Before you travel to an unfamiliar country should gather enough information on a host of important things for the tourist: from exchange rates and places for their exchange to the characteristics of the transport system and the cost of travel to major destinations.
This information will be especially relevant to those who plan to travel on their own and not in a tourist bus. The Bangkok transport system is a special system that lives by its own laws and is subject to its own special rules.
Bangkok's transportation system
Since Bangkok is a large city, densely populated and almost always packed with tourists, transport problems are inevitable. Traffic jams are considered the norm here, and standing for hours in a cab or bus in Bangkok is much easier than in Moscow.
Therefore, a sound approach to the choice of route, method and time of travel is necessary to avoid such complications.
Transport in Bangkok is highly organized, convenient and safe: the subway is ideal for a quick trip for a classic tourist, river ferries allow you to admire the beauties of the city during the trip, and a unique local attraction - a tuk-tuk cab - is worth a ride at least once.
Travel agencies accent travelers' attention to the fact that seemingly hospitable and nice cab drivers can both take them to their destination and drive them into the middle of nowhere to a supposedly "cheap cafe" or "great tailor. Such walks can be not only unpleasant, but even dangerous for the wallet of a gullible tourist and for his health.
The Bangkok subway: surface and underground
In Bangkok, there are two types of subway: the classic underground - familiar to everyone, and the surface, which looks more like transport of the future.
The Underground Railroad (MRT) is just one line that extends from the north of the city to the center and runs through residential areas. Thanks to its association with the surface subway, this transport is quite popular with the local population. An underground ticket costs 15-42 baht.
SkyTrain is two lines and 25 subway stations, spacious air-conditioned cars and high speed. Operating hours - from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. - allow both tourists and city residents to travel effortlessly and with maximum convenience. The interval between trains is so small (from 2 to 5 minutes) that even during peak hours there is no crush and crowd.
The fare is based on the number of stations to be ridden: from 15 baht for one or two stations to 42 baht for a dozen stations. Locals usually buy a pass for a certain number of trips, and tourists are more popular ticket for one day (130 baht).
A special mention should be made of the Airport Rail Link, a subway that serves as a connection between the airport and the city center. There are two lines of trains:
- The first, the express line (shown in red), connects the airport and the Makkasan station, located in the center of the city. The trip lasts only 15 minutes because there are no stops along the way. The cost per ticket is 90 baht, which is good value for small groups.
- The second is a city train (marked blue on the diagram). The train stops during the trip at small stations, so that the trip takes about half an hour, but costs half as much: only 45 baht. The final station of the line is Phaya Thai, where tourists have the opportunity to transfer to the classic city subway.
Bangkok subway is the best means of transportation for tourists.
A public bus in Bangkok
The cheapest, most common and crowded mode of transport in Bangkok is the public bus. Buses account for the lion's share of the city's passenger traffic, which affects the service, speed and comfort of travel. But wishing to understand the local population and learn more about the peculiarities of life of ordinary Thais should choose this mode of transport.
The main problem a tourist who chooses this mode of transport has to face is the unimaginable number of routes. More than 300 destinations, most of which are designated only in the local language, making it almost impossible to identify specific bus numbers.
It is not possible to find a suitable route just by going to the bus stop: you should prepare for your trips in advance, for example, by studying all the suitable routes on the official website of the Bus Service Administration.
Those who want to make life easier can buy a single pass for a certain amount in any major supermarket. Along with the pass it is worth buying a map of routes - in order to avoid problems with finding the best way.
Buses vary not only in comfort, but also in the cost of travel.
There are several varieties of cars running around the city:
- The budget white, red with a white stripe and blue models work without air conditioning, but cost only 6.5-7.5 baht per trip.
- The cream and red buses also lack much comfort, but travel on express routes, so they cost 8.5 baht.
- The white-blue and green-striped as well as the yellow and blue models are air-conditioned, and the price of the ride ranges from 11 to 19 baht.
- Orange and yellow European models of buses are more comfortable and modern with comfortable seats and air conditioning, but the fare is 12-23 baht.
- The most comfortable and fastest type remains the red or pink and white minibuses, in which you can only sit. The fare in them is 25 baht.
Tourists traveling by bus should remember not only the route number, but also the color and type of bus. Also, you should not expect that the driver himself will stop the car at the stop you need: getting off the bus is at the request of the passenger, as well as boarding at the bus stop.
Transport for tourists: tuk-tuk, cab, motorcycle cab
Thai cabs are a special culture of getting around the city. The uniqueness lies in the presence of three types of such transport, each with its own peculiarities.
A classic cab is an inexpensive and rational way to get around. Tourists should choose official companies that put on the line yellow-green or red-blue cars with the inscription "Taxi-Meter": such a car is guaranteed to be equipped with a meter, which will protect the passenger from overpayment.
A trip around the city, depending on the distance will cost 250-450 baht, to Suvarnabhumi International Airport - 600 baht.
You should not look for cabs in parking lots, since the drivers waiting there often charge too much. It is safe to vote on the streets only if you get into a car belonging to a carrier company.
A tuk-tuk is the national Thai cab, which looks like a motorcycle with a cart attached to it, which holds no more than 3 passengers. Among the obvious advantages of such transport, apart from its exotic nature, are its mobility: a nimble motorcycle can pass through places where a large bus cannot turn around.
Among the obvious disadvantages are the need to breathe the aroma of the road and exhaust fumes, the high cost of travel (often a single trip costs at least 300 baht), and the unpleasant entrepreneurial nature of the drivers, who on the way to solve their problems or visit relatives.
Motorcycle cabs are transport for the adventurous, desperate, but in need of a quick ride to the destination. The cost depends on the distance, the complexity of the route and the insolence of the driver: the initial price ranges from 100 baht.
Tourists should definitely require a helmet, which not only can be a protection in case of an accident, but also help avoid the fine - almost 400 baht.
A trip along the river is convenient either for those who live close to the canals or for those who wish to enjoy the beauties of the city from an unfamiliar angle. There are ferries, river cabs, express boats, and tail boats on the river: each mode of transport operates on its own route, but all are worthy of attention.
The classic long-tail boats, the longtails, are the most popular with tourists. A trip on such a boat becomes not just a way to get from point A to point B, but a fascinating journey through the country, getting to know the life and character of the local population.
The cost of riding on such a boat - about 400-500 baht per hour.
For a more pragmatic trip, the Chao Phraya River Express boats are a good choice. The company's express boats run only on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., but tickets cost a budget of 10-30 baht, depending on the route, type of boat and time of day. These boats are used as a traditional means of transportation, not so much for tourists as for the indigenous people of Bangkok.
But Chao Phraya Tourist Boat is a tourist riverboat that operates along the usual route for travelers: Saton Pier - Banglamphu Pier, with stops at the most notable places (Chinatown, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Royal Palace).
The trip on such a boat will cost 40 baht one way, and the price includes the services of a guide who gives tours while driving.
Trains and intercity buses in the region
The most popular is the intercity bus service: from one of the three Bangkok train stations (Mo Chit, Ekkamai and Sai Tai) you can go to any province of the country.
You should be very careful when choosing the type of bus, of which there are three in the country:
- Orange public buses are considered the most budget-friendly, but they are slow and uncomfortable. They are used mostly by the local population, so they have special features.
- Blue state buses are equipped with air conditioning and comfortable seats. They shuttle between major cities without stopping at every farmstead, which guarantees a significant change in the contingent compared to the first type.
- VIP buses are the most spacious and comfortable, equipped with air conditioning and toilets. Such models provide connections between Bangkok and Phuket, and they charge for each kilometer of travel: on average, about 1 baht.
For the most active and restless tourists in Thailand there is an extensive network of railroads that connects Bangkok with other provinces. The main railway station in Bangkok is Hua Lamphong located on Rama IV Road.
Most of the long-distance trains: to the North, East, Northeast and South, go from this station. Ticket prices depend on the distance of the trip and the class of the carriage.