Getting Around Bangkok Guide

There are many types of attractions to Bangkok, and certainly something to please everybody.

There are historic sites, religious sites featuring magnificent temples, fabulous shopping destinations offering all kinds of produce, and restaurants offering just about every type of food one could imagine.

If you would like to visit a temple of great repute, then head for the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) in Bangkok, which is one of the oldest and indeed largest temples in Bangkok.

The statue is reputed to be the largest in Thailand, and measures more than 140 feet long.

Should you wish to spend some time investigating and visiting historic sights, then a trip to the Grand Palace is a must. This complex was built in 1780 and comprises of many magnificent buildings, including another wat (temple) called Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The star of this temple is an emerald statue which dates back to the early 15th century.

For those visitors interested in historic houses and art, a trip to the Jim Thompson house is essential. This gentleman started the Thai silk industry just after the end of World War II. The building is an art museum now and houses a fantastic collection of Asian art, featuring many totally unique displays.

Another must see for history enthusiasts is the Vimanmek Mansion. This palace is renowned for being the biggest teak wood structure in the world. It showcases a unique blend of Victorian and richly intricate Thai architecture.

Bangkok, Thailand Tourist Attractions

There are many ways to get around in Bangkok.

Those of us who are addicted to driving in our own vehicles may experience severe culture shock when hiring a car to drive in Bangkok for the first time.

Nerves of steel are not mandatory, but are highly advisable.

Many people simply cannot cope with the constant deluge of motorcycles, weaving precariously in and out of everything at breakneck speed.

Not to mention the taxi cabs which are notorious for their unpredictable and sudden stops and starts, without benefit of mirrors or indicators.

Add to that mix many multi-coloured coaches, smoke belching buses, and heavy goods trucks, and you have some idea of what to expect.

Some of the transportation available in Bangkok

The expressway entrance. Fare: 40 baht. Air conditioned bus, apparently this driver was caught by the traffic police. Fare: 5-20 baht. Motorcycle taxi, usually in front of every soi. Fare: depend on distance.
But using your own vehicle, or hiring a car, is not the only option in Bangkok.

There are plenty of other options. There is an affordable, fast and modern method of getting around; the BTS Skytrain.

Wise tourists plan their itineraries around the Skytrain, which covers most of the downtown area of Bangkok. The BTS Skytrain is a great advance in mass travel here in Bangkok.

BTS Skytrain

The Silom Line, one of the two lines, begins at Saphan Taksin boat pier station, travelling through Silom, crossing the Sukhumvit Line at the popular tourist destination of Siam Square, and terminates at the National Stadium, where one of the best shopping malls (called MBK) is located.

The MBK mall is not brand new, but is comprehensive in the bargains on offer, from leather goods to gemstones, plus a great (and inexpensive) food court. It also offers an intangible “market” type feel with its many stalls.

Trains appear about every three minutes, and fares vary depending upon whether you get an all day pass, or multiple trip passes. Ask about multi-trip passes to save a baht or two.

All fares, when compared to other mass transit systems, are inexpensive.

The other line of the BTS Skytrain travels along one of the central main roads in Bangkok, Sukhumvit. There are many tourist destinations in and around Sukhumvit so this is indeed a useful line for most tourists.

The end of the line to the east for Sukhumvit is called “OnNut” station. And to the north “Mor Chit” station.

Bangkok Subway or Bangkok Metro

Another popular option is the Bangkok Metro. Having opened at the end of July 2004, tourists will find it useful to note that the Metro intersects with the BTS Skytrain at Sukhumvit and Silom Roads, and at Mor Chit.

Like the Skytrain, the metro trains are frequent and fast. If you are looking for a link to Bangkok’s main long-distance railway station, Hua Lampong, then the Metro is the answer.

For those with strong stomachs, there is always a taxi. The meter starts at about 35 baht. And even a long trip should not cost more than 200 baht.

If you intend to see some of the historic attractions Bangkok has to offer, then you will want to visit the Rattanakosin area and possibly the Khao San Road. In which case a taxi or bus are the only option.

Tuk-Tuk, Farang's favourite. Fare: depend on distance, negotiable. Taxi meter, they come in many different colors. Fare: depend on distance, start from 35 baht. Mini Bus, not air conditioned. Fare: 5.50 baht.
To get a real feel of Bangkok, take a city bus. There are many routes and the network covers the city. You have the option of selecting a bus with or without air conditioning.

To summarise your options with regard to travel by bus, the green ones are privately operated and often completely full. The red bus (often blue and white too) are government operated. Buses which offer AC are cream/blue and orange.

And no article about getting around in Bangkok is complete without mention of the distinctive “tuk-tuk” or three wheeled covered motor-cycles. These are fun, but beware, try to avoid being stuck in a traffic jam in one, as breathing in belching exhaust fumes is not recommended.

Believe it or not, getting around Bangkok is also possible by boat. The Chao Phraya river is navigated by a couple of types of boats including the Chao Phraya Express, which runs from Wat Rajsingkorn to Nonthaburi and costs a mere 10 bt.

This route will include many of the most popular tourist attractions such as the Grand Palace.

Yet another water option are the canal boats. Always faster than cars, these canal (khlong) services are inexpensive. Take care boarding and disembarking as they tend to take off really fast.

Then there are taxi motor-cycles. The drivers wear orange or green sleeveless jackets. They tend to congregate in sois (side streets).

A ride should be no more than 25 bt and sometimes the convenience of being able to weave in and out of traffic snarl-ups negates the extra risk you are taking by using this form of transport.



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