How to get around Bangkok on public transport

How to get around Bangkok on public transport

Public transport in Bangkok can seem chaotic and overwhelming at first, like the traffic in this city. Luckily, it's easier than it looks. From this article, you'll learn what transport runs from the airport and how to get around efficiently in Bangkok so you don't get stuck in traffic jams or overspend on taxis.

You can use public transport to conveniently reach many of the most famous attractions in Bangkok! Unfortunately, there is currently no uniform ticketing system that allows you to get around Bangkok using a single pass or prepaid card. However, the payment system is easy, and I've described everything in the post.

Transport w Tajlandii, jak i czym się przemieszczać po Tajlandii
Transport in Thailand: how to get around Thailand

Explore ways and means of getting around in Thailand

BTS Skytrain in Bangkok

How to get around Bangkok on public transport
BTS Skytrain Sukhumvit Line

The most convenient way to get around Bangkok is by BTS Skytrain, a city rapid transit system uses trains running on the elevated railways along the city's main arteries. I highly recommend this means of transport in Bangkok, as it runs smoothly, the trains are very clean, and on top of that, travelling on the sky train is comfortable and cheap. 

There are currently five BTS Skytrain lines operating in Bangkok:

  • Green Sukhumvit Line
  • Teal Silom Line
  • Gold Line
  • Yellow Line
  • Pink Line
It is worth downloading the BTS The SKYTRAINs app on your phone, where you can check routes, station maps and information on forms of payment for rides. To change the language setting from Thai to English, go to the menu on the bottom right marked with three dashes.
Transport w Bangkoku
Source: https://www.bts.co.th/

BTS Skytrain tickets in Bangkok

The following forms of tickets and fares are accepted on skytrain in Bangkok:

  • single tickets
  • One-Day Pass (except Yellow Line) entitling to unlimited travel 
  • Rabbit Card - pre-paid type card
  • in Yellow Line you can pay for your journeys by credit and debit card
Tickets are sold on the first floor of the stations, where the gates are located. You can buy tickets directly from the ticket office or from the ticket vending machine. The single ticket is in the form of a card. After purchasing the ticket, you must validate it at the gate by putting it onto the reader. When leaving the station, the single-use ticket is inserted into the slot at the gate. The One-Day Pass and the Rabbit Card are simply placed on the reader when leaving the station.

The respective BTS stations are located above ground and to get to them you have to either take the stairs or the lift. If you get around Bangkok in a wheelchair or with a baby pram, you can check on the app to see which station exit has a lift.

You can find ways to get around efficiently with a pushchair on the sky train in Bangkok in the post Should you bring a stroller to Thailand?

After passing through the gates, go higher up to the platform, which is one floor above. Here, too, there is usually an escalator and lift available. Remember that train traffic is left-handed, just like on the street. 

Service hours

6.00 - 24.00 (ticket office open)
every 5-8 minutes depending on the day and the line

Fares

17 - 62 THB per ticket depending on the length of the route
150 THB One-Day Pass (unlimited rides)

Children

free ride under 90 cm tall

MRT underground in Bangkok

MRT in Bangkok is a very convenient means of transport, clean and comfortable. There are two MRT lines in Bangkok, the blue MRT Blue Line and the purple MRT Purple Line. 

Considering the route, the Blue Line is the line you can take for access to a number of attractions, Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal Station and interchange to the sky train.

The following types of tickets are available on the Bangkok MRT: 

  • tokens, which can be purchased at ticket vending machines (TVMs) or at the Ticket Office counter. Ticket machines accept coins (1, 5, 10 baht) and notes (20, 50, 100 baht). Buying a ticket at the ticket vending machine is very easy, just select the name of the station you are going to and insert the money. The tokens considering the child discount are purchased at the Ticket Office counter.
  • a prepaid card that is purchased for 180 THB at the Ticket Office counter. The 100 baht when the card is purchased is the credit for rides, after which the card has to be topped up. There are different cards depending on age and discounts applicable. Those travelling with children under 14 should ask for a Child Card with a 50% discount. 

An underground fare is between THB 17 and 42 at a time, depending on the distance travelled. Recently, instead of buying tickets, you can pay your fares using contactless credit card or debit card.

Service hours

6.00 - 24.00
every approx. 4-7 min depending on time of day and line

Fares

17 - 42 THB depending on the length of the route

Card cost 180 THB (including 100 THB for rides) + tariffs as per price list

Children

Children's card:

50% discount for children under 14 years of age

free ride under 90 cm tall

Bangkok boat transport

Bangkok's boat transport, which runs on the canals and Chao Phraya River, is a great alternative to buses which get stuck in traffic jams. Moreover, you can enjoy Bangkok from a completely different perspective using boats. 

Canal Boats - take a boat on Bangkok's canals

How to get around Bangkok on public transport - canal boats in Bangkok
Canal boat on Saen Saep canal, near Nana Chard Pier

Getting around Bangkok by canal boats is an exciting experience and a way to avoid traffic jams efficiently. The boats run from early morning to evening and are very cheap. Boats run along the Saen Saep canal from Minburi, through the Sukhumvit area to Pratunam Pier behind Central World (Nida Line), from where you can change to the Golden Mount Line boat going to Pan Fa Lilat Marina. We took the boat from Nana at Sukhumvit to Golden Mount this way.

The travel on the Bangkok canals by boat is smooth, but it is quite crowded during peak hours. In addition, the trams are noisy and there is a strong smell of diesel oil. Tickets are to be paid when you board the boat. 

Service hours

5.30 - 20.30
5.30 - 19.00 (on weekends)
every 5-15 min

Fares

approximately 10 - 20 THB depending on the length of the route

River boats - efficient river transport in Bangkok

How to get around Bangkok on public transport - river cruise

Another convenient means of getting around Bangkok efficiently are the river ferries that run on the Chao Phraya allowing you to visit many attractions in a cheap and convenient way. Several carriers and lines operate on the river:

Thai Smile Boat, który ma 3 linie: City Line, Metro Line i Urban Line. Zielona linia pozwala na sprawne zwiedzenie Wat Arun, Wat Pho oraz Grand Palace.

Chao Phraya Express Boat with 4 lines: Orange, Green, Yellow, Red. The green line enables you to get to Pak Kret and Koh Kret.

There is also Chao Phraya Tourist Boatwhich can take you to many attractions along the river.

Source: www.chaophrayatouristboat.com

Other boat transport in Bangkok

Taking advantage of boats and ferries, you can get quick and a very cheap to the Koh Kret and Bang Kachao.

Ferry service from Pak Kret pier to Koh Kret island

Buses in Bangkok

Buses in Bangkok

Buses is a very cheap means of transport in Bangkok, with fares ranging from 7 to 24 THB. However, it is easy to get stuck in traffic while on the bus. There are many lines and many kinds of buses that run around Bangkok, in finding the routes and the types of vehicle can be assisted by the connection search tool.

Among all the routes, the buses running to the airport are the most interesting for tourists:

  • A1 – route between Don Mueang DMK Airport and Mo Chit (interchange to BTS Sukhumvit Line)
  • A2 – route between  Don Mueang DMK Airport and Victory Monument
  • A4 – route between Don Mueang Airport and Khao San Road
  • S1 – route between Suvarnabhumi Airport and Khao San Road
  • 555 – route between Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang Airport
Service hours

5.00 - 23.00
or 24h/d

Fares

7 - 24 THB per ticket depending on the bus type

Tuk tuk

Tuk tuk w Bangkoku

While visiting Bangkok, a tuk tuk ride is practically a must, but this mode of transport is more to be considered a tourist attraction than a budget way to get around Bangkok. 

Tuk-tuk drivers usually overprice their rides a bit, so the fare should be agreed in advance. The cost of a ride usually starts from 100 THB upwards. A tuk tuk can also be hired for a few hours or a whole day, at a cost of around 1000-1500 THB.

Watch out for scam! In the vicinity of the major temples and the Palace, you may be approached by a person and informed that today the attraction is closed, but there is a tuk tuk driver who can take you elsewhere. This is a method of tricking an unaware tourist to get a tuk tuk ride.

Taxis in Bangkok

In Bangkok, there are both regular metered taxis and Grab or Bolt rides. In Grab and Bolt, the fare is fixed and known upfront. When deciding to take a regular taxi, ask for the fare and make sure the driver turns on the meter. 

How to get around in Bangkok for free

Of course, there is nothing that comes for free, but if you stay in a hotel or accommodation which offers a shuttle bus service included in the price of your accommodation, it is well worth taking advantage of this.

This makes it possible to get from the hotel or condo to the sky train or MRT in an effortless way. This is particularly useful if your hotel is quite far from public transport. We used this form of shuttle service almost every day.

Bangkok airport transport

There are two airports in Bangkok; Suvarnhabumi and Don Mueang DMK. Both airports serve international flights, however, it is Don Mueang that handles low-cost flights across Thailand and Asia.

Therefore, it is helpful to know how to get around from both airports to Bangkok's key locations. The obvious mode of transport from the airport is by taxi, but you might as well take public transport in Bangkok.

How to get from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Bangkok

Flying into Bangkok from abroad, you will most likely land at Suvarnabhumi Airport, which is located in the east of the city. Although the airport seems far away, getting there by public transport is quite easy as there is an Airport Rail Link (ARL) train that runs from Suvarnabhumi Airport itself.

The train runs from the airport to Phaya Thai station, from which you can transfer to the Sky Train Sukhumvit Line. It is also convenient to transfer from the ARL to the MRT Blue Line underground, which runs to the Chinatown area.

An alternative to the ARL are city buses and taxis. The cost to get from the airport to the Khao San area is around 300-430 THB by Grab.

ARL service hours

6.00 - 24.00
every 10 min during peak hours
at other times every 15 min

ARL fares

15 - 45 THB per ticket depending on the length of the route

How to get from Don Mueang Airport to Bangkok

From Don Mueang Airport, in addition to taxis, it is possible to get to the city by buses on the A1, A2 and A4 lines, as well as the Red Line train that runs to the new Krung Thep Aphiwat railway station.

The ticket is priced at THB 33 and the journey takes less than 20 minutes. From the train station, you can easily transfer to the MRT Blue Line.

Red Line service hours

5.30 - 24.00
every 12 - 20 min

Fares

33 THB

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