Bangkok is a massive city and that makes getting around a little confusing, to say the least. Because Bangkok is so huge, and can be very hot, you need effective strategies to get to your destination safely, quickly, and with the minimum of stress. Get help with our guide to transportation options in Bangkok.
Transport from the Airport
After arrival at Suvarnabhumi International Airport you have a few transportation options depending on your budget and your need to avoid traffic jams. The Airport City Link is an express train that connects the airport with the center of the city in about 30 minutes (or less, depending on the service you take.) This is considerably less time than a taxi takes, although a taxi from the airport may be a convenient option if you are arriving late at night and your hotel is not in a central location. If you take a taxi from the airport go to the Departures area where you will save on the 50 baht airport taxi fee.
Taxis in Bangkok
Taxis may seem like the convenient option in Bangkok but consider the amount of traffic on the roads and think that a simple journey can take up to an hour at peak times. However, there is no denying that the colorful taxi cabs are comfortable and take you from door to door while you sit back and relax. Always make sure the driver uses the meter – have him switch it on before you start. Quoted prices for individual journeys will always be more expensive than the meter and many drivers try to get you to pay this rather than the cheaper meter rate.
Get a Motorbike Taxi?
If you want a quick solution to get a short distance at rush hour, the motorbike taxi will get you there more quickly than a taxi – but beware, because it could be a painful experience. Drivers are not always careful to avoid cars and you could get a bump or scrape, or worse, get into an accident.
Tuk Tuk Travel
Also beware the tuk tuks – this form of transport has a bad press because the drivers are liable to overcharge you; there is no meter and the journey is always negotiated with the driver. If you do not know how much to pay, you will end up paying more than you should.
The BTS, Bangkok Transit System, is the train system – also known as the SkyTrain – that connects key points in the city. Using the BTS is a good way to get quickly around the city and it is clean, and air conditioned. The fare depends on the distance you travel. You can buy tickets for individual journeys or daily, weekly, or monthly tickets. The BTS is a good way to get around the main shopping areas and it also links various points to the river boat pier at Saphan Taksin.
The Metropolitan Rapid Transportation System is a network of mainly underground trains that link various points around the city. You can easily get to the airport via a link-up, the main Hua Lamphong railway station, Chatuchak Weekend Market and the shopping areas at Sukhumvit among others.
Taking the Bus in Bangkok
Buses in Bangkok can be a little confusing when you are not a local, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid them. Best to choose a bus when you don’t have a strict schedule to adhere to. When you are used to one route it may become your preferred method of transportation as it is cheap and gets you to the places that MRT and BTS don’t serve.
Exploring Bangkok by Boat
The boat is an often overlooked but interesting and fun way to get around Bangkok. You not only get to your destination but you have the sights and sounds of the journey to enjoy. However, Bangkok has such a complex network of boats and ferries it can be daunting to take your first trip. Bear in mind that Bangkok is divided into three main waterways – the largest Chao Phraya River, the east-to-west Klong Saen Saeb, and the Klongs of Thonburi which are canals on the northern side of the river. The Express Boats are divided into separate services: 1) no flag: stops at every pier, 2) blue flag: stops on demand, 3) orange flag: stops at main piers, 4) yellow flag: commuter boat, 5) green flag: express commuter boat. The main pier for disembarkation is Saphan Taksin. You can also get long tail boats which are privately owned boats that operate like tuk tuks – you negotiate the price with the driver.
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