Bangkok is a city of contrasts where the old and the new come together. That combination of modernity and antiquity functioning side by side draws in millions each year and makes it one of the most visited cities in the world. The bustling Thai capital is home for explorers looking to discover something incredible within the mix of sights and sounds. The city is a jumbled jigsaw puzzle of sloping skyscrapers, colourful taxis, buzzing motorbikes, and busy pedestrians, a diverse metropolis with so much to discover, to taste, to smell and to experience.
[ When ]Weather is best November to April but busy December and January
[ City ]Bangkok
[ Good For ]Vibrant and fast-pasted culture, street food, and shopping
[ Weather ]Tropical climate with three seasons; hot, cool and monsoon
[ Crowd ]Over 21 million visitors annually
[ Cost ]$$
[ Sex Work ]
Not strictly illegal but there are regulations on solicitation
[ Sexy Score ]
The major airlines all fly to Bangkok so finding flights is easy. November to February is the best time to visit for good weather bit it is peak tourist season so the flights are more expensive and the city is crowded. If you don’t mind a bit of rain and love saving a bit then visiting between June and October is an option. It’s low season so you will find cheaper hotels, tours and flights. There are smaller crowds but the city does experience flooding.
Bangkok is notorious for its traffic being extremely busy both day and night thanks to the city’s modern public transport systems you will find it relatively easy to navigate. The Skytrain (BTS) and underground (MRT) rail systems connect the main areas of the city and you can use river taxis and express boats to explore many of the city’s historic sites and attractions. Taxis are cheap and practically everywhere. Tuk-tuks are slowly dying out but they are definitely worth riding at least once.
Bangkok is one of the most visited cities in the world so there are countless places to stay. Of course choosing the wrong one can ruin your holiday so take some time to look at the pros and cons of each district.
Sukhumvit is good for most things with plenty of nightlife and dining options but not any sights to see. Siam is famous for its shopping but has limited partying options. Silom has great food, night markets and the red light district. Pratunam is home for shoppers on a budget with plenty of cheap places to stay, shop and eat but it is crowded. The riverside is has shunning views and a resort style setting but doesn’t have much for those on a budget. Old City or Khaosan is great for backpackers and budget travellers with its famous landmarks, museums and low cost accommodation.
Thailand is notorious for being a sex tourism destination with red light districts like Patpong, which mainly caters to foreigners. Despite the high visibility of the sex industry, most locals are very shy and conservative when it comes to sex. If you are looking for fun in Bangkok you’ll find it much harder to find an interested local over a sex worker. A higher rate of HIV is something to be aware of in the sex worker population so it is important to always use protection.
- Although less common than other major tourist cities, Bangkok does still have pickpockets around. Make sure to hide your cash and valuables to make it difficult to swipe.
- Like in most other Asian countries tampons are not a popular feminine hygiene product. You will find it difficult to buy while there so we recommend you pack some with you.
- Always bargain with your tuk-tuk driver before you board. Write down the agreed price to avoid an argument. Tuk-tuk drivers will often try and scam naïve tourists and can become very aggressive. Many will often offer to take you to ‘some great places,’ places that you don’t really want to go and will cost you more.
- The same goes for taxis, they are well known for trying to cheat foreigners so apps like Uber are often a better option, especially since it takes away the haggling and cheating possible.
- If you plan on visiting temples then wear conservative clothing or you won’t be allowed in. This goes for both men and women. Short shorts, singlets and other more revealing clothing are not seen as appropriate for visiting sacred sites of worship.
- Do not drink the water when street food stalls offer you a free drink as they use tap water which can get you sick. Rely on bottled water as it is cheap, safe and everywhere.
- Thai people are friendly but they are also shy. If you approach them and ask questions most are willing to help but if they approach you more times than not it is going to be a scam.
- Condoms can easily be found in most stores with Durex being a popular brand. A larger condom brand called BodyGuard is targeted at tourists and ex-pats and can be found in vending machines in bars and clubs.
As with anywhere there is always the risk of HIV or sexually transmitted infections. Approximately 1.1% of Thai residents are living with HIV but due to testing and treatment the transmission numbers are declining. Rates among men who have sex with men (est. 28.6%) and sex workers (male: 12%, female: 2%) are higher. Safe sex practices such as using condoms and PrEP are the best way to protect yourself.
Gonorrhoea and chlamydia are both relatively common, both in the general population and withsex workers so protection is important.
A potential risk is getting drugged and then robbed in a bar or club or by a sex worker. Be cautious when going out and do not accept free drinks or food from strangers including taxi drivers, who have been known to offer spiked lollies and rob their passengers.
Silom Community Clinic at Trop Med Hospital for Tropical Diseases
Level 12 Ratchathewi Rd.,
Ratchawithi, Bangkok, 10400
Hours: Tue-Sat: 4PM-9PM
Appointment preferred via 02-6446290
Silom Pulse Clinic
60/4 Silom Road, Suriyawong, Bangkok, Thailand
Tel. (+66) 95 915 6385
Thai Red Cross Anonymous Clinic
Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre
104 Ratchadamri Road,
Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
(5 minutes’ walk from the Rajdamri BTS station and Silom MRT station)
Tel. (+66) 2-251-6711-5
MedConsult International Clinic
The Racquet Club, 3rd Floor
Sukhumvit Soi 49/9, Khlong Tan Nuea, Bangkok, Thailand, 10110
Tel: +66 (0)2-018-7855
Mobile: +66 (0)81-837-6381
Go to TestBKK for more testing locations and resources
Want to know more?
Sex on holiday happens. Whether planned or not, away from home we lose at least some of inhibitions and may take more risks than we would at home. This is ok, it’s what makes travelling so exciting – and just accepting it before we go is the first step to planning.
To help you get home with no more than a bruised bank account and awesome memories, here are some useful tips: