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Getting around in Bangkok

It can feel overwhelming getting around Thailand’s biggest city, but gradual improvements in its public transport have seen the once-fabled Bangkok traffic jams shrink somewhat – but sadly not disappear entirely – as locals embrace a more interconnected system that’s quicker, cleaner and often cheaper too.

Naturally, it’s not perfect, and there will be still times when travelers will need to flag down a taxi or túk-túk (pronounced đúk đúk), particularly after midnight. When the sun is hottest, taking the BTS Skytrain, the MRT Metro, or even a Chao Phraya River ferry is preferable to walking or cycling any real distance. Don’t try to cover too much ground in a day; Bangkok’s heat and traffic will ensure that doing so is more of an ordeal than a holiday.

Here’s how to get around in Bangkok.

The BTS (Skytrain) is key to getting around Bangkok. ©Greg Elms/Lonely Planet

Train

Bangkok has two major train networks which are the fastest and most convenient ways to get around ‘new’ Bangkok (Silom, Sukhumvit and Siam Square). Both networks are currently being extended in several directions to meet increasing commuter traffic, with completion deadlines staggered until 2023. Do note that eating or drinking is strictly prohibited on the BTS and MRT.

BTS (Skytrain)

The elevated BTS, also known as the Skytrain (rót fai fáa), whisks passengers through ‘new’ Bangkok. It also has a link to the airport. The interchange between the two lines is at Siam station and trains run frequently from 6am to midnight. Fares range from 16B to 52B or 140B for a one-day pass. Most ticket machines only accept coins, but change is available at the information booths. Single journey tickets will be retained at an Automatic Gate when you exit.

BTS (Skytrain) travel passes

For travelers who plan to take more than three BTS rides in a single day, it’s worth buying a one-day pass (140B), which allows the holder to take unlimited rides on the day it’s issued. These can be…

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