For a newcomer to Thailand, Bangkok is often the first stop.
Getting around in Bangkok can appear to be quite intimidating to some because of the chaotic traffic and the crowded areas, besides names that could pose a challenge when it comes to pronouncing them; which makes it difficult to ask the locals too.
However getting around in Bangkok is quite easy once you get the basics right.
Bangkok has a huge number of taxis that you will find everywhere. However, not all of them are reliable as far as fares are concerned. You must choose the ones that have metered option. Also while using them it’s advisable to track on Google maps.
The fares are reasonable and almost three to four times as compared to the other modes of transport (covered in succeeding paragraphs). Which means, if you are groups of 3 or 4 or a family, then it’s better to hire a taxi to move around. It saves your time and is more comfortable.
There are local taxis as well as brands like Uber operating in Bangkok. The “Grab” brand of taxis are cheaper than Uber and are easy to get. However, remember to register yourself on their apps before landing in Thailand unless you have a local cell phone number as they would send you an OTP at the time of registration.
MRT (Metro) and BTS (Sky train) Lines
Both are excellent options to take you anywhere in Bangkok and is possible to cover most of the city using these. However as brought out earlier, of there are 3 or more of you, it’s cost effective to use cabs.
Using the MRT and BTS is very easy and the service is excellent though you must avoid the rush hours on certain routes. Taking a metro link saves you time and money since the roads generally witness a heavy traffic and road blocks are common.
The bus service is excellent too, but the route numbers are complicated and you would get used to only once you go on certain routes frequently. There are AC and non-AC services but, to be frank, unless you plan to stay longer than a week, stick to the cabs, metro links and sky trains only.
The buses are the cheapest option but also take the maximum time because of road blocks. They can best be used as connections from BTS and MRT stations to the place of your choice.
Just like buses, the Tuk-Tuks are best used only for unconnected places between the Sky train and MRT stations.
The fares are not fixed, hence they are best avoided unless you get used to the place and are aware of approximate fares.
As a thumb rule for a newcomer, it is best to negotiate to about half of what is quoted.
Most of you would be interested in going to or coming from the airport.
Remember, there are some excellent airport buses that ply every 30 to 40 minutes from Mo Chak (BTS station) or Chatunchuk Market (MRT station).
You can reach these stations from anywhere very easily and walk down the footbridge to catch these buses.
Again, use this option only if there are 3 or 4 of you as a taxi would be faster and more comfortable.