Bangkok can be rather difficult to navigate for people who are new to the city, and many people can find getting around a bit overwhelming at first. Here is an overview of Bangkok’s main transportation options.
There are numerous bus networks running through Bangkok and there are regularly spaced bus stops on virtually every road in the city. Many of the buses have the main destinations that they cover painted on the side in English, which makes choosing the right bus fairly simple. However, although buses are by far the cheapest way to explore the city, travelling by bus can be time consuming due to the high volume of traffic on the roads, especially during rush hours.
Taxis and tuk tuks
Taking a taxi or a tuk tuk is one of the easiest ways to get around Bangkok for people who are unfamiliar with the city. However, the fares can be rather high and it is essential to insist that taxi drivers use the metre or negotiate the fare in advance with tuk tuk drivers. Carrying a map of the city can help to ensure that you get to the correct destination, although by far the best way is to ask someone to right the name and address of your destination in Thai to avoid confusion.
While motorcycle taxi fares are generally higher than taxi and tuk tuk fares, motorcycle drivers are experts at weaving through the Bangkok traffic and this can be a good way of beating traffic jams. Again, you will need to negotiate the fare in advance to avoid confrontations over the price when you arrive at your destination.
River and canal boats
Taking a ferry along the Chao Phraya River is a great way to see some of Bangkok’s most famous attractions in comfort and style. A large number of areas of the city feature boat stops and travelling along the river costs just a few baht. Bangkok also features an extensive canal network and taking a special boat along the canal to reach areas of the city such as Siam and Banglampu can be an exhilarating experience.
Bangkok’s Skytrain system carries passengers high above the city and travelling by Skytrain is a great way to avoid traffic jams. Travelling by Skytrain is fast and costs just a few baht, while regular passengers can cut costs further by purchasing special BTS cards. There are just two BTS lines, which makes negotiating this system fairly simple.
Like the BTS, Bangkok’s underground system features two lines and offers specially discount travel cards for regular users. While the MRT system interconnects with the BTS at several points, it also covers some parts of the city that the BTS does not cover.
Buying a motorbike or a car
People who live in a section of Bangkok that is not covered by the BTS or MRT may want to consider purchasing some form of transportation. While having your own vehicle can make getting around Bangkok much simpler than having to rely on public transportation, Westerners should be aware that they tend to make popular targets for the traffic police and it is best to make sure that all of your driving and visa documents are up to date and that you carry them with you when taking to the road to avoid being hit with a heavy fine.