Although Bangkok has a wealth of transport options to get you from A to B, the BTS Skytrain is perhaps the quickest, easiest and most comfortable option. This guide will help you look like a local as you buy your tickets, find your way to the platform and continue your journey through Bangkok.
What is the BTS Skytrain?
Located high above the busy streets of Bangkok, the BTS Skytrain is an elevated metro system that zips around the city with ease allowing you to access the most popular regions within minutes. Rather than sitting in traffic in a cab or riding through the heat of the street in a tuk-tuk, board the air-conditioned Skytrain and whizz along the Sukhumvit and Silom lines so you can visit the business, market or nightlife districts of the city.
The BTS Skytrain currently only features two main lines but it is set for expansion so you can expect to be able to explore much more of the city with ease over the coming years.
Is the BTS Skytrain Expensive?
If you compare the BTS Skytrain prices to the local bus system across Bangkok, it may seem expensive, but relative to Europe and North America, the Skytrain seems like a reasonably priced option. The prices vary depending on the distance that you want to travel. So rather than having one price for a single ticket anywhere, the prices rise from 16 Baht ($0.50, £0.37, €0.42) for a journey of one stop, to 59 Baht ($1.81, £1.38, €1.57) for a journey across the whole system.
A better option if you think you will travel a lot throughout the day, is the one-day ticket which allows you unlimited travel across the system for 24 hours. This costs around 140 Baht ($4.29, £3.26, €3.72), so you’ll need to work out if it’s worth it.
If you’re staying in Bangkok for a while, you may want to consider buying a Rabbit Card. Similar to an Oyster Card in London, this is a pre-paid card system that you top up before you travel so you can easily just scan your card to enter the station platforms. The original card costs 100 Baht ($3.06, £2.33, €2.65) and then single tickets are one Baht less for each journey. Alternatively, you can purchase single tickets in bulk at a cheaper rate.
How to Buy a BTS Skytrain Ticket
If you wish to purchase a single ticket, you’ll need to do so from one of the machines that are dotted around each station. These machines only accept coins (and are sometimes a little funny about which they accept) so it’s best to have a variety of coins on you before travelling. If you have any trouble or need to change notes into coins, the staff in the ticket booths may be able to help.
Depending on whether you use an old or new ticket machine, the purchasing process will be slightly different. On new machines, simply select your destination and pay. On the old ones, rather than purchasing a ticket for a particular station, you’ll need to buy a ticket that corresponds to the fare amount that you need. There are usually little maps on the ticket machines that will help you figure it out. Look at the map, choose your fare, press the button on the machine that corresponds, then pay.
If you’d like to buy a Rabbit card, head to one of the ticket booths and the staff will be able to help you out.
Other Tips About Using the BTS Skytrain
- It’s useful to note that food and drink are not permitted anywhere on the trains of platforms (hence why they’re impeccably clean!) and security guards may carry out bag checks.
- Make sure you stand behind the yellow line while waiting for a train – you don’t want to get on the security guards’ bad side while waiting!
- Be aware that these trains don’t run late into the night, so you’ll need to plan ahead to make sure you’re not waiting around until the first trains start again at 5.30am!
- Siam is the main interchange station where you can switch between the Sukhumvit and Silom lines of the Skytrain.
- Stop off at Asok, Mo Chit and Sala Daeng stations if you wish to change to the MRT Subway lines.