Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Travel Tips: Getting around Bangkok

Bangkok is hailed as one of the top cities in Asia for her traffic condition, and anyone who has been to Bangkok can definitely vouch for that. The city is known for the notorious traffic condition; particularly during the peak hours where one could be stuck in a bumper to bumper and even a standstill traffic for hours to get from one destination to another.


The traffic congestion can be a headache for most motorists, and sometimes taxi drivers are even known to refuse rides to potential customers during those peak hours.
If you are planning a trip to Bangkok, do make arrangements to avoid the traffic peak hours. While you may not be planning to take a taxi, the trains can be quite crowded during those hours and it may not be such a good idea to be lugging your luggage around to beat the crowd to squeeze yourself into the train, and your luggage(s).


Getting around Bangkok is not such a complicated thing, with the well-established public transportation system such as the BTS and the abundance of colorful taxis around.
Beware of the Tuk-tuks too; which are small three-wheeled type of trishaws with eager drivers who have no fear of approaching you directly to get you into their vehicle. Do bargain and make sure you have settled on a price before getting on.
However, I would still advise to either go for the licensed taxi or better still, the train.

The BTS is indeed a handy travel companion, but having traveled to many countries, the BTS can be a rather tricky thing especially if you are not a local, or do not know Thai.
If you have been to Bangkok, you would have noticed that most of the station names are in the local Thai language. Of course it makes sense that they are in the local language, but the thing is, it is not friendly to travelers who are foreign to the country, and the places within the city.
Also, I have noticed that the famous landmarks or tourist destinations are not included in the station names.
For instance, some of the names of the landmarks are mentioned beside the station names or the station was just built at the landmarks in cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taipei.

Therefore, if you are a first timer to Thailand and without a guide, please do your research on the places you want to visit and jot them down in your notepad.

1. Print out a copy of the BTS route map, and study the map.

2. Plan your trip according to No.1, and identify the stations linked to your destinations.
Take note that some of the locations could be reached by more than one stations; but do check out travel books/blogs/sites on the recommended stations to get off as the travelers have real-time experience on getting around the city.

3. Carry enough spare cash and coins with you, as you would need them to purchase your tickets at the stations.

I was fortunate enough to be on a trip with a friend who knows Bangkok city; or at least the few top attractions at the back of her hand and we had not much problem getting around the city with her guiding us around. With a guide, I did my own observations and made my mental notes for future references and the above were what I have noticed during my travel.

Don't worry too much though, as there is always the bright side to it.
For one, you never have to worry about starving if you have missed/skipped a meal, for there are always food joints available at the train station.

 

Scenes of Bangkok's road and traffic; and this is on a Saturday morning, though near Chatuchak market

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