The Bangkok Mass Transit System began with the launch of two BTS Skytrain lines in 1999. There are now eight lines operating, with more lines planned and under construction.
The urban rail transit system of Bangkok is comprised of a mixture of railway systems operated by three different companies. There is no singular brand like “Bangkok Metro” for the network, and there is no official map of a unified rail system.
The lack of a unified map is the least of Bangkok’s worries though, as the different operators have not agreed to provide integrated interchanges. There is also no unified ticket system yet, so you need to buy a different ticket for each railway.
While getting around Bangkok has become much easier with the introduction of these new lines, it is useful to know about the different lines and ticketing systems. This guide lists all of the different railways that form the Bangkok Mass Transit System, including the official websites and maps from each company.
BTS Skytrain (Bangkok Mass Transit System)
Operator: Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company Limited.
Official website: bts.co.th.
The BTS Skytrain was the first urban rail transit system in Bangkok, and it is most commonly referred to as the BTS or Skytrain. There are two lines which both opened in 1999:
– Sukhumvit line (Light Green Line)
– Silom line (Dark Green Line)
The Sukhumvit line and Silom line meet at Siam, where there is a cross-platform interchange. Both lines have been extended over the years, and more extensions are planned.
[Siam BTS Skytrain Station.]
BTS also operates an Automated People Mover:
– Gold Line
This line was built to connect the Skytrain system to the Icon Siam development.
[Photo by Greg Jorgensen for Future Southeast Asia.]
BTS Skytrain Map
[View full size. Map via bts.co.th.]
The official BTS Skytrain map shows the two green BTS lines most prominently, with the the other systems represented with smaller lines.
BTS Skytrain Tickets
Single BTS tickets can be bought at the station, or you can buy the Rabbit stored value card. The Rabbit card can also be used in selected shops around Bangkok.
[Rabbitpay at a store in Bangkok.]
Operator: Bangkok Expressway and Metro (BEM).
Official Website: mrta.co.th.
The MRT (Metropolitan Rapid Transit) is a mass rapid transit system with 2 lines:
– MRT Blue Line
– MRT Purple Line
The Blue Line opened in 2004, while the Purple Line opened in 2016. Both lines will be extended in the future, and the MRT will be adding more lines to their network.
[MRT Purple Line at Bang Son.]
[View full size. Map via metro.bemplc.co.th.]
The online MRT map only shows the two MRT lines, with lines from other operators greyed out. The same map can be seen at MRT stations, including lines from the other operators.
[View full size map.]
This map shows lines from all operators equally (unlike the BTS map which makes their lines bigger on the map). The map shown at MRT stations also has the future lines covered in grey stickers.
MRT tickets can be bought as single tokens at the station, and there is also a stored value card.
SRT Red Lines
[View full size. Map via srtet.co.th.]
Official Website: srtet.co.th
The SRT Red Lines are two commuter lines (SRT Dark Red Line and SRT Light Red Line) that are operated by the State Railway of Thailand. The Dark Red Line runs from Bang Sue to Rangsit, while the Light Red Line runs from Bang Sue to Taling Chan.
[SRT Dark Red Line at Lak Si.]
This is a commuter railway that serves the neighbouring provinces that form the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. The lines will be extended through Bangkok in the future, opening up more rail alternatives for Bangkok’s urban transit system.
The most useful line for visitors is the Dark Red Line to Don Mueang Station, which is connected by an elevated walkway to Don Muang International Airport.
[Walkway to Don Muang International Airport.]
SRT Red Lines Tickets
Tickets for the Red Lines are single tokens. Like the BTS and MRT, this is a separate ticketing system. If you are transferring from an SRT line to a BTS or MRT line, you need to get a new ticket.
Airport Rail Link (ARL)
[View full size.]
Owner: State Railway of Thailand.
Official Website: 18.104.22.168/index.php.
The Airport Rail Link (ARL) runs from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Phaya Thai station. The line initially ran express and commuter services, with the express service also stopping at Makkasan Station. The express service is currently suspended, so the line has been reduced to a stopping-all-stations service.
[Bangkok Airport Rail Link.]
Makkasan Station was purpose-built as a remote airport terminal, where you could check in and have your bags checked in as well. The check-in service at Makkasan was eventually closed due to low passenger numbers. This line will eventually be replaced by the 3 airports rail link.
Airport Rail Link Tickets
The Airport Rail Link uses tokens (like the Red Lines) and you cannot interchange with the BTS or MRT.
Alternative Bangkok Mass Transit System Maps
The BTS and MRT have produced separate maps that have their own style. There are some independent maps that show all of the lines, with the most useful map from Wikipedia.
[View full size. Map by Zeddlex, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.]
The best map that shows the Bangkok Mass Transit System on a traditional metro-style map is by ExploreMetro. The full map can be viewed on the website, or via their app.
[Bangkok Mass Transit System by ExploreMetro.]
This maps by LivingPop is a clean transit-style map that resembles the BTS map, except that all of the lines are equal in size.
[View full size.]
Here is a Japanese-style subway map of the Bangkok mass transit system. This map by https://runbkk.net breaks the unwritten rule of metro mapping of using straight lines and 45-degree angles. Instead, this map has gone with jagged lines as needed, and the Japanese/English language makes it look like a system from somewhere in Japan.
[View full size.]
Another independent map is from Transit Bangkok. This map is now out of date, but I have listed it here as a reference.
[View full size. Map by Transit Bangkok.]
This guide is for current travel in Bangkok, so for simplicity and clarity, I have kept the future lines off this guide. If you are interested in the future lines you can visit the future Bangkok Mass Rapid Transit System Guide at Future Southeast Asia..
Read more urban rail transit articles.
Another Nomad says
Is the new Bang Sue Grand railroad station located near the intersection of the MRT blue line, and SRT dark red and light red lines? If so, which has the most convenient access? Thank you.
James Clark says
Bang Sue station on the MRT Blue is connected Bang Sue Grand Station by an underground walkway, so just follow the signs pointing to Bang Sue Grand Station from MRT Bang Sue. The SRT dark red and light red lines are operating from platforms inside Bang Sue Grand Station, so you buy tickets for the red lines once you are in Grand Station.
HI, Just like to know whether is there any unlimited Bangkok MRT1day/3days pass available for tourist ?
James Clark says
MRT doesn’t have an unlimited pass. BTS used to have a 30-day pass but they got rid of that in 2021. They still show a daily pass on their website though https://www.bts.co.th/eng/tickets/ticket-daypass.html
Thank you for the information.