Bangkok 2019: Stuff to know about
Useful Links For Getting Around
The Bangkok I landed in, December 1987 has evolved tremendously during the years since. There is always something new coming along and new areas that come up in popularity, trend, shifting demographics, shifting culture, call it what you will - shape-shifting mega city. Bangkok is simple or not; depends what you want to do. Of course Thailand has had since way before 1987 to learn about foreigners and tourists - the country is set up for tourists; and depending on where you go and what you do; the number of happy experiences far outweigh the tragedy and loss that also happens when people come to a foreign country and essentially come to play.
I like to move around the city by whatever means suits, often walking. Then maybe a Grab Premium, or a Just Grab, or a bike, luckily passing by... lately, there's been a fair amount of using canal boats because they're quick in traffic and easy to access from where I am.
As of September 2019 it seems that Klong Saen Saep is vastly improved, both in terms of smell and amount of plastic or trash in the canal. When I first saw two boats moving up the canal, each with six people on trash-catching duty with a driver; my first thought was - wow that's super inefficient.... But considered from the perspective of the faces of the people, catching the trash in their big square nets tied to the end of bamboo poles, maybe it is very effective for Thai society. A job and a role to play is what most people want a chance to have; maybe find someone to share a life with. Simple things; the things making the world.
Apart from the boats, not much else is good to report about Bangkok's traffic... avoid car use if you can. But also be aware that it is not only cars blocking the roads - at rush hour you can have a hard time getting a train, a bus, or on a packed like sardines boat either... best option... find a cool bar or breakfast joint - move before or after the crunch times for "people movement" in the city. People moving morning times starts deteriorating in terms of crowding by 7:30 am and lasting until at least 9:45 am... make your move before and after. In the evening the mass movement begins around 5 pm and continue to build in numbers until 7:45 pm when it may start to cool off. Everything slows down in rain, except prices they go higher fast for "opportunistic everyone" - boats, buses etc. are always the same price.