Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Taxi!

Bangkok, Thailand
March 8, 2017

Riding the canal - Bangkok's best attraction!
We have fallen in love…with the water taxi boats that ply the canals of Bangkok!  Bangkok is huge.  Really, really huge.  Typically, we love to explore on foot, but it's just not possible in this expansive city.  And while we love our neighborhood, it is not especially well-served by the underground or above-ground trains here in the city, making it necessary to take a taxicab or tuk-tuk to get around town.  While admittedly inexpensive, those two modes of transport have been a cause of frustration for us, as the drivers tend to try to overcharge western tourists (or maybe they try to cheat everyone who climbs aboard!).  Even more antagonizing, however is the fact that none of them use GPS of any kind and never have any idea where our hotel, or any other destination, for that matter, is located.  As such, Scott, the expert problem-solver, went in search of a better way. 

On our first full day in town, we visited the Jim Thompson House (more about that later…I hope…), which boasts a lovely location backing up to a canal.  During our tour, Scott noticed small boats, moving up and down this canal and which were clearly picking up and dropping off passengers, just like a bus. 


The rickety, rundown appearance of the canal taxis merely adds to their charm
At the conclusion of the tour, we wandered over to the nearby pier, where the signs were very unclear and confusing about how much or where to pay for the taxis so we simply jumped on board the first available boat along with everyone else! 


At the pier
The narrow, wooden taxi-boats are filled with simple, long, wooden benches, running from side to side. 


Ready to ride!
The passengers all squish onto them together, after unceremoniously climbing over the side of the boat and onto the seats at any spot where they see an open space.  Boarding and disembarking is very quick and the boats rarely wait around, so you best be hasty!


A passenger, who just happens to be a monk, boards the taxi
The fare collector, typically a young man, but we have had young women collecting on our boats too, walks along the very narrow outside edge of the boat collecting fares from passengers as soon as the boat leaves the pier.  It’s not a job I would want, that’s for sure!


Fare collector issuing a passenger her receipt and change
It’s so easy – no fuss, no muss!  And as luck would have it, our hotel is conveniently nearby one of the numerous piers located on the water taxi routes.  And it’s so very fun, as well!!!  The boats speed through the murky canal waters, making for a refreshingly breezy ride on the typically sweltering days at this time of year, the hot season. 


video

We have taken these boats at least once almost every day since our arrival and it never gets old; it is so enjoyable and exhilarating every time!  Riding in these taxis always feels a bit like a low-key theme park ride to me.  Along the edges of the boat are movable plastic sheets with pull cords so that passengers can easily raise them to avoid the spray from the swell as they travel down the canal, adding a bit of excitement to the ride! 


The protective, plastic sheet was all the way down during this particularly calm ride
I absolutely love the feel of the wind in my hair and being out on the water, not to mention what a quick, easy and cheap way it is to get around, as the fare for the distance we typically travel is a non-negotiable 9 Thai Baht, or approximately 25 cents USD. 


Water taxi fare receipt - best deal in town...in a city full of deals!
The only mystery to us is why these taxis are not really mentioned in any of the guidebooks we’ve read!










1 comment:

  1. That's super cool! Very interesting reading :-) THanks for sharing Caroline!

    ReplyDelete