Expat Advice for Bangkok
There's a ton of things I wish I knew when I moved to Bangkok. Many simple or expert expat advice that would have make me save countless money and time.
So if you're an expat in Bangkok, traveling there for an extended period of time or thinking about move there, here's a few things you should know.
Where to find things to do in Bangkok?
You're never really asking yourself what to do in Bangkok because there's so many options.
But this countless options can be overwhelming and sometime you don't want to go through hundred of reviews on Tripadvisor or Google Maps to find a great restaurant.
So whenever you want to know what's happening in Bangkok, what's hot, what's new, BK Magazine is the place to go.
BK Magazine got everything you need. Bars, Restaurants, Events, Activities, Venues to Visit, Festivals… as an expat it’s one of the publication you must follow and as a tourist in Bangkok, it will give you some helpful insights to find the right spot for your next dinner/drink.
Buy a Rabbit Card for the BTS
The BTS is the sky train of Bangkok, really effective, but packed during rush hour.
You have 2 ways to buy tickets to get in.
Option 1: The one most tourists and new to the city use: the coin machine
- You have to check how much you need to pay to get to your destination
- You need the right amount in coins
- If you don't have the right amount, you need to queue to get change at the counter.
Option 2: Buy a Rabbit Card
You go to the counter, preferably when there's no a little waiting time, and give the cashier the amount you want to put on the card + 100฿ for the card
Now you have a rechargeable card, that you just have to swap at the gate.
You don't have to check how much it cost to your destination nor have coins in your pockets.
And you recharge it with the amount you need, whenever you want.
Book a restaurant with Eatigo or Choppe
Eatigo is the best to try all the restaurants and buffet you want across Bangkok without breaking the bank
Their app give you up to 50% off your bill.
And it's not only empty restaurant and buffet that are desperately looking for customers.
There's almost every restaurants in the city.
Pick a date, time, number of people and browse through their selection.
On top of that, unlike the app "La Fourchette" in Europe, Eatigo give you discount on all the menu (except drinks), not on specific dishes.
Chope on the other side doesn't have a pourcentage of discount but give your rewards (Chope Dollars) and offer special deals and discounts.
If the restaurant where you want to eat doesn't use Eatigo, book it with Chope to get discounts on future bookings.
Get your groceries delivered with Honestbee
Like most people in Bangkok you probably don't own a car but you drink bottled water because nobody would take the risk to drink tap water here.
So when you get tired to carry your packs of water from Big C, Tesco or 7/11, take a taxi and go up to your condo, you can decide to get it delivered.
Unlike in western countries, in Thailand the delivery cost next to nothing.
TAXIS : The best way to avoid traps
Taxis in Bangkok are everywhere and super cheap, if they put the meter.
The meter isn't an option like some driver want you to believe. It's mandatory.
When they stop to pick you, don't get inside right away.
Open the door, tell them where you're going and to put the meter, before you get in.
If you're close to a tourist attraction, an expensive hotel or a club, the taxi know it and that's the favorite spot for those scammy driver.
So walk a few hundred meters down the road and wait for another one. Patience is key, but it will save you a ton of money overtime.
And if you don't want to have this discussion, or you're going to a location that drivers don't understand in English, use Grab App to find a taxi.
Avoid Getting Stuck in Traffic
Even though the traffic in Bangkok is horrible, after a while you know a few tricks to avoid the worst of it.
Most of the day, for long distance, you can take taxis.
But when it's rush hour, use Motorbike Taxis and the MRT/BTS system to get around.
For short distances, Motorbike taxis are perfect, and if you don't know how to explain where you're going, apps like Grab Taxi and others usually have Motorbikes as well.
It's cheap and efficient.
Now for extended travel, take a motorbike taxi or walk to the nearest BTS/MRT Station and use that to go as close as possible to your destination then use a motorbike taxi or walk again.
Usually between 4 and 8pm, don't trust Google Maps ! Even though the app say it will take 20 minutes, it can sometime take over 1 hour.
Learn a few words in Thai
Being able to read and speak Thai can get you a long way and make your experience of Bangkok completely different.
That said, I've been here for 2 years and barely speak a few words.
But I know how to refuse something I don't want, tell the directions to taxi and ask the price.
This few bits help a lot, and the more you learn, the more you can save precious time and money and enjoy more of the Thai lifestyle.