Using one of Bangkok’s Mass Transit Systems (BTS SkyTrain, MRT Metro and Airport Rail Link) is a convenient way to travel around Bangkok as all these three systems are well connected between themselves, making them very useful if you want to escape busy traffic and save some money in Thailand’s capital. Even if the network of trains in Bangkok is quite large and still expanding, it won’t let you reach all the desired destinations. At this point another important mean of Bangkok’s public transport – public bus – becomes handy and lifts your local traveling experience to another level.
Public Bus in Bangkok
The network of public bus can take you to any part of Bangkok and its suburbs. The size of the city and a huge number of bus routes there shouldn’t scare you off of using public bus in Bangkok.
More distant areas or smaller streets not covered by public buses can usually be reached by songtaews or motorbike taxis. You can always be sure that you will find a way to reach your desired destination, just look around.
Here you will find all the most important information on how to use public bus in Bangkok.
Bangkok Public Bus Map
The easiest way to find a required public bus route for your journey is using Google Maps app as it works quite well with Bangkok’s public transport system. Just search for your desired destination, click “Directions”, choose public transport and the best route will be presented to you. If the only type of public transport you would like to use is public bus, just click “Options” and choose “Bus” as your preferred mode.
However, don’t rely on the schedule and the length of proposed journey presented on the app, traffic is unpredictable in Bangkok and your waiting time ant journey time might vary significantly depending on the traffic.
You can also see a Bus Route Map board at some of the bus stops. Consider yourself lucky if you will find one!
The names of the roads passed by the bus route are written on the colorful scale and the most famous landmarks are noted nearby. There are separate scales for both directions as the bus route can differ a bit depending on the direction.
Finding Public Bus Stop in Bangkok
There are thousands of bus stops all around Bangkok. However, finding one sometimes can be a challenge as it’s not uncommon for the bus stop signs to be covered by other objects. Look for a bus stop sign like this.
There are also shelters at some of the bus stops. These are much more difficult to miss.
Bus routes passing the bus stop can be written on the bus stop sign but it won’t necessarily be like that as the sign can be covered with graffiti, stickers or any other form of “art”.
If the bus stop has a shelter, your chances of seeing the list of bus routes passing by are much higher. But it still can be incomplete or outdated.
If you can’t find the list of bus routes at the bus stop, just stay there for a while and watch buses passing by – you will get an idea about your options at that particular bus stop soon.
Types of Public Buses in Bangkok
There are two main types of public buses in Bangkok – air-conditioned buses and regular or fan buses. Some of the routes are covered only by one bus type but quite often you will have a choice of both bus types.
How do you know what type of bus it is?
The easiest way to know the bus type is checking the colour of the bus.
Most air-con buses in Bangkok are yellow…
…or light orange.
Regular or Fan Buses
Most fan buses in Bangkok are red/yellow…
…or light pink...
However, like with many things in Thailand, it’s not a rule, just a tendency. It’s not uncommon to see buses painted in other color as well.
So how to be sure what type of bus is it, you will ask? Check the windows – if they are half open, it’s definitely a fan bus!
Bangkok Public Bus Ticket Price
The price of a public bus ticket depends on the bus route, type of the bus and time of your journey.
Where to buy a bus ticket?
Bangkok’s public bus ticket can be bought on board. Just get on the bus, find a place to sit and the conductor will approach you. You will definitely notice the conductor as they always have a long round metal box in their hand and quite often wear uniform (see below).
Regular or Fan Bus Ticket Price
The most common ticket price for fan bus in Bangkok is 9 Baht. There are also bus routes with a set price of 6.5 Baht which gets higher at night and becomes 8 or 8.5 Baht, depending on exact time. Expect to pay higher price after 11 pm.
How to know the exact price of your fan bus ticket? Sometimes you can find a bus fare table sticker on the window inside the bus but they are not so common.
Searching for a fare table or asking about the price isn’t worth it. Just pay 10 Baht for every person - it will always be enough and you will even get some change.
Air-con Bus Ticket Price
The price of the air-con bus ticket depends on the length of your journey. The air-con bus fare range is from 11 to 23 Baht for a single trip.
You will know the exact price of your journey on the bus. You just need to tell the conductor your destination - choose some famous landmark near your destination such as shopping mall, market or temple. The conductor will tell you the price and most probably even let you know when you need to get off as they are often quite helpful.
Taking a Public Bus in Bangkok
Getting on a bus
If you are at the bus stop and want to get on some bus, just raise your hand as normally buses here don’t stop if see no people willing to get on the bus. If the traffic is busy or there’s not enough space at the bus stop, don’t be surprised to see the bus stopping on the second or even third line of the road. Be careful but fast as the driver won’t wait too long if see you napping.
Inside a public bus
Normally all the windows in a fan bus are open making a ride on it quite pleasant if only it’s not jammed with people. Taking a fan bus is really fun as most probably you will be the only foreigner on that bus and you’ll be able to see and hear the real life on the streets of Bangkok. You might hate or love them, but that’s the streets of Bangkok that makes the capital of Thailand so special.
Environment on the air-con buses is much cleaner and more comfortable. If sweating in the heat of Bangkok is not your thing, you should choose one of these buses.
Getting off a bus
When you want to get off the bus at the next stop, you need to press one of red buzzer buttons that can usually be found on the walls or ceilings all around the bus. Be quick and careful when getting off the bus as bus drivers here are always ready to move on as soon as the feet of the last passenger touch the ground.