Bangkok, in Thailand, is a massive sprawling city which is crowded, polluted and in some ways crazy. You either love or hate the place and having spent quite a lot of time there, I must say I do love this city.
The city used to be known as the “Venice of the East” due to its massive network of canals throughout the city. These waterways were once used to get around the city, especially when transporting cargo. Although some are still in use today, these are not as prevalent as they used to be.
There are still many ways that you can travel around this charismatic and busy metropolis and explore all that the City of Angels has to offer. Public transport is plentiful as well as taxis and motorbikes, each form of transport has its own pros and cons and it does come down to personal preference. There are lots of travel websites out there such as Travel Republics, which can give you first hand reviews of your destination as well as advice and ideas for when you are there. Does some research on the internet before you go and you will know exactly what to expect before you arrive in Thailand’s capital city.
Although a lot of the canals, also known as klongs, have been filled in and are no longer accessible by boat, you will still find some major throughways where you can get about. Another great way to get about the city is to travel by boat along the Chao Phraya River. There are private boats available for hire or you can use one of the many shuttle boats which go up and down the river. The cost is relatively cheap and it is a good way to see some of the tourist attractions as well.
These are a few of the major attractions which are easily accessible by boat:
- Wat Arun
- The Grand Palace
- Khao Sarn Road
As well as boats going up and down the river you will also find a lot of ferries taking people and goods from one side of the river to the other side.
Cars, Buses, Tuk Tuks and Motorbikes
If you decide you want to get around by road then you have a choice of a Taxi, Bus, Tuk Tuk or a Motorbike that you can use. If you decide to get a taxi then you need to make sure that the driver uses the meter so that you pay the regulated fare. If there do not have a meter then you will need to negotiate a fare which is exactly the same as a Motorbike or a Tuk Tuk. Prices can vary quite drastically and if you can get a Motorbike from one of the many stands you see, the fares are usually set and are displayed openly, although most of the time written in Thai. Knowing the distance that you are going to travel will help you to barter a good deal. You do need to be aware of the time of day that you are traveling as Bangkok can seem like one massive traffic jam for much of the day. As getting around can take quite a bit of time, it is sometimes best to use a taxi as it has air conditioning, or use one of the air conditioned buses. If you are looking to travel to a certain area quickly, then sometimes it is best to use a combination of different forms of transport.
BTS and MRT
A relatively modern form of transport is the BTS, which is an overhead train. This has been going for around 13 years and is being expanded as well to cover more of the city. There are three lines, the Sukhumvit line and the Silom line, which also goes over the river. The third line goes from the heart of the city out to the airport. This is a great way to travel quickly around the city and in relative comfort, as all of the trains are air conditioned which can be great during the hot summer months. During peak hours though the BTS can get very bust so trains can get crowded and you may have to queue before you can board a train. The MRT is just like the BTS, although this is underground. The same trains are used but the MRT is not as extensive as the BTS. The two do connect at certain stations though so you can utilise both forms of transport to get to your destination.
Whatever form of transport you use to explore this amazing city, do be careful as the roads are very busy and it can get very hot when traveling on buses and other forms of transport which do not have air conditioning. As with traveling to any city, be aware of your surroundings and also your belongings. You can have a great time exploring this city and there is so much to see and do that it will keep you busy for many trips to come.