of soaring & dreaming

August 26, 2008

Field trip to Bangkok

Our first field trip during the recently concluded training on Sustainable Communities was to explore Bangkok using the different public transportation modes, especially the modern ones. First we went to the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA) Transportation Division, then later to the Metropolitan Rapid Transport Administration (MRTA) Office. In both offices we met AIT alumni both from the older (70s and 80s) and recent batches. We were shown what they are doing regarding mass public transport and their plans to better the situation in Bangkok and nearby areas, regarding transport system for the public. It was nice to listen to their dreams and they really are sincere in trying to make things better. It would be good to have a seamless transport system in Bangkok and we do not have to drive our cars but just hop on at the nearest train or bus station near our home. We were shown the plans of BMA for a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) System and hope this will be successful. Also MRTA’s expansion plans which include going even to AIT/Thammasat. Wow that will be the day, when we do not have to drive, with the train station just next door and we can go all the way down to Bangkok. That will be good also to the environment, and our pockets.

Smile! We were all camera crazy inside the train!

Smile! We were all camera crazy inside the train!

After the meetings, we went to the nearest MRT station, at the Thai Cultural Center. All of us were excited, even me, as I do not use the subway really. The last time I used it was a long time ago. If I have a choice I would use the sky train. But actually I did not have any qualms using the same thing in London, Manila, Netherlands, Singapore, Tokyo and Toronto . Except here because of some safety issues. But maybe it is better now. We used the subway to go to Chatuchak Market/Mochit Station so we could transfer to the BTS/sky train. We were quite a big group and so it was quite a worry maybe for the guides in case some of us got lost! It was quite easy in the subway as there was not much crowd there. So we got to the Chatuchak Station and we went up to connect to the sky train. We noticed immediately that the two stations are not connected as one has to go out to the road to get up to the sky train station. It would have been better if a connection from the inside goes directly up to the sky train. With our big group joining the outside crowd, it was hard keeping up. Some of us were already up in the BTS station while the others were still walking on the road trying to catch up with the first group. Anyway we finally got together and my, what a crowd! We waited for the card tickets and some of us were given the coins to experience the use of the card machines. Nice. Some went to the mini-mart nearby to buy some cold drinks and gum. Another convenience. We were on a field trip so we had to observe these things that will make transport system in Bangkok more efficient and effective. Once everyone had the card, we went up to wait for the train.

)

Some of us had to stand. Some were shy to look at the camera 🙂

There was one waiting already but we did not take it. So we just moved to the side to wait for the next train. Unfortunately those in our group who came up last thought we were already in the train, and so they ran into the train. The train was about to leave and there we were, shouting, “come out! come out!” They had to hurry to come out or else they would not know where to go once they were on the train, and they would probably not know how to contact us. If that happened, probably they would just go shopping! Anyway, one of them said that the way we were screaming “come out! come out!” was so frightening!!

When the next train came, we got on. It was good to get seats and a relief as inside was so cool. Even cold. We got off at the Victory Monument, where we really felt lost in the crowd. We had to keep our eyes on our leader, Amorn, a PhD student. But after some time we lost him. But I knew we were going to look at the Victory Monument and the transportation dynamics there, so I just kept on. The others followed. After that we saw him again so we knew we were on the right track. We continued also to take photos. It was fun for me to be in Bangkok and not in the car for once. I get to see and experience some other different things. Anyway, time was up and our vans were waiting under.

Traffic was ok at this time but could get worse during rush hour and heavy rains.

Traffic was ok at this time but could get worse during rush hour and heavy rains.

Our next stop was the canal for the boat transport in Pratunam near the Central World. It was a short drive and surprisingly there was no traffic in Petchburi Road. We got off our vans and walked up to the bridge and observed the boats with passengers. At first we thought we would ride the boats but we just observed it. Even looked around as there were many other things to see, such as the sidewalk vendors and the pedestrians. It seems the water in the canal is cleaner than before and there was not much smell. Anyway, it is surely a cheaper and faster means of transport but people can get wet from the water spray.

We did not try the buses, taxis, motorcycles and tuktuks, but I bet that everyone had a chance somehow to experience them during other times, esp. when they went out to go shopping!

Didn't get on the boat this time.

Didn't get on the boat this time.

After the trip we went up to cross the flyover to go to Central World to have our dinner. However, for me and two friends from Kenya (Edith and Lillian), we crossed back again to go to Big C, where food and other stuff are cheaper. We had about 1.5 hours before we got back to AIT. We had dinner at the Food Center and they were quite impressed with the taste of the food and the price, which was quite cheap. They ordered Thai fried rice which cost 30 baht per plate. For me I ordered Pad Thai. Then we bought drinks and our dinner was less than 100 Baht per person. One of them said that food was cheap, and wondered why the previous night they paid more than 1,000 Baht for their dinner. Probably they had it in a posh hotel? We then moved around the hypermart and grocery section to buy some stuff.

View from the flyover between Big C & Central World

Then off to the meeting place in front of Arnoma Hotel. It was a long wait for the vans to arrive due to traffic (as usual). It was indeed a long day and we arrived back at AIT at around 9 pm.

View from the flyover between Big C & Central World
Advertisements

June 30, 2008

Traffic and rain

Filed under: Life stuff — carnationzky @ 3:40 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

We were caught in heavy rain and traffic tonight on our way to the mall. We should not have gone out considering that clouds were gathering when we left. After eating our dinner by the Swan Lake, where we had somtam, fried pla tap tim, namtok mhu, and sticky rice, we drove to Future Park. It was nearly 7 pm. We wanted to frame some photos for the wall. We have just made the U-turn from AIT and passed Bangkhan when the drops started to fall. By the time we reached Pinehurst area on Pahonyothin Rd. the rain fell harder, and traffic seemed to stop. We turned on to FM100 to listen to the road news. This is a public service radio station wherein people can call in to ask for help. They also have volunteers to report on the traffic conditions in specific areas around Bangkok and suburbs. So we heard that on the Pahonyothin Highway a few km ahead of us, there was some accident. So that was why the traffic, though moving, was at a snail’s pace. And together with the heavy downpour, it made matters worst. We were in the outside road then we decided to go in. But things were the same. It was taking us a very long time that we decided not to go to FP anymore. We  passed the U-turn already to go back to AIT. So we went farther to go up the tollway and get off the next exit to get to the next U-turn. But it turned out that that area was also crowded so we went up again to the tollway. We ended up paying the 55 Baht for tollfee on that route. The rain was still heavy but at least the way was clear. There was no traffic here. But the opposite side was so crowded that traffic seemed to be at a standstill. And we had to go that way once we eventually made our U-turn. So we went on until we took the exit at  Central Ladprao, and made a U-turn to get on the tollway back to Don Muang. Another fee to pay at 35 Baht. So we were up again on the tollway to go back to AIT. After a few minutes, we got stuck again in the traffic. We had to be patient. At least the vehicles were moving. It was just made slower by the fact that there were so many cars exiting towards Lamlukka and Rangsit, and below those making the U-turn as well. That was why we had to go farther earlier because of the gridlock in that area. We did not have to go down here so we went ahead. We had to pay another fee, this time for 20 Baht. And it was good that after this bottleneck, the road was clear again. So we were on our way back without traffic now. But the rain was still heavy. When we came down from the tollway we looked at the opposite lane where we passed earlier. Traffic there was now at a standstill. Imagine if we did not make the decision and still insisted to keep going there, we would not yet be home at this time. We spent quite a lot just to use the tollway, and also used fuel for nothing. We should never have gone out in the first place. There’s no use feeling regret about it although it was quite a waste of time, energy, fuel and money. We just had to spend and move less this week to compensate for that. For me I kept praying for His protection every time a vehicle cut in front or overtook us.  We thank God for protecting us while on the road.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.