Most travelers first arrive in Bangkok at the new Suvarnabhumi Airport, a glittering and spacious introduction to a city where claustrophobia and crowds generally rule. I have arrived there by ship, so I was “parked” somehow on the river running through the center of the city and despite not knowing the language, I never considered Krung Thep (“City of Angels”) that annoying sort of challenge. They say it’s tiring and difficult to pass freely. They have a traffic, I assure you, but it’s a beautiful city. Work or no work, one can’t abstain to enjoy it. Bangkok is an independent and dynamic city which plays a leading role in culture and education for the whole Indochina. In 2011 it was the twenty second most expensive city in Asia, the first being Tokyo.
This isn’t a promotional article, so I’m not going to praise the transport in common or whatever any location. I used the air conditioned equipped taxis, modern enough, as fast as was allowed. You may rent a motorcycle with driver if you need to move considerably faster, and if you don’t mind the heat, a tuk tuk will be fine and less expensive. I can’t stand the heat very well, so my favorite was by far the taxi.
I have enjoyed it by night as I have enjoyed it by day. With all the heat, after awhile you’ll manage. You need a guide. You may also manage without, now it’s much better than before, a map, a GPS eventually, a paperback touristic guide can do the human guide’s job. I still recommend someone human, English speaking eventually. You’ll be doing him or her a great favor, you’ll be not cheated and traded for commissions as in Turkey, for sample. If you are there with your family, maybe you can manage without the guide. Anyway, when I was there, I was rather alone and the locals were not famous for their foreign languages speaking.
This is a post with less pictures than I may have used you to see here. That’s because I haven’t accessed my Pinterest account for that. These two views I have here, are reminding me exactly of how the city was a good few years ago.
If you want to diversify, you may rent a boat, an express river taxi. These boats can drop you close to many of the most important sights, temples and attractions, and the riverfront is lined with stilted restaurants, smart hotels and glossy, air-conditioned shopping centers. They aren’t expensive, you won’t feel you’re in Venice either. The locals know their capital as Krung Thep, the “City of Angels”, but this is an abbreviation. Its official title, Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansthit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit, is the longest place name in the world. That was just a funny fact. The real tough thing about Thailand, or the Kingdom of Siam, is that it was never a colony, as it’s neighbors were, the place acting in fact as a neutral state between French and British colonial powers.
If you had just one day in Bangkok better spend it on the river, reaching the water by taking the Skytrain to Saphan Taksin. From here you may take a high-speed tour of the klongs, or simply – and economically – use the Express River Taxis like the residents do, to effortlessly and atmospherically flit between attractions. These include Pak Klong Talaat vegetable market, Wat Arun, the Royal Palaces, and the major temples: Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Maharat. There wasn’t a Skytrain when I visited, and I used what was available then, motorcycles, taxis and boats. It was fine, I had some business to at the Embassy and the clerks there were as in holiday, not at all at work. I did what I had to do in Seul, which will make another post here, in the future.
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