Local Buses in Bangkok
Traveling by local bus around Bangkok is possible, but you are faced with two challenges.
- Language will bo your first because all signs on the buses, including the one in front saying where it is going, are in Thai. Your only alternative is to try to find out the number of the bus that you need. That isn’t so easy to do sometimes either. Knowing where to get off the bus can also be an issue.
- Physicality is another major challenge. The degree of the physical challenge depends on the type of bus. One challenge they all share is that they stop as briefly as they possibly can. Thus getting on can be dangerous.
Challenging buses are the small green ones. They are often packed and you have to stand. Unfortunately, if you’re over about five feet tall, you’ll have to bend over.
These buses are not air-conditioned and they are driven by NASCAR wannabees. Be prepared to have the wits scared out of you while being jostled and bounced around.
There are two other types of buses with no air conditioning. They are large regular sized buses and are either red or white. These aren’t especially pleasant to ride on either. The fare is about 5 baht depending on your destination.
Blue or orange air-conditioned buses are the best, but that is not to say they are good. Fares go up to 20 baht, depending on your destination.
Given the challenges, add in the issue of serious problems with traffic, and you probably conclude that there is no need to go by bus.
Unlike the humble, hot and sticky tuk-tuk which provides free fumes from the traffic, taking a bus in not a “must try” for your trip to Bangkok.
Bangkok buses are frequently full of passengers and that raises the issue of who to give your seat to. To be polite, you should give your seat to a woman who is pregnant, a handicapped or elderly person, or a monk.
You should also give it up to an adult who is carrying an infant. Many Thais will give up their seat to a very young child. Some won’t give it up to anyone.