These days, there’s no reason to get lost in translation while travelling in Bangkok. Thanks to an ever-increasing wealth of ingenious mobile apps, visits to international destinations like Thailand can be easier and better. From language translation to local happenings, apps give visitors an insider edge and are bilingual to boot: Take the IHG app, which now features English, Thai and Bahasa Indonesian options. You can start using the IHG app today to find, book and manage your hotel stays in your preferred language. Not on a phone? Here are some beautiful Bangkok hotels in which to stay.
Here are our six must-have apps to download for your trip to Bangkok.
1. BK Now
Download BK Now: iOS
If it’s awesome and happening now, free weekly English-language BK Magazine covers it. Their streamlined, essential companion app feeds you up-to-the-minute details about what’s on, including art exhibitions, festivals, concerts, parties and nightlife, plus reviews of the newest and coolest restaurants, bars and shops. Live in the now!
2. IHG Translator
Thai is just one of the dozen languages on the Apple Watch-enabled IHG Translator. A pre-programmed English-to-Thai phrase dictionary features four different situational options for each expression, including formal, casual, slang and crazy. Once you’ve decided on which best suits the occasion (the literal English translations for “crazy” are hysterical), you can listen to the spoken pronunciation in normal or slow audio mode.
Don’t want to look up a phrase? Use the voice-to-voice function to speak English and playback the Thai equivalent. If you’re in a situation where precision is critical or need translation beyond the programmed vocabulary, then click the “Live Translator” function and get connected to a skilled, human translator. Bonus: It has a currency converter.
Thailand’s government is developing an official taxi app and service, and frowns on the technically illegal but still-in-use Uber. In the meantime, Grab is the Bangkok resident’s ride-hailing service of choice. Grab offers several modes of transportation, including taxicab and private car. In May 2017, Grab also launched GrabBike, a motorcycle taxi service, which is especially convenient for short distances when time is of the essence and you need to weave around Bangkok’s legendary traffic.
4. Nostra Map
A super-charged map app, Nostra is packed with features for both locals and tourists. Beyond letting you know which roads are clogged with traffic or closed, and best public transportation routes to your destination (including boat), it lets you know the locations of festivals and special events, temples and even public toilets. An especially valuable tool during April’s New Year celebration, Songkran, when people douse each other with water, so you can easily find— or avoid—the wet spots.
This excellent restaurant app offers recommendations, reservations and discounts of up to 50% off during specific, non-peak hours. Participating venues are impressively diverse, ranging in category from cuisine to neighbourhood to style (e.g. rooftop, riverside, hotel buffets, etc.). Feeling spontaneous? Tap “Here & Now” for discounted offers in your immediate area.
This seven-year-old app is basically Thailand’s Yelp, with an emphasis on restaurants and food. Venues and reviews are broken down by cuisine category, location and even specific dish, while special deals and even a delivery service are available with a tap. While Wongnai’s interface can be set to English, many reviews are written in Thai, so put your bilingual hotel concierge to good use. Bonus: There’s also a section for spa, beauty and health venues.