Bangkok

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There’s never a dull moment in the sprawling city of contrasts that is Thailand’s captivating capital, a place flush with stunning temples, trendy fashion, labyrinthine markets, and some of the world’s best local and international cuisine. Indeed, from sweet and savoury Thai delicacies made fresh by armies of street vendors, to fine-dining feasts from decorated chefs, eating one’s way through Bangkok’s profound culinary riches is a highlight of any visit.

In between meals (and snacks), travellers can fill their days temple-hopping in atmospheric old town, zipping down the Chao Phraya River in motorized longtail boats, and wandering bustling local markets. Siam’s cluster of modern megamalls provides air-conditioned retail relief—and plenty of food, of course. At night, cocktails on a sky-high rooftop bar are an ideal time to catch one’s breath and bask in bird’s eye views of this truly fascinating city.

Getting Around

From its ubiquitous three-wheeled tuk-tuks to roaring commuter boats cruising one of the last remaining khlongs, Bangkok has no shortage of novel ways to get around town. Still, in general the easiest, most hassle-free options are the most traditional ones.  

Bangkok remains plagued by stubborn traffic jams that can pop up just about anywhere at anytime, but the elevated BTS Skytrain has helped alleviate some of the snarl and proven to be a boon for residents and visitors alike. It’s not as convenient as the Skytrain, but Bangkok’s MRT subway system can be helpful when traveling to and from certain areas, too.

Taxis, though susceptible to the whims of traffic, are affordable and plentiful. It helps greatly to speak a little Thai or to have your destination written in Thai, though most drivers are used to foreign visitors and know the major sights and areas.

By Metro Train

The BTS Skytrain runs on two lines that together service the most-popular tourist areas. The Silom Line connects glitzy Siam with the Chao Phraya River, while the Sukhumvit Line glides from Mo Chit—adjacent to the weekend Chatuchak Market—down the pulsing Sukhumvit Road artery. You’ll need coins to buy single-journey tickets from the machines at each station, but you can skip the ticketing queues by getting a one-day unlimited pass (THB140 or US$4).

The MRT subway system operates from 6am to 12am daily and also has one-day passes available (THB120 or US$3.50). Though most often used by locals, the MRT does have some centrally located stations.

By Taxi

At some point all visitors wind up in one of Bangkok’s brightly coloured taxis, which you can flag down anywhere and have metered fares starting at just THB30 (USD0.87). Drivers are generally friendly, honest, and helpful, going to great lengths—and happily navigating inevitable language barriers—to get you to your destination as quickly as possible.

Many drivers will first roll down a window and ask where you’re going before inviting you in—don’t get discouraged if on some occasions you have to flag down a few cars before finding passage. Some drivers, particularly those parked in popular tourist areas, will suggest a flat fee, but decline and wait for one adhering to a metered fare.

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