American Express -- There is no specific agent that handles American Express services in Thailand anymore, but there is an American Express office at 388 Pahonyothin Rd., in Bangkok. You can reach the office at tel. 02273-5500 during business hours (Mon-Fri 8:30am-5pm) or call their customer service hot line (tel. 02273-5544) with any problems or questions.
Banks -- Many international banks also maintain offices in Bangkok, including Bank of America, 87/2 CRC Tower, Witthayu (Wireless) Rd. (tel. 02305-2900); JP Morgan Chase, 20 Sathorn Nua Rd. (tel. 02684-2805); Citibank, 82 Sathorn Nua Rd. (tel. 02232-2000); National Australia Bank, 90 Sathorn Nua Rd. (tel. 02236-6016); and Standard Chartered Bank, 90 Sathorn Nua Rd., Silom (tel. 02724-6345-52). However, even if your bank has a branch in Thailand, your home account is considered foreign here; conducting personal banking will require special arrangements before leaving home.
Bookstores -- You'll find a number of bookstores offering a wide variety of English-language books. The two chains with the best choice are Asia Books and Kinokuniya. Asia Books is a local chain that specializes in regional titles and some overseas publishers -- depending on the outlet. Its main branch is at 221 Sukhumvit Rd., between sois 15 and 17 (tel. 02252-7277). Outlets with large inventory are at the following locations: The Emporium on Sukhumvit at Soi 22, Siam Paragon, on level 2, and CentralWorld, sixth floor.
The eclectic Kinokuniya has three stores in Bangkok, at The Emporium on Sukhumvit Road Soi 22, at Siam Paragon, and on the sixth floor of the Isetan department store at CentralWorld (tel. 02255-9834). Bookazine has a good selection at its various locations: in Patpong, on the first floor. at CP Tower, 313 Silom Rd. (tel. 02632-0130); in Ploenchit, on the third floor, at Amarin Plaza, 498-502 Ploenchit Rd. (tel. 02656-1039); and at 286 Siam Square, opposite Siam Center (tel. 02251-2641).
For secondhand books, try Dasa Books, 710/4 Sukhumvit (near The Emporium, btw. sois 26 and 28; tel. 02661-2993), which is a great place to grab a coffee and browse for long-lost titles, or exchange old novels free of charge. Alternatively, visit Elite Used Books, 593-5 Sukhumvit Rd. (tel. 02258-0221). Almost every international hotel has a newsstand with papers, magazines, and a few books.
Business Hours -- Government offices (including branch post offices) are open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm, with a lunch break between noon and 1pm. Businesses are generally open 8am to 5pm. Small shops often stay open from 8am until 7pm or later, 7 days a week. Department stores are generally open 10:30am to 9pm. TOPS and Villa supermarkets close at 10pm, but there is a 24-hour Villa Supermarket on Sukhumvit Road, almost opposite The Emporium.
Currency Exchange -- Most banks will exchange foreign currency (at some banks you may need proof of ID) Monday to Friday 8:30am to 3:30pm. Exchange booths affiliated with the major banks are found in all tourist areas, open daily from 10am to 7pm.
Embassies & Consulates -- Your embassy in Thailand can (to an extent) assist you with medical and legal matters. Contact them immediately if there is a medical emergency or imminent death, if you've lost your travel documents, or if you need urgent legal advice. The following is a list of major foreign representatives in Bangkok: Australian Embassy, 37 S. Sathorn Rd. (tel. 02344-6300); British Embassy, 1031 Witthayu (Wireless) Rd. (tel. 02305-8333); Canadian Embassy, 15th Floor, Abdulrahim Place, 990 Rama IV Rd. (tel. 02636-0540); New Zealand Embassy, 14th Floor, M Thai Tower, All Seasons Place, 87 Witthayu (Wireless) Rd. (tel. 02254-2530); and the Embassy of the United States of America, 120-22 Witthayu (Wireless) Rd. (tel. 02205-4000). Listen carefully to the phone prompts for after-hours help lines.
Emergencies -- In any emergency, first call Bangkok's Tourist Police, who can be reached at a direct-dial four-digit number, tel. 1155, or at 02678-6800. Someone at both numbers will speak English. In case of fire, call tel. 199 or 191, both of which are direct-dial numbers. Ambulance service is handled by individual, private hospitals. For operator-assisted overseas calls, dial tel. 100.
Eyeglass Repair -- Charoen Optical shops are on Surawong and Silom roads, and in many shopping areas; most can provide replacement glasses at reasonable prices. Always travel with a copy of your prescription. For eye problems, try the Rutnin Eye Hospital at 80/1 Sukhumvit Soi 21 (Soi Asok; tel. 02639-3399) or private hospitals .
Hospitals -- All hospitals listed here offer 24-hour emergency service. Be advised that you may need your passport and a deposit of up to 20,000B before you are admitted. Make sure you have adequate travel insurance before you leave home. Major credit cards are accepted. Bumrungrad Hospital, 33 Soi 3, Sukhumvit Rd. (tel. 02667-1000; www.bumrungrad.com), has respected -- but costly -- health practitioners and is the destination of choice in Bangkok for cosmetic surgery and (comparatively) affordable procedures. BNH Hospital (Bangkok Nursing Home), at 9 Convent Rd., between Silom and Sathorn roads (tel. 02686-2700; www.bnhhospital.com), is extremely central; Samitivej Hospital, at 133 Sukhumvit Soi 49 (tel. 02711-8000), is recommended for dentistry for young children, and for its maternity and infant wards.
Hot Lines -- There are regular meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in Bangkok and around Thailand. Check their regional website, www.aathailand.org; or call the AA hot line at tel. 02231-8300.
Internet & Wi-Fi -- Internet cafes abound these days, especially along Sukhumvit and Khao San roads. Generally, Internet prices range from 30B to 50B per hour. Big hotels charge much higher rates, of course, plus a service charge, but many hotels now offer a prepaid Wi-Fi access card to guests. Wi-Fi is also free at Starbucks and many other coffee shops throughout the city. On Silom, near Patpong, you'll find the city's most expensive connections.
At Suvarnabhumi International Airport, there are cash and credit card touch-screen phones (close to Concourse G), and Internet facilities on Levels 4 and 2.
Lost Property -- If you have lost anything or have had your valuables stolen, call the national police hot line at tel. 1155. If you lose something in a taxi, try to recall the color of the cab, the time and place where you picked it up, and the time and place it dropped you off. Even better, remember the cab registration number. Most hotel front desk staff will know which cab company to call to report the loss and make an appeal based on those details. You will need to make a police report at the closest station to the place of loss.
Luggage Storage -- Suvarnabhumi International Airport offers luggage storage for 100B a day, 24 hours a day, on both the Arrivals and Departures level. Most hotels will allow you to store luggage while away on short trips.
Mail -- Head to the General Post Office (opposite Soi 45) on Charoen Krung Rd., for all mail, telegraph, and parcel services, including Western Union money transfers. If you want to send valuables home, use courier services such as DHL (tel. 02345-5000). Or call Federal Express (tel. 1782; press 2 for English). If this proves too costly, check rates with Express Mail Service (EMS), available at post offices throughout the kingdom.
Newspapers & Magazines -- Bangkok Post and The Nation, both English-language dailies, cover local, national, and international news as well as happenings around town, TV listings, and other useful information. for just 25B. Also check out Where, a free listings monthly, and BK Magazine, a free weekly publication, which publish lighthearted commentaries and event listings for Bangkok.
Pharmacies -- Bangkok has many local pharmacies. Drugs dispensed here differ widely in quality and authenticity; if in doubt, visit a doctor and get prescribed drugs at a hospital or pick them up at an international store such as Watson's or Boots.
Police -- Call the Tourist Police at tel. 1155 or 02678-6800, open 24 hours, for assistance. English is spoken.
Post Office -- The main General Post Office (GPO) is a huge post and telegraph office on Charoen Krung Road (tel. 02236-3066), opposite Soi 45. It's open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and weekends 8am to 1pm.
Radio & TV -- In Bangkok, Smooth 105FM and Easy FM 105.5 play back-to-back easy-listening pop, with little English.
Most TV channels broadcast local Thai programs or English-language programs, either dubbed or with subtitles. Cable channels, such as CNN, Australia Network, NHK, BBC World, France's TV5, Star Movies, HBO, MTV, and Star Sports, are readily available in serviced apartments and hotels.
Safety -- In general, Bangkok is a relatively safe city, but be aware, at night, of drug-spiked drinks and, in daytime -- especially on transport -- of pickpockets. Do not incite trouble; avoid public disagreements and hostility (especially with locals), and steer clear of gambling-related activities. If traveling alone at night, be alert, as you would in any city, and rely on your gut instincts; if you get a bad feeling about a place or situation, remove yourself from the scene. A Thai temper is virtually unheard of, but on rare occasions, it erupts, seemingly out of nowhere, and makes for (potentially lethal) confrontations.
Telephone, Internet Telephone & Fax -- If you want to make international calls, the easiest option is Internet cafes, which offer extremely cheap international call rates via Internet or Skype. Another option is to head to the Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) building, next to the General Post Office, on Charoen Krung (New) Road. All post offices and 7-Elevens sell prepaid phone cards for use with domestic or international calls. Public phones can be found all over the city, but they are not enclosed so can be very noisy. These phones may also charge calls to credit cards and AT&T calling cards.
For information on a number within the Bangkok metropolitan area, dial tel. 1133, or ask your hotel concierge or operator.
These days, fax services are offered by most small Internet cafes and hotels. A single A4 page of typewritten English faxed to the United States costs around 100B.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.