7 Ways to Travel In and Around Bangkok Thailand
Bangkok is the heart of Thailand, the biggest travel hub in South Asia, and one crazy chaotic wild human zoo. In the words of Sir David Attenborough, “Getting to places like Bangkok or Singapore was a hell of a sweat. But when you got there it was the back of beyond.”
When you’re traveling around “the back of beyond” with almost 6.5 million people and endless streets you’re going to need a little help. Here’s five ways to get in and around the BKK.
1. Tuk Tuks
A Tuk Tuk is a 3 wheeled motorized taxi usually driven by a little Thai guy in sandals hopped up on stimulants trying to swindle you out of your cash or take you somewhere to buy a suit. Negotiating with these dudes will become a past time for you as this is probably the number one way most travelers get around Bangkok. But with a little effort and by trying on a suit or two you can usually get one of these speed demons to take you around the major sites and temples in the city for relatively cheap.
You will see guys sitting on little motorbikes in orange or pink vests on every corner. With a little bit of negotiating there is no faster or adrenaline pumping way to get from one part of town to the other as you hold on to your butt for dear life as these moto-mavericks lean, cut, and split there way in between traffic and pedestrians.
3. BTS Sky Train/Subway
I put the BTS Sky Train and the MRT Subway in the same category because their only difference is one is above your head and one is below your feet. Luckily, these two systems intersect and create and even bigger train network running in every direction and constantly being expanded through the city. If you wanna look like a pro on these guys make sure to give up your seat to ladies, pregnant women, the elderly, and Buddhist monks. People will notice and give you props even if your pasty Western self is sweating all over them (guilty).
Elephants aren’t the traditional way to get around the city anymore and honestly this mode of transportation only exists on the outskirts of town, but come one, riding an elephant is pretty damn cool and kicks up old feelings of being a kid. Just make sure the animals aren’t being abused and beaten by the drivers, you’ll be able to tell pretty quickly. Nobody wants to give their money to an animal abusive asshole.
Yes, they have good ol’ fashion Taxi’s in Bangkok just like most places. Taxis are far slower, more expensive, and a hassle to hail, but they have that sweet beautiful Air Con. When it’s 100F outside, sometimes you just need a little break from the heat.
*Pro-tip: Never get in a taxi where they aren’t running the meter. Always ask first for them to run the meter, if they refuse keep walking because they intend to drive you to your destination and then blackmail 10 times the price out of you.
Obviously you are not going to fly from one part of the city to the other, but with Bangkok being the biggest Airport hub in South Asia it can save you a lot of time across the country and be relatively cheap. Additionally, if you’re headed to other cities in Thailand like Chiang Mai I’ve caught flights for under $50 bucks before which beats the hell out of an 8-hour bus.
7. Hoofing it by Foot
While walking is the oldest trick in the book for me it has always been the best. With smartphones, lonely planets, and helpful hostel workers you can easily access maps and advice to get anywhere by foot. Plus, Bangkok is so riddled with amazing temples, food markets, and sights that there will always be something within walking distance. So stretch those legs, get yourself an ice coffee from the corner, scrape up some street food, meander the golden halls of Buddhist temples, and have yourself a walk about and get lost in Bangkok. You won’t regret it. -ST
Previous entry: Traveling the World: A relationship between Humans and Animals