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The capital of Thailand, Krung Thep or Bangkok is one of Asia's most cosmopolitan cities. Bangkok is the hub for most of the commercial and economical activities of the Kingdom. At the same time, the City is very famous and appreciated by visitors for its versatility and multiple points of interests. With its magnificent temples, authentic canals, exotic food, busy markets, visual delights and a vibrant nightlife, Bangkok has something for everyone. That's why it's often rated as the number one tourist destination, welcoming the most number of international visitors. Bangkok is considered as the gateway to the Southeast Asian world and is usually scheduled as a stopover between cities.
Transportation: Bangkok has probably the most diverse modes of transportation, ranging from motorcycle taxi to the family sized taxi, from underground to sky train.
*Airport Taxi: From the Arrival Hall on the second floor, you will need to take an elevator down to the first floor to find the designated taxi stands at Entry Gate 4. Simply queue up and tell your final destination to the booth officer, then a taxi driver will escort you to his vehicle. For Don Muang Airport, public taxi services locate in front of the Arrival Halls International & Domestic Passenger Terminals. Please note that you need to pay the driver an extra 50 baht courtesy fee, on top of all toll way fees and the final taxi fare. Taken all these fees into account, it should cost you a total of 350-400 baht (approx. usd 10-15) for a 40-minute ride to downtown Bangkok. Service is available 24 hours.
*Airport Rail Link: The Airport Rail Link runs from Suvarnabhumi International Airport to central Bangkok (Phaya Thai Station) from 06:00 to 24:00 daily. Trains depart every 20 minutes and take 30 minutes (stopping eight stations) for a fee of Baht 45 (approx. usd 1.5).
*Skytrain: Currently there are two routes, the Sukhumvit Line and the Silom Line, which cover much of the central city and its many commercial, residential and tourist areas. The trains run daily between 06:00 and 24:00 with frequent services, about every 5 minutes.
*Taxi: Bangkok's thousands of brightly coloured taxis are a great way to travel as most are new, air-conditioned and have working seatbelts. Typical taxi fares for going a few kilometres are around 50 baht (approx. usd. 1.5 - 2)
*Motorcycle: Simply tell your driver where you want to go, negotiate a price, strap on your helmet (if available) and away you go. Although a lot of fun and very efficient, be warned that the driving style and speed of your motorcycle taxi may not be what you’re used to back home, so exercise this transportation option with care.
*River Ferry: The Chao Phraya Express Boat Co. operates the main ferry service along the Chao Phraya river. The central pier is known as Sathorn, Saphan Taksin and Central Pier, and connects to the Skytrain’s Saphan Taksin station. Fares are cheap and differ by distance, Baht 10 to 34 (approx. usd 1). There are also dozens of cross-river ferries, which charge Baht 3.50 and run every few minutes until late at night.
*Bus: Whilst not the preferred transport of tourists; public buses are plentiful and cheap and will get you to most destinations in Bangkok. Air-con fares typically start at 10 or 12 Baht; fares for ordinary (fan-con) buses start at 7 or 8 Baht. Most of the bus lines run between 5 am and 11 pm, except for the all-night buses, which run from 03:00 or 04:00 to mid-morning.
*Tuk-Tuk: Doing a similar job to the taxi is Thailand’s ubiquitous tuk-tuk. They are occasionally faster than taxis in heavy traffic as weaving in and out is easier, but generally about the same or slower. Without any luggage, three people can fit into one fairly comfortably. Fares always have to be bargained for before departing. Although these vehicles are a fun way to explore the city, they expose passengers to high pollution levels and offer almost no protection in case of an accident.
Climate: The weather in Bangkok is dominated by a tropical monsoon climate which means there are three main seasons: hot season from March to June, rainy season from July to October and cool season between November and February. As Bangkok holds claim to being the hottest city in the world, expect daytime temperatures to be in excess of 30 degrees centigrade throughout the year (with the possible exception of late December and early January).
Language: The official language of Bangkok is Thai and it is widely spoken throughout Thailand. Most of the people also understand and speak English, but this is more in the main city and the tourist areas. The English spoken by the locals might be broken but it won’t be too difficult to comprehend.
Time: Thailand Standard time is GMT +7; daylight savings time is not observed.
Currency and Credit Cards: The Thai currency is called "Baht". One baht is divided into 100 Satang. Coins consist of 25 Satang, 50 Satang, one bath, 2 bath, 5 baht and 10 baht. Bank notes are in 20 (green), 50 (blue), 100 (red), 500 (purple) and 1,000 (gray) baht. The exchange centres can be found at airports, most hotels, and in large shopping centres. Major credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, Master and Visa are wildly used and accepted.
Electricity: Thailand uses 220V AC electricity. Power outlets most commonly feature two-prong round or flat sockets.
Business Hours: Most commercial concerns in Bangkok operate on a five-day week, usually from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Many stores open seven days a week from 10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. Government offices are generally open between 8.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. with a noon to 1.00 p.m. lunch break, Mondays to Fridays except on public holidays. Banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 9.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. except on public holidays.
Shopping: Shopping in Bangkok is an experience to thrill and delight the most discerning of shoppers - whatever it is you're looking for. From the gleaming chrome and towering size of modern, air-conditioned malls, to the hustle and bustle of its famously buzzing street markets, Bangkok has all kinds of places to blow your baht. With everything from antiquities and the latest pair of trainers to designer jewellery available, Bangkok has an equally exhaustive, and potentially exhausting, variety of things to buy.
Tipping: Though not a custom, tipping for good service is appreciated. Normally most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bills but a tip for waiters is appreciated.
+ Ambulance and Rescue: 1554
+ Medical Emergency Call: 1669
+ Tourist Police: 1155
+ Police: 191
+ Fire: 199
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