Data SIM card
I followed Aroimakmak’s advice and bought the AIS Traveller SIM from Changi Recommends at Changi airport. It worked without requiring any activation – just insert SIM card into phone and you’re good to go. All the telcos sell SIM cards for tourists at the same price – 299 Baht which comes with 1.5GB for use in 7 days (there is also a cheaper option at 199 Baht which comes with 500MB). Truemove requires registration/activation at their shop. Although I saw no queue at their airport booth, I read that there is usually a long queue, which would be a hassle. At $13, the SIM card from Changi Airport is really just $1 more than what it costs in Bangkok. Update: if you’re with m1, it is probably better to just sign up their data passport service. It costs $10 per month plus $2 activation fee, so it is cheaper, and hassle free since you don’t have to swap out the SIM card and worry about losing it. Other telcos have similar services too.
Out of the 4 times we hired a taxi from the street, we were quoted a fixed price twice, so I’d say there is up to 50 percent chance an attempt to swindle you is made. The actual cost if the meter is used is likely to be less than half of the price quoted, so if you’re not in a hurry, you can try to bargain it down, or wait for the next available taxi. In any case, the taxi drivers who didn’t try to cheat were really nice people, and those who did were OK.
Chao Phraya Express Boat
I would guess that most tourists only stick to visiting places near a BTS or MRT station, for obvious reasons. Yes, they do provide access to many attractions, but not all, especially those around the oldest parts of Bangkok. Taxi would be the second best choice for getting around, despite the persistent traffic jam and having to worry about having to haggle with the driver. There is actually a third viable choice – the Chao Phraya Express. This brings you to the Grand Palace, for example, and travelling on the river lets you see Bangkok from a different perspective. You could do a river cruise, sure, but for a fraction of the price you get the same view. All boats depart or make a stop at the Central Pier, which is connected to Saphan Taksin BTS station.
ATM cash withdrawal
When I did cash withdrawal from a Bangkok Bank ATM machine, I was levied a 180 Baht (S$7.20) fee ON TOP of the usual S$5 Maestro/Cirrus fee, and needless to say the exchange rate was also very unfavourable. So the lesson learnt is that it is far better to have leftover Thai Baht to be converted back to the currency of your home country, than to have to withdraw cash from the ATM.
Left luggage service
Arriving at Don Mueang airport on Sunday, I took the A1 bus service to Mo Chit bus station (the stop after Mo Chit BTS station) where I read that there is a luggage storage service. I intended to store my luggage before going on to explore Chatuchak Weekend Market. Unfortunately, when I got to the bus station, no luggage storage service was to be found. Maybe the bus station mentioned in the forum postings was a different one. In any case, if you’re in the same situation, you’ll have to make an alternative arrangement. We ended up just pushing the luggage around Chatuchak while also lugging 2 kids, which is still doable. I have not seen any locker nor left luggage service in Bangkok, so you basically have to go to your hotel first if you want to deposit your luggage.
Travelling with kids
Kids mostly need to take a nap during the day. I imagine most people will head back to the hotel to let their kids nap. Not for us.
In Bangkok, if you’re not near to a BTS or MRT station, it is a lot of hassle (getting stuck in the traffic for example) to make a trip back to the hotel. Unless, you also want to have some rest yourself. At the very least, our kids can nap in their kid carrier. We look for a cozy corner in a Starbucks or equivalent coffee place. Granted, there are not many malls outside the Central Business District, so it may be a problem finding a cozy place, but i think you should still be able to find a decent place with a little bit of walking around. Bangkok is not stroller friendly, and i hardly remember seeing anyone pushing a kid on a stroller.
We got a chance to do foot massage while the kids napped
Napping in Starbucks