There are numerous traffic lights in Bangkok city and the lights changes very quickly and before you knew it, it's red light again and that seems to be the main cause of the traffic jams in Bangkok. The green is on for one direction at a time and this can cause a quick traffic build up and thus the famous traffic jam.
If you think that it just normal traffic jam, then you can be very surprised.
A 2 hour traffic jam can be the norm.
Initially, I told the taxi driver to take me to the hotel. Seeing that the traffic is not moving, I changed my mind and asked him to take me to Skytrain's National Stadium station. Again, the traffic didn't move much. He diverted and we decided on Hua Lamphong MRT station which we, ultimately, make it there after an hour. All this time, I had my pda GPS on and could see clearly whether he is taking any longer route unnecessary. Conclusion, taxi drivers are alright.
If you think you can take the BTS and MRT to avoid the traffic jam, you may be in for a surprise where the BTS only runs through a section of the city and miss the main tourist spots like the Wat Pharaew/Grand Palace, Wat Pho, etc.
Bangkok has the worst traffic problems ANYWHERE! If you don't like traffic jams, do not come to Bangkok - it's hell. I'm from Toronto, Canada and I simply didn't know it was possible for cities to be so poorly organized regarding traffic. I've spent hours stuck in traffic to get distances that you could walk in an hour or so - IF it wasn't so freaking polluted and hot. One example - there is lots of construction here and they still use asbestos in the concrete and you can get huge lung fulls of the stuff just walking a couple blocks past a couple of sites. That's not even talking about all the other background pollutants. (My nose used to sting just being on a busy street - not now, those nerves having died off I presume.)
Many bangkok Taxis are metered but if you want to cacth a flight in the middle of rush hour 4PM to 8PM, you can consider to catch a taxi without meter, bargain and drive.
I once get a cab from MBK to Airport for THB with a hard 50% bargain. I tried to find a "sport" driver and the result was 45 minutes back to Airport compared to 75 minute when I came from airport.
he'll find best route for u. just sit down, fasten your seat belt and "relax" ;-)
But you should know exactly the cost of taxi meter on the same route before. For comparison, Airport to MBK on meter was around USD 11, for non metered taxi + faster was around USD 15.
Traffic all day, all night in Bangkok. Bette alternative is the BTS Sky Train, comfortable and convenient. Or if youre in a real hurry and your destination is not in anyway a route of BTS then better take the motorcycles. Just ask first the fare before riding.
“Why don’t these expletive expletive expletive lights change?” The question asked by so many visitors to Bangkok.
Why don’t they change? I”LL TELL YOU WHY THEY DON’T CHANGE! Because in most daylight cases there's a policeman sitting in an air conditioned police box overriding the automatic system. Pressing the buttons himself. ‘tis true I tell you, ‘tis true. Two years of academy training and they press buttons all day long.
"Shouldn't you lot be out catching criminals?"
Some background. I won’t go into the apocryphal tale of the installation of a computerized system some years back and Bangkok’s Finest sabotaging it within a week. With rumours running rife about the contributions to the end of month station social event being down. I won’t do that.
You see aside from the takings being at risk, what also goes on is... the traffic is not run by one Bangkok authority. Each police district does what they fancy. Each district is "sort of" targeted on how low the traffic is in their precinct. At some junctions the local plod are happy to clear as many internal combustion engines out of their district and into the district of their mates next door. Meaning the greens for the "coming out" lot last for an age, and the greens for "going in" lot strobe like the Ministry of Sound Nightclub (before it closed down of course as the Boys in Brown Nylon kept hoofing us off out 1.50am).
In this pic we see the delight of all locals and expats. We see the sign with the numbers (top right) are showing. Meaning the lights are on automatic and the sarge is off having a bowl of noodles or is out sorting out social fund contributions.
Just 70 seconds more to go and we get the Formula One three green lights.
Sarge's air con box is below the sign bottom left.
The poster above the box, top left? Well that is there to remind all us blokes that our missus is at home getting cross that we are 70 odd seconds late for our tea... ...and on no account had we start thinking about stopping off for a pint.
One thing that surprised me in Bangkok was the volume of vehicles carrying multiple people in the back. I must have seen hundreds of pick up trucks loaded to full capacity on the express way. This coupled with the unforgiving traffic, may lead some to believe that this isn't particularly safe!
I was expecting a culture shock when I arrived in Bangkok. However, this wasn't quite what I had expected! I was ready to be taken aback by the ways of the buddhist monks, the humid weather, or the architecture, but the first thing I was confronted with having left Don Muang International Airport was the crazy driving, overtaking and ruthlessness shown on the Bangkok roads. Fast, scary and kinda fun! I couldn't believe how many times I saw close calls. The oddest thing was the overtaking lane, which served both directions, and it was highly interesting to see the problems this caused. The motorbikes meanwhile just scooted on here, there and everywhere, dodging the traffic, along with the odd tuk-tuk.
When catching either buses or taxis, be sure to take your patience. Bangkok has the WORST traffic I have ever seen! You will find most tours start the day really early, just to beat the traffic!
Combine the traffic and the heat...well lets just hope you get an air conditioned bus!
Bangkok traffic is really bad especially in the central area.
Usually there's no such thing as the peak hour traffic... Coz traffic starts building up around 3pm.
Traffic is usually better during the weekends or public holidays.
Sometimes.. walking may be the better alternative to the tuk tuk or the taxi
In Bangkok, it is famous for its traffic jam. I got in the jam for 5hrs from Baiyoke Sky Hotel back to Pathumwan Princess Hotel which is about maybe 20min drive. Therefore, recommended to go on feet or Sky train, it will save a lot of time.
As for taking a cab, make sure it is charge according to the meter as some cabby like to charges a fixed fee rather than charge according to the meter. This normally will be much more than the meter.
Transport in Bangkok is a big problem !!
It is many times difficult to make appointments and be on time ! Day or night
So we missed a reservation in a restaurant - it took hours to get there !!! So better take the local taxi - called Tuk-Tuk
Bangkok's traffic problem is famed - streets can be completely gridlocked for hours around the morning and evening rush-hours. The skytrain is a great option for travellers, although the routing tends to be more for the north and east of the city, missing out a great deal of the older more interesting sides to the city (especially Chinatown and the area around the Grand Palace etc). There is an excellent water ferry/boat system, great for the sites missed out by the skytrain and then there is the ever present tuk-tuk which is quick, cheap if a little poisonous as you breathe the car and bus fumes of the city.
If you do want to get there, avoid the traffic. If you don't mind, get in a taxi between 3 and 7pm and see how patient you really are.
Take the BTS if you can during the day, Taxis or Tuk Tuk late at night.
Getting around? That's a laugh. The speed of Bangkok's gridlocked traffic makes New York's streets seem like the Indy Oval. And walking is no solution, when you have to cope with poisonous fumes and a temperature of 35 degrees. If you have an early morning departure but don't want to get up at 4 a.m, your best bet is to stay at the Amari Airport Hotel, connected to the terminal by walkway.
Traffic from the airport and back is a capharneum of cars, trucks, rickshaws, motorcycles, bicycles, even pedestrians, men or women pulling their load on platforms or buggies.
Main roads are so dirty and inhospitable, you are better off taking the small roads if you know where you are going and are not in any hurry. At least you don't risk suffocation or harm because of the volume of traffic.