Bangkok has a lot to offer during daytime. However there are enough reasons why you should avoid this city during the day. While living there I always prefer to leave my hole after sunset, or before sunrise. In this article I will explain the main reasons that make Bangkok so unpleasant at daytime.
1. Traffic jams
Bangkok is famous for its traffic jams.Trying to take a taxi is a bad mistake during the rush hours in the morning and early evening. The city is crowded with cars,buses, motorcycles, trucks and tuck tucks, all fighting for a tiny spot, while they slide along the road, as if being in a snail race competition. Of course a lot of traffic is accompanied with health issues, which brings me to the next problem.
2. Air Poluttion
A lot of traffic means a lot of noise and air pollution. The motorized vehicles cough up nasty clouds of exhaust fumes. The factories also join in the party and so do the street cooks, who send large clouds of burned chicken and pork fumes into the sky. A lot of people are wearing protection masks while being outside. Not a bad idea when you stay in Bangkok for a longer period.
I doubt if there are much rules and regulations about things like diesel filters and toxic pollution concentrations. I can inform you with facts and numbers about the exact concentrations, but maybe its better if you don’t know. As a Bangkok expat you might get worried a lot. To make matters worse, pollution is even extra unhealthy when it is combined with heat. Which brings me to the next topic.
3. The heat
Bangkok is often recognized as the hottest city in the world. Is this really true? I could not honestly tell you, as I did not visit all cities in the world yet. However based on my experiences with Bangkok, I can definitely say it is often sticky icky hot in this city.
The problem is the humidity, which, in combination with the sun, makes you boil in your own sweat. The sun will blaze and the humidity will drain your juices away. Other people sweat as well when it is hot, which makes it extra inconvenient when you smooch with them in crowded places. And there are many of those during the daytime.
4. Crowds of people
Crowds of people are the cherry on the pie when it comes to daytime disaster in Bangkok. I recently decided to go to the Grand Palace. A famous destination in Bangkok. I bought sunscreen and went out into the heat. Then I took the sky train which transported me like a sardine in a can. After leaving the sky train I had to take the boat.
My hopes of loosing the crowd vanished when I arrived at the boat. It was also filled to full capacity. It is part of the game of course but it was just not something i enjoyed. Especially because the way back was exactly the same. I don’t like to shower my head in tourist armpits, or belly smooch with them. Situations like this always make me crave for the calm night.
5. Night live
Bangkok is a huge city and there are many things to do during the daytime. However I personally feel this city gets more interesting at night. Visit the sky bars and marvel at the sea of lights. Dance till the early morning in one of the many clubs. Go to the river to see the beautiful light decorated boats and temples or stroll around at the large night markets, without being bothered by the daytime heat.
Bangkok is a busy city and is, in my opinion, much more enjoyable when it calms down. Then it really shows it charm. Besides that, It is much more easy to get around by night because you avoid the traffic. Do you prefer the morning? Then try to join the early birds. A lot of Thai are already active at 5 AM. There is reason why they do this, and now you know why.
Tips to survive Bangkok during the day
So you are an optimistic tourist and you decide to ignore my advice.
Here are some more tips which you can follow, if you go out during the day.
- Make sure you drink a lot of water. Obvious of course, but many people underestimate how quickly you can overhead and get dehydrated.
- Use sunscreen. Also obvious but yes many people also underestimate how quick there skin can get fried. The sun in Bangkok is very strong
- If you don’t mind being packed like a sardine then you can use the many boats or the ever expanding sky train and subway systems, to avoid being stuck in a traffic jam.
- If you plan on doing some daytime sightseeing then I recommend visiting Bangkok in the relatively cold weeks during December and January. Around that time the temperature is really nice. However, the Thai will think differently and wrap themselves in warm sweaters, even though the temperature is often around a nicely 20 degrees.
- There are many sightseeing options which are inside. By visiting those places you avoid the heat outside. There is a reason why this city is full of giant shopping malls. They serve as rescue centers for the Thai to escape the heat. Although then you have to deal with the freezing cold of air conditioners.
- Did you ever go to Bangkok? How was your stay? Did you experienced any of the described problems?