Jam-packed Bangkok

A heavily congestion on Ratchadamri Road in Bangkok. (Photo: Patipat Janthong)

Bangkok is ranked 11th in the world's worst traffic, according to the 2019 Traffic Index by TomTom, a location technology specialist based in Amsterdam.

The company has reported the Traffic Index for nine years. It studied the traffic situation in 416 cities in 57 countries and found that traffic congestion has increased globally during the past years. Some 239 cities (57%) in the new Traffic Index report had increased congestion levels between 2018 and 2019, with only 63 cities showing measurable decreases.

Bengaluru in India takes the top spot this year with drivers spending an average of 71% extra travel time in traffic. Next are Manila (70%), Bogota in Colombia (68%), Mumbai (65%) and Pune (59%), also in India.

The sixth city on the list is Moscow (59%), followed by Lima in Peru (57%), New Delhi (56%), Istanbul (55%) and Jakarta (53.29%).

Bangkok is 11th, remaining in the same position as the year before, at 53.23% congestion level. It means that a trip will take at least 53% more time than it would during Bangkok's baseline non-congested conditions.

The peak hours are 5pm-7pm on Friday when those who travel by car in Bangkok have to spend 110%-116% more time on the road. For the rush hour period in the morning, drivers spend 24 minutes more for a 30 minute trip and another 30 minutes more for a 30 minute trip in the evening.

For the whole year, the time loss through traffic congestion during rush hours accounts for eight days and 15 hours, or almost the travel time one can drive from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

To avoid bad traffic, visitors to Bangkok may consider travel between 9am and 4pm or consider alternatives such as ride-sharing, public transport or non-motorised options like cycling.

Visit tomtom.com/en_gb/traffic-index.

Safari so good in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Night Safari has welcomed more visitors resulting in a 2.4% increase in revenue last year.

The zoo welcomed about 700,000 visitors last year, up 16% from 600,000 visitors a year before, according to Pinkanakorn Development Agency, the zoo operator.

About half of the tourists were tour group visitors and the other half free independent travellers (FIT), or those who travel with a self-booked itinerary.

Earnings were up from 246 million baht to 252 million baht last year. The target for this year is 267 million baht.

Apart from local and Chinese visitors, the zoo is expected to expand the market to Indian travellers.

Bus discounts in February

Nakhonchai Air bus operator offers up to 15% discounts for couples who plan to travel within the month of love.

Available until the end of February, a 10% discount will be offered to two passengers who purchase a one-way ticket to any of its destinations and will travel during Monday and Thursday. The company will provide 15% off the ticket fares if the passengers purchase round-trip tickets.

Visit nakhonchaiair.com.


- Jeju Air, the South Korean low-cost airline, has launched direct flights from Busan to Chiang Mai.

The service is available twice a week on Monday and Thursday. The flight departs Busan's Gimhae airport at 7am and will arrive at Chiang Mai airport at 11am. The outbound flight from Chiang Mai will depart at 12pm and will arrive in Busan at 7.05pm.

Visit jejuair.net.


- The Hyatt Regency Hua Hin has completed its renovation.

Located in Khao Takiab in Prachuap Khiri Khan, the beachfront resort redesigned its 130 rooms, out of the total 213 rooms and suites, to make them brighter, more airy and modern. It also added a new Deluxe Pool Access room category. The room has a private terrace with direct access to the swimming pool.

Other public facilities were also refurbished and that includes the swimming pool with a children's pool, You & Mee Poolside Restaurant and Figs Italian Restaurant which will also have a new menu.

Visit hyatt.com.

- So Sofitel Hua Hin celebrates its fourth anniversary with the launch of Creative Escape programme.

Designed for the meetings, incentives, conference & exhibitions (Mice) segment, the promotion offers one complimentary room for every 20th room booking, a room upgrade to the next category, corkage for six bottles and a voucher for a SO Comfy room inclusive of breakfast for two.

The booking period is available until March 31 for staying and meeting until Oct 31. The hotel is located in Phetchaburi's Cha-am district. It features 109 rooms and villas, meeting/function rooms and a ballroom which can accommodate up to 150 guests.

Visit so-sofitel-huahin.com.

Email karnjanak@bangkokpost.co.th if you have any comments to share.