Bangkok Public transport
Bangkok has an excellent, efficient and economical public transport network.
Since the opening of two Skytrain (BTS) routes and the first underground (MRT) line, public transport has greatly improved. Many people, especially in the very congested Sukhumvit and Siam Square areas, now take the elevated or underground metro. both go to Chatuchak (Week End market).
Buses are very cheap, but also very irregular due to many traffic congestions. It is not easy to get a clear view on the bus routes. For instance, air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses have sometimes the same numbers while touring different routes. Numbers also change suddenly. ‘Air’ (airco-) bus ‘Boh Oh’ 4 became ‘Boh Oh’ 504 from one day to the other. If only you knew…! ‘Boh Oh’ are two letters of the Thai alphabet, meaning ‘number’ (Boh) and air-conditioned (Oh). Buses without aircon are called ‘Sai’ (route) followed by a number.
0 2246 0973, hotline 184, www.bmta.co.th.
Air-conditioned buses are blue with a white stripe or white and articulated (5am-11pm). Fares: B8-B16. Orange buses (5am-11pm) charge B12-B20.
Non air-conditioned buses are red/cream (5am-11pm, B7). Fares: Red/cream ones using expressways cost B9; running as nightbuses (11pm-5am) it’s B8.50
On air-conditioned buses the fare varies according to the distance. You just try to pronounce your destination, and the conductor will tell you how much/. All buses have a conductor who sells the tickets. You never pay to the driver or at a kiosk.
* Northern and Northeastern terminal: Mo Chit Station, just north of Chatuchak Park (can be reached by Skytrain and Metro)
* Eastern terminal: Ekkamai Station, Sukhumvit. (can be reached by Skytrain)
* Southern terminal: No specific station name, in Thonburi (South Bangkok, other side of the river), far from city centre (can only be reached by regular city buses or taxi).
Long distance buses are cheap. Example: one-way to Pattaya is 120 baht, to Chiang Mai (686 km) 450 to 900 baht (depending on the class), to Krabi (817 km) 450-850 baht. They all have a toilet on board. You will get some water or a soft drink, but don’t forget to take some snacks and drinks before departing. They are plentiful at the terminal kiosks.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) 0 2354 1224-7.
The BRT will have dedicated central bus lanes with stations every 700m. The overdue first line will feed Chong Nonsi BTS (16.5km, from Rama IX Bridge via Thanon Rama III-Thanon Narathiwat Ratchankharin). links: MRT Route - Live Map -
This is the most rapid, most efficient and most comfortable city transport system.
Open 6am-midnight daily every 5mins (3mins peak). New Year 24hrs.There are 2 lines - see maps and tour info
This safe, private train has two lines that intersect at Siam: It connects to the MRT, Airport Link, Expressboats, and by SkyBridges to many malls. Single-journey tickets (B15-B40). The Sky Card (refillable, minimum B100 plus B30 deposit, valid 5yrs) depletes by distance. The 1-Day Pass (B120), 30-Day Adult Pass (20 trips B440)
The underground city train is the latest innovation and improvement of the Bangkok rapid transportation system. There is only 1 (long) line so far, running from Hualampong (Railway Station) up to Kamphaeng Phet road (Chatuchak Week End Market).
Tickets, in the form of plastic coins, are purchased at automatic vending machines or at the staffed booths.Bangkok Metro (0 2354 2000, www.bangkokmetro.co.th). Open 5am-midnight daily; 4-6mins (2-4mins peak).
The underground blue line arcs 20km (12 miles) from Hualumphong railway station to Bang Sue railway station, and connects to the BTS and Airport Link. Fares are B17-B41 from station counters and machines. see maps and tour info
1 Thanon Rong Muang (0 2225 6964, booking 0 2220 4444, schedule 1690). Open Trains 4.20am-11.40pm daily. Booking (3-60 days ahead) 8.30am-4.30pm daily. Tour desk 8.30am-4pm daily.
Taxis, now all equipped with taxi-meters, are still used very extensively, both by expats and by the Thai middle class.
Those with a RED light are vacant and stop for you instantly - signal by flapping your hand, palm down (up is rude).
The taxi-meters replaced the sometimes unpleasant task to discuss and agree on a fare.
The meter-fare starts at 35 baht and goes up per kilometer or per minute when you are stuck in the traffic jams. Taxis are still a cheap and efficient transport mean (among the cheapest in the world!). You will see taxis in all possible colours. There are many different private companies, and every one has its own colour, but the fare is uniform. Some taxi drivers speak basic English, others don’t.
Bangkok Taxi Radio Centre 0 2880 0888. Community Radio Taxi 1681. Nakornchai 0 2878 9000. Siam Taxi 1661.
You will see men sporting numbered jackets and standing next to their motorbike at the corner of many ‘sois’ (side streets). These are bike-taxis. They are the fastest transport means to go from a main street to an address in a quarter or district soi, or even on the main arteries, as they sneak in zigzag through the congested traffic. The fare starts at 10 baht and depends on the distance. If you take a motorbike-taxi for the first time, take good care to hold the grip or the driver carefully, because the drivers tend to start and drive quite wildly! They also use every millimeter, so beware of legs and bags!
For a helmet, say ow muak garn knock; they’re compulsory, but often not worn.
Canal Boats: Quick, exhilarating, but cramped and awkward, covered longtail boats ply Khlong Saen Saeb, an east–west canal from Tha Saphan Phan Fah (Golden Mount, for old town) taking 15-17mins to Tha Pratunam (change boats) and 40mins to Tha Bang Kapi, with many useful stops.
Chao Phraya River ExpressBoat
Yellow flag (rush-hour express)
Green & Yellow flag (rush-hour express)
Orange flag (express)
No flag (local) All piers.
When you have to go to a spot near the Chaopraya River or near one of the big canals (khlongs), a pleasant and fast way to avoid the chaotic and time-consuming road travel is to take a boat-bus (or river-bus). There is a network of fast-running boats which follow fixed routes on the canals and on the main river. They are faster than the wheeled buses, and not stuck in traffic jams! Boat-ushers roam the boat edges and take in the fare, which varies between 5 and 20 baht. At mooring be quick to jump in or out, because they don’t wait!
On the Chaopraya river, the Chaopraya Express is a welcome and practical public transportation, for instance to go from the river-end of Silom or Sathorn to Wat Phra Keo or Wat Pho, the two most important city temples. A more comfortable version is designed for tourists, starts at fixed times, and cost more than the regular boats.
The open-air tuk-tuk (or samlor, three-wheeler) is customised from Japanese motorised rickshaws. The bench may fit three slim farang. You get rain, fumes, soot and sweat en route, and even the sanuk (fun) may fade if you get haven’t agreed the unmetered fare. This is a roofed and motorized rickshaw puff-puffing everywhere through Bangkok streets. They have no meters, nor fixed fares, so every fare has to be agreed upon in advance (never neglect this because you could be negatively surprised upon arrival). Fair fares should lie around 50-100 baht for a distance between 1 and 3 kilometer. This open-air vehicle is not the most comfortable way to wheel about in the heavily polluted city traffic, but it is funny and fast, as it sneaks through clogged jams as handily as motorbikes. Its most negative aspect is the horrible noise it produces.