Travel Note
BTS

The most popular way to get from one place to another in the main tourist, business and commercial districts is the BTS (also known as the Skytrain). The mass transit system is made up of wide air-conditioned cars that move along an electrified elevated railway. The fastest and most comfortable way to reach locations that are on the route map, it is very reliable and unaffected by the street traffic below, making travel times predictable as well. Fares are based on the distance traveled, ranging from 15-40THB per one-way trip. Trains operate from 06:00 AM to midnight.

MRT

Otherwise known as the Bangkok Metro or subway, this mass transit system covers areas that the BTS does not. Transfers between the MRT and the BTS can be made at various interchange junctions. Fares are based on the distance traveled, ranging from 14-36THB per one-way trip.

TAXI

Metered taxis are easy to spot and can be found all over the city. The reasonably inexpensive fare starts at 35THB and goes up in increments depending on the distance in kilometers and time spent in traffic. A red light sign on the dashboard window indicates an unoccupied car. Always make sure the meter is turned on when entering the cab otherwise there is the possibility of being overcharged for the trip.

For destinations outside of Bangkok, it is possible to hire a taxi for 8 hours at a flat rate of 2,000THB (not including fuel). For a trip to Ayutthaya round trip will cost 1,200THB including 2 hours at your destination. If you need more time, it is an additional 200THB per hour. You can call for a pick-up at 1681, and request a driver who can speak English.

Motorcycle Taxi

These are designed for short distances like when entering or exiting a long back alley, or getting from one place to another as quickly as possible, when traffic is very congested and a car would take too long. Generally this option is for the more adventurous tourist, and although relatively safe, bigger people should watch out for knees and body parts while squeezing by vehicles in tight spaces on the road. Rates depend on the neighborhood, but are usually from 10-50THB per ride.

Tuk-Tuk

More of a novelty than practical, these infamous 3-wheeled motorized rickshaws have become something of a national symbol. Usually found in tourist zones, they are best for quick rides in less congested areas. As they are unenclosed and not as maneuverable as a motorbike taxi, passengers will be breathing heavy fumes if stuck in traffic. Fares can vary quite a bit and it is best to know ballpark prices for negotiating, as drivers are notorious for overcharging tourists, since most Thais in Bangkok don’t ride these.

River Boat

There are many different boats that provide rides to tourist destinations as well as commuter piers along the Chao Phraya. Hotels on the banks have their own free shuttle service to and from their properties, in order to cross the river. Sathorn Pier, one of the main starting points for tourists, is easily accessible from the Saphan Taksin BTS stop. Merely steps away from the station exit, passengers can catch the Chao Phraya Express boats, commuter taxi boats or charter a private ride at the information booths. Schedules and fares are all posted and some rides are very cheap, depending on the journey. Check out www.chaophrayaboat.co.th for more information.

Airport Bus

Popular with single travelers for being hassle free and their relative cheapness, the airport bus goes from Suvarnabhumi Airport on 4 separate routes into the main tourist areas of central Bangkok. At 150THB per person though, it’s only likely to be better value than a taxi if you are traveling alone. In a group of two or more a taxi is going to be quicker, more comfortable, more direct and either cheaper or roughly equivalent in price. The airport buses run from approximately 05:00 AM to midnight.

Car Rental

For trips out of Bangkok, you can rent a vehicle and drive yourself. Car rentals are available in Bangkok; a Honda Civic or Toyota Altis will cost about 1,820THB per day, while a more roomy Honda CRV or Toyota Fortuner SUV will cost 2,730THB per day (add 350THB/day for insurance coverage, price does not include fuel). A valid international driver license is required, though if you would prefer to hire your own chauffer, you can do so as well. Visit www.mastercarrental.com for more details.