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In a huge city like Bangkok there are many different ways to get from A to B. In order to get along with that kind of chaos, we put together a transportation guide with times and prices for you. We hope it helps you to find your way through this amazing city.
Bangkok transportation guide – how to get around the city
Airport Rail Link
This is the train that connects the Suvarnabhumi International Airport with the city center of Bangkok. The City Line runs every 15 minutes between 6.00 A.M. and midnight. The trip will just cost you 15 to 45 Thai Baht, depending on the route you take. The Airport Rail Link reaches the end station Phaya Thai after approximately 30 minutes.
On the way the train stops at the stations of Lad Krabang, Ban Thap Chang, Hua Mak, Ramkhamhaeng, Makkasan and Ratchaprarop. At the City Terminal in Makkasan you can change to the MRT subway, while at the Phaya Thai terminus there is only the BTS Skytrain.
Until 2014 there was also the Express Line between the Suvarnabhumi Airport and the Makkasan City Terminal for the price of 150 Thai Baht. However, this line was very little used, that’s why the airport stopped the service until further notice.
Of course you can find more information on the official website of the airport train.
BTS Skytrain and MRT Metro
The BTS and MRT are operated by two different companies and don’t belong together. That’s why you need to buy a separate ticket for each one.
- BTS Skytrain – there are 2 lines. The Sukhumvit Line, which departs from 6 a.m. to 0.51 a.m. every couple of minutes between the stations of Bearing and Mo Chit. The Silom Line leaves from 6 a.m. to 0.46 a.m. from the stations Wongwian Yai, National Stadium and Talat Phlu. The ticket fare for a single ride is about 15 to 42 baht. You can find more information on the website of the BTS Skytrain.
- MRT Metro – the metro has only one line, which makes the whole thing quite easier. The trains are departing every couple of minutes from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. between the stations of Hua Lamphong and Bang Sue. The ticket fare is about 16 to 40 Thai baht.
For a better overview of the routes you can find here a map of the BTS, MRT and the Chao Phraya Express Boat.
The easiest way to get around Bangkok is, of course, by taxi. A friendly beckon at the roadside and one of the millions of taxis will stop. When you are driving with the taxi you need to make sure that the driver is using the meter obviously, because it’s always cheaper than a fixed price, which is offered by many drivers. The meter starts at 35 baht (or 50 baht if you take a taxi from the airport), after that it charges per kilometer. Anyway, it’s not quite expensive – e.g. for a distance of about 36 kilometers from the airport to the Khao San Road you will only pay around 300 baht (ca. € 7,50)!
With the motorbike across Bangkok is probably the fastest option in this heavy traffic (at least if you are traveling alone), but also the most dangerous. Unfortunately, I don’t have any personal experience and don’t know anything about the prices. Besides that, I haven’t seen a “Farang” (that’s what the Thais call western people 😉 ) taking a motorbike taxi yet.
With a Tuk Tuk you will get slightly easier through the traffic chaos of Bangkok – but it’s also a little bit more dangerous. The open vehicles rush through little gaps of a traffic jam and for a small distance they are definitely a good alternative. Nevertheless, you have to take care because the Tuk Tuks don’t have a meter and you need to bargain with the drivers about a price which is often too high. Once again, you need to have some bargaining skills. Many drivers are offering a tour around Bangkok for a cheap price where, most likely, they will drive you from one shop to another. That’s because the drivers get a commission for every customer they drop by (e.g. a voucher for gasoline). When I first visited Bangkok I didn’t know about that either and so I saw several tailor shops from inside. 😉
Songthaew – share taxi
It’s more difficult to get around Bangkok with a share taxi, at least if you can’t speak any Thai. The taxis got their fixed routes and they are always crowded because of the cheap fare of 8 to 10 baht. If you want to get off, you just need to ring a bell (similar to a bus ride in Germany) and the taxi will stop right where you want to exit since there aren’t any fixed stops.
If you understand the routes of the buses in Bangkok, it’s really cheap to get around with the bus. The best way to understand those routes is to watch them when you got a bus stop nearby your accommodation and of course to remember the bus number. For my first and only ride in Bangkok I paid only 8 baht, instead of 50 baht for the same distance with a taxi ;). By the way, you don’t have to buy any tickets from the driver. There is a cashier sitting in the bus as well and he or she will come to everyone who enters the bus to sell the tickets.
Chao Phraya Express Boat
For me (along with the BTS Skytrain) it’s the best public transport in Bangkok. You don’t have to deal with the traffic jams and at the same time you can enjoy a litte sightseeing tour on the Chao Phraya river. The different boats are marked with colored flags: orange, yellow, green, blue and no flag. Here’s a summary of the different boat routes:
- Orange flag – this boat operates daily between the stations of Nonthaburi and Wat Rajsingkorn from 5.50 a.m. to 7 p.m. This is also the only boat – besides the tourist boats – that operates all day long.
- Yellow flag – the boat with the yellow flag operates in the morning from 7 to 7.20 a.m., as well as in the evening from 5 to 5.30 p.m. between the stations of Nonthaburi and Sathorn.
- Green flag – this boat is for the visitors of Ko Kret. It operates from monday to friday between the stations of Pakkret and Sathorn from 6.15 a.m. to 8.10 a.m., as well as from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Blue flag – you will recognize the tourist boat by the blue flag. On board you will also see some Thais and not only tourists since this boat service runs until 9 p.m. and doesn’t stop at 7 p.m. like the other boats. It drives between the stations of Sathorn and Phra Arthit.
- No flag – the boat which has no flag operates only from monday to friday in the morning between 6.20 and 8.05 a.m. and in the afternoon from 3 to 5.30 p.m. The service runs from Nonthaburi to Wat Rajsingkorn.
The various boats leave every 10 to 20 minutes. If you want to know more details, I recommend you to visit the website of the Chao Phraya Express Boat.
The ticket fare is – depending on the distance – about 10 to 32 baht, except for the tourist boat with the blue flag. A ticket for this boat is about 40 baht for a single ride and 150 baht for a day ticket, which you can also use with all the other boats. Usually, it will be much cheaper when you don’t buy a day ticket and use the local boats instead of the tourist boat. 😉
Ferry on the Chao Phraya
Next to some stations of the Chao Phraya Express Boat, there is another pier which sometimes may have the very same name and connects both riversides. Depending on where you get on this ferry, you will pay the fare either when entering or exiting. The price ranges between 3 and 4 baht, which is about € 0,07 to € 0,09.
Khlong San Saep Express Boat
Furthermore, there is the Khlong San Saep Express Boat which passes through the small canals in the middle of Bangkok. There is only one route that runs from Wat Saket near the famous Khao San Road to the Central World shopping mall and vice versa. You can see a full map of the route at the provider’s website.
The price of the canal boat is unbeatable and depending on your route it’s about 8 to 20 baht. A great alternative to move quickly through the city.
Continue from Bangkok with the airplane
Of course there are several opportunities for an onward journey from Bangkok to the rest of Thailand or the surrounding countries like Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia etc. We will release another guide in the future for this. Now I only want to show you a short overview of the cheap onward trips via airplane. From the international airport Suvarnabhumi or the second Bangkok airport Don Muang there are various airlines that offer cheap flights from Bangkok. I recommend AirAsia, but you can also use Tiger Airways, Thai Smile and Nok Air – just to name a few. There are plenty of possibilities to visit the rest of Southeast Asia on a shoestring. 😉