All About the Bangkok Skytrain (BTS) : Metro Cards, One-Day Passes, and NEW Registration Requirements
The Bangkok Sky Train: BTS
Rather than relying on taxis or tuk-tuks to get around Bangkok, you can save money and lots of time by avoiding traffic and traveling on the BTS Skytrain, which travels on an elevated rail across the busiest and most popular parts of the city.
The Skytrain is fast, modern, comfortable, and air-conditioned, and is a cheap and quick way to cross the city to wherever you want to go. Here’s everything you need to know about riding the BTS Skytrain in Bangkok, including new rules about how to register a BTS Rabbit Card.
Where does the Bangkok Skytrain go?
The Bangkok Mass Transit System, usually referred to as the “BTS” or the “Skytrain” is the city’s elevated rail network. It currently has two lines: Light Green and Dark Green, although more are in various stages of planning and construction. Why they couldn’t have chosen a slightly less confusing way to color the two lines, I have no idea, but most people simply refer to them as the Sukhumvit Line and the Silom Line respectively.
The Sukumvit (Light Green) Line runs between Mo Chit Terminal (in Chatuchak District) and Kheka Station (in Samut Prakan), spanning some 37 kilometers. Many of the busiest areas of the city are located along this line.
The Silom (Dark Green) Line is shorter, and runs 14 kilometers between National Stadium Terminal and Bang Wa Station. This line crosses the Chaophraya River into Thonburi, and is the easiest way to access the river boats and old town.
Transferring from the Skytrain to the Subway (MRT)
The two Skytrain lines cross at Siam (Central) Station.
The Sukumvit Line meets the MRT Subway at Mo Chit Terminal Station and Asok Station.
The Silom Line meets the MRT Subway at Sala Daeng Station.
Unfortunately, the BTS and MRT have never been able to come to an agreement regarding fare cards. As such, the two companies utilize entirely different ticketing systems. If you want to transfer between the BTS and MRT, you will need to purchase a separate ticket, or use a different fare card (MRT tickets and fare cards are available inside the subway stations).
How much does it cost to ride the Bangkok Skytrain?
A single journey ticket can be purchased at the ticketing counter or the ticket machine inside the Skytrain station. The cost of the ticket is dependent upon the destination and how many stops the user will be traveling. Fare starts at THB 16 for one stop and goes up to THB 44.
Buying a ticket for the BTS Skytrain
You can purchase a single-use ticket from the machine just before the ticket gates. Please note that these machines ONLY accept 10 baht coins. You can make change from the employee at the ticket booth.
Next to the machine is a map displaying each station and the fare from where you are to that station. Select the fare amount and receive a paper ticket.
To use the ticket, insert it into the ticket gate. When it pops back up the top, retrieve the ticket, and the gate will open. At your destination, insert the ticket into the ticket gate in the same way. The gates will open, but the machine will reserve your ticket.
Bangkok Skytrain Card (Rabbit Card): re-usable fare card
The BTS fare card is called a “Rabbit Card”. There are three types: a regular (orange) card, a senior (purple) card, and a student (green) card. The senior and student cards receive a slight discount on fare.
Each trip will cost you a certain amount of money, depending on the distance. When your card is empty, you can “top it up” by bringing the card and a 100 baht note (or however much you would like to load onto the card) to the ticket agent. The card belongs to you, and you can continue topping it up and using it indefinitely.
The Rabbit Card can also be used like a pre-loaded debit card to make purchases at various shops and restaurants (7-11, Starbucks, McDonalds, etc) throughout Bangkok.
It costs THB 200 to purchase a new Rabbit Card. This comes with THB 100 of stored value that you can top-up and re-load at any BTS station. The minimum amount to re-load onto the card is THB 100. When you use a Rabbit Card, ever trip will automatically deduct the fare from your card. Using a Rabbit Card will save you time and money instead of buying a one-way ticket each trip.
Additionally, instead of adding cash to your card to be deducted as fare, you can purchase a number of trips (15 trips starting at THB 465).
UPDATED 2019: As of February 2019, all Rabbit Cards must be registered before use. In order to register a BTS card, you must have your Thai national ID card or passport. (See more below)
Buying a day pass or Rabbit Card
If you are staying in Bangkok for a short time, you may wish to purchase a one-day pass instead of a Rabbit Card or a single-use ticket.
One day passes, which are valid for unlimited trips on any BTS line until midnight on the day of purchase, cost THB 140.
New rules about registering a Skytrain (Rabbit) Card
As of February 2019, all Rabbit Cards must be registered in order to add value to the cards. This is a one-time process, and can be done by presenting your Rabbit Card along with your Thai National ID Card or passport at the BTS ticketing office. The process takes a few minutes.
Once your Rabbit Card is registered, you may continue to use it as usual.
This does not only apply to newly-purchased cards, although from now on, everybody must present his or her ID card or passport to purchase a new Rabbit Card.
Even old Rabbit Cards must now be registered in order to continue using it.