TRAVEL ABOUT

SKYTRAIN

This Bangkok BTS Route Guide has been designed to help you discover all the interesting sites and activities surrounding each station so that you can get more out of your BTS-hopping experience through Bangkok.

THERE ARE TWO BTS LINES:

SILOM LINE runs west to south, between the National Stadium in the Siam shopping area and Bang Wa in Thonburi (across the Chao Phraya River).

SUKHUMVIT LINE runs north to east from Mo Chit to Bearing. The two lines meet at Siam Station, and also connect at two points with the underground (MRT) – at Sala Daeng Station (Silom Line) and Asok Station (Sukhumvit Line). A new train arrives every 3 – 6 minutes or so between 06:30 and midnight. The last train leaves between 23:30 and 23:50. Fares start at 15 baht for one stop.

Note that trains can get pretty full during peak hours (07:00 – 09:00 and 16:00 – 19:00), as the BTS has also become the choice mode of transport for people living and working in Bangkok.

Fares and Skytrain Passes: The BTS Rabbit cards are used to access all stations. Fares start at 15 baht per one stop. A one-day pass may be a good option for those planning to do a lot of hopping on and off for one full day. But if you plan to be in Bangkok for a while, it might be a good idea to buy the BTS Smart Pass. One-day Pass Unlimited travel within the duration of a single day for 120 baht. Ideal for tourists. Standard Rabbit Card / Stored Value Cards These are available for 100 baht plus 50 baht refundable deposit. The Standard Rabbit Cards are valid for 5 years and can be filled with a minimum of 100 baht and up to 4,000 baht.

 

MRT

Fast and efficient, the Mass Rapid Transit network (MRT) serves 18 stations and stretches for 20 km in a horseshoe shape from Hua Lamphong in the South (near Chinatown) to Bang Sue in the north. Trains arrive every 5-7 minutes, and connect to the BTS Skytrain at Sukhumvit and Silom stations.

Stops of particular interest to visitors include Kampaengphet (Chatuchak Weekend Market, Or Tor Kor Market and Rod Fai Market), Sukhumvit (Asok BTS Skytrain), Silom (Saladaeng BTS Skytrain, Pat Pong Night Market and Lumpini Park) and Hua Lamphong (Chinatown and Central Railway Station).

The Petchaburi Station is about 300m from the Airport Rail Link’s Makkasan Interchange Station, where you can board the express train to Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Bangkok MRT Route Guide The Bangkok MRT underground runs underneath Rama IV and Ratchadapisek Roads, the two thoroughfares that cut through the heart of downtown Bangkok. Although additional lines and extensions are in the pipeline, it currently only comprises the blue line, serving 18 stations from Hua Lamphong to Bang Sue. Trains every five minutes in peak times (07:00 – 09:00, 16:00 – 19:00) and every seven minutes at other times. Hua Lamphong Nearby: Chinatown, Central Railway Station Sam Yan Nearby: Jim Thompson Shop, Chamchuri Square, Snake Farm Silom Nearby: Patpong Night Market, Saladaeng BTS Skytrain, Dusit Thani Hotel, Lumpini Park Lumpini Nearby: Lumpini Park, Lumpini Boxing Stadium, Vertigo and Moon Bar (at Banyan Tree Bangkok), The Sukhothai Bangkok Klong Toei Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre Nearby: Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, Stock Exchange of Thailand Sukhumvit Nearby: Asok BTS Skytrain, The Long Table Bangkok, Terminal 21, Soi Cowboy, Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Phetchaburi Nearby: Airport Rail Link’s Makkasan Station, Rama 9 Nearby: Central Plaza Rama 9, Fortune Town, Grand Mercure Fortune Bangkok Thailand Cultural Centre Nearby: The Esplanade, Siam Niramit Huay Kwang Nearby: Swissotel le Concorde, Mansion 7 Sutthisarn Ratchadapisek Lad Phrao Phaholyothin Nearby: Central Plaza Lad Phrao, Union Mall Chatuchak Nearby: Chatuchak Weekend Market, Chatuchak Park, Rod Fai Park Kampaengphet Nearby: Or Tor Kor Market, Rod Fai Market, Chatuchak Weekend Market Bang Sue

Other Useful Information The MRT underground service hours is 06:00 – midnight Parking is provided at seven stations: Sam Yan, Sukhumvit, Phetchaburi, Thailand Cultural Centre, Huai Khwang, Ratchadaphisek and Kamphaeng Phet. All stations have facilities (lifts) for disabled people. If you want to go to Lumpini Park, do not get off at Lumpini Station. Exit at Silom Station. If you want to go to Central Lad Phrao, do not get off at Lad Phrao Station. Exit at Phaholyothin Station. If you want to go to Chatuchak Market, do not get off at Chatuchak Park Station. Exit at Kamphaeng Phet Station. If you want to go to Thailand Cultural Center, you will need to get a taxi from the station. The Thailand Cultural Centre is a fair distance from Thailand Cultural Centre Station. The MRT underground’s Stored Value Cards are not compatible with the BTS Skytrain or Airport Rail Link. You must purchase the passes separately.

TAXIS

Besides the BTS and MRT, the easiest and most convenient way to get around Bangkok is by taxi. Most taxis are new, spacious and, in addition to the traditional green-yellow and red-blue, they also come in funky colours like bright orange, red and even pink. Finding a taxi is not a hassle, especially around hotels, shopping malls and other tourist attractions. However, you’re in for a really long wait when it rains, and during rush hours. The fare starts at 35 baht, and stays there for the first two kilometres. Thereafter, the fare gradually works its way up with 2 baht at a time (roughly per kilometre). A surcharge applies in traffic jams (1.25 baht per metre when moving under 6 km per hour). Typical taxi fares for going a few kilometres are around 50 baht. Communication can be a problem with the majority of Bangkok’s taxi drivers as they often speak little English. Improvise, and be imaginative. Overall, there’s never a shortage of taxis in a city that never sleeps, excepts when it starts raining of course. They’re cheap and available virtually 24 hours a day. Meter taxis now predominate, but sometimes you may have to politely (but firmly) ask them to switch the meter on to save negotiating later. Since taxis are cheap and the drivers work all hours in traffic that is legendary, a small tip is often appreciated.

TUK TUK: Tuk-tuks or ‘sam lor’ (three-wheeled) used to be everyone’s favourite way of getting around Bangkok before the BTS, MRT and colourful taxis took over. Originating from an old-fashioned rickshaw during the second World War, a tuk-tuk is essentially a rickshaw with a small engine fitted in. Tuk-tuks have become one of Bangkok’s most recognisable transportation features, and are still popular among tourists and visitors. Riding a tuk-tuk is more of an experience rather than a practical way to get around. So, if it’s your first time in The Big Mango, there’s no harm in giving it a go

Fares vary, depending on the distance traveled, the time of the day, the traffic, and the mood of the drivers. Normally a very short trip will cost 30 baht. Fare negotiating and haggling is a must because the price named by the driver is always an ‘inflated rate’ (especially if you’re a tourist). The trick is to negotiate 5 – 15 baht off the proposed fare, and take it from there. Be careful of the ‘mafia’ tuk-tuks around touristy areas, who often boasts privileged knowledge of ‘secret’ or ‘special’ shopping places and things. Some of them may offer sightseeing tours and unsolicited help to take you places. A short and sweet “no, thanks” will save you from their scams. The same rule applies to taxis. Avoid taking a tuk-tuk during peak hours (07:00 – 09:00, 16:00 – 19:00). You don’t want to be stuck in traffic for hours, sweating and breathing in the hazardous fumes from engines all around you. Tuk-tuks are most ideal for short trips. Sometimes it would cost the same, or even cheaper, to take a cab to the same destination, but it will go a lot faster.

MOTORBIKE TAXI: If you are brave one of the fastest ways to get around town when you’re a solitary traveller is to jump on a motorbike taxi. By being able to dodge the almost constant gridlock and dart in and out between cars and buses, motorbikes are a quick way to get around, especially during rush hours. Considering Bangkok’s notorious traffic conditions, it is probably also the most dangerous!Despite the immediate hazards, fearless motorbike taxi drivers will do anything to get you to your destination quickly, even if it means driving on sidewalks or in the opposing traffic lane! – many brave passengers opt for the two-wheeled vehicles to take them all over town. Motorbike taxi drivers are easily recognised. Wearing numbered orange vests, groups of motorbike drivers can be spotted congregating in groups near street corners of office or shopping buildings, busy roads, smaller ‘sois’ (streets), and near Skytrain and underground stations. Fares will start from 10 baht for short journeys, and varies depending on how far you go. For certain routes, the fare will be fixed, and you’ll sometimes see a board displaying prices. But make sure you negotiate prior to the journey, or else you might find yourself paying more than the locals. Always wear a safety helmet – not only for obvious reasons, but because foreigners are easy targets for spot fines (up to 1,000 baht, depending on the mood of the traffic officer).

Chao Phraya River should be high on any tourist’s agenda. The cheapest and most popular option is the Chao Phraya Express Boat, basically an aquatic bus plying up and down the river. The basic service plies from Wat Rajsingkorn (S4) all the way north to Nonthaburi (N30), with stops at most of Rattanakosin’s major attractions including the Grand Palace (at Tha Chang) and Wat Pho (at Tha Tien). The closest pier to Khao San Road is Phra Arthit. Enter the express boat at the numerous piers and pay for the trip at ticket collector, who will approach you bearing a long metal cylinder. At some bigger piers you can buy the ticket before boarding. When the metal cylinder lady approaches you, just show her the ticket you bought on the pier.

The different boat lines are indicated by the colours of the flags at the top of the boat. These flags can be confusing; don’t think the yellow King’s flag corresponds to the yellow line flag! There is a basic “no flag” line (9, 11 or 13 baht) that goes along all the piers, but it only runs during rush hours (M-F 06:20-8:05 and 15:00-17:30) and is fairly slow. It’s better to take the faster yellow (19 or 28 baht, M-F 06:15-08:10 and 15:30-18:05) and orange (15 baht, daily 06:00-19:00) flag lines, but you have to be sure where you’re going as they don’t stop everywhere. The yellow line is the fastest, but is best avoided as it skips many popular attractions (including Khao San Road, the Grand Palace and Wat Pho). The orange line is your best bet, as it covers the major tourist areas and is fairly quick too.

In addition to the workaday express boat, there is also a blue flagged Tourist Boat which stops at a different subset of piers, offers commentary in English and charges 150 baht for a day pass. Single tickets are 40 baht. The boats are slightly more comfortable and may be worth considering if you want to cruise up and down the most important tourist sights. They only operate once per 30 minutes and stop running by 15:00. Be careful as they may tell you the (cheaper) orange flag regular boat is not coming for quite a while (as they are aggressively touting for business), but sometimes this is not the truth. If you want the tourist experience with guide and (very) loud speaker commentary, often unintelligible, then this is the one for you. However, be aware that you are fully entitled to enter the public piers (the ones with the blue lettering on white background with pier numbers on them) and get the orange flag boat as these are public places and you don’t need a ticket before boarding the comfortable and speedy orange-flag boat.

The signposting of the piers is quite clear, with numbered piers and English route maps. Sathorn (Taksin) pier has been dubbed “Central” station, as it offers an quick interchange to Saphan Taksin BTS station. The boats run every 5-20 minutes from sunrise to sunset (roughly 06:00-19:00), so ignore any river taxi touts who try to convince you otherwise.

Many piers are also served by cross-river ferries. These are particularly useful for reaching Wat Arun or the many piers at the Thonburi side of the river. Cross-river ferries run around every 10 minutes and only cost 3 baht — pay at the kiosk on the pier and then walk through the turnstile.