It’s no secret that Bangkok has a traffic problem, and traveling between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. can be frustrating and time consuming as you become lost in a series of traffic jams. However, there is an alternative that can make traveling through the city easy and enjoyable.
The Bangkok Mass Transport System – usually called the BTS or Skytrain – began operation on December 5, 1999. It is an elevated metro, consisting of two lines and 23 stations. For people wishing to explore the center of Bangkok, the Skytrain offers a fast, pollution-free service and a different vantage point.
The average journey costs 10-30 baht, much cheaper than a taxi or tuk-tuk. The automatic ticket machines only take 5 and 10 baht coins, so take plenty of change if you want to avoid queuing at the change counter. You can also purchase a day ticket, which offers unlimited trips for just 120 baht.
Called Rot Fai Fah in Thai – car with fire up in the air – the Skytrain connects with areas such as Siam, Sukhumvit and Silom. The best way to experience the Skytrain from Khaosan Road is to take the ferry from pier 13 to Saphan Taksin, which connects with the last stop on the Silom line. It is good to note that the stations on the Skytrain use a slightly different phonetic spelling to usually seen on maps and signs around Bangkok. Try saying the words aloud and if they sound similar then you’re on the right track.
Here’s a break down of what you can find at each stop:
Saphan Taksin: Journey starts here. Follow the signs from the river up the steps and purchase your ticket.
Surasak: Not much here, but there are some good, cheap restaurants.
Chong Nonsi: Close to the Thai Immigration Bureau on Soi Suan Phlu (Sathorn soi 3).
Sala Daeng: (Interchange with MRT). This is the stop for Patpong, where you can barter in the market or slip into one of the bars for livelier entertainment. Stop here for Convent Road.
Ratchadamri: Stop here for elevated views of the horse racing track, or some of the swankier hotels such as the Regent Hotel.
Siam (Central Station): Bangkok’s main shopping district. Siam Square, Siam Centre, Discovery Center, Paragon and MBK are all close by.
National Stadium: End of the Silom Line. Jim Thompson’s House is a short walk from here.
Wongwian Yai: Gets you over the river and closer to some of the main tourism sites.
Mo Chit (Morchit): A good way to get to Chatuchak park and market. Suan Rot fai, the park behind Chatuchak, is also worth exploring. Connects with the North-East Bus Terminal and MRT.
Saphan Khwai: Stop here for Thai-style bars and go-go bars.
Aree: Villa Market Complex can provide food for homesick palets, as can the range of restaurants and cafes.
Sanam Pao: Means ‘Shooting Field’ in Thai.
Victory Monument: Stop here for live music at the Saxophone Pub, or explore the stalls dotted around this area.
Phaya Thai: Here you will find some restaurants offering delicious Isaan food. Look out for ‘Tee Sud Isaan Inter Restaurant’.
Ratchathewi: This is the stop for Panthip Plaza and the Pratunam Shopping Center, which has a good international food court.
Siam (Central Station): Change for the Silom line to go back to Khaosan Road.
Chit Lom: Stop here for up market shopping centers such as Amarin Plaza, Gaysorn Plaza and Central World Plaza.
Ploen Chi: There is a sky bridge connecting to the pedestrian bridge next to the British Embassy.
Nana: Home of Nana Plaza, and the main soi with its inviting neon-clad bars as well as Nana Hotel and Landmark Hotel.
Asok (Asoke): Interchange with MRT. Stop here for Soi Cowboy.
Phrom Phong: The Emporium is here and you can also explore The Queen’s Park (Benja Siri Park).
Tong Lo (Tong Lor): Soi Tong Lo (Sukhumvit 55) has a wide range of bars just waiting to be explored. Check out The Robin Hood Pub, Wiches Tavern and Coliseum Brew Arena.
Ekkamai: Connects with the Eastern Bus Terminal. The Science Museum here is worth visiting.
Phra Khanong: Get off here for the Hua Mark Stadium.
Om Nut: Closest stop to Suvarnapoomi airport – for now, at least.
See the BTS website