Arriving In Bangkok: 9 Helpful Tips To Know, Like Which Immigration Queue Is The Shortest
1. Bring a photocopy of your passport details page
You might be asked to produce some form of ID for certain clubs or bars in Bangkok. This rule has been heavily enforced lately, and you could be fined if you fail to show the police your ID when they ask for it.
So if you're planning to enjoy the nightlife there, it's advisable to bring your passport or at least a photocopy of it.
2. Make sure you fill up your arrival and departure cards correctly and skip the queue by using the ASEAN immigration counters
Photos of the immigration queues at the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang International Airports went viral earlier this year as tourists spent up to five hours lining up to get their passports processed. While delayed flights and staff shortage were cited as the causes for the long processing time, incorrect information on the arrival and departure cards were also to blame.
So make sure that you fill in the correct information on your cards. There's also a special lane for tourists holding passports from ASEAN countries, and the queue is usually shorter than the other counters'.
3. Get the AIS tourist sim as they have the fastest 4G internet speed
There are three main telcos in Thailand, all of which offer special tourist sim with similar data packages. However, many travellers recommend AIS as it has the fastest internet speed among the three. At THB299 (about RM37.30), you'll get eight days of unlimited data with a quota of 2.5GB at maximum speed. You can get this at both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports. Check out their other packages here.
However, if you're planning to spend some time in areas outside Bangkok like Lopburi and Phetchabun, then a tourist sim from TrueMove would be a better choice. Their price and data package is the same as AIS', but TrueMove has wider coverage across Thailand.
4. Take the Airport Rail Link or airport buses for the cheapest trip to the city, from as low as THB15 (about RM1.87) per person
The cheapest and most convenient way to get to Bangkok city is through the Airport Rail Link, which will cost you only a maximum of THB45 (about RM5.60). Phaya Thai is the train's last stop, which is located in the city's central area. Alternatively, you can also take the Bor Khor Sor buses if your hotel is located in the Ekkamai, Sukhumvit, or Chatuchak areas. Fares start from THB52 (RM6.47), you may refer to this website for the other fares.
Don Mueang Airport
There are four buses that go into Bangkok city centre which only cost THB30 (about RM3.73) or THB50 (about RM6.22), depending on the route. Here's the list of destinations:
- Bus A1 stops at the Mo Chit BTS station, THB30.
- Bus A2 stops at Victory Monument, THB30.
- Bus A3 stops at Lumpini Park, THB50.
- Bus A4 stops at Khao San Road, THB50.
5. Use Grab if you need to go somewhere without a train station
Some taxi drivers don't charge by the meter, especially during peak hours. Grab is the better and safer option, since it offers services like the usual GrabTaxi, GrabCar, and even GrabBike.
There's even a food delivery option on the app called GrabFood!
6. Get a Rabbit card
The easiest way to travel around Bangkok is by train, so it's highly recommended that you get one of these. The Rabbit card is like our Touch 'n Go - it's a smart card that allows for cashless transaction on the BTS trains, BRT buses, McDonald's, and a few other restaurants. The ticket machines at the train stations only accept coins and the queue to get tickets can get quite long during peak hours, so having this card really helps.
You'll need to pay THB100 (about RM12.44) for the card, which comes with a five-year validity period. There are two ways you can store value into your Rabbit card:
1. Top up your card like how you do for your Touch 'n Go back at home. Note that the minimum top up value is THB100.
2. Purchase a 30-day trip plan, starting from THB465 (about RM57.86) for 15 trips. This plan only applies for trips taken on BTS trains, and is valid for trips taken within 30 days from the day you first use your Rabbit card. You can check out their other 30-day plans here.
7. The most important Thai phrase you need to learn for shopping is "Lod dai mai?"
Which translates to: "Can you give a discount?" If the seller is fine with it, then he or she will reply "dai"; while no is "mai dai".
Remember not to go overboard with the bargaining, and always say "kob khun krup / kha" (which means "thank you").
8. Change your ringgit to baht at Superrich Thailand or SuperRich 1965
If you ever run out of baht after all that shopping, you can exchange your ringgit for more baht at any SuperRich 1965 (orange) or Superrich Thailand (green) booth. They offer the best rates for ringgit, Singapore dollars, and US dollars.
Some travellers found that it's more worth it for you to change currencies in Thailand than in Malaysia.
Here are some of the popular places where you can find these money changers:
- Superrich Thailand: Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Asiatique, Emporium Shopping Centre, Siam Paragon, and the Chong Nonsi BTS station.
- SuperRich 1965: Asok BTS station and Siam Square.
You can click on their names to check for their full list of branches.
UPDATE | 29 March 2019
According to a report in Coconuts Bangkok, a Superrich chain located inside the Central Festival EastVille mall in Bangkok's Lat Phrao district allegedly gave a Thai woman counterfeit bills worth USD900 when she went to exchange Thai Baht.
SAYS readers are advised to practice caution when visiting a Superrich chain.
9. Be at the airport at least three hours before your scheduled departure time
As mentioned earlier, the immigration queue entering and exiting Bangkok was said to be one of the longest in the world. Some tourists even missed their flights earlier this year due to the long processing time at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
It's better to be at the airport slightly earlier just in case there's a huge crowd leaving Bangkok. Trust us, nothing is worse than missing a flight.