Travel Guides and Information
Public Transport in Thailand
1. Vehicle Rentals
You can rent a car or van if you want a comfortable and safe way of transport. International car rental companies have branches in Bangkok and other major cities. Do note that you must have a valid international license if you are doing the driving yourself.
2. TAXI (Bangkok)
Air-conditioned taxis with meters are common and recognizable by a sign on the cab’s roof along with their bright colors (hot pink, green, orange, yellow). The taxi charge is 35 Baht for the first 2 kms, then fares increase from 4.50 – 5.50 Baht depending on the distance. A surcharge of 1.25 Baht kicks in when the taxi travels at less than 6 kph. Booking a taxi for the whole day will cost between 1,000 – 1,500 Baht.
Non-metered taxis are also available but are usually more expensive, so the rate needs to e negotiated. A trip within central Bangkok should cost between 60 – 80 Baht (plus an additional 10 – 20 during peak hours). The trip to the airport is about 300 – 500 Baht.
Whether meter or non-meter, the freeway tolls are paid by the customers.
The ineffable tuk-tuk, or samlors, are usually faster than taxis in traffic jams as they can weave in between cars, but you must be prepared for inhaling a day’s dose of traffic fumes. Tuk-tuk fares have escalated and they are now on par with metered taxis. Be prepared to pay about 40 baht for a short hop, or better yet, negotiate with the driver before you take the ride.
4. Motorbike Taxi
Those in a hurry can use motorcycle taxis to beat the jams. Fares are about the same as taking the tuk-tuk. But be forewarned that riding a motorcycle taxi on the main thoroughfares can be a little dangerous, although they are a perfectly safe and pleasant solution in the sois (lane or secondary streets) where Bangkok retains a village-like atmosphere. Some of the motorcycle taxis provide a helmet for their passengers though.
Bangkok’s answer to traffic jams along its key stops offers two routes at the moment and cover the two main commercial areas: Sukhumvit line (from Mo chit to On Nut) and the Silom line (from National Stadium to Saphan Taksin Bridge). Running from 6 a.m. to midnight, the fare depends on distance traveled, ranging from 10 – 40 baht/person. For frequent riders, it would be best to buy a stored value card, ranging from 440 – 800 baht/person that would ensure you a multiple trips at a flat rate of 20 baht per trip regardless of the destination.
Bangkok’s newest mass transit system, the subway, was inaugurated in July 2004. With fares ranging from 14 – 36 baht, the subway run from the city’s main railway station, Hua Lampong, under two major thoroughfares, Rama 4 Road and Ratchadaphisak Road.
By linking several hotesl, shopping centers and business districts, as well as the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, the subway can definitely help you reach your destination on time.
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) runs express, fast and ordinary services throughout the country at very reasonable fares. There is also a train service between the city center and Don Mueang Airport.
8. Airport Buses
Four bus services ply the city and airport for the convenience of travellers to and from Suvarnabhumi Airport. They are:
You can save a fair bit of money by making use of the public bus system, and they are comfortable as many buses on the main routes are air-conditioned. A non air-conditioned ride costs around 6 baht, while adding just another 5 baht lets you travel in air-conditioned comfort. Routes are numbered and indicated on most tourist maps. However buses tend to be very crowded.
The most pleasant way to get around Bangkok is undoubtedly the shuttle boats plying Bangkok’s waterways. They are faster and much more interesting. Although many of the klongs (canals) have been paved over, there are still a number of routes to be savored, e.g. along the Chao Phraya River and the adjoining canals. Fares range from 6 – 10 baht.
Traveling around Thailand is a delight with booking domestic flights operated by Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Air Asia and Orient Thai.