Befitting a big city like Bangkok, you’ll find a bewildering array of transportation options to get you where you need to go in this city. While it could be a bit daunting at first, you should have no problem navigating the Thai capital like a pro after a few days of practice.
To help you get a head start, check out the tips and tricks in this brief article. Below, we’ll go over some of the most common methods of transportation so you can feel at ease from the moment you land at Suvarnabhumi Airport to the end of your stay in Bangkok.
Avoiding The Common Issues With Bangkok’s Meter Taxis
Meter taxis in Bangkok certainly have the convenience factor, but you have to be wary. Unfortunately, there are a few unscrupulous taxi drivers who will take advantage of you if you let them. As long as you have a good dose of common sense and follow the tips below, however, you shouldn’t have an issue if you choose to get into a meter taxi.
First off, never get inside a taxi if the driver quotes you a flat fee upright. All taxi drivers are required to have a meter in their vehicle and turn it on at the start of your journey. If your driver refuses to turn on the meter for whatever reason, just walk away and get another cab.
It’s best to be familiar with the area you want to get to before getting into a taxi. If you’ve never been there before, check on Google Maps for the fastest route to your location so you can tell whether your taxi driver is trying to squeeze out more money by traveling an “alternate” route.
To help with the communication barrier, be sure to have a piece of paper on you with your destination written in Thai script. It’s also a good idea to know a few basic Thai phrases to make the ride a more pleasant experience.
Sadly, there are a few horror stories of meter taxi drivers taking advantage of customers, especially young women. Always take down the driver’s ID and license plate number in case you run into a serious problem. It’s also not recommended to take a meter taxi after dark, especially if you’re alone and/or drunk.
Getting Acquainted With Bangkok’s Bus Service
For those who feel extra confident and are looking for a bargain, consider hopping on a few of Bangkok’s buses.
Believe it or not, there are well over 100 different routes to choose from in central Bangkok and surrounding environs. Some buses are air-conditioned and others are not.
All you have to do to use these buses is to check for the destination and look for the corresponding bus on a map. Just like in any other major city, you then have to wait for the appropriate bus to arrive, hop on, and push your button when you want the bus driver to stop.
If you’re getting into an air-conditioned bus, then you must tell the driver where you’re going and pay the appropriate fee. On non-air conditioned buses, however, you’ll just need to pay a flat fee. Please don’t throw away your ticket once you receive it because inspectors will charge you double if you don’t present it to them.
To check out Bangkok’s bus routes, check out the official list on this website.
BTS & MRT: How to Ride Bangkok’s Rails
If you don’t mind crowding in with locals, then why not explore Bangkok’s mass transit systems? First off, there’s the BTS (aka The Skytrain), which has two lines – Sukhumvit Line and Silom Line – and 35 stations. The Sukhumvit Line goes from Samrong to Mo Chit whereas the Silom Line goes from the National Stadium to Sathom.
People planning on ordering BRT tickets from machines should be aware that some of these machines only accept coins. On the other hand, you could purchase handy Rabbit cards with pre-loaded money. To find out more about how the BTS works, please click on this link.
Like the BTS, Bangkok’s MRT has two lines: the Blue Line and the Purple Line. The Blue Line goes underground starting in Bang Sue and ending in Hua Lampong train station. The above-ground Purple Line, on the other hand, is mostly in Bangkok’s northwestern Nonthaburi Province and is split into two sections: Tao Poon to Khlong Ban Phai and Tao Poon to Rat Burana.
You can choose to purchase single-journey tickets for MRT rides or pick up a pre-paid card. To learn more about the MRT, check out this webpage.
The Best Ride-Sharing Mobile App: Grab
Before visiting Bangkok, it’s a great idea to download the Grab app onto your phone. This Uber-like app is a dominant player in the e-hailing space not only in Thailand but also in many other Southeast Asian nations. Just click where you want to get picked up and where you want to go and see if any drivers are interested in your area. You’ll instantly see a bunch of green and red dots representing drivers appear on your screen (red = rejection; green = drivers saw your request). Once someone chooses to take your route, your driver’s information should appear on the screen and you’ll receive a confirmation call.
Depending on what service you want, you can choose from GrabTaxi, GrabCar, or GrabBike. Grab drivers are better regulated than meter taxis, so you shouldn’t experience any issues on your travel.