Getting around Bangkok

Bangkok is a huge city in which traffic often suffers from severe congestions. The layout of the streets is quite chaotic and it still does not have an adequate public transport network to transfer thousands of commuters from the outskirts.

Taxis, tuk-tuks and Grab are always available, but using the collective system of public transport whenever it is convenient is a wise decision.

Take a look at the next map and note:

» The shaded areas in different colours are the ones you will probably visit if you come to Bangkok for tourist reasons. To see a description of these areas, click here.

Tourist areas. Note: The division of districts has been simplified to facilitate traveler orientation
Tourist areas. Note: The division of districts has been simplified to facilitate traveler orientation

» The historic district is called Rattanakosin (yellow zone), next to the Chao Phraya river. The Grand Palace and the Wat Pho are located there.

» There are 2 Subway lines (MRT) although we are only interested in the blue line, and also 2 Skytrain lines (BTS), light and dark green.

» All areas of interest in the city have direct access with MRT and BTS. Nevertheless, you can also go to Chinatown and Rattanakosin by boat on the Chao Phraya river.

Once you have booked your hotel and situated it on the map, it will be easier to get around the city.

BTS Skytrain

Link.

The Skytrain is not only a means of transport but also an attraction for those who visit the city for the very first time.
The BTS consists of 2 lines called Sukhumvit line and Silom line, which intersect at Siam station.

Daily operating hours: From 05h30 to midnight. The last convoys leave approximately half an hour before.
The frequency of the trains varies between 2.25 and 3.45 minutes approx.
It works with magnetic cards and the fares for a single journey ticket range from 15 to 52 baht depending on the number of zones crossed.
One-Day Pass: 130 baht

Most vending machines work with coins. Nevertheless, change is given at the service counter.

BTS Skytrain station, Bangkok
BTS Skytrain

The Sukhumvit line and the Suvarnabhumi Airport rail link intersect at the Phaya Thai station.

The Airport rail link works from 05h30 to 24h00 Link 1, Link 2

The Saphan Taksin station (Silom Line) is outstanding because its location next to the Sathorn central pier on the Chao Phraya River and it has a peculiarity. The station is narrow, so it only has one platform and the trains arrive alternately from both directions.
Consequently, if you are going to depart from this station, once you get to the platform you have to pay attention to the direction of the train that arrives, before boarding it, checking that it moves in the right direction according to your destination, if not, you have to wait for the next one.

BTS skytrain convoy in Bangkok.
BTS Skytrain
Vending machine in a BTS Skytrain station.
BTS Skytrain
Bangkok downtown map.
Bangkok downtown map

MRT Underground

Link 1, Link 2, Link 3.

There are 2 lines, purple and blue colours, which meet at the Tao Poon station. The blue line runs through the centre of the city so that it will be more useful.
It is very efficient and reliable.
In the rush hours the convoys are crowded, but fortunately, the trips are quite fast due to the excellent attitude and order of the commuters. The same happens in the BTS Skytrain.

The schedule is from 06h00 to 24h00. The last train departures about 23h30.

Entrance to a subway station.
MTR Station
A platform of MRT Subway station.
MRT Platform
Bus stop on route A1, airport link.
Bus stop on route A1, from Chatuchak park to Don Muang airport

Tickets are acquired in the form of tokens from machines at the stations. The fares vary according to the number of crossed areas, for an adult, between 15 and 40 baht.

The Petchaburi Station is about 200m from the Airport rail link’s Makkasan interchange station, where you can take the train to Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Touristic bus

This is the classic tourist bus with itineraries that include the main places of interest and you can go up and down according to your visit plan. You can make the Reservation for the Tourist Bus here (not available yet).

Airport transfers

Transit Bangkok Link.

Airport transfers can be done perfectly by yourself with the information we provide here.

Nevertheless, there are those who prefer to leave them reserved before leaving and not to have to solve them when they arrive in Bangkok tired after a long journey. If this is your case, you can make the reservation here.
Booking Airport-Hotel Transfers.

Suvarnabhumi International Airport

The arrival hall at the airport is on the second floor (2FL). After collecting your luggage, while walking down the corridor, you will find the stairs on the right to go down to the first floor (1FL) where public transport is located.

Taxi

Comfortable and fast.

The transfer from the airport to your accommodation will last approximately one hour; however, it depends on the traffic you find in the city.

Taxi works with taxi-meter, roughly 400 baht for the journey to downtown, adding an extra cost of 50 baht and another 50 for the tollway fee in case you take any highway, advisable when the traffic is busy.

Some options:
» Regular taxi and Large taxi (van). Get a ticket from the available machines that will indicate the corresponding taxi number and its registration. The large taxi is necessary for more than three people with luggage.

» Short distance journey (-10 km): Lat Krabang Rd, King Keaw Rd, Rom Klao Rd, Mega Bangna, Hua Takae, Suk Saman Junction, Hua Chiew University, Krungthep Kreetha Rd, Chaloem Phra Kiat Rd, Sri Nakharin Rd, Pattanakarn Rd and Bangna-Trad Rd. Go to the specific counter.

Airport Rail Link

Link 1, Link 2
Comfortable, cheap and fast as long as your accommodation is close to any of the stops on this line or the MRT subway that connects to the Makkasan station, or the BTS Skytrain with the interchange at the Phaya Thai station.
If you have to combine the journey with the taxi, for example, this implies losing effectiveness.
The airport link locates on the ground floor (BFL), so you have to go down two levels from the arrival hall.

From 05h30 to 24h00
Mon – Fri 10-15 minutes
Sat-Sun and public holidays 12-15 minutes

Bus

There are direct lines to travel from the same airport to the nearby beaches of Hua Hin, Koh Chang, Trat and Pattaya, as well as to Khaosan Road in Bangkok itself.

Express Bus Stop. Line S1 Fare 60 baht/person. Operating time: 06h00 to 20h00
Itinerary: Suvarnabhumi Airport – Khaosan Rd – Wat Chanasongkram – Sanam Luang
Access from the first floor (1FL), descend only one level.

Don Mueang International Airport

It has two terminals and the access to public transport located on the same passenger exit floor. International flights in Terminal 1 and Domestic flights in Terminal 2, both connected by an interior corridor.

There is a train station next to the airport, but due to the little flexibility of the schedules and that the trains are not always punctual, this alternative is not very interesting.

The BTS line is under construction and taxi is always available, comfortable and fast.

Bus

There are several lines (BMTA).

A1 Bus Route
A bus bound for Mo Chit Northern Bus Terminal in a journey of about 30 minutes. There are departures every 5 minutes from 06h15 to 24h00.
It has a stop at Lat Phrao Central Festival and Chatuchak Park.
In Chatuchak Park, it connects with BTS Mo Chit station and MRT Chatuchak Park station.
The journey is approximately 20 minutes. Fare 30 baht

A2 Bus Route
With destination to Victory Monument, where it links to the BTS. There are departures every 30 minutes from 07h00 to 24h00.
It also stops at Lat Phrao Central Festival and Chatuchak Park, linking here with the MRT and also the BTS. Fare 30 baht.

To do the opposite way, that is, from the city to Don Mueang airport you can make the approach with the MRT to Chatuchak Park station, then exit by EXIT 2 and turn left to go to the stop, 20 meters away. The bus is orange (small photo, above, on the right). Do not panic if you don’t see it immediately.
If you use the BTS the station is Mo Chit, EXIT 3. Step down the stairs, turn around and walk 50 meters.

A3 Bus Route
Don Mueang Airport – Din Daeng – Pratunam and Lumphini Park. 50 baht fee.

A4 Bus Route
Don Mueang Airport – Democracy Monument – Khaosan Road – Sanam Luang. 50 baht fee.

A5 Bus Route
Don Mueang Airport – Future Park Rangsit. From 07h00 to 23h00.

Limo Bus offers a direct bus to Khaosan Road, Ratchadamri, Phayathai and Pratunam. Gate 14.
Link.

Shuttle Bus Service between Airports

Between the two airports, Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi, there is a free shuttle bus service from 05h00 until 24h00. The journey is approximately 1 hour.

Railway

The most frequent is that travellers go to Hua Lamphong Central Station to leave the city, which is accessible by MRT subway. 
Nonetheless, depending on the situation of your accommodation you may find it more convenient to take the train at Bang Sue Junction station, north of the city. Check if your train has a stop at this station, which is also accessible by MRT subway. 

Public transport on the Chao Phraya River

Useful to move to (or from) Rattanakosin and Chinatown.
It combines with the subway MRT Sanam Chai station through the pier number 7. Rajinee and with the Skytrain BTS Saphan Taksin station through the Sathorn central dock.

Useful docks on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok
Useful docks on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok

The boats follow different routes, that is, they do not stop at all the piers.

The colour of the flags identifies them and the two most useful routes are those with an orange and blue flag.

Express Boat / Orange Flag

Link.

Route Nonthaburi / Wat Rajsingkorn.
Every day, from 06h00 to 19h00. Ticket fare: 15 baht

Route:

13. Phra Arthit (to go to Khaosan Road)
12. Phra Pin Klao Bridge (to visit the Royal Barge National Museum)
11. Thonburi Railway
10. Wang Lang (Prannok)
* Tha Maharaj (next to the amulets market)
9. Tha Chang (next to the Grand Palace)
8. Tha Tien (Closed for renovation)
* Wat Arun Pier
7. Rajinee (connection with the MRT)
6/1. Yodpiman (next to the Pakklong Talad – Flower Market)
5. Rajchawongse (to go to a Chinatown)
4. Navy Dept.
3. Si Phraya
1. Oriental
Sathorn Central Pier (next to BTS Shapan Taksin Station)
S2 Wat Worachanyawas
S3 Wat Rajsinkorn – Asiatique The riverfront

Chao Phraya Express Boat.
Chao Phraya Express Boat, orange flag
Chao Phraya Express boat.
Chao Phraya Express boat
Chao Phraya Express Boat.
Chao Phraya Express Boat, blue flag

Tourist Express Boat / Blue Flag

Link.

The boat leaves Sathorn and Phra Arthit piers every 30 minutes.
From Sathorn 09h00 – 17h30.
From Phra Arthit 09h30 – 18h00.
From 16h30 boats extend their routes from Sathorn to Asiatique Riverfront.
Ticket Fare: Single-journey Ticket: 50 baht One-day River Pass: 180 baht

Route:

13. Phra Arthit (to go to Khaosan Road)
11. Thonburi Railway (to visit the Royal Barge National Museum)
* Tha Maharaj (Close to the Grand Palace, next to the amulets market)
8. Tha Tien (Closed for renovation)
* Wat Arun pier
6/1. Yodpiman (To visit the Pakklong Talad – Flower Market)
5. Rachawongse (to go to Chinatown)
* River City Bangkok
1. Oriental
Satorn central pier

There is a practical video about this means of transport here.

Canal Saen Saep

Link.

Through this canal the boats connect the district of Rattanakosin with Siam and Sukhumvit.
Boarding these boats requires some mobility and are not suitable to move with luggage, except if this is light.
The most useful piers are shown on the map: Rattanakosin (Phanfa Leelard), Siam (Saphan Hua Chang) and Sukhumvit (Pratunam and Asoke piers).

Phanfa Leelard is the western end of the public transportation line, entrance to the Rattanakosin Historic District. The pier is at the foot of the Golden Mountain.

Saen Saep Canal
Saen Saep Canal

The route is divided into two parts named Golden Mountain and Nida, which meet at the Pratunam pier. There the passengers have to change boat.

When paying the ticket you have to say the destination pier and then pay a single ticket regardless of the section in which that dock is, that is, you do not have to take two tickets in case you have to change the boat when going from the Golden Mountain line to the Nida line, or vice versa.

Fare: 820 baht
Timetable:
Monday to Friday, 05h0020h30 (however, note the rush hour after 17h00)
Weekends and holidays, 05h30 – 19h00

There is a new tourist service Link to move along the Saen Saep canal, a tourist boat with 7 stops. It shares the itinerary with the public transport on 5 docks, but has two exclusive piers near the Chao Phraya River, next to Khaosan Rd. They are the Klong Banglumphu Pier and the Phra Sumen Fort Pier.
The ticket costs 200 baht and is valid for one day. Operating hours: 09h30 – 18h00

Piers:
1. Pratunam Pier
2. Hua Chang Bridge Pier (Siam)
3. Charoen Phon Bridge (Jim Thompson Museum)
4. Bo Bae Bridge Pier (Bo Bae market)
5. Phanfa Leelard Bridge Pier (Golden Mountain)
6. Klong Banglumpho Pier (Khaosan Road)
7. Phra Sumen Fort Pier (Khaosan Road)

Saen Saep Canal.
Canal Saen Saep pier.
Boats in the Canal Saen Saep
Summary
Article Name
Getting around Bangkok
Description
How to get your bearings and move in Bangkok? 🧭 Easy with the information, suggestions and maps of Bangkok that we offer here, and using public transport whenever possible.
Author
Publisher Name
Manuel Francisco Jalón

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