Getting Around Bangkok

Bangkok is a big and busy city with a heavy traffic around-the-clock so it surely can feel a bit overwhelming to navigate it for the first time.

Luckily there are a handful of ways to get around Bangkok in an easy and efficient manner, all you need to do is to choose the transportation that suits your needs best.

I created a guide which covers Bangkok Skytrain, Tuk Tuk, Taxis, Bangkok MRT, Boats and Ferries, and Public Buses and I hope it will help to make your stay in this amazing city easier and even more pleasurable.

getting around bangkok

Suvarnabhumi Airport to Bangkok

As soon as you land in Bangkok you will surely ask “How am I going to get to my hotel?”. Getting to central Bangkok from the Suvarnabhumi Airport should take from 30 to 60 minutes depending on traffic and time of day.
Two of the best transfer options include taking a taxi or using the Airport Rail Link.

  1. Airport Rail Link
    Airport Rail Link operates between the Suvarnabhumi Airport and Phayathai Station in central Bangkok and leaves every 15 minutes.
    This is definitely the most convenient and also very fast option since the tickets cost between 15 and 45 THB (only the express fare is 150 THB) while the entire trip takes around 30 minutes.
    Keep in mind that the Airport Rail Link works between 6 am and 12 am so this option is obviously unavailable if your flight arrives late at night.
  2. The taxi
    Taxi service has become incredibly organized and regularized in the recent years and there is very little to no space left for negotiation or for negative experiences.
    As soon as you get to the Taxi station, right outside the terminal you will be assigned a metered taxi and getting to Bangkok this way will cost you around 600-800 THB.

suvarnabhumi to bangkok

Don Muang Airport to Suvarnabhumi Airport

The Transfer Bus between Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Muang Airport is available from 5 am to 12 am and is free of charge.
You can also get a metered taxi which shouldn’t cost more than 500 Baht (you will probably have to pay tolls additionally).

Once you are in the city center there are four main ways to get around Bangkok using the public transport.

Public Transport in Bangkok

  • BTS Skytrain
  • Public Buses
  • Subway
  • Public Boats and Ferries

BTS Skytrain Bangkok

The Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) consists of two lines: the Sukhumvit Line and the Silom Line and is one of the fastest ways to get around Bangkok.

The first trains usually start running around 5 am (7 am on the weekends) and the last ones leave around 12.30 pm.

Check this link for the exact timetable information http://www.bts.co.th/customer/en/pdf/ServiceTimetable.pdf

skytrain bangkok

The ticket fares depend on the distance and type of your ticket.

  • Single journey tickets

The single journey tickets which can be purchased at any ticketing machine normally present at the station shouldn’t cost more than 42 Baht.

They will be retained upon exit and this is what a typical BTS single journey ticket looks like.

bts skytrain ticket

  • One-Day Pass

If you are planning to use the BTS Skytrain frequently during your visit, it is more convenient to buy the one-day pass at 140 Baht which gives you unlimited rides.

  • 30-Day Smartpass

Also for those of you who plan to stay in Bangkok for a long period of time, there is the 30-Day Smartpass available.
This option, however, is only reserved for students (and not older than 23).

Public Buses – Bangkok BRT

Another convenient way to get around Bangkok during the day is to use the public buses.

This is especially interesting if you are traveling on a budget as sometimes bus tickets cost as little as 7 Baht.

This option is mainly used by the locals but if you know the city well or you’re looking for an adventurous experience it might be fun to try it out.

Rabbit Card

If you decide to use the Bangkok BRT or the BTS Skytrain you should know you can get the rechargeable Rabbit Card.
It will help you save time and is available at all the BTS Ticket Offices.

public transport bangkok

Bangkok MRT Subway

Bangkok MRT Subway consists of MRT Purple Line and of MRT Blue Line and is another comfortable and efficient way to get to all the key attractions of the city.

Fare Rates

  • Single journey token – between 8 Baht (children and elderly people) and 42 Baht
  • Stored Value Card – from 8 Baht (children and elderly people) to 42 Baht

Bangkok MRT runs every day from 6 am to 12 pm and normally there are trains every 10 minutes.

Just like any other underground in the world, Bangkok MRT gets really busy at peak hours, luckily the trains run more frequently than (every 5 minutes).

As mentioned before, the Bangkok MRT shuts down nightly so make sure to check other options I describe here if you’re traveling after midnight.

Boats and Ferries

If you are staying by Chao Phraya River or planning to visit some of the most important temples of Bangkok you will have to use river boats or ferries.

boats ferries bangkok

It is certainly a very charming and interesting way to get around the city and I recommend it to anyone.

There are many services available and you can choose between public ferries at convenient prices and private guided tours.

I usually use the Chao Phraya River Express which operates daily from early in the morning to around 7 pm and the prices range between 10 and 32 Baht.

The boats leave frequently and the service is very well-organised and easy to understand.

You can also get the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat – it leaves from Sathorn (Central) Pier and leaves every 30 minutes between 9 am and 5.30 pm.

public boats bangkok

The price of the ticket is 40 Baht and the boat stops at the following locations (also present on the map below)

  • Oriental Hotel
  • River City Bangkok
  • China Town
  • Pak Klong Taladd
  • Wat Pho/ Wat Arun
  • Grand Palace
  • Thonburi Railway
  • Phra Arthit/Khao San Road

Chao Phraya River Express map

Tuk-Tuk

Tuk Tuk is one of the most famous symbols of Bangkok’s transport and has over the years became a real tourist attraction.

For those of you who don’t know, these are basically three-wheeled taxis with a small engine, perfect for escaping the traffic quickly.
They are ideal for two passengers but during my trips to Thailand, I’ve seen entire families or groups of friends using them too.

The prices can vary depending on the location and distance, the cost will grow considerably if you catch one near the main tourist attractions (such as temples) or in front of the famous shopping malls and a lot will depend on your bargaining skills as well.

getting around bangkok tuk tuk

Few useful tips before getting a tuk-tuk in Bangkok

  • Make sure the driver knows exactly where you want to go
  • Make sure the fare of the service is clear (both for you and for your driver) before getting on
  • If the price offered by the driver is very low state clearly that you are not interested in visiting any stores, markets or tailors (they get a commission and thus the competitive price) and only want to get to your destination
  • Stay in central zones of Bangkok

As long as you pay attention to those few points using a tuk-tuk every once in awhile can be a great fun and a pleasant experience.
I wouldn’t, however, use it as a main way of transportation since I prefer more practical and air conditioned options such as the BTS Skytrain, Bangkok MRT or taxis.

bangkok tuk tuk

Taxi

There are many taxis operating around Bangkok and it is very easy to hail one at any time of the day.

They are also a convenient way to get around the city but only if the driver uses the meter. They are actually required to do so by law but it is possible to still meet some taxi drivers who refuse to switch it on.

I always make sure to discuss this before getting inside so that I can just turn around and catch another one.

Remember that there is a heavy traffic in Bangkok almost all the time so traveling by taxi can take quite a bit.
Luckily all the taxis I took in the capital of Thailand were always air conditioned which made being stuck in the traffic much more tolerable.

bangkok taxi

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Comments and opinions for Getting Around Bangkok

  1. Great guide! I am going to Bangkok next month and will probably use the public transport most of the time.
    Which one do you think is better between the BTS Skytrain and the MRT Subway?
    Thanks in advance
    Peter

  2. Hi Peter!
    Thanks for your comment. I used the BTS Skytrain a lot and it worked out perfectly for me but I think MRT works well too. It really depends where you are staying and which one is nearer to you.
    Have fun in Bangkok!

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