Getting Around Bangkok: The 5 Main Modes of Transportation

by Mark Wiens on May 31, 2012 · 6 comments

Bangkok's BTS Skytrain

Bangkok's BTS Skytrain

Travel to Seoul and you can easily navigate your way around the majority of the city by subway. Visit Los Angeles and it’s pretty tough to do much of anything if you don’t have your own private car.

Bangkok on the other hand is a city where nearly every possible mode of transportation is available and necessary to use on a regular basis to get around.

On any given day navigating Bangkok you’ll likely have to take the BTS Skytrain, hop in a tuk tuk for a quick ride, take a taxi, or jump on the back of a motorbike to beat the traffic or get deep into the neighborhood.

So here are the five most common forms of transportation in Bangkok.

1. BTS / MRT / Airport Link

Relatively new to Bangkok’s transportation scene are the BTS, MRT, and Airport Link. The BTS and Airport Link are both mass transit trains that run on tracks elevated above ground while the single line MRT is an underground subway.

While there are grand plans to create more train lines catering to the farthest regions of Bangkok, as of now the the mass transit system only covers the central areas of the city. Many cheap flights to Thailand have increased international visitors, so having the Airport Link is extremely beneficial for getting from the airport to the center of Bangkok.

Taxi

Taxi

2. Taxi

Bangkok is a city that’s literally saturated with taxis. There are so many that I sometimes wonder just how any of them can make a profit.

Taxis, though they sometimes refuse to give you a ride if it’s somewhere where there’s too much traffic, have the potential to go just about anywhere in Bangkok. Taxis are quite affordable as well; A ride around central Bangkok shouldn’t cost more than $3 – $5.

Though there are many cheap flights to Phuket, I’ve even heard of people just hopping in a Bangkok taxi and heading straight there!

Normal Bangkok City Bus

Normal Bangkok City Bus

3. Bus

By far the cheapest way to travel around Bangkok is by taking the local public bus – on some routes there’s even a free bus if you don’t mind waiting! The Bangkok bus network is far reaching and overall it runs quite smoothly.

There are all sort of different buses like some that take the highway, some with air condition and others with open air windows.

Tuk Tuk in Bangkok

Tuk Tuk in Bangkok

4. Tuk Tuk

One of the most famous forms of transportation in Bangkok is the tuk tuk, basically a three wheeled go cart with a metal body attached. Tuk tuk’s are extremely popular for visitors who enjoy the novelty of such a mobile.

After taking my share of tuk tuk’s I’d have to actually say that they are not the most comfortable form of transportation. The seats are a little high making it difficult to see the roadside and being open air you smell all the vehicle fumes. That aside, it can be fun every now and then to whizz through Bangkok on a thundering tuk tuk.

Motorbike Taxi

Motorbike Taxi

5. Motorbike Taxi

Possibly the most convenient and most thrilling way to travel through Bangkok is by motorbike taxi. Official motorbike taxi driver’s are everywhere in the city and they are always ready for you to hop on and deliver you straight to your destination as fast as possible.

When the streets are clogged with traffic, motorbike taxis have the advantage of sliding between lanes, weaving through vehicles and even taking the sidewalk!

Visiting Bangkok you’ll most likely use most, if not all of these forms of transportation to get around. Sometimes getting from place to place can be a daunting task, but luckily Bangkok has so many different transportation options to choose from.

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Disclosure: This post was written by Mark, and brought to you by STA Travel.

About the Author:

is the author of 164 posts on Go Backpacking.

Mark was raised in central Africa before migrating back to the US for University. After graduating, he decided to continue traveling the world. On Migrationology, he shares the cultural side of travel from a slow paced local perspective that often revolves around his love for eating all forms of food. Join him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @migrationology, and add him on Google Plus.

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Categories: Features, Thailand
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