Updated: September 12th 2014
| Thailand travel guides
Bangkok Mass Transit System or the BTS or Skytrain as it's more commonly referred to was opened in 1999. With 32 expanding stations and two major lines it has become a crucial and safe method for getting around the city.
The skytrains operate on an elevated rail platform linking major areas of importance within central Bangkok. It also links in several places to Bangkok's other transport system the MRT.
Over 600,000 people ride the BTS in Bangkok everyday
The BTS trains are provided by Siemens AG
The BTS skytrain is an excellent way to get around Bangkok's main shopping centers and it also links to the river boat pier at Saphan Taksin.
There are 32 stations all linked together around Bangkok so finding one is not that hard as they are above ground. You'll generally see the huge concrete pillars and skytrain tracks before a station.
Automated escalators and footsteps link footpaths to the elevated stations where you can purchase a ticket. These stations often provide easy methods to cross Bangkok's roads without buying a ticket.
Download a full sized version of this Map of Bangkok's MRT and BTS stations
There are four ways to buy a ticket for the BTS skytrain.
1) The most common method and easiest for tourists is to simply insert coins into the ticket machines located just before the barriers.
Beside each machine is a map showing your present location and the rest of the BTS stations. Each station is represented by a name and number. On the ticket machine press the number of the station. A price that usually corresponds to the station number will appear. Insert your coins (coins only) into the machine until it counts down to zero. A thin credit card sized ticket will then appear from a lower slot.
If you only have notes go to the kiosks located beside the barriers and they will give you changed (this is normal).
2) Newer ticket machines now accept notes.
3) In the event of a ticket machine breakdown the kiosks will give you a ticket but you can't normally buy directly from them.
4) Purchase a Rabbit card or a monthly / Weekly pass for the BTS. This is possible from the kiosks but it often does not work out cheaper for short stay tourists.
Thai's queue in relatively straight lines for the BTS skytrain. There's no pushing or skipping the queue!
When a skytrain approaches (roughly every 10 mins) it will stop with the doors directly in front of the yellow arrows on the ground. As the doors open wait until passengers disembark fully before entering.
Inside there will be bright yellow seats to sit on and cool air conditioning. Or if there are none available there are handrails that you should hold on to.
Do not lean on the doors.
There will be a map above the doors showing you where you are and the next stations. There are also announcements telling you what station is next.
- The BTS is a great way to get rid of your small change
- The BTS does not take 2 baht coins
- If you're with a group of people then having one person purchase all your tickets rather than individually will help with the queues
- If you miss a stop or go in the wrong direction just get off at the next stop and move platforms. There's no need to buy a new ticket
- The BTS can be very busy during certain hours and best to avoid if possible (4pm-8pm)
- Siam BTS stop is usually busy with all lines converging. Take your time in finding out what line you need
If you want to know about how to get around Bangkok then the following guides will help:
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