Bangkok Traffic


Gridlock in all directions- Sukhumvit at Asoke

Traffic is Bangkok is, how can I put this politely, absolute shit. Bangkok wasn’t built for this many cars. Bangkok must deal with the challenges of a major river and numerous small rivers that cause massive bottlenecks leading to the bridges to cross the river. There is also the challenge of the original roads and infrastructure, Bangkok was built long before there were thoughts and ideas of 10-lane superhighways. 

Add population explosion that works and resides in central areas and an increase in affluence that results in more autos on the streets and you have gridlock. Rainy season? Ha. Localized flooding due to the downpours is common during rainy season, adding flooded roads takes the traffic from gridlocked to parked. 

There have been investments to ease the traffic- the elevated Skytrain is wonderful and continues to expand the areas it services, the subway is called the MRT and is also very good, there are elevated highways and toll roads to allow more direct routes across and out of the city and of course the busses. 

Motocye, including the motocye taxi’s, can drive on the white lines between cars, so they can beat much of the traffic and can be much, much faster than an auto. Of course there is a trade off- you are sitting on the back of a motocye, completely trusting the driver to keep you sitting there instead of sliding across the pavement; and there’s no aircon. 

As much as mass transit helps, there are just too many cars on the road and traffic is a mess. Well, I should say it is a mess for those that are sitting in the traffic. I don’t have a car, I sweat, I mean walk, take the Skytrain and use taxi’s as needed. I use motocyes and actually quite like them. I walk and exchange looks with the drivers and passengers of the cars- they wearing the frustrated looks and checking the time, me wiping my brow and happy to at least be moving. 

About faranginbangkok

I began working in Bangkok during 2008- a time that featured a great deal of political unrest in Thailand and particularly Bangkok. I had lived in San Francisco for 15 years and was working on a project in Thailand. Generally, I spent 2 weeks in Bangkok and then 3-4 weeks in San Francisco. Did Bangkok begin to feel like home? Yes, and No. Bangkok and the Thai culture forced me to feel many things, the change in culture and environment was so dramatic it forced the decision- embrace or ignore. I embraced and made Bangkok my home and base in 2009. I have enjoyed living in Bangkok, experiencing Thailand and the entire ASEAN region. I moved to Singapore in 2016...fallen behind on this blog since.
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