Here is some advice if you will be studying at Thammasat, also useful if you are just traveling through Bangkok
Wait to see the sights until you have your uniform and ID, you will get in for free with both
B500, free with uniform and student ID
Spend 2 hours
Wat Pho (reclining Buddha Temple)
B100, free with uniform and student ID
Spend 30 minutes
Similar style to grand palace
Wat Arun (temple of dawn)
B50?? free with uniform and student ID
Spend 20 minutes
Different style from most temples
B50?? free with student ID, uniform not required
Spend 20 minutes
Great viewpoint from the top
Walk around the base and sneak in thru the hedges
Jim Thompson House
B??? includes tour of property
Chatuchuck Weekend Market – a must!
Open Santurday and Sunday 9am-6pm
At Morchit (Mo Chit) station at the north of the light green BTS line
Might be the biggest market in Asia
Everything from Ssuvenirs, to housewares, to boutique-y clothes, to live animals, to knock-offs, to food. Everything!
Don’t forget to bargain
Right next to Chatuchuck (which is sometimes pronoused JatJuchuck, which is why its called JJ)
Open Thursday-Sunday 6pm-12am?
Cute thai clothes, crafty things, antiques, really good food, bars, and loads of other random stuff. Some set price, but most will bargain.
Next best market after Chatuchuck
Patpong Night Market
Knock offs and souvenirs, they will bargain way down
In a slightly seedy red light district, but Silom in general is great
Siam Paragon is the best with an awesome food court downstairs
MBK has cool knock-offs
Terminal 21 – you can see a mini golden gate bridge inside
So many beautiful malls you could never see them all
Decent shopping but they barely bargain
Interesting shopping and interesting food. Very crowded, best during the day because the shops close in the evening
Soi Arab (Sukhumvit Soi 3?)
Small neighborhood of with good food and some knock-off shopping
Wang Lang market near the pier at Siriraj Hospital
Open all day, but not as much on mondays
Good girly thai shopping, all set price.
Market across from Central Pinklao
Open from midday to 8:30pm
Good for thai fashion, cheep nails (B60 for polish, B300 for gel), waxing, and even eye brow tattoos! All set price because only Thais shop there.
Central Pinkloa Mall for everything you could need including phones, bagels, doughnuts, clothes, groceries, toiletries, and pharmacies
Tesco at Pata Mall is the closets, 15 minute walk from Amarin
Tops Market in the bottom of Central Pinkloa is amazing, 30 minute walk or take bus 127 or 149, great selection of international foods, salad bar, pasta bar, soup bar, and loads of made-to-order thai food.
Demand that they use the meter, sometimes you will ask ten before one agrees to use the meter. When telling them where to go, try to be nice, use simple language and hand motions. Also they probably understand more English then you would guess so be careful what you say while in the cab.
Getting from Amarin to downtown will be B100-150, maybe more if the traffic is horrible. Its 30 minutes on a good day and an hour in traffic. Dinner time is the worse, try to avoid going anywhere.
Good when there is just one or two people going somewhere. Its B13 for aircon busses and B9 without. I took them to Central Pinkloa (127 and 149) regularly and a few times to Silom (157 and 149) and Khao San/Panpha Bridge (157) from right outside of Amarin, there are many more busses by 3J Court. Sometimes the busses don’t come for more than 30 minutes even though they are supposed to come every ten minutes, so its only good if you aren’t on a tight schedule.
Only useful if you are already downtown and only one or two people are going somewhere else downtown, otherwise its cheaper to take a taxi. Or when the traffic is really bad downtown you can take a taxi to National Stadium BTS station and take the BTS down Sukhumvit. B20-40 a person depending on where you are going.
Khlongs (Canal Speed Boats)
Really good when you are going downtown and the traffic is bad. Take a taxi (or bus 157) to Panpha Bridge (just past Khao San near the Golden Mountain) and catch the boat from there. Its B8 and ten minutes to Siam and about B16 and 20 minutes to get to Sukhumvit Soi 11.
Chao Phraya River Boats
Good for seeing the temples and for going to China Town. There are two kinds, river crossing ferries (from Wang Long market, B3) and boats that go up and down the river (from Siriraj, ~B15?). There are a few different boat lines so make sure you get on the boat that has a flag of the color of the line you want to be on. And know that the tourists boats cost a lot more.
Clubs and Bars
Sukhumvit Soi 11
Bring five people and get a fifth of Smirnoff, but you each have to buy mixers for B150/200
Wednesday: Ce La Vi (Ku De Ta)
Free campaign for girls 9-11pm
Free wine Saturdays 9-11pm (But I have never been on a saturday)
Thursday: Coyote Mexican Restaurant
Sukhumvit Soi 11
Free margaritas for girls 6-9pm, two-for-one drinks all night for everyone
RCA(Royal City Avenue)
Route 66 – biggest club in Bangkok, equal mix of Thais and foreigners
B300 entrance fee that they give to you in drink coupons, you can get about 1.5 drinks for B300 in coupons
RCA Live and Onyx – never been to
Favorites on Khao San
Just walk around
Best buckets – Courtyard restaurant sidewalk bar has buckets are made with soda water and a fruit flavor, not just the usual vodka+sprite. Walk to the west end of Khao San then walk north towards Rambuttri and it is right outside of the Bugger King.
Best place to get dinner – Rambuttri street right behind Khao San. So much non-thai food here!
Favorite Rooftop Bar
Most of the scams, aren’t really scams, but just times where you will be charged more then you should have been. Fruit is B15-30 but in front of the Grand Palace it’s B100. Here is what you should look out for:
Taxis at the airport: demand a meter like always, but make sure that the meter isn’t already run up to B100. There is a B50 airport charge and you may have to pay a highway toll but the meter is the amount for the whole car, not per person.
Tuk Tuks by the grand palace: they may try to tell you the Grand Palace is closed and will offer to take you to other temples, but they will probably bring you to a suit shop or at least drop you off at a market where they get a commission for what you buy, or they will suggest a boat tour. This isn’t a bad way to spend your day unless you really wanted to see the Grand Palace. I stayed away from tuk tuks at all cost.
In general don’t accept transportation from someone who approaches you, you want to approach them. At least look around at your options first. Outside of Bangkok there aren’t many metered taxis and you probably won’t know the going rate for tuk tuk rides so its best to try to find info online before you take a tuk tuk elsewhere in Thailand. For example look up how much it should cost to get from point A to point B, don’t even trust your hotel to give you a good estimate.
Words to Know (I’m just sounding these out)
Add “Ka” to the end if you are female and “Krap” if male
Hello – Sawadee (Sawadee Ka or Sawadee Krap)
Thank You – Kapcoon
Sorry - Koh Toad
Mai Ped – Not Spicy
Lio Sai – Turn Left
Lio Qua – turn right
I only learned these words and got by OK, but if you can try learning your favorite foods and the numbers.
How to calculate Thai Time as explained by a type-A person
1. don’t add time to do the things you want to do along the way
2. don’t add buffer time
Example: My classes started at 1pm most days, it takes 25 minutes to get to school so I should leave at 12:30. If I wanted to stop at 7-eleven along the way I should add an extra ten minutes, and the ferry may be running late, maybe I want to stop at the restroom, or maybe I’ll run into any other issue that might set me back a few minutes so I should add another ten minutes of buffer time. But I don’t. I leave at 12:30 with out adding buffer time or time for the things I want to do along the way. I might arrive at 1:20 but that is ok because the professor arrives at 1:22 and starts class at 1:25 because Thai Time comes naturally to the Thais.
Masaman Curry, hard to find because it has to be cooked overnight so I only found it at nice restaurants and not on the street
Yellow Curry, very mild
Chicken and Basil, always good everywhere
B1000=$30 (actually $28)
B2000= a little less than $60
-Get Charles Schwab and you won’t have to pay atm fees or a foreign transaction fee.
-Credit/debit cards are rarely accepted anywhere so keep plenty of cash on you.
-Make sure to always have change because restaurants, merchants, and taxi drivers rarely have change.
There are lots of pharmacies near by where you should be able to get just about every medication without a prescription. Also your health insurance may be able to cover the cost of the medication, it did for me, but in general the medications are very cheap.
When you first move in, get a large water bottle (4+ liters) and use it to fill up small water bottles. At Amarin the water refill station is B1/liter and it tastes great.
Getting to school
There are two ways to get to school, both take about 30 minutes from Amarin and you pass by lots of food and a few 7-11s.
1. Walk over the Pinklao bridge to the north end of campus. Best option for Thai Studies students because your classes will be in the north most building on campus, but it only takes five minutes to walk across campus so it doesn’t really matter.
2. Walk to Wang Lang market and take the ferry to Tha Prachan. You can take any ferry from this pier because they all cross the river but if you take a boat that is not labeled Tha Prachan you will have further to walk on the other side. But if you want to get food at Tha Maharaj (nice western food area next to campus) before class take the boat labeled Tha Maharaj. All boats take you to the south end of campus.