Getting around Bangkok for a visitor might seem quite daunting due to the unfamiliar nature of the city and the notorious Thai driving. Everything seems to be loud, crowded and mostly gridlocked. Cars and buses are constantly in traffic jams and the heat is sometimes unbearable.
However, there are solutions for getting around the Big Mango which is quick, cheap and convenient. Travelling either under or over the city and leaving the traffic far behind.
The BTS, or as most people call it The Skytrain is a public transport system that is elevated above the city streets. It is by far the best and fastest way of getting around the city.
The Skytrain consists of two lines (Sukhumvit & Silom) that are connected at Siam Station. At Asok station, it is possible to change from the Skytrain to the MRT (Underground).
Travelling on the Skytrain is quite exciting as the elevated track gives wonderful city views as the air-conditioned train motors along far above the stationary traffic. It is also one of the cheapest ways to travel in the capital, a day pass costs as little as 130THB.
In reality, you need to really use the Skytrain in conjunction with the MRT underground system for complete access to the city as there are only 35 stations, but this is fairly easy to do but you do need a separate fare.
The MRT is Bangkok’s underground system and connects with the Skytrain at Asok and Mo Chit stations. It is fairly limited with only 18 stops but is a great way of getting from north to south across the city.
Tickets are bought in the form of tokens from machines at the stations and are extremely cheap. The fare is based on the number of stations you pass, the cheapest token is 15 THB and the maximum fare is 40 THB.
Using the BTS or the MRT is not like in many large cities, Thai people are respectful and normally do not push and shove trying to board or alight. Just be courteous and take your time getting off and on the transport.
Due to the traffic congestion problems in the city, especially at peak times, traveling by bus is not really advised. The buses are cheap and network the whole city grid, so areas not serviced by the BTS or the MRT a bus may be the only solution.