On this page you’ll find our A-Z of Practicalities for RubyConf TH 2023.
Information is updated regularly. So you can expect changes the closer we get to the event.
Last updated on October 1, 2023.
Bangkok is served by two airports: Suvarnabhumi (pronounced “su-vahn-a-boom”, the final “i” is silent) Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang Airport (DMK). Suvarnabhumi Airport is the main airport and used by all full-service airlines, but most low cost carriers use Don Mueang Airport. Both airports lie about 30 km (19 mi) out on opposite sides of the city, so be prepared for a long ride to get into the city centre.
From Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) by Train
From BKK, the easiest way to get into the city is either via the Airport Rail Link train or taxi.
On the basement level of the passenger terminal, the Airport Rail Link offers a speedy train service to downtown. It’s also a way of avoiding Bangkok’s horrendous rush hour traffic, particularly when it’s raining. Trains depart 06:00-midnight every day. See Airport Rail Link for more information.
From Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) by Taxi
To take a taxi, follow the signs to the public taxi area between exits 4 and 7 on the 1st floor. Find the public taxi slip dispensing machine (you may need to wait in line). We recommend viewing this video. The “Lane Number” on the slip will be the number of the bay where you taxi will be waiting for you. Go to that bay number.
For taxis, the meter price for a trip to the conference venue area will cost 250-400 baht. In addition, there is a 50 baht airport surcharge and highway tolls of about 75 baht.
The driver may ask you, possibly with difficulty in English, whether or not you want to take the toll highway. We recommend doing so. The driver may ask you for cash for the tolls during your trip. There are two tolls so they may not return the change until after the second one. If you don’t have any bills smaller than 1000’s, this may be a good opportunity to break one into smaller bills.
Ignore any touts who offer you a taxi; they may pretend to be public meter taxis, but are not.
You will need cash for taxis in Thailand, credit cards are not accepted. There are ATM’s and currency exchange booths in the airport.
It may be possible to use the Grab (like Uber) ride-hailing service from the airport, but there are logistical issues that can make this a challenge. See the transportation section for more information about Grab.
From Don Mueang Airport (DMK)
From DMK there is limited public transport (a new Red Line train opened recently, but trains are infrequent), so a taxi is the easiest. Follow the signs to the main taxi stand and ignore the touts.
By international “big city” standards, Thailand is inexpensive, but costs can still add up quickly. We understand that in the current economic situation, many people and companies are struggling. We’ve compiled a few money-saving tips to ensure you can enjoy your time in Bangkok.
- Flights: This is likely to be your biggest expense when coming from abroad. Use a flights aggregator like Google Flights or Kiwi.com. Consider being somewhat flexible on dates or routes, flights with a stop are often cheaper than direct flights.
- Accommodation: You don’t have to stay at the conference hotel, there are many other hotels and hostels in the neighbourhood and around the city, at all price levels.
- Hostel beds are available for under 800 THB
- There are many good 2-4 star hotels for 1000-2000 THB/night
- Five star hotels are available from 2500THB/night upwards
- Food and drink: Thai street food is cheap and internationally renowned! Stick to non-alcoholic drinks to save money as alcohol is heavily taxed.
- Freebies: Make the most of the free coffee and snack breaks, buffet lunch and official party!
Code of Conduct
All attendees, speakers, sponsors and volunteers at our conference are required to agree with the code of conduct. Organisers will enforce this code throughout the event. We expect cooperation from all participants to help ensure a safe environment for everybody.
If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a conference staff member immediately. Conference staff can be identified as they’ll be wearing red STAFF t-shirts and STAFF lanyards.
As of October 1st 2022, there are no COVID-related restrictions to enter Thailand (no vaccination proof, no “Thailand Pass”, no mandatory tests). Official Thailand Tourist Authority website
It is not required to wear a mask at the conference, however you are welcome to do so: conferences are an easy place for diseases like COVID to spread.
Masks are no longer mandatory, however they are recommended in crowded and indoor places. You will see a lot of people wearing masks, especially on public transport and in shops. If asked to put a mask to enter a venue, please put one on.
Vegetarian and Halal options will be available for lunch on each day of the conference. If you have any concerns please contact us in the Slack channel.
Many nationalities including US, most EU countries, UK etc, can enter Thailand without needing a visa for up to 45 days. A full list of countries is available at Visa Exempt countries .
Additionally, some nationalities such as Indian and Chinese can receive a “visa on arrival”. For more details see Visa on Arrival countries .
As of October 1st 2022, there are no longer any COVID-related restrictions to enter Thailand (no vaccination proof, no “Thailand Pass”, no mandatory tests). Official Thailand Tourist Authority website If you have vaccination documentation, it could still make sense to travel with it as other destinations or transit points could still require it.
Travel Medical Insurance
It is recommended to have your own travel/health insurance before visiting Thailand.
You should have proof you will leave the country, such as an onward flight ticket. International flights within Southeast Asia are inexpensive, or you could purchase a refundable ticket.
Passport Expiration Date Requirement
Your passport’s expiration date should be at least six months later than the date you enter Thailand.
Check with a doctor in your home country to see if you require any vaccinations before travelling to Thailand. It is best to start this process as soon as possible, as some vaccines may be difficult to find, or require multiple doses spaced apart. A useful resource for more information about this is at CDC Travel Vaccines.)
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 1669 (this may not work with non-Thai phone numbers) and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Medical care in Thailand is excellent. It is much cheaper than more developed countries, but a serious incident can incur substantial charges. You should have your own travel/health insurance before visiting Thailand.
On Tuesday 3rd October, before the conference, why not join our free informal meet-up at the Urban Office to meet and mingle with speakers and other attendees - RSVP here!
Thailand uses the Thai baht as its currency, 38 THB is approximately 1 USD. Credit cards are widely accepted (Visa and Mastercard always work, JCB sometimes, Amex only occasionally). That said, taxis, street vendors, and some shops and restaurants will only accept cash, so we do recommend having some cash on you.
When withdrawing money from an ATM, you will be charged a fixed fee of 220 baht, so it’s generally best to withdraw 5,000 THB or 10,000 THB at a time. (To USA residents: you can open an ATM-fee-free account online at Charles Schwab.)
The official party is held on Friday evening at The Deck, which is 1 minutes walk from the conference venue! We’ll provide volunteers to help you make your way to the party from the hotel!
The party is free for all attendees (simply wear your conference lanyard)!
Thailand uses 220V AC and US-style plugs with two thin prongs. Before plugging in any devices check your adaptor will work with 220V. Many hotels have plugs which also accept European and UK style plugs.
Safety and Scams
Bangkok is generally a safe place but like any large city you should keep your wits about you.
- The roads in Bangkok and Thailand are very dangerous. Always wear a seatbelt and avoid using motorbike taxis.
- Traffic drives on the left side of the road here, so be sure to look right when you cross the street. Also, it is not uncommon for motorbikes to ride in the wrong direction, so it’s best to look both ways!
- Ignore touts at the airport, go straight to the public taxi queue.
- If someone tries to sell you gems, it’s a scam.
- If someone tells you a tourist attraction/hotel/restaurant is closed, and to come with them instead, it’s a scam.
- Places recommended by your taxi/tuktuk driver could be scams or providing kickbacks to the driver. Do your own research online if you want to, for example, buy a suit or sample some of Bangkok’s nightlife.
- Bangkok’s tap water is not safe to drink, so drink bottled water, even for brushing your teeth.
- Bangkok can be very hot. Carry a bottle of water with you and stay hydrated.
- In extreme situations, you may need or want to call the police. Thailand has “Tourist Police”, who can be contacted by dialing 1155 from a Thai phone number.
- If you don’t intend to carry your passport around with you, it may be helpful to make a copy of the information page and carry it in your wallet. Most places that say they require a passport also accept a photocopy.
The three major cell service providers are True, AIS, and DTAC. SIM cards sold at the airport after you exit baggage claim are fairly priced and inexpensive, so you should just pick one up there, including phone calls and fast 4G data. In general True has the best signal coverage, but if you will just be in Bangkok it doesn’t matter much.
You may need to modify your phone’s configuration to work in Thailand. We recommend installing the SIM card, and testing both a) phone calling or receiving and b) mobile Internet data access, before leaving the kiosk. Kiosk agents are usually happy to help with this.
We have set up a Slack group so you can easily ask questions before and during the conference. Join here .
The Airport Rail Link (http://www.bangkok.com/airport-rail-link.htm ) will easily get you from the airport to downtown.
The BTS Skytrain is an elevated rapid transit/metro system. There are two lines, the Sukhumvit Line (light green) and Silom Line (dark green) which interchange at Siam station. You can buy tickets in cash at any station, or purchase a Rabbit card which allows preloading multiple journeys. You must show your passport to buy a Rabbit card.
The MRT is an underground metro system, with two lines, the Blue Line and Purple Line, of which the Blue Line is the most convenient for tourists. You can buy tickets in cash at any station, or purchase a MRT card which allows preloading multiple journeys. The MRT and BTS have completely separate ticketing systems.
Public buses are confusing for tourists and not recommended!
Taxis are cheap and plentiful, but sometimes it can be hard to find a taxi willing to take you to your destination, and taxi drivers rarely speak good English. Insist on using the meter. If the driver refuses, get out and find another taxi.
Taxis often claim not to have change, so it’s best not to try to pay with a 1000THB bill. If necessary ask your hotel to break a bill, or pop into a 7-11 convenience store and buy something small like a bottle of water. The taxi will wait ;)
Motorbike taxis are a popular way for locals to get around but due to the poor road conditions in Bangkok, and the lack of passenger helmets, can be very dangerous. Stick to regular taxis which give you more protection if there’s an accident.
“Tuktuks” are an iconic image of Bangkok, but really only used by tourists. If you want to ride one for fun, be sure to bargain the price with the driver as there are no meters. Some hotels have free tuktuks for their guests.
As an alternative to hailing a taxi, you can use the Grab ride-hailing app, which works similarly to apps like Uber or Lyft. The app works well in English, and you can type in your destination and see an instant price for your journey. It works best if you have mobile data (a Thai SIM card is probably best for this) so you can access the Internet anywhere. The app will show the license plate of your vehicle. Prices are typically slightly more expensive than a taxi. Actual arrival times are often longer than stated on the app. Grab is especially useful if you are not on a main road where taxis are likely to be plentiful. An alternative to Grab is Bolt which is generally cheaper, though has fewer cars.
Tips will never be refused, but there’s not much of a tipping culture in Thailand.
All restaurant bills will already have a 7% tax and 10% service charge included. You don’t need to tip on top of that
Coins are pretty low-value in Thailand, so it’s normal to just round up to the next 10/20THB bill and leave the coins when you receive change.
You should tip someone who carries suitcases up to your room in a hotel.
Bangkok is hot and wet (and the 2023 rainy season is especially wet!). In October, Bangkok has daily highs of around 32 Celsius (89F) and lows of 24 Celsius (75F), and you can expect sudden downpours of rain, especially in the afternoon. If you get caught in a storm, it’s generally best to just wait it out in a mall. It’s best to carry a small umbrella or raincoat (which you can also easily get at a convenience store).