Daily Archives: July 18, 2007

Exploring the BTS Sky Train Route

View from Sky Train

Using the BTS Sky Train to explore Bangkok is not only quick and convenient, but it also gives you a tree top view of buildings and streets. In fact, it wasn’t until I rode the sky train on the first day eight years ago, that I realized that Bangkok actually has many trees. Back then, I took the above picture from the train of a view that is no longer there. Today there is a very large shopping mall that blocks the view of Baiyoke Tower in the distance. Though, with so many advertisements plastered on the side of the trains these days, it is now almost impossible to take any pictures out of the windows any more. If you want to know the name of the building in the foreground and the name of the building that replaced it then scroll to the bottom of this article.

An average trip on the BTS Sky Train will cost you 30–40 baht. This is fine if you are alone. However, if there are at least three of you then you might want to consider taking a meter taxi instead. These start at 35 baht and will take you from door to door, though at a much slower pace. I like the Sky Train, but it isn’t very comprehensive. I have to drive about 40 minutes to my local station at On Nut. From there it is only 20 minutes or so to downtown Bangkok. However, if I want to go on to the Grand palace area, Dusit Palace area or the heart of Chinatown I would then need to change to transport such as taxi or bus. Hoping to solve this problem, the government is (very slowly) extending the sky train routes. I am happy that they are building about 5 new stations towards me. Though obviously it would be nice if they went all the way to Samut Prakan.

The BTS Sky Train has two routes. Today I am going to give you some ideas of what attractions there are to see along these routes. If you have any more ideas then please post them as a comment. However, if you have any questions, we would prefer if you use our ThailandQA.com forums.

Sky Train Tracks at Siam Square

Siam is the interchange station. From here you can catch a train North to Mo Chit or East to On Nut. Another track goes one stop west to the National Stadium and South to Saphan Taksin. Siam Square is now the heart of shopping in Bangkok. On the North side of the road are Siam Discovery, Siam Centre and the massive Siam Paragon. On the south side is Centre Point which is a popular hangout for Thai teenagers. Many trendy small shops in this area.

Going North:

N1 Ratchathewi – This is the nearest station for the computer shopping mall at Panthip Plaza. I have also walked there from Chit Lom Station. A bit further, in the Pratunam area, there is a large wholesale clothes market.

N2 Phaya Thai – Not to far from here is the interesting Suan Phak Khad Palace. Similiar to Jim Thompson’s House, this museum has a grouping of Thai style houses and other artifacts on display. Entrance is 100 baht.

N3 Victory Monument – The monument itself, in the centre of the roundabout, is worth a closer look. West of here is Phaya-Thai Palace. This was where King Rama VI had his experimental “Dusit Thani”, which was a model for future Thai democracy. Guided tours take place on Saturdays. To the East is Santiphap Park which commemorates the end of World War II.

N4 Sanam Pao

N5 Ari

N7 Saphan Khwai – Near here is the Stamp Museum at Samsen Nai Post Office.

N8 Mo Chit – At the end of the line, most people come here for the weekend market at Chatuchak. Also check out the nearby Or-Tor-Kor Market which sells fresh produce. If you want to relax, then check out Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens and Chatuchak Park. Here you will also find the interesting Railway Hall of Fame and the popular Children’s Museum of hand’s-on exhibits for children. From here you can change to the MRT subway.

Going East:

E1 Chit Lom – To the West of the station is the large Central World Shopping Mall with just about every shop you could ever want. After renovations, it is now the largest shopping mall in Bangkok. To the East, is Central Chit Lom Department Store. In-between there must be at least a dozen more department stores. If you want shopping and brandname goods, then this is the area you should come. Close to the station, you will find the popular Erawan Shrine. This is the best place to come to see some free Thai dancing.

E2 Phloen Chit – Well known for the British Embassy.

E3 Nana – Many bars and restaurants in this area.

E4 Asok – The nearby Siam Society has an interesting library for people interested in Thai culture. Also a collection of Thai style houses.

E5 Phrom Pong – A sky bridge takes you straight into the Emporium Shopping Mall. A couple of good English language book stores here and many high end shops. Down on street level, there is a famous secondhand bookstore on the other side of the road and slightly towards Bangkok.

E6 Thong Lo – Nearby is the Thai Pharmacy Museum open Monday to Friday.

E7 Ekkamai – Useful station for the Eastern Bus Terminal. Also nearby is the Planetarium and aging Science Museum.

E8 Phra Khanong

E9 On Nut – From here you can visit the nearby shrine for the Nang Nak ghost. Or catch a taxi for 120 baht to Samut Prakan for the Erawan Museum or Ancient City.

Inside the Sky Train

Going West:

W1 National Stadium – From this station, there is a sky bridge that takes you straight into MBK Shopping Mall. Hundreds of small shops here as well as a large food court and multiplex cinema. If you are into Scouting, then go to the large school shop directly below the station on the south side of the road where you will find many scout badges and other souvenirs. At the National Stadium, they sometimes have international football matches. The nearest tourist attraction from here is Jim Thompson’s House. This is a good place to see a traditional Thai style house. Entrance is 100 baht.

Going South:

S1 Ratchadamri – Just north of the station is the Peninsular Plaza which has many up-market shops and restaurants.

S2 Sala Daeng – This station is at the heart of Silom. You will find a connection to the MRT subway here. Walking northwards you will reach the Snake Farm and Lumphini Park. South is Patpong Night Market. Many bars and restaurants in this area as well as shopping malls.

S3 Chong Nonsi – A short walk is MR Kukrit’s Pramotes House and Museum. Another place to see teak houses. Only open at the weekend.

S5 Surasak

S6 Saphan Taksin – This is the end of the line for the meantime though soon it will take you over the river into Thonburi. From the pier you can catch a boat upriver to Chinatown, Wat Pho, Grand Palace, Khao San Road and more. Near the station you will find Wat Yannawa which has an unusual ship shaped temple.

I will be giving you more reports and pictures of some of these tourist attractions along the BTS Sky Train route over the coming weeks and months. At the same time, we will be working more on our new website at ThailandPhotoMap.com where you can follow the route on satellite maps of Bangkok.