HOW TO GET AROUND BANGKOK ?
The Thais have their own address system and first timers in Bangkok can be easily disoriented. Wikitravel explains it really well: “Large roads such as Silom or Sukhumvit are thanon while the side streets branching off from them are called soi. Sois are numbered, with even numbers on one side and odd numbers on the other side. Thus, an address like 25 Sukhumvit Soi 3 means house number 25 on the 3rd soi of Sukhumvit Road.”
Although it is not as sweat-free as in Hong Kong or Singapore, commuting in Bangkok is quite easy. Vehicular traffic can get crazy during rush hour though.
Getting around via public transportation means using one or more of these four modes:
- Train (BTS Skytrain/MRT) – Bangkok’s train system is fast and reliable, and will ta e you to many attractions throughout the city. I found myself taking the train most of the time during my stay because there was a train station very near my hotel. Also, even during the busiest hours, I never experienced getting almost squished to death. The BTS fare ranges from 15 to 52 baht. And you will need 5 or 10 baht coins to get in. Most stations have a counter than can break your large bills and a ticket machine that accepts bills.
- Boat – The two boat services operating in Bangkok are the Chao Phraya Express Boat, which plies up and down the Chao Phraya River and is popular among tourists for it stops at many of the city’s most popular landmarks; and the Saen Saep Express Boat, used mostly by locals who commute to work. The Chao Phraya boat is the best option for you if you intend to visit the Grand Palace complex (at Tha Chang) and Wat Pho (at Tha Tien), and the Siriraj Medical Museum (Wang Lang Station) within one day!
- Taxi – Always my last option. If my destination is too far from a train or boat station, I would just hail a cab. The flagdown is 35 baht and the average ride within the city is probably around 100. You might encounter cab drivers who take advantage of tourists by not using the meter and then overcharging. If the driver refuses to use the meter, just get off the vehicle. Know that all cabs in Bangkok must use the meter. Many of these drivers wait for tourist passengers at the popular attractions like temples and Khao San Road. I always walked far from them and just hail a moving cab.
- Tuktuk – Fun but they are quite expensive, even more expensive than cabs, and many of them (not all, but it’s hard to know) are involved in scams. If you really want to try for the heck of it, just agree on the price first.