A cornucopia of brilliant sites and lifestyle/red tape tips gathered from the people in the know. (including me eventually!)

UPDATED 11/3/11
The new airport Suvarnabhumi 28 Km South of the city is now fully operational. It's a lot further out than the old one. Bear this is mind when you are flying internationally. In a bad traffic snarl it could easily take more than 1.5 hours to get there. However there is now a Skytrain link direct to the PhayaThai station 1 km north of the city centre. Do be mindful abut taking big bags on during rush hour...not fun! The skytrain extends over the river to wongwian Yay and 4 new stations are to open up from the south eastern point On Nut.. to Bang Na on 12th august 2011.

I have been spending a lot more time doing my eating and drinking around Victory Monument. The Soi Rangnam just by the skytrain station is full of fab bars and eateries far away from the nonsense of the tourist areas....Caribow (Thai Country/folk) music has an absolutely fantastic venue here in a bar called "The Raintree".... walking east along Soi Rangnam, look for the only tree covered in fairy lights (about 500-600 metres down on the right) and turn right down the little lane beside it for about 50 metres...Absolutely fab wee friendly boozer. ......and you're guaranteed to be the only Farang in there.

If you have feet that are larger than 44 Uk size you might just fit in a 45 here...but if your feet are a biggish size 10 you're going to probably have to try and find a size 46. The only problem here is that most shops don't stock 46...especially in leather/business type shoes. If you are coming out here for business bear this in mind....

If you're planning to live in Bangkok there's a few things you got to consider.....Traffic is a nightmare to get anywhere fast (even in taxis!) so try if you can to live somewhere near a metro or skytrain station. Don't bother living south of the river unless you're a hermit who likes his or her own company and commute hours just for a social gathering. Round the Koh San Rd area expect to be treated like a honky farang with all the rip offs and pitfalls this entails..Round there is the only time I've felt like an outsider since I got here....For what it's worth I'm recommend the northern part of the city, anywhere near the skytrain stations Victory Monument, Sanam Pao, Phaya Thai, Ari , or Saphan Kwai. Obviously you get what you pay for..Ari like I've mentioned is in parts green and leafy with only a 20 minute run in to Siam Square . I like it fine. Believe me, the city gets hot and sweaty enough without living in the traffic smog sweatbox of downtown.

Don't believe hard bitten ex-pats that say you don't have to tip.....Many people need rely on tips to supplement their very low incomes...20 or 30 Baht (25p) is a meal in a street stall. Besides the service is usually extremely good anyway.

If you're homesick for English pubs, there's a couple of them very close to Phrom Pong skytrain station opposite the main road from the Emporium shopping centre (Robin Hood and the Bulls Head).Irish pubs can be found near soi 22 on sukumvit and underneath Sala Daeng BTS station.

If you're wanting to go megaclubbing with the locals, ask any taxi driver (cos it's late at night and the streets will be clear) to take you to the RCA (Royal something road)....A street FILLED with all sorts of modern and welcoming clubs...This is where the local boys and girls come to dance and watch local bands play sets.....Very friendly folk, If you're a male farang, expect to be chatted up by a lot of girls (not sure if it's English they're practising or looking for a boyfriend). It's very flattering and the environment is totally non-threatening....but they are very young kids there.

If it's the sleazier part of town that interests you, Pat Pong nightmarket near Silom has all the bar girls and the ping pong ball shows, Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza has all the stripper/hooker dance joints (again friendly and unthreatening but stay away from the seats at the stages and don't encourage/waste the girls time if it's only looking on your agenda. The Mama sans (usually dressed in traditional Silk dresses will do negotiations and make introductions for you)..I only know this because my last two houseguests both got roped in and I went home alone in a taxi...honest!

Visa runs are a necessary evil. You can make your way to the Cambodian border and do it all yourself , or you can look at the companies advertised on the back of the recruitment section of the Bangkok Post....The fast ones will have you there and back in 6 hours for 2200 Baht. ( a bargain since a Cambodean Visa costs 1000 Baht anyway and you have to cross over to come back.)

For anyone considering teaching in Thailand nad need to know the lowdown ona whole range of issues from visas to lifestyle costings, I'd have to say that www.ajarn.com is a really great site.

www.talesofasia.com is a site I've been visiting for years..Particularly good stuff for independent travellers and those interested in up to date rumours and gossip of local politics and (naturally) border disputes/closures/visa hassles etc.

www.bangkokpost.com has a comprehensive news site along with online job ads and CV posting all for free. Well worth keeping in your favourites.

Nice to see they've added a metro since I last visited. Fares depend on where you go. Touch screen ticket machine indicator is in English if required, stick in a note or coins and when you get the plastic token and change, wave it over the sensor at the barrier on the way in and stick it in the slot on the way out. Don't forget which station you originally asked for. It is marginally more expensive than the skytrain (which is a bargain at 10x25 Baht journeycard) but it does get you to parts of town not on the skytrain route in air-con comfort.

If you're interested in a lot of cool photos and stuff about the ethnic diversity of Thailand, check my friend Richards excellent site at www.globalwanderings.co.uk

naturesgrip.blogspot.com/ is my brothers blog about the life and times of a gamekeeper in Scotland