The Bangkok BTS is the most convenient way to get around the city. Often the only way, aside from taking a Taxi. However Bangkok is one of the most congested cities on the planet and sitting in traffic is not anyone’s idea of fun. On the BTS skytrain you can whizz through the city completely bypass the chock-a-block streets below.
I’ve never really considered myself to be a city person yet somehow I’ve spent far more time in Bangkok over the years than I would like to admit. Using the BTS has become like second nature to me.
The Skytrain system is really simple to use, when you know how. But It can seem daunting and intimidating to first timers wanting to avoid Faux Pas. And it’s true there’s a lot to take in at first, things like buying a ticket for the BTS skytrain is more complex than other metropolitan transport systems. But all-in-all its very easy to use the Bangkok BTS as a non-Thai speaker thanks to all the signage and announcements being in both Thai and English language.
Luckily you’ve found this post, where I’ll put myself in your shoes. I’ll take things back to when I was a tourist in the city for the first time. I’ll break it all down and explain everything you need to know about using the Bangkok BTS Skytrain system. And maybe more importantly, where are the best spots for tourists to visit in Bangkok, using the Skytrain system.
How To Use The BTS Skytrain
The Bangkok BTS Skytrain really isn’t much different than any other metropolitan train system. Once you know the name of the station you want to get to, you can download the BTS App to your phone and check the quickest route.
Tip: There are only two lines on the BTS so it’s pretty straight forward to figure this out and you’ll never need to make more than one connection.
Once you’ve figured out your route you’ll want to buy yourself a ticket and enter the station. So let’s look at how to do that.
The first thing you need to know about buying a BTS train ticket is that tickets are always bought at the station and paid for with cash.
How To Buy a Ticket For The BTS Bangkok Skytrain
If you want to know how to buy a ticket for the Bangkok BTS or what types of tickets are available for the Bangkok BTS then you’re in the right place.
How Much Does A BTS Skytrain Ticket cost?
Here is the link to the official BTS Skytrain website with the exact fares listed. The info here is the latest prices, but it can often be a little confusing to find the information you want.
So how Much does the BTS cost? The maximum Bangkok BTS fare is 59 Baht and the lowest is 17 Baht. The cost depends on the number of stations travelled.
A BTS day pass can be purchased at any ticketing kiosk and is is valid for unlimited rides on the purchase date, this ticket costs 140 Thai Baht.
Is It Expensive to Travel on the Bangkok BTS Skytrain?
No the Bangkok BTS in an inexpensive option to get around the city. However taxi prices are also affordable in Bangkok and for those travelling as a couple or small group a taxi can sometimes be cheaper. (Although the BTS train will always be quicker.)
Where To Buy Tickets For The Bangkok BTS Train
|Coins||Notes||QR Scan||Credit Card||Day Ticket|
The only place to buy a Bangkok BTS ticket is at the stations themselves. Buying a ticket anywhere else will lead to you being overcharged. There are a few places you can buy the tickets from in the station. Either at the ticketing kiosk or at the tickets machine.
There are two type of ticket machine at the BTS Stations. The most common ticket machine only accepts coins! The larger ticket machines can accept bank notes too. So make sure you have the correct cash before queuing for a machine.
Buying a Bangkok BTS Ticket from the COIN machine.
The Bangkok BTS loves coins. We don’t know why. But if you’ve accumulated any loose change during your time in Thailand this is the place to offload it 😅
You can recognize the coin machines at every BTS station. They are the most common, smaller machines, built into the wall with a vertical display. The machines only vend single journey tickets so if you want a day pass you need to head to the counter.
So… when buying a BTS Bangkok ticket from the machine be careful which one you choose! You don’t want to que for a coin machine if you’ve only got notes.
(A recent update to the coin operated ticket machines makes it possible to pay by scanning a QR code, although you’ll need a Thai Bank account to make use of that feature).
Buying a Bangkok BTS Ticket from the NOTE machine.
There are far fewer ticket machines that accept bank notes and there is usually a longer que for them.
You can easily recognize these machines as they are much larger than their coin operated counterparts, standing alone as opposed to being built into the wall and they have a much larger horizontal screen.
You can use 20, 50 and 100 Baht notes in these machines. if you only have larger bills then tickets can be brought at the kiosk.
But be warned, the Bangkok BTS Skytrain system has a coin obsession. Receiving change from this machine is like hitting the jackpot on a pub quiz machine. Yep, you’ll be given your change entirely in coins! Pretty handy for your next ride on the BTS, you’ll be able to use the coin machines! 😆
Buying a Bangkok BTS Ticket from the ticket kiosk/counter.
There is a staffed ticket counter at every BTS Skytrain station, this might seem like the easiest way to buy a ticket for the Skytrain. But for travelers who are inexperienced using the BTS Skytrain, I would recommend using the ticket machine instead, especially at busy periods.
For those unfamiliar with Thai pronunciation there can often be a language barrier to overcome. But when buying the tickets at the machine there will be a clear map to select your destination from.
However there are a few situations where buying a ticket at the counter is the best choice, you need to buy tickets at the counter if:
- You want to buy tickets for more than 4 people at the same time.
- If you want to buy a Rabbit Card for the first time.
- If you want to pay for a ticket but you only have large bills.
- If you want to buy a day pass for the Bangkok BTS.
Buying a Bangkok BTS Ticket online.
Wait, you just said you can’t buy a BTS ticket online. Right? Stations onlyyy?
It’s true BTS tickets cannot be brought online.
However, that hasn’t stopped over 10,000 tourists buying a ticket from the travel agent ‘Klook’ who are selling Day Passes online (which need to be collected in person). Here’s the link.
But I feel I should warn you against buying a ticket from Klook.
It’s no different and no cheaper than the same Day Ticket which you can pick up at any Bangkok BTS station. But you’ll need to pick it up in person, at the Klook kiosk, in Central World. And yeah, that means you’ll need to ride the BTS to get there. So you’ll need to buy a BTS ticket, to go and collect your BTS ticket. haha. 😅
What Type Of Bangkok BTS Tickets Are There
There are three types of tickets you can choose to ride on the Bangkok BTS Skytrain. The BTS does not issue return tickets.
Bangkok BTS Day Ticket
The Bangkok BTS day ticket can be the most cost effective for making multiple trips in a single day. The day ticket can be brought at any BTS station, from the ticket kiosk. The cost is 140 Thai Baht and can be used for unlimited travel until midnight on the date of purchase. Cash is the only payment form accepted for this ticket type.
Bangkok BTS Single Journey Ticket
Prices for a BTS single journey ticket can vary between 16 Baht up to 62 Baht depending on the distance travelled. The tickets can be brought at any Bangkok BTS station from a ticket kiosk or by selecting you station on a ticket machine. There are no return tickets sold for the BTS, the choice is either one way or one day. So when deciding on the best ticket to buy considerations need to be made to take the return journey cost into account too.
BTS Rabbit Card
For tourists there is no real reason to pick up a Rabbit Card. But if your staying in the city for a while or regularly using the Bangkok BTS then it can be a convenient option.
How Does the Rabbit Card Work?
Rabbit cards can be brought for 100 Baht at the BTS Ticketing kiosks, you’ll need to show your ID when buying the Rabbit Card, either a passport or ID card for Thai citizens.
You can top up Rabbit Cards at the ticket counter or at the Ticket machine in any BTS station. The card will store the balance and you can the use the card to enter and exit the skytrain system. When leaving the station the fare amount will be calculated and deducted from the card.
The only benefit of having a Rabbit Card is that you don’t need to que and buy a ticket for every journey.
How To Use The Bangkok BTS Ticket
So you’ve chosen the best type of ticket, navigated the station to buy the ticket. But now you need to know how to use it. Well it’s pretty simple, there are automated barriers at the station entrance. There is a touch-pad on the top where you can tap any ticket type to enter the station, Rabbit Card, Single Cards and Day Cards all work on this touchpad.
To exit the station you’ll tap the same pad for Rabbit Cards and Day Cards. But Single Trip Cards are inserted into the slot triggering the barrier to open. If you try to scan a Single-Journey card to exit a station you’ll be prompted to insert the ticket instead.
If for any reason your ticket doesn’t work to exit or enter the station or if you decide to get off at a different station than the one you brought a ticket for there are staffed counters on both sides of the barrier where the price difference can be paid.
Bangkok BTS Skytrain Map
Here is the Map of all the central BTS Bangkok stations. This can be saved to your phone to make navigating the train system easier or I would recommend downloading the official Bangkok BTS app which has an interactive map.
There are also maps posted in every BTS station around Bangkok. 🗺
Now you’ve got the map of the Bangkok BTS stations, where are you going to go? Which are the best places to visit by taking the BTS Skytrain. Here is a breakdown of places you can go on the skytrain.
Latest Bangkok BTS Skytrain Map
What Places Can You Get To On The BTS Bangkok Train
You can get almost anywhere in the city using the Bangkok BTS, but where will you travel. I was going to include some of the best Bangkok BTS Stations to go to for attractions. But this post has already gotten long enough so I’ve decided I’ll write about the best places to go in a separate post!
But here are some other bloggers who have put together a write up on the best places to travel to using the Bangkok BTS network.
The Smart Local: Best BTS Stations For Nightlife
Aroi Mak Mak: Has a great guide of popular attractions nearby BTS stations
Thailand Self Tours: For Food Near To BTS Stations
Bangkok Has You: General Attractions (Parks and Malls) Near To BTS Stations
How To Get To Bangkok Airport on The BTS Skytrain
Does BTS go to Bangkok airport? Yes! If you’re flying in or out of Bangkok, conveniently the BTS Skytrain connects to Suvarnabhumi with the Bangkok Airport Rail Link.
Can I get To Bangkok Airport on the BTS? There are two airports in Bangkok: Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang. I would never fly to Don Muang, always Suvarnabhumi purely because the airport connects to the BTS Skytrain is so much more convenient.
How do I get from Suvarnabhumi to BTS? To get to the BTS from the airport head to the Basement floor in the airport which is where you’ll find the train station. the train takes 40 minutes from the Suvarnabhumi airport to Phaya Thai BTS Station.
If you’re heading to the airport you can take the Bangkok BTS to Phaya Thai Station and switch to the Airport Rail Link at Phaya Thai.
How to get to the BTS Skytrain from the Khaosan Road Area
One of the most popular areas in Bangkok for tourists is the Khaosan Road area. Its a social hub for travelers. But public transport in the area is minimal and there is no Bangkok BTS Station here 🙃
But if you’re set on travelling to Khaosan Road using the Bangkok BTS here’s how you do it. You’ll want to ride the BTS train to Ratchatewi Station, when you leave the station there is a connection at the pier. You can board the canal boat in Ratchatewi which will take you to Khaosan Road along the river. The cost is 19 Baht and it’s a unique way to travel. But I would suggest avoiding this option if you’ve got a lot of luggage with you.
Which BTS Station is Siam Square
Siam or Siam Square otherwise know as ‘Central’ is the busiest station on the Bangkok BTS network.
There are two BTS Bangkok Train Lines, the Sukhumvit Line (Green) and the Silom Line (also Green, but a little darker). Siam station is where the two lines meet each other and it’s the only point where passengers can interchange between the two rail lines. There are multiple shopping malls at this station including the Siam Paragon, Siam CenterPoint and the MBK Center.
Tip: At Siam Station the doors open on the opposite side of the train to every other station.
Do I Need To Wear a Facemask on The Bangkok BTS
The legal requirement to wear a facemask on the Bangkok BTS, or any public space in Thailand has been dropped in early 2022. So no, you don’t need to wear a facemask on the BTS Skytrain anymore.
However even though the law has been dropped, Thai’s have not dropped the mask wearing.
The majority of passengers still choose to wear a mask and it is the social norm to wear a mask while on the BTS. Regular announcements are made on the trains and platforms informing passengers that it is not required to wear a mask, however it is recommended.
Bangkok BTS Train Times (Operating Hours)
There is no need to plan which Bangkok BTS train you’re going to catch because the train are running frequently all day long. The BTS train operates between 05:30 until Midnight. If you want to catch the last train you’ll need to be on the platform before then.
How Regularly Do BTS Trains Run
So the Bangkok BTS trains run regularly. You’ll never find yourself waiting more than a few minutes for a train to arrive. At peak times trains can be as often as every two minutes. And during off-peak periods there can be a three – five minute wait for a train to arrive.
What Time Is The Last Bangkok BTS Train
Is BTS in Bangkok 24 Hours? Not quite, the last BTS train leaves at Midnight. The Bangkok BTS train runs pretty much all day long. But may not be ideal for those heading out late into the night. The first train departs between 5.15 – 5.40am depending on which station you’re boarding at, and the last train leaves between 23.59 – 01.40 depending where you board.
What Else Do You Need To Know About The Bangkok BTS Skytrain (F.A.Q’S)
Are there BTS Bangkok tickets for tourists?
One of the rare examples in Thailand, where everyone pays the same price for BTS Bangkok tickets, there is no ‘tourist ticket’. After all, why would you want to pay a different fare than a local would?
How Does Buying a BTS Tickets With a QR Scan Work
Prepahs you have noticed in the BTS stations the ads claiming you can pay for a BTS ticket by scanning a QR code. And while this is convenient for locals it’s not something tourists can take advantage of. You’ll need to have access to a Thai Bank account and have the banks mobile app installed on your phone.
Don’t Step Over The Yellow Line
You know that yellow line painted on almost every train station in the world. Signaling the safe area to stand. Well it’s taken seriously at Bangkok’s BTS stations. If like me you’re tempted to step on the line… well, give it a go and find out 😅
Can Foreigners Use The Bangkok BTS
Anyone can use the BTS Skytrain in Bangkok. Foreigners, locals, tourists. There is no difference in pricing between Thai Nationals and foreigners.
Is there Air-Con on the Bangkok BTS Skytrain
Bangkok can get pretty hot especially in crowded areas. So you might be pleased to find out that all the train carriages are air-conditioned. However the platforms and stations are not. At some of the busier stations large fans are installed but it can still be uncomfortable at times. Make sure to be carrying drinking water, but keep in mind that eating and drinking is technically prohibited in the system.
There are no Bathrooms or Toilets
Unlike western public transport systems, there are no public bathrooms at any BTS station. Take this into consideration.
What Does BTS Stand For
Curios about what does BTS stand for in regards to the Bangkok train? So was I. Well it stands for the Bangkok (mass) Transit System. BMTS doesn’t have the same ring to it. 😅
Can You Take Luggage on The Bangkok BTS?
You can take luggage on the Bangkok BTS train and the network even connects directly to the Suvarnabhumi airport! However if you’re travelling at peak times you should keep in mind that the network get extremely crowded and you might want to reconsider traveling at a quieter time if possible. Bangkok BTS security used to manually check luggage of all travelers but this has since been dropped and bag searches are no longer carried out.
Did You Know You Can Buy The BTS Skytrain
Did you know that the Bangkok BTS Skytrain stock is publicly traded? BTS GROUP HOLDINGS PUBLIC COMPANY LIMITED trades as ‘BTS’ on the Stock Exchange Thailand (SET). Day trading can be risky but it can also provide financial freedom any many travelers use the markets to make money online and fund their travels! For more information don’t forget to check out my working and travelling posts! And if you want to get involved with investment stocks and shares I recommend Trading212, find out more information about them here: