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Taxi

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Bangkok’s thousands of brightly coloured taxis are some of the best value cabs on earth. Most are new, air-conditioned and have working seatbelts in the front seat, though less often in the back. You can flag them down almost anywhere in central Bangkok. The meter charge is 35B for the first 2km, then 4.50B for each of the next 10km, 5B for each kilometre from 13km to 20km and 5.50B per kilometre for any distance greater than 20km, plus a small standing charge in slow traffic. Freeway tolls – 25B to 70B depending on where you start – must be paid by the passenger. Because of high fuel prices, there is talk of raising taxi rates.

During the morning and afternoon rush hours taxis might refuse to go to certain destinations; if this happens, just try another cab. Around Th Khao San and other tourist areas, some cabbies might refuse to use the meter and try to charge a flat fee; if this happens just walk away and find another cab.

Motorcycle taxi

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Motorcycle taxis serve two purposes in Bangkok. Most commonly and popularly they form an integral part of the public transport network, running from the corner of a main thoroughfare, such as Th Sukhumvit, to the far ends of soi (lanes) that run off that thoroughfare. Riders wear coloured, numbered vests and gather at either end of their soi, usually charging about 10B for the trip (without a helmet unless you ask).

Their other purpose is as a means of beating the traffic. You tell your rider where you want to go, negotiate a price (from 20B for a short trip up to about 100B going across town), strap on the helmet (they will insist for longer trips) and say a prayer to whichever god you’re into. Drivers range from responsible to kamikaze, but the average trip involves some time on the wrong side of the road and several near-death experiences. It’s the sort of white-knuckle ride you’d pay good money for at Disneyland, but is all in a day’s work for these riders. Comfort yourself in the knowledge that there are good hospitals nearby.

Bus

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Bangkok’s public buses are a cheap if not always comfortable way to get around the city. They are run by the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority www.bmta.co.th, which has a website with detailed information on bus routes. Air-con fares typically start at 10B or 12B and increase depending on distance. Fares for ordinary (fan-con) buses start at 7B or 8B. Most of the bus lines run between 5am and 10pm or 11pm, except for the ‘all-night’ buses, which run from 3am or 4am to midmorning.The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA), under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, operates bus services in Bangkok. The authority currently offers 136 routes serving every part of the city and the nearby provinces. Currently, more than four thousand buses ply the city’s streets, of which around 2,800 are regular buses and around 1,200 air-conditioned buses.

An additional 1,862 privately owned regular and air-conditioned buses, and 1,580 mini-buses are operated under the BMTA. For the budget traveler, bus is the cheapest way of getting around, but it’s not always the most convenient. Traffic congestion in Bangkok can be very frustrating, especially if it’s your first visit here. In addition, there are no specific schedules for the services, so nobody can predict when the next bus will arrive. It really depends on the traffic situation at the time.

Buses in Bangkok come in a bewildering number of sizes, colors and varieties. Fares vary with each different type of bus.•
Non-air conditioned regular bus (red-cream color) is the cheapest bus service with a 3.50 baht fare for any journey. With the air pollution and heat in Bangkok, traveling on these buses can be a trying experience, especially during daytime and rush hours. Services usually start at 5.00 am and go through to 11.00 pm. On certain well-traveled routes, services run all night but the fare is 5 baht and again it’s impossible to predict what time the buses will come. Some red and cream buses travel on the Expressway, in which case the fare is 5.50 baht. These buses usually have a yellow sign in the front.

Other types of regular service buses in white-blue color and privately owned mini-buses in green run on some routes. The fare is 5 baht for any distance. The green mini-buses are notorious for the nerve-wracking maneuvers of their drivers.
• Air-conditioned buses (cream-blue color) are slightly more convenient than the regular buses. The bus fare depends on the distance traveled, but ranges from 6 baht up to 16 baht. Services usually operate from 5.00 am to 11.00 pm.
• Air-conditioned buses (white-pink color) are only available on some routes. The fare is 10 baht and services usually start at 4.30 am to 10.00 pm.
• Euro II bus (yellow-orange color) are also air-conditioned and relatively new. Services starts run from 5.00 am to 11.00 pm. The fare ranges from 8 baht to 18 baht depending on the distance.
•The green minibuses. The fare of the green minibuses is 6.50 baht for the whole route.
• Micro-bus (purple or red color) is an alternative privately owned bus service. The 20-seat passenger buses come in air-conditioned comfort. The fare is a flat 20 baht regardless of the distance. Micro-buses stop taking passengers once every seat is filled, so everyone is guaranteed a seat.

 

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