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.
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.