All the answers to your questions about the Thai capital
Bangkok is a large city famous for intricate shrines, gourmet dining and energetic nightlife. So it’s no wonder thousands of Aussies are daydreaming of an exotic culture-filled getaway to this city of contrasts.
From tuk tuks to floating markets to exquisite temples of worship, there’s almost limitless experiences on offer in Bangkok. All that’s stopping you now is those nagging unanswered questions in the back of your mind.
Never fear, we’re here to help answer anything that may be holding you back from the holiday of a lifetime!
What do know before you go
Is Bangkok in Thailand?
Yes. Bangkok is the capital and most densely populated city in Thailand.
Which Bangkok airport is closest to the city?
The closest major airport is Don Mueang International Airport (DMK/VTBD). This airport has both international and domestic flights and is 23km from the centre of Bangkok. Budget carriers will usually fly into this airport.
Bangkok’s other airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK/VTBS), is where most full-service, international flights will fly from, with domestic flights departing from here too. It’s 39km from Bangkok.
Which Bangkok airport is BKK?
Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK/VTBS) offers both international and domestic flights and is 39km from Bangkok.
Which Bangkok airport is closer to Pattaya?
Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK/VTBS) is the closest major airport to Pattaya and is located 119km away.
Which Bangkok airport does Jetstar usually arrive at?
Jetstar flights usually arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK/VTBS) which is 39km from Bangkok. If in doubt, check the airport codes:
Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK/VTBS)
Don Mueang International Airport (DMK/VTBD)
Does Bangkok have visa on arrival?
As Australians, if you are visiting Thailand as a tourist, you are eligible to enter the country under the “Visa Exemption” rule. If you are eligible to enter Thailand under this rule you will be granted a stay of a maximum:
- 30 days if you enter Thailand via an international airport, e.g. Bangkok
- 15 days if you arrive in Thailand via a land border checkpoint from a neighbouring country
Does Bangkok airport have luggage lockers?
Suvarnabhumi Airport does offer a left luggage service with a charge of THB100 per bag per day – that’s approximately $3.82. If the luggage is left for a period of longer than three months, the price will increase to THB200 per item per day, or $7.64.
The service can only be used with luggage that is in “good condition” and valuables are prohibited. Proof of identity must be provided in order to collect your items, and any item left for a period of six months or more will be seized.
What is Bangkok’s currency?
The currency used in Bangkok is the baht. If you are travelling to Bangkok, you will need to exchange your Aussie dollars for Thai baht.
This can be exchanged at most Bangkok or Aussie banks or at Foreign Exchange Bureaus before you depart for Bangkok, or when you arrive.
1 Thai baht = (approximately) 0.038 Australian dollars
Please be aware that the exchange rate is ever changing and a service fee may be applicable.
Is Bangkok sinking?
Yes. Bangkok has been sinking for some time now and the clock is ticking to tackle the problem. The ground continues to subside by 3cm (1.2 inches) per year and scientists urge that action is crucial.
How did Bangkok get its name?
The etymology of the name Bangkok is not 100%. Bang is a Thai word meaning “a village situated on a stream”, and the name might have originated from Bang Ko,ko meaning “island”, and a reference to the area's landscape which was sculpted by rivers and canals.
Another theory suggests it is shortened from Bang Makok, makok being the name of a plant bearing olive-like fruit. This is supported by the fact thatWat Arun, a historic temple in the area, used to be named Wat Makok. Bangkok was likely an informal name whose persistent use finally resulted in it being officially embraced with the creation of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
Questions about safety and health
Is Bangkok safe?
Bangkok is, on the whole, considered a safe city. Violence against tourists is a rare occurrence. However, there are a number of scams that you should be on the lookout for:
- Gem scam – unless you’re an expert in gem authentication, do not buy your gems in Bangkok.
- Flat fares – be it taxis or tuk tuks, refuse any driver quoting a flat fare. They’re either out to exploit you or to lead you to one of those gem scams we told you about a moment ago.
- Friendly, smart-dressed strangers – if someone approaches you with seemingly innocent questions about where you’re from or going, this is considered out of character for Thais. Proceed with caution.
- Political protests have been know to take a violent turn. Steer clear.
- Under no circumstances should you criticise the Thai monarchy. The ramifications could lead to imprisonment!
- Look both ways before crossing anywhere. Drivers can be ruthless.
Is Bangkok safe for female tourists?
The safety rules above apply to females and males alike. Female tourists are at no higher risk than males.
Is Bangkok safe at night?
Bangkok is just as safe as any other city at night and, as with any city, we would recommend that Aussies avoid dark and seemingly empty streets, and express due diligence where their personal safety and belongings are concerned.
Getting around and things to do
Does Bangkok have beaches?
No, Bangkok does not have beaches. The closest beach to Bangkok is approximately 112km to the east, Bang Saen. The more popular tourist beach of Pattaya is located on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand. Pattaya is 147km from Bangkok and can be reached in approximately two hours via car.
Does Bangkok have Uber?
Uber is widely available throughout Bangkok. Your Uber options include UberFLASH, UberX, UberBLACK and SUV. Uber is not only one of the safest Bangkok travel options, but also one of the easiest.
Culture, customs and lifestyle
What should I wear in Bangkok?
Bangkok is one of the trendiest and contemporary cities in Thailand. It is a place where people can be seen wearing the most up-to-date fashion and accessories.
However, due to the tropical climatic conditions, a light and casual clothing style is what we would recommend!
What should I buy in Bangkok?
Put simply, the question should be reversed to become “what shouldn’t I buy?” An easy answer to this one is no gems or suits from backstreet stores and tailors.
If you’re looking for a genuine bargain, head to one of the many shopping malls. If you’re after some souvenirs for family and friends, there are plenty on offer throughout the city.
Why not choose an impressive amulet from the market just outside the gates of Wat Ratchanatdaram? Or even some Thai spices from the RST Spices Shop at the Chatuchak Weekend Market?