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!
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.
- Airport Rail Link :
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Free Shuttle
- Public Bus/ Private Mini Van
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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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