How to move around in Bangkok?

As a foreigner, you may think Bangkok stretches from Sukhumvit Soi 63 (Ekkamai) on the East to Thonburi (even Wat Arun) on the West! Well at least, I used to think so until I realized that Bangkok area is about 1 570 km2 (Paris area consits of 105 km2 in comparison!).

So how to get around in the Big Mango City?

  • By Taxi: Let’s start easy

How does it work? Ask before getting in where you want to go as the driver may don’t want to give you a ride or use the meter. Indeed, always use the meter! Prices offered by taxi drivers are at least the double of what you should pay! The funniest price a taxi driver ask me to pay was 500 Bahts for a ride from Mo Chit Northern Bus Station to Rama IV (downtown) when I was just coming back from a bus trip of 9 hours for the same price! We ended up paying 120 Bahts to a taxi with a meter. If a taxi then doesn’t want to put on his meter, just take another one! There are 150 00 taxis in Bangkok, I am pretty sure you will find one willing to use it!

What’s the price? Entry charges are 35 Bahts and then 5 Bahts for each kilometer.

Advantages: Taxi is the easiest way when you arrive in Bangkok. You don’t know how works the city but at least you know how to get into a taxi, “same same” than anywhere else! As well, you can get at 4 into the taxi so it can be a really cheap option by sharing.

Drawbacks: Bangkok is famous for its traffic jam and depending time and location, you might get stuck for a long time!

  • By Moto Taxi: Like riding a roller coaster but cheaper!

How does it work? Ask before getting on where you want to go and ask for the price. Always try to bargain 10 or 20 Bahts but for long distance moto taxis will always be more expensive than taxis as they are faster.

What’s the price? Prices start at 10 Bahts for a small ride (2-5 minutes) but as a foreigner I never got this price! The cheapest for me was 20 Bahts. The tricky thing with moto taxi is that you have to compare with taxi prices regarding your ride to know which option will be cheaper. If you don’t go far away, moto taxis will be cheaper compare to the 35 Bahts entry fare in a taxi. On the opposite, even alone you should sometimes consider to take a taxi, usually when a moto taxi asks you for 80 Bahts and more.

Advantages: Moto taxis are the fastest because avoiding all the traffic jam of Bangkok! Therefore they might be a bit expensive.

Drawbacks: It is pretty rare moto taxis providing you helmet and there is always a risk of accident (you should be aware of that). Some moto taxis really drive fast and it can be kind of scary (especially for long ride!).

  • By Bus: Catch me if you can

How does it work? As any other city except that it is quite complicated to know which bus is going where you want as there is not so much information available in English. Therefore, if you are visiting Bangkok, the line 47 will be perfect for you as it stops at Khlong Toei Market, Lumphini Boxing Stadium, Lumphini Park, Bangkok Snake Farm, MBK, Wat Saket (Golden Mount), Khao San Road, Grand Palace and Tien Pier (Wat Pho and Wat Arun).

What’s the price? 6,5 Bahts for a non-air conditionned bus and 13 for an air-conditionned one.

Advantages: It is definitely the cheapest option!

Drawbacks: Any bus’ drawbacks as in any other cities!

  • By Tuk-tuk: Be ready to bargain!

How does it work? Ask before getting on where you want to go and ask for the price and always bargain! Tuk-tuk for foreigners are always too expensive!

What’s the price? Usually always more expensive that a taxi for the same ride (at least for foreigners!)

Advantages: It is funny and part of the local experience!

Drawbacks: Too expensive and doesn’t avoid traffic jam.

transportation bangkok

Bus, tuk-tuk and taxi in Bangkok

  • By BTS: Fly over the city like on the Aladdin’s magic carpet!

How does it work? Very easily! Before going to a vending machine, check on a map (next to it) where you are going and what is the price until there. Then just press the price button corresponding to your trip on the machine and you get your ticket! If you don’t have coins, use one of the rare machines accepting banknotes (usually only one at each station) or make change at the “Change Desk”.

What’s the price? From 18 to 50 Bahts (depending on where you are going)

Advantages: Sit or stand next to a window to feel like on Aladdin’s carpet! As you don’t see the rails, you have literally impression to fly over the city. It is even more impressive at night.

Drawbacks: It gets crowded in the morning and end of the day when people go and come back from work.

BTS Bangkok

  • By MRT: Feel alone in a big city

How does it work? Very easily as well, even more I would say! Go to a vending machine which is tactile and choose your destination on the screen.  You can as well buy your ticket at the a desk.

What’s the price? From 18 to 50 Bahts (depending on where you are going)

Advantages: It is cool in, sometimes too much (I always take a jacket with me) and most of the time there are free seats except in the morning and end of the day when people go and come back from work.

Drawbacks: I don’t see any as long as it brings you where you want to go. Therefore it fits more to Thai and local people needs but still stops at some tourist points as Hua Lamphong Train Station, Sala Daeng and Sukhumvit.

Khlong Toei  Empty MRT station on an afternoon

Khlong Toei MRT Station Bangkok

  • Airport Rail Link: Don’t miss your flight

How does it work? The Airport Rail Link is the best way for your trips from and to the Suvarnabhumi airport. It is the cheapest and fastest option to get there? What more could we ask for?!

What’s the price? 35 Bahts to/from Makkasan and a 45 Bahts to/from Phya Thai (City Line) and 150 Bahts flat rate for the Express Line (only available at Makkasan Station)

Advantages: Fastest and cheapest option! Phya Thai station is also linked to a BTS station.

Drawbacks: No one! It is perfect!


3 responses to “How to move around in Bangkok?

  1. Depending on the time of day and how big your company is or how many bags you have, I believe a taxi to BKK airport is actually much nicer than the Airport Rail Link. Ask the taxi to take the toll road (you pay the toll, give the man a 100 Baht bill and he will give you your change once you’ve passed the two, or three, toll booths) and it’s pretty smooth sailing from thereon. No changing stations, no dragging your luggage, etc. Provided of course, that you are not travelling during peak hours, and always (as with every trip to any airport) calculate in some extra time for unforeseens…

  2. Yes you are definitely right! It can be much more convenient, but if you do so, please make sure to ask for the meter. A regular trip from the Airport to the city center as Sukhumvit Nana/Asoke should cost you about 200/250 Bahts and to Khao San Road about 250/300 Bahts.

  3. Pingback: How to take the bus in Bangkok? The line 47 | The Jai Yen Country·

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