Getting around Bangkok is relatively easy as most places of interest, shopping malls and eateries are well-connected via an extensive transportation network. While transport options are inexpensive, I do like to explore the city on foot which is a good way to exercise (burn more calories to eat more street food later, lol) and experience the vibrant street life. At the same time, we can avoid the much-dreaded traffic jams.
I had been on the taxi, tuk tuk, BTS and MRT countless times but I hadn’t tried taking the public bus yet. Hence I thought of trying it out one morning since I was planning to go to Yaowarat Road where Chinatown was.
We got to the bus stop that was right below the Siam BTS Station on Rama 1 Road. It was situated in front of Siam Square One and opposite Siam Paragon. You should see McDonald’s and the Siam Paragon sign across the road.
This was the bus stop sign. Make sure there is 73 on it as it will be the bus to take to Chinatown.
This was how bus 73 looked like. Flag it down, get up the bus and find a seat first. The bus conductor will approach you to ask where you’re going and then will tell you how much the bus fare is. It cost 13 baht to get from Rama 1 Road to Yaowarat Road.
Once the bus conductor has collected the fare from you, he/she will then issue you these bus tickets. By the way, don’t worry if you don’t have small change as the bus conductor will be able to give change back.
The bus looked really old-school and run-down like the old SBS buses I used to take in the 80s. But good thing was, there was aircon in the bus so it was still quite a cooling and pleasant ride. Well, except it was a little bumpy too, lol.
The journey from Siam to Yaowarat Road took around 15-20 minutes. The bus travelled along Rama I Road till it passed MBK Center/National Stadium BTS Station. It then turned left onto Banthat Thong Road and turned right onto Rama IV Road. Next, it turned left onto Lamphun Chai Road and finally, onto Yaowarat Road. Pretty straightforward route. Traffic condition was quite alright too though it was a Saturday morning (8am+).
When we were about to reach Chinatown, the bus conductor announced the destination and gave us a signal that we could alight at the next stop. Not sure if she would normally do that as she didn’t announce the previous stops so I had a feeling she was merely helping us out as we weren’t locals.
We did what the others did earlier so instead of pressing the bell, we just walked towards the door as an indication to the bus driver that we would like to alight. The bus wouldn’t come to a complete stop. Even when the door opened, the bus was still moving slowly so you would need to hop off the bus swiftly. Just be careful while doing so.
This was the bus stop where we alighted once the bus turned into Yaowarat Road. It was right in front of this pharmacy on 516 Yaowarat Road.
And it was on the opposite side of Chinatown Scala Shark’s Fin Restaurant and Shanghai Mansion Bangkok.
We spent a whole morning exploring Chinatown. Will write more about it on a separate post right after this because there are too many pictures to share.
As for the return bus trip, you will have to get to a bus stop along Charoen Krung Road. As Yaowarat Road is a one-way traffic road, it’s not as straightforward as just crossing the road to the opposite side to take the bus back to Siam.
Depending on which part of Yaowarat Road you’re at, you will have to walk to Charoen Krung Road via any of the following roads – Maha Chak, Soi Charoen Krung 12, Ratchawong, Mangkon, Plaeng Nam or Phadung Dao. Just make sure the bus stop you’re at has bus 73 on it.
The bus stop we came to was right outside Muang Thai Life Assurance Public Company. It had a striking pink sign on the outside facade (see below picture).
The return journey also took around 15-20 minutes.
From the bus stop, the bus travels straight along Charoen Krung Road before turning left onto Mittraphan Road. It will go around the roundabout and then exit Maitri Chit Road onto Rama IV Road. Turns left onto Banthat Thong Road and turns right onto Rama I Road. The bus stop to alight is right in front of Siam Center where the Sephora store is.
It was really very convenient to take the bus to/from Chinatown. Didn’t really experience any bad traffic jam along the way. Probably because we went in the morning and returned by early afternoon. And best of all, the fare is really cheap (approx. SGD0.50 per person). Also, it saves us the hassle to negotiate with taxi drivers who normally charge flat fees instead of going by the meter because of ‘heavy traffic’ at Yaowarat Road.
Yay! Finally did this little bus adventure in Bangkok. I might just take the bus next time to explore other places that are slightly off the beaten track.
If going on a public bus isn’t quite your kind of adventure, you can always take the MRT to Hua Lamphong Station. Chinatown/Yaowarat Road is just a 10-15 minute walk away.