Getting around Bangkok with your baby

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With a population of more than 8 million in the city center alone, and encompassing an area of more than 1,500 square kilometers, Southeast Asia’s “City of Angels” is certifiably massive. Traversing the metropolis presents a challenge under the best of circumstances, but with a baby onboard, it can be an absolute nightmare. The combination of intense heat, the congested traffic and the crush of commuters makes getting from Point A to Point B in Bangkok especially frustrating for the mother or mother-to-be. If you thought getting pushed and shoved on the BTS or MRT was no fun, wait until you try it with a stroller.

Getting around Bangkok with your baby

Unfortunately, none of that looks like it’s going to change any time soon. And since staying home until the kids are able to navigate the city on their own is out of the question, there’s nothing else to do but forge ahead. If you happen to have a car and preferably a driver, obviously getting around will be a comparatively easy, if time-consuming, endeavor. If not though, here are our tips on navigating Bangkok’s public transportation network.

Taxis

Though the easiest transportation option, taxis are not without their difficulties. For starters, your average Bangkok taxi driver may be reluctant to take the time to help collapse a stroller and stow it properly in the trunk. As a result, more than a few cabs may simply whizz by without bothering to stop. To increase your odds of getting a taxi, do your best to travel at off-peak hours and stand on side sois rather than busy roads like Sukhumvit.

Assuming you do get a taxi, you want to be able to get in and get moving as quickly as humanly possible. A compact, collapsible stroller is an absolute must. The high-tech Origami (4moms.com; from US$849.99) line of strollers compress instantly with the touch of a button, making it a snap to hop inside the vehicle. Any other collapsable model will work, just try to stick to something as lightweight and easy to maneuver as possible.

BTS Skytrain / MRT

At rush hour, the overcrowded cars on the BTS and MRT are usually something of a free-for-all, a claustrophobia-inducing mess of ladies in heels and men in business clothes all scrambling for a foothold. If there is any way at all you can avoid traveling at the peak hours (roughly 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.), do so.

To make getting to the BTS easier, ask the security guards to open side gate near the ticket office for you rather than walking through automated gate. Because the automated gates are programmed to close quickly and with a great deal of force, they can pose a hazard to you and your child.

One of the major drawbacks of both BTS and MRT is the obvious need to go either up or down, which can be pretty complicated with a stroller in tow. BTS stations On Nut, Asoke, Siam, Mo Chit and Chong Nongsi all offer elevators, as does the Airport Link. MRT stations come equipped with elevators, but they can be a bit unreliable. In a worst case scenario, you can always use the escalator.

One positive aspect of both major public transit systems is that people in Bangkok tend to be fairly respectful of new and expecting mothers. People are usually gracious enough to give up their seats and help make the ride as smooth as possible.

Photo Credit: Pietro Motta via Compfight cc

ExpectingExpats.com

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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