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Getting Around Bangkok: Everything You Need to Know

April 19, 2022

Wondering how to plan your buzzing Bangkok trip? This is our go-to guide on getting around.

From all over the world, hundreds of thousands of people flock to this amazing city to see what all the excitement is about. Being the biggest and most developed city in Thailand, with over 10 million residents, Bangkok is packed with many things to do and see. From exhilaration and chaos, to freedom, adventure and pleasure, this city has it all. There are many ways to get around to see and do it all. Within the city limits, you are not restricted to just bus, train, or taxi, like other major hubs around the world. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to get around Bangkok. 

Boating your way around town

Travelling by boat will give you a unique perspective on Bangkok’s sights. You can choose two routes to take: along the Chao Phraya River and another through Khlong Saen Saep. The canal boats are a fast and simple way of getting from Banglamphu to Ramkhamhaeng, with a ferry change at Pratunam Pier. Disembark at Sapan Hua Chang Pier to visit the Jim Thompson House, the Siam Square Shopping Centres and other places of interest along Khlong Saen Saep. 

The boats on the Chao Phraya River are colour coded. The orange-flagged boats operate from Wat Rajsingkorn to Nonthaburi, making stops at all main piers along the way. Yellow and green-flagged vessels are express and skip some piers to make the ride much quicker. There are also many private ferries that cross the river constantly that can be hired for a low cost. 

Travel in style on the train

Taking the train is the swiftest way to get around Bangkok. Tickets can be purchased at any service machine or at the counter, but it’s recommended you purchase a top-up card if this will be your main mode of transport. The price of your ticket is based on how far you’re planning to travel. 

The BTS, also known as the Skytrain, takes commuters across ‘new’ Bangkok and links to the airport. BTS has two lines including the Sukhumvit line that connects Khu Khot to Kheha, and the Silom line from National Stadium to Bang Wa. The MRT (Metro) also has two lines and has several connections with the BTS, granting commuters plenty of destination options. The blue line goes from Bang Sue to Hualamphong and takes travellers through the city centre. The purple line runs from Tao Poon and Bang Phai stations.

Grab a famous Bangkok taxi

Bangkok’s taxis are comfortable, affordable and an easy form of transport. Taxis in Bangkok require the use of metres, so be sure that it’s up and running before jumping into your ride. 

Grab is an app similar to Uber that is used in Southeast Asian countries. It’s cheap, easy to use and charges your credit card directly. You can ride by car or motorcycle taxi. You can also choose between a GrabCar, which is a private vehicle, or a GrabTaxi, which calls a taxi.

Travel on a tuk tuk

Tuk tuks are Bangkok’s most popular mode of transportation. These three-wheeled cabs are constantly used by locals for short and inexpensive rides. This is a quintessentially authentic Thai experience. While it is something that everyone should do at least once for the open-aired excitement, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the driver for a fair price. Prices should be similar to that of a metered taxi, so be mindful of that in your price haggling.

Getting around on foot

While walking may be one of the slower modes of transportation in Bangkok, it allows one to see the city in a more personal way, making it very rewarding. Try to avoid the hottest parts of the day to embark on your walking expedition, and it’s a good idea to have a map on hand to help you navigate the city’s streets.

Take public transport

Travel like a local and take the bus. You’ll find English route maps sold in nearly all 7-Eleven stores. There are conductors on many buses who will come to you for the cash fare once you’ve found a seat. Other newer buses have debit and credit card readers that need only a tap of your card when you board.   

Cycle your way around town

Cycling in Bangkok has become much more popular in the past few years, with new bike-sharing programs and more bike lanes being built. Keep an eye out for construction or potholes in the roads on your journey, as well as other traffic users.

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