Bang Saen and Beyond - Song Taew

My Trip +



Bang Saen locals using a song taew.
 


A button used to signal where you would like to get off the song taew.
 


The interior of a song taew.
 


The front of a song taew.
 

General Information

A song taew, (literally, 'two rows' in the English language), is a simple and authentic way to travel around Thailand. Song taews are easily recognizable two-door pick up trucks that feature two benches along the bed of the truck. Song taews are colour coded depending on which city they work within. Bang Saen song taews are red.

Catching a song taew is an easy process. The gesture used to catch a song taew is similar to that of the universal "taxi holler": stand on a curb or streetside in an area where it is safe for the truck to stop or pull off the road, put your arm out, or shake your head up and down in the "yes" motion. Song taews will also honk at pedestrians when the driver sees them walking, and a simple nod of the head will ensure they pull over for the pedestrian to hop on.

Song taews follow a specific route, and passengers can hop on and off at any point along the route. Routes are usually no longer than 20 minutes long. On the ceiling or the cage bars of the song taew roof there will be a button (either red, white or black) that is used to notify the driver that you would like to get off. Upon pressing this button, the driver will be notified by a buzzer and will pull over as soon as it is safe to do so.

You pay the driver upon exiting the song taew, at your desination.


Estimated Fare

Fares are usually dependent on the length of the route and the time of day (they tend to increase a few baht after sunset). The average cost of a song taew ride is 10 baht, but they can get as high as 30 baht. Any higher than 20 baht on a short route may be a sign that you are being ripped off; check with locals to get an idea about the going rate, and pay accordingly when you get off. Payment is given to the driver when exiting the song taew, and is per passenger.

Some examples of common song taew routes in Bang Saen, and the surrounding areas include:

RouteDistanceAverage Price (as of April 2015)
Burapha University to Bang Saen Beach4.1km10 baht
Burapha University to Nong Mon Market1.2 km10 baht
Nong Mon Market to Sriracha (Pacific Park Mall)12.8 km20-30 baht
Nong Mon Market to Chonburi (Central Plaza)8.8 km15-20 baht
Bang Saen Beach to Nong Mon Market4.8 km15-20 baht

Song taews are a favoured method of transit for locals. The purpose of a song taew is to assist locals and tourists alike with inner city or short intermunicipal travel, not long distance journeys. Generally, a song taew is used when a motor cycle taxi ride would be too long and expensive, but the distance is not long enough to warrant another method of transport.

Song taews are one of the more environmentally friendly options for travel in Bang Saen. The number of passengers that can use a song taew reduces its carbon footprint per passenger. This being said, song taews will run their route all day whether there are passengers on board or not, and a significant minority of them are in poor mechanical condition, belching diesel fumes and polluting the air.

Safety

Overall, song taews are a cheap, reliable, and relatively safe way to get around inner city Thailand (compared, for example, with motorcycle taxis). If seating benches are full, additional passengers may also stand on a small platform at the rear of the truck. Though exhilarating, this can be dangerous, and is sometimes necessary if space is at a premium - so proceed with caution.


Where to Catch a Song Taew

Song taews can be found virtually anywhere in Bang Saen and the surrounding areas. Major Bang Saen hubs where song taews will always be found include Nong Mon Market and Laemtong Bangsaen Mall.

Laemtong Bangsaen

Long Had Road, Bangsaen Soi 2
Saen Suk, Chon Buri District
Chon Buri 20130


Nong Mon Market

Chonburi District, Chon Buri

Street view of Nong Mon Market near the southernmost pedestrian overpass, showing northbound song taews on Sukhumvit Road. The destination from this point may be either Bang Saen or Chonburi; ask the driver ( "Pai Chonburi mai [ka / khrap]?" or "Pai Bang Saen mai [ka / khrap]?").

Song taews on the opposite side of the pedestrian overpass in the southbound lane are orange, and go south through Bang Phra to Sriracha along Sukhummvit Road.


The main song taew stop in Nong Mon Market is located near the southernmost pedestrian overpass over Sukhumvit Road. Song taews in the northbound lane are red, and go to either Chonburi or back into Bang Saen; ask the driver ( "Pai Chonburi mai?" or "Pai Bang Saen mai?").
Song taews on the opposite side of the pedestrian overpass in the southbound lane are orange, and go south through Bang Phra to Sriracha along Sukhummvit Road.