Bangkok is a very big city and you’ll need to move to see a bit of it, whether you’re just staying for a few days and even more if you live here for some time. The public transport system is reliable and nice but quite limited. Here are the details about when to use BTS, choose the taxi, etc.
The BTS is the most advanced public transport available in Bangkok. It’s reliable, fast and clean. 2 lines are available : the Sukhumvit line, running from Mo Chit to Bearing and the Silom line from National stadium to Bang Wa. The lines only cross at Siam station. Phaya Thai (Sukhumvit line) is crossing the Airport Rail Link.
The system is pretty simple : you pay depending on the distance. In each station, you’ll have the information.
If you use the BTS regularly, you will need to buy a Rabbit Card that will hold money. For each trip, you’ll pay with this NFC card automatically.
Note that you can also use this Rabbit Card in some shops (Family Mart) or restaurants (Mc Donald’s). List on the official site.
With the Rabbit card, you can also take a monthly volume of trips, no matter the distance. If you live far from your work, it can be worth it.
Note that the BTS tickets are NOT compatible with the MRT.
MRT – Metropolitan Rapid Transit
The subway in Bangkok allows 2 additional lines of transport. The blue one begins in Hua Lamphong (main train station) and finishes in Tao Poon. It’s the historic MRT line and it crosses the Bangkok Airport Rail Link in Makkasan, and the BTS in Asoke and Sala Daeng.
The more recent purple line was launched in august 2016 and should be connected to the BTS Mo Chit / MRT Bang Sue in the future. The Purple Line connects Bangkok to the Nanthaburi province.
The value of each ride depends on the distance and you can use a card to store money avoid regular queues (similar to the Rabbit Card).
Wandering in the streets, you’ll see a lot of taxis around. You can basically hail one from almost everywhere in the city center. Is that a good idea ? This will depend mostly on where you are, what day it is and what time it is. You’ll soon learn the basics of the rush hours in Bangkok. Basically, around Sukhumvit, in the morning (until 10am), lunch time or dinner time (until 8pm) would be a nope during the week days. Some areas are complete no gos for me, such as Siam or Asoke as you can be stuck for really long time. Victory Monument is also a place you’d probably like to avoid during the peak time.
On the other side, the taxis are really cheap (probably one of the cheapest in the world). If you can avoid the traffic, it becomes a very enjoyable way to ride. Always request the meter (they usually put it) and refuse the negociations as they will always be bad for you. In some areas (especially in Banglamphu, around Khao San Road), you’ll probably have no choice though.
Don’t be fooled, Tuk Tuk are not only used by tourists at overpriced rates. They are mostly used by thais who know the price to pay. Tuk Tuk will propose a fixed price to pay and you’ll probably need to negociate a bit (eventually a lot, depending where you are). Even if I don’t use it much on a regular basis, it’s definitely fun to ride in a Tuk Tuk. If you’re in town for a few days, a night ride is one of the must dos.