Travel Tips

Free Buses in Bangkok

The bus system in Bangkok can be a bit of a mystery if you don’t know the routes, but that’s the fun of exploring, right? But one useful thing to know about in the Bangkok metro area is the Bangkok free bus. Especially if you’re a backpacker, staying in a cheap hotel in Bangkok and eating street food, this makes keeping your budget even easier.

Granted, normal buses aren’t exactly breaking the bank with fares starting as low as 8 baht and setting you back maybe as much as 20 baht for one of the air-conditioned rides.

Watch for these buses with this blue message across the front window. It’s just hop on and hop off. If you are on a paying bus you’ll soon enough be approached by an attendant climbing around people and rattling a shiny canister of change.

Try out the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority’s website to see if you can find the bus number and route to get where you want to go.

Kevin Revolinski

Author, travel writer/photographer, world traveler. Writes about travel, hiking, camping, paddling, and craft beer.

6 thoughts on “Free Buses in Bangkok

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  • Michael Chick

    Yes, those buses are really free. Recently, the conductor would even issue you a ticket which says “Free” on it. Of course, it’s written all in Thai.

    Just look out for the Blue-Band with Thai words, which spans the front, rear and sometimes above the door by which you enter. Also do note, that it is ONLY the buses which looks like the one above which is free. Be forewarned that the primary purpose that this service was made free was so that the poorer Thai people need not be burdened by the burgeoning inflation, despite their salaries remaining static. For many that non-upward-mobility of their salaries has been that way for decades.

    Point being, that buses which looks like the one above are old, hot, not air-conditioned, and looks like it was stolen from the Museum, is because they probably were. And, on 4 occasions, I’ve suffered the misfortune of them breaking down, and on 2 occasions, had to get out and help push the bus, so that it did not obstruct traffic.

    Still, that’s all part of why we are all in Thailand.

    Bon Voyage

    • Great story! Indeed, that’s part of the fun of it. It also seems to me and my wife that the free-bus drivers are the craziest of the bunch. When I am standing I am being thrown around a lot more than usual. Good times! Before the new BTS stations opened I typically took the No. 2 free bus several stops to On Nut station.

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  • It seems pretty random whether a bus is free or not. Sometimes it seems to be if the conductor calls in sick.

    Also look out for one of the buses on the 25 route which has an awesome mini-shrine above the driver’s seat! There could be more like it.

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