Bangkok is a chaotic city. It’s hard to argue against that. If you are coming here as a first timer it can be an overwhelming feeling, and most people can’t wait to get out.
I felt like that too, and I still do at times. But when you know the city, and you know how to get around, this city gets much more bearable, and maybe you will even like it.
So, here we go. How to get around in Bangkok like a pro.
Bangkok have a traffic-jam issue. New skyscrapers pop up every week but little seems to be done about expanding the public transit system. There are 8 million people in this city and the city only have 1 metro line and 2 sky-train lines. It’s ridiculous.
Rush-hour in Bangkok is between 07.00 – 09.00 and 17.00 – 20.00
At this time try to avoid going anywhere. I know that sound ridiculous but it’s really bad at those hours. If you have to get somewhere always take the sky train or metro. If the place you are going to isn’t near a sky-train or metro station. Find the nearest station, go there, and take a taxi from there, or a motorbike taxi as they can drive between the cars.
In rush-hour avoid taking a taxi anywhere as a rule.
If a taxi driver know the traffic is really bad to where you are going, he will most likely reject you. They rather sleep in a side-street in their car than making almost no money from their meter because they are stuck with you in a 2 hour long traffic-jam.
Avoid taxis in red area
Is a general rule. Avoid taxi in the red area under between 06.00 and 00.00. This area suffers from chronic traffic-jams all day. It should not be a big problem to avoid taxis in this area as most of it is covered by sky-train and metro.
Taxi or public transport?
If you’re more than three persons, and you’re going more than 3-4 stops with metro or sky-train, and it’s not rush hour, or you’re not inside the red zone above. Just take a taxi. It will cost less then what you have to pay for the sky-train and/or metro tickets.
If you’re two persons, and you are going with both sky-train and metro, for more than 4-5 stops. Same rule apply. It’s cheaper with taxi.
Always get a taxi with meter
If a taxi driver can see that you are a rookie in Thailand. 99% will try to tell you that the meter is not working so they can give you a fixed price instead. This will always be more expensive for you, and in some cases, a lot more expensive.
Avoid taxis outside tourist attractions, malls and big hotels. These guys will almost never give you a ride with meter. Just walk 100 away from the attraction, and pull a taxi that is already driving. These guys are usually much more honest.
A taxi with a red light in the front window is available, not busy. Usually red means no or busy, but not with Thai taxis.
When to use motorbikes?
Motorbike taxis are for smaller trips inside side streets etc. They can also be used when it’s heavy traffic as they can go between the cars. I use motorbikes all the time. I love ’em.
These guys are cancer. Avoid by all means. You should only take a tuk-tuk one time in your life, just to have done it, then never again.
Tuk-tuks are dangerous, noisy and very expensive as they always go by fixed price (tourist price). Why bother?
What more can I say? Try to always avoid going around town in rush-hour. It’s really bad at that time. Get to know the sky-train and metro system. It’s not hard at all as there are only three lines. It’s not exactly the London metro..
If there are no sky-train or metro station where you are going, go as close as you can, and take a motorbike taxi from the closest station.
Do you have some more tips? Comment in the comment section under.