In general, the traffic in Bangkok is utter chaos, especially compared to western cities and you might feel like Thai roads have no rules. With 24,000 deaths annually, Thailand has the second highest road fatality rate in the world, according to the World Health Organization, so we recommend using public transportation rather than trying to drive yourself.
Bangkok generally has an incredible, comfortable, and safe public transportation system, but there are a few exceptions, which we’ll talk about later in this article. Normal peak hours in Bangkok are between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. in the morning and 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the evening, but the main roads can be busy at any time of the day. You should definitely avoid getting stuck in traffic at places like Sukhumvit Road, as you can easily stop at the stop for two hours.
With the MRT, the BTS is the all-time favorite form of public transport from Bangkok for any Bangkokian, as it is the fastest way to travel around the city. The BTS, which transports more than 650,000 people a day, is an elevated rapid transport system, also known as the Skytrain. This modern train system is equipped with superb air conditioning for more comfort.
Bangkok has two different BTS lines, Sukhumvit Line and Silom Line, which cover the most important areas of Bangkok. At Siam BTS station, travelers can switch between Sukhumvit and Silom Line and connect to the MRT system at Asok, Mo Chit and Silom BTS stations. The BTS lines operate between 06:30 and 00:00.
To access BTS lines, you must purchase a Rabbit Skytrain card at the ticket office or purchase a single card from ticket machines. If you plan to use the BTS several times a day, it is best to get an unlimited day pass for 120 THB or put money on your Rabbit card at the kiosk. With these cards, you can easily access the platforms without waiting in a queue in front of the ticket office.
In 2018, the Sukhumvit line extended to Samut Prakan and new extensions are planned for the future, including at Don Mueang Airport. Travelers to Suvarnabhumi International Airport can use the airport rail link from Phaya Thai BTS station. The Airport Rail Link is a BTS connection between Suvarnabhumi International Airport and the city center, with seven stops. Several of these stops are linked either to the BTS or to the MRT (Metro System).
For travelers, BTS is an amazing form of Bangkok public transportation that allows you to travel comfortably and reduce road traffic. It is a good idea to book a hotel located near a BTS station in order to easily move around the city.
Another favorite public transport from Bangkok is the MRT. Like the BTS, this metro has two different lines: the Blue Line and the Purple Line. At Sukhumvit, Chatuchak Park and Silom Station, travelers can switch between lines and the MRT and BTS systems. During rush hour, these stations are extremely busy, but using BTS and MRT is always a great alternative to being stuck in a traffic jam. For example, the MRT connection to Sukhumvit is so busy that you usually have to wait another fifteen minutes. But getting stuck at Sukhumvit Road in a taxi can take you up to two hours!
When traveling on the MRT, you must obtain either a single travel token or an MRT pass. Like the BTS, travelers can also get a day pass for 120 THB. As the railway systems are managed by different companies, it is not possible to use a daily MRT pass for a BTS journey. MRT lines are available from 6:00 a.m. to midnight.
As rail systems in Bangkok are limited, taxi (not public transport from Bangkok) is another popular way to get from point A to B. You can hail any taxi when the red light (sometimes green) in front their window screen is on.
Grab is available throughout Southeast Asia and the service allows you to order a personal taxi for a slightly better price. However, since taxis are already quite cheap, Grab is only better for long journeys. I have used it once or twice in the past two years and it was a little cheaper than a taxi, but I had to wait a long time before the driver showed up. Personally, I prefer a normal taxi and have almost no difficulty with drivers, except in tourist places and places of nightlife.
As iconic as they are, I would not recommend using a tuk-tuk. Not only are these vehicles uncomfortable and dangerous, but the level of pollution you inhale when driving in the city in one is insane. In addition, tuk-tuk drivers are notorious for their scams and often charge ridiculous prices for short trips. You always have to negotiate, which makes you feel like you are being scammed. Taxis are much safer, cheaper and more comfortable.
Minivans are a popular form of transportation for long distance travel, for example to Ayutthaya. Each minivan can accommodate up to eight passengers and take you to various popular destinations in and around Bangkok. Since you divide the cost of the trip among all passengers, it is also a relatively cheap form of public transportation in Bangkok. You will find these comfortable vans with air conditioning and sometimes LCD screens throughout the country.
In Bangkok, the most common places to find these vans are Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang Airports, the Victory Monument, Mo Chit Bus Station (also known as Mo Chit 2) and Ekkamai Bus Station. Although minivans are a popular form of transportation, you should keep in mind that they are often involved in accidents, as so many drivers are paid per route driving recklessly to accommodate more trips. I strongly recommend taking the train instead if possible.
7. Chao Phraya River Express Boat
One of the best things to do in Bangkok when it comes to transportation is to take a trip on the Chao Phraya River Express Boat. As the city is built around the Chao Praya River, you can use a full boat service. This includes five different express lines that stop at the main pillars, one of which is dedicated to tourists. The blue line is great for sightseeing, you can easily get on one of the docks, but most people start at Sathorn Pier located near BTS Saphan Taksin station. For a one-way ticket, you pay 40 THB and for a daily pass 150 THB, this allows you to get on and off all day.