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Some Bangkok Travel Advice: What to Know Before You Go

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NOTE: I have some strong opinions about Bangkok travel. If you are worried that my opinions might offend you, please check out some other pages in my blog about travel to Thailand.

I am going to concur with those who gave me the following Bangkok travel advice and pass that advice on to you. Don’t base your Thailand trip out of Bangkok.

Trash in Bangkok Bangkok travel

Even further, I would continue to suggest that if you do find yourself in Bangkok because of an inconvenient arrival time or some other logistical factor, plan your escape as soon as possible. Just don’t go there. This is where I get a little opinionated: there is very little to see there (in my opinion) that is worth putting up with the unpleasant experience of being in the city itself.

I know, this might garner some backlash, as I know many people that LOVE Bangkok travel, and there are probably some great things to see here. Unfortunately, I was not one of them, and I wouldn’t be doing you a service if I was sugar coating my opinions to make them more palatable for the masses.

Ok, down to the nitty gritty.  Bangkok is hands down the dirtiest city that we have ever been in. There seems to be no trash collection service (or if there is, it is very inefficient) and thus, there is garbage EVERYWHERE. Any open space that is not occupied by a building is filled with garbage. We saw kids playing in vacant lots and parks filled with garbage. It is everywhere and it stinks.

On top of the garbage problem that seems to pervade the city, there are homeless dogs everywhere. We saw a minimum of 2-3 dogs on each block. These poor creatures are sick and diseased, some limping because of broken limbs that never had medical treatment. Many of them had obvious infections and wounds that were not healed correctly.

Take the garbage from the last paragraph and combine it with hundreds of thousands of loose dogs in the streets and it makes for one smelly, unpleasant place to visit.

We had spent part of a day walking around Bangkok. When we got back to the hotel that night and took off our clothes, they smelled like a garbage heap. I am not saying that there aren’t nice things to see in Bangkok, but when you have to get past the garbage, the dogs and the smell to get to them, I am not sure if they are worth it.

There are so many other beautiful places in Thailand to see and experience that braving any more of Bangkok’s unpleasant features was just not worth it for me.  Each person will need to weigh their travel priorities and threshold for unpleasant experiences and decide for themselves.

We have escaped Bangkok and have made our way up to northern Thailand and we are so much happier. Please, take my Bangkok travel advice and I think you will be happier, too.


Shanna Schultz

Hello, my name is Shanna, and I am a detail obsessed travel addict on a mission to make planning your own family trips fun and easy! I offer tools, guides and resources to help you through all of the steps of planning meaningful, memorable family vacations. Come over and check out our Facebook community where I share real tools and resources to help you move the needle on your travel goals. Let's start making those travel dreams real, y'all! Life is too short to spend dreaming...let's start DOING!

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Andrea

    I liked Northern Thailand too. Bangkok is fascinating but more than a couple of days there were exhausting!

    1. Shanna Schultz

      Yeah, no plans to go back to Bangkok any time soon for me. There are a lot of other places that are much higher on my list…

  2. Ramin

    Hi Shanna,
    sorry to hear you’ve had such a bad Bangkok experience. I know it can happen – but what you describe is just one slice of what Bangkok can be.
    I personally love Bangkok, and I don’t take drugs, am not an party animal and don’t engage in cheap sex (it’s too expensive – I’d rather have free sex with my wife).
    It’s one of the best cities in the world for foodies, it’s a place where people from all walks of life and all nations and cultures mingle, there are plenty of unique and fun markets to stroll around, a vibrant creative scene and it’s a city that never stops to surprise one, even after many years of living here.
    I understand that Bangkok is not your cup of tea and that’s fine, the world is big enough 🙂 But I feel compelled to defend this amazing city when I read it’s just about drugs, parties and cheap sex, that’s like saying Amsterdam is just about hookers and smoking weed.
    Bangkok has so much to offer that I still love living here, despite the terrible traffic jams (sometimes a 20 minute drive can mutate into a 2 hour being stuck in traffic experience), the general neglect for pedestrians (even though my feet + skytrain & subway are my main mode of transportation around the city) and the occasional garbage heaps (they’re not really everywhere).
    Kind regards,

    1. Shanna

      I just wish that I had been able to get past the bad smell and rabid dogs. Yes, I am sure that there is more to Bangkok than sex and drugs and parties, but I do know an awful lot of people here in the US that travel there almost entirely for those purposes. Is there a part of Bangkok that I might like better, is I should find myself passing through that part of the world again?

  3. Danny

    Hello! I’m in Bangkok atm and there’s no stray dogs! Wonder where they all went? As well trash pickup happens everyday.

    1. Shanna

      Hmmm, maybe things have improved or maybe I was just in the wrong part of the city?

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