Whether it's your first or your fifth visit, keep these Bangkok travel tips in mind.
First, only drink bottled water, rather than from the tap. Don’t worry about ice in drinks though, as this is generally made with purified water and is therefore safe. Second, if you're staying in Thailand for more than a few days, consider getting a SIM card from a convenience store for cheaper mobile communication. Third, check with your doctor to see if they recommend any immunisations for travelling to Bangkok.
Finally, keep in mind the following basic pieces of Bangkok travel advice.
If you hold an Australian passport and want to go on a holiday in Thailand, you can do so visa-free for 30 days. If you're staying longer, you must apply for a visa. This is only a guide, so if you want the most accurate and current information, contact your local Thai embassy.
The Thai Baht (THB) is Thailand's official currency. One baht is equal to 100 satang. While credit cards are usually accepted at major restaurants and hotels, most businesses in Bangkok only accept cash. You can withdraw money from ATMs with visa and/or cirrus signs, or you can go to a foreign exchange counter. If using credit or debit cards, check with your bank before departure regarding any overseas charges. For more on currency, visit the Thailand currency page.
There's a plethora of food to choose from in Bangkok, and Thai cuisine is known for its fresh ingredients and well-balanced flavours. If you're not into spicy food, politely ask for less spice when ordering. If you're trying the street food, be on the lookout for clean stalls with plenty of customers, and only buy food that’s been prepared in front of you.
While tipping is not mandatory, it's welcomed by local workers who are often paid a low wage. Leave some loose change in small eateries and expect to tip at least 10% of the bill when dining in high-end restaurants. For tipping taxi drivers, round the fare up, and give your masseuse 100 baht for a good rubdown. These little gestures are greatly appreciated.
Australia's electricity runs around 230v to 240v, while Thailand's is only around 220v AC. Most devices and appliances can work with this slight voltage difference. However, most sockets in Bangkok are for two-prong round or flat plugs, with the occasional extra prong. To be sure your electrical appliances work in Bangkok, bring an adapter or buy one at the airport, a convenience store or shopping centre before you depart.
As Bangkok is a well-trodden tourist destination, some locals can speak English. Be patient if you’re asked to repeat yourself, or if you have to ask them to repeat what they just said. Before leaving, take the time to learn some basic phrases and be aware that you should add ‘kráp’ if you're a man and ‘kâ’ if you're a woman to the end of sentences (this is polite).
There are two airports serving Bangkok. The newer Suvarnabhumi has international flights while Don Mueang, Asia's oldest operating airport, services domestic flights. There are plenty of transport options available to get you to and from either airport. However, you need to make sure that you're at the airport a few hours in advance as there can be long queues and delays.