Indeed traffic is notoriously bad, but thankfully here’s a lowdown.
Bangkok is Thailand’s grand capital metropolis that’s surprisingly easy to get around. Indeed traffic is notoriously bad, but thankfully there are metros, motorbikes and even ferry boats to navigate around it! Here are some basic transportation tips to help you get around this big bustling city.
Make sure you always take a metered taxi, especially coming out of the airport. There will be taxi drivers standing outside naming arbitrary prices. But make sure you go to the airport’s designated taxi stand that gives out assigned numbers for metered taxis. Metered taxis are usually pink or light blue. Always make sure the taxi driver turns on the meter at the beginning. If they don’t then just get out and take another taxi that uses the meter.
Taxis in Bangkok are usually quite affordable, especially if there’s no traffic. For a ride from downtown Bangkok to Don Muang is just 150-200 baht and from Suvarnabhumi it’s about 300 baht.
Fortunately Uber is a common and popular form of transport in Bangkok! So if you have the app downloaded on your phone, you can call a car and write in the destination which is often easier than trying to explain where you’re going to a taxi driver. Since taxis in Bangkok are so affordable, rates for Ubers are often comparable to taxi prices. It’s just a matter of how conveniently you want to call your ride!
Metro: BTS Sky Train and MRT
Bangkok’s main metro system which consists of both underground and overground trains is spectacular. The cars are air-conditioned, you never have to wait too long and the routes are quite simple to figure out.
The BTS Sky Train is the overground train with two main lines. The Silom line runs west to south and goes through major downtown areas like Patpong, Ratchaprasong and Sathorn. The Sukhumvit line runs east to north and connects to the Airport Rail Link to Suvarnabhumi Airport. You can transfer between the two lines at Siam.
The MRT is the underground line that takes travelers to areas of interest in between BTS lines. Such areas include the Chinatown, Chatuchak Market and Lumpini Park.
If you’re traveling out of Bangkok to other parts of Thailand, you’ll be leaving from Hua Lamphong train station. Unfortunately there’s still no online system for buying train tickets, so you’ll need to go to the station in person, on the same day or in advance to buy them. From Hua Lamphong you can train travel to Chiang Mai, Surat Thani and even as far as Malaysia! Look for train timetables and information here.
Taking the bus in Bangkok can be a daunting endeavor, with over 3,000 buses servicing over 100 bus routes. But it can also be an authentic, inexpensive way to see the city like a local.
When taking the bus, arm yourself with bus route information and make sure both the number and color of the bus corresponds to the one you want. Regular buses run from 5 am to 11 pm daily, while night buses run 24 hours a day. Transit Bangkok gives very straightforward, handy information regarding bus routes, fares and which lines run 24 hours.
Feeling particularly adventurous? Ask a motorbike driver on the side of the road to take you wherever you need to go. They’re fun and way quicker than taking any car or metro and can save your life when you’re in a rush. Zooming on the back of a scooter is the best way to see the city.
Just be sure to negotiate a nice price beforehand. If you’re going less than 1-2 km, then 30-100 baht should be fair. Any further will cost more depending on the distance and your driver.
Riding a boat on the Chao Phraya River is definitely a must-do while you’re in Bangkok! Not only are ferry boats fun to ride but they actually transport you to many important areas of interest. If you’re heading to any historic attractions in Old Bangkok, a ferry boat is the best way to get there!
You can take the BTS Sky Train to Saphan Taksin station which takes you to Sathorn pier. From there you’ll have many boat companies to choose from like the local line or tourist express line. Unless you’re looking for a private boat, all ferries are very affordable and cost no more than 40 baht one way.
Traffic is no joke in Bangkok and they drive on the left side of the road in many countries in Southeast Asia. If these factors don’t faze you then feel free to look into worldwide rental car companies like Budget or Sixt.
What do you think is the best way to get around in Bangkok? Share with us in the comments.