||HOW TO TRAVEL AROUND BANGKOK
|1. BTS (Bangkok Transit System)
The BTS or sky train is a critical transport system in Bangkok, covering much of the city centre and its many commercial, residential and tourist areas. There are two lines: the Sukhumvit line which runs from Mo Chit (near the famous Chatuchak weekend market) along Sukhumvit Road, and the Silom line running from National Stadium (and the MBK shopping mall) to the Thonburi side at Bang Wa. The system is currently being extended.
Tickets can be bought on a per trip basis or using one of several types of multi-trip passes, some of which offer discounts for regular travelers.
2. MRT (Mass Rapid Transit)
The MRT is Bangkok’s first subway or underground system and currently has one line, although various others are being planned.
The existing Blue line runs from the main Hualamphong railway station, via the business and shopping area of Silom, Lumpini Park, the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, the business district of Asoke, and along the length of Ratchadapisek Road, with its many offices and shopping complexes and entertainment venues, north to Lad Prao, and ends at Bang Sue Railway Station.
Tickets can be bought on a per trip basis or using a stored value multi-trip pass.
The sky train and subway systems intersect at Silom, Siam, Asoke and near the weekend market, enabling Bangkok’s residents to access a large part of the downtown area.
3. ARL (Airport Rail Link)
The Airport Rail Link starts from the Phayathai BTS station in Bangkok and ends at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport. The ARL transport system is divided into two lines, a city line and an express line. The city line starts at Phayathai and stops at each of the succeeding six stations. The express line, on the other hand, starts at the CAT (City Air Terminal) in the Makkasan area and runs directly to the airport without stopping. The CAT is connected to the MRT at the Petchaburi subway station.
4. BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)
Bangkok’s first BRT line is now in service. The buses run from a new sky train interchange at the Chong Nonsi BTS station, along Narathiwas-Ratchanakarin Road and the length of Rama III Road before crossing the river at the Rama III Bridge, and end at the Ratchadapisek-Ratchapreuk Intersection in Thonburi. The buses mainly travel along exclusive lanes; however, the buses share lanes with other vehicles on some parts of the route, but have priority at traffic lights.
For drivers, a comprehensive network of expressways crosses Bangkok, which may be accessed via on/off ramps with cash or tag toll booths at various points in the city.
Bangkok has a comprehensive bus network, consisting of publicly run and private buses, both air-conditioned and non-air-con. The quality of buses is highly variable and the orange air-conditioned Euro buses are the best in terms of comfort and safety. Bus fares are low and are paid for each trip to the conductor on the vehicle. Non-Thais may have some difficulty using the bus system due to language difficulties, but buses operating on popular tourist routes now frequently have their destinations (and tourist locations along the way) written in English.
Bangkok’s taxis are plentiful and relatively cheap. They have meters and may be flagged down on the street or booked by phone through the call centre (for an extra pre-set charge). When taking a taxi from the official taxi rank at either of Bangkok’s two airports, passengers pay a surcharge. Expressway charges are usually paid on top of the meter charge. For non-Thais, some taxis display a “We love farang” sign which normally means that the driver speaks some English.
8. Tuk tuks
Tuk tuks are also available in many places but fares must be negotiated on a trip-by-trip basis with the driver.