Transportation in Bangkok

It won’t take long till you become familiar with the calls of tuk-tuk drivers or taxis. For most vacationers we prefer the comfort of a fast ride not public transportation especially since it’s a fraction of the price that we’d find it back home. If you are a backpacker taking public transportation will save you hundreds of baht. Here is a breakdown of the different means of transportation you can use and the pros and cons:

Tuk-tuks: Never the best option rarely will you actually be getting a good deal. There are a lot of scams related to tuk tuks as well. One of the most famous is the offer of a cheap tuk tuk ride to show you the sites, costing no more than 20 baht for the whole day (around 60 cents American). If it sounds to good to be true, it’s cause it is. These promotional tuk-tuks will surely take you to tailor shops, gem shops and a Tourist Authority of Thailand (T.A.T) office, as they get free gas coupons for each tourist they bring as well as commission if you choose to overpay for one of the things they are selling. And we mean really over pay, tailor suits that cost about 8 times more than what you will find on Khao San rd. Gems that are of questionable and the packaged tours that cost double. If you are strong willed and don’t mind being taken to these shops, go for it. But make sure you tell the tuk-tuk what you want to see in exchange or he will take you to “The big Buddha”, the “lucky Buddha” and the “Black Buddha”. Do not listen to anyone that tells you the Grande Palace or any temple you choose to see is closed. It never closes unless its past a certain time.

Taxi: These are actually great deals if you can find a metered taxi. The meter starts at 35 baht for the first km., then goes up at increments of 2 bahts per 0.3km. A half hour ride will cost close to 100 baht, not bad at all for a private driver and if you’re more than one it may be cheaper than a bus. However, the main problem with taxi’s is taxi drivers are good at claiming they can’t turn the meter on due to traffic, additional fees etc. Keep searching, you will eventually find a driver who will turn the meter on. Never walk into a cab and ask “how much”, instead give them the address and get into the car and they will assume you know your stuff and will turn the meter on, if they don’t ask for the meter. The taxi drivers just standing around tend to be the scammers. You shouldn’t pay more than 300 plus a 70 baht toll fare to get to the airport from Khao San Rd. Usually when there is no traffic it will cost under 300 including fee.

Buses: Bus routes are abundant in Bangkok, it’s one of the best ways to see the city like a local. They also charge you a fee based on how long your journey is, as oppose to a flat fee. Ask your hostel or hotel what buses you’d need to catch to get to your destination.

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