Category Archives: Thailand

How to catch a Taxi in Bangkok

Here I am. Back in Bangkok,  Thailand. This time staying with a mate in the old town part of the city. Meaning no BTS sky train or MRT station nearby. The only way to get from our hotel to Downtown Bangkok with all the shopping malls (like MBK, Siam Paragon and others), are taxis. Unfortunately many Taxi drivers don’t speak English. So I used the “Bangkok method” to get around.

Getting from hotel to downtown/other places

First look for a small business card of the hotel at the reception desk. This will later be important when you want to go back to the hotel. Most hotels can give you a business id card which contains the address of the hotel in Thai letters and/or a small map of where the hotel is located. DONT FORGET TO TAKE ONE BEFORE LEAVING.

The easiest and simplest way is to ask the reception desk, or if available, the bell manager for a METERED Taxi and tell him/her where you want to go. He/Her will then use his radio to hail a cab for you and tell the driver in Thai where you want to go. This helps to avoid lost in translation situations. 😉

After entering the car make sure the driver turns on the meter. If he doesn’t, insist on it or you may end up with a “special price”, which can be twice or triple the official amount. Side note: One of the drivers offered us 200 THB special price, we insisted on the meter and ended up with 68 THB (rounded up to 70)

When you arrive at your destination round up the price to the next 5 or 10 baht. The drivers often dont have change and apprechiate a small tip.

 

Getting back to the hotel

Hailing a taxi on the street is an almost impossible mission.
Here’s the easy way: Just go to the next shopping mall.

Most shopping malls have a so called “taxi queue” or taxi stand at the ground level. When arrive at the front of the line give the taxi coordinator the card from your hotel. He will then ask all taxi (or tuk tuk) drivers nearby if anyone wants to take you to your destination. Jump into the one the he/she points at. Other drivers may try to pursway you by smiling or winking at you to take their taxi/tuktuk instead. Be careful this could lead to either a very expensive ride or a trip to an unknown destination.

After entering the taxi handover the card from the hotel to confirm your driver got the right address and double-check that he/she turned on the meter.

When you arrive at your destination round up the price to the next 5 or 10 baht. The drivers often dont have change and apprechiate a small tip.

Tips

  • Make sure you have a business card of your hotel
  • Double-check that you have all belongigs before leaving the car. Getting it back is an impossible mission.
  • Write down/take photo of the vehicle number (often a sticker on the inside of the window) if you want to report any bad incidents to the taxi queue service
  • Taxis have different designn (pink, yellow-green, orange), but the metered rates should be the same

 

 

Urbana Langsuan Hotel, Bangkok – Review

I stayed at 2 different hotels during my first trip to Bangkok, Thailand.
I really enjoyed both hotels. Today, I write about the Urbana Langsuan in the Lumpini district of Bangkok.

Location

Urbana Langsuan - My view
Urbana Langsuan – My view

The Urbana Langsuan is located in Langsuan Rd., which is a business district road. There’s a BTS sky train station “Chit Lom” at the intersection with Sukhumvit Rd. (about 10 minutes walking).

You’ll find a few restaurants and lots of other hotels in Langsuan Rd. One of the “entertainment districts” is one stop with the BTS train away. All the famous shopping malls like Central World Plaza and Siam Paragon are about 15-25 minutes walking time away.
There’s a 7/11 store and a shopping mall between the BTS station and the hotel. Even at late hours you’re still able to buy some cool drinks or a snack.

The reception staff speaks good english. They even got me a room on a high floor as I requested.

Room

Urbana Langsuan - Studio room
Urbana Langsuan – Studio room

I had a studio room during my 2 nights stay at this hotel. The room features a king size bed, flat screen, a coach and a small pantry with microwave. The enclosed bathroom has a shower cabin with rain shower feature. The room also has a balcony to enjoy the urban views of Bangkok.

The whole room has a friendly and warm interior. The room was clean. It was very quiet thanks to the high floor. Free WiFi was included in the rate, because I booked online. I had a stable and fast connection.

I haven’t tried the breakfast, because it’s only open until 10am. There’s also a pool, a spa and a gym on the higher floors.

Can I recommend this hotel? Yes, it is a great option for your stay in Bangkok.

Grand President Hotel, Bangkok – Review

I stayed to 2 different hotels during my first trip to Bangkok, Thailand.
I really enjoyed both hotels. I start my series of reviews with the Grand President Hotel in the Sukhumvit district of Bangkok.

Location

Grand President - Deluxe room
Grand President – Deluxe room

The Grand President is located in Soi Sukhumvit 11, which is a quiet (for Bangkok) side street of the Sukhumvit Rd. There’s a BTS sky train station “Nana” right at the intersection.

You’ll find a few bars and restaurants and a “German beer garden” near the hotel. One of the “entertainment districts” is about 10 minutes walking distance away. Another one is one stop with the BTS train away. All the famous shopping malls like Central World Plaza and Siam Paragon are about 10 minutes/3 BTS train stops away. Terminal 21 is only one stop away. Get off at “Asok”.
There’s a 7/11 store between the BTS station and the hotel. Even at late hours you’re still able to buy some cool drinks or a snack.

The reception staff speaks good english. They even upgraded me to a better category.

Room

Grand President - Deluxe room
Grand President – Deluxe room

A had a deluxe room during my 4 nights stay at this hotel. The room features a king size bed, flat screen, a coach and a fridge. The enclosed bathroom has a bath tub with integrated shower.

The whole room has a very dark (black/dark brown) interior. The room was clean. It was a bit noisy during 1 of the 4 nights, because I had a room on one of the lower floors. But this was due to a parade on the street. Free WiFi was included in the rate, because I booked online. I had a stable and fast connection.

The international breakfast buffet was okay. Lots of hot and cold food options. Coffee and juice were on offer, but nothing special.

Can I recommend this hotel? Yes, it is great option for a short stop over.

Here’s the official promotion video from the Grand President Bangkok

How to use MRT in Bangkok

The MRT subway is a convenient way to get around. The fares start at 16 baht for a single journey.

Take the stairs from street level to the station. Upon entering you have to go through a metal detector like at airports.
Go to a ticketing machine. You will find there a touch screen with map that displays, how much the fare is when you select your journey. After you payed your fare you will receive a small plastic coin. This is your ticket.

Bangkok traffic
Bangkok traffic

Most ticket vending machines accept coins and also bank notes. Day passes are also available. You can purchase them only at the ticket counters located at some stations. Go through the fare gate by placing your coin/token on the scanner.

The system works similar to public transport in Europe, look for a sign that tells the name of last station of the line. This will show you in which direction which train will take you. Board the train. On the train they will make announcements about the next stop both in Thai and English. Get off at your designated stop and exit the station through the fare gate.

There’s currently 1 line running through the city. The government of Bangkok is still working on extending the existing network.

Here’s a video by DiscoveryThailand, which explains the system pretty detailed.

How to use BTS Sky train in Bangkok

The BTS sky train is a convenient way to get around. The fares start at 10 baht for a single journey.
It runs on tracks above the streets of this vibrant city. Take the stairs from street level to the station.

Bangkok - Nana BTS station
Bangkok – Nana BTS station

Go to a ticketing machine. You will find there a map that displays, how much the fare is for your selected journey. Also look for the name of last stop of this train line, this is important as you will see later.Press the button with the right the fare for your route, pay and receive your paper ticket.

Most ticket vending machines accept only coins. There are some machines that accept also bills, but only at selected stations. Day passes are also available for 150 baht. You can purchase them only at the ticket counters located at some stations.Go through the fare gate.

Next, take the stairs or escalator up to the trains. The system works similar to public transport in Europe, look for a sign that tells the name of last station of the line. This will show you in which direction which train will take you. Board the train. On the train they will make announcements about the next stop both in Thai and English. Get off at your designated stop and exit the station through the fare gate.

Some train stations are also connected to nearby shopping malls by a overpass.

There are currently 2 lines running through the city, you can use your ticket on all lines.

The government of Bangkok is still working on extending the existing network. E.g the trains don’t run to the northern districts yet.

Here’s a video by DiscoveryThailand, which explains the system pretty detailed.

Temples in Bangkok

Wat Pho

Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha) is one of the most famous Buddhist temples in the world and one of the most visited attractions in Bangkok.

Wat Pho
Wat Pho

At times the temple can be very crowded. Trust me, I’ve been there. It is a must see anyways.

The easiest way to get there is to board the BTS sky train (Silom line) and get off at Saphan Taksin (S6). Take Exit 2 and go to Chao Phraya River Express Boat Pier.Take boat heading to Tien Pier (N.8)
The boat ride costs 20 THB.

Please be aware of Tuk-tuk drivers in front of the temple, they offer “tourist rates” like at other popular tourist spots.

The Golden Buddha

Bangkok - Golden Buddha
Bangkok – Golden Buddha

known as Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon is the home of the world’s largest solid gold statue. Less visited than Wat Pho is it a good alternative.

You can get there by MRT and a bit walking. The MRT station is Hua Lamphong. From there you have to go west and follow the Talat Noi road. I recommend to use a map or a smartphone with Google maps app, because of MRT related construction sites it’s not as easy to find.

 

SilverKris Lounge – Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Welcome to my review of the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge in the international area at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. It is a Star Alliance Gold lounge at Concourse A.

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport - SilverKris Lounge
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport – SilverKris Lounge

After presenting your boarding pass and Star Alliance Gold member card to the lounge agent. You find yourself at the buffet section of the lounge. You can find here an intensive selection of hot and cold food. Hot tomatoes, bacon and eggs in the morning. Fresh fruits like water melons, papaya and pineapples and biscuits can also be found.

A selection of alcoholic, and non alcohol drinks in the fridge, are available.

There’s also a coffee machine which makes espresso, cappuccino, latte macchiatto and other.

Suvarnabhumi Airport - SilverKris lounge - Coconut
Suvarnabhumi Airport – SilverKris lounge – Coconut

There’s something special in the fridge: Coconut juice ready to drink from a coconut.

Want to  check your emails? Singapore airlines offers free WiFi throughout the lounge.

Also check out the view over the airport garden from your seat, while enjoying a cup of ice cream.
It is a small lounge, but it offers plenty of relaxing armchairs and a warm atmosphere.

Overall this lounge is a good place to spend some time before your next international flight.

Getting around in Bangkok (II)

After presenting you the “normal” ways Getting around in Bangkok (I), it’s time to show you the more unique ways of getting around.

 

Tuk-tuks

Bangkok - Tuk Tuk
Bangkok – Tuk Tuk

Tuk-tuk or auto rickshaw is a usually three-wheeled cabin cycle. You can hire them like a taxi.

Never ask for a price, otherwise they tell you a fantasy price or take you on a “shopping tour” across Bangkok. Tell them a price that you think is right.

When bargaining remember that transportation is cheap in Thailand. A ride across the city with the BTS skytrain costs ruffly 50 Baht.

 

Motocycle taxis

Bangkok motor bikes
Bangkok motor bikes

First of all, use this type of transportation only if you want to kill yourself.

Motorcycle taxis are for short distance journeys. They drive between car rows and there’s basically no safety/protection. Like with the tuk-tuks, you have to know the fare otherwise you pay the farang price.

You can recognise them by the orange vests they’re wearing.
They usually wait in groups near the same shops and restaurants and corners of main streets during daytime.

Have a look at the following video about Motorcycle taxis by Tony from Thai-faq.com

Stay tuned for more upcoming posts about Bangkok and Thailand.

Getting around in Bangkok (1)

Bangkok traffic - Taxis
Bangkok traffic – Taxis

When you think about Bangkok and getting around in this big city, 2 things come into your mind.
“Tuk-tuks” and the dangerous moto-bikes.

But there are far more ways getting around in the city of angels known as Bangkok.

 

BTS Sky train

this is a train service that runs through many parts of the city.

Bangkok - Nana BTS station
Bangkok – Nana BTS station

It runs on tracks above the streets. The fares start at 10 baht for a single journey.  Take the stairs from street level to the station.

Go to a ticketing machine select the fare for your route and pay, receive your paper ticket, go through the fare gate.

Next take the stairs or escalator up to the trains. Board the train, get off and exit the station through the fare gate.

Day passes are also available for 150 baht. You can purchase them only at the ticket counters located at some stations.

There are currently 2 lines running through the city, you can use your ticket on all lines.

The government of Bangkok is still working on extending the existing ney network. E.g the trains don’t run to the northern districts yet.

MRT

Bangkok also has an underground/subway train service.

There’s an interchange with the BTS Sky train at the Asok BTS station. The MRT network is still very simple. There’s one line and it runs from the north to the south.The Bangkok goverment is still expanding the network.

Taxi

There are two different types in Bangkok. Taxis and metered taxis.

The metered taxis work like in most other countries. But you can also find taxis without meter. Then you have to know the price for they journey and know how to negotiate with the driver.
You can recognise the difference by searching for a sign on the roof of the car. As Thai people write things differently in english, look for “Taxi-meter”.
If you just want to get around, take a metered taxi. Please make sure that the driver starts the meter. Otherwise you may end on a jewellery and tailor shopping tour through the whole city. 😉

Bus

Bangkok traffic - Buses
Bangkok traffic – Buses

Getting around by bus can be a unique experience in Bangkok.

There are not only modern air-conditioned buses, you may see some of the older ones that look like, they’re from the 1960.

Get on the buses at bus stops that consist of signs with the buses’ numbers on them. Make sure you give a sign to the driver that you want to get on the bus.
Tickets are bought on board the buses. Show the driver you want to get off the bus by standing up approaching the doors.

 

Stay tuned for part 2 of Bangkok – Getting around, in which I write about more Bangkok styles of getting around.