Bangkok’s subway system lets you live in a less expensive part of midtown, provides access to downtown Bangkok and takes you to some useful places that the skytrain doesn’t.
Mass Railway Transit (MRT)
The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) officially opened in 2004 and is operated by separate government entities than the BTS skytrain so unfortunately tickets aren’t transferable at the moment.
Though unlike the BTS, locals won’t understand if you simply say ‘M-R-T’. You’ll need to use the Thai word for subway; ‘loat-dye-din’, which literally translates to car-under-ground.
Nevertheless, those will find that the ‘car-under-ground’ system is extremely modern, well maintained and consists of one line called the Blue Line.
The Blue Line
The Blue Line starts at Bang Sue which is adjacent to the Mochit Tour Bus Terminal and fittingly ends at the Hua Lamphong next to the Hua Lamphong railway station for those touring that way.
If you are heading to Khaosan Road, the Hua Lamphong station is the closet mass transit point you can get to it. From there, it’s just a short taxi, tuk-tuk or even motorcycle ride.
Skirting around the City
Working down, the Chatuchack station allows people another route to enjoy the Chatuchak Park and Market. On surface level, you’ll see that it’s also a transportation hub for mini-vans traveling to Bangkok outskirts. For example, mini-vans to Pakkred district are lined up here that take you to the new immigration office on Chaengwattana road.
Phahonyothin station puts you at the Central Plaza Ladprao shopping mall as well as the Union Mall, a multilevel fashion mall for teenagers and university students. It is also a junction where you can embark on journeys by vehicle to other greater Bangkok outskirts down Phahonyothin road, past Kasetsart University in Bang Khen and Future Mall in the Rangsit district.
Midtown Bangkok can be classified by the area along Ratchadapisek road between Rama 9 and Ladprao – which is also conveniently covered from top-to-bottom by the MRT subway system.
The Ladprao station marks the outer most point of ‘Midtown’ giving you the option of traveling by vehicle down Ladprao road which adjoins to the Ramkhamheang University area and extends to the Bangkapi district.
Or decide to head up Ratchadapisek into midtown, a valley of deluxe quality condominiums and modern conveniences along the Ratchada, Huay Kwang and Sutisan subway stops.
Getting off at the Thailand Cultural Center station brings you within walking distance to the Thai Cultural Center’s auditorium and amphitheater where orchestras and theatre are performed. However, directly above is Esplanade, a boutique shopping mall for posh mid-towners.
Rama 9 station is where midtown meets downtown and we start seeing mega shopping malls again, like the Central Plaza Rama 9, as well as Fortune IT and electronics super mall, and other hallmarks like the Chinese embassy, the new central business district of Grand Rama 9 (a massive commercial development on 1.2 million square meters of land), and an uptick in luxurious and executive condominiums.
Back into Downtown
Petchaburi station is where you connect to the Airport Link at the Makkasan Station, only a few minutes walk once you ascend. Another unique thing about the MRT Petchaburi station is you can catch the boat there, still a popular form of transportation by locals along the canal for even more traffic-less options to Pratunam / Central World and The Mall Bangkapi for instance.
Sukumvhit station puts you smack in middle of downtown Bangkok at the Asoke intersection and allows you to connect to the BTS skytrain system and its transportation network along Sukhumvit road when needed. (More about the BTS Skytrain)
Queen Sirikit Station is the best way to get to this convention center that the BTS doesn’t bring you too. Fun, international or prestigious events, those looking for something to do on the weekends with convenient transportation and escalators that bring you to the front door will always find something here. (The Queen Sirikit National Convention Center Events Calendar)
Lumpini station is another exclusive stop to the MRT that will put you at the Sathorn and Wireless road junction, major finance, embassy and commerce districts in Bangkok. The Lumpini Park is right at the junction as well.
Silom station is another excellent downtown stop for subway takers and mid-town folk that work in another one of Bangkok’s major commercial districts. It’s also the second subway point that connects with the BTS where you can be lead further west to the Chaophraya River.