Being one of the most congested cities in the world, transportation in Bangkok can be challenge. However, while traffic might be in gridlock, public transportation in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, is pretty well organised.
Depending on how many people you’re travelling with or where you need to be a taxi might still be the better option over public transport though. Keep reading to find out more.
Getting around in Bangkok in a Taxi
In Bangkok, the taxis are cheap, brightly coloured and everywhere. Flagging one down can be a challenge, but finding a taxi driver that says yes when you ask “meter?” is even harder. Keep trying though, because a flat fare will almost always be more expensive than a metered taxi ride.
If you take a metered taxi, the price charged will depend on the distance. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay toll way fees as well, and an extra 50 baht (~ $1.59 ~ €1.30) airport surcharge.
Bangkok traffic can be crazy, so public transport is often the faster (and cheaper) choice. Unless there’s 4 of you, in that case a metered taxi can be more convenient with a price similar to what public transport for the 4 of you would cost.
Tip: Not all taxi drivers speak English and you probably don’t pronounce Thai names correctly, so show them the address of your desired destination (on your phone) to avoid miscommunication.
Getting around in Bangkok on the back of a Motorbike Taxi
If you dare, you can opt for a motorbike taxi. It’s faster than a regular taxi, because they swerve through traffic, but for obvious reasons less safe as well. Look for men wearing brightly coloured vests with a number on their back. You can find them grouped together on street corners, often near BTS stations. Agree on a fare beforehand.
We haven’t tried one, but locals seem to like this mode of transport. We’ve seen men in costume on the back of motorbike taxis, and women sitting crosslegged while applying makeup. Most aren’t wearing helmets either.
Getting around in Bangkok in the BTS Skytrain
While exploring Bangkok we often took the Skytrain (BTS or Bangkok Mass Transit System) to get around. It’s a fast and cheap connection to most places of interest in the City of Angels. The trains are modern and comfortable, but be warned, it can get pretty chilly on the BTS. While you’re sweating outside, you might be shivering once you board the Skytrain. Unless it’s packed, of course!
Depending on the length of your stay, a different kind of pass might be the most beneficial for you. First of all, you can pay per stop, with fares starting at 15 baht per stop (~ $0.48 ~ €0.39). If you’re only in Bangkok for a day, the one-day pass will grant you unlimited travel for a single day for 120 baht (~ $3.81 ~ €3.11). And lastly, if you stay for a couple of days you can opt for the Rabbit Card, a stored value card valid for 5 years. You’ll have to pay a 50 baht (~ $1.59 ~ €1.30) refundable deposit and top it up with a minimum of 100 baht (~ $3.18 ~ €2.60).
The BTS Skytrain operates daily between 6:00 and midnight.
Check out the Transit Bangkok website for a BTS map and more information on the fares and passes. Note that the Silom line is marked in dark green and Sukhumvit line in light green.
Getting around in Bangkok in the MRT Metro
The Metro (MRT or Metropolitan Rapid Transit) is another part of the public transportation network in Bangkok. Mainly serving another area than the BTS, you can transfer between the two in 3 different stations. The subway trains are modern and comfortable as well.
The BTS passes aren’t valid on the MRT, buy a token from one of the ticket machines instead. One stop costs 15 baht (~ $0.48 ~ €0.39) and each additional stop costs 2 or 3 baht extra.
The MRT Metro operates daily between 6:00 and midnight.
Check out the Transit Bangkok website for an MRT map and more information of fares.
Getting around in Bangkok in a Bus
Bangkok has a bus network as well, but it’s said not to be as reliable and comfortable as the BTS or MRT. Like most tourists, we haven’t made use of this option either to get around Bangkok. If you do want to try it, you can find more information on the Transit Bangkok website.
Getting around in Bangkok in a River Boat
Certain sights in Bangkok, like Wat Arun, are situated on the other side of the Chao Phraya River. These are the different options to get there, ordered from most to least expensive: take a touristy long tail boat, take the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat, or take the Chao Phraya Express Boat with the locals. We wrote an in-depth guide about it, which you can find here.
Check out the Chao Phraya Express Boat website for more in depth information on boat routes, fares and timetables.
Getting around in Bangkok in a TukTuk
A TukTuk might not be the cheapest or fastest way to get around in Bangkok, but lots of tourists still use this mode of transport. It’s definitely an experience in itself. We wouldn’t recommend it though, as chances of being scammed are pretty real. We learned that the hard way! You can read about it here.
Getting around in Bangkok on Foot
If at all possible, we try to do a lot on foot in any city we visit. It’s not always recommended or doable though. And an airconditioned taxi, Skytrain or Metro is a great way to escape the hot and humid Bangkok air for a moment.
Hopefully you find this guide on transportation in Bangkok helpful. If you have any questions or want to share a Bangkok transportation win or fail, we’d love to read it in the comments!
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