Bangkok is not the easiest of cities to get around, mainly because it is very hot and the traffic can be grid-locked for a lot of the time. Things are improving slowly however, and with the new trams in the city, a different way of transporting visitors around has been unveiled. If it’s a second or third time visit, some visitors will prefer to stay on the tram, but for first time visitors to the city, getting on and off is a must.
Taking a Tram in Chinatown
As the visitor rides along the main street in Yaowarat, Thailand’s biggest Chinatown, the culture and lifestyle of the Thai-Chinese is just outside the tram windows. Famous for its gold shops, street markets and Chinese-style temples, this is an area not to be missed. Shop houses and apartments jostle side by side, for this is a living Chinatown, not a plastic “made for tourists” Chinatown – this is the real thing. Getting on and off the tram at various stops to visit important sites is easy, and the Old Market, various temples (don’t miss Wat Leng Nei Yi) and shops.
Whie in Yaowarat, look for the Pak Khlong Talat, the flower market near the river. It is a sweet-smelling stopover after a visit to Chinatown.
This is a free service offered every Saturday and Sunday between the hours of 10.00 a.m. and 08.00 p.m. Collect tickets at the service booth in Soi Porisapa adjacent to Hua Lum Pong train station.
Taking a Tram Around Rattanakosin to see Temples and Palaces
This brand new way to see temples, palaces and fortresses around Rattanakosin Island is attracting a lot of attention. Sitting in comfort on the tram the visitor is taken past the Grand Palace, San Luk Meung, The National Theatre, Pom Prasumet, Jugrapong Mosque, and many other Wats (temples), all glittering and gleaming in the sun.
Open for service at weekends between 10.00 and 20.00 hours with a small charge of 30 baht per trip. Get tickets at the Democracy Monument and at Sanam Luang on the Na Phra Lan Road.
The Floating Markets of Bangkok
- 1. The Talingchan Floating Market lies in the heart of downtown Bangkok alongside the river. Various foods, fruits and vegetables are sold here as well as the many famous noodles for which Bangkok is noted, satays and Thai desserts. Some handcrafts can also be found. Open weekends and public holidays from 08.00 – 17.00 hours.
- 2. Wat Sapan Floating Market is actually a series of small markets located inside Wat Sapan alongside Klong (canal) Bang Non and focused around the canal in front of the temple. It sells mostly agricultural goods from the region but is interesting none the less. Open same days as above but from 09.00-15.00 hours.
- Klong Lud Ma Yom Floating Market is a local market selling mainly local foods and surprisingly, a range of chemical free agricultural fruit and vegetable products. It is worth a visit if only to enjoy “Suan Jiem Ton” and the setting and scenery of the handcrafted house and the Boat Museum. Open same days as above from 9.00 – 15.00 hours.
Of course, the visitor can visit most of these places by private long-boat, or the Express Boat which is quick and costs very, very little, but for the visitor who has made the boat trip previously, the tram is a novel way to sightsee this amazing city.