Bangkok Travel & Commuting
How To Travel Around Bangkok
1. BTS (Bangkok Transit System)
The BTS or sky train is an important transport system in Bangkok, covering much of the city centre and its many commercial, residential and tourist areas. The BTS is currently operating two mass transit lines: the Sukhumvit line or BTS Light Green line, which runs from Mo Chit Station (near the famous Chatuchak weekend market) along Phaholyothin, Phayathai and Sukhumvit Road to Kheha station in Samutprakarn province, and the Silom line of Dark Green line, running from National Stadium Station (adjacent to the MBK shopping mall) to Thonburi side at Bang Wa Station. Passengers can connect between these two lines at Siam station.
Tickets can be bought on a per trip basis or using one of several types of multi-trip passes. For regular passengers, Rabbit card is a top-up ticket supporting both stored value usages and monthly pass usages, some of which offer discounts for regular passengers.
The North extension of the BTS Light Green Line (Mo Chit – Khu Khot) has started operating in some stations at the end of 2019, including Lad Phrao Intersection, Phahol Yothin 24, Ratchayothin, Sena Nikhom and Kasetsart University stations. By June 2020, there will be more stations open for trial runs, including Royal Forest Department, Bang Bua, 11th Infantry Regiment and Wat Phra Si Mahathat stations. The entire route of the Light Green Line North extension will be fully operated by the end of 2020.2. MRT (Mass Rapid Transit)
The MRT is another major transport system in Bangkok, covering both CBD and outer-city area where many major commercial and residential area and tourist attractions are situated. At present, the MRT operates two mass transit line: the MRT Dark Blue line and the MRT Purple line.
The MRT Dark Blue line starts from Hua Lamphong station and ends at Bang Sue Station. This line runs via the business and shopping area of Silom, Lumpini Park, the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, the Asok intersection, and along the length of Ratchadapisek Road, with its many offices and shopping complexes and entertainment venues.
The MRT Purple line starts from Tao Poon station, a connecting station with the MRT Dark Blue line, and ends at Khlong Bang Phai station. This line runs along Krungthep-Nonthaburi road and Rattanathibet road, crosses Chao Phraya river toward Nonthaburi province, passes Central Plaza Westgate, and ends at the Western Outer-Ring Road.
The BTS and MRT has three connecting station – Saladaeng BTS station to Silom MRT station, Asok BTS to Sukhumvit MRT station, and Mo Chit BTS station to Kamphaeng Phet MRT station near Chatuchak Park. These stations support commuters to commute from outbound to outer-city to the CBD.
Passenger tokens can be bought on a per trip basis or using one of several types of multi-trip passes. For regular passengers, the MRT also provides a top-up card for both stored value usages and monthly pass usages, some of which offer discounts for regular passengers.
The extension of the MRT Dark Blue line (Hua Lamphong – Lak Song) has officially opened for service at the end of 2019. This Line runs from Hua Lamphong station toward the famous China Town or Yaowarat, crosses the Chao Phraya River along Phet Kasem road, and ends at Lak Song station near The Mall Bangkae; followed by another MRT Dark Blue Line extension from Tao Poon – Tha Phra stations, which started operating in March 2020. This Line runs from Tao Poon station, crosses the Chao Phraya River, and continues along Charansanitwong road.
3. ARL (Airport Rail Link)
An Airport Rail Link is a rapid transit line starting from the Phayathai BTS station in Bangkok and ending at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport. The ARL transport system operates one line of mass transit, a Suvarnabhumi Airport line or a city line. The city line starts at Phayathai station and stop at each of the succeeding six stations. A ticket fare starts from 15 baht to 45 baht.
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 Ratchapreuk station of which connects to the Talat Phlu BTS station near 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.5. Expressways
For drivers, a comprehensive network of expressways crosses Bangkok and around Greater Bangkok. The route 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 with a starting price of 35 baht. 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.