Bangkok

Bangkok, Thai capital, home to somewhere over ten million people, hot, sweaty, overflowing with wats, hawkers and markets. More people, cars, motorcycles and tuk tuks than you need to see in ten lifetimes.

Most budget travellers head to Banglamphu and Khao San Road, an area densely packed with bars, restaurants and cheap accommodation.

Logistically, Bangkok can be difficult, due to its large size and range of transport options.

  • Where the skytrain (aka BTS) runs, it's a very convenient way to get around, as it avoids the terrible traffic. The BTS site shows routes and prices. Unfortunately it doesn't head out to the airport, but work is currently underway to extend it there and will apparently be completed at the end of 2009 (unlikely).
  • The MRT is the Bangkok underground system, which has all the advantages of the BTS above, but follows a different route. Some route information is available (try here for example), but there doesn't seem to be an official site.
  • The Bangkok bus system has long been impenetrable to foreigners (and, I suspect, many locals), but they seem to be trying to make it somewhat more transparent. A site has been set up with route information and some of the buses now have english destinations listed on the sides (you'll still need to have some knowledge of Bangkok to understand them though). The #15 heads across from Banglamphu (i.e. Khao San Road) to Siam, where you can join up to the BTS.
  • Ferries are another cheap option, although the area reached is limited. There's a canal boat that runs along Klong Saeng Saep from near Banglamphu past Siam, which is fast and cheap, as well as a range of ferries up, down and across the Chao Praya river.

Locations