Bangkok is indeed a destination city because of the variety of Thai foods, reasonable accommodations, and amazing scenery, which is hard to match in Asia.
Like other big cities, Bangkok does however suffer from traffic jams, especially if you are travelling during the morning peak or evening rush hours (which can last and last depending on the day’s conditions). Accidents, construction and heavy rain will also cause traffic to back up, particularly during the rainy season when flash floods are quite common as storm drains struggle to cope with the rush of water.
If you are working in Bangkok then you may find it difficult to travel around, especially during the peak/rush hours. So what is the best way to avoid traffic? Unfortunately there is no guaranteed solution for this. It is more difficult to predict how long it takes to get somewhere in this city and you don’t want to be late for work! The best solution to deal with the traffic is to wake up earlier and use alternate transportation.
Cars, taxis and busses will all run into the same problem – getting stuck in traffic. In your own car, you are the one that has to be alert and pay attention. Not necessarily the most relaxing commute. So, why not let someone else drive? A taxi perhaps? Only problem is, while sitting in a taxi in traffic, the cost will just keep rising even while sitting still in that traffic. And, if you ride the bus, you may suffer from long waits and standing-room-only in a crowded, and possibly un-air-conditioned bus.
For the brave, there are motorcycle taxis. The benefit is that the motorcycle can sneak through all of the small spots in traffic that cars cannot, allowing drivers to get you to your destination faster (albeit uncovered in the case of rain). Choosing this method may cost you a bit if going a long distance, but usually it is worth it as you will surely reach your destination faster than walking or sitting in traffic. Just don’t forget to wear your helmet!
Tuk tuks, of course, do have to sit in traffic, so they may not be a perfect option. However, if you can handle the price negotiation and the heat, your driver may just be able to sneak in between cars and around some of that traffic and get you where you need to be fast!
Luckily, many places are accessible via the Skytrain (BTS), subway (MRT) and Airport Link trains. Since they run irrespective of road traffic, you can be sure that your journey will be much smoother. Even if the cost may be higher than taking a bus or van, you will not have the traffic to deal with! If you are going to or from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport, consider using the airport rail link. It’s not only cheaper but also faster. Though during the rush hour the queues will be longer and you may have to wait depending on the crowd and availability of the trains.
Since there is no guarantee how long your everyday journey in Bangkok will take, you just need to head out early with a little extra time, a sense of adventure and an open mind to switch up your plans if traffic hits!
Our top 5 list of things to do when stuck in Bangkok traffic:
Grab a snack! Whether you are waiting street side for the bus and grab a bit from a vendor, or dip into your food you’ve brought from home, food is always a welcome pick-me-up!
Read! It could be a magazine, book or any device you have that can deliver the content, but we rarely take the time to relax and enjoy a good story or even catch up on the news these days!
Turn up the music and enjoy. Music has that special power to soothe in moments of frustration and it’s a great distraction. Time to learn the words to that new song!
Call mom. You know she’d love to hear from you!
Nothing erases the frustration of sitting in traffic like some peaceful time. It’s very rare these days that we actually can detach from our daily frustrations and just enjoy our downtime without meetings, electronic devices or constant motion.