The Ultimate Guide to Bangkok’s Public Transport

Learn how to get around Bangkok safely and efficiently with our expert guide on the city’s transportation options

Welcome to Bangkok, the city of smiles, smells, and transportation conundrums. You might think getting around in Bangkok is as easy as walking a straight line, but with the traffic, the heat, and the language barrier, it can be more like a game of Jenga. But fear not, dear traveller, because in this blog post, we’re going to help you navigate the maze of Bangkok transportation with a smile on your face and a few laughs along the way.

This vibrant metropolis is known for its spicy food, colourful markets, and ornate temples. Yet it’s also famous for its transportation options. From sleek modern trains to quirky three-wheeled tuk-tuks, Bangkok transportation is an adventure. So buckle up, put on your adventure hat, and let’s get started! We’ll take a humorous look at some of the most popular forms of transport, and give you the inside scoop on how to get the most out of your travels in the city. If you would like to experience travelling on fun types of transportation check our out team building in Bangkok activities.

BTS Skytrain

One of the best things about the BTS Skytrain is that it’s incredibly easy to use. The system only has two lines. The Sukhumvit line and the Silom line–and both run through the heart of the city. You can buy tickets or rechargeable Rabbit cards at the stations, and the trains arrive every few minutes. The stations themselves are clean and well-maintained, with plenty of signs and maps to help you navigate. This is our top choice for an amazing race Bangkok.

Bangkok Transport BTS Train
Bangkok’s Best Way to Travel
  • Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain is a sleek and modern way to beat the traffic and get around the city. Here are some tips to help you ride the rails like a pro:
  • The BTS is like a game of sardines during rush hour. Just take a deep breath, suck in your gut, and prepare for some intimate contact with your fellow commuters.
  • The BTS gives a VIP experience with air-conditioned carriages, wide windows, and a view of the city’s skyline. Just don’t forget to take off your sunglasses, so you don’t miss the scenery or look like a celebrity wannabe.
  • It is one of the cheapest and most convenient types of transportation to get around the city. Did we forget to mention you can also look like a cool Bangkokian?

MRT Subway

The MRT Subway is a modern and well-maintained system that’s easy to navigate. Like the BTS Skytrain, it uses a rechargeable Rabbit card you can purchase at the stations or use as a touchless payment option. The trains themselves are clean and air-conditioned.

  • The MRT subway is one of the most efficient and air-conditioned ways to travel around Bangkok. But be prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder with strangers and lose some personal space.
  • There are two lines in the MRT subway system: blue and purple. They both cover the city’s top sights and shopping districts. Just be sure to map out your route in advance because unfamiliar riders may find the stations and lines to be a little confusing. 
  • Off-peak hours are the most convenient times to use the MRT. There will be more space, and you won’t have to be concerned about being pushed around like a pinball. However, if you feel daring, try riding the MRT subway during rush hour to see if you can make it through the true litmus test of your patience and fortitude.
  • Take the MRT if you’re looking for a fastest and one of the most affordable ways to travel in Bangkok.

Tuk-Tuks

Tuk-tuks are the three-wheeled rickshaws of Bangkok. They look like something out of a cartoon, with their neon lights and funky designs. Here are a few things to know before you take a ride

Ultimate Guide to Tuk Tuks in Bangkok
  • Tuk-tuks are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. Some are fast and smooth, while others feel you’re riding a pogo stick on a bumpy road.
  • Negotiating the fare with a tuk-tuk driver is like playing a game of poker. Bluff, haggle, and hope for the best. Just remember to be firm but friendly, and don’t let them take you for a ride (figuratively speaking, of course).
  • Tuk-tuk drivers are like cowboys – they love to show off their skills and take risks. That means you’ll often swerve through traffic, dodging pedestrians, and holding on for dear life.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, take a tuk-tuk at night. It’s like a mini roller coaster ride, with the wind in your hair and the neon lights flashing by. Just don’t forget to hold on to your valuables, as pickpockets lurk in the shadows.
  • Tipping a tuk-tuk driver is like tipping a bartender. You don’t have to, but a small gratuity can go a long way in making a new friend and getting a smoother ride next time.

So, if you’re looking for a wild and wacky way to get around Bangkok, give a tuk tuks in Bangkok a try. It may not be the most comfortable or practical option, but it’s definitely an experience you won’t forget!

Bangkok Taxis

If you prefer a more spacious and air-conditioned ride, Bangkok’s taxis are a great option. They’re ubiquitous and easy to find, with colourful exteriors and a reputation for being reliable. Here are a few things to keep in mind when taking a taxi in Bangkok:

  • Taxis in Bangkok are metered, so you don’t need to negotiate the fare with the driver. Make sure the metre is running before you set off, as some drivers may try to negotiate a flat rate.
  • Despite the metres, some taxi drivers may still try to scam you by taking a longer route or adding extra charges, especially if they think you’re a clueless tourist. So, keep your eyes open and your wits about you, and don’t be afraid to speak up if something seems off.
  • If you’re travelling during rush hour, be prepared for a slow and frustrating ride, as Bangkok’s traffic can be notoriously bad. In fact, you may wish for a tuk-tuk just to weave through the standstill!
  • Bangkok taxis come range from sedans to minivans. If you’re travelling with a group or have a lot of luggage, choose a larger taxi to avoid discomfort and cramped conditions.

While most Bangkok taxi drivers are friendly and professional, you may come across the occasional grump or scammer. Remember to keep your cool. Stay firm, and don’t forget to pack a sense of humour–it’s the best way to deal with any unexpected situations that may arise. So, next time you’re in Bangkok, don’t be afraid to hop in a taxi and explore the city like a local. Just be prepared for the ride of your life — in more ways than one!

Buses

Buses in Bangkok are a great option for budget-conscious travelers, offering an affordable and efficient way to get around the city. Here are some bullet points to highlight the pros and cons of taking a bus in Bangkok

Positive:

  • Cheap fares starting at just 8 baht, making it a budget-friendly option.
  • Air conditioning is available on most buses, which can provide relief from Bangkok’s hot and humid weather.
  • Fixed routes make it easy to navigate the city, and the frequency of buses is quite high.
  • Buses can be a great way to see the city, as many routes go through various areas of Bangkok.

Negative:

  • Buses can be crowded, and seats are not always guaranteed. You may have to stand in the aisle during peak hours, which can be a little challenging.
  • Non-Thai speakers may find it difficult to navigate the system, as most information is in Thai language only.
  • Some buses can be quite old and uncomfortable.
  • Traffic congestion can sometimes cause delays, making buses not the most reliable form of transportation in the city.

Overall, taking a bus in Bangkok can be a cheap and convenient way to travel around the city, but it can be a little confusing for non-Thai speakers. If you’re willing to embrace the crowds and maybe learn a few Thai phrases, then it can be a fun and cost-effective way to explore the city. And who knows, you might even make some new local friends while you’re at it!

Bangkok’s motorbike taxis

Bangkok’s motorbike taxis are like the speed demons. They are quick and fearless, weaving through traffic with the skill of a ninja and the guts of a bullfighter. Make sure you hold on tight, because these drivers can make the Hulk feel like a rag doll. Don’t be surprised if you end up with a new hairdo or a makeover, courtesy of the Bangkok wind. But hey, it’s all part of the adventure, right? Negotiate the fare beforehand, so you don’t end up selling your soul for a five-minute ride. And if you’re feeling adventurous, go for it and enjoy the ride, because sometimes the best experiences are the ones that make your hair stand on end.

Chao Phraya River Boats

If you want to beat Bangkok’s traffic, take a boat! The Chao Phraya River is the city’s lifeline, and a ride on its boats is a must-do. Chao Phraya River boats are like floating buses. They have different routes and stops, and you can hop on and off as you please. But unlike buses, they don’t have air conditioning or seats. Be prepared for a hot and sweaty ride.

There are three types of boats: the tourist boats, the express boats, and the local boats. 

Tourist boats are like the red double-decker buses in London – they’re easy to spot and come with a tour guide. 
Express boats are like speed boats – they stop only at major piers and are more expensive.
Local boats are like fishing boats – they stop at every pier and are super cheap. 

So, if you’re looking for a refreshing and affordable way to explore Bangkok, hop on a Chao Phraya River boat. 

Long-Tail Boats

Riding a Chao Phraya River long tail boat is like being in a giant washing machine. The waves and the boat’s motion can be rough, especially during the monsoon season. If you’re prone to seasickness, bring some motion sickness pills. Better still, stick to the more stable land-based transportation options.

  • They are like motorcycles on water. They have loud rumbling engines that can make you feel you’re in an action movie. Just hold on tight and enjoy the ride!
  • Long-tail boats are like a water taxi, but with a negotiable price. If you’re good at bargaining, you can get a good deal on a private long-tail boat tour and have the captain take you to the places you want to see. Just agree on the price and duration beforehand, so you don’t end up lost or overcharged.
  • Long-tail boats are like rollercoaster rides. Especially when your captain speeds up and takes sharp turns. If you’re prone to motion sickness, take some medication or chew on ginger candy to calm your stomach.

If you’re looking for some adventure and an authentic Bangkok experience, get on a long-tail boat. It may not be the most comfortable way to travel, but you’ll remember the ride way after your holiday is over.

Explore Further: External Resources on Transportation in Bangkok

Bangkok Transport Conclusion

In conclusion, whether you’re zipping around the city in an air-conditioned train or cruising through the klongs on a rickety long-tail boat, Bangkok transportation has something for everyone. From the convenience of the MRT subway to the thrill of a tuk-tuk ride, there are plenty of options to explore this vibrant city. Of course, every mode of transportation comes with its own unique quirks and challenges. You may find yourself squeezed like a sardine in the BTS Skytrain during rush hour, or holding on for dear life as your tuk-tuk driver navigates the chaotic streets. And let’s not forget the occasional monsoon downpour that can turn the streets into a river in no time.

But as any seasoned traveler will tell you, it’s all part of the adventure. If you have a sense of humour, you will have a memorable and enjoyable time in Bangkok. Hop on a long-tail boat, hail a tuk-tuk, or take a leisurely stroll through the city’s many vibrant places. No matter how you choose to get around, Bangkok is sure to delight and surprise you at every turn. Who knows, you may even have a few hilarious travel stories to share with your friends and family when you return home. Thank you for reading our guide.

Bangkok Transport FAQ’s

The best way to get around Bangkok depends on your destination and budget. The BTS Skytrain and MRT Subway are the fastest and most reliable options, while tuk-tuks and motorbike taxis are more adventurous and flexible. The Chao Phraya River boats are great for riverfront attractions, while the long-tail boats offer a unique perspective of the city.

Yes, there are several mobile apps that can help you navigate Bangkok transportation, including Google Maps, Moovit, and BTS Skytrain and MRT Subway official apps. These apps provide real-time schedules, maps, and fares.

Bangkok taxis use a metered fare system, which starts at 40 baht and goes up by increments of 6-8 baht for every few km. The average fare for a short ride is around 60-80 baht, while a longer ride can cost up to a few hundred baht.

The BTS Skytrain and MRT Subway are both easy to use and have English signs and announcements. Simply buy a ticket or a rechargeable card at the station, enter the gate, and follow the signs to the correct platform. Trains run from early morning until midnight and are air-conditioned and clean.

Tuk-tuks can be a fun and exciting way to get around Bangkok, but they are not always safe. Always negotiate the fare beforehand and wear a helmet if possible. Be aware of scams and avoid tuk-tuk drivers who try to take you to overpriced shops or attractions.

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