Getting Around Bangkok
You’ve made it to Bangkok, Thailand. Now you need to get to all those places you have heard so much about. There are several choices when it comes to going some place in Bangkok and it will depend on where you are and your specific destination as to which form of transportation is going to be best.
This is a pretty self explanatory means of city travel, but there are a few things you should know before starting out. Bangkok taxis have always had meters in them but in the past those meters were always broken. You needed to bargain on the price before getting in. If you did not set a price before hand, you’d find yourself at the mercy of the driver when you arrived at your destination. And quite often, the fare would be drastically higher than it should be. Now days, it is the law that taxis must charge by meter, which in Bangkok starts at 35 baht per trip. It’s actually quite economical to travel by taxis to many parts of the city. Note: When you enter the taxi, be sure to confirm that the driver will use the meter as there are still a few drivers that will simply not turn on the meter and then charge you an inflated fare at your destination.
This is the one your friends have told you about and you’ve seen in movies. The Tuk Tuk is a motor-driven tricycle used by the “locals” for anything from a simple taxi service to transporting what ever thy can fit into the passenger area. While Thais will use the Tuk Tuk as a very cheap means of transportation, the same is not true for tourists. A ride in a Tuk Tuk has become a “must do” part of a Bangkok visit and the drivers know this. The price is always bargained before starting the journey and as a tourist you can expect to pay way more than a reasonable price. Most Tuk Tuk drivers will try to charge you double what and air conditioned taxi would cost for the same trip. But then, a Tuk Tuk ride IS a part of your Bangkok visit – go for it at least once!
Motor Cycle Taxi
This is exactly what it means. It is a motor cycle, usually an established company, that will take you quickly from point A to point B. Before doing this, remember that the key word is quickly. Combine “quickly” with Bangkok traffic and you can decide if you want to try it.
I am not going to say much about the city bus system. Once you’re in Bangkok, have a look and decide if you want to give it a try. All fares are very reasonable and you can get to any part of the city you want. Most do not have air conditioning and are generally very crowded.
BTS (Sky Train)
This is the equivalent of an above ground sub-way. There are only two lines but again depending on where you are and where you’re going, this can be a great way to get around. The Chatuchak Weekend Market is at the Mo Chit Station (end of the line) so the BTS is a good way to get there. For the first time since it’s opening, last July 1st they raised the price. Still very economical plus you can also get a “BTS Sky SmartPass” which currently still uses the original fare system. Fares start at 15 baht and go up to about 50 baht.
This is a subway system which cal also be a nice and fast way to get around. The main MRT goes from Hua Lamphong Station (near the Gold Buddha and Chinatown) all the way to Bang Sue (Charuchak Market). The MRT is also very economical and a fast way to get around the city.
Airport Rail Link
Depending on your airline, you may arrive at the old Don Mueang Airport, but you will probably fly into Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi International Airport. A taxi from Suvarnabhumi to the city can be a bit expensive but even more – it can take a long time depending on the traffic. The Airport Rail Link is located at the lower level of the airport terminal (follow the signs). There are seven stops going to the city, or you may catch the express train with no stops. The final stop is at Phaya Thai Station where you can connect with the BST Sky Train. Standard fare for the full trip is 45 baht and will always be faster than a taxi.
As soon as you arrive, find a good city map. The Tourism Authority of Thailand publishes some good maps that are always free. There are several situations where you may find it easier to simply walk to various places. For example, if you’re at the Gold Buddha, it’s a simple walk to Chinatown. If you’re at Wat Pho, The Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace are just a few minutes walk.