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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

How to commute in Bangkok?

Bangkok is one of those fast paced cities where the tourist can choose from a multitude of commute options depending on the pace they want to set for themselves. All of them have their unique qualities. Here is a quick summary to help the Bangkok explorer.

1) Foot: Being a foot soldier is a great way to explore Bangkok especially the old city. This allows you to come in close contact with the markets, people, smells, sounds, et al. Also, helps you understand the geography to a great extent.

Bangkok city at night from a tuk tuk
2) Tuk Tuk: I call it the BOOM BOOM because of their loud silencers. They are best if you have to weave through some of the most congested parts of town and especially during peak traffic hours. These tuk tuk drivers have a driving sense of their own. Be ready to bargain hard as prices are always inflated for tourists. Even though tuk tuks are pricey, they definitely provide a great way to explore the city.

3) Metered Taxi: These are air-conditioned taxis, especially Toyota Corollas that are best for commuting to any part of the city. Rates are fixed. You pay as per the meter. You should keep in mind that meter runs faster when the vehicle is stuck in traffic. Most of the times, these metered taxis work out cheaper than the tuk tuks.

Bangkok's Skytrain, their mass transit system
4) Sky train: If you are traveling long distances within the city especially during the peak traffic hours, it is always sensible to take Bangkok’s BTS sky train, the mass transit system. The sky trains are air conditioned and are extremely comfortable, though can work out expensive for 1 or 2 stops. Do note that the sky train does not connect the old city, but it does connect key shopping areas like Sukhumvit, Silom and more.

5) Bus: The buses have good connectivity all around the city.But, they face the brunt of Bangkok’s traffic. If you have time to spare, they make great value for money and give you a feel of sitting with the locals. Beware of pickpockets.

6) Self hire motorbikes or cars: If you are in for a long time, can afford to pay a bit more and can handle Bangkok’s mad traffic, self hires are a great option. Do take care of international driving license, insurance and navigation before you choose this option.



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