Bangkok, Thailand

Getting Around

 
 

By Bus

Public transport buses operated by the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) are the cheapest but also the most challenging way of getting around. There is a bewildering plethora of routes, usually marked only in Thai and even the locals have a hard time. Passengers are also subject to Bangkok's notorious traffic, often crowded buses and many are not air-conditioned. If you want to get to your destination quickly and not prepared to get lost, the buses should be avoided. However, the buses make for a good adventure if you're not in a rush. 

 
 
 
 
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The only free resource for decrypting Bangkok's bus routes is at BMTA's website. It has up-to-date (though slightly incomplete) listings of bus routes in English but there are no maps. You can purchase a Bangkok Bus Map by Roadway, which is a good investment if you're planning to a lot of travelling by bus. You can also ask your guest house or hotel about which buses to take if you're going to a particular destination.

Green bus in Bangkok by Ilya Plekhanov

The hierarchy of Bangkok's buses from cheapest to best can be ranked as follow:
  • Small green bus - 6.50 baht flat fare. Cramped buses, no air-conditioning or fan and known for their suicidal drivers. Operated by private operators and can be significantly faster than the BMTA buses.
  • Red bus - 7 baht flat fare. More spacious and fan-cooled. Unlike other buses, some of these run through the night (1.50 baht surcharge). These buses are BMTA operated. 
  • White/blue bus - 8 baht flat fare. Exactly the same as the red buses but cost one baht more. Buses are owned by private entities but operated in conjunction with BMTA. 
  • Blue/yellow and cream/blue air-conditioned buses - 11 baht for the first 8 km (5 miles) and up to 18 baht maximum. Fairly comfortable buses. The blue/yellow striped buses are privately owned while the blue/cream buses are BMTA-owned.
  • Orange air-con bus - 13 baht for the first few km and up to 22 baht maximum. These are all BMTA-run and more comfortable. 
  • Pink/white air-conditioned micro-buses - 20 baht flat fare. Paid into a fare-collection machine located next to the driver (exact fare only). Mostly found away from the city centre. Buses are modern and only allow seated passengers.
Orange bus in Bangkok by Ilya Plekhanov

Beware that buses of the same number may run slightly different routes depending on the colour and there are also express services (mostly indicated by yellow signs) that skip some stops and may take the expressway (2 baht extra). Buses stop only when required, so wave them down when you see one coming your way at the bus stop. Pay the roaming collector after boarding and keep the ticket, as there can be occasional ticket checks. Press the signal buzzer when you want to get off.

 
Guide to
Bangkok
 
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