How to Use the Public Transport in Bangkok, Thailand

by SophieSSmith

Bangkok’s public transport system is cheap, efficient and easy to use. The Skytrain, the MRT (Bangkok’s metro) and the Chao Phraya River boats are easy ways to get around Bangkok.

Bangkok’s traffic jams are notorious, but the modern and efficient public transport is an easy way to avoid the chaotic traffic. The MRT, the BTS Skytrain and the Chao Phraya River boats are also interesting ways to travel around and get to know Thailand's capital. Public transport in Bangkok is easy to use and affordable. The BTS trains and the MRT trains are air-conditioned.

Bangkok’s Skytrain (BTS)

The Skytrain (also known as BTS: Bangkok Transit System) is a comfortable air-conditioned train that gets around Bangkok fast. Its only downside is that it covers only a part of the city. Trains depart every few minutes and run between 6 am and midnight. The two lines, the Silom Line and the Sukhumvit Line stop near many of the main tourist attractions in Bangkok, the shops on Sukhumvit Road and the Chatuchak Market. The two lines meet at the Siam station, and there are also interchange stations for the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit: Bangkok’s metro). The Skytrain offers a range of smart cards and travel passes that can be good value if you plan to use the Skytrain a lot.

BTS Skytrain, Bangkok, Thailand
BTS Skytrain, Bangkok, Thailand

The Mass Rapid Transit (Metro)

Bangkok’s metro is called Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and it is another efficient and cheap way to travel around Bangkok. The MRT has just one line, with 18 stops, and the air-conditioned trains leave every 5 to 7 minutes. The MRT stops close to many tourist attractions and shopping areas, including Sukhumvit Road, Chatuchak Market, Lumbini Park and Hualampong railway station. The MRT stations Silom and Sukhumvit are interchange stations with connections to the Skytrain. Like the Skytrain, the MRT has a variety of ticket options including travel passes and smart cards.

Chao Phraya River Boats

Express boats and river taxis shuttle along the Chao Phraya River. Many Bangkok tourist attractions are easy to get to by boat, and a boat trip on the Chao Phraya is also more fun than sitting in a taxi in a traffic jam. Piers are located at regular intervals along the river. There are several types of boats: some Express boats only stop at certain piers, and some boats travel mainly across the river.

The Chao Phraya River Express has a regular boat service that stops at the main piers along the river. The Banglampoo Pier is the closest pier to the Khao San Road backpacker area, and for a convenient interchange with the Skytrain, the Sathorn Pier is just a few minutes' walk from the Saphan Taksin Skytrain station. In addition to the regular boats, the Chao Phraya Tourist Express is a tourist service that stops at Bangkok’s most important sights.

Updated: 02/20/2013, SophieSSmith
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cazort on 10/28/2014

I love riding public transit in other countries, especially since in many countries, the transit systems are a lot better than in the US.

I love what you have on this page so far...if you ever want, I would love it if you expanded it more. There are also SRT lines in Bangkok, like one going to the airport, right?

I also think it would be helpful to have more detailed information about how to buy and pay fares. I know that when I'm travelling, I often find this intimidating. Are there fare machines that are multi-lingual? Is paying the fare self-explanatory or are there any caveats? Also, are the different train systems completely separate, or are there any passes or farecards that are exchangeable between them?

What about buses? I know there are a lot of regional bus terminals that you can connect with from the various train lines. I think it would be helpful to know more about this too, in case you want to expand this page and/or make further pages on related topics.

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