A Quick Guide to Transportation in Bangkok

Traffic Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand’s chaotic capital, is one of the main transport hubs in Southeast Asia. Even though the transport system might seem a bit confusing at first, it is actually fairly easy to use. Here’s a quick overview on the available transportation in Bangkok to help you make your stay a little bit less stressful!

Transportation in Bangkok, Traffic

 

Transport from & to the Airports

Getting in and out of Bangkok is fairly easy. Bangkok has two airports, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and Don Muang Airport (DMK). Most people will arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport as Don Muang Airport is mainly used by budget airlines like Air Asia. Both airports are located about 30km out of the city center. The time it takes to get to the center from the airport or vice versa will highly depend on your chosen mode of transport and traffic.

 

Suvarnabhumi Airport

  1. Airport Rail Link :
  2. Suvarnabhumi Airport is connected with Downtown Bangkok by the Airport Rail Link, which runs between 6am and midnight.

    Note: The Khao San Road area is not connected with any line of the metro system. Take the Airport Rail Link to the last stop Payathai Station and proceed by tricycle or taxi.

  3. Taxi:
  4. When travelling in a group or with a lot of luggage, a taxi might be the more convenient option. At the airport, the public taxi stand is located on level 1.

    Note: The “Airport Limousine” that you will see being advertised when exiting customs is not a public taxi service and will cost you more.

 

Don Muang Airport

There are several options that connect Don Muang Airport and downtown Bangkok.

  1. Coming from the airport, take a taxi to Mochit Station (about 15km). From there, you have access to the Skytrain (BTS) which will take you to downtown Bangkok.
  2. Coming from the airport, take a taxi to Kampengphet (about 15km). At this station, you have access to the Metro (MRT) which connects to downtown Bangkok.
  3. Coming from the airport, walk to Don Muang Station (about a 15 minute walk from the airport to the platform). At Don Muang Station, you can take the train to Hualamphong Station in central Bangkok.

 

Transport in between the Airports

If you have a connecting flight with a budget airline like Air Asia, you might have to transfer from Suvarnabhumi airport to Don Muang Airport.

  1. Free Shuttle
  2. There is a free shuttle operating between the airports that runs between 5am and midnight. At Suvarnabhumi Airport, it leaves on the second floor outside door 3 (you will see clear signs when coming from the arrivals hall), at Don Muang Airport it departs outside the passenger terminal (again, clearly sign-posted). You might be asked to show your outbound flight ticket to use the free shuttle bus, so keep it at hand. The journey takes about an hour, but this is heavily dependent on traffic.

    See this website http://www.suvarnabhumiairport.com/en/122-transfer-bus-between-suvarnabhumi-don-muaeng for an extensive timetable of the shuttle bus.

  3. Public Bus/ Private Mini Van
  4. If for some reason, you cannot catch the free shuttle bus, you can head to Bangkok Transportation Center from Suvarnabhumi Airport. From there, busses 554 and 555 and private mini vans link the two airports.

  5. Taxi
  6. If you have limited time to catch your connecting flight, it is advisable to take a taxi and to ask the driver to take the expressway.

 

Getting around

Walking

Many sights in Bangkok are within walking distance! It’s easy to explore different areas of the city by foot, and my favorite way to take in all of Bangkok’s chaos.

 

Metro (MRT) and Skytrain (BTS)

Bangkok’s Metro and Skytrain system is very easy to use and will get you to most areas of the city. Because a lot of people use it commute from and to work, it can get a little crowded during peak hours though.

Bangkok Transit Map

 

Tuk-Tuk

Tuk-Tuks are an option of getting around the city in areas that aren’t well connected to the public transport system. Be sure to haggle though as the drivers will often try to screw you over!
Tuk Tuk Bangkok

 

Public Bus

Public busses in Bangkok are dirt cheap! The fare ranges from 7 to 19 Baht and is collected on board. It can be a bit tricky to know where to get off the bus, but asking other passengers or the conductor always got me to the right place.

 

River Boats and Ferries

There are express boats that only stop at the main piers, boats that stop more frequently and ferries if you simply want to cross to the Thonburi side of Bangkok. Simply hop on a river taxi and you’ll get to see the sights along the river for a very small price.  You can basically enjoy the same views from the cheap river ferries as from one of the tourist boats. Therefore, it really isn’t necessary to pay the higher fare for the tourist boat.
Bangkok Transportation River Ferry

 

Taxi

Taking a taxi in Bangkok is my least preferred mode of transport as you can get to most places by other means too. If you take a cab though, make sure to check if the driver turned on the meter. If he does not agree to that, get out! Further, I would avoid grabbing a cab during rush hour as you might get stuck in traffic for a very long time.

 

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23 Comment

  1. Excellent post. I go to BKK regularly and we love using the BTS Skytrain. I’ve done a post on it on my own blog. The airport train is handy but if there are two or more of you travelling, it is sometimes easier to just get a taxi to save you having to get to the station with your luggage etc. and not that much more expensive. I want to try out the MRT on our next trip as we haven’t had the opportunity or the need to use it up to now. The BTS & MRT have certainly made such a difference to getting around this busy and chaotic city.

  2. Bangkok is definitely a chaotic city! I backpacked Thailand recently and didn’t do much research related to Bangkok so needless to say I was quite lost – luckily for me I had met 2 people who had visited BKK previously and managed to suss out the place quickly.

    I think once you get your bearings & your head around how busy and massive the city is, it becomes easier to navigate! Really wished I had this guide while travelling around BKK. Would have helped me heaps – especially that map!

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      I didn’t really do a lot of research either when I went to Bangkok the first time and I was quite lost as well! Luckily the girl that sat next to me on the plane had been to Bangkok before and was headed to the same hostel, so I had someone to help me navigate a little bit 🙂
      I’m glad my post is useful! I wrote down so much Bangkok transport related notes during my visit and felt like it might help some people out 🙂

  3. Carmy says: Reply

    Great post! I love places that have such readily available transportation options. As someone who does not drive, knowing that there’s an underground metro is a life saving. I’m heading to the states next week and apparently have to Uber everywhere because Orlando doesn’t have a ton of public transport.

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Thanks 🙂 I’m exactly the same, I love being able to rely on puplic transport (even though it’s not that reliable all the time :D). Enjoy your stay in Orlando!

  4. I can’t believe that I’ve still never made it to Thailand- Bangkok looks like such an amazing place to visit! Love how informative this post is- the kind of information I always find myself looking for but rarely come across 🙂

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      I’m glad it’s useful! 🙂 Can definitely recommend Bangkok (and Thailand in general), it’s a fascinating place to visit!

  5. Thanks for this useful guide, transportation in Bangkok indeed seems like a mess ! It makes everything clearer, I’m keeping that for my next trip over there !

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      I’m glad it’s useful 🙂

  6. Lies says: Reply

    This is a very informative post! I used the taxi and the river boat while in Bangkok as well as the public bus once. The taxi was convenient, but I did enjoy the bus ride as well.

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      I’m gad it’s useful 🙂 Yeah the taxis are definitely convenient, but I like that it’s a little bit more of an adventure to take the bus 😀

  7. Great, useful guide! This is just the type of information I look for when planning my trips!

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      I’m glad it’s useful! 🙂

  8. So useful! I remember taking a river taxi when I was briefly in Bangkok a few years ago, very cool experience.

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      I’m glad it’s useful 🙂

  9. I am so dying to go to Bangkok..wow! Id love to ride one of those tuk tuks..cool! The riverboats look amazing too!

    Lovely post!

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Thanks 🙂 Bangkok (and Thailand in general) is definitely worth a visit, would highly recommend it!

  10. Wow, there are plenty of ways to get in and around Bangkok! It is so facinating to see the different kinds of transportation around the world. Some places have uber and some places you have to walk miles to get to the closest bus station. What’s crazy to me is that in some places, they have 3 different airports, all almost an hour from each other, which is huge when you are trying to decide a place to stay. If I ever make it to Bangkok, this will definitely help me out! 🙂

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      I’m glad it’s helpful! I know, I find it really interesting as well to see how the transport systems work in different places 🙂

  11. Suz says: Reply

    I’m planning a trip to Thailand for my 30th birthday, so this post is SUPER helpful! Thanks for explaining it all in a way that’s easily read and understood. I often find that transportation is the one thing that leads me to feeling anxious about travelling to a new destination. It’s hard to find all of the information you want in one place!

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      I’m happy to hear that it’s helpful! 🙂 I’m exactly the same way, I always try to at least find out how to get to my accomodation, otherwise it freaks me out to arrive in a place where I don’t know my way around!

  12. Kyla says: Reply

    Great information and easy to read. Thanks for the info for transit between the airports! On the public buses were you able to ask in English for your stop? Or just let the driver know the name and he ensured you ended up at the right place?

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      I’m gad it’s helpful! 🙂 There’s always a driver and a ticket collector on the public busses, so you can ask the ticket collector! If you go to a touristy place, lets say you want to get off at Mo Chit in order to go to Chatuchak weekeknd Market, asking in English always worked fine for me. If I wanted to get off at a stop in a not so touristy area, I made sure to ask someone at my hostel to write down the name of the stop in Thai letters, because I was afraid not to be able to pronounce it the right way… If you do that, you shouldn’t have any trouble endin up in the right place 🙂

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