The most common ways to move around in Thailand are by motorcycle, tuk-tuk, taxi, and public transport (such as the BTS Skytrain in Bangkok). Although the main transportation methods vary by city, you will generally see choices like the ones mentioned above. This article will help you to get comfortable on each of these methods of travelling around in Thailand, while also giving you a price estimate for each type of vehicle.
The most common transportation method in Thailand, motorcycle taxis can weave in and out of traffic with incredible skill. You’ll find drivers waiting by the roadside, usually in designated locations, and they tend to wear distinctive clothing (such as orange vests). Drivers normally work in groups, and wear an orange uniform with a number.
For these and other kinds of taxi services, we definitely recommend agreeing on a clear price before beginning your journey, as the driver may try to charge more money if you are a foreigner. These prices will naturally depend on the distance, but are normally between 20 and 100 baht for reasonably short rides.
If you’re more comfortable with official, standard costs, then it may be worthwhile to download the Grab app for your phone. (Uber and Lyft do not work in Thailand.) After opening Grab, go to the GrabBike section, and book your journey online.
For all journeys, however, keep in mind that Thailand’s roads can feel somewhat chaotic, particularly to outsiders, and they are somewhat more dangerous if you are on a bike. Always wear a helmet if you have the opportunity, and keep in mind that motorcycles are not ideal for longer trips. We recommend motorbikes if you are going short distances, travelling through small streets, or trying to save time in traffic.
Taxis are more common in urban areas like Bangkok, and are relatively rare in rural areas. Always ask to use the taxi meter to determine your fare, or agree on a price before you start to move. Regular taxi fares begin at 35 baht, and rise by 2 baht depending on the distance and time spent in the cab. You may call a taxi by calling 0-2018-9799, or by using the Grab app.
As mentioned above, the Grab app will show you a definite price for the ride, which you must approve before it will call a taxi for you. If you arrange the trip by making a standard phone call, then there will be a 40 baht service fee on top of the running meter.
Taxis are a safe way to travel around town, and are typically air-conditioned. Make sure to see if the identification card placed near the front left seat of the taxi matches the driver's face. If the identification card is different, take a different taxi.
Tuk-tuks are seen in touristy spots around Bangkok. The price of a tuk-tuk ride should be between 60-400 baht. Tuk-tuks are a three-wheeled vehicle, with seats and no windows. The price is generally more expensive than taxis. When you get a ride from a tuk-tuk, be sure to ask for the price beforehand, to avoid awkward arguments with the driver afterwards. Tuk-tuks are more popular among foreigners visiting Thailand, than they are with actual Thai people.
BTS and MRT
The BTS Skytrain is a low-cost train service that runs above Bangkok’s city centre, while the MRT is an underground subway that serves different locations. The price of a BTS ride should be 20-70 baht, with the price rising according to the distance to your destination.
There are two Skytrain lines, and one MRT line, with each train stopping every couple of minutes at a new station. Many popular hotels and malls are located near BTS and MRT stations. If you plan to use the BTS or MRT lines often, you may want to buy prepaid transport cards. These can be topped up easily, letting you avoid having to search for coins to buy public transport tokens each time you want to move around the city.
Travelling around Thailand can be a fascinating experience, but try to be aware of your surroundings – particularly on crowded forms of transport. Be sure to check your belongings every time you enter and leave public transportation.