A First Timer’s Guide to Using the Bangkok MRT: Just rail it!
Cool Off During Your Commute on the Bangkok MRT
The Bangkok MRT can be a huge time saver without breaking the bank for any tourist visiting Thailand. However, navigating any major city for the first time can seem like a daunting task, especially with a hangover of apocalyptic proportions. Yet fear not brave but fragile adventurer, we’ve got you. Read our guide on Bangkok’s MRT and the only thing you’ll need to worry about is getting back to the hostel in time for happy hour.
The Bangkok MRT Gets Around
Bangkok’s Mass Rapid Transit runs under the city for 20km, with 18 stations along its length. Using the MRT gains you access to some of the best Bangkok has to offer. It turns Bangkok into a travellers dream. Choose Hua Lamphong for train access to the North and South, Silom for Patpong market the monitors lizards of Lumphini Park, and of course Sukhumvit to come party with us! Trains run every 5-7 minutes, so getting around the Big Mango has never been quicker or cheaper. Anywhere the MRT can’t take you, Bangkok’s sky train will – or maybe you’ll need a combo of the 2.
Step 1: Pick your station.
The chances are you’re hanging with us, so that would be Sukhumvit. If not, rest assured that you’re usually within a few minutes of one. Resources such as maps.me, google/apple maps are all helpful, and any of our staff are happy to point you in the right direction too.
Step 2: Grab your ticket.
Depending on the time of day, this will either be a breeze or the toughest test of your patience since waiting for your overnight bus. Rush hours can be chaotic affairs, so think like a Thai- keep your cool, get in line and think happy thoughts. You’ll get to the ticket machine, we promise. Once there, pick where you want to go and pay for your ticket. Most machines now accept notes, but beware that you’ll get your change in coins! To be on the safe side, keep a stash of coins for exactly this purpose. Your ‘ticket’ should come out of the dispenser in the form of a plastic chip. Don’t lose it, head down the stairs and get to the right platform.
Step 3: Get on the right train.
After heading in the direction more than once, we decided this needed to be addressed. Thailand is extremely accessible English speakers, and the MRT is no exception. All stations have a full list of stops displayed on walls and kiosks, so even if you end up on the wrong train, it’s an easy fix at the other end. Avoid this altogether by taking a few minutes to pick the right platform.
Step 4: Don’t be a dick.
Queue for your door and give your seat to monks and those in need. Don’t blast your music while shotgunning a beer and spilling pad thai all over the person you’re motorboating. Nuff said.
Step 5: Don’t miss your stop!
As with getting the right train, Bangkok’s MRT announces each stop in both English and Thai. Rush hour can involve the judicious use of your elbows and ‘excuse me’ in broken Thai, so get prepped- especially if you’re heading out with a full backpack. Once you emerge unscathed out of the other side, just follow the signs.
Epic Tip: The larger stations can have more than two exits, so make sure you don’t end up on the other side of the road!
Step 6: Rinse and repeat.
Now that you’re a seasoned MRT rider, keep it up. Something as simple as cracking public transport opens up a host of new possibilities, makes you more confident of your surroundings and is kind on the bank balance. Sure it can get crowded. It might even require an extra few minutes of walking. But when you’re in the shower because the rest of the group are still stuck in Bangkok traffic, you’ll realise why we love Bangkok’s MRT system so damn much.