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Getting Around Bangkok Guide

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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

BTS Skytrain

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.

SUKHUMVIT LINE: 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.

SILOM LINE: 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.
 

Ferries

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!
 

 

Khlong San Seap Express Boats

The Khlong San Seap Express Boats are your ticket to the northeastern sections of Bangkok.

GOLDEN MOUNT LINE: The Golden Mount Line begins near Khao San Road and takes you east to Central World and Siam Paragon in central Bangkok.

NIDA LINE: The Nida Line is a separate line that runs northeast from Central World to Wat Sriboonreung.

Tickets can be purchased together for use on both lines. Fares range from 10 to 20 baht. A ticket collector will come around to collect your fare.
 

Bangkok Bus Lines

If you want to be a pro at maneuvering around Bangkok as well as practice some of your basic Thai speaking skills, find a bus stop!

Buses run to all corners of Bangkok and come in all shapes and sizes.

KNOW YOUR BUSES: Different buses have different perks. Most red buses are not air conditioned, but the maximum fare on a red bus is 8 baht. Yellow buses are air conditioned and have comfortable seating, but they often are packed, so you end up standing anyway. Fares for yellow buses vary depending on your destination.

The easiest way to plan a bus journey is to locate the bus stop nearest you on Google Maps and go from there. Bus stops and numbers are displayed by hovering your mouse over the bus stop icons.

If you really want to experience Bangkok, map out an adventure on the bus lines. It’s a journey you will tell stories about later!

Most buses run from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., but a few keep going until 11 p.m. Fares range from free (select red buses) to 29 baht. A ticket collector will come around and ask for your fare.
 

Tuk Tuks

Tuk Tuks are the quintessential mode of transportation throughout Southeast Asia.

Tuk tuk drivers can be found on almost every street corner, in front of hotels and bars, sleeping in small sois and waiting outside any 7-11.

Taking a tuk tuk is a must, but only use them for short trips.

ALWAYS ASK FOR THE PRICE BEFORE GETTING INTO A TUK TUK!

If you don’t like the price your tuk tuk driver gives you, you are free to bargain! But offer them a fair price. This can be a bit tricky on your initial arrival. A 1- or 2-kilometer trip should cost you no more than 100 to 150 baht.

Be warned, however, that if you send your driver on a wild GPS goose chase, he may ask for a bit more money. The best rule of thumb is to be fair to your tuk tuk driver, and he will more than likely be fair to you.
 

Taxis

Taxis are a great option for zipping to and from places with little to no hassle. If you are prone to travel sickness, you might want to secure a seat in the front and buckle up.

Taxi meter fares start at 35 baht and are 2 cents per kilometer after that.

Always insist your taxi driver turn on his meter, especially in tourist areas like Khao San Road and the Royal Palace. Taxi drivers in Bangkok are famous for offering 500 baht rides to 200 baht destinations. If your driver does not want to turn on his meter, find another driver.

Grab Taxi is a great app to download while you are in Bangkok. For a fee of 25 baht, a Grab Taxi driver will pick you up any time of day or night at your exact location. GPS allows Grab Taxi drivers to find you easily, so speaking the language is not a necessity.
 

Local Transportation

Mototaxi

Mototaxi drivers, or motorbike taxi drivers, are those guys you see huddled up on every street corner wearing bright pink reflective vest jackets. They are a handy way to get short distances for little baht.

Mototaxi drivers generally give rides up and down street sections and take passengers short distances. Most do not provide helmets, so if you are squeamish about riding with a guy you don’t know on the back of a motorbike through crazy traffic, this might not be the adventure you’re seeking.

Mototaxi drivers will get you where you’re going, though, usually for a small fee of 10 to 50 baht, depending on distance.

Song Taews

Song taews are the silver and white trucks you see at different locations throughout the city. They generally stop at bus stops, and if you cannot yet read Thai, you might have a hard time taking advantage of these little jewels.

Song Taews usually stop at specific locations in smaller areas and have set routes to universities, malls and shopping centers. They are handy, but you might need a local to help you out.

Fares for song taews are 8 to 15 baht.

Rental Cars

If you feel challenged to get behind the wheel in Bangkok, renting a car is always an option. Most international driver’s licenses are accepted at rental agencies and by police officers, in case you get pulled over. The best way to find a rental car is at the airport. Different companies charge different fees per day, according to the vehicle you rent.

Rental car companies will want a copy of your passport and driver’s license, as well as a 20,000 baht security deposit on a major credit card.

While having your own car might sound like a great idea, if you have never driven on the left side of the road in a city of 6 million people, we recommend the transportation options above!
 
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