A film & travel writer & editor, currently travelling New Zealand ~
Published December 17th 2012
Banging Around Bangkok
After spending two weeks on a Thai island, the traffic in Bangkok can be rather daunting.
But when you just go with the flow of the city, there are many transport options about town.
The BTS Skylink is cheap, easy and quick; it reminded me of Japan, but without the Astroboy/Birds over the loud speakers. You can purchase a rabbit card at any station. The cards are a good way to just go from route to route and probably similar to the same system you may have in your own city/country. You just load it up, and go or purchase a 15 trip card rabbit card. If staying longer, the pre-loaded card is the one you want.
If you really want a real Bangkok experience then give the ferry system a go. Very cheap, from 15THB, they literally swoosh into the stop, people jump on and off very quickly, then they leave as fast as they come in.
Tuk-tuks are another real Bangkok experience. Not really that foreign to anybody who has already traveled heaps through Asia, but still quicker than a taxi and not as scary as a moto. HINT: if you can, wake up before sunrise and you can hire a tuk-tuk (with probably some negotiation or help from your hotel) to take you on a tour of Bangkok's best sites. There is no traffic and it's a brilliant way to see the city - all the morning markets starting to open up, and watching the sunrise over one of the busiest cities in the world is something to really put in your travel bank.
Motos. Right well, if you have little rxperience on a motorbike then this might not be for you. For start, they are the cheapest way of getting around Bangkok but they will only take you so far, so you might have to revert to a tuk-tuk. Most of them carry a spare helmet, so you can tap on the helmet and they will unleash it so you can wear one.
Motos weave in and out of traffic without regard for any other transport. This means you will drive down an incredibly narrow line of traffic, they will drive in front of other cars with reckless abandon and there will be times when you may close your eyes, and just have to trust that they know what they are doing. If you think it's a bit scary, try it once, for a short trip - they are, as I said not for the easily worried or scared. However, I've seen many foreigners and local ex-pats using them and I've been on one once or twice... okay, a couple of times.
The first time I took one, though, was on the complete advice of a very well spoken, middle aged Thai lady, who said to me in true Thai, "No problem".