Bangkok First Time: A Quick Guide for an Indie Traveler

Posted on Aug 14 2019 - 8:56pm by Archie Ward

For many adventurous nomads who travel and work their way around the world, Bangkok, Thailand is a must-stop destination. With a rich blend of history and natural beauty to rival any place in the world, the country has much to offer the wandering visitor. Places to stay are relatively cheap, choices of foods are rich, diverse, and reasonably priced, coworking spaces in Bangkok are efficient and affordable, and there is always something to see or do in the city and beyond. To plan your Bangkok first time smoothly, check out the guide below.

Fresh off the Boat (or Airplane)

For visitors new to Asia generally, and visiting for the first time in Bangkok especially, the city can seem to be a bit overwhelming. Some first-time visitors who arrive to live and work in the city choose a guesthouse or hostel that is likely to offer abundant opportunities to meet other travelers and talk with locals who can offer advice and guidance to get the most out of the city while advising on how to avoid risks. 

In general, Bangkok is safe and pleasant for travelers, whether backpacking nomads or first-time visitors on guided tours of the area. Some basic knowledge and common sense will help to avoid risks that are common to any large metropolitan area that is popular with tourists from around the world.

Where to Stay

For traditional backpackers and nomads, the Khao San Road area is known as a destination in Bangkok with many budget accommodations, a wide range of food and entertainment options, and places to work remotely while in the country. In many a Bangkok guide for first-timers, hostels and guesthouses in the area are rated and ranked according to price (very affordable) and quality (widely variable). The area that attracts tourists and foreign workers has grown to stretch out to the entire Banglamphu area, with a diverse range of housing and coworking spaces in Bangkok available around this part of the city.

Beyond the traditional nomad and backpacker’s first choice area in the Khao San Road area, which some first-time visitors find too busy and commercial, there are choices of living areas near Siam Square, Sukhumvit, Thonglor, Ekkamai or Silom. From these communities, you can connect to other parts of the city by the Skytrain as a transit option.

Where to Work

With the rise of wandering digital nomads who do their work from wherever they are in the world, Bangkok has developed a network of coworking spaces and temporary office options that allow many opportunities for setting up shop on your terms. Digital nomads communities within Bangkok allow for easy access to all the modern amenities of the connection while living in one of the richest historical and cultural centers of Asia.

Getting Around Smoothly

Bangkok has a range of options for transportation, from public transit by bus throughout the entire area, or rail to some areas of the city and beyond to the countryside. Taxis are plentiful, convenient and reasonably priced (be aware to ensure that your driver uses the meter and takes a direct route to your destination to keep taxi charges fair).

You may even try a boat along the Chao Phraya River for a traditional mode of transportation from one part of the city to another. Enjoy the unique view along the waterway that has served as a transportation artery through Bangkok for ages past, viewing modern skyscrapers and traditional boats and residences along the river as you go.

Places to Go in Bangkok

Among the places to go in Bangkok, there are some classic Buddhist temples that are worth a visit. The Grand Palace, the city’s most popular attraction, offers history and culture in the heart of the city. The Wat Phra Kaew, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is a stunning mosaic of glittering tiles and glass. The neighboring Wat Pho, one of the biggest and oldest temples in Thailand, which is also full of stunning works of artistry and devotion.

Among the city’s unique experiences, a historical home that should be on the must-see list for everyone on their first time in Bangkok is called Jim Thompson’s House. An American merchant and spy in the mid-twentieth century, Thompson lived in a gorgeous classic Thai home with extensive features of teak as well as lush gardens, all now preserved as a museum. The house near Siam Square is worth a visit to appreciate a part of the history of the city that seems to be of another time.

Beyond Bangkok, the entire country of Thailand is known for stunning old Buddhist temples, dense jungles, and lush beaches. Many digital nomad communities divide time between the urban experiences of Bangkok and the outlying beauty of islands, beaches, and forests that can fill an entire journey’s worth of sightseeing opportunities. For first-timers in the country, tours can introduce you to the countryside beyond Bangkok and help you to find your way around, from beaches to rivers, forests, and temples that are worth a visit.

The Night in Bangkok

When the sunsets in Bangkok a vibrant city emerges to entertain. The Sapanput Night market is popular among the trendy young Thais who shop for fashion, accessories, and shoes as well as second-hand goods.

For anyone looking for live music, there is plenty to choose from. Try The Brick Bar where a live music mix is available and customers are encouraged to dance on the tables.

Food of all types is found everywhere from the street vendors to sky bar restaurants in Bangkok. For a treat why not try the elegant surroundings of The Cielo Sky Bar & Restaurant to enjoy the 360-degree panoramic view of Bangkok.

Find Your Place

When you have settled into the rhythm of Thai life and sampled the experiences of Bangkok and beyond, you may be ready to find a place to stay to live and work locally. Living expenses generally are reasonable, and opportunities are abundant to find a comfortable place of your own near coworking spaces in Bangkok to combine the best of residence and workspace in the neighborhood of your choice.

Archie Ward
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About the Author

Archie is a long time traveller in Asia, as well as a blogger, writer and entrepreneur. He wishes he could spend more time in Indonesia.