Bangkok is one of Asias most cosmopolitan cities. Created as the Thai capital in 1782 by the first monarch of the present Chakri dynasty, Bangkok is a national treasure house and Thailands spiritual, cultural, political, commercial, educational and diplomatic centre.
Bangkok exceeds 1,500 square kilometres in area and is home to one-tenth of the country's population.
Major tourist attractions include glittering Buddhist temples, palaces, timeless Venice of the East canal and river scenes, classical dance extravaganzas, and numerous shopping centres.
A regular bus service is provided by the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) and its contracted operators throughout Bangkok as well as to its outskirts during 4 a.m. 11 p.m. and around the clock on certain routes. Public buses are plentiful and cheap, with a minimum fare of 4 baht to most destinations within metropolitan Bangkok. Air-conditioned buses have minimum and maximum fares of 8 and 20 baht, respectively.
Air-conditioned micro-buses charge a flat fare of 20 baht all routes. A Bus Route Map is available at bookshops. For more information, please call 184.
Taxis cruising city streets are metred. They charge a minimum of 35 baht for the first 3 kilometres, and approximately 5 baht per kilometre thereafter. Make sure you have change, as taxi drivers often dont! Passengers must pay tolls in the case of using an expressway.
These three-wheeled open-air motorised taxis are popular for short journeys. Fares must be bargained in advance. Minimum fares, for journeys of up to 3 kilometres, are approximately 30 baht.
BTS Sky Trains
BTS sky trains ply along Sukhumvit, Silom and Phahonyothin roads. The routes connect Bangkoks leading hotels and major shopping areas such as Siam Square, Silom, Ratchaprasong and Chatuchak Weekend Market. The fare ranges from 10-40 baht according to the distance. For more information, contact the Bangkok Mass Transit System at Tel: 0 2617 7340, 0 2617 6000 or visit www.bts.co.th
A metro service is now available from Bang Sue via Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Chatuchak Weekend Market, Ratchadaphisek Road, Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, Lumphini Park, Silom, Sam Yan to its terminal at Hua Lamphong Railway Station. The fare ranges from 14-36 baht according to the distance. Call 0 2624 5200 or visit www.bangkokmetro.co.th for further information.
Taxis that are even more unusual, though equally convenient, are the river taxis that ply the Chao Phraya River. Some are just cross river ferries, but others serve the many landing stages on both banks and cover a route that goes up as far as the northern suburb of Nonthaburi.