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Bangkok Notes

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Having recently visited Bangkok (June 2012) here are some pointers for people going in the near future which may be useful, especially if you have not been before.

Airport

Flights arriving or departing overnight will probably be delayed as there are repairing one runway at night and only have one runway to use.

Immigration

Arrived at 2330 and there were about 50 people queuing at immigration but while I was waiting they opened another 4 points and I was through immigration in about 5 minutes, certainly before the luggage arrived in the baggage hall.

If you are staying less than 30 days and you have a UK passport you do not need a visa. they will give you one at the immigration desk for 30 days.

Leaving at 0700 there were hardly any queues at immigration and I was through in again about 5 minutes.

Money Changing

When I arrived people were queuing at the money changer before immigration but, unless you need money to get through immigration, wait until afterwards. There is a money changer in the baggage hall with no queues and there are also money changers outside customs.

I only changed enough money at the airport for the taxi fare and first few hours, ( £100) . The remainder I changed as required at the small exchange booths in town. They never asked for any identification, just handed over pound notes and got baht back. The rates were all quite similar and far better than you could get by buying baht in the UK.

I took sterling notes, making sure that they were all in good condition as otherwise they may be refused. There were warnings at all the money changers about travellers cheques and reasons why they would not accept them including colour changes and marks on the cheque.

Taxis

Used the official taxi point on level 1 to get a taxi from the airport to the hotel and even then the driver tried to do it for a fixed price; he wanted 500 baht. Insisted that he used the meter and I paid the tolls, 70 baht, and the total was 360 baht.

To pay the toll just give the driver a 100 baht note when he asks for it. There are two tolls and he should give you 30 baht back once he has changed the note at the first toll.

In town sometimes you could get a taxi that would use a meter, the Green and Yellow taxis were be best for this, but often the driver wanted a fixed fee which is 2 ~ 3 times the meter rate. Depending how urgent it is to take a taxi you do not have to take the first taxi if you don't like the fare, but discuss the fare before you get in.

General

It was very quiet in town and all the girls were complaining about lack of customers. The Beer Garden on Sukhumvit Soi 7 was only ever 30% full with more girls than men.

Because it was quiet many places were closing on time or even early.

Typically, because it is quiet the prices seem to have risen. In Soi Cowboy the bar fine is now 800 baht and lady drinks are ~180 baht

There were still all the pop-up bars along Sukhumvit and they were going until the early hours and some of the massage places were open until 5 am.

You can use the MTS ( underground ) station at Asoke to cross the Asoke Road to get to Soi Cowboy. Just go into the station entrance, through the security barrier, down the escalator, go straight on and out the other side on the up escalator. You do not need a ticket and you do not go through a ticket barrier. A lot safer and easier than trying to cross the road there. The station is open until 2400.

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Money Changing

When I arrived people were queuing at the money changer before immigration but, unless you need money to get through immigration, wait until afterwards. There is a money changer in the baggage hall with no queues and there are also money changers outside customs.

I only changed enough money at the airport for the taxi fare and first few hours, ( £100) . The remainder I changed as required at the small exchange booths in town. They never asked for any identification, just handed over pound notes and got baht back. The rates were all quite similar and far better than you could get by buying baht in the UK.

I took sterling notes, making sure that they were all in good condition as otherwise they may be refused. There were warnings at all the money changers about travellers cheques and reasons why they would not accept them including colour changes and marks on the cheque.

Change as little as possible at the airport.

Whilst you do get a better rate than the UK, it will be at least 1.5 baht per pound less than you will get outside of the Airport.

Good advice about the notes. Check that there are no tears or writing on them, as some places can funny about changing them.

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