How to Go Around in Bangkok City

by : Jonathan Semenick

There are numerous different types of public transport, but the usual visitor or resident uses only 7 of these: Meter Taxis, MRT Subway, Tuk Tuks, buses, canal boats, river taxis, motorbikes, and Taxis (with no meter).

How to Go Around in Bangkok City

  • Tuk Tuks
    These cute three wheeled taxis are colorfully painted. They are cute until you get stuck in the traffic, behind the bus that gives out multitude toxic fumes. In that 10 minutes you may inhaled more toxic fumes than the average smoker does in a life time. Try a Tuku Tuk once, don't go too far and then give them up as a bad idea. Out of Bangkok they're much more fun. Tuk Tuk drivers should be haggled with, the price fixed in advance and generally you'll always get ripped off, take a taxi.
  • Taxis
    Taxis are cheap and fares start at 35 Baht - about 1 USD. They come in two flavours, metered and no meter. Feel free to use taxis with no meter it will cost about the same as a Tuk Tuk but you get aircon. If the driver of a metered taxi objects to use his meter then tell him to take a hike, get out, do not be suckered.

    Check where you are standing, if it's outside a nice big hotel , then walk up the road a bit and wave down a taxi. In Bangkok anyone can be a taxi driver. A less honest cabby will take you on a tour of the backroads 'the short cuts'. If you're going a long way, take the toll way, it costs between 20 and 40 Baht, (you pay) and will save you hours of travel time.

    Calling a taxi by phone costs an extra 20 Baht, Taxis at the airport cost an extra 50 Baht. Use the regulated taxi stand at the airport outside the main meeting zone. Don't be suckered by taxi and limo touts.

  • Buses
    There many types buses that it gets very confusing. It is best to avoid them if you are a tourist. If you board one, don't bother asking the conductor about where you want to get off, to them you are a lower lifeform (all passengers are). Ask another passenger. A word about getting on and off buses. Do it FAST, buses on occasions don't stop at the bus stop. Instead they 'slow' in the middle of the road and you are expected to get off.

  • Motobike Taxi (MB taxi)
    It is definitely fast. The majority of MB taxi drivers is intent on scaring their riders to death. They love to squeeze their bike through a gap that is obviously closing up faster than they are moving. They have no fear or sanity and once they are on open road, they will speed.

    While Thai law says that all bike riders must wear a crash helmet. Many of these helmets are not crash proof. If you intend to use MB Taxis, then get your own helmet.  

    Check out the bikes they are driving, a scratched up wreck will be a good hint that the driver has kissed the tarmac a few times, a brand new bike means a green horn still waiting for his first brush with death. Remember, as soon as you ride one, your life is in their hand. If you are on a bike and the driver is driving like a nut, tell him to stop and get off.
  • Subway (MRT)
    The Subway (MRT) is a welcome addition to the Skytrain and gives access to more areas than the Skytrain already does. There are interchange stations at Silom and at Asoke where you have the possibility to change from the subway to the Skytrain and the other way around. 
  • Train
    The Thailand State Railway offers rail service throughout the country for a very good price. The majority of long distance trains leave from Hua Lamphong station (the last stop of the MRT). The four main rail lines, which cover about 4,000 kilometers. There are four types of trains: ordinary, fast, express and special express, and three classes of service: first, second and third.
  • Boat Transport
    They are fast, generally clean with lesser pollution. If you can take a canal or river taxi, then do. Prices vary depending on how far you are going.

The traffic in Bangkok is world famous and it is very easy to find yourself in the middle of an enormous traffic jam. However, Bangkok is surprisingly easy to navigate.