Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS, Skytrain)
The BTS is an elevated subway that runs over top the busy streets of Bangkok. Making city travel simple, the BTS has 34 stations, running along 2 lines (as of March 2015). Locals and tourists alike have unlimited access of utilizing the BTS to get around the city efficiently. Other modes of transport are respectful in having stations in remote areas to the BTS allowing users to hop from one to the other with ease.
The cheapest way to get to the BTS is to take a B1 Bus (blue air conditioned tour bus) from the terminal in Nong Mon Market to the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai Bus Terminal) on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok. It is located very close to the Ekamai BTS Skytrain station. Though not the closest BTS terminal to Bang Saen, the connection is fuss-free and convenient since the Eastern Bus Terminal is the final stop on the bus route.
Upon arrival at the bus terminal, make your way to the Ekamai BTS terminal above Sukhumvit Road and board the Skytrain.
You may also take a minivan from in front of Burapha University to take you to the BTS for a slightly higher fee (and risk - the minivans drive notoriously quickly!).
If you budget permits, you can hire a private minivan or taxi to take you to the nearest BTS station.
The Sukhumvit Line
Interchange: Siam station at Siam Paragon Shopping Centre
The Silom Line
Depending on where you get on the BTS and where you plan to depart the fare can increase or decrease by a few Thai baht. The ticket purchasing booths and maps of the BTS route coordinate at each stop, labeling the prices on button options, and map labels. Instructions on how to use the ticket purchasing booth are written in English, and very simple to follow granted you have an idea of where you want to depart the BTS.
The cost usually starts around 15 baht, and reaches about 52 baht.
Ticket purchasing booths usually only take coins of 1, 5, 10 baht, (be sure to hoard all your change!), if not customer service desks (labelled 'ticket office') are usually on top of having change ready for those in need.
Once you have selected your destination and paid the appropriate price, a ticket card will be dispensed which you use to enter the gates to get TO the BTS platform. This card needs to be inserted into the slot, the gate will open (for one person only), and then the card will be returned. Tip: Keep this card in a handy spot until you are done utilizing the BTS. Once you have entered the gate you can either take the escalator or stairs and get up to the train platform and wait until the next one comes. Tip: DO NOT CROSS THE YELLOW LINE. Once you have reached the platform you will see arrows that direct pedestrians on the subway where to walk when they get off and where you should be standing while waiting to get on. There will be a yellow line in front of the glass entrance doors along the entire platform and you are not to cross it unless getting on or off the train.
Once on the train, you will notice there are illuminated maps above the doors that indicate what stop the train is currently at and what stop is next, very simple to follow. There is also a voice announcing each stop before it is reached. Once you notice it is time to get off, GET OFF! The train can get crowded, so ensure you are ready to get off when it is your time! Always be alert, or you will miss your stop.
Upon departure follow the signs that read "Exit" and they will bring you downstairs, where (as you were warned) you will need your ticket card. Once again you slot your ticket card into the machine but this time it will not be returned. You exit the gate and thus enjoy Bangkok!
BTS fares range from 15-52 baht (as of April 2015) based on the number of stops travelled.
If you plan on utilizing the Skytrain on a regular basis during your stay in Bangkok there is also the option of purchasing a Rabbit Card.This card is prepaid and can be used at all entrance and exit gates. It is electronic and only a swipe over a chip pad is necessary. The Rabbit Card is also useful for payment at other services around the BTS like McDonalds, and Starbucks.
Environmentally, the BTS Skytrain system is very complementary in promoting green choices. The BTS promotes "car-pooling", as hundreds of thousands of people utilize the BTS daily, rather than choosing a vehicle or bike. The ticket cards needed to enter the BTS gates are continuously recycled and reused evidently seen through the weathered appearance of the cards. The BTS is steady and spacious creating optimal benefits for riders who need some extra room, or find themselves missing the train!
After years of being an on again off again project, the BTS has been completed, still currently looking to be added to, and has taken over Bangkok travel. Imitating the model of Vancouvers Skytrain was the plan, yet was interfered due to an unforeseen political circumstance and the project was cancelled as only 10% was complete..Thai government wanted to decrease traffic congestion, and the Skytrain did not seem plausible, yet implementing more expressways did. The plan to add more roadway infrastructure backfired and congestion only increased. The then Governor Major General and his Deputy were directed to implement a new feeder system and soon after the Deputy took over the Governor Major General position as he proposed the concete fundamentals for the Skytrain to operate. The then Deputy and his team from Bangkok Metropolitan Administration found investors to build the Skytrain, and allowed the city to supervise. After years of failed attempts, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn opened the Skytrain on December 5th 1999.
Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company Limited
BTS Building, 1000 Phahonyothin Rd., Chomphon, Chatuchak Bangkok 10900 Thailand
Telephone: (66) 2617 7300
Fax: (66) 2617 7133 / 2617 7155
BTS Hotline: (66) 2617 6000 Daily from: 06:00 - 24:00
Tourist Information Centre: (66) 2617 7341 Daily from: 08:00 - 20:00