Cultural phenomenon, shopping heaven and tourist treasure. Welcome to Bangkok; one of the most cosmopolitan, contrasting and, above all, compelling of Asian cities. A steamy, pulsating, yet smiling metropolis of more than thirteen million – intense at first, but addictive as anything.
The BTS Skytrain is the safest, most comfortable and convenient way to get around Bangkok. In service since December 5, 1999, it has transformed the face of public transportation in the Thai capital, for the first time offering both residents and visitors a comfortable ride through central Bangkok – lifting commuters above the chronic congestion, noise and pollution of the streets below.
Our modern electrified trains transport Bangkok’s commuters in wide air-conditioned cars, saving them time with quick, reliable service. The BTS SkyTrain’s high-capacity operating system ensures almost no breakdowns and a virtual 100% punctuality. Each train can carry over 1,000 passengers while a similar number of people would use 800 cars, making the BTS Skytrain the most environmentally friendly mass transit system in Thailand.
Currently there are two routes, the Sukhumvit Line and the Silom Line. They cover much of the central city and its many commercial, residential and tourist areas, with extensions planned to outlying areas. The trains run daily between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight with frequent service throughout the day, increased during rush hours. The fare is based on the distance traveled.
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Klongs in Bangkok
Once Bangkok was laced with klongs – canals. Unfortunately, many have disappeared over the years – victims to progress. As we´ve just learnt we could have done with them in a big way this last month or two. When the flood waters headed down to Bangkok we could have done with the klongs to channel the water into the \Gulf.
One of the biggest klongs runs along the back of the hotel Klong Sean Saeb. A boat service (ferry) runs along the klong from about 07.00 to about 20.00 every day. The fare is cheap and there are many stops along the way. The service goes all the way into the old City – Ratanakosin Island. Not quite to the Chaopraya River but near enough.
To access the Klong you go out of the gate and turn sharp left – 60 metres to the tow path – turn right and walk about 180 metres to Sukhumvit Soi 3 – you will see the floating pontoon across the klong. Take the boats going from left to right – i.e. going back past the hotel. The third stop is Pratu Nam and everyone has to change there – get of the boat and walk 15 metres along the pier and get on the next boat.
The stop following Pratu Nam is the stop for Jim Thompson house a really interesting visit. If you continue to the end you will come to the terminal at Pan Fa. It’s located just below the “Golden Mountain” Wat Saket – another interesting spot to visit. The Grand Palace and Wat Poh are a 10 minute Tuk Tuk ride away. The fare from our nearest pier – Sukhumvit Soi 3 – Nana Nua to Pan Fa is currently Bt 13 and the travel time is about 15 minutes. Quick, easy and inexpensive.
A word of warning! The boats touch the pier and rope up for about 8 seconds so you have to be nifty. Hop on and off quickly – look after yourself and don’t try to be gallant. Also the water is pretty nasty but it is great way to get through the town quickly.