Asia

Bangkok, Thailand Arrival and Traffic

General

In Bangkok, as in all of Thailand, there is left-hand traffic according to calculatorinc.

The word “traffic chaos” is not a foreign word in Bangkok either. An ironic reference to Bangkok’s nickname “City of Angels” is given with the reference that you have to be an angel in the city in order to be able to move at all with the help of the wings. Nothing works in the city during rush hour. Actions taken in the recent past have brought some, but ultimately only moderate, relief. Anyone who sees the traffic jams and the hustle and bustle on the streets still gets a rough idea of ​​what it must have looked like before the government carried out its modern bridge construction measures in the 1970s and later the establishment of toll highways. Additional bridges were added. These so-called “fly-over” lived up to their name and visibly cleared Bangkok’s dense traffic. The expanded one-way system was added in the 1980s. So buses began to run on streets specially set up for them during rush hour and to use the one-way streets in both directions.

Regardless of the information given here, it is advisable to obtain detailed information from the ADAC, the AvD or other traffic clubs in the country concerned.

Maximum speed

There is a speed limit of 60 km / h in the city.

Alcohol per mille limit

The official alcohol per mille limit for drivers in Bangkok is 0.5.

Other rules

The speed limits are of course lifted or reduced in many places, so you should pay attention to the traffic signs, which are not only available in Thai, but also in English. Adhering to the specified speeds is highly recommended, as the fines for non-compliance are very high. Furthermore, seat belts are compulsory for both the driver and all passengers in Bangkok.

Rental car
You can easily use a rental car in Bangkok. All that is required is an International Driving License (IDL). However, you should think twice about exposing yourself to the bad traffic. Motorcycles can also be rented (cheaply).

Airports

Bangkok International Airport (Don Muang).
Bangkok’s only international airport was Bangkok International Airport (Don Muang) until the end of September 2006. It is located about 25 kilometers from the city center in the north of the metropolis. Its importance for Southeast Asia can hardly be overestimated. It is divided into an international and a national terminal. The latter is only 500 meters from the international terminal and is connected to it by a line operated by air-conditioned buses and a glass-roofed bridge. About 80 of the most important and largest airlines fly to Don Muang.

Inter-city buses run from the international airport directly to Khao San Road and to the bus terminal in the east. Taxis are also available: These can either be obtained from stands at the airport, which costs 50 baht (approx. 1 euro) extra, or you can look for them yourself. Never negotiate prices, but have them settled using the taximeter. The normal rate for a taxi from the airport to the city center is 300 baht (approx. 6 euros) per taxi.

Airport
Tax Don’t forget the airport tax, which is generally around 500 baht (around 10 euros). They are payable for both international and domestic flights. The tax on domestic flights is 30 baht (approx. 6 euros). Additional information about this airport is available at: www.airportthai.co.th

Suvarnabhumi Airport
The new airport opened on September 28, 2006. The airport was named “Suvarnabhumi” (“the Golden Land”) by the King of Thailand. This mega-airport was a favorite project of the ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The steel-glass-membrane construction was made by Helmut Jahn from Chicago, designed together with the engineer Werner Sobek from Stuttgart. The cost was approximately $ 4 billion. The new airport is to replace the previous Don Muang airport in the north of Bangkok. The new airport is located around 25 km east of Bangkok in the Samut Prakan District and is easily accessible from the city center via two new highways.

Elevated Railway (Sky-Train)

Bangkok’s elevated railway is the sky train that rides on stilts high above the city streets and dates back to December 1999. It is operated by BTS, the Bangkok Mass Transit System. It transports around a quarter of a million travelers every day on two lines, each with 23 stations and 23.1 kilometers in length. The point of connection between the two lines is the Central Station located in Siam Square, and there are three stops where you can change to the Bangkok Metro.

The sky train is also ideal for visiting the city’s attractions. The two lines established in the first expansion stage connect the city center (Siam Square) with the Chatuchak weekend market (Phahonyothin Road) and the south-west Sathorn district with the eastern bus station (Sukhumvit Road). The prices are extremely cheap and range between 10 and 40 baht (around 20 to 80 cents). With the use of multiple cards you can still save.

Further information on the Sky Train can be found at: www.bts.co.th

Tram

From 1888 to October 1, 1968, there was still a tram in Bangkok. Their operation has meanwhile been discontinued.

Subway

Since 2004, Bangkok has had a subway, the Bangkok Metro, which can transport around 80,000 ferry passengers per hour. So far, however, only one line runs over 21 kilometers and 18 stops. This Chaloem Ratchamongkorn Line (also: Blue Line) offers several transfer options to the Sky Train and runs between Bang Sue and Hua Lamphong. Extensions to this route are being planned, as well as the construction of an orange line from Bang Kapi to Samsen and a pink line from Bangyai to Phra Nanklao and Bangsue. Construction of the latter sections did not begin until 2005.

Buses

Buses are plentiful in Bangkok and cost little more than 3.50 baht (approx. 7 cents) within the city. For air-conditioned buses you pay up to 16 baht (approx. 30 cents). Furthermore, air-conditioned minibuses (microbuses) run for a uniform 20 baht (approx. 40 cents).

Regular buses run in the city as diesel-powered intercity buses, are very inexpensive and mostly air-conditioned. From the international airport you drive directly to Khao San Road and to the bus terminal in the east. Unfortunately, it can be problematic to find out where the buses are going, because the plans – if any – are not the simplest. It is advisable to inquire at one of the many tourist information desks or at the hotel before starting your journey.

Bangkok has three long-distance bus stations, which are served by most buses.

The bus terminal in the east (Ekamai) of the city is located on Sukhumvit Road and serves locations on the east coast of Thailand. The two bus terminals in the north and northeast (Central Bus Terminal; Chatuchak) are both on Kampaengphet 2 Road and are served by buses to cities in the north and northeast of Thailand, and the bus terminal in the south (Bangkok Noi) (Boromratchchonnani Road) from Buses going south.

Overland trips are offered in sufficient numbers and are driven by comfortable and air-conditioned buses. These buses are privately owned by various bus companies.

Trains

As a major hub of the railway network, Bangkok has a main train station in Hua Lamphong. Almost all trains to the east, north, northeast and south of Thailand go from there. There are also trains going west and south (especially to Kanchanaburi Province) from Thon Buri Station and to Krabinburi via Makkasan Station.

Another train station in the city is Bangkok Noi. From here trains go to Kanchanaburi (Kwai River) and some go south. The journey begins at the New Station, which can be reached free of charge with the shuttle service from the old station building. The journey takes no more than five minutes. There are also train connections to Malaysia and Singapore.

The comfort in the trains corresponds to that of the European trains in the first two classes. You can fall back on sleeping cars in the express trains. There are three classes to choose from: The third class is the cheapest, but not air-conditioned. On the other hand, you travel in 1st and 2nd class in the AC compartment.

Train reservations are accepted at all of the city’s main train stations.

Taxi

Getting a taxi in Bangkok is easy. There are countless in the city. They come in different colors and are divided into official and unofficial. Official taxis are air-conditioned and have a light bar on the roof that reads “Taxi-Meter”. In the windscreen you can see a red sign on the passenger side, which lights up to indicate that the taxi is currently free.

It is imperative to insist and pay attention to the use of the taximeter, because negotiated prices are never below the taximeter price. For a trip over 30 kilometers you will have to pay around 200 baht (about 4 euros). Tips are not expected.

You can also use the hotel taxis, which always have fixed tariffs in Bangkok. It is also advisable to always have a business card of your own hotel in your pocket or the desired address in Siamese writing on a piece of paper, because the drivers often do not understand the English names or the tourists’ attempts at Thai.

Taxis are also available in front of the international airport. These can either be arranged via stands at the airport, which costs 50 baht (approx. 1 euro) extra. It is better to look for it yourself. Never negotiate prices, but have them settled using the taximeter. The normal rate for a taxi from the airport to the city center is 300 baht (approx. 6 euros) per taxi.

Tùk-Tùks

Driving a Tùk-Tùk is part of every trip to Bangkok; These three-wheeled vehicles with open sides are provided with a roof and can accommodate up to two passengers in addition to the driver. Unfortunately there is no taximeter in Tùk-Tùks, so the fare has to be negotiated in advance. It shouldn’t be over 30 baht (approx. 60 cents) for a distance of one kilometer. You should be steadfast and expect the trip to be interrupted several times because the driver asks the passenger to go to a store from which he will then receive a petrol ticket.
Tùk-Tùks mean adventure. However, they are not much faster than taxis, hardly more comfortable and, moreover, you drive on the same level as the truck exhaust fumes. If you are in urgent need of time, it is better to use a motor taxi.

Motor taxis

Motor taxis are another great way to get around town. However, the speed driven can be extremely rapid and overwhelm the inexperienced user. The drivers of the motor taxis can be found at almost every intersection and can be easily recognized by their orange vests.

Boat and ferry

Ferries that can be used to cross the Chao Phraya can be found at numerous piers. These covered passenger ferries, which come in the shape of a tall boat, are extremely inexpensive and quick. The Rua Hang Yao, the narrow motor-driven boats that operate regular services on the canals (khlongs) and Thonburi, are very common. They can accommodate up to 15 people. Although they are mainly used by commuters, many tourists also use them.

There is also an express boat line that connects Bangkok with Nonthaburi and runs from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Its stopping points are not identical to those of the ferry. Operated by different providers, express boats serve the sections Nonthaburi to Pak Kret as well as Nonthaburi (in the north) and Krung-Thep-Bridge (in the south of the city). The tariff for one trip is between 7 and 15 baht (14 to 30 cents). A drive is extremely worthwhile to get a first (or last) good impression of the city. On the way you will pass many sights such as Wat Arun and the Grand Palace. You can easily get on and off at the corresponding piers.

There is also a connection between Bangkok and Phuket, which is operated at regular intervals by various foreign cruise lines.

Bicycle

Bicycles can be rented all over Thailand, especially in places with extensive temple complexes.

Bang Na Expressway

The Bang Na Expressway is a 54 km long motorway that was built as a girder bridge and inaugurated in 2000. The motorway bridge has six lanes and is supported by stilts. It leads from the Bang Na district in the south-east of Bangkok in a south-easterly direction – past near Suvarnabhumi Airport – to the province of Chonburi. The structure is currently the longest bridge in the world.

Bangkok, Thailand Arrival and Traffic