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Traveller’s Guide to How to Get Around Bangkok

Post Date : Jun 20, 2018 | Author: Admin

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Traveller’s Guide to How to Get Around Bangkok

Like any big metropolis in the world, Bangkok offers different modes of public transportation. Learning ways to get around Bangkok is crucial for first-timers. For returning visitors, knowing more will expose you to more profound travel experiences. It’s important to note that not every mode of transportation we list here is practical. While some do the job to deliver you to your destinations, others offer you the Bangkok experiences which could vary from satisfying to unpleasant. With the latter, it’s better to be mentally flexible and have zero expectations.


How To Get Around Bangkok with Skytrain (BTS)

How To Get Around Bangkok with Skytrain_Smiling Tuk Tuk

Skytrain (BTS)

The Skytrain (BTS), or Rod Fai Fa in Thai, is a fast and cheap way to get to major business districts of Bangkok. There are 2 lines. The Suknumvit Line runs northwards and eastwards, terminating at Mo Chit and Samrong respectively. The Silom Line terminates at National Stadium and Bang Wa. The Lines interchange at Siam Station.

Several attractions and areas such as Chatuchak Weekend Market (Mo Chit Station), MBK (National Stadium Station), Sukhumvit Road, Silom Road, and the Chao Phraya River (Saphan Taksin Station) are accessible via BTS. The Airport Link connects Suvarnabhumi Airport to a city center at Phaya Thai BTS Station.

BTS trains run every 3 to 8 minutes from around 6am to midnight. Fares for single-use tickets range from ฿16 to ฿44. Most ticket machines only accept coins. If you have bank notes, you need to exchange them for coins at the information booths. The one-day pass costs ฿140.

If you’re planning to be in Bangkok for over a week and will ride the BTS often, get a Rabbit Card which is a credit top-up card. The credit expires every 30 days. Fares are slightly cheaper than the single-use tickets. Plus you don’t have to buy a ticket each time.


  • Avoid peak hours (7am – 9am & 4pm – 8pm) if you’re traveling with big backpacks or luggage. The trains are too crowded during those hours.


How To Get Around Bangkok with the Subway (MRT)

How To Get Around Bangkok with Subway_Smiling Tuk Tuk

An MRT or Subway Station

The MRT is underground and is separated from the BTS. There are currently 2 lines but the one you’re likely to be using is the one that goes from Tao Poon to Hua Lamphong where the Bangkok’s main railway station is. The MRT is connected to the BTS at Chatuchak Station (Mo Chit BTS Station), Sukhumvit (Asok BTS Station), and Silom (Sala Daeng BTS Station). And it’s connected to the Airport Link at Petchaburi Station.

The MRT also goes through major business districts of Bangkok and a few attractions such as Chinatown (Exit 1, Hua Lamphong Station), Klong Toey wet market (Exit 2, Klong Toey Station), Lumphini Park (Exit 1, Silom Station), and Chatuchak Weekend Market (Exit 2, Kamphaeng Phet Station).

Trains run every 5 to 10 minutes from 6am to midnight. A trip bought with a single-use token costs between ฿16 and ฿42. You can get a token from the ticket booths and ticket machines. A one-day pass costs ฿120. You can get a Stored Value Card which is a top up card that doesn’t expire. The fares are the same s when you use a single-use token.


  • Like the BTS, avoid peak hours (7am – 9am & 4pm – 8pm) if you’re traveling with big backpacks or luggage.


How To Get Around Bangkok with Canal Boats

How To Get Around Bangkok with Canal Boats_Smiling Tuk Tuk

Klong Saen Saep is a major canal cutting through Bangkok from west to east. Its atmosphere far from canals in Venice, the canal offers you the gritty raw side of Bangkok – fetid, murky-grey water, dilapidated houses along the banks – which you should experience at least once. This unfiltered version of Bangkok is a must see. Plus the inboard diesel boats holding up to 100 passengers take you places fast with tons of photo opportunities along the way.

Boats pass a few attractions such as Jim Thompson House, shopping centers in Siam area, and Platinum Shopping Mall. They terminate in Bangkok’s Old City with a short walk to the backpacker’s district of Khao San Road and Banglamphu.

Fares range from ฿9 to ฿20. Boats run from 6am to 6.30pm. Once you get on, you’ll see the ticket collectors walking precariously back and forth on the gunwales. Hand your money to them and tell them where you’re getting off. You might not know how much the fare is, but 20 baht should be enough to cover the fare for one person.


  • These boats are used by daily commuters. They pull into the piers for only a few seconds and don’t wait. You have to jump straight on or you’ll be left behind.


How To Get Around Bangkok with River Ferries

How To Get Around Bangkok with River Ferries_Smiling Tuk Tuk

Chao Phraya river, and the neighborhoods and their attractions, along the banks are highlights of Bangkok. You should give one full day to explore what’s along the river. From Sathorn Pier, you can go to the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Wang Lang street food market during the day, and do Chinatown and Pak Klong Talad flower market at night. Chao Phraya River boats has 5 lines. Each color flag (Orange, Green, Yellow, Blue, and No Flag) signifies the piers they stop at. Fares are paid on board.

Of all the lines, the Orange-Flag boats are your best bets as they stop at most of the piers with attractions. They run every 10 to 20 minutes between 6am and 7pm. The fare is ฿15. If you want to go to Koh Kret, north of Bangkok, you got to take the Green-Flag ones and the journey takes about an hour. You can buy the One-Day River Pass (฿180) and get on the Blue-Flag Tourist boats. Tour guides are onboard.


How To Get Around Bangkok with Tuk Tuk

How To Get Around Bangkok with Tuk Tuk_Smiling Tuk Tuk

Tuk Tuk or the Thai auto-rickshaw is a fun though not really practical way to get around Bangkok. The Bangkok’s unique experience has to be traded off with bad traffic and car fumes. Tuk Tuk should be hired for short-distance trips and when the traffic is flowing which is usually at night. Try to avoid flagging a Tuk Tuk in tourist areas or in front of tourist attractions as you might not get fare prices and the drivers tend to have scams. You can read about the fares, how to avoid Tuk Tuk scams and enjoy hassle-free rides in another blog here.

Another way to avoid Tuk Tuk scams is to hire them via a travel agency. Since the Tuk Tuk are represented by the agencies, they’re scam-free and hassle-free. Several travel agencies including Smiling Tuk Tuk can arrange Tuk Tuk rentals for sightseeing around Bangkok, as well as themed tours by Tuk Tuk. If you want a food tour to Bangkok’s best evening local restaurants, try The Foodie Tuk Tuk. If you’d like to sightsee Bangkok Old City’s illuminated attractions at twilight and at night, street food dining, and a local market, Bangkok Magnificent Lights is the one you should go for.


How To Get Around Bangkok with Motorbike Taxis

How To Get Around Bangkok with Motorbike Taxis_Smiling Tuk Tuk

Motorbike taxis can get you through the traffic of Bangkok fast, sometimes too fast. Is it safe? Most of Bangkokian commuters use motorbike taxis on daily basis and they would say it’s safe. But Westerners’ standard of safety is different. For sure the drivers don’t give you a helmet to put on. If you think they they’re going too fast, you tell say ‘cha cha’ (slow down) with a polite tone.

Motorbike taxi drivers wear different color vests, be it orange, blue, green. They can be flagged down on a road or you can approach them at a win, a Thai slang for where the motorbike taxi drivers are stationed and wait for customers. A win is usually on footpaths and street corners. If you see a group of parked scooters and guys wearing vests of the same colors hanging out, it’s them.

The fares depend on distance travelled and how bad the traffic is. But it starts at ฿10. At a win, there is usually a sign board with destinations and fares. But it’s not useful to you if you don’t read Thai. You don’t want to pay more than ฿150 for a fare. If it’s that much, it might be because the driver asks you for an inflated rate or your destination is very far, and perhaps it’s better if you take a taxi. Hiring a motorbike taxi in city centers or business areas is usually more expensive than in suburbs of Bangkok

If you want a safe and fun motorbike ride to experience Bangkok, you should sign up for Smiling Tuk Tuk’s Motorbike Food Adventure & Amazing Night Market tour. The tour takes you to dine at famous restaurants in off-tourist-radar neighborhoods and at the Ratchada Train Market. You will have a skillful driver, and be led by an experienced tour guide.


How To Get Around Bangkok with Buses

How To Get Around Bangkok with Buses_Smiling Tuk Tuk

Buses in Bangkok are a really cheap way to travel from one side of the city to another. Riding them, you may take your time to observe the city and people. However, you may have to trade this with pollution, bad traffic, aggressive drivers, moody bus conductors, and other sweaty passengers.

Most buses run from 5am to 11pm daily. Fares for non-air-con buses are between ฿6.5 and ฿8, and are fixed prices. Fares for air-con ones range from ฿10 to ฿24 depending on distance traveled. Pay to the bus collector when you get on. Make sure you have changes with you. Don’t use any bills bigger than 50 baht on a non-air-con bus or you’ll be given a hairy eye ball. For the air-con buses, tell the conductor where you’re getting off. He/She will tell you how much the trip costs. You’ll be given a small receipt which you need to keep because sometimes it will be checked.


  • Phone 184 for BMTA Hotline. They might be able to help you with bus numbers and which one to get on.

  • You’re expected to give seats to small children, monks, the elderly and pregnant women.

  • Hold on to the rail at all times. Thai buses tend to be jerky.

  • Press a buzzer before the bus reaches your stop to let the driver know you’re getting off.


How To Get Around Bangkok with Taxis

How To Get Around Bangkok with Taxis_Smiling Tuk Tuk

Taxis are the most convenient and comfortable way to get around Bangkok. The only down side is you might be stuck in a bad traffic. Thai taxis come in different colors but they’re all the same. The meter starts at ฿35 and stays 35 for 2 kilometers. After that, the meter increases ฿2 every kilometer.

Hailing a taxi is easy. If the green or red electric light sign at the bottom of the wind shield is on, it’s vacant. Tell the driver where you’re going before you get in. And if the driver doesn’t turn the meter on, politely remind him/her to do so. Late at night, the drivers sometimes ask for inflated flat rate and refuse to use the meter. Just be patient and wait for another one.



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