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A One-Stop Guide to Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain and MRT 2020

This article is published by Travelog.
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Photo via: bts.co.th

Are you planning a trip to Bangkok but you’re not sure of how to get around? We got you covered!

There is one thing you can’t avoid in big cities – the MASSIVE jam (especially during rush hours). According to Forbes (2019), Bangkok is the world’s most visited city for tourists all around the world, welcoming approximately 22.7 million tourist in 2019. The city has been claiming the commendation for 5 years straight and Year 2020 might not be an exception. Hence, avoiding the jam to fully make use of your time in the Thai capital, I suggest taking the public transportation – BTS (Bangkok’s Mass Transit System) or known as Skytrain and MRT. I guarantee, you’ll be able to stroll around Bangkok with ease after reading this guide.

Begin in 1999, BTS Skytrain is widely utilised by locals and tourists. If you’re wondering why, the BTS Skytrain is air conditioned, clean (food and drinks are not allowed), convenient (goodbye traffic!) and most important of all for budget travellers – it is cheap and inexpensive (fixed fare).

This guide will start off with information on BTS Skytrain.


BTS Skytrain Routes

The BTS Skytrain currently operates in 2 lines – the Silom Line and Sukhumvit Line covering a total of 48 stations.  

The Silom Line (Dark Green Line) starts at Bang Wa Station and ends at National Stadium Station covering 13 stations while The Sukhumvit Line (Light Green Line) starts at Kheka Samutprakan Station and ends at Kasetsart University Station covering 36 stations. Both lines interchange at the Siam station. You can refer to the map below to plan your route.

Photo via: bts.co.th

When boarding the train, make sure you choose the correct platform. Refer to the last station of the line to choose your direction. Look out for more extension lines that are ongoing from Bang Bua to Khu Khot, forecasted to be open at the end of year 2020.

BTS Skytrain Fare

There is two ways you can get information fare from. For a single journey ticket, you can refer to the fare information board that is provided at every station. Next to the ticketing machine. The board shows where is your current station and the amount of fare to your chosen destination (fare starts at 16 Baht, up to 44 Baht). The indication of which station you’re at are marked yellow on the board. 

Photo via: bts.co.th

For calculation of fares if you’re planning your journey ahead, refer to the BTS Skytrain official website. Note that it shows the fare of a single journey ticket as well as the pricing for BTS cards.

BTS Skytrain Ticketing Machine

For a single journey ticket, there is two type of machines – ticket issuing machine (TIM) and ticket vending machine (TVM). Single Journey Tickets can be purchased at any Ticket Issuing Machine (TIM), Integrated Ticketing Machine (ITM) and Ticket Vending Machine (TVM).   The difference are as follow:

Type of Ticket Machine Payment method Buyable amount of tickets per transaction
TIM Only accepts 1, 2, 5 and 10 Baht coins.   Up to 4 tickets per transaction
TVM Accepts coins, banknotes and QR code payment. Up to 10 tickets per transaction

BTS Skytrain Card Guide

There are a few type of cards that can be used for BTS Skytrain.

One-Day Pass

One-Day Pass

Photo via: bts.co.th

Price – 140 Baht

It can be available in all BTS Ticket offices and it is non-refundable. Note that it is only valid on the issued date.

Rabbit card

Photo via: bts.co.th

If you’re wondering what is a rabbit card. It is actually the first e-money services in Thailand and is widely used. There are three types of rabbit card – Adult, Senior and Student. Registering for a Rabbit Card will entitled you for a small discount (1 Baht per way) when commuting. Student card can only be used by full-time students and Senior Rabbit Card can only be used by Thai Senior Citizens. You can get a Rabbit card at all BTS Ticket Offices. Fun fact about Rabbit Card, it can be used in selected retail shops as well as F&B outlets.

To register and add value to your Rabbit Card, you will need an initial 200 Baht which includes issuing fees and a minimum stored value of 100 Baht. Visit any BTS Ticket Office or any other Authorized Top-up Service Provider displaying the “top up” sign to reload your Rabbit Card. To use the card, tap it on the card reader to enter the gate and do the same when exiting, the value of your journey will be automatically deducted.

For more information on the Rabbit Card’s fare: https://www.bts.co.th/eng/tickets/ticket-rabbit-farerate.html

BTS Skytrain Operating Hours

The operating hours are 6.00am – 12.00am, daily. For the frequency / interval between trains, refer to this link

Extra tips!

  • Official website for BTS Skytrain: www.bts.co.th
  • BTS Hotline: 02 617 6000/ 02 617 7340
  • If you’re staying long-term in Bangkok, you can opt for a 30-day trip package.The BTS Skytrain connects to the Airport Rail Link (ARL) at Phaya Thai Station.
  • Children with height of 0-89cm can enjoy the transportation free of charge.
  • Children with height of 90cm+ will be charged at the same fare rate as adults

Moving on with the MRT (Metro Rail Transport) Guide.

Photo via: Maarten Roggeman @ Flickr

MRT Routes

MRT has two main lines – Blue Line (Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Line) and Purple Line (Sai Chalong Rattham Line).

The Blue Line Electric Train Project has a total distance of 47km and a total of 38 stations which includes the original MRT stations (Hua Lamphong Station – Bang Sue Station) and the Extension Project (Hua Lamphong Station – Lak Song Station and Bang Sue Station – Tha Phra Station). The Purple Line stretches as long as 23km from Khlong Bang Phai Station to Tao Pun Station. You can interchange between the two lines at Tao Poon Station.

Photo via: Bangkok Expressway and Metro (BEM)

MRT Ticketing and Fare

To use the MRT service, you can purchase your tickets through two options. The single journey token and MRT smart card. My suggestion to you – if you’re using MRT for only a few journey, get the single journey token.

Photo via: BEM

Single Journey Token is an electronic chip that can be purchased on-the-spot in the MRT stations. The rates of the journey depend on the distance between your boarding station and your end station. The token is easy to use – scan the token on top of the entry gate and insert the token into the slot at the exit gate. Take note to not lose the token during your journey as it will cause you a lot of fuss.

MRT Stored Value Card

Photo via: BEM

Similar with the BRT Rabbit Card, you can skip the queue buying a single journey token every time you use the MRT. For the MRT Card you will need an initial value of 180 Baht, breaking it down will be 100 Baht of travel value, 50 Baht deposit and 30 Baht of issuing fee. It has four categories that includes adult, student, elder and child card. Kindly refer to this link for more information on the fare rates.

Buying MRT Tickets

You can get it from the Ticket Office, you can get a Single Journey Token or Stored Value Card. For a simpler and common way, use the Ticket Vending Machine (TVM). The machines can only issue the single journey token for adults. It is easy to use and is available in two languages – English and Thai. Similar with BRT’s ticket vending machine, it accepts coins of 1, 5 and 10 Baht as well as banknote of 20, 50 and 100 Baht. You can only buy one token per transaction.

MRT Operating Hours

There is a slight difference of the operating hours between the two lines. The Blue Line operates daily from 5.30am – 12.00am. The frequency usually do not take more than 7 minutes per train.

The Purple Line operates Monday to Friday from 5.30am – 12.00am and Saturday to Sunday including public holidays from 6.00am – 12.00am.The frequency normally take no more than 9 minutes per train.

Extra tips!

  • Before exiting MRT station, check the Locality Map and choose the exit which is the most convenient for you.
  • MRT Hotline: (02) 624 5200
  • MRT Email: crc@bemplc.co.th

Connecting BTS Skytrain and MRT

There are a few interconnecting stations between BTS Skytrain and MRT to make your travelling easier as shown in the photo below.

Photo via: BEM

It’s always better to plan your journey ahead in order to make full use of your time. Hence, we hope this guide will ease your journey on using the public transportation in Bangkok.

This article is published by Travelog.
For more Bangkok travel deals, click here for more information!

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