A Complete Guide to Bangkok

by Nadine Mulvina, The Sober Butterfly

Note to reader: This post may have affiliate links that I receive a small commission on. This doesn’t cost you a penny more nor does this impact the integrity of this guide. Enjoy!

Welcome to Bangkok or the “Tropical New York.” I see the comparison- huge skyscrapers, bustling streets, world-class restaurants, and fantastic shopping – however, Bangkok is not New York. Bangkok is chaos and grace– labyrinthine canals winding through the Chao Phraya River; all senses ignited at the famous street markets; enchanting temples that spellbind; the soul of Thailand lies in Bangkok. 

About the Author

Hi, my name is Nadine, and I’m a travel vlogger/blogger/podcaster and sober girly that loves to show people how much better the world can be without booze.

I put together this guide as part love letter to the “City of Angels,” part guide to help you navigate Bangkok if you’re planning a visit. 

I spent just over a week in this capital city in August 2022. Check out my One Week In Bangkok Vlog to see my adventures.

Now that we’ve covered these fine points, let’s get into the guide:

When to Go 

I went to Bangkok in August of 2022. August is one of the best times to visit Bangkok if you want to save some coins and experience less crowds. This low season of tourism is due to the rainy season. August and September are the wettest months, with an average of 20 days per month experiencing rainfall. I found the weather, namely the humidity, comparable to Miami. If it rained, it was not an all-day affair, more like a downpour followed by sunny skies.

How Long To Stay

I recommend staying in Bangkok for at least one week. You can, of course, stay as long as you’d like; however, I found a week to be sufficient. Special considerations include where you are traveling from. I flew in from New York and had difficulty adjusting to the 12-hour time difference.

My first 48 hours in Bangkok were spent trying to acclimate myself to the drastic time difference. A week also gives you enough time to see all the major attractions without overpacking your day with itinerary items.

What to Pack

Aside from the usual toiletries and personal items, here is a suggested list of less obvious things to bring:


No matter the season, my number one suggested item to pack is sunscreen. Most of the year is scorching hot, so you want to protect yourself. I use Super Goop Unseen Sunscreen because of its velvet texture that blends well into the skin without leaving any white residue. It’s pricy for one bottle, but a little goes a long way.

Travel Adapter/Power Converter

You will need a plug adapter/ voltage converter if you are traveling from the United States. I recommend this Universal Power Adapter because it has 4 USB ports to charge multiple devices simultaneously.

Pro Tip: US Electronics are cheaper than Thailand’s, so bring all your gadgets. 

Diarrhea medication

I have a sensitive stomach, so whenever I travel to a new place, I always pack anti-diarrheal pills (e.g., Imodium, charcoal tablets). I, unfortunately, had diarrhea on day three in Bangkok – I know, TMI – but it happened to me, so it could happen to you (although I do not wish that on you.) Bringing your medication is cheaper than buying OTC meds in Thailand.


If you like to read, I recommend bringing books in English. Investing in an e-reader like Kindle may make more sense, depending on your stay length. This way, you can have options on the road.

Getting Around

You arrive at one of the two international airports in Bangkok – BKK – Suvarnabhumi or DMK – Don Mueang International Airport and want to get to your respective accommodation. There are a few modes of transportation you can use in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region.


Download the Grab app, Bangkok’s equivalent to Uber/Lyft. There are no other ride-sharing options available. Grab is available throughout other major cities in the country (I also used it in Phuket). What I liked about Grab (aside from the convenience of pre-booking rides) was that you could pay with your card or cash. 


I found taxis to be more expensive than ordering a ride with Grab. There were also significant price discrepancies depending on whose cab you got into. Look, I get it, everyone has to make a living, and I look like the typical privileged American tourist; however, some of the quotes I received were criminal. Feel free to walk away if the price seems suspiciously high. Knowing some basic Thai and carrying smaller bill notes can help you navigate these situations. The upside is most cabs have air-conditioning. Cash only.


If I could tuk-tuk all day around the city, I would! Tuk-tuks were by far my favorite way to get around the city. Not always the most practical (or cost-effective) way to get around, but always the most fun. I don’t recommend taking tuk-tuks for distances longer than 15-20 minutes; however, I highly recommend it for shorter distances. Cash only.


Walking is the best way to get to know a place. You’ll be happy to know that Bangkok is quite walkable. It depends on the time of day, where you’re walking to and from, and weather conditions (just like anywhere else).

Where to Stay

Best Neighborhood: Sukhumvit

Sukhumvit at night

I extensively researched the ‘best neighborhoods to stay in Bangkok’ before staying in Sukhumvit for a week. Sukhumvit is next to Terminal 21, a gigantic train station and shopping mall. Sukhumvit is known for being one of the more bustling neighborhoods. Sukhumvit is a good location for world-class restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. My favorite spots to eat were JHOL, a Michelin-star Coastal Indian restaurant, and Gigi Cafe. For a fun night, check out Tichuca Rooftop Bar, which has some of the city’s best skyline views.

Sukhumvit seems like the best choice because of its proximity and access to the best attractions in Bangkok. 

AirBnb versus Hotel Debate

This is a matter of preference; however, typically, I’m team Airbnb- I like to feel at home, find Airbnb generally cheaper, and feel more like a local. However, Airbnb is technically illegal in Bangkok, although I had no issues. It’s a bit complicated, but property owners or Airbnb “hosts” are not supposed to have “daily rentals.” My host told me there is no legal basis for this, and property owners have to right to welcome guests. That said, I remained discreet when checking in. I still had full access to shared areas such as the rooftop pool, gym, sauna, library, and social club. For peace of mind, book a hotel.

What to Do 

There are so many gems in Bangkok. Finding things to do will be easy. Here are the top attractions in Bangkok you should not miss:

Explore Markets

Traditional floating markets, such as Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa, offer a unique insight into Bagkok’s rich culinary culture. Chatuchak Weekend Market, only open on weekends, sells everything from street food to handcrafted antiques.

Visit Temples

What do The Grand Palace (The Emerald Buddha), Wat Pho (Temple of The Reclining Buddha), and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) have in common? Sacred temples that have stood the test of time and will impress you with their grandiosity. While you can explore these temples on your own, I recommend going with a professional tour guide to learn more about each temple’s history. I used this Tour Guide and Photographer on Airbnb Experience.

Go Into Nature

Lumphini Park – nicknamed “‘Central Park of Bangkok” serves as an urban respite for many Bangkokians. You can rent paddle boats on their swan-shaped lake.

Escape from the city and rent a bike in Bang Krachao or The Green Lung. Hope on a 30 baht ferry (about 15 cents) along the Chao Phraya River, and find yourself in a lush oasis. You can rent a bike for a low fee and discover a floating market, 250-year-old Buddhist temples, and hidden pathways surrounded by Mangrove trees.

Cruise Along The River

Take a two or three-hour boat along the Chao Phraya River to discover some of the best scenes in Bangkok. Known as “The River of Kings,” you can feast like a king with this dinner cruise.

Take A Cooking Class

Posing with my mango sticky rice 🥭🍙

I found an Airbnb Experience At House of Taste Thai Cooking School, which became the highlight of my time in Bangkok. This cooking class immerses you in exotic Thai ingredients, including vegetables, spices, and herbs. We made a four-course meal consisting of Tom Kha Gai (spicy coconut soup with chicken), Pad Thai Goong (Stir-fired rice noodles with shrimp), Panang Curry with Chicken, and Mango Sticky Rice for dessert chef’s kiss.

Party Like A Local

I didn’t do much partying but went to Tichuca Rooftop Bar, which overlooks some of Bangkok’s best skylines. They also have this incredible LED-it tree that sways behind the bar. On my walk home on my first night in Bangkok, I ran into Soi Cowboy in Sukhumvit. This area is popular with go-go bars, neon-red signs, and dancing women.

Where to Eat


For “coffee that brings the city to life” intermixed with healthy breakfast/brunch options, check out Sarnies.


Go to NAHM for a five-star Michelin lunch. Try their 7- course set menu for only 1600 baht++. Lunch is served daily from 12-2 pm.


So nice I had to go twice; JHOL also has a Michelin star. The food is a creative fusion between Thai and Indian. They have a wide array of vegetarian and meat options. Five stars.

Mocktail Lovers

I don’t drink alcohol, so I was pleasantly surprised by the bounty of non-alcohol options. Most restaurants have specially carved out sections on their menus for mocktails, non-alcoholic beers, and fresh juices.

I hope you enjoyed this Ultimate Guide to Bangkok. For more travel guides and alcohol-free living tips, please sign-up for my free newsletter. To connect with me on social, find me on InstagramTikTokYouTube, and Pinterest.

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