Avoid traffic while discovering a new side of the city.
Bangkok is huge. It’s a bigger city than New York with a meta population of almost 15 million people!
As you can image a city this big has a lot of traffic. The flow of cars, bike and tuk tuks is quite heavy during rush hours.
There are a few things you can do to make your visit more enjoyable and efficient:
You can avoid getting a taxi during the hours of 7-9am and 5-7pm. Or use the public transport such as BTS (train) or the MRT (subway). - Pick an accommodation near the places you want to visit.
Going from one place to the other can take quite some time depending on the time of the day. To optimize time locals usually travel short distances by motorcycle taxi.
The motorcycle drivers zig zag their way through the city to get you where you need to be as fast as possible.
Tuk Tuks are fun when you’re bar hopping with friends, or going to Khaosan road. During the day the weather might be a bit too hot and the sun too bright for a tuk tuk ride.
Let’s take a boat!
In Bangkok, a lot of the traditionally touristy stops are around the Chao Phraya river. There you can find the most famous Buddhist temples, highly rated restaurants and a lot of street food.
The Chao Phraya river expands into ‘khlongs’, small river water canals that quietly cut through the city, creating alternative transport routes.
Most khlongs aren’t big enough for cargo boats, but their size is perfect for smaller boats. Those boats safely transport people all around town for a very affordable price in a fraction of the time.
Usually you can find the entrance to the platform under a bridge or highway. But the easiest way it to fin it is by opening your google maps and zooming into the blue canals on the map. You can also type ‘pier near me’ on the search bar but it’s not always accurate since some of boat stops don’t have the word ‘pier’ in it.
Besides avoiding traffic and trying some new, there are many other benefits in traveling around town by boat.
It’s a vibe
The whole experience is incredible. Even after 10 years living in Bangkok I’m still amazed by how freaking cool is to have boats as an option for public transportation.
The boat is quite spacious, steady and easy to hop in and out.
The staff is friendly and helpful. If you’re not where your stop is, they will let you know when it’s time to get off the boat.
The view is gorgeous
The vegetation around the khlongs is super lush and lively, covered in ivy plants and tall trees. If you’re lucky, you might even see a Thai lizard sunbathing by the shore.
The walls near the piers are also part of the experience, the colorful illustrations highlights the green of the trees while making the gray brick walls a lot more interesting and fun.
Pro-tip: Beware of the time table, because the boats don’t go as late as the other methods of transportation.
It also might get a bit crowded during the rush hours since a lot locals use this as their main way of getting home and to work.
I highly recommend giving this way of traveling a try when you visit Bangkok.
You can get from one side of town to the other side in 20 minutes instead of an hour. The ticket prices are amazing and it’s a very fun experience that allows you to see many difference parts of Bangkok.