The Bangkok Mass Transit System, commonly known as the BTS or the Skytrain (Thai: rot fai fa), is an elevated rapid transit system in Bangkok, Thailand. The system consists of 35 stations along two lines: the Sukhumvit Line running northwards and eastwards, terminating at Mo Chit and Samrong respectively, and the Silom Line which serves Silom and Sathon Roads, the central business district of Bangkok, terminating at National Stadium and Bang Wa. The lines interchange at Siam Station and have a combined route length of 37.6 kilometers (23.4 mi).
THERE ARE TWO BTS LINES:
SILOM LINE runs west to south, between the National Stadium in the Siam shopping area and Bang Wa in Thonburi (across the Chao Phraya River).
SUKHUMVIT LINE runs north to east from Mo Chit to Bearing. The two lines meet at Siam Station, and also connect at two points with the underground (MRT) – at Sala Daeng Station (Silom Line) and Asok Station (Sukhumvit Line). A new train arrives every 3 – 6 minutes or so between 06:30 and midnight. The last train leaves between 23:30 and 23:50. Fares start at 15 baht for one stop.
Note that trains can get pretty full during peak hours (07:00 – 09:00 and 16:00 – 19:00), as the BTS has also become the choice mode of transport for people living and working in Bangkok.
Besides the BTS, Bangkok’s rapid transit system includes the underground and elevated MRT railway lines, and the elevated Suvarnabhumi Airport Link (SARL), serving several stations in the city before reaching the airport.
W1 : NATIONAL STADIUM BTS STATION
National Stadium BTS Station, with a skywalk that overlooks the busy Pathumwan intersection, has direct access to MBK and Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. The lovely Jim Thompson’s House is a few minutes’ walk down nearby Soi Kasemsan 2. The main stadium, which was used to host the Asian Games on three separate occasions, can be seen from the BTS station, and is now generally used for small football matches and athletics events (the main stadium in Thailand, Rajamangala Stadium, is now outside the city centre in Bang Kapi.)
National Stadium BTS Station also marks the most northern point of the Silom BTS Line that stretches to through the Siam, Silom and over the Chao Phraya River into the Thonburi district. There are currently plans to extend the line two stations further from National Stadium to link with the SRT Dark Red Line at Yot Se station, although this is not expected to be completed until after 2018.
CENTER : SIAM BTS STATION
The epicentre of all things hip, fashionable and trendy, Siam is your gateway to Bangkok’s most-happening shopping, dining and entertainment scene. Discover an array of megamalls, cutting-edge cinemas and world-class attractions right at the station’s doorstep. The main malls close Siam BTS Station include Siam Paragon, Siam Centre and Siam Square One, whilst Central World and MBK Shopping centre are both around 5 minutes’ walk away.
Siam BTS Station is one of Bangkok’s busiest stations; not only does it serve as a hub for those wanting to access the city’s main malls, but it also connects both the Silom and Sukhumvit BTS Lines. The station, therefore, is one of the largest in Bangkok, with two separate levels to cater for the two adjoining lines.
S1 : RATCHADAMRI BTS STATION
Ratchadamri BTS station, set in one of Bangkok’s most luxurious neighbourhoods, provides access to some of the city’s most prestigious condos and serviced residences. From the platforms, look out to the picturesque fairways and clubhouse of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club (RBSC). These spectacular views can also be enjoyed from many of the luxury hotels and apartments that his exclusive area is well-known for. Ratchadamri BTS is also known to be one of the quieter stations in the city centre.
Whilst the immediate Rachadamri area isn’t overwhelmed with too many shopping options and attractions, Sukhumvit Road is just a five-minute walk away or one more stop along the Silom BST Skytrain route. As for eating, there are plenty of fine-dining restaurants in many of the hotels nearby, and some tasty street food options can be found by exploring the side sois (alleyways) off the main road.
S2 : SALA DAENG BTS STATION
Sala Daeng BTS Station, busy at non-peak hours and chaotic during the rush hours, is a gateway to Silom’s electrified shopping, dining and nightlife scene at Patpong. It also connects with the MRT Subway via a skywalk. Step off Sala Daeng BTS Station and you will find yourself in the centre of Silom Road, one of the most famous roads for bars, restaurants and street food in Bangkok.
For nightlife, Soi Patpong off Silom Road is teaming with bars, discos and go-go bars, whilst the nearby Soi Thaniya is popular for Japanese restaurants and karaoke lounges. There is also a vibrant gay scene to be found here, with a strip of lively gay bars on Silom Soi 4 and a couple of large clubs on Soi 2. As for shopping, Silom Complex (an air conditioned mall full of fashion options and restaurants) is just below Sala Daeng BTS, whilst the locals’ favourite, Lai Lai Sap Market, is walking distance away on Silom Soi 5.
S3 : CHONG NONSRI BTS STATION
S5 : SURASAK BTS STATION
Surasak BTS Station, surrounded by low-key North Sathorn neighbourhoods, comes in handy for those working at nearby offices or staying at one of the serviced residences. The main highlights of Surasak include Blue Elephant restaurant, Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple and Kathmandu Photo Gallery.
Surasak BTS Station also has a couple of noteworthy shopping options nearby, including Bangkok Jewellery Avenue and Bangkok Fashion Outlet. There is also an excellent rooftop bar at Mode Sathorn Hotel which offers some great views over the Central Business District. The Chao Phraya River is also just one stop away from Surasak BTS Station, although Saphan Taksin station (one stop away) is closer.
S6 : SAPHAN TAKSIN BTS STATION
BTS Saphan Taksin, the last station before crossing over the Chao Phraya River, connects with the Chao Phraya Express Boat at the Sathorn Pier, as well as the many shuttle boats that connect many of the top riverside hotels to the Skytrain line. It is the perfect launching point for exploring the riverside on both the Bangkok and Thonburi sides.
One of the main landmarks at Saphan Taksin BTS Station is the Lebua State Tower. As well as a hotel, this iconic building is home to Bangkok’s most famous rooftop bar (Lebua Sky Bar) as well as several fine dining options such as the world-famous Sirocco restaurant. Bangkok’s only Shangri-La hotel is also at Saphan Taksin BTS Station, which looks out onto the river. Shopping options here aren’t particularly extensive, although there is a big Robinsons Store, while the nearby River City mall can be accessed by taking a free shuttle boat north up the river from Sathorn Pier.