First 10 days in thailand…
I have not been in Thailand long however I have already learned some tricks to save money. Stretching your wallet here is not easy and and it takes some diligence. Be cautious of pitfalls like I explained in my last post about Popular Scams in Bangkok. Also be aware of how you spend your money day to day. Transportation, food and accommodations are the biggest costs while travelling. Research pays off when it comes to these categories. Here’s what I learned about commuting around the craziest city in the world.
subways,skytrains and grab app
At first I was taking the subways(MRT) and skytrains(BTS) to do most of my commuting. It ended up costing nearly as much, if not more to take the train system around Bangkok as it did to take a taxi. I quickly learned the cheapest and fastest way to get around was an app called Grab. It’s similar to Uber but they also have the Grab bike option. This is a scooter taxi that can pick you up in minutes. They can weave through traffic much quicker than any vehicle. As many know Bangkok’s traffic can be horrendous and you can waste a lot of time sitting in a car. At a fraction of the price I could get all the way across the city on a scooter. Mind you, there is a level of danger here that is not present while riding inside a car. It just depends how much trust you have for the drivers. I thought the grab bikes were a lot fun and an experience all in itself. Check it out for yourself, it’s worth the experience!
buses and tuktuks
The next option for local transportation is the bus system. Again, like the subway, it’s not easy to navigate these bus stops or routes. Many signs are written in Thai or too small to read while on the bus. Most of the time, the bus driver or collection person will help you find your stop but it’s not a guarantee. The buses are cheaper than most other transportation but easily get stuck in traffic jams or gridlocked streets. The TukTuks are another option but can range in price considerably. Without any bartering experience, you will more than likely pay too much. These drivers are good at reeling in unexperienced travellers and taking their money. Be cautious and try to make a deal before getting into any TukTuks. They are pretty fast and can fit into tighter spots than most cars though, this is an advantage for backed up traffic.
There is another option if you do not want to end up on the gridlocked streets of Bangkok in rush hour. The boat taxis and water transportation are a great way to make up ground for little money. The river boats move quickly through the canals and can be a great experience for travellers. It is a popular method of transport for many locals and the crowds aren’t too bad. As long as you don’t mind walking a bit, this is an effective way to make it from point A to point B. Again, learning the routes is essential to a seamless trip and paying attention to where you are is crucial. I missed my pier by two stops and had to walk several blocks to make it where I wanted to go. This wasn’t the worst thing ever but a lesson learned on being alert and knowing where you are.
all in all…
Bangkok offers many ways to get around and knowing which one suits you the best will only come with experience. Larger groups would not be able to take the scooters and it’s no fun being the only foreigner looking clueless in the train station. Finding your favourite mode of transport can be challenging but I hope this helps if you are just starting out!
Cheers and thanks for reading!