Getting around

 

Bangkok

Bangkok has a wonderful public transport system made up of 4 parts.  There are 2 airports (Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang) with S being serviced by taxis, and an airport link sky train.  (DM is serviced by an inefficient train service, a local bus service or taxis).086

*when using Airport taxis, follow the signs to the dedicated desk. They have a system where you can find out the cost, and they give you a paper with a phone number you can call if there are any discrepancies with the driver. You are allocated a driver and it is up to you to make sure the driver turns on the meter.

Be sure you have good instructions to give to them or have the phone number of the hotels so they can ring for directions.  Most of them will be from somewhere else, and they will rent the taxi for day. They may work the entire day and only make enough to pay for the rental, so be kind to them.

The sky train links to the BTS/MTS sky trains, or the underground metro system.

The annoying thing is the 3 systems all require separate tickets.  You will find a man in a booth who can give you change for the ticket machines, and you locate your stop, press the button, and it will tell you how much money to put in.

Coming from the airport to town is about 45 BT  then you change to the BTS/MTS line and do the ticket thing again.  These two systems link at Siam, where you come off the train and wait in the neat little queue for the next train.

If you need the underground, you will have a 10 minute walk from the airport link station to the underground, and the ticket thing is done once again.

The nice thing is, no sitting in traffic, and a modern efficient transport system.

Another great way to get around Bangkok is the canal or river boat system.

There is a Tourist boat, with stops at the most popular areas, and is much less crowded, but you pay a premium for it.  A day pass on the tourist boat is 150 BT, (40 BT for a single journey) where if you just use the normal river bus service, it will cost you 15 BT per journey.  They do stuff you on these boats though, so make your choice.

You can buy your ticket from the booth beforehand, or jump on and wait for the rather annoyed ticket lady to come by shaking her can of money.

There are smaller boats that run along some of the internal canals, as well as private boat hire at about 1000 BT for an hour.  This is a good way to get a private tour of the canal area where people live on stilted homes along the canals.

Other options through Thailand

Tuk tuks are small motorized carts that burst into the traffic for a wild ride to wherever you want to go.  Be aware that a 10 minute ride should not cost more than 40-50 BT, and the drivers will always quote 150 when asked.  You need to bargain with them, and stick to your price, or walk away (with a smile of course).

The taxis are readily available and cheap.  Once again, barter with them.

You will see truck taxis with open seating in the back. These are normally the cheapest form of transport, but you need to find one going where you are going, and sometimes you will have to wait for them to fill before they go.  In Chiangmai, one of these are normally about 20 BT pp per journey.