BTS Skytrain (Bangkok, Thailand)

Not all too trustful of the tuk-tuks? In Thailand’s congested capital, the efficient transport backbone is the Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) Skytrain, which was opened to the public in 1999 and currently undergoing expansion. Modeled after Vancouver’s, this elevated rail system runs through 23 stations along two lines– Silom and Sukhumvit–that tangentially interchange at Siam Station. While traveling, one can observe cosmopolitan Bangkokians–students, white-collared workers, hipsters–nonchalantly shuffle in and out of the cars, as LCD screens blaring silly commercials try to catch their divided attention.

The air-conditioned Skytrain can shuttle you quickly and comfortably through central Bangkok, taking you to several of its business, shopping and entertainment areas like Patpong (Sala Daeng Station) and the “sois” of Sukhumvit (Nana Station). Maps and signs in English are abundant so it’s easy to find your way around. Unfortunately, neither of the two lines can take you directly to the tourist center of Ko Ratanakosin where the city’s most famous sights can be found. However, one can alight at Saphan Taksin Station where the Silom Line terminates by the Chao Phraya River, and take a ferry upriver from the Central Pier to Tha Tien, near the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace. 

Free route maps of the Skytrain and MRT (the subway train or “Metro”) can be conveniently found at Suvarnabhumi Airport, train stations and other tourist centers. Preview an on-line route here. Single journey tickets range from THB 15.00 to 40.00, but special passes are also available. Ticketing options are outlined here.

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