Different Types of Transportation for Getting Around Bangkok
Bangkok is a huge sprawling city. It’s cheap to get around and there are lots of ways to do it. It’s also very easy to get ripped off by locals.. If you do not look Thai or do not speak the language, watch out. You are a target for getting cheated. Here are the main forms of transportation for getting around how to avoid getting ripped off.
The Bangkok Transit System (BTS) This is the best way of getting around. This sky train goes all over the city and they are rapidly building out the infrastructure. You also can’t get ripped off because it’s automated. The most you’ll ever pay to get from point A to point B is 50 baht (about $1.66). You go up an escalator to get to the station and you’ll see a map with buttons next to each destination. (Picture) You hit the button corresponding to where you’re going and insert the amount of money written next to the destination. Voila!
There are thousands of taxis in Bangkok. They’re normally yellow, pink, and light blue. They are fine to take to get around, but be careful in a few situations. If you’re going somewhere very busy, you could be stuck in traffic for hours. Bangkok has the worst traffic in the world and the taxi drivers are not in a hurry. If you’re not in a hurry either, then the good news is that it’s extraordinarily cheap to sit in a cab for a long time. Try to walk or take the BTS in the main parts of town.
Taxi Warning: Sometimes taxi drivers will try to get tourists to pay a certain amount for the ride, up front. Don’t do it. When you tell them the destination, say “Meter?”. If they say no and give you an amount, get out and wait for another cab. Cabs rarely cost more than 100 baht ($3.33 dollars) but they’ll try to get you to pay 300-600 baht up front.
3) Tuk Tuk
A tuk tuk is basically a pedi-cab. There’s no real reason to use them in Bangkok. If you’re going to Chiang Mai, they’re the only way to get around, but in Bangkok they’re a rip off because they’re slow and there’s no meter so it’s always a rip off.
4) Song- Tao
Song Tao means “two row”. It’s basically a pick up truck with two rows of benches in the back. They’re insanely cheap (5-10 baht, or just a few cents). They tend to go up and down a particular street so if you know where it goes and that’s where you’re going, it’s a good choice. Most of the time though, unless you get really familiar with an area, it’s not worth it because you won’t get all the way to your destination.
5) Motor Bike
You’ll notice pretty quickly that there are men in orange and red jerseys on most corners in Bangkok. Those are motorbike drivers that will take you through traffic where you want to go. They ride on sidewalks, through traffic lights, and between lanes. They are not for the faint of heart, but they’re quite fun, very fast, and cheap. They were my preferred method of transport when I lived in Bangkok. Negotiate the price up front (usually 20-40 baht). Tip: Do not hold on to the driver. There is a bar behind you that you hold on to. If you’re a girl you can sit sideways if you want.
There’s a huge river in Bangkok with lots of boat lines that will take you from site to site. They’re essentially boat buses. They only cost about 20 baht for a full ride wherever. They’re a great option if you’re going somewhere on the river.
Boat Warning: Boats often run late. If you’re destination requires a certain boat line, you might want to go another way.
7) Private boat
They normally run up to 1500 baht or more (Roughly $50 dollars). You never have to do this, but you certainly can if you want.
Bangkok is a fascinating (if smelly) city to walk around. Use those good old feet to get to know the place on foot!