If you are planning a trip to Bangkok, you might wonder how to get around. With so many transportation options available, both public and private, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your needs. That is why I have put together this handy guide for you! It breaks down the different types of transportation in Bangkok, making it easier for you to choose the perfect way to get around the city. Whether you are looking for a quick ride to your next destination or want to explore the city at your own pace, there is always an option that is perfect for you. So sit back, relax and let’s make exploring Bangkok a piece of cake together~! ☆ミ(o*・ω・)ノ

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Essential Stops Before Takeoff

Don’t miss these must-read posts before you go!

Bangkok Food Guide: 30 Places to Eat in the City!
Ultimate Guide to Bangkok: Everything You Need to You!

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Transportation to/from the Airport and Bangkok City

Public Transportation: Bangkok Airport Rail Link

Bangkok is known for its crazy traffic jams. To avoid this problem, the easiest way to get into town from the airport is by taking the Bangkok Airport Rail Link. This transportation option is only available at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, and I highly recommend you take this as it is so convenient! We use this every time we are in Bangkok. (๑˃ᴗ˂)ﻭ/

The waiting area for the Bangkok Airport Rail Link at the Suvarnabhumi Airport and the tokens we used (Bangkok transportation)

Depending on where you are staying, you can get off at either Phaya Thai or Makkasan station. The former is connected to the BTS Skytrain, while the latter is connected to the MRT line. Once you know where you are going, go to one of the self-service counters and get a token to take the Airport Rail Link. It is that simple! ( ´ ω ` )

  • To Phaya Thai Station (BTS Skytrain): 45 THB (~1.70 SGD)
  • To Makkasan Station (MRT line): 35 THB (~1.32 SGD)

Private Transportation: Booking a Private Vehicle

If you prefer to travel comfortably or with older folks, you might consider getting a private airport transfer instead. Since the Airport Rail Link is so convenient, there is almost always a crowd. Even though you would have a seat, the seating is not as comfortable. If I have to describe it, it is similar to Singapore’s MRT train seats. I often held onto my luggage to stop it from rolling forward or backwards. I always think I am training my arms on the Airport Rail Link. Haha! (*/ω\)

Anyway, if you are going by private transfer, the only con is the traffic jams on the way to your accommodation. You might spend a bit longer in the traffic, so make sure not to make any plans that require you to be on time that day! I opted for this option for our recent trip to Bangkok with my parents as I wanted to make it as comfortable as possible for them. So I would rather be stuck in a jam than have to crowd in the train. Surprisingly, there was hardly any traffic jam, even when we entered the bustling Sukhumvit area, where our Airbnb was. So, I would say, try this if you want ultimate comfort in getting into the city from the airport! ( ´ ω ` )

Read This if You Book a Private Airport Transfer on Klook!

This was not my first time booking a private airport transfer through Klook. But it was my first time doing so in Bangkok since hubs, and I always opted for the Bangkok Airport Rail Link. Honestly, this was one interesting experience! (⊙_⊙) You must read this if you are considering getting a private airport transfer through Klook or other 3rd party platforms.

I always thought that by booking a private airport transfer, the driver would be waiting for us at the arrival area with our name. The instructions on Klook say that staff will hold a sign with the lead traveller’s name on it. So when we got to the arrival area between Gate 3 & 4, I was SHOOK. The whole area looked like a war zone. On closer look, we saw a lot of papers with names on the metal railings. At the very top of the names is the transport company. That was when we realised that we had to do a hunt for hubs’ name. (o_O)

Arrival area at Bangkok's airport with signs showing people's name who has booked a private airport transfer online

Klook worked with several transport companies, so you must remember which one emailed you. We spotted TDD Global and hubs’ name on one of the metal railings. Once we told the staff, he took the paper with hubs’ name on it and told us to wait at the side. After about 5 to 10 minutes, it was go time! A staff called out the names on the papers that were set aside. Then, we followed her to the pick-up point to wait for our vehicle to arrive.

Names of people who has booked a private airport transfer and the waiting area for our car to arrive outside the airport (Bangkok transportation)

Interestingly, we got to our Airbnb near Phloen Chit BTS around 30 minutes?! That was pretty fast, in my opinion. Haha! Besides the crazy crowd and mess, the whole experience was not too bad after we knew how the system worked. So, I hope what I have shared will help you find your private airport transfer in Bangkok! ⸜(*ˊᗜˋ*)⸝

Bonus: Spacious Van and Responsible Drivers

Since we had three large pieces of luggage and Klook stated that the number of luggage they listed is based on 24″ luggage, we didn’t want to risk it with a small vehicle and went with a van instead. The van can hold up to nine people, making it spacious and comfortable. I think it was a wise decision as we had such a comfortable ride to and from the airport. This might be something to consider if you bring big luggage! ( ´ ω ` )

Our van that can fit up to 9 pax and the interior of the van

For our return trip to the airport, our driver arrived more than 30 minutes before the time we stated in our booking. He didn’t text us his arrival. We knew that as hubs and I came to the entrance to take photos of the condominium’s exterior, I happened to spot the van. The driver at the airport who ferried us to our accommodation was also quite friendly. So, two thumbs up to the service in general.

Train Transportation to Get Around Bangkok

The BTS Skytrain and the MRT are Bangkok’s two main train lines. The BTS Skytrain was the first to open in 1999 before the MRT commenced operation in 2004.

What is the Difference between BTS Skytrain and MRT in Bangkok?

Independent transport networks run both of these train lines and do not intersect. So if Google Maps asks you to transfer from the BTS station to an MRT station, most times, you will have to tap out and walk outside the BTS station to get to the MRT station. That is what I meant by the lines not intersecting. (´• ω •`)

How Do I Pay for These Public Transportation Services in Bangkok?

The BTS Skytrain uses a one-time train ticket or the Rabbit Card, while the MRT uses their token, or you can use your credit card. Yes, neither system even intersects when it comes to their payment systems! In my opinion, the line transfers and payment systems are the troublesome part of Bangkok’s train system. I read somewhere that they will combine the payment system into one, though I am unsure when. (・・;)ゞ

A view of the BTS train and the Rabbit cards used on the BTS Skytrain system (Bangkok transportation)
Left Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexel

Using the Rabbit Card for the BTS Skytrain

Anyway, you can quickly get around the whole city with both train lines. I recommend getting the Rabbit Card if you mainly take the BTS Skytrain. So, instead of queuing every time to buy a one-time ticket, you can skip ahead and use your Rabbit Card! You can get the card at any BTS station at 200 THB (~7.57 SGD), with 100 THB ready to use upon purchase. Oh, remember to bring along a passport to register for the Rabbit Card! We only need one passport to get two cards, so if you travel in a group, one will do! ( ´ ω ` )

Alternatively, you can consider getting the Rabbit Card from Klook and collect it at the Suvarnabhumi Airport or CentralWorld. If you think you will be visiting many places of interest along the BTS Skytrain line in one day, you can also consider getting the One Day Pass for an unlimited trip on the BTS Skytrain on a single day. (ᵔ◡ᵔ)

Using the Token or Credit Card for the MRT

I have read that tourists can use credit cards to ride on the MRT in Bangkok. That totally DID NOT work for us. (´-ω-`) We tried using our YouTrip and Trust Bank cards, one being Mastercard and the other VISA, but neither worked! The sensor didn’t even show that it was detecting our cards. No error or anything was shown.

Since we were travelling during peak hours, we couldn’t figure out the issue. And with my parents with us, we decided to get the token from the self-service machine instead. I guess Bangkok’s MRT system is still not as seamless as Singapore’s, for now. However, I saw a lot of locals using their credit cards. So, honestly, I don’t know what the issue is here. Meh. (T_T)

Exploring Bangkok via Water Transportation

As mentioned, the BTS Skytrain and MRT lines almost always get you to most places in Bangkok. But occasionally, you might need to use the boat to get to some places of interest, such as Asiatique, Wat Arun, Wat Pho and ICONSIAM. So let me share what are the options you have to get to these places! (>ᴗ•)

Chao Phraya Express Boat

Exploring Bangkok is made easy by taking the Chao Phraya Express Boat along the iconic Chao Phraya River. Taking a boat is easy. Just head to one of the piers based on the boat route! For us, the simplest and nearest was Sathorn Pier. When you are at major piers such as Sathorn, there are staff guiding travellers, so you don’t have to stress over taking the wrong boat. But if you are at the smaller piers, make sure to keep an eye out for the flag colours on the boat, which indicate their express and local routes. The one you should take note of is the Orange Line, as it stops at every pier, including the popular ICONSIAM.

The Wat Arun Pier and a Chao Phraya Express Boat
Right Photo by Kamil Pietrzak on Unsplash

We boarded the boat at the Memorial Bridge Pier, and both the pier and boat were bustling with people. Students were taking the boat home while tourists were on it to get to ICONSIAM or Sathorn Pier. Hubs and I initially thought we had to queue up for tickets. But it turns out payment happens on board! A friendly lady, bell in hand, strolled around to collect fares, making it quite a memorable part of our journey. Anyway, if visiting attractions is not your thing, you can also just enjoy the journey while riding the boat since the Orange Line costs a flat fee of 16 THB (~0.60 SGD), regardless of where you are getting off. (>ω^)

NOTE: From 5 April 2024 onwards, the Orange Line will no longer stop at Wat Arun with the reopening of the Tha Tien Pier. If you are going to Wat Arun, you will now have to take the river-crossing ferry from Tha Tien Pier instead. As always, make sure to check the official website for the most updated information. Or else, you might end up like us, walking further to get to the next servicing pier! (´-ω-`)

River-Crossing Ferry

If you are thinking of getting to Wat Arun from Wat Pho, take note that the Chao Phraya Express Orange Line DOES NOT get you there. Instead, you will need to take the river-crossing ferry. Simply head to the Tat Tian Pier, and you will see the ticketing counter! I was surprised to learn that taking this ferry only costs 5 THB (~0.20 SGD) per person.

The ticketing counter for the river-crossing ferry and the price chart (Bangkok transportation)

As compared to the Chao Phraya Express boat, there are fewer seats. So, depending on when you board the ferry, you might not get a seat. But the great thing is the ride is quite short, about 1-2 minutes, so standing for a while should be fine in general. According to the payment chart, it costs 10 THB per bicycle, and that explains why there is so much standing space on the ferry.

Chao Phraya Tourist Boat

If you want to visit all the places of interest on the Chao Phraya River, you can also consider buying the unlimited hop-on and hop-off boat pass for the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat. We took this boat to Wat Arun as we missed the Orange Line boat, which was comfortable. If you only need to visit one place like us, you can buy a single-trip ticket at the pier, which costs us 30 THB (~1.15 SGD)! ( ´ ω ` )

The Chao Phraya Tourist Boat and the Single-Journey Ticket

Free Shuttle Boat to Asiatique

If you want to explore Asiatique the Riverfront, the best way to get there is via the free shuttle boat at Sathorn Pier. There is a boat every 25 to 30 minutes, and it operates from 4 PM onwards. So, if you are thinking of going to Asiatique earlier, you might have to look for alternative methods.

A view of the Ferris wheel at Asiatique and the free shuttle boat (Bangkok transportation)

So, How Do I Get to Sathorn Pier?

As you can see, a lot of boats set off from Sathorn Pier. So let me share with you how to get there! It is really rather easy. Just take the BTS Skytrain to the Saphan Taksin BTS station. Once you alighted, take Exit 2 and keep walking along the sheltered walkway. There are signs telling you where Sathorn Pier is. And even if you are lost, fret not! A lot of people should be heading in the same direction, so you will be okay once you get there! (´ ε ` )♡

Getting Around by Private Hire Car & Tuk-Tuk

Book Yourself a Private Car in Bangkok

If taking the train is a hassle and you don’t mind the traffic jams, you can also consider getting a private car through the Grab app. We decided to give private cars a chance again since we were travelling with my parents. Comfort is the number one rule when travelling with older folks! And we ended up being stuck in the traffic jams. Haha! (´-ω-`) And my parents were telling me that their butts were numb after sitting for too long in the car. So, I really don’t know which is better. Standing in the train or sitting until our butts are numb in the car in a traffic jam. (´・ᴗ・ ` )

A screenshot taken from the Grab app and a view of the traffic from the R-Walk linking to Big C in Pratunam

Zoom Around in a Tuk-Tuk

Alternatively, if you don’t mind having to bargain for a ride, I think it is worth trying the tuk-tuk. Tuk-tuks are known to weave around traffic jams; I have experienced it once. It was speedy, and sometimes, I think too fast. Haha! I was hanging on for my dear life, and my cap threatened to fly off. It is quite an experience that you should try at least once in Bangkok. (´・ᴗ・ ` ) I felt that the ideal number of passengers is between 2 to 3 people. Four of us took the tuk-tuk, and it felt so unsafe for the fourth pax. Haha!

A tuk-tuk in Chinatown (Yaowarat) and the interior of a tuk-tuk I took in Bangkok (Bangkok transportation)
Left Photo by Tan Kaninthanond on Unsplash | Blocking my friend’s face for privacy

Anyway, you ALWAYS have to bargain with the driver. Usually, what we would do is to get a sense of the price on the Grab app. Then we approached the tuk-tuk driver to quote us a price. The quoted price will almost always be more expensive than what is shown on the Grab app. So, we would always try to negotiate for a price that is not too far off from the driver’s quoted price and the one on Grab. We have used this way a few times, and it has worked for us so far. ( ´ ω ` )

Other Private Car Alternatives to the Grab App

It was quite easy to get a car through the Grab app. However, I have read that the Bolt app is a cheaper alternative to Grab. I have also come across MuvMi, an on-demand tuk-tuk sharing service. We didn’t download both apps, so we can’t do a comparison. Maybe next time, when only hubs and I are doing the exploration. I will find out and let you know! (´• ω •`)ノ

So, What is the Best Way to Get Around Bangkok?

Having tried various public transportation options in Bangkok, hubs and I agreed that using the BTS Skytrain and MRT is the way to go in Bangkok. But according to our tour guide, he said that it might seem like using the train helps us to avoid traffic jams, but considering the wait time and walks we had to take to our destination, sometimes it might be better to take a private car or tuk-tuk.

However, hubs and I have agreed that his concept of traffic jams is very different from ours. Haha! To him, there is no jam as long as the traffic moves, even when the cars move slowly. But to us, as long as the vehicle is moving at a slower pace than usual, it is considered a jam! We experienced that a few times during our recent trip when we took a GrabCar back and forth from our Airbnb. We conclude that taking the BTS Skytrain and MRT might still be better in Bangkok. (´・ᴗ・ ` )

So, taking the BTS Skytrain and MRT might be better for those who prefer a predictable schedule. If you are up for an adventure, the river boats and tuk-tuks can be quite a fun experience. If comfort is the way to go and you are willing to risk getting into a heavy traffic jam, a private car is your answer. No matter which transportation option you choose to explore Bangkok, remember to embrace the experience! ⸜( *ˊᵕˋ* )⸝

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Useful Travel Resources

Ready to explore? ️I’ve created a collection of travel resources designed to fuel your wanderlust and make trip planning a breeze! This list is constantly growing, so feel free to share any suggestions you might have! ⸜( *ˊᵕˋ* )⸝

BEST Cards to Use for Your Overseas Spending

Want to enjoy seamless spending overseas without the pesky fees? Check out my post on the best cards to bring overseas—the Trust Bank and YouTrip cards!

A Guide to Using Your Multicurrency Cards for Overseas Cash Withdrawal

Feeling stressed about using foreign ATMs? Let me help you navigate overseas ATMs with ease as I share my experience using my Trust Bank and YouTrip cards for overseas cash withdrawals—examples included!

Transform Your Travel with Lounge Access + Cards I Use to Get Free Visits!

Ready to ditch airport stress? Visit my post to discover the magic of lounge access and my go-to credit cards for complimentary lounge visits!

Curious to uncover more about Bangkok? Look no further! My all-encompassing Bangkok guide has everything you need, from finding the perfect stay and beyond! If you are keen on uncovering the tastiest spots in town, make sure to check out my dedicated Bangkok food guide too! Or, if you’re in the mood for more tailored info, explore these dedicated posts on all things Bangkok. Happy exploring! (´• ω •`)ノ

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