How to Move in Bangkok ? – The Transport : Metro, Skytrain, Boats on Rivers, Taxi

Moving in Bangkok is Fun. Click on an Image with a type of transport for Info & Maps :

boat river bangkokboats canals bkkmetro bangkok
buses bkkairport train bkktaxi bkk
tuk tuk bangkokmoto taxi bangkoktrain station bangkok

Where is the Train Central Station in Bangkok ?

See this on the page about the Train Station.

Where are the Bus Central Stations in Bangkok ?

See this in the Bus page.

Notes about the ways of Transport in Bangkok:

Taxis :

They should be the preferred way of transport for most cases. You should realize that a Taxi ride in Bangkok is not expensive at all if the Taxi-Meter is running. A typical ride in the city costs about 70 baht which could be a distance from the Khaosan Road to the MBK mall, for example. If you share a taxi with another person it is even cheaper than using the skytrain for some cases. In many cases the taxi driver will ask at the beginning of the ride for a high and fixed price and will pretend that your destination is far away and special, so just don’t accept, stop as many taxis as needed till one will agree to make run the taxi-meter (there are plenty of taxis passing). There may be rare occasions when the taxi driver will have the upper hand in the demand-supply game (like during week-ends at night) but it doesn’t happen a lot.
At rush hours, you may want to avoid Taxis and take alternative ways of transport, like boats on the canal.
Take taxis that are moving in the streets and not the ones that are parking or addressing you, these ones will usually ask for higher rates.
Having said that, it’s nice to leave a little tip to the driver.
Note also:
Taxis will not be excited to take you for a very short ride, don’t be surprised about that.
The Taxi driver also takes into account the destination in his evaluation of “worthiness”. If he thinks that he may have problems to take new passengers at your destination at a specific hour, he may not show interest.
You can read the page : Common Taxi and Tuk-Tuk Scams in Bangkok.

Tuk-Tuk :

I would suggest to take them only for short rides, like for example for getting to the water canal station in order to take a boat. Riding on a Tuk-Tuk for a long period of time is not pleasant  because of the pollution. Also, they tend to ask for a price which is higher than a regular Taxi (unless they have plans to take you visit Jewelry stores and get commissions).

Moto-Taxis :

They are fast and they can bypass traffic jam. The only problem is that at the end of the ride you will have heart palpitations because of the way they drive. They can take only one person at a time. I suggest to use them for short rides (or if you are in a hurry). You can recognize the taxi-motos with the orange gilet the driver wears. Fares are about the same as for a Taxi when the Taxi-Meter is running. A short ride (1 or 2 Km) is about 40 baht, a medium (5 Km) around 80 baht. At some locations, where many moto drivers are waiting (let’s call it a station) there is a sign hanged on a tree, with the tariff.
Put the helmet.

Boats :

Excellent way to bypass traffic jam. There is the public service of boats in the big river Chao Phraya and there is the service of boats in the canal Saen Saep. Remember that they operate only at day time.

Buses :

If you are for a short time in Bangkok, better to use taxis instead of buses because it takes time to know the lines and stops. See the bus page.

Elephants :

Not available at this moment in Bangkok 🙂

Skytrain and Metro

Very efficient but doesn’t reach all parts of Bangkok. See the page about the Skytrain and Metro.

Train to the Airport Suvarnabhumi

Efficient service but doesn’t reach the left side of Bangkok.
See the train to the airport page for details.
See how to get from the airport to different places in Bangkok.

Grab (like Uber)

Uber was bought by Grab in Asia. Sometimes the company has legal problems to operate in Thailand, so you’ll have to check.
You need to download the application into your smartphone and you need a phone number in order to register (they will send you an SMS with a code ).

What is the best way of transport in Bangkok ?

Speed issue:

The skytrain, the underground (MRT), the speed boat in the “Khlong Saen Saeb” canal and moto-taxis are fast because they don’t depend on car traffic. Regular Taxis and Buses can be very slow when the roads are jammed (when it rains for instance). Tuk-tuk are a little bit faster than taxis. The boats on the big Chao Phraya River are slow but they bypass car traffic, the problem is that the river doesn’t pass in the center of Bangkok.

Comfort issue:

Taxis are comfortable and air-conditioned (You need to like Thai music on the radio).
The Skytrain and MRT (metro) are comfortable and air conditioned (but usually, you stand, it is very crowded). Tuk-tuks are not comfortable for long distances, you get all the pollution of the city in the face.
A ride in Taxi-motos is scary.
A boat on the Chao Phraya River is comfortable. A ride on the Khlong Saen Saeb canal can be tough because the polluted water sometimes splash on the passengers.
Buses are fine, although being stuck in a traffic jam in a non air conditioned bus can be unpleasant.

Security issue:

Surprisingly, I (almost) didn’t see any near accidents in Bangkok, drivers of all kind of vehicles are very concentrated in the driving. You, as a tourist, should be prudent because some standards are not like in western countries. For instance, while riding a bus in town, branches of trees can hit the open windows and reach you, the bus also doesn’t always stop exactly at the bus station and you may need to run between cars in order to get on it. Just be prudent.

Price issue:

All way of transports in Bangkok are cheap compared to western countries. Examples of prices of typical rides in town:
Bus or boat: 10 to 20 baht.
Skytrain or underground : 50 baht.
Taxi: 80 baht.
Tuk-tuk and moto taxi: just depends on your negotiation skills.

Note : It takes time to move from one way of transport to the other in Bangkok.

Can I rent a motorbike (scooter) in Bangkok ?

It’s possible but not a lot of businesses are giving such service and it is not recommended unless you are a very experienced rider. On Thai islands like Ko-Pangan, tourists are renting scooters, there is only one road and still too many tourists are involved in accidents. In Bangkok the traffic is intense and the chances of being involved in an accident is much bigger. If you are an experienced rider it’s another story, you may consider renting one. Financially, you will be better off, taking taxis twice a day than to rent a scooter. (both solutions are not expensive in Bangkok).
So after all this introduction, here is a place I found that is renting motorcycles in Bangkok :  BSR
Read also the next section, about the licence issue.

Do I need a motorbike licence in Thailand ?

By law, you need a licence but in some cases you will not be asked for it, unless you are involved in troubles.
On the Thai islands, it is very popular within tourists to rent a motorbike, it is the best way to move and explore an island. Rental shops will not ask you for a licence. The motorbikes are usually scooters of 125 CC (automatic gear).
So when will you need a driving licence ? Two cases :
Case 1 : If you are involved in a road accident : If you need medical assistance, your health insurance (or life insurance) may “be unhappy” that you drove without a licence. If you made damage to other persons, the Thai police may dig into the licence issue.
Case 2 : If you are stopped in a routine check-up barrier by the Thai police : The police are sometimes making controls of drivers. From my experience, on the islands they never ask for a licence (putting an helmet, yes), but on cities like Pattaya and Chiang-Mai they may ask for a licence. They may give a small fine for not driving with a licence or helmet.
Which licence is needed : An international one. There are offices in your country who can print you an international licence, valid for 1 year, based on your normal driving licence (ask a travel agency in your country, they will tell you where). In many countries the car licence include also the permission to ride small motorbikes.
As you can see, driving a scooter in Thailand can be tricky. Try not to do an accident and put an helmet. Drive slowly and preferably not when the road is wet.
Think about doing a travel (health) insurance before your trip

What are the driving distances from Bangkok to other cities in Thailand ?

Chiang Mai 701 km
Chiang Rai 830 km
Phuket 898 km
Surat Thani (for Ko Samui…) 644 km
Pattaya 136 km
Ayutthaya 88 km
Kanchanaburi 129 km

What is the Flight time to Bangkok ?

From Europe: Around 11 hours.
From the U.S: Around 19 hours.
You can book a flight with Skyscanner.

How to use a Smartphone application in order to find the right public transport in Bangkok ?

I wrote about it in the page about the Buses of Bangkok.

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star  If you find incorrect data on this page, like a restaurant that has closed or a big river that has moved or you want to tell me something, please write me to contact.