Our guide to getting around Bangkok
Getting around Bangkok is no small feat. Visitors to the city will have to contend with gridlock traffic, a maze of back streets, and what can seem like a fairly confusing public transport system. If it’s your first time in The Big Mango, then take a look at our guide and make note of these top tips for how to get around Bangkok.
Hop-on hop-off bus
Bangkok has an extensive network of local buses, but with very few English-language timetables, it’s not the easiest mode of transport for visitors to the city. An easier option is to take the Siam Hop tourist bus. Its four routes cover the majority of Bangkok’s main attractions, along with some lesser-known spots. The pass is available on the Go Bangkok pass and will allow you to hop on and off as frequently (or infrequently) as you wish over the course of one day. It’s a great way to get your bearings and learn some interesting facts along the way from the onboard commentary.
Jump aboard a bus on the Heritage Route which covers Bangkok’s main historical attractions, explore the CBD route that takes you around the Commercial Business District, try the Entertainment Route to discover some of Bangkok’s best evening spots, or take the Shopping Route to some of the best markets, malls, and shopping streets in the city.
Everyones favorite transport photo-op, a ride in a tuk-tuk is a must-do for most Bangkok visitors. More often than not, the ride will be more novel than practical and should really only be used for short journeys. It’s also a good idea to avoid rush hour times (7AM-9AM or 4PM-7PM) unless you want to sit in stand-still traffic. Before getting in, be sure to negotiate a price - 30-40 baht is the usual rate for a short journey. Some drivers, especially in the touristy parts of town, will try to sell you a tour or try and take you to your destination via some form of a souvenir shop. Don’t feel bad about firmly declining this offer, even if the driver is persistent.
They may not seem as exciting as a tuk-tuk ride, but taxis are a much more practical way of getting around the city. Taxis tend to be brightly colored and you’ll know they’re available by their red ‘vacant’ sign. You can hail them on the street, or use Grab, Bangkok’s answer to Uber. In practice, all taxis should be metered but there are of course the odd exceptions. If a taxi driver refuses to switch on the meter, then find another taxi.
BTS and the MRT
In contrast to Bangkok’s chaotic roads, its transport system is well-organized and easy to navigate around. The BTS, otherwise known as the Skytrain, is an elevated train that runs through some of Bangkok’s busiest areas. The Sukhumvit line runs from Mo Chit to Samrong, with stops near popular attractions such as Chatuchak Park. The Silom line runs from downtown Bangkok to Bang Wa, passing by Bangkok’s main business and nightlife areas. The MRT is Bangkok’s underground, that runs underneath downtown from Hua Lamphong to Bang Sue.
Both services are cheap and easy to use, but remember to buy separate tickets if you plan to use both. For the BTS, fares range from 16B to 44B or 140B for a one-day pass, and for the MRT, fares range from 16B to 120B. Running from around 6AM to midnight, this is a good way to see the city as the locals do.
Walking around Bangkok’s busy streets may start to wear you down after a while, but a good remedy for this is to hit the open water. The banks of the Chao Phraya River are home to some of Bangkok’s main attractions including Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, and Wat Arun. Express boats run from Sathorn Central Pier throughout the day, stopping off at various piers along the river. Alternatively, there is a tourist boat that allows you unlimited use throughout the day on your Go Bangkok pass.
Besides the river, Bangkok is also famed for its many canals, known as Khlongs. Commuter boats pull into the piers for a few seconds to allow passengers to jump in. For a more chilled experience, book a longtail boat tour where you’ll learn more about the historic waterways as you leisurely travel along the waterways.
Heading to Bangkok? Start your planning off right by buying a Go Bangkok pass. Our flexible, money-saving passes are the easiest way to make sure you tick off Bangkok’s top attractions and experiences.