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When you visit Bangkok for the first time, the traffic might overwhelm you a bit! Especially during rush hour traffic is often very chaotic and busy. Cars, busses, mopeds and Tuk Tuk’s all try to conquer a piece of asphalt. Which regularly makes taxi passengers decide to get out and walk. But there is help from above… High above this chaos floats the BTS, also called the Sky Train. Safe, fast and also airco cooled! Especially during rush hour it’s recommended to use the Sky Train. Besides the BTS there also is a metro network in Bangkok, called the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit). At some points the MRT has connections with the Sky Train. It’s safe and fast as well, but has the disadvantage that you do not see much of Bangkok while traveling.
Book a hotel in the vicinity of a BTS or MRT station, this way you will not have to depend on a taxi or Tuk Tuk all the time and you won’t be stuck in traffic during rush hour.
How the BTS Sky Train works
Honestly, it can happen that the Sky Train train is almost full during rush hour. There are two options: Either you try to wriggle your way in or you wait for the next train. This never lasts longer than ten minutes. On the platform there are indicators and arrows where the doors will be when the Sky Train stops. The average Thai will line up neatly here. To get on the platform you usually take the escalator or stairs from street level. Often you will see the large concrete pillars before you reach the station.
The BTS runs whole week from 6 am to 12 pm. The last train leave between 11:30 and 11:50 PM. At the stations you find vending machines where you can buy tickets. Be aware that some even older machines (TIM = Ticket Issuing Machine) only accept coins. The most common and newest vending machines accept coins and bills. If you don’t have any change, you can change it at one of the counters, which are often located near the gates. If ticket machine is broken you can buy a ticket here, but normally you can only exchange money here.
Spending the night near a BTS station
Below we have described a number of good accommodations around two BTS stations. We regularly sleep near a BTS station so that we can travel through Bangkok very quickly and easily.
What does the BTS Sky Train cost?
The price of a ticket depends on the number of stops you are going to make. For the first stop you pay 16 baht (2018) per person for a one-way ticket. For each stop you pass, you pay a little more. This does not automatically mean double the fare if, for example, you pass a second stop. To give you an idea of the price of the BTS Sky Train; the Silom line consists of 13 stops in 2018, if you buy a ticket from the starting point National Stadium to Bang Wa (end station) it costs 59 baht. The Sukhumvit line has 24 stops (in 2018) and also for that you pay 59 baht if you travel from the beginning (Mo Chit) to the end station (Bearing). But if you get off at Victory Monument and then get back on the Sky Train to Bearing the total journey will cost you 92 baht. Travelling from A to B in one go is therefore cheaper than getting off or changing trains along the way.
Advantage with the BTS SmartPass
It is possible to purchase a SmartPass for 140 baht which allows unlimited use of the Sky Train all day long. You can buy this SmartPass at the Ticket Offices at the stations. A SmartPass is especially handy, smart and cheaper if you plan to travel frequently. It also has the advantage that you don’t have to queue up at the ticket machines all the time.