How To Travel & Commuting Around Bangkok
1. BTS (Bangkok Transit System)
The BTS or sky train is an important transport system in Bangkok, covering much of the city center 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 Khu Khot Station at Pathumthani Province along Mochit, 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.
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 four mass transit lines: the MRT Dark Blue line, the MRT Purple line, the MRT Yellow line, and the MRT Pink line.
The MRT Dark Blue line runs a circle route from Tha Phra station along Tao Poon, Lat Phrao, Hua Lampong before continuing west to Lak Song Station. This line runs via the business and shopping area of Silom, Lumpini Park, the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, the Asok intersection, and Bang Sue, with many offices, 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 MRT Yellow line starts at Lat Phrao Station, the intersection of the MRT Blue line, to Samrong Station in Samut Prakarn. The line runs along Lat Phrao, Srinagarindra Road to Hua Mak where it interchanges with the Airport Rail Link before continuing south to Thepharak Road, passing many shopping malls such as The Mall Bang Kapi, Paradise Park, and Seacon Square.
The MRT Pink line starts at Nonthaburi Civic Center Station, from the intersection of the MRT Purple line, and ends at Min Buri Station. The line runs along Tiwanon, Pakkret, Chaeng Wattana, and Ram Inthra Road northeast of Bangkok before ending at Min Buri which will intersect with the future East Orange line.
The BTS and MRT has six connecting station – Saladaeng BTS station to Silom MRT station, Asok BTS to Sukhumvit MRT station, and Mo Chit BTS station to Chatuchak Prk MRT station, Ha Yaek Lat Phrao BTS to Phahonyothin MRT station, Wat Phra Sri Mahathat BTS to Wat Phra Sri Mahathat MRT station and Bang Wa BTS station to Bang Wa MRT station. 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.
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.
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 center (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.