Sailing from Bangkok (Laem Chabang Port) or visiting as a port of call on your itinerary….. Here’s the low down on what to do and useful information:
The port of Laem Chabang on the Gulf of Thailand is two hours south of Bangkok. If your visiting for the day you can opt for a shore excursion to Bangkok or head to the nearest beach resort of Pattaya, approx.. 30 minutes away. Be warned the port is industrial there aren’t many public transport options!! I would advise to pre arrange a private transfer if you’re going to do your own thing.
Bit of useful information regarding Thailand’s currency, the Thai Baht:
ATM’s charge a high service fee for foreign cards. I took cash with me and stored it in the safe and just took out what I needed day by day. (stops you having excess charges on your bank account once you return home)
|Tipping is not expected. If you’re having a sit down meal expect to pay VAT and a service charge on top of your bill|
The culture in Thailand is so different from ours. The first time I visited I was woken by loud music being played over the street speakers. After questioning hotel staff I found out that the Thai National Anthem is played twice a day at 8am and 6pm! If you are in a public place follow suit of the locals and stand up or stop walking. You’re not expected to know about the anthem, but it is polite if you do.
Tuk Tuk’s are the local quirky mode of transport. They are not for the faint hearted as they zip in and out of the busy Thai roads (avoid early morning engine fumes). I would highly recommend haggling before you get in, as the price named by the driver is always higher. You should be paying 5-15 Baht lower. BEWARE in tourist areas of tuk tuk drivers offering you expert knowledge and offering to take you to secret places. I got scammed on this, basically they take you to their friends back street shop and once your there it’s very hard to leave without purchasing something (unless your rude). In return the driver gets given petrol tokens by the retailer.
In the streets and especially roundabouts are pictures of the King, out of respect vehicles passing by beep. As the roads are busy 24/7 there’s a constant beep!
Not to be missed is Kao San Road, best experienced in the evening when it comes alive. It’s a 1 kilometre long road filled with market stalls, hotels, cafes, bars, nightclubs and street food including the local cockroach on a stick!
Check out the floating flower markets north of Bangkok, take to the small canals on small flat boats and be guided through the buzzing waterways. It’s a brilliant atmosphere and you can pick up some bargains on route.
Other highlights include:
Wat Phra Kaew (temple of the emerald Buddha) its regarded as the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand. Located within the grounds of the Grand Palace. Dating back to the 15th century the emerald Buddha is carved from a single block of jade. *A strict dress code applies due to it being a sacred site. Men must wear long pants, top with sleeves and no bare feet (so if wearing sandals socks must be worn with them). Woman must dress similar, no see through clothes or bare shoulders. When I visited I paid at the front gate which required a deposit and they provide you with very unflattering linen clothes.
Wat Pho is located behind the temple of the emerald buddha. One of the largest temples in Bangkok, it houses the famed giant reclining Buddha. Measuring 46 meters long and covered in gold leaf. TOP TIP: along the sides of the Buddha are bronze bowls, buy a bag of coins on arrival and as a sign of good luck drop them into the 108 bowls. (I was left with a few at the end that I had obviously missed out). Its also home to the Thai massage school and a great place and price to experience.
Wat Arun is the most stunning temple as its located on the banks of the river Chao Phraya. You can take the small shuttle boat from nearby Wat Pho as its situated opposite.
There is so much to do and see in and around Bangkok its hard to list everything but the highlights I experienced. If you have any questions please feel free to call me and I will be more than happy to talk Thailand!
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