Taxi – Coming from pretty much any western country the first thing you will realise is how cheap taxis are! The taxis are exceptionally cheap; however they are even cheaper if you don’t get ripped off. Firstly when u get in tell the driver where you want to go, if he doesn’t know where it is get out of the taxi and grab another, lots of drivers will pick you up and drive you around in circles before admitting they have no idea where you are trying to go, this can all be avoided by just watching the driver when u ask for your destination, its normally easy to tell from the look of confusion if they don’t know where they are going. Secondly, make sure they use the meter don’t agree on any set price, just say clearly ‘Meter’ it has the same name in Thai so if they feign that they don’t know what you’re saying you know it’s a bad start. If they won’t use the meter get out and get in another taxi, there are particular tourist hotspots e.g. Khosan, grand palace etc where you won’t get any driver to use the meter however wander down the road or round the corner you’ll have no problem. Starting fare is 35thb (£0.70/$1.10), from the airport to anywhere in the city it shouldn’t ever be more than about 500thb (£10/$16) even including tolls for the expressway.
Tuk Tuks – Sort of an obligatory experience on a trip to Bangkok, tuk tuks are a fun way to get around and have great novelty value, however I wouldn’t use them for anything other than that, unless you know roughly how much the journey will cost you will definitely get ripped off, and many of the driver will try to take you to souvenir/jewellery/silk shops (all mysteriously owned by their ‘brother’) along the way, where the prices are overinflated and they will try to guilt you into buying something. They also obviously have no aircon, which is fine if you’re travelling at speed but when u get stuck in traffic sitting in the heat and fumes is not too fun.
Buses – Slow, dirty and mostly without aircon the public buses aren’t a stylish method of travel however what they are is extremely cheap tickets are normally between 7-14thb per journey! Google maps has all the routes and timetables logged in so simply look up where you want to go on there. When you see the bus you want approaching you, wave to the driver to slow down and begin walking out into the road towards the bus, lots of the buses wont completely stop you just have to jump on, likewise when you wish to get off just wait by the door and jump off as soon as you have a chance, they won’t pull over for you to get off so be really careful when getting off, as you may be in the 3rd lane out and motorbikes tend to whizz past at ridiculous speeds!
The main issue with anything with wheels is the horrific traffic jams unless you’re travelling between 10.00-15.00 (and even in-between these times sometimes) expect your journey time to at least double or triple, a 30 minute journey can easily take 1.5-2 hours in rush hour. So heres how to avoid the traffic..
BTS – Save yourself from the long traffic jams and take the BTS (Sky Train), it’s cool clean and a great way to get around. Note to take change for the ticket machines they only accept 5 and 10 baht coins, if you do not have change queue up at the counter and they will change your notes, you then need to re-queue for the ticket machines. Tickets range from about 20-50baht depending on the distance. There isn’t really any special saver card for tourist the cheapest way is to just buy individual tickets.
Motorbike-taxi – (yes they have wheels but they are also pretty exempt from traffic) If you’re brave enough you can jump on the back of a motorbike taxi, only ever get on the back if the diver is wearing a coloured bib. These are a cheap way of going short distance if your feeling lazy and a good way of getting past the traffic, however they know their benefits and for longer journeys can sometimes cost more than a taxi. For about a 20 minute ride expect to pay about 80-100thb, probably the same cost as a taxi in traffic but the taxi will take you nearer an hour for the journey.
River taxis – A great, cheap and fast way of getting around, especially from the Khosan area which is extremely poorly connect to other means of public transport.