How do I get around Bangkok?

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Bangkok is Thailand’s biggest and busiest city and the rumors are true…the traffic here can get pretty crazy and the city is basically just one big traffic jam during rush hour! Therefore it’s always a good idea to figure out what your options are when it comes to transportation in this beautiful but busy city. There is no classical city center and the sites you may want to visit are more or less spread all over the 50 districts. You are going to have to choose your means of transport by the distance you want to cover, the time you have available, your budget, and the level of comfort you prefer!

Here are some common modes of transportation you can use:

1. BTS Skytrain

The BTS Skytrain is the quickest and easiest way to get around central Bangkok. It runs on two lines – the Sukhumvit Line and Silom Line – linking Bangkok’s central business districts and covering almost all of the central city. If you’re staying in Sukhumvit or Silom, the BTS will help you avoid the city’s traffic jams and get from one point to another quickly at a low cost. Tickets start from 15 baht a trip – check the BTS price table for more information. It’s important to note that the BTS does not cover the Rattanakosin area. If you’re staying around Khao San Road, you’ll need to take a taxi or boat to Saphan Taksin Station, where you can connect to the BTS Silom Line and get around the city.

2. MRT Subway

Many visitors choose the subway thanks to its quickness and low cost. MRT Bangkok has only one route, including 18 stations spanning 20km. There are trains every 5 to 7 minutes, and they run from early in the morning until late at night (6:00-23:30). Although the MRT lines frequently follow a different path than the BTS, there are still several intersections stops where you may easily switch the lines. MRT Bangkok starts at Hua Lamphong (near Chinatown) and has three locations connected with BTS: Silom, Sukhumvit, and Chatuchak Park.

3. Public Buses

Bangkok Mass Transit Authority runs an extensive network of buses throughout the city and they are the local’s favorite way of getting around as it is cheaper than the Skytrain for example. One thing you should know however is that buses in Bangkok are very unreliable and pretty much have no timetable. If you haven’t spent a long time in the city you probably won’t understand which bus goes where and when. As a visitor, it is safer to stick to the transportation methods mentioned above

4. Taxis

Bangkok might be infamous for its traffic jams, but getting around by taxi can be a surprisingly fast and cheap way to travel through the city, provided you choose the right time to travel. Most taxi drivers in Bangkok won’t speak English, so make sure you write down the name of your destination (your hotel’s staff can help with this) before you go. Avoid taking a taxi during the morning and evening if you’re located close to the BTS. Make sure your taxi driver agrees to use the meter – if he doesn’t, it’s worth waiting for another taxi. Avoid using taxis parked outside hotels and tourist attractions as they’ll often refuse to turn on their meters and instead quote inflated fares. Bangkok taxis start from 35 baht and are easy to find anywhere in the city. If you’re located in the central city, you can use GrabTaxi to call a public taxi or Uber to travel around Bangkok in a private car.

5. Motorcycle Taxis

Motorcycle taxis are a quick and convenient option for traveling short distances in Bangkok. They’re usually located near BTS and MRT stations and outside shopping malls and attractions – look for people wearing orange, purple, or green vests. Bangkok’s motorcycle taxis aren’t metered, so you’ll need to agree on a fare before you depart. Some motorcycle taxi stations will have a fare board with destinations and prices, although most will only list destinations in Thai. If you need to travel more than one kilometer, a taxi will normally be safer and more cost-effective than a motorcycle taxi. For short distances, motorcycle taxis are a fast, albeit potentially hazardous, way to get around the city.

6. Tuk-tuks

The famed tuk-tuks of Thailand, which are essentially auto rickshaws, are not just a fun way to travel around but are also extremely convenient and economical. Fares depend on the distance traveled, however, an average trip can cost about 30 baht. Don’t forget to haggle with the driver for at least 5-10 baht off the proposed fare.

7. Chao Phraya River Ferries

Bangkok has an extensive canal network that, although far from clean, is one of the quickest ways to get around the city. Boats run along the city’s major canals, as well as the Chao Phraya River, making it easy to avoid the city’s infamous traffic jams. If you’re visiting Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, or any other riverside attractions, step aboard the Chao Phraya Express Boats. Boats depart from Phra Arthit Pier (closest to Khao San Road) and the central pier located beside Saphan Taksin BTS Station. If you’re traveling in a group, you can also hire a private river taxi to take you along the Chao Phraya River. River taxis usually charge by the hour – agree to a small fare first and negotiate an hourly rate once you’re on board to avoid paying extra.

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