How To Use The BTS Skytrain in Bangkok?
We’ve been in Bangkok for a few weeks now and used the BTS Skytrain almost every day. The BTS Skytrain is a really useful mode of transport when staying in Bangkok. You can catch the BTS train to take a ferry to Khaosan Road or Wat Arun, to the central malls of Bangkok and to all the main, big markets. Traffic in Bangkok is pretty mental during the day, so it pays to stay in a hotel in walking distance to a BTS Skytrain station – You can check out all the best places to stay in convenient locations near the BTS stations in my Bangkok area guide here.
I see a lot of non-Thai’s in the BTS Skytrain station trying to make sense of the posters and purchase the correct ticket. It’s actually quite simple; In the smaller stations, to purchase your tickets visit a panel on a wall, usually in some sort of pillar or podium in the middle of the turn styles. You will see 8 buttons all with numbers on such, something like this:
Each number, or button, is a fare, in Baht. Put your coins in, press a button and it will print your ticket. To know which fare you need, look at one of the maps of the BTS Skytrain system, usually mounted on the wall next to the machine. You will see a series of BTS station names, with a circled number. That number is the fare in Baht. That is the button you press.
In bigger stations there is a touch screen machine you use where you select the station you want to go to and how many tickets (passengers) you want, then enter your money, it will tell you onscreen how much you need to pay – and collect your printed ticket.
For both of the above systems, take your printed ticket to the gates and offer it to the slot on the right hand side of the gate post, it will suck in your ticket, open the gate and spit your ticket back out the top. Make sure you take the ticket as you have to put your ticket into the gate when you leave too, though when you leave you will not get the ticket back. If you have to change trains at all, then you don’t need to use your ticket at every station as you will arrive in the BTS station on the skytrain beyond the gates.
What is the Rabbit Card and can I get one as a foreigner?
You can. I’ve seen a few posts online where people complain that foreigners are not allowed BTS Carrot cards in Bangkok, however this is not true. Not only is a lot of the BTS Rabbit Card information in English, but when you register you card online you have an option to select if you’re not Thai and are asked for your international passport number. BTS Carrot cards are extremely useful to save time wasted queuing when travelling around Bangkok.
To buy a Rabbit card just visit the manned booth in any station. At the time of writing this they cost 200 Baht which includes a 50 fare. You can top up the card by taking it to any manned both and handing over cash with it.
Every time you go to a station you need to place your Rabbit card on the round pad on the top of the turn style/gate.. make sure you do the same when you leave so that you are charged correctly. If you manage to slip through an open gate on your way out the station then you are likely to be charged the most expensive fare for the day, automatically.
Visit one of those big orange Rabbit card machines in the station and you can print some vouchers. Also print out the instructions on how to register your Rabbit card online just in case you lose it. Additionally benefit to registering is that you can get reward points every time you use it which can be exchanged for things such as money off, coupons, limited edition Rabbit cards and even holidays.
You can check your Rabbit balance at any Rabbit machine or online and each time you place your Rabbit card on a gate the screen will tell you the remaining balance.
Can I use my Rabbit Card on the MRT In Bangkok?
No, not yet. But apparently it’s going to be an option in mid-late 2013.