Sightseeing and shopping in Bangkok is easy. Especially if you use one of the best mass transit system in Bangkok called the BTS (Bangkok Transit System) Sky Train. It's cheap, efficient and can get you quickly to most parts of interest in central Bangkok. But most importantly the Sky Trains are air-conditioned, which will be much appreciated during an often hot and hazy day in Bangkok.
The Sky Trains run from 6am to 12am daily. Although the official closing time is 12am the stations usually will not allow passengers into the stations starting around 11:30 pm. So make sure you plan accordingly. Riding the trains is very simple since signs, maps and station stops are annotated in English between Thai. And all the station booth attendants are able to communicate in English too.
The Sky Train has only 2 lines and run on elevated train tracks above Bangkok's often congested roads:
- Sukhumvit – This line will take you to popular shopping malls in Bangkok.
- Silom – This line will take you to Bangkok's commercial business district and to a station where you can catch the Express River Boats for the quickest trip to Grand Palace and Wat Pho Temple.
- As of writing the BTS trains systems are not too extensive, though it can take you to some of Bangkok's most popular points of interest such as:
- Central World
- Siam Paragon
- Jim Thompson House
- Bangkok Art Culture Center
Both BTS train lines are also able to get visitors to the city's popular nightlife districts as well:
- Patpong – Take the Silom line to BTS Sala Daeng station
- Nana – Take the Sukhumvit line to BTS Nana station
- Soi Cowboy – Take the Sukhumvit line to BTS Asok Station
There are different types of fares that can be purchased, such as single journey to multi-pass. If you know you will be using the BTS trains a lot to get around it is best to buy a mult-pass fare. Multi-pass fares are stored with the amount you've deposited and deducted like a debit card. This way you will avoid ticket lines during the often hectic rush hours in some of the most well used stations.
Finally if you really want to make the best of your vacation in Bangkok it is best to stay in a hotel near a BTS station. There are many hotels that are cheap and affordable to expensive luxury hotels near them.
Taking the Sky Train is simply the best way to get around Bangkok. The city has a reputation for one of the worst traffic jams in Southeast Asia. Once you're on a Sky Train moving past vehicle traffic below then you will know why this popular mode of transport is so aptly names.