Living in Bangkok, Thailand, one of the things that’s always bothered me is the pollution. Bangkok has some of the world’s worst pollution and avoiding it can sometimes be a challenge. I’ve lived in Bangkok long enough though that I’m now an expert on how to avoid Bangkok’s pollution. If you’re not used to it, pollution in Bangkok can sometimes make it difficult to breath and, if you have any lung problems, I wouldn’t recommend you spend much time in it. So, the next time you’re in Bangkok, follow these tips to avoid the pollution and you’ll keep your exposure to Bangkok pollution down to a minimum.
Don’t Be Outside in Bangkok During Rush Hour – The problem with Bangkok is the traffic is always bad. Horrendous traffic jams stretch all over the city, which creates much more pollution. However, if you try not to be outside too long in Bangkok between 7am and 10am and 4pm to 7:30pm on weekdays, you will avoid a lot of the pollution.
Don’t Travel in Tuk-Tuks in Bangkok – One major way to avoid Bangkok pollution is to not travel in a tuk-tuk (the motorized rickshaw).
Many tourists love to take tuk-tuks in Bangkok but, as they travel slap bang in the middle of the traffic and as there’s no protection from breathing in the fumes, it’s one of the worst ways to travel if you’re trying to avoid Bangkok’s pollution. Avoid tuk-tuks in Bangkok or take one around a less crowded area traffic-wise and you’ll breath in a lot less pollution that way.
Shop at Bangkok Shopping Malls – Some of Bangkok’s best bargains are at street markets scattered all over the city. However, if you’re having major problems breathing in the city’s pollution, avoid the street markets (especially during weekdays when traffic is worse), and shop at one of Bangkok’s many shopping malls instead.
MBK and Siam Center have great bargains, Siam Paragon and Central World Plaza are two of the largest malls in south east Asia, so sell everything, and Platinum Mall has some of the cheapest prices on clothing in the world.
Don’t Eat at Street Stalls – Some of the best food in Thailand is served at street stalls. It’s also the cheapest. If you want to try food from Bangkok’s street stalls but don’t want to breath in all the street-side pollution you’re guaranteed to have, then just get the food ‘to go’ and eat it in the comfort of your own apartment or hotel room.
You’re still giving custom to the nice lady at the street stall but without breathing in all the gunk in the air.
Don’t Walk on Busy Streets – I walk a lot in Bangkok but my body is also used to the pollution. If you really want to avoid breathing in pollution in Bangkok, don’t walk on busy streets with lots of traffic as the fumes can be quite overpowering. Instead, walk down small sois (side streets).
Some of them are beautiful and actually give you even more of an insight into real Thai life, and you’ll avoid breathing in the horrendous pollution of busier streets.
Wear a Mask – If the pollution in Bangkok is causing you respiratory problems then, by all means, wear a mask outside. Just make sure you buy one of the heavy-duty masks that actually do filter out pollution, as the flimsy cloth masks you’ll see a lot of Asians using in heavy traffic don’t do anything. You won’t see many people wearing masks in Bangkok but, if it makes you more comfortable, why not.
Although Bangkok traffic and therefore pollution is better than ten years ago, it’s still bad compared to most western cities. You’ll discover it’s almost impossible to get a sunburn in Bangkok due to the pollution in the air filtering out the sun’s UV rays. The pollution also makes breathing difficult if you’re not used to it. Follow these quick tips for avoiding the pollution in Bangkok though and you’ll soon discover it makes being in the city much more bearable.