Bangkok Travel guide Guía turística de Bangkok

Bangkok


 


Bangkok

Walking

Many people when they come to Bangkok mock the idea of walking around the city. The pollution and heat, along with a wide variety of transportation options, make it look horrible and senseless. But the Thai capital has some good walks to show like the route from the historic Banglampoo, with its many guest houses to the majestic Grand Royal Palace.

Car

Bangkok is known for his monstrous traffic jams and with good reason. Traffic is chaotic and bikers are everywhere. Therefore, in the experience of most tourists driving in Bangkok is a nightmare and is highly recommended to use public transport and not try to drive.

Urban transport

To get around Bangkok we have six means of urban transport: bus, skytrain, subway, boat, taxi and tuktuk.

Urban buses

The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority offers an extensive network of bus services operating in the city from 05.00 till 23.00. Local buses are the cheapest, but they are, also, the most difficult way of getting anywhere. Rates vary between 6.5 baht (green buses), 7 baht (red buses), 8 baht (blue and white buses), while in the air-conditioned buses (blue and cream or blue and yellow) a ticket costs between 11 and 18 baht depending on travelled distance. The Euro II air-conditioned buses (orange) cost between 13 and 22 baht (again, depending on the distance) and use fuel-efficient engines to try and reduce, although a little late, the pollution in the city. There is also a limited night bus service (cream and red) which runs from 23.00 until 05.00 with rates of 5 baht. You can buy maps with bus routes in hotels and bookshops.

Skytrain

The Skytrain is an elevated train also called BTS. It currently has two lines and is a good option for not suffering the traffic jams in Bangkok.
Sukhumvit Line performs the route from On Nut along Sukhumvit Road to Siam Square, Phaya Thai Road, the Victory Monument and Mo Chit. The Silom Line starts at Saphan Taksin and passes through the business district of Silom, Siam Square and ends at the National Stadium. Since it opened about 5 years ago, the efficient Skytrain has significantly reduced the duration of trips in the city.
Trains run from 06.00 till 24.00 with a frequency of 3-4 minutes at peak time and 5-6 minutes the rest of the hours. Tickets must be purchased at the vending machines and prices range between 10-40 baht for seven areas. You can purchase cards with 10, 15 or 30 trips for 250, 300 or 540 baht and they can be used within a maximum period of 30 days.

Subway

Those who want a quick way to get around Bangkok should take the subway, this way avoiding the congested streets and on top of that is relatively inexpensive. Although there are not many stops, the Bangkok subway is constantly expanding and the city council of Bangkok has many plans to add several new lines to the rail system. The new Bangkok subway opened in July 2004. For now there is a route that covers parts of the city that are not served by the Skytrain. It starts at the Hualampong Train Station and ends in Bang Sue, in the north of the city. There are 18 stations in total, three of which related to the Skytrain. Trains run from 05.00 till 24.00 with a frequency of 2-4 minutes at peak time and 4-6 minutes in the less busy hours. The cards must be purchased in vending machines. Rates range between 15 and 40 baht depending on the distance that is covered.

Boats

The boat is an ideal choice for visiting the sights along the river such as the Grand Royal Palace.

Chao Phraya Express Boats

A stroll along the Chao Phraya River should be high on the agenda of every tourist. The cheapest and most popular is the Chao Phraya Express boat, which is, essentially, a water bus that sails up and down the river. The basic service is from Wat Rajsingkorn to northern Nonthaburi, with stops at most of the main Rattanakosin attractions, including the Grand Royal Palace (in Tha Chang) and Wat Pho (in Tha Tien). The price of Chao Phraya Express boats varies between 10 and 34 baht, depending on the distance and the ship. Hours are approximately from 06.00 till 18.00 with a frequency of 20 minutes.

Saen Saep Express Boats

Saen Saep Express boats are operating along the Saen Saep canal, one of the few canals that are left in Bangkok. It is mostly used by locals to go to work, but the service is cheap and you get to see the "back" of the neighbourhoods, so to speak. Furthermore, it is immune to the traffic jams in Bangkok. The total distance is 18 kilometre, and the service operates from 5.30 till 20.30.

Taxi

The taxi is a cheap and comfortable option, being sometimes cheaper than the Skytrain.
You can stop the taxis on the street.
The fare starts from 35 baht for the first two kilometres and increases 2 baht for every additional kilometre. The first thing to do when riding in the taxi is reminding the taxi driver to put the meter and if they don’t accepted, get off and get on another taxi. Another option is to negotiate the price; the price must be in-between 50 and 100 baht to move between any two points of the city. From midnight it will be a mission impossible trying to get a taxi to start the meter. Tipping is not required, but this is much appreciated by drivers.
It is recommended that when taking a taxi we should have the name of the destination written in Thai or take a map with us.

There are also motorcycle taxis that are very convenient because they can handle well the traffic jams and reach their destination faster. Motorcycle taxis generally take one or two passengers and generally travel only short distances. Prices vary between 20 and 100 baht depending on the travelled distance. Helmets are compulsory for all passengers and they are provided by the driver. Drivers wear coloured clothing for easy identification and you can find them stationed in the intersections.

Taxi telephone number: 1661

Tuktuk

The tuktuks are bikes with a "back" that provide an alternative to taxis and are ideal for short distance journeys.
It is advisable to negotiate fares before setting off and they vary between 40 and 150 baht depending on the travelled distance. Tuktuks number is decreasing, but they can still be found around hotels and the major tourist attractions.

Trains and the train station

State Railways of Thailand operates four train lines that end in Bangkok. The company offers air-conditioned trains and carriages without air conditioning.
The main station in Bangkok is Hualampong, situated near Yaowarat, on Rama IV Road. From here part most of the long run routes. The station facilities include coffee shops, exchange offices, ATMs, lost luggage office, post office and hotel reservation service. It is recommended to purchase in advance tickets for long distance trains.
The four rail lines are operating out of Chiang Mai in the north, Nong Khai in the northeast, Pattaya in the east and from Surat Thani and Butterworth (Malaysia) in the south. There are direct trains to Pattaya (duration: 3 hours 25 minutes), Chiang Mai (11 hours and 15 minutes) and Butterworth (21 hours and 10 minutes). You can get a special rail pass (Thailand Rail Pass) valid for 21 days for 10000 baht.
A tip: listen only to the people at the information desk - any other person who offers to help you "find" a hotel or a taxi is only a reseller, even if they are using official-looking logos.

Planes and airports

Bangkok has two airports: Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Muang International Airport. Both airports are about 30 kilometres from downtown.

Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK)

The new Bangkok airport (which has one of the largest terminals and the highest control tower in the world) was officially opened in September 2006 after four decades of delays. The new airport has about 76 flights per hour on its two runways. It is one of the largest and most modern airports in the world. Currently, there are plans to build two more tracks, one more terminal and two satellite buildings with a capacity of 100 million passengers and 6.4 million tons of cargo a year.
The airport has restaurants, food stalls and bars, a variety of shops, money exchange offices, lost property office, spa and lounges. Local and international hire car companies are found on the Arrivals level. The main airlines operating in this airport are: Thai International - the national airline, Air China, Air France, British Airways, Bangkok Airways, Gulf Air, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, Malaysian Airlines, Northwest, Pluket Airlines, Qantas, SAS , Singapore Airlines and United Airlines.
To reach the city we can take the public taxis that can be found at Level 2 (Arrivals). Or take a free bus to the Transport Centre where there is also a taxi rank. To rent a limo you should contact the limousine counter located close to the Arrivals area (Level 2). Public buses leave from the Transport Centre, which can be accessed via a free bus. Buses to Bangkok and its surroundings leave the airport frequently.

Don Muang International Airport (DMK)

Don Muang Airport is the second largest airport in Bangkok. It is known as the Old International Airport of Bangkok as it was surpassed as the main airport in 2006 by the Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Although it is normal to arrive at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, some international and domestic flights with the Orient Thai and Nok Air use this airport.
To get to downtown from Don Muang we have several options: by taxi – which is a fast and convenient way to get to Bangkok; by train – for very little money we can get to the Hualumpong Train Station and by bus – with routes towards Silom Road and the Grand Royal Palace.

 



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