Bangkok Transport Guide – All The Ways To Get Around

If you have ever been to Bangkok before you will understand the need for a Bangkok Transport Guide. The city is absolutely crazy and bustling with people and traffic all of the time. It can be quite daunting and stressful if you are an anxious traveller like me (Tammy) or unsure of what you are doing.

Luckily we have spent a fair amount of time in Bangkok over four separate visits and therefore have been able to learn the ropes.

What you probably don’t know about Bangkok is how excellent and modern their transport systems are. It can be extremely easy to find your way from A to B in no time at all.


Bangkok’s Bright Taxi’s

Ah, taxi’s, the brightly coloured cars that like to parade around Bangkok. They can be loud, pushy and in your face. They can also be cheap and convenient. However, they have earned themselves a bad reputation and are known as Bangkok’s scammers.

Although, take note, there are still some good taxi drivers around who are just looking to make an honest living!

If you decide to take a taxi, make sure they have a working meter.

I cannot stress this enough! If you take a metered taxi, you will get charged on the distance that you travelled. Don’t accept a flat rate at the beginning because it will more than often be pushed up when you finally arrive and then construed as “miscommunication”.

It is also good to note that you will have to pay extra for the toll gates if you drive on a highway. So don’t be surprised when your taxi driver sticks out his hand in front of you asking for more money.

Grab a Grab

This is one of our preferred methods of transport.

Grab is a taxi hailing app similar to Uber, it’s safe and a very easy to use! (We promise our Bangkok travel guide is not sponsored)

All you have to do is download the app, select your destination and wait for an estimated fare. There are various options such as sharing the ride with others, SUVs, motorcycles, luxury vehicles and so on.

You are able to see your driver’s location and what car you will need to get in. (Don’t be surprised if it’s a regular taxi, just ensure the licence plate matches and you see the Grab sticker).

What is great about this is that there is a fixed amount agreed upon before you are picked up and that cannot change. You also do have the option to pay cash or load your card onto the app.

N.B. The toll gate rule still applies, so make sure to have some extra cash on hand.

The Rapid Transit System – BTS Skytrain

Okay well there are a few different lines like the MRT (Metropolitan Rapid Transit), SRTET (Airport Rail Link) and BTS (Bangkok Mass Transit System). For the purpose of keeping our Bangkok Transport Guide as simple as possible, we will refer to all of these as the Skytrain.

This is a great, cheap, convenient and fast way to get around the cities main places of interest. The skytrain operates similarly to the subway it’s just above the ground.

There are different types of passes that you can get depending on the length of your stay. You can either purchase them from a ticket window or you can do it yourself at a self-help terminals.

Pay per stop. This cost starts at 16 baht per person, increasing as you go to further stops (the costs for each distance is clearly marked on the terminals).

One day pass. If you are in Bangkok for the day and would like to go from one place to the next, you can purchase this option for 120 baht and get unlimited stops for that particular day.

Invest in the Rabbit Card. If you are planning on staying longer and will be using the BTS everyday, this is a great option. This is a store card that lasts up to 5 years. You will have to pay a 50 baht refundable deposit and then top it up with the minimum account necessary.

P.S. I would try and avoid this transport system during peak time if you are travelling with luggage! You will most likely be packed in like a sardine if you can fit at all.

The MRT and SRTET

The other rail transit systems work in almost the exact same manner. Simply walk up to the self-service terminal, choose your destination and pay for your single-use pass.

Bangkok by Bus

This is probably our favourite option from our Bangkok transport guide. Sure, it isn’t every tourist’s ideal, fast and easy transport mode, but if you are wanting to see the city and have the time to explore, then we definitely recommend it.

It is by far the cheapest mode of transit as it caters to the locals, being their every day transport system.

The buses run from 5am – 11pm daily.

Choose Your Colour

There are different colour Bangkok buses, here’s what they mean.

Red buses, these are not air-conditioned and they charge about 7 baht a person.

Orange buses, these are air-conditioned and charge about 11 – 24 baht per person.

Yellow buses, these are newer, air-conditioned buses and charge about 10 – 12 baht per person.

These are three that we primarily travelled on, but you also get blue and green. We hear blue has air-conditioning too, but are not too sure about the green. They just never seemed to be going where we needed to go.

You can always rely on a red bus to be around!


How To Use The Buses

All the buses have a number displayed at the front and follow different routes. If the bus has a blue sign in the front window then they follow the normal route, but if it is orange, they take the expressway and therefore there will be fewer stops.

To get on a certain bus all you have to do is wait at a bus stop that has the same number (on a board next to the stop) as the bus you are looking for.

When they come close, signal to them that you want to get on. Quickly get on (honestly, they stop very briefly, especially if you look young and fit), sit down and the conductor will come to you. Tell the conductor where you are heading (or show them on Google Maps), pay the fee and you will get your ticket.

When you are ready to get off, stand up and head to the doors. There is also a button you can press, but the bus driver will most probably see you already and there will be no need to press it. Also, it isn’t every day that a tourist takes the bus, so they will be super excited and vigilant to make sure you get off at the right stop.

What is even better is that you can follow the bus route on Google Maps so you know exactly when you need to hop off.

Blue buses lined up in a Bangkok Bus Station

Bangkok’s Waterways

This could be a whole Bangkok transport guide in itself! There are so many different modes of water transportation in the city, so, we’ll just mention the main ones.

Canal “Khlong” Boats

Girl in a Khlong Boat

These large boats control the canals or Khlongs in Bangkok. If you use one of these, traffic will never be a problem. However, the frequency of the boats can fluctuate. The waters are also known for being rather dirty and some locals advised us not to take them because of it. In spite of that, it’s still Byron’s favourite mode of Bangkok transport. We used them many times and were absolutely fine.

Here’s a short snippet of us enjoying a journey along the Saen Saep Canal ways on a Khlong boat!

Chao Phraya Express Boat

There are five different types of river boat taxis that operate along the Chao Phraya River (which splits Bangkok in two). The taxi boats stop on both sides of the river.

1 No Flag – This is more for locals. It stops at every pier and costs about 9 – 13 baht.

2 – Blue Flag Line – This is a tourist boat and can cost anywhere from 40 baht to 100 baht for an all-day pass. Kind of like a hop-on-hop off bus.

3 – Orange Flag – Stops at all the main piers and costs about 15 baht per trip.

4 – Yellow Flag – This boat is for commuters and costs 20 baht, but only runs during the early morning and late afternoons.

5 – Green Flag – This is also for commuters but is express and stops at fewer piers. It can cost between 13 – 32 baht.

River Crossing Ferry

These are large boats that transport you from one side of the river to the other for an astonishing 4 baht each!

We were told about the ferries while we were still in Trang by one of our local friends and we are so glad he did. This is how we saved hundreds of baht getting to Wat Arun and it took us right there!

It’s super easy to use (as we explain in our complete Bangkok Travel Guide video).

A red river crossing ferry, crossing the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok

Thailand’s Tiny Tuk-Tuks

Tuk-Tuks, now you have probably seen these before! They tend to draw quite a bit of attention and tourists seem to love them! They definitely are an experience and I would try it for the sake of trying it. Although, I definitely wouldn’t recommend this type of transport as simple transport.

It isn’t that practical and there is almost always some sort of scam going on where they will charge you exorbitantly. For example, a trip that would cost you 30 baht as a local will end up costing you 400 baht as a foreigner. If they offer to take you to any “special spots” say NO!

Make sure you know where you are going beforehand so you can track your route on Google Maps, just to avoid any sort of detour scams.

Motorbike Taxi’s

This is definitely one of the fastest ways to get around as a solo traveller as you are able to dodge all kinds of killer traffic. However, it is more for the daring adventurer. A motorbike taxi driver will do anything to get you to your destination in super quick time, this may even mean breaking quite a few laws in the process! So hang on tight!

Motorcycle taxi driver smoking a cigarette

Pun Pun Bicycles

This is a novel idea in my opinion. As you are walking the streets of Bangkok, you may come across a row of green bicycles parked under a vivid green shelter. These are Pun Pun Bicycles and they are to encourage people to take (you guessed it) bicycles instead of taxis.

I would say this is more for people who plan to stay in Bangkok for an extended period of time as you have to apply to a membership program. To apply for the membership you have to visit one of the many bike share stations and fill out an application form, show them your passport, have a picture taken and then pay a membership fee.

From there you can load some credit onto the card.

When you go to take a bicycle out, insert your card and put in your code and the bicycle will release from its lock and become yours (temporarily, haha).

When you are ready to take the bicycle back to any one of the many stations, place it into an open slot and swipe your card. Oh, let’s just mention, the longest you can rent the bicycle for is one day! You cannot keep it through the night.

Under 15 minutes is free. The rates then incrementally increase from 10 baht for an hour up to 100 baht for eight hours or more.

Regular Thailand Trains

Trains are quite notorious in Thailand for being a great method of transport for long distance or overnight travel. In addition, they can be just as useful for shorter journeys too!

For instance, going to Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya is a beautiful, ancient city quite close to Bangkok and many people offer tours from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, but why not travel down and explore it yourself? It will allow you a lot more freedom, plus the train journey only takes about one and a half hours!

This simple example serves to show how easily accessible further out areas can be if you search a little.

We also used the trains to get around Bangkok once or twice, but preferred how the buses moved more directly to where we needed to be.

Golden Rules From Our Bangkok Transport Guide

There are so many ways to get around Bangkok that “I couldn’t get there” is never an acceptable excuse. Let’s recap the best mode of transit for a few common situations below, followed by a few handy Bangkok Travel Tips!

Which Transport System To Use

  • Need to get somewhere quickly and directly – Grab and Motorbike Taxis
  • Looking to travel on a strict budget – Buses and Khlong Boats
  • Staying in Bangkok – Pun Pun Bicycles or Skytrains
  • Travelling out of town – Trains
  • Enjoying the ride – Tuk-Tuks
  • It’s peak traffic or rush hour – Taxis and Buses
  • Want to fully experience Bangkok – All Of Them!

Bangkok Transport Tips

  • Google Maps is your friend – it’ll help you find public transport and track your journeys.
  • Only take metered taxis (with the meter running).
  • If there is no meter, write down a price before accepting the ride and make sure everyone agrees to it.
  • Conductors will find you on buses and khlong boats. So sit down and prepare your fee.
  • Respect monks, pregnant women, the frail and the elderly. Monks may often not be allowed to sit next to women (or touch them at all); please be aware and offer your seat if needed.
  • You need cash on hand, small change is preferable for buses and boats.
  • A smile and a wai will travel you a lot further than any frustration.
  • Be prepared for delays without notice or explanation.
  • Wear a helmet on a motorcycle.
  • You pay all tolls along the road.

When We Were Late For The Bus…

We were rushing to catch the bus and didn’t have time to prepare our destination in Thai (to show the conductor on Google Maps) or work out the cost of the trip. So we just made it in time and jumped on the bus.

Now, face-to-face with the conductor, Byron just opened his hand and placed all our coins and a few notes on it saying “I don’t know” to the conductor.

She smiled, worked it out and then took the fee (for both of us), gave us change and our tickets and made sure to warn us when our stop was coming up.

I wanted to share this little story with you to show you how even at the ‘worst’ times of travel, it’s not that bad. Thailand really is the land of smiles and we have only ever met the kindest, most helpful people there.

So don’t be afraid! Go out and travel.


For Longer Journeys Use 12Go Asia

If you are planning on travelling through Thailand (or even Asia) and are looking for different methods of transport, we recommend using 12Go Asia.

They are an online company that can book all kinds of transport for you. Whenever we be plan trips to different provinces, it’s so nice to be able to have secured transport well before we leave. It just makes our journey less stressful!

They are trustworthy and great! We have used their services many times. If you want you can click on this button and go straight to their site or you can enter in your desired dates down below and multitask while reading this post.


Powered by 12Go Asia system

A Video Travel Guide For Bangkok

Like I said, we have travelled quite extensively in Bangkok (and Thailand for that matter) and decided to put together a helpful travel guide.

This video should take care of everything for you. All you need to do is decide you’re going!

*Please remember to subscribe.

Once you’re finished with Bangkok, we’d strongly suggest visiting Trang or sending a few days living on an island (for next-to-nothing, honestly)!

Perhaps you’re considering heading north? That’s okay too! I mean that’s where Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Pai are!

We sincerely hope that our Bangkok Transport Guide has given you a little more confidence to explore the city or opened up new ways to travel! Either way, if you found it helpful, please share that with us in the comments below.


❀ PIN FOR LATER ❀


Bangkok Transport Guide Pinterest Image
Follow:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.