The public transport in Bangkok is abundant
and inexpensive, even though most tourists use
taxis or the 3-wheeled taxis
called tuk tuks (see below). A monorail system,
called the Bangkok
Transit System (telephone: (02) 617 7300; e-mail: email@example.com)
and known as Skytrain, operates on 2 lines across
the city. The Sukhumvit Line goes from On Nut
along Sukhumvit Road to Siam Square, Phaya Thai Road, Victory
Monument and Mo Chit. The Silom Line runs from
Saphan Taksin and goes through Silom’s business area, Siam
Square, and ends at the National Stadium.
Since opening about five years ago, the proficient Skytrain has
immensely improved the time it takes to move around the city.
The government has approved expansion lines across the river and
to the south. Trains operate from 6.00 am to 12.00 midnight,
every 3–4 minutes during the rush hour and every 5–6
minutes off peak. Tickets are bought from automatic ticket machines,
with prices costing B10–40 across seven zones. Passes can
be purchased for 10, 15 and 30 journeys, costing B250, B300 and
B540 respectively to be used within 30 days. Three-day visitor/tourist
passes are available for B280.
The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (telephone:
(02) 246 0973; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
operates a highly complex bus system, which runs across
the city from 5.00 am to 11.00 pm. Fares on common buses
go from B3.50 (cream and red) to B5 (white
and blue), whilst on air-conditioned ones (cream
and blue) are between B6 and B16 relying on distance
travelled. Fares on the yellow and orange Euro II
air-conditioned buses are B18 and use fuel-efficient engines to
attempt to reduce air pollution in Bangkok. There is also limited
night service (cream and red) running
from 11.00 pm to 5.00 am with a fare of B5. Hotels
and bookshops have route maps available.
The 20 kilometre or 12 mile subway system was
opened in August 2004. It is now the quickest method of transportation.
Taxis can be flagged on the streets. Metered
taxis will always have a taxi meter sign on the rooftop.
Tourists are advised to check if the meter is turned on when starting
a journey. The meter rate starts at B35 for the first 2 kilometres,
increasing by B2 for each kilometre. The meter will increase by
the minute if stuck in heavy traffic. The unmetered taxis
are also available and fares must be agreed upon in advance.
Passengers will normally pay for any
toll roads used and should make sure they have enough
small change to pay for the taxi service. Many hire a taxi through
the concierge at their hotel where the price is fixed and they
can pay directly to the hotel before departure. Hiring a taxi
for longer trips is also feasible. Taxi fares should be agreed
in advance, even with metered taxis. Tipping is not usually expected
but much appreciated.
3-wheeled taxis or Tuk Tuk are suitable
for short rides. Fares must be agreed before starting
a journey and normally between B40 and B150 relying on the journey
distance. The number of tuk tuks in Bangkok is slowly decreasing
but it is not hard to find them around hotels and tourist areas.
River taxis, run by Chao Phraya Express River Taxi
(telephone: (02) 222 5330), travel up and downstream on the Chao
Phraya River, acting more like buses than taxis. They operate
from 6.00 am to 6.40 pm daily and fares are from B5 to
B15. There are also some special express boats running
during the morning and evening rush hours with limited stops.
The destinations and stops are indicated by different coloured
Some smaller boats just provide the services from one side of
the river to the other. A new service from Chao Phraya
Tourist Boat (telephone: (02) 623 6001) runs
from Sathorn Pier near the Saphan Taksin Skytrain station
to 10 piers near the main tourist attractions and ends
at Bamglumpoo Pier. It operates from 9.00 am
to 3.00 pm daily and a one-day unlimited pass is about
Motorcycle taxis are available and they can maneuver between the
cars to reach their destinations faster. Fares are between
B20 and B100 relying upon the journey distance. It is
compulsory for riders to wear helmets, which
are supplied by the driver. Drivers wear coloured vests/tabards
for identification and wait at road intersections.
Limousines are available to hire and provided by the main car
hire companies (see Car Hire below) or at the airport (telephone:
(02) 535 2801, terminal 1, counter 7, and terminal 2, counter
5). Limousines to the city from the airport start from B650 with
Driving in the City
Driving in the city requires a great
deal of patience and a certain stubbornness. Few visitors
hire cars, as good knowledge of the city is required to be able
to drive around. The density of the traffic and
the number of lanes means that you always need
to know which lane to drive in. There are many expressways
crossing the city with clearly signposted exits but traffic is
grid locked during rush hour (7.00 am to 9.00 am and 4.00 pm to
6.00 pm). Traffic direction, entry and exit locations change during
the day without warning. Drivers in Bangkok, particularly buses,
taxis and motorbikes, are very aggressive and unlikely to give
For those who do want to risk driving, car parks are available
at a number of the large shopping malls and hotels. Siam
Centre on Rama I Road is a convenient place which is
open 24 hours a day. A car park costs about B20 for up to 3 hours
and B10 for each subsequent hour.
Companies for car hire vary but drivers must be at least
21 or 23 years old and have held a driving
licence for 1-2 years. An International Driving
Permit and National licence are required.
It is compulsory to buy Collision Damage Waiver
and Theft Protection and they are usually included
in the hire price. Customers must make payments by credit card.
The office for Avis
is at 2–12 Wireless Road (telephone: (02) 255 5300), and
at 19/23 Building A, Royal City Avenue, New Petchburi Road (telephone:
(02) 203 0250). Hire of a standard saloon car range from B2,000
a day to B12,000 a week.
On Rattanakosin Island, footpaths have been transformed
into cycle paths, which pass places like the Royal Grand
Palace and Sanam Luang. Bicycles are
available to hire at Bangkok Tourist Bureau (telephone:
(02) 225 7612) at a cost of B200 for a full day (deposit B500).