New ways to getting around.
In this post, I will talk a little bit about Bangkok Public Transportation in-depth detail (outside source). Nowadays, the Bangkok Public Transportation has been improved quite a lot, thanks to the airport link, skytrain (BTS), and subway (MRT). In the past, tourists had to rely on only bus, taxi, or ferry. And as you may aware, Thailand doesn’t has a perfect record in honesty.
So with these new modes of Bangkok Public Transportation, they allow solo, couple, or on-the-budget typed travelers more flexible and better way to explore the city.
Modes of Bangkok Public Transportation.
The modes of Bangkok Public Transportation include:
- Bus, or Thais often called it, “Rod May”
- Regular Taxi
- Motorbike Taxi
- Tuk Tuk, three wheeled bike
- Ferry or boat
- Sky train (BTS)
- subway/metro (MRT)
- Airport Rail Link (ARL)
1. BUS or “Rod May”
Bus system in Thailand is probably the most complicated thing that you will have experienced ever. If you decide to take a journey by bus, please consider leveling up your Thai skill beyond “sawasdee krub” and “krob kun krub.” You can imagine a bus system in Thailand as a spider net. The information about it out there is hard to find too. The best way is to rely on asking aunties who sell the juices on the foot path for info. Bus in Thailand, usually is not on time. We do not have the locked schedule for the intervals. However, it’s the cheapest way. It will cost you around 10-20 baht (about 50 cents) depending on the destination, which required you to tell the money collector before hand.
However, there are 2 lines those are the must know for you. They are A1 and A2. One of them departed at Victory Monument area (BTS station) and the other at Mo Chit (BTS station.) These two lines can bring you directly to the Don Meung Airport for the price of 30 baht. Don Meung Airport is very important for you if you have decided to leave the capital to explore other part of Thailand, either the Northern or the Southern by some budget airlines such as Airasia or Lion Air.
Thai taxi was required by law to charge the passengers based on the metered profile. Before you decide to embark on your journey, you have to stand ground and just say “metered please.” Often time many drivers will try to negotiate the price with you, which usually will cost you many times higher than the actual fare. There are different colors of Taxis in Thailand, you can easily identify Thai taxis by their brilliant colors. Taxi is probably the most convenient and expensive way to travel in Bangkok. Thank to the traffic jam. However, if you avoid rush hour, you should be fine.
The price for all Taxi will start at 35 baht (with 50 baht surcharge if you take it from the airport.) Then it will increase depended on the time and distance it serviced. FYI, it will cost no more than 400 baht to take you from Suvannabhum Airport (BKK) to the downtown area. So if they ask for 700 baht or 1000 baht just say no.
Nowadays, if you look “Farang” they will probably charge you with their fixed price. Never, Ever, take that taxi. It might take some time to find the honest one, but you will definitely find one since we have a lot of Taxis in Thailand. Or if you are too tired and lazy to find the honest one, consider taking other forms of Bangkok public transportation.
3. Motorbike Taxi
This is probably the fastest Bangkok public transportation, you will ever find in Bangkok. It doesn’t matter if it’s the rush hour or not. We don’t have the law like in the US where motorbike can’t drive between lanes or on the foot paths. If you are thrill seeker, and want to try. I really strong suggest you to take one when you have a chance. I would describe the feeling as taking a roller coaster without proper safety gears.
Bad news is they only service a short distance. You will probably see motorbike taxis congregate near the start of the road and “soi” (narrowed road.) The price usually start from 20 baht up to 100 baht. Thanks to the Junta government, now all motorbike stands have been regulated. You can see the price for each destination on the board near the stand. However, most of time, it will be written in Thai. A lot of time they won’t provide you with safety helmet neither.
4. Tuk Tuk – Three wheeled bike
First of all, let me say this (it’s only my own opinion) “Tuk Tuk is the most overrated and the most scammed mode of Bangkok public transportation ever”. The price is never regulated. They can charge whatever they want. And most of time, only foreigners will take Tuk Tuk. They often try to persuade you and take you to buy cheap diamonds or find hookers.
I understand that sometimes there is a bad apple in a pile of apples. However, I think for Tuk Tuk case, you will be lucky to find a good apple in the rotten pile. I won’t tell you not to take it though because it’s an exotic way to travel and you should be able to experience it at least once. So if you have a chance and know your destination well, jump on board and take the tuk tuke. However, if you have no clues at all. Try to avoid it.
you can also visit this to read more on real experiences for Tuk Tuk and Taxi by this British man.
We have talked about the cheap way to go outside Thailand such as low cost airlines. But you know what, there is even cheaper way to travel out there. You might heard about a lot of destinations such as floating markets, tiger parks, or some temples outside of Bangkok. Or maybe you have heard about some dope festivals in the nearby provices. The distance is not long enough for the plane to operate and the train won’t get you there. You can either hire a car or rent a car from your hotel. OR, you can try the public vans. The stand for the vans are fixed at specific location. However, if you do not know what and where to look, you will get confused or lost including me.
The most important area for the van stands that you should know is the one near the Victory monument (the area is very close to Century mall – after you exit the Victory monument BTS station.) It’s the faster way comparing to a regular bus, and it’s also cheaper than Taxi. I will write more about this in the future since it’s not technically the way of getting around in Bangkok. <Click>
6. Boats or Ferry
Free from major traffic jam during rush hour! And come join the cool mode of Bangkok Public Transportation. You might never know this before, but Bangkok used to be called “Venice of the East.” Even though a lot of canals has been developed to be road ways. However, one of the important rivers is still doing fine: Chao Praya River. The express boat has a fixed price at 16 baht. You can buy the ticket at the pier and even take a boat starting from Saphan Taksin Pier to NonBuri Pier, which is in totally different city. As an alternatives, getting aboard on the long tailed boat and journeying along many tiny canals in the city i.e. along San Saeb canal (The smell of the San Saeb is not nice though) is also an interesting experience.
By following my guide, I promise you that you will be able to take the skytrain, then get aboard Chao Pray River express boat to visit the Grand Palace, to enjoy the nice dinner next to the river or to get on board many dinner cruise. In addition, maybe taking a step further and take tuk tuk or taxi from your dinner restaurant and ending up at the Khao San road for more night life experience.
7. Sky Train (BTS) – More Details
Service from 6.00 am to 12.00 am.
Have you ever fancy boarding an elevated train? Now is your chance taking the Sky Train, which has a price starting from only 15 baht to 60 baht, which can get you to many destinations including the infamous MBK mall, JJ weekend market, Silom road, and many more! Sky train or Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) allows you to explore the city with tight schedule and enjoy the beautiful scenery while you are on board. You won’t have to worry about the traffic jam at all. If you decide to stay in Bangkok for a long period, you might want to consider buying a pass.
There are tons of stuff that I want to talk about the BTS, and they are the reason for this blog. The first serie in this blog will be the many fascinating tourist destinations that you can reach by just taking the BTS and 5-10 minutes walk.
8. Subway, Metro (MRT)
Service from 6.00 am to 12.00 am.
Similarly to the BTS, MRT is one of the main blood vessels of Mr.Bangkok. You can go pretty much to every interesting places with these two modes combined. With 18 stations, and the inter-connected stations with BTS at Sukhumvit/Asoke, Silom/Sala Daeng, and Chatuchak Park/Mo Chit, they cover most of area of the major malls, restaurants, and many businesses (it may include your hotel too.) The price is cheap too at 14 to 36 baht.
At the Hua Lumphong station, you can even walk from the subway to the major train station and travel to all the provinces in Thailand.
p.s. I will not cover much of the subway in my blog. Since I feel it is a very boring way of travelling.
9. Airport Rail Link (ARL)
Service from 6.00 am to 12.00 am.
As the name that it was given, the major point of it is to link the airport to the downtown of Bangkok. They have 8 stations, but the service that you want to use is from the BKK airport to Phaya Thai station with the price of 45 bahts (about 30 minutes ride) and stress-free of traffic jam. They also serve an express line (15 minutes) between Makkasan and BKK airport. In addition you can get off at Makkasan station and change to MRT. If you have about 6 hours lay over, you can easily take the ARL downtown, change to BTS at Phaya Thai and explore the city, which is way better than stuck at the airport.
Other tips, in case your hotel or hostel is in the Bangkok downtown area, I would suggest take the ARL to Phaya Thai or any closer station and call a taxi there.
*BKK airport is the same as Suvarnabhumi Airport. While DMK is Don Mueang International Airport, currently is the major hub for low cost airlines.
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Thank you so much for taking your time to read a really long post.
Hope I will see you again in my next post.