Bangkok is a cosmopolitan city that is a strange mixture of the old and the new, with 21st century skyscrapers nestled alongside 18th century Buddhist temples and sleep canal paths that lead to quiet gardens and bustling markets. There are many ways to get around Bangkok, and if you are the adventurous type, you should take on the canal system, which runs through every part of the city and can give you a unique insight into how the locals live. Of course, there are taxis and Tuk-Tuks on every corner, which is more than a little convenient, and let’s not forget the ultra-modern Skytrain, which covers most of the sprawling city. Here are a few tips to make your stay in Bangkok a little nicer.
- Buy a Bangkok Map – Such is the size of the City of Angels (Kreung Thep) that you really do need a good map. One could say that Bangkok seems to be an urban collection that saw little planning, and that is part of the charm of this colourful and vibrant metropolis, and if you zone off areas on your map, it is easier to plan day trips.
- Explore the Canals – The long-tailed boat taxis offer an exhilarating ride along narrow canals where you will see kids playing in the water, old ladies washing their clothes and the odd fishing boat will pass. Tickets are a few baht and they stop at every few hundred metres, usually at a small pier of a temple, which adds to the attraction, and expect to be tightly packed onto the boat, especially during rush hours, as many working Thais commute with the canal taxis.
- Affordable Hotels – You can book online at the Vib Best Western, a lovely hotel located in Phaya Thai, which is the ideal location to explore Bangkok. Of course, there are budget hostels and small hotels around Khao Sand Road, but for best value, 3-4 star hotels are everywhere and you can save as much as 40% by booking online.
- Taxis – Bangkok taxis are all colours, and it is worth noting that the green and yellow taxis are driver-owned, while the others are hired on a 12-hour shift basis. Most taxi drivers speak some basic English, and when compared to the west, Bangkok taxis aren’t that expensive, and if the traffic is heavy, you can’t beat the a/c in a cab. If you want to hail a taxi, look for one that has the red light on, which is on the passenger side and this signifies the cab is empty. It is best to ask before jumping in, as sometimes the driver is reluctant to travel too far, especially if he must return the car by a certain time.
Bangkok is a place of mystery and quite literally, you have absolutely no idea what lay around the corner, and with busting markets and tasty street food, you can explore this unique city that never ever sleeps.