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Getting around with transports in Bangkok

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How to get around in Bangkok ?

Bangok is known for its tuk-tuks and multicolored taxis but there are of course other options to get around in the Thai capital city. Practical and air conditioning, the skytrain (BTS) and the underground metro (MRT) avoid the almost permanent traffic jams in Bangkok. They're a good way to get to the essential attractions like Great Palce, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha temple and the Wat Pho temple and its reclining Buddha (see Bangkok skytrain & subway map). A special line, the Airport Rail Link, connects Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to downtown Bangkok. Another way to move around in Bangkok is to take the shuttle boats of the Chao Praya Express or those navigating on the Khlongs, the small canals of Bangkok. Without forgetting the dense Bangkok bus network and individual transport in Bangkok like the tuk-tuks, taxis, motorcycle taxis, VTC... that I listed at the bottom of this page.

Practical advice to get around in Bangkok by transport

I invite you to download the smartphone application VIABUS for your research of public transport itineraries in Bangkok. It exists on Android and iOS and brings together all the transport networks to tell you all the possible routes according to your starting point.

Les transports en commun à Bangkok

BTS, MRT, ARL, the Bangkok metros

The skytrain called BTS, the MRT or the Airport Rail Link plus a few suburbs train lines offer a quite dense network (and its expansing) to get around in Bangkok. There are certainly the best and most practical solution to go almost everywhere in a city which has a very dense traffic. All trains are air conditioned. Tickets or tokens can be purchased from automatic distributors in each station. Bangkok metro plan is on the detailed page.

More information on Bangkok metro


bangkok skytrain

BTS, the Bangkok skytrain


The skytrain (called BTS) is an open air suspended metro with two lines, the Sukhumvit Line which goes from Wat Phra Si Mahathat to Kheha (Samut Prakan) and the Silom Line which goes from the National Stadium to Bang Wa. They meet at Siam station, very busy peculiarities. The BTS and the Airport Link, which serves Bangkok International Airport (Suvarnabhumi) are connected at Payathai station. All cars are air conditioned. Tickets can be purchased from automatic distributors in stations. Bangkok BTS metro map is on the detailed page.

More information on Bangkok Skytrain (BTS)


bangkok mrt subway

MRT, Bangkok Subway


The Bangkok subway (or MRT) is currently made up of 2 mainly underground lines connected to BTS at the Chatuchak stations (BTS Mo Chit station), Sukhumvit (BTS ASOK station), Silom (BTS Sala Daeng station) and Bang Wa. Distributors do not deliver tickets but tokens. Since the end of July 2019, there is a station in Chinatown and one near the Great Palace and the Wat Pho.

More information on Bangkok MRT


bangkokairport rail link

Bangkok Airport Rail Link (ARL)


Fast and insensitive to traffic jams, the Airport Rail Link is an essentially aerial metro line that connects Suvarnabhumi Airport to Bangkok city center in around 30-40 minutes. It is connected to the BTS network at Payathai station and with the MRT at Makkasan station (MRT Phetchaburi station).

More information on Bangkok Airport Link


bangkok gold line

The Gold Line


This very small skytrain line has essentially been built to serve people going to the ICON SIAM shopping center on the banks of the Chao Phraya river, Thonburi side. It is connected to the BTS metro at Krung Thonburi station.

More information on Gold Line


bangkok dark red line

The Dark Red Line


This line is more a suburban train line than a metro. Its most intrest is to connect Bang Sue, the future large Bangkok Central Station to Don Muang airport. This greatly facilitates access to the second Bangkok airport.

More information on Dark Red Line


light red line bangkok

The Light Red Line


This suburban train line links Bang Sue, the future Bangkok Central Grand Station to Taling Chan where a nice floating market is held every weekend and for some public holidays. It is now probably the most practical option to get there.

More information on Light Red Line


Bangkok shuttle boats

There are currently 3 main river shuttle boat systems in Bangkok. The Chao Phraya Express boats circulating on the river and two boat lines navigating on the khlongs, the small canals of the city: the one on Khlong Saeen Saep especially practical to go to Golden Mount Temple and the one on Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem that runs along Hua Lamphong train station. They can be combined with the skytrain (BTS) or MRT metro.

bangkok chao phraya express boat service

Chao Phraya Express boat service

The Chao Phraya Express shuttle boats are circulating on the river. They allow you to see another face of Bangkok. By combining river shuttles and the skytrain (BTS), you can visit the main monument of Bangkok (even if it is now easier by MRT). The Chao Phraya Express offers several stops including a station near the Wat Pho (Ta Tien pier) and Grand Palace (Ta Chang stop). The Skytrain (BTS) and the Chao Phraya Express are interconnected at Saphan Taksin station.

More details on Chao Phraya Express


bateaux klong saen saep bangkok

Klong Saen Saep boat service

This shuttle boat service circulating on a canal (Khlong) which crosses Bangkok offers a more exotic way to move around in Bangkok. The price of the journey is quite low. If you know exactly where you want to go and especially where to stop, it's an interesting alternative. Be aware that it is very crowded at peak hours and be careful of dirty water splashes.

More on klong Saen Saep boat service


bateaux klong phadung krungkasem bangkok

Klong Phadung Krungkasem boats

This other shuttle boat service on a Klong in Bangkok leaves from near Hua Lamphong station. Much less frequented, its boats can accommodate up to 12 passengers. It is currently free of charge (but could soon cost between 5 and 20 THB depending on the journey).

More on Phadung Krungkasem boats


Getting around by bus in Bangkok

The Bangkok bus lines network is quite dense but not easy to use for a foreign tourist. It has many lines and a fleet of very heterogeneous vehicles, with disparate models, colors and levels comfort. Special S1 line to Suvarnabhumi Airport or A1 to A4 going to Don Muang airport are easier to take even if it is possible to reach the two Bangkok airports by metro.

bangkok chao phraya express boat service

Regular bus lines in Bangkok

The network of regular bus lines in Bangkok is very dense but a bit complicated to use for a foreign tourist. So, except if you know exactly the line to take and where to stop or you follow the indications of VIABUS app, it is not the most practical transport to get around in bangkok. And buses are often stuck in traffic.

Search a bus line in Bangkok


Bangkok BRT bus

BRT Buses

This yellow bus system is a bit of a hybrid between the metro and the bus with an organization of stations and sale of tickets very similar to BTS. There is a unique line between Sathorn and Ratchapruek which is connected to the BTS. BRT buses have their own dedicated path and therefore are not stucked in the traffic. The BRT line is connected to the BTS at Chong Nonsi station.

More information about Bangkok BRT bus


suvarnabhumi don muang shuttle bus

Free shuttle bus Suvarnabhumi - Don Muang

There are free bus shuttles that connect the two Bangkok airports. To take them, you must have a plane ticket and show it to the desk before getting on board. The journey between Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang lasts 1 hour to 1.5 hours (depending on the traffic density in and around the Thai capital). These buses circulate regularly between 5 a.m. and midnight.

More about Bangkok airports shuttle bus


bangkok don muang buses

Bangkok - Don Muang Airport buses

If there are a few regular bus lines going from Bangkok to Don Muang Airport, there are above all 4 special bus lines, the A1 to A4 lines which connect Don Muang to the Victory Monument, to BTS MO CHIT or MRT Chatchak station, to Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit), Lumphini park or Khao San Road and Sanam Luang (Great Palace). Otherwise, Don Muang airport is also accessible via the Dark Red Line.

More information on buses to/from Don Muang


suvarnabhumi to khao san road bus

Transport to/from Suvarnabhumi Airport

Since June 1, 2017, a very practical bus line links Survarnabhumi Airport to Khao San Road in Bangkok city center. This is the S1 bus which also allows you to go to Sanam Luang, the large esplanade in front of Bangkok Great Palace complex (which also houses the Temple of the Emerald Buddha). This is the most practical and cheapest option to reach Khao San form Suvarnabhumi.

More information on S1 bus line


airport express limo bus bangkok

Bangkok Airport Limo Buses

Bangkok Limo Bus Airport Express are another solution to connect Suvarnabhumi Airport or Don Muang Airport to downtown Bangkok (Khao San Road, Silom, Ratchamdri, Ploenchit, Pratunam). More expensive and more comfortable, they are also, in theory, faster (I say in theory ;).

More information on Bangkok Limo Bus

Individual transports in Bangkok

Bangkok taxis, motobike taxis and VTC

Bangkok taxis have very flashy colors (pink, green, blue, yellow ...), impossible to miss them! Air-conditioned, they remain a reliable option to get around in Bangkok as long as they start their meter. For small distances, motorcycle taxis can also be practical especially because they can sneak into the traffic. There are smartphone apps to order taxis, moto-taxis or VTC like GRAB which is the equivalent of Uber in Thailand.

taxi bangkok

Bangkok taxis and VTC

Bangkok taxis circulate at any time of the day and night. Some are reluctant to start their meter as soon as you seat on board despite the legal obligation. Air conditioned, they generally cost less than the tuk-tuks but they do not sneak into traffic as well. They can be ordered like VTC via applications like GRAB, the equivalent of Uber in Thailand.

More details on taxis & VTC in Bangkok


tuk tuk bangkok

Take a tuk-tuk in Bangkok

The tuk-tuk is the emblematic means of transport of Bangkok and Thailand. It is a tourist attraction all by itself! They are tree-wheel vehicles, Samlaw in Thai. Their drivers are slalom aces in Bangkokian traffic. Unlike its literal translation, the tuk-tuk is not the cheapest transport in Bangkok. On board you breathe the exhaust gases and the engine is very noisy but it is to be done at least once!

More information on tuk-tuks in Bangkok


moto taxi bangkok

Moto-taxis in Bangkok

Thai people use motobike taxis a lot. The drivers are easy to recognize with their orange jackets. It is the cheapest and fastest means of individual transport in Bangkok. On a motorbike no problem with traffic jams. The sometimes a little sporty driving of the drivers can discourage some to use them especially since rare are those who offer a helmet to their passengers. Do not hesitate to say tcha tcha (slower in Thai), if you want them slow down.

moto velib bangkok

Pun Pun bikes

This bicycle rental system is inspired by Parisian Velibs. It works exactly on the same principle. However, be very careful before choosing this mode of locomotion, traffic in Bangkok is quite chaotic and perilous on bicycle especially on the large arteries. I personnally only risk it for rides in the small streets of well chosen neighborhoods like Thonburi. But know that it exists.

Transport to/from Bangkok's airports

suvarnabhumi aéroport bangkok

Transport to/from Suvarnabhumi Airport

The information is already in the other pages above of each mode of transport linking Bangkok to the airport but I gathered here all the information concerning transport to get to or leave Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport from the city center but also from some more distant destinations like Kanchanaburi Ayutthaya, Pattaya, Hua Hin ...

All transport to/from Suvarnabhumi


don muang aéroport bangkok

Transport to/from Don Muang

In addition to the buses I mention above, there is also the possibility of getting to Don Muang Airport by train from Bangkok or from other destinations in Northern Thailand. have a station and services of cars or vans with driver, but no metro yet (the extension of the line is under construction).

All transport to/from Don Muang

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