Bangkok Mistake #1
- Don’t eat pad thai, eat tom yum goong. Pad thai is the Kingdom’s most famous exported dish. But Thai cuisine is much more dynamic than that rather boring noodle dish — try tom yum goong (spicy seafood soup), a curry dish, some fried whole fish, grilled meat on a stick, or whatever looks appetizing. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with pad thai, per se, it’s just that cuisine in the Land of Smiles is much more varied than its most well-known dish would suggest.
Bangkok Mistake #2
- Don’t drink your favorite beer from home, try a local brew, like Chang or Singha beers, or — if you’re feeling adventurous — even the Land of Smiles’ very own Sang Som firewater.
Bangkok Mistake #3
- Don’t stay where all the other tourists stay; check out a different area of town. It’s easy to get sucked into Bangkok’s farang (foreigner) universe, whether it’s backpacker or ex-pat-oriented. Try to find accommodations further afield, in a residential neighborhood or even a commercial district, where you’re more likely to encounter more Thais than tourists.
Bangkok Mistake #4
- Don’t visit shops that offer “special gem sales,” as these are sometimes scams. If you’re interested in shopping for Thai handicrafts — or Thai anything for that matter — go to Chatuchak, Bangkok’s sprawling weekend market.
Bangkok Mistake #5
- Don’t expect to get around Bangkok quickly. Traffic moves slowly, and walking around town can be difficult. Take taxis (with meters) for short trips, and by all means use the Skytrain (BTS) and the subway (MRT). Go slowly. Don’t get upset. Take it all in. And enjoy.