Why you should explore congested Bangkok by bike and boat

Thailand’s president recently announced plans to move the country’s capital away from Bangkok, citing traffic congestion. But look a little closer and it’s actually one of the easiest cities to navigate, says Tamara Hinson

Thursday 27 February 2020 10:49 GMT
Comments
See more of Bangkok by bike
See more of Bangkok by bike

Fifteen years ago I flew to Bangkok to write about its nightlife. It was my first visit and, unaware that Bangkok’s roads are some of the most congested in the world, I decided to use taxis to travel between the bars I had to visit. The low point came during rush hour, when my taxi crawled 2km in 90 minutes. I vowed to rely only on alternative modes of transport from then on.

If only more people took the same approach. In 2019, Thailand’s prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, revealed plans to relocate the country’s capital, blaming traffic problems. The irony is that, since shunning Bangkok’s taxis, I’ve realised it’s one of the easiest cities to navigate – a place that hums with the rattle of moto-taxis and tuk-tuks, and the chug of water ferries criss-crossing the Chao Phraya river as wooden long-tail boats splutter along the canals that wind from Bangkok’s centre to its outskirts.

And there’s a reason I’ll always base myself at the beautiful Anantara Riverside hotel, namely the complimentary shuttle-boat service that whisks me across the Chao Phraya to the Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain station. Dozens of hotels operate similar shuttle services, and the drop-off point is served by various express-boat services, which transport me around Bangkok for about 45p per journey.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in