Bangkok is served by two airports. Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) serves all international flights and the majority of domestic flights to and from Bangkok. Don Muang Airport (DMK) now serves domestic flights only, after being replaced by the new airport in 2006. Both airports are located approximately 45 minutes from the city and are primarily serviced by taxis. The two airports are about 30km (18 miles) apart, which is important to note when planning to connect between international or domestic flights.
Currently there are two routes, the Sukhumvit Line and the Silom Line, which cover much of the central city and its many commercial, residential and tourist areas. The trains run daily between 06:00 and 24:00 with frequent services, about every 5 minutes. At The Sukosol you are located conveniently just across the road from the Skytrain Phaya Thai Station (exit 4) on the Sukhumvit Line. From here you can easily change to the Silom Line at Siam Station. Using the automated (in English) ticket machines or ticket window you can buy a Single Journey Ticket, Baht 10 and up (depending on number of stops); One-Day Pass, 120 Baht; 30 Day SmartPass, 20/30/40 trips for Baht 440, 600 and 800 respectively (price excludes 30 Baht issuing fee).
Bangkok’s thousands of brightly coloured taxis are a great way to travel as most are new, air-conditioned and have working seatbelts. The meter charge is Baht 35 for the first 2km, then Baht 4.50 for each of the next 1km. Expressway tolls — Baht 25 to 70 depending on where you start — must be paid by the passenger. All taxis have meters installed and bargaining is not necessary. Our hotel porters in the main lobby are happy to arrange a taxi for you.
Simply tell your driver where you want to go, negotiate a price (from Baht 10 for a few blocks up to about Baht 100 going across town), strap on your helmet [if available] and away you go. Although a lot of fun and very efficient, be warned that the driving style and speed of your motorcycle taxi may not be what you’re used to back home, so exercise this transportation option with care.
The Chao Phraya Express Boat Co. operates the main ferry service along the Chao Phraya river. The central pier is known as Sathorn, Saphan Taksin and Central Pier, and connects to the Skytrain’s Saphan Taksin station. Fares are cheap and differ by distance, Baht 10 to 34. A special tourist boat runs between Phra Athit and Sathorn every 30 minutes between 09:30 and 15:00. A one-day pass for unlimited travel costs Baht 120. There are also dozens of cross-river ferries, which charge Baht 3.50 and run every few minutes until late at night.
PRIVATE CAR HIRE
Renting a car just to drive around Bangkok is not a good idea as parking is difficult, traffic is frustrating, road rules can be mysterious and the alternative — taxis — are cheap and ubiquitous. But if you still wish to, all the big car-hire companies (Avis, Hertz, etc) have offices in Bangkok and at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Rates start at around Baht 1,500 / per day for a small car. An International Driving Permit and passport are required for all rentals. Most can also provide drivers, Baht 600 / per day, 08:00 to 18:00.
Whilst not the preferred transport of tourists; public buses are plentiful and cheap and will get you to most destinations in Bangkok. Air-con fares typically start at 10 or 12 Baht; fares for ordinary (fan-con) buses start at 7 or 8 Baht. Most of the bus lines run between 5 am and 11 pm, except for the ‘all-night’ buses, which run from 03:00 or 04:00 to mid-morning. A Bangkok Bus Map by Roadway is available at Asia Books and some 7-Eleven stores, and is the most up-to-date route map available.
Doing a similar job to the taxi is Thailand’s ubiquitous tuk-tuk. They are occasionally faster than taxis in heavy traffic as weaving in and out is easier, but generally about the same or slower. Without any luggage, three people can fit into one fairly comfortably. Fares always have to be bargained for before departing. Although these vehicles are a fun way to explore the city, they expose passengers to high pollution levels and offer almost no protection in case of an accident.