Getting around in Bangkok and Thailand
See here for : Getting to Suvarnabhumi Airport and back.
Getting to Bangkok City usually starts at the airport. If you arrive alone, your best way of going into town is using the airport bus. It leaves to different destinations like Sukhumvit Road, Silom Road. Buses to a particular destinations leave about every 30 minutes, so you may have to wait a little bit. The buses are very comfortable and safe. Tickets are priced at 100 baht into town, a little less when taking the bus in town to the airport.
When not alone, taking a metered taxi will cost you around 250-300 baht (that would include highway tolls). It is difficult to use a metered taxi if you have a lot of luggage. Limousine cars are more spacious, but costs around 500-650 baht for the trip.
When booking a hotel in Bangkok, it is beneficial to be located close to a skytrain station (Sukhumvit Road, Silom), or the recently completed subway line. When getting to destinations, the best way then is taking the skytrain or subway to the station closest to your destination, and take a bus or taxi from there. For young people, who like the action, and are interested in visiting the Rattanakosin area (with the Grand Palace, Wat Phrakaew, Wat Pho and much more), we would suggest a hotel or guesthouse location at Khao San road. The environment there is noisy and vibrant, be aware of illegal substances though, and it will save you a lot of time getting to the above destinations, that are mostly within walking distance, and you can take a break midday at your hotel or guesthouse.
Taxis are plentiful, sometimes it looks like half of all the cars on the streets in Bangkok are taxis. Even in the middle of the night, and in remote sidestreets, you can easily flag down a taxi. Prices are unbelievably cheap, starting at 40 baht for a trip up to 3 km. Drivers though tend to race down the streets if there is no traffic jam. Telling them to slow down will usually not work very well.
Buses are also plentiful but less comfortable, except for the yellow EURO-buses. Of course, they are much safer to use. Prices are cheap, but vary a lot, depending on the type of bus (airconditioned or not), from free up to more than 20 baht per trip. Bus maps can easily be found at virtually all bookshops.
It is not a good idea to drive your own car in Bangkok. The number of car accidents is astounding, with unofficial numbers putting the death toll at close to 30,000 per year. Most accidents occur outside the capital, because the highways and the secondary roads upcountry allow even more for dangerous driving practices. Bangkok itself is dangerous enough though. There are an incredible number of motorcycles moving in between cars in the streets. If you are not used to this, beware. Thai car drivers have no concept of defensive driving and quite obviously value their own life as low. The main problem is excessive risk taking. In case of an accident, you will find (if still conscious), that a lot of car drivers are not or insufficiently insured, and that it is very difficult indeed to get to a hospital in due time. So we advise strongly against using a car for the above reasons. If you have the money available, using a car to get to destinations outside Bangkok, and to the countryside, is quite comfortable, and will get you to places difficult to access by public transport without significant time delays. However, be very careful on the roads!
For well done schedules of different busroutes, visit www.bmta.co.th
The skytrain and the subway are major improvements for getting around in Bangkok, though they do not cover all destinations. Only a few lines have been built, with extensions planned but slowly constructed. Compared to road traffic, getting to a destination on the skyway of subway lines, will be much, much faster, than by car or public transport.
The main train line in Thailand is between Bangkok and up north to Chiang Mai. There is also lines to Kanchanaburi, to Khorat and up to Udon Thani, Nong Khai, and to the south. The lines are there, but the trains are very slow (average speed around 60 km per hour) There are overnight trains to Chiang Mai and the Northeast with sleeping facilities. Except for third class trains, the trains are not fancy but comfortable enough. Of course, train travel is safe and also cheap in Thailand. Using the nighttrains, you will of course miss the scenery.
See also : A train ride from Bangkok to Hua Hin
Air travel is unusually cheap in Thailand (but you lose a lot of time getting to the airport, of course). There are many new startup airlines in Thailand, besides Thai Airways. So there is a lot of competition.
Buses are available from Bangkok to all major cities in Thailand. There are different bus stations covering the North and Northeast (Moo Chit bus station), the South, and the East (Pattaya, at Ekamai Bus Station).
Ekamai bus station is located at the skytrain station with the same name. You can reach Moo Chit bus station for destinations up north, by taking the skytrain to Moo Chit, and take a taxi from there (the bus station is still quite a few kilometers away). You will be required to store your main luggage into the luggage compartment. While in general it is safe enough, be careful not to keep valuables in your main luggage. Bus fares, are again, very low. If you have the time, take a look at the buses first before buying a ticket. Many bus companies serve the same major destinations. Prices may vary little, but some airconditioned buses are much more spacious and newer than others.