Posted by: adventuressetravels | July 24, 2012

Bangkok Transportation

Bangkok is the cosmopolitan city in the heart of Southeast Asia.  What makes it a truly cosmopolitan city for me is the mass transit.  You can get anywhere you need in Bangkok easily and inexpensively with public transit.  The companies keep fares low with advertisements.  From televisions in the train cars playing nonstop ads to every corner of the train, both inside and out covered in ads, the trains are moving ads.

Subway (MRT)

The Bangkok subway is clean, fast, and modern.  The Prices kept down with advertisements. Fares range depending on how far you are taking the train.  Depending on how long you ride prices vary from 18 Baht to about 40 (up to about $1.33).  Make sure to keep your poker chip-like subway token.  You’ll need it to get out of the station.  If you lose it the subway employees charge an additional 40 Baht to get out of the subway.

One of the truly ingenious parts about the subway is that all exits numbered which makes meeting friends at a subway stop easy.

The MRT is a bastion of sanity in a crazy city.  With well-marked maps and announcements are in English and Thai the MRT is a convenient and user-friendly way to get around the city.   The MRT runs from 5:00 am until midnight.

Sky Train (BTS)

The Sky Train is almost exactly like the MRT, but it runs above ground.  It uses cards rather than the subway chips.  Unfortunately there is not a universal pass for tourists that transfers between the two transportation systems.  Hours are also 5:00 am – midnight.

Airport train

The Airport train is a line that runs to the Suvarnabhumi airport.  It is an inexpensive, easy way to get to the airport, costing 150 Baht at most ($5)

http://bangkokairporttrain.com/time-table-route.html

Scooters

Scooters are Bangkok’s cheap form of traditional taxi.  If you are looking for a thrill then this is the way to go.  Often their fast, crazy driving can scare westerners who haven’t traveled extensively in Asia, but they are the least expensive, fastest way to get from one place to another.  Passengers will have to agree on a price before the ride and be sure to bargain fiercely.  Start at less than half the original asking price.

Water Taxi

Water taxis are unquestionably my favorite form of public transportation in Bangkok.  These fantastic ferries motor up and down the Chao Phraya River which runs through the city.  For a mere 15 Baht, or about 50 cents, the ferry will take you on its scenic ride down the river and where you need to go.

You can just pay on the boat but be sure not to get a tourist boat instead.  These opportunistic vessels charge more than twice the price of the traditional water taxis.  They’re not the newest or most posh vessels, but jumping on or off the water taxi, jostling through the crowd of locals, or watching the beautiful temples from the boat, is a Bangkok experience not to be missed.

Bus

Busses are definitely the cheapest transportation option.  The fares depend on how far you are going, if the bus has air conditioning, but a ride is generally from 6-15 Baht.  To make things better, busses 2 and 3 are free government-funded busses.

There is a fare collector on the bus to take money for tickets.

Unfortunately, learning the bus routes in my experience has been close to impossible.  Even some of the locals I have asked aren’t quite sure of more than one or two routes.  The best thing to do is to ask a local what bus goes to the place you are trying to get to.  Then, to make sure you have the right bus.

Another, easier way to find the bus is to check wikipedia which does have a list of bus routes in Bangkok.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bus_routes_in_Bangkok

Taxis

The Taxi drivers in Bangkok are notorious for trying to cheat tourists.  Often they will try to settle on a price before the passenger gets in the cab.  Do not take this price or even try to bargain with the driver.  Simply point to the meter and firmly tell the driver “meter.”

Carrying a map with you so you can know roughly where you are going is also a good idea.  Though it’s less likely, drivers have been known to take passengers the “scenic” route when on the meter.  Try to make sure you have small bills so the driver has fewer opportunities to cheat you.

Tuk Tuks

Unlike taxis, tuk tuks, little three-wheeled scooters made into taxis do not have meters.  You should decide a price before getting into a tuk tuk.  Often the driver will try and take his passenger to another location such as a jewelry store or a tailor before heading to the final destination.  These businesses pay tuk tuk drivers a fee to bring them customers.  If you have time it can be interesting and you will get a discount on your ride, but unless you know a good deal about precious stones I do not recommend buying any jewelry at these shops.  More often than not it is colored glass.

If you’re in Bangkok don’t hesitate to

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Responses

  1. Walking not recommended?


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