Extremely handy for getting around Bangkok and cheap, the skytrain will let you explore the city, grant you independence and a blessing to live by, especially for foreign visitors.
Bangkok’s Mass Transit System (BTS)
The skytrain system in Bangkok is simply referred to as ‘the BTS’, short for Bangkok’s Mass Transit System. It opened for business in 2000 and is operated by the local government Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
Currently, the BTS consists of 2 lines, the Sukhumvit Line and Silom Line, which covers all the bases of major downtown Bangkok and is all you really need for your independent travels in the city.
Sukhumvit Line (Light Green)
The Sukhumvit Line covers all your bases along Sukhumvit road, a major backbone road where lots of established and popular areas of Bangkok are built on.
The Asoke BTS station at the intersection of Asoke-Sukhumvit will literally put you in the center of downtown Bangkok, at the feet of an armada of 5-star hotels, shopping, entertainment and restaurants venues fulfilling the image of touristy Bangkok. The internationally acclaimed dance club scene is nearby on Sukhumvhit Soi 11.
The Nana BTS station puts you further down Sukhumvit road in section known for seedier night life pubs and bars. Though across the street in the same area is Bangkok’s ‘Little Arabia’ on Sukhumvit Soi 3.
Running further north will bring you to Victory Monument BTS station, named after the major monument there, is also a hub for commuting Thais, but also a hangout zone buzzing with shopping tents, patio tables and taverns that’s becoming more frequented by tourists and not just the cool and thrifty Thai crowd.
Farther up the Sukhumvit Line is the Aree BTS station, in the Aree neighborhood which is taking a growing number of expats away from more established areas due to the genuine middle-class feel to this location and modern developments.
The Sukhumvit Line stops north at Mochit BTS station next to the Mochit Tour Bus Terminal and Chatuchak Park and its famous Weekend Market.
Moving south, in the other direction from the central Asoke BTS station are the Phrom Phong, Thong Lo and Ekkamai BTS stations. Together they comprise the upper scale sections of Sukhumvit road where modern luxuries are higher-end and prettier, and also more expensive.
Originally ending at On Nut BTS station, the Sukhumvit Line was extended in 2011 but the On Nut area still enjoys a large concentration of condominiums and supermarkets in a lesser expensive neighborhood with easy access to downtown. (Affordable and quality condominiums in On Nut)
Nearing the end of the extended Sukhumvit Line is the Bang Na BTS station which puts you at the Bangkok’s International Trade & Exhibition Center (BITEC) and Impact Muang Thong Thani, for the biggest conventions and concert stages for world renowned names to put themselves in the spotlight. (Check out latest events & concerts at BITEC Events Calendar)
The Siam BTS Station stops on the platform and entrance way into Siam Paragon luxury shopping mall. This is also where you can connect to the other main BTS Line.
Silom Line (Dark Green)
The Silom Line covers the other major commercial business zone of Bangkok found on Silom road. Getting off at the Sala Deang BTS station will have you hitting the ground running in Silom’s urban jungle of office buildings, shopping complexes, hotels and entertainment avenues.
Just above it is the National Stadium BTS station which brings you to the doorway of the large sports, track & field stadium and mega shopping mall MBK Center, as well as the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre opposite the street. (Latest Art Exhibitions at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre)
Moving down the Silom Line, the Chong Nonsi BTS station is a location that places you in the middle of Sathorn, the major financial and commerce district of Bangkok.
Going further south, you can get off at Saphan Taksin BTS station by the Chaoporaya River for hotels, residences, cruises and venues that take advantage of the river’s atmosphere. A ferry can be taken here to Asiatique, a large open-air mall, events and entertainment port on the riverfront. (Find out more about Asiatique Riverfront)
The Silom Line can be used to cross the Chaopraya River to another popular residential area called Thonburi, along the Krung Thonburi BTS and Talat Phlu BTS station, known for being peaceful and quiet with a growing amount of quality condominiums for lower prices than downtown. (Condominiums with beautiful river views in Thonburi)
The Airport Link (APL)
The Airport Link is another skytrain line but is operated separately by the State Railway of Thailand. Its final destination point is the Suvarnabhumi Airport. Not just for persons catching an international air flight, it’s another skytrain route to take advantage of for express hops over traffic and getting to work.
If you’ve just arrived at the airport though, getting off at Makkasan BTS station (Central Air Terminal) will put you back in the middle of it all just down the street from central Asoke. Getting off at Ratchaprasop BTS Station will bring you to the Pratunam Market, a sea of fashion shops and IT products for bargain prices. Further along Ratchaprasop street is Central World for international brand names and retail prices.