All roads may not lead to Rome, but in this dazzling and urban Thai city, you will have many ways of getting around Bangkok. Transportation in Bangkok exposes you to unique sightseeing options, fun walking streets for shopping and faces of Bangkokian urban life! As a female solo traveler, getting around Bangkok is easy and exploring its options are a bucket list adventure in itself.
Read my updated guide about Getting Around Thailand
10 Fun-Seeking Ways of Getting Around Bangkok
1. Getting around Bangkok on food
Does walking sound obvious? In Bangkok, you’ll want to explore on foot …. a lot (and then get a $6 foot massage later). Bangkok’s pedestrian curbs will seduce the baht right out of you because its two favorite diversions are eating and shopping. Explore Bangkok’s foodie backstreets, while grinding on fried mochi balls and fresh spring rolls from a morning line of food hawker stalls. There are hidden local and food markets in alleys, even. Slurp piping hot pho on an outdoor table in an alley or buy random trinkets from the street vendors. The best time to take to foot is in the evening, when the streets unfold into a crazy sidewalk shopping culture.
But a word of advice: at night, foot traffic will also be at its worst as locals come out to shop. Most colorful Bangkok walking streets: Khao San Road area and off the BTS Skytrain : Sala Deng, Siam Square and Victory Monument.
2. Bangkok City bus
Taking the bus in Bangkok, inspires my three “C”s: comfortable, cheap and convenient. It offers front row seats to the real Bangkok, taking me closer to the streets. Interestingly, this vehicle is off-the-grid for most tourists, but its a viable and simple way to get around. But it can be a little confusing initially. Just brush up on a few my tips for taking the bus in Bangkok first and you’ll be good to go.
Fare: 7 to 22 baht, depending on distance. Fare is collected after you board.
Hours: Day buses run from 5AM to 11Pm; night buses run 24 hours.
Tips: Avoid peak traffic hours and always carry small change, as the fare collectors generally don’t carry change for larger bills.
Information: Find your bus route number or go to the BMTA website.
3. Chao Phraya River ferry
If you enjoy boat cruises, the Chao Phraya River Ferry is a scenic ride not to be missed. From the grandeur of gilded wats and glitzy skyscrapers to dilapidated river houses on stilts, you’ll see a different side of Bangkok from its waterways. This is one of the best attractions of all Bangkok transportation. The ferry runs the same route and makes stops on both sides of the river. Unless it’s the Express ferry, it’ll make a stops on each ferry station on the line.
The Chao Phraya ferry service takes you to further provinces while averting Bangkok’s bumper-to-bumper traffic during peak traffic hours. Head’s up- the boat can get crowded later in the day and close to closing.
Fare: 3-29 baht, depending on distance and boat type (regular or express). Unlimited day passes are sold at 150 baht.
Fare rates run like the city bus system and are often collected on the boat. Some docks may pose exceptions and collect them before boarding. In either case, after paying you’ll receive a receipt for proof of payment. Hours: 6:15A to 7P
Getting There: Chao Phraya River Ferry service schedules here. Map of the ferry routes here. Those in Downtown Bangkok can catch the ferry at Saphan Taksin BTS while those at Khao San can board from Phra Athit boat stop.
5. Skytrain and MRT Subway
In the sweat of Thai heat, flying over the city traffic by Skytrain or zipping underground on the metro, presents an air-conditioned luxury. The BTS Skytrain is a monorail hovering over the city, offering beautiful aerial views. The MRT subway serves up a no-frills straight shot to your destination. Both are perfect solutions to averting Bangkok’s god awful peak-time traffic!
Fare: 15-40 baht and based on zone. An all-day unlimited card pass is 120 baht. Tickets are sold at kiosk stations and take only coins; you can get change at the nearby information window. The Skytrain issues card tickets, while the subway gives out token tickets.
Hours: 6A- midnight.
Maps here & Cool iPhone app: Bangkok transport map (Free)
6 . Long-tail and khlong boats
The khlongs (aka canals) off the Chao Phraya River hold a waterway life, flavored with river houses and floating markets. Long-tail boats are sightseeing taxis to explore it with. At the floating markets, there are fixed price stations but if you want your own personal hire, you’ll have to bargain with the boat driver.
Khlong boats (or water taxis) in the inner city. They run 18 kilometers along the Khlong Saen Saep river, making access to and from Siam Square quick and easy. Not to mention, they serve the practical purpose of escaping rush hour traffic.
Fare for long-tail boats: Prices vary as boats can be hired as a group or individually.
Fare for khlong boats: 10-40 baht, based on distance.
Khlong route information here.
7. Motorbike taxis
What’s the Bangkok scene without these cowboy bandits? These vest-wearing Soi knights skirt through the streets on petrol-filled tanks offering rides. The Thai don’t seem to mind. For locals, men and women alike, this is the perfect way to get to work in a direct shot. Hop on the back of one of these babies and off you go! It’s so common that the Thai have become amazing at riding side-saddle. Watch women sit cross-legged on the back, while talking on the phone or applying makeup.
Lugging a backpack and some bags? No worries. These guys are sure to oblige you and your luggage for the ride. No is not in their vocabulary and they’ll make your bags fit. Who says chivalry is dead?
You go low and they’ll go high; that’s the art of haggling with Bangkok tuk-tuk drivers. Tuk Tuk drivers are not my favorite way of getting around Bangkok, especially when there’s cheaper and haggle-free motors to choose from. Still, tourists occasionally like to use them to get around. Tuk tuks can get into more local areas.
Tip: Check to see your tuk tuk driver’s meter is on. Ask for them to turn it on. Many tuk tuk drivers will try to haggle and you can do this also. But the meter is often the safest way to go. Some tuk-tuk drivers may try to redirect you to taking a tour, which ends in them taking you to commission shops for shopping. Take an official tour if you want to sightseeing Bangkok by tuk tuk.
With Bangkok traffic being the meaner than the L.A. freeway, the taxi is probably the last thing you’ll want to take! On one occasion it took me close to 30 minutes just to move one block! Thankfully, I was on the bus at that time; my baht was still in tact. But taxis have their moments too. It’s perfect for getting around in the evening, after the river ferry and Skytrain close. Note: Bangkok traffic can be pretty bad. I would avoid traveling on anything with wheels during rush hour.
Travelers staying in the Old Bangkok area (Khao San Road) will be resorting to taxis and tuk-tuks often, while those staying in downtown Bangkok, will have the easy use of the Skytrain, MRT and Hua Lamphong Station.
Caution to possible Bangkok taxi scams ! I film my experience in the video below. Similar tip to tuk-tuks. Check to see your Bangkok taxi driver’s meter is on. He will try to haggle you to get a higher rate.
Hours: 24 hours
Tips: Always make sure your taxi uses a meter.
10. Long Distance and Overnight Trains
By daylight, it’s a regular train, but at night it can transform into a first-rate hotel on wheels! By far, one of my favorite rides, the Thai railway system strives for hospitably, cleanliness and order. Train stewards patrol the aisle to set up your meal table or to transform your seats into a freshly sheeted berth bed of curtain-drawn privacy. Both, western and asian toilets are in each car and if you want to have a drink or eat in the restaurant car, that’s available also. Bangkok’s main train station is Hualamphong, with trains going to all parts of Thailand. A favorite route for travelers is the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
Tip: Hua Lamphong station is easy to access via the Bangkok MRT (subway system). The station has limited food, drink and snack options, so stop by a Thai 7 Eleven to pick some up before your trip!
Hours: 24 hours
Information: train routes and schedules.
Wanting to book your train or bus travel in advance?
I recommend 12GoAsia (below). I’ve used them before and they’re great for advance booking and seeing timetables. Although it is always ideal to buy your tickets in person.
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