First time visitors might have heard about it, repeating visitors know it very well - the infamous traffic jams of Bangkok. Unfortunately this is one of the things that can affect your holiday experience if you are caught in the massive traffic jams of Bangkok. But it is not always bad and there are ways to avoid it that we will explain you in this blog post.
Like in every other city during rush hours the streets are of course packed because everybody is heading to work or back home. In Bangkok these times are usually from 7am to 10am and 4pm to 9pm. Additionally, there is more traffic on the roads on Monday morning and Friday afternoon. This is due to the commuting of people from the provinces outside of Bangkok which means it is most likely in just one direction, Monday inbound and Friday outbound of the city.
Another good method of transport are the public transport systems of BTS Skytrain, MRT subway and eventually the ARL airport rail link train. About 20% of the city are covered by the current network including hotels in Sukhumvit, business areas in Silom and other interesting places for tourists such as Chatuchak weekend market or the Chao Phraya River. The trains are reliable, fast, efficient and cheap. One thing you should be aware that many commuters want to take advantage of this mode of transport without the traffic jams therefore expect some queues and waiting time during rush hours.
What you might have seen already are the motorcycle taxis waiting at side streets (called “Soi” in Thai language) and public transport stops. Their drivers are registered and are wearing mostly green or orange jackets with an ID tag, name and picture at the back of their jacket. Motorcycles have the advantage of squeezing through most of the traffic therefore if you are in a hurry or want to get to some place that is too far for walking, you could use their service. Be aware that for longer distances the price can be quite high compared to a taxi and nowadays the driver should supply you a helmet since your journey can be quite fast. Short distances should not cost more than 20 Baht and many of the places where the drivers are waiting for customers have a signboard with fixed prices, however they are written in Thai but sometimes you can make out your destination or ask a local to help you to read.
As if the traffic in the capital Bangkok usually would not be already enough, it gets horrible during and after a heavy rain. The downpours obstruct the sight of the drivers and due to the massive amount of rain and an insufficient drainage system the roads are often flooded. If you are planning to go somewhere during a rain it might be the best to wait and spent some more time at home or in one of the shopping malls, cafes, etc. It doesn’t make any sense to get a taxi, because you won’t find any taxi at first and if you are lucky, you can at least double the traveling time compared to dry road conditions. By the way, most Bangkokians are used to this situation and if you have an appointment with someone, just let them know it’s raining and you will be late — they will surely understand.
Last but not least, try to use shortcuts or less congested roads. The shortest route is not always the fastest and most taxi drivers know shortcuts, for example to your hotel in Sukhumvit, already. If you are traveling on your own, modern GPS systems collect the density and movement of users and will suggest you a less congested route, even if it appears to be longer it might be faster — give it a try.