Transport is always a task when you visit a new place whether it’s a city, state or a country. While it’s also a great joy and a beginning of a new experience, knowing some facts of the place always help. I agree that in this digital age, we can get all the information online for everything.
Hence I’m also doing my bit for the universe by sharing few details which I think would be beneficial during their stay in one of the most attractive tourist destinations on Earth i.e. Thailand.
I visited Bangkok and Pattaya last week.
In this post, I shall mention my experiences visiting these places in Bangkok and Pattaya with the transport.
The key here is to travel smart and cheap. There are many modes of transport right from the local buses, tuk-tuks (their version of the auto-rickshaw), private cabs, meter based taxis, bike taxis and Uber.
This is how they range from Cheapest to Costliest for a minimum of 2 kms;
- Local bus
- BTS Metro
- Tuk – Tuk
- Bike Taxi
- Meter based taxis
- Uber and finally,
- Private Cabs
The local buses will always be the cheapest for ticket prices as low as 8 THB from Pratunam to MBK Mall.
Bike Taxis are available on almost every crowded street. Here too you need to be cautious as they quote higher prices when they realize you are a tourist. You shouldn’t be paying more than 30-50 THB unless they have a board with pricing fixed. Also please wear a helmet as being tourists we are easy targets for spot fines which can go up-to a total of 1000 THB for one offense.
The BTS Metro line starts right from the Airport and goes on to a stop ahead of Pratunam. There are a total of 7 stops from the airport. To reach Pratunam , you need to get off at the 7th stop I.e. Ratchaprarop. The metro charges are not more than 40 THB per person. It’s smart, effective and the fastest way to reach your destination.
The tuk tuk is the next cheapest. They should basically charge you anything lesser than 120 THB.
P.S – For a tourist, they play a good game. They’d quote something outrageous like 300 THB. They know you will bargain. You will bring it down to a maximum of 180-200 THB. He will cave in to that. You think you saved a lot of money but he still made a lot of money on a smaller distance.
Meter based taxis are a good option as you pay as the meter. The only downfall here is that the minimum fare will begin from 35 THB. So even if it is a small distance you will have to shell out 35 THB + the fare for additional 2 km ride.
Uber is a last resort kind of an option when you are begin quoted exorbitant prices from all the above options. You go online and check the cost. If it’s cheaper than all then good for you. If not, then you might have to use your bargaining skills to the optimum to get the correct fare.
Private Cabs are the costliest. They charge a higher amount. The only plus point being they will be dedicated to you only for the day. These cabs are mostly for tour packages and all day tours and also for transfer from your hotel to either Pattaya / Airport.
Conclusion: My first suggestion is that you take all the information from the receptionist at the hotel you reside. They know what are the proper rates and that will definitely help you bargain and use the transport for a proper charge. I did the same. Although for the first evening I did pay more for the tuk-tuk.
For those who would like to go to Pattaya from Bangkok, there is a bus stop which is almost 1.5 kms away from Pratunam. It is called as Ekamai bus station. From here Air conditioned buses ply from Bangkok to Pattaya almost every 30-45 mins. The prices are a meager 100-120 THB per person for a 2-3 hour ride.
I know that once the locals get to know you’re a tourist, then getting the correct pricing is almost like an impossible task. Although I must say I did encounter some good folks who charged me correctly and also helped me with my itinerary.
Pattaya on the other hand has 3 overall modes of transport options which I witnessed;
Tuk-Tuk mini bus
Here, the Tuk-Tuk has a seating capacity for almost 10-12 people. The pricing here is very basic for a tourist starting from a minimum of 50 THB. I’m sure the locals are charged lesser but we don’t get that kind of a luxury. For sure you’ll find drivers who will charge you outrageous prices for a small distance but it’s best to keep the information handy by talking to the staff in the hotel you reside in.
I resided right opposite the Alcazar theatre. Here are the places I visited from my place and the costs:
Alcazar to Underwater World – 60 THB
Alcazar to Bus station – 50 THB
Most of the places were walking distance for us hence we didn’t use the transport a lot.
Here too like Bangkok, there are bike taxis and you must ask them upfront regarding the rates. Most of the time they’ll have a board with prices mentioned. Although I did find using the tuk tuk mini buses more convenient.
There are bikes that can be rented too. I don’t have the exact pricing for this but online it’s mentioned that for a 100-125 cc bike you can get charged anywhere between 150-300 THB per day. Please do carry your license and also wear a helmet or else be ready to pay fines!
There are metered taxis and private cabs too who will help you reach your destination but the pricing would be very high and hence I request you to roam through pattaya via the tuk tuk mini buses.
Finally, I hope this post helps those who would be traveling to this amazing country. It’s worth it.
My next post in this series will be on Stay and things to do in Bangkok.
The post will be up tomorrow.
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