Getting Around in Bangkok
Traffic in Bangkok is notorious for its snarls and gridlock. But is Bangkok's traffic really all that bad? Actually, during certain period of the day and on certain roads, the problems are truly horrendous.
What can you do about it is the main issue? Find alternatives to taxis or choose the right time of day.
First and perhaps your best alternative is the sky train (BTS) or the subway (MRT). The rail systems:
- Reach many sections of Bangkok
- Are reasonably priced
- Fairly easy to figure out
Bangkok Taxis aka Taxi Meter
Easiest form of transportation in Bangkok .. unless it's rush hour and raining torrents. Virtually all registered taxis in Bangkok have meters and are supposed to turn on the meter automatically. The taxis equipped with meters are obvious from a lighted sign on the roof. Sometimes drivers will try to negotiate fixed priced fares, as is done with tuk-tuks and motorcycle taxis. It generally isn't a good idea to accept one.
When trying to hail a taxi, look for a small red light on the passenger side dashboard. If the light is out, the taxi is not available. Although the light may be malfunctioning.
Fare system in Bangkok is fixed. The initial fare is Bt 35 which includes the first 2 km. Then Bt 4.5 - 5.5/km after that.(2-12 km - Bt 4.5/km; 12-20 km - Bt 5/km; over 20 km Bt 5.5/km)
Bangkok Skytrain & Subway
Combined routes for the MRT and BTS have made getting around in Bangkok so much easier. The Skytrain alone was okay for limited areas, but when combined with the new subway, Bangkok's mass transit system began to blossom. The Skytrain follow a route along Sukhumvit Road, Ploenjit and Paholyothin.
Southern spur runs from the National Stadium to Ratchadamri; then down Ratchadamri and Silom, runs onto Narathiwat, then down Sathon to the Taksin Bridge.
Bangkok Boat Taxi
While Bangkok is no longer the "Venice of the East", there are still enough canals to recall those days. And, of course, there is the mighty Chao Praya River. Seeing Bangkok by boat is a fascinating adventure and there are several ways to do so.
River Boat Express
Boasting what is one of the greatest transportation values in the world, one can take the River Boat Express all the way from the Oriental Hotel to the Nonthaburi suburb of Bangkok - a journey of one hour and 15 minutes - for 25 cents U.S. That's right, a quarter! It's a great way to see the river and the associated riverbank buildings including some fantastic wats. Take your camera.
Local Buses in Bangkok
Traveling by local bus around Bangkok is possible, but you are faced with two challenges.
- Language will be your first because all signs on the buses, including the one in front saying where it is going, are in Thai. Your only alternative is to try to find out the number of the bus that you need. That isn’t so easy to do sometimes either. Knowing where to get off the bus can also be an issue.
- Physicality is another major challenge. The degree of the physical challenge depends on the type of bus. One challenge they all share is that they stop as briefly as they possibly can. Thus getting on and off can be dangerous.
Interprovincial buses and @ bus stations