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How to get around in Bangkok

Some people say there are no stupid questions. I don't know if I fully agree with that. If a chick asked me if she could get pregnant from anal I might question her intelligence. But that's not the point. It might seem strange but a lot of people do want to know the best way to get around in Bangkok. It's a huge city and there are a lot of options. It is also very hot or very wet for a lot of the year. So that is also something to consider.

Then there is the traffic. This is really not something that can be understood until you're stuck in it. There are times when even the main roads like Sukhumvit seem totally open and flowing. But there are other times when you're in the back of a taxi at the Asok intersection for thirty minutes waiting to get through a single traffic light.

Public transportation in Bangkok

Bangkok does have a pretty extensive public transportation system. It consists of an elevated train called the BTS, an underground train called the MRT, and a bunch of public buses. You can pretty much ignore the buses, as they look like they were made before the war in Vietnam began.

The trains just cost a few Baht. You can go pretty far on 30 to 40 Baht, and all in air conditioned comfort. Just rock up to the station and buy a ticket to the station you want to visit. Then stick the card in the gate on the way in, and back in the gate on the way out at the other station.

Both the BTS and the MRT are good ways to get around specific areas, as long as it is not rush hour or a holiday, or any other event that causes them to back up and overflow. Maybe you've seen the pictures, or worse, experienced it yourself. But when the trains are jam packed it is a bad experience. I look elsewhere in those cases.

Bangkok Taxis

There are motorbike taxis all over Bangkok. You'll see them stationed along main roads and at corners. The real guys wear orange vests. They are supposed to have more or less set rates of like 10 or 20 Baht. But if you run into a fake or a guy who wants to take you for a ride in more ways than one, they might ask for a whole lot more. They mainly run people up and down the side sois to the main roads. But they are also a good way to get through a traffic jam in an emergency. Just note that they aren't the safest way to get around.

Of course there are also taxis and now there is Grab too. Grab is a ride booking app in Southeast Asia that lets you order up a car to your destination. It's kinda like Smooci except a guy shows up to give you a ride, rather than a girl showing up to ride you. Grab can be good or bad. I've been picked up by beautiful Thai girls in very nice cars who flirted the whole way. But I've also had bad experiences. Sometimes all the Grab drivers seem to be busy and you can't get a ride even at the elevated rate. Other times they just send you a regular taxi that you could have hailed yourself on the street.

Bangkok taxis can be incredibly cheap for a major city. But you have to find a guy honest enough to run the meter or at least willing to go to your destination. There's never a shortage of taxis on the main road. But when one stops you have to lean in and ask some questions before you sit down. You tell them where you want to go and ask if they'll use the meter. Only get in if they say yes. Otherwise they'll ask for some crazy amount of money that's usually ten times more than the real price. Never take a parked taxi in a tourist zone unless you are really desperate or don't mind being fleeced.

Do it yourself

Another way to get around Bangkok is just to do it yourself. Depending on what you want to do and where you stay, you might not really need anything more than your feet to get around.

Let's say you are visiting Bangkok for two weeks and you just plan to do some online dating and maybe check out the go go bars in Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy. Well, you could easily get a hotel along Sukhumvit and take short walks to wherever you want to go. When you make a date online, tell the bird to come to Terminal 21 or somewhere in the area. Usually they will. And if they won't there are other fish in the sea.

If you are particularly lazy, you don't even have to leave your room. You can just order in room service then find ladies on Smooci and have them come right over to your room. In that case you wouldn't even have to walk at all!

I don't recommend driving a car or riding a motorbike around Bangkok at all, for obvious reasons. Unless you are really experienced and know what you are doing. But in that case you don't need this guide anyway, so what are you even doing here?


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About Chris

Chris founded LivingThai.org in 2011 and has received over 3 million visitors. He has lived here for over 10 years and speaks reads and writes very good Thai.
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