Bangkok is filled with a variety of attractions, including historic sites, religious temples, fabulous shopping malls, markets and restaurants. Trying to figure out the best way to navigate Bangkok on your own can be quite daunting, but getting to all these great places is actually quite easy – and sometimes provides an adventure of its own!
You can find many suggestions for day trips and cultural attractions on our Tourist Attractions page, and once you have decided where you would like to spend the day, here are the best ways to explore the city:
Bangkok Mass Transit System
The BTS Skytrain is perhaps the star mode of transportation for visitors to Bangkok. The two main lines provide tourists fast, low-fare rides to Bangkok’s most popular destinations. If the Skytrain doesn’t stop directly where you want to go for the day, it probably comes pretty close.
Familiarizing yourself with the Skytrain, or “the BTS,” is a good idea, especially if you want to make the most of your visit and make several stops around the city in one day. The train stops at 34 stations along two main lines.
The Sukhumvit Line (light green line) runs north to southeast. On the southeast end is Bearing Station. On the north end is Mo Chit Station, where you have easy access to Chatuchak Weekend Market
, Tor Kor fruit and vegetable market and Suan Rot Fai, or “Railway Park,” one of Bangkok’s most beautiful, secret treasures. Mo Chit Station also puts you within a 100-baht taxi ride to both Don Mueang International Airport and Thai Immigration
The Silom Line (dark green line) of the BTS runs west to Bang Wa Station and east to National Stadium. On the Silom Line, you can access ferries to other parts of the city at Saphan Taksin Station. You will find information on how to take a ferry below.
Both main lines of the BTS intersect at SIAM STATION
, the heart of Bangkok’s shopping district. At Siam Station you will find the most elite shopping malls in Thailand, including Siam Paragon
and Central World Plaza
. Just a short walk takes you to MBK Shopping Center
, which you won’t want to miss if you are looking for great bargains, and Pantip Plaza
, your one-stop shop for all things electronic.
AIRPORT RAIL LINK (SA City Line/red line):
The Airport Rail Link to Suvhanabhumi International Airport is accessible at the Phaya Thai station along the Sukhumvit Line. The link makes 8 stops through the northeastern district of the city and ends at the airport. Fares for the airport link must be purchased at Phaya Thai Station and are separate from BTS fares. Fares start at 15 baht. The cost to go from Phaya Thai to the airport is 45 baht.
BTS trains run every 2-3 minutes from 6 a.m. to midnight daily. Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways.
- ONE DAY PASS – One-day passes are available for 130 baht at any customer service window and are good for an unlimited number of rides on the date of purchase.
- SINGLE TICKETS – Single tickets range from 15 to 40 baht, depending on your destination. Single tickets are good for one ride to one BTS stop and can be purchased at any customer service window or at vending machines located in the entrances of each station.
- RABBIT CARD – If you are going to spend a few days riding the BTS and exploring Bangkok, opting for a Rabbit Card might be a wise investment. Rabbit Cards can be obtained at any customer service window for a 100 baht refundable deposit. You can “top up” your card for one price and enjoy speedy entry through all BTS gates. Rabbit Card carriers also can take advantage of special package deals, like purchasing 15 trips for 450 baht. Upon leaving Thailand, you can turn your card in at a customer service station and collect your 100 baht deposit. Students under the age of 23 and seniors over the age of 60 can purchase Rabbit Cards and enjoy discounted fares. Students and seniors must show a passport or valid ID when purchasing a card.
MRT (Metro Rapid Transit - Subway)
While navigating Bangkok, you definitely want to keep the MRT in mind. The MRT consists of two connecting lines, commonly referred to as the “blue line” and the “purple line.”
The Bangkok Expressway and Metro (blue line) is the underground train station that takes passengers to 18 different stops through the central districts of Bangkok.
The blue line connects with the BTS at three stations: Chatuchak Park and Sukhumvit, (Mo Chit and Asok on the Sukhumvit BTS line), and Silom, (Sala Daeng on the Silom BTS line).
The blue line also connects to the Airport Link (red line)
at Phetburi Station (Makkasan Station on Airport Link line) and to the Bangkok Train Station
at Hua Lamphong.
At Tao Poon Station, the MRT continues to the northwest districts of the city on the purple line.
The purple line is accessible by taxi or tuk tuk, or if you are up for some sightseeing, you can opt for the 1 kilometer trek to the purple line connection. The purple line contains 16 stops and ends at Khlong Bang Phai in Nonthaburi Province.
Both MRT lines run about every 5 minutes from 6 a.m. to midnight daily. Fares range from 16 to 42 baht, depending on your destination.
Tickets for each line must be purchased separately at a customer service window or vending machine located at the entrances to each station.
STORED VALUE CARD:
if you plan to use the MRT lines a lot during your stay, you can purchase a Stored Value Card for an initial fee of 180 baht (50 baht refundable deposit + 30 baht issuing fee + 100 baht travel value).
Discounts are available for children and seniors on single tickets and Stored Value Cards.
BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)
The BRT (brown line) is a rapid one-lane bus system that makes 12 stops through the southern part of Bangkok. The bus begins at Sathorn (interchange with Chong Nonsi BTS) and ends at Ratchapruek.
Fares are 12 to 20 baht and run every 5 to 10 minutes, depending on rush-hour traffic.
Chao Phraya Express Boats
Taking the ferry is not only a great mode of transportation, but it is also a must-do while you are in Bangkok.
The Chai Phraya Express Boat runs four lines north to south along the Chao Phraya River. “Orange Flag” boats are the only boats that run from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Time tables for other boats can be found here
Fares range from 10 to 32 baht for express rides. Fares can be purchased at the entrances of any pier. Express boat service is most easily accessible from Saphan Taksin BTS Station.
CHAO PHRAYA TOURIST BOAT:
You can purchase a one-way ticket for 40 baht on a tourist boat during your first trip down the river. Your tour guide will explain in English the significance of each stop along the river. If you are wanting to visit some great spots during your stay, the tourist boat is worth the 40 baht!
KHAO SAN ROAD:
If you’re heading to Khao San Road, like most normal tourists do, you might as well get there on the ferry and take in Soi Rambuttri on your way. Soi Rambuttri is like the “gateway” to Khao San Road. Your walk will take you down quaint brick sidewalks surrounded by local foods, stylish restaurants and pubs, massage parlors and a great selection of souvenirs.
To get to Soi Rambuttri, get off at Phra Athit Pier (No. 13). Walk to the street and turn right. Walk about 200 meters and look to your left. The entrance is a little hidden, but if you ask any local Thai person for directions to “Soi Rambuttri,” you’ll get pointed to the right spot. Enjoy!
At the end of Soi Rambuttri, you’ll take a right and walk another 200 meters. You will see the sign for Khao San Road on your left. We do recommend the visit. We do not recommend the scorpions!