I think it won’t be a radical change but do let me know if I’m wrong.

I know that people here have visited or lived in Bangkok and I’d be grateful for any tips.

Bangkok, no. Thailand, YES!

Granted, you’ll probably have to land in Bangkok, but you’ll only want to stay a very short time. Very hot and humid (noticeably worse than Houston), crowded and polluted.

The first thing you’ll want to do when you get to Bangkok is buy an air ticket to Koh Samui. Its a tropical island paradise. Its not like some deserted island in the middle of no where. There is lots to do. Fun people from all over the world.

(Some people might tell you to go north to the hills of Chiang Mai. Its a great place, but not in July!) TOO HOT.

I’ve lived in Tx since I was 10. I’ve been to Houston. In mid-summer.

I’m … well, I’m having a hard time parsing Mangosteen’s quote.

Such places exist on earth; people live there; people voluntarily VISIT such a place?

ask siam sam as he lived there for years …

Both the cities of Houston and Bangkok cover about 600 square miles, but Houston has a population of about 2.3 million whereas Bangkok crams 8.2 million people in the same size area. Because of its smaller population, Houston is more “low-rise” than Bangkok.

Bangkok never really cools off There are days in late December and early January when one can actually feel comfortable during the morning hours, but by the afternoon the sun can be brutal. The rest of the year? Forget about it especially if you are not used to it. And the air pollution is much worse than in Houston.

Houston is uncomfortably hot only about 5 months of the year at most.

I like Bangkok (I’ve been three times) but it’s not for people who don’t like big cities. It’s cheap, the food is excellent, and getting along in English is surprisingly easy. I’ve always felt completely safe walking anywhere.

There are a few big tourist sites: temples, the Grand Palace, the Royal Barge Museum. But no one would mistake it for Paris in terms of attractions to visit. I enjoy wandering through working-class districts and just observing normal life. The Nancy Chandler’s Map of Bangkok is a very useful resource.

It can be beastly hot. I grew up in Texas, and thought “how bad can it be?” It can just be draining. Big air conditioned shopping malls stud the city, and are sources of relief from the heat. Most also have “food courts” that are really great places to eat. These are not rows of chain fast-food stalls, but guys with woks. People rave about the city’s street food, but I generally preferred having a place to sit down and some aircon, and found the food courts at MBK or similar malls to be a good compromise.

Generally, I avoid big cities when I travel. But Bangkok is an exception. Bangkok is actually the only place I LIKE in Thailand. I have had far too many experiences in the provincial towns in Thailand, where the people are simply not as friendly or reliable or honest as in Bangkok. I use BKK as a layover quite often, and look forward to a day or two in the city. But the rest of Thailand, you can have, thanks.

Shameless plug – I use the Floral Shire hotel in Lat Krabang, less than $25, free airport shuttle both ways, just a few minutes from the train station, and on a quiet, safe cul-de-sac with even a pedaceful walk in the riverside wilds just out the door.

A watnow?.. :dubious:

There is a better place to go on vacation in Thailand.

Well, nevermind on that. I guess I will second going to Koh Samui, it’s pretty awesome too.

Go to Thailand. Spend a few days in Bangkok, then go somewhere else. We did Phuket. I liked Bangkok, but it was probably thirty years ago that I was there. It is a big crowded polluted city with a lot of poverty and hot - but you were just in Mexico City.

Yeah, Thailand is great, Bangkok is not. You’ll likely have to transit through Bangkok, but get out into the countryside as soon as you can. Avoid southern Phuket unless you like watching sad men chase prostitutes, but northern Phuket is a national park and beautiful.

Samui is very nice, I agree. Do you SCUBA? Plenty to do on and around Samui, even if you just snorkel. Continuing on from Samui to Koh Phi Phi might be worth it but it sounds like it has become party central.

BTW, the Samui hospital is very nice. :smack:

Right, I’m very much okay with big crowded cities with a lot going on. Bangkok sounds interesting and I see it coming up on some lists of most visited places/recommended places to visit.

If the malls are the main places with air conditioning that is concerning, because while I do live in Houston, I know that it is only livable here for me because everywhere is air conditioned.

The other thing I’m not thrilled about is that there are no direct flights there, but it seems that at least looking on Kayak that to fly almost anywhere in Asia non-stop flights are few and expensive. I’m not sure if doing a 16 hour flight, then a 2 or 3 hour layover, then another 4 hour flight would be terrible or just tiring, but I know people must do that all the time. I want to get a deal on a flight but I don’t want to arrive on my vacation hating the world because of my flights I was stuck on. I’ve flown to Europe before, including layovers, but it still wasn’t as long.

It is a long miserable flight that takes two days to get over. If you are lucky, you get to Thailand from the U.S. in about 20 hours. If you get bad connections, or multiple connections, its more like 24 or 26.

If possible, try going to LAX from Houston, then LAX-BKK. There should be plenty of LAX-BKK flights which will help on price and shorter layover. When you finally arrive, at least you’ll “be there”.

As far as the long flight goes, try striking up a conversation with a fellow passenger or two. You will have enough in common (struck on a long flight and heading to BKK) to find plenty to talk about. I’ve always found that conversations with fellow passengers make the time go much faster than trying to sleep, watching a movie or reading.

Sorry, looks like LAX-BKK flights no longer exist. You could fly LAX-Hong Kong (Cathy Pacific, $800). The layover is just a hour and then about 3 hours to BKK.


Though the long flight is tedious in coach, I’ve never had much trouble recovering from westbound flights. Most flights from the US connect in Tokyo or Hong Kong, and then you arrive in Bangkok late at night. On my last trip, on ANA, I made a 21-hour stopover in Tokyo, and arrived in Bangkok a few minutes too late to catch the airport train into town. So I spent one night out by the airport, and the next morning, refreshed and relaxed after a breakfast out on the patio, caught the train into town and began my real stay in Bangkok.

Hey, I remember participating in the Mexico City thread. It so happens that I’ve spent a lot of time in Bangkok, too. It’s not my first choice for a long term trip to Thailand, but it’s definitely worth a few days.

Taxis are reliable, but you might be able to hire a private car with driver for the same as you’d spend on taxis. You get the added bonus of a built-in tour guide who knows where to take you. The downside is, overpriced jewelry factories are probably one of the spots the private driver will take you.

Of course in Bangkok you have the river tours, floating market (outside of town), the lovely temples, the palace museum, and all of the touristy stuff. China Town is neat, but it’s a classic China Town not at all similar to real, modern China.

So, spend a few days. Eat at the Mango Tree restaurant (it’s awesome, even if a bit touristy). And then, go to Pattaya. Yes, I know that you’re two women travelling alone. But you’re also adventurous and fun. Go to Soi 6 at night, and Walking Street at night, and enjoy the Beer Bars any time of day. Me? I’ve had my fill of Pattaya, but there’s something magical about it initially. Honestly, I never care to go back, but I’m very happy for having gone the first few times.

Just saw this and may be a little late to the party. But I lived in Thailand for 24-1/2 years, and 22-1/2 of those years were spent in Bangkok, living in both the city and the 'burbs. Bangkok is very much worth a visit, and anyone who says it is not simply does not know what he or she is talking about. It is one of the world’s great cities. The city may be an acquired taste for some, but Bangkok and the rest of Thailand are yin and yang. You cannot even begin to understand one without some experience of the other.

But only a fool would travel all that way just to spend 100% of the time in Bangkok and then head home. It’s good for a few days at least. I would recommend a week, maybe two, depending on how much time you have for upcountry. Some people stay in Bangkok first before heading out, others save Bangkok for the end of their trip. Either way is good. While still cheap by Western standards, Bangkok is relatively expensive compared with the rest of the country. You’ll find money flying out of your pocket.