Saturday, April 21, 2012

planes trains and automobiles in Bangkok

Tuktuk
Bangkok Tuktuk
After disembarking the plane in Thailand you will likely want to know your options for getting around. There are many including regular taxis, tuktuks, motorcycle taxis, buses vans and trains.

Taxis are the most common, but there are many types of taxis. There is the common taxi that uses a meter and are usually yellow or pink in color. The metered fare is resonable and they will often try to negotiate a flate rate before getting the ride. The rate is almost always way too high. Then there is the tuktuk. Said as it's spelled. The tuktuk is a three wheeled modified motorcycle, that runs on natural gas, making them a bit loud. The tuktuk can be expensive but pricing is negotiable. The motorcycle taxi is a quick alternative for getting short distances around the city but requires a bit of courage, especially during rush hour. While I often take a motorcycle in the morning to the office, it took several years to build the courage.

Taxi
Bangkok Taxi
The bus - there are different types of buses - city buses, route buses and tour buses. The city bus is the most difficult mostly because they have numbered routes and the destinations are mostly only in Thai. Route Buses operate outside Bangkok, well take folks from Bangkok to all parts of Thailand and back again. These are relatively easy to get IF you know the correct bus station for the part of Thailand you want to go. Tour buses are the easiest for they are usually set up entirely by someone else - the tour agency. They can be quite organized with pre-programmed stops at appropriate intervals etc. If you like that go for it! The bus, of any sort, is usually the cheapest way to travel in Thailand.

Vans are a great alternative to buses but they do not operate on a given schedule. When they fill, they leave. They are usually fastest if they are going where you want to go and can be comfortable but are crowded. The tour agencies often use vans as an alternative for smaller groups. Vans usually operate at a competitive price and there are many van companies so if you can, shop around. The main hub in Bangkok to catch a van is Victory Monument Circle.

Thailand Trains - Three are three types, the MRT (Subway), BTS (elevated metro train) the airport link and the SRT (State Railway of Thailand). The MRT, BTS and airport link are great for getting around Bangkok and are fairly inexpensive. Here is a link to a pretty good system map.

BTS
Bangkok BTS
For getting around outside of Bangkok there is the SRT. In Bangkok the main train station for the SRT is the Hua Lampong Station, located in the heart of the city, next to Bangkok's Chinatown and at the southern end of the subway (MRT) also called the Hua Lompong Station. The Train station can be quite intimidating and I will be honest i have only taken the train once but here is a good website to help you understand what to look for...

You can use the Google Map below to help plan your trip and use the links in your smart phone while you are here:

 
View Bangkok Destinations in a larger map

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