Why you should explore congested Bangkok by bike and boat

Fifteen years ago I flew to Bangkok to write about its nightlife. It was my first visit and, unaware that Bangkok’s roads are some of the most congested in the world, I decided to use taxis to travel between the bars I had to visit. The low point came during rush hour, when my taxi crawled 2km in 90 minutes. I vowed to rely only on alternative modes of transport from then on. 

If only more people took the same approach. In 2019, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha revealed plans to relocate the country’s capital, blaming traffic problems. The irony is that, since shunning Bangkok’s taxis, I’ve realised it’s one of the easiest cities to navigate – a place which hums with the rattle of moto-taxis and tuk-tuks, with the chugging of water ferries criss-crossing the Chao Phraya river and wooden long tail boats spluttering along the canals winding from Bangkok’s centre to its outskirts.

And there’s a reason I’ll always base myself at the beautiful Anantara Riverside hotel – namely the complimentary shuttle boat service which whisks me across the Chao Phraya to the Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain station. Dozens of hotels operate similar shuttle services, and the drop-off point is served by various express boat services, which transports me around Bangkok for around 45p per journey. 

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