Getting around Bangkok
Bangkok Transit System (tel: +66 2 617 7300; www.bts.co.th) runs Bangkok's efficient monorail, the BTS Skytrain. Two lines operate daily, connecting popular spots like Chatuchak Market and Siam Square. You can buy single-journey tickets and one-day passes at station vending machines and ticket offices. Or you can buy a preloadable Rabbit smartcard, which you can also use on BRT (Bangkok Rapid Transit) buses (but not the metro).
The Bangkok Metro (tel: +66 2 624 5200; www.bangkokmetro.co.th) has 18 stations. Starting at the main railway station, Hua Lamphong, it connects with BTS trains. You can buy single-journey tokens from station vending machines or use the Metro's own preloadable smartcard for multiple journeys. One-, three-, 15- and 30-day passes are available.
The BRT is a bus rapid transit system running along one line, from Chong Nonsi Skytrain station to Talat Phlu station. Rabbit cards are valid on this service.
The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (tel: 1348, in Thailand only or +66 2 246 0339; www.bmta.co.th) runs a comprehensive, highly complex bus system.
You can hail taxis in the street, but check that the meter is turned on. In unmetered taxis, you must agree the fare before setting off. Passengers pay for tolls, so ensure you have small change.
Tuk-tuks are another way of getting around town. These three-wheeled taxis ply the streets and are ideal for short journeys. You must negotiate fares before getting in.
River taxis, operated by Chao Phraya Express Boat (tel: +66 2 449 3000; www.chaophrayaexpressboat.com), travel from Sathorn Pier near the Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain station to 10 piers near major attractions.
Motorcycle taxis are popular and easy to spot as drivers wear brightly coloured vests. It is compulsory for passengers to wear helmets so check the driver has one.
It’s generally not advisable or necessary to drive around Bangkok due to heavy traffic and tricky navigation. For those who wish to, many of the large shopping complexes and hotels have a car park. Tolls are payable on some motorway routes.
Drivers must be at least 21, have held a licence for one to two years, have a national licence and collision damage waiver and theft protection. See Avis (tel: +66 2 251 1131; www.avisthailand.com), Budget (tel: +66 2 203 9222; www.budget.co.th) and Sixt (tel: +66 2 793 2300; www.sixtthailand.com) for car hire options. Check that insurance policies state ‘For Commercial Use’ for full insurance coverage.
SpiceRoads (tel: +66 2 381 7490; www.spiceroads.com), offers bike hire as well as guided tours. Bangkok also has a bike-share scheme called Pun Pun (tel: 087 029 8888, in Thailand only; www.punpunbikeshare.com) which operates from around 50 stations in and around the city centre. Navigating Bangkok’s traffic can be daunting for novice riders but guided bike tours offer reassurance for the less experienced. Passport and deposit are required.