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Discovering Bangkok – Avoiding the traffic jams

Catching the ferry on the river in Bangkok

What is your fondest memory of Bangkok? Is it the captivating Thai smile, the fantastic street food, the exotic scents or the bustling street life? Whatever it may be, there is no doubt that one of your unforgettable memories of Bangkok would be the dreadful traffic, however, there are many ways of avoiding the traffic jams.

“On our way to the Skytrain station we met Khun Gee Gee in a Central Business District office complex. Since she has to commute daily to various parts of the city she is very familiar with the traffic situation in Bangkok and this is what she had to say.”
Wit – freelance tour guide at Follow Me Bangkok Bicycle Tours

Charoen Krung Road was the first road in Bangkok to be constructed using western techniques, and since its completion in 1864, the transportation networks of the city have been continuously expanding in order to keep up with the growing city. Following the rapid urbanization of Bangkok in the 1980s, the city roads today have to accommodate five times the amount of traffic that they were originally designed for. This has left the city paralyzed by traffic jams.

As a visitor in Bangkok the term ‘rush hour’ maybe a little misleading as the traffic seems to constantly choke the city streets around the clock, throughout the day and night. As a city commuter, however, the actual rush hour(s) are real issues and on average, commuters spend approximately 3 hours per day travelling in and out of the city.

Today, even though Bangkok is already served by multiple mass rapid transport systems, there are numerous new ‘mega projects’ that are currently being fast-tracked for approval that will expand the existing network. It is important to remember that when these new projects are completed the traffic problems are unlikely to disappear. There is a real need to promote the use of public transport before the situation becomes irreversible. Furthermore, as Khun Gee Gee tentatively mentioned, schemes such as the tax rebate incentive for first-time car buyers must be carefully assessed before implementing, as this alone has added over 1/2 million new cars to the already gridlocked system.

So what is the best way to travel in the city to avoid the traffic?

Exploring Bangkok by bicycle is obviously our preferred mode of transport and is the ideal way of avoiding the traffic jams, you may like to read our other article ‘The best way to experience Bangkok’. However, as we have mentioned the mass rapid transport systems are an efficient, clean and cheap way to travel around Bangkok. Both the Skytrain and underground rail systems are excellent as they connect together the main city business and shopping areas, and as their names suggest they avoid the street level traffic.

For a completely stress-free way to travel between many of the main historical sights of Bangkok, you should consider taking a boat trip on the Chao Phraya River.

“On all of our bike tours, we use many different types of boats to travel across or down the Chao Phraya River. This video was taken at Saphan Taksin BTS station that connects directly to the Sathorn Central Pier.”
Wit – freelance tour guide at Follow Me Bangkok Bicycle Tours

Although Bangkok’s waterways are not used as much as they were in the past they still play an important role in the city’s transportation system. There are many different types of boats in use such as river taxis, long tail boats, ferry’s, canal boats and hotel shuttle boats. As you can see from the inserted archived video clips of our customers, travelling by boat is not only a fun adventure but it is a stress-free way to explore the city.

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