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The Best Ways To Get Around Bangkok

For this week’s Thailand Travel Tip section, I wanted to provide some insight into the BTS and MRT public transportation systems here in Bangkok. I’ll keep this breakdown as simple as possible with the hope that it helps make your public transportation experiences here in the ‘Big Mango’ as seamless as possible.

What is the BTS and MRT?

  • The Bangkok Mass Transit System, commonly known as the BTS Skytrain, is an above-ground rapid transit system with 3-lines and 64 stations spanning across the city

  • The Metropolitan Rapid Transit, also known as the MRT is a mass rapid underground transit system with 2-lines (3 more in construction) and 53 stations spanning across the city

Which One Should I Take?

  • The answer to this question is completely dependant on where you’re looking to go. In general, if you’re looking to travel anywhere along the popular Sukhumvit corridor, the BTS is what you’ll want. If you’re looking to travel into the older parts of Bangkok down by the Chao Praya River, then the MRT is better. Obviously these are just two very basic examples, but point is, each system runs through their own respective areas, so just make sure that you don’t confuse the BTS (above ground) and the MRT (below ground) when looking on Google Maps and planning your travel between destinations. When I first moved here, I probably jumped on the wrong train about 5-times before I finally figured it out

Are The BTS and MRT Systems Connected?

  • Although there are several cases across the city where the BTS and MRT lines lead into a single station, the answer is no. These two public transportation systems are totally separate from one another

How Much Do They Cost?

  • The BTS costs anywhere from 8 to 12 baht per station, depending on the card/ticket you use to pay. For example, if you’re travelling from Terminal 21 in Asoke to the popular W-District in Phra Khanong (4-stations away), the fare would set you back 26 baht. You can also get an unlimited one-day pass for 140 baht, which is a great option

  • Slightly cheaper than the BTS, the MRT seems to cost anywhere between 3 and 8 baht per station depending on the card/ticket you use to pay. For example, if you’re travelling from Asoke’s Sukhumvit MRT Station all the way up to the popular Chatuchak Market (11 stops), the fare would set you back 35 baht

How Do I Pay To Use Them?

  • Given that these two systems are currently operated as separate entities, your BTS day-pass (for example) won’t cover you for the MRT. You’ll have to purchase your MRT fare separately. If you’re in Bangkok for less than a week, you’re probably fine to purchase one-off trips on both the MRT and BTS at the easy to use kiosks in every station, but if you’re in the city for longer than a week and plan to use either network a lot, you should definitely get a Rabbit Card (BTS) and/or a Stored-Value Card (MRT). Just load a few hundred baht on either of them and all you’ll need to do is tap before getting on.