Getting Around Bangkok

Traveling in and around Bangkok can seem daunting at first sight. With city lights illuminating the night sky, street food that inundates the senses, pedestrians who shop nonstop and not to mention the stray Bangkokian dogs who are always sniffing around for a meal. You can become lost, confused or even overwhelmed. However, if you are in the heart of the city you are in luck.

The BTS and MRT operate from six a.m. to midnight seven days a week with low cost fares to all areas. The destinations on both transits will give you an opportunity to explore many religious sites, temples, palaces, family fun options and of course shopping. Whether it is a night market or the famous Chatuchak weekend market you can use the metro transit system to remain clear out of traffic.

If you are in the mood for a faster mode of transit, consider a motor bike taxi. They can be found on several street corners throughout Bangkok and many provinces. Be sure to negotiate a price before hopping on to eliminate altercations, keeping in mind that as a tourist you may be overcharged though for frequently travelled routes the prices are usually fixed. The driver is supposed to provide you with a helmet, but this seldom occurs. Please request a helmet and wear it for your safety. Motor bike taxis are notorious for fast driving and swerving in between moving traffic. Besides, motor bike taxis will do anything to get you to your destination including driving on sidewalks. Lastly, make sure that you ride with a motor bike taxi that has on a colored vest, green, orange, yellow, etc. that is numbered. There will be packs of the same colored vest wearing cyclist waiting together for passengers.

If you do not mind the traffic and want to ride in and old style taxi consider the tuk-tuk. The three wheeled vehicle is faster than a taxi, but is open on all sides only sheltering you on the top. There is no meter, hence all prices should be negotiated before you begin your journey. It is important to note that many tuk-tuk drivers can be dishonest with pricing and may want to lead you to places where they can receive a commission, such as major tourist attractions and jewelry shops. I recommend you have a map with you so drivers understand exactly where you are going without any detours.

Taxis are plentiful and a great way to get around the city. They are inexpensive with metered fares starting at 35 Baht. Nonetheless, many taxi drivers can be tricky, so it is best you ask for the meter to be on and pay the metered rate instead of any flat fee offered. If drivers refuse to turn on the meter quickly leave the taxi. I also forewarn, that it is easy to get stuck in traffic during peak hours, which can turn your fun ride into an exorbitant fee, depending on where you are headed.

Public buses are often over looked by many tourists. Even expats who have resided in the city for over five years fear taking public buses. It is a fun way to see Bangkok and extremely inexpensive.

Buses do not have a fix schedule and the only set back is you may find yourself waiting for at least a half hour for your transport, but if you have time to spare do not hesitate to travel like the locals. Buses will take you off the beaten track and into areas where the BTS and MRT are nonexistent. If you are still nervous you can check at a local tourist information booth where English is spoken and inquire about the bus routes. Non air-conditioned buses are between 8 to 10 THB per trip. Air-conditioned busses will charge you depending on your destination, but fares start at 12THB.

No matter how you travel you bound to find a way to your destination. Remember to be adventurous and try the forms of transport you may not have at home.

Written by K. Thunderbird

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