Don Muang was the original airport of Bangkok until it was replaced by Suvarnabhumi. After closing down briefly, it reopened as a hub for low-cost airlines serving flights from the Asia-Pacific region.
The airport was served by infrequent long-distance trains at Don Muang Station across the road. If you arrived at the wrong hour you could wait hours for the next train, so it was not a reliable means of travel.
In 2021 the SRT Commuter Rail opened (Dark Red Line), providing frequent services from Don Muang to the new central station of Bangkok at Bang Sue.
This guide shows how the get the train from Dong Muang to central Bangkok, and what are the alternatives if the train isn’t suitable.
Don Muang Airport Train Map
[Map of Don Muang Airport Train.]
Getting from Don Muang Airport to Don Muang Station
Don Muang Station is an elevated station opposite the airport. This replaces the old Don Muang Station which ran at ground level. The new station includes platforms for long-distance trains to the north and northeast, and platforms for the commuter railway. The commuter railway goes to the main train station of Bangkok at Bang Sue.
To get to the station, follow the signs to SRT Red Line. It is not referred to as “Airport Train” on the signs.
There is a step-free walkway that connects the airport to the station on the other side of a massive highway.
At the station, you are presented with two options; Long Distance and Commuter. For trains to Bangkok, you need the commuter.
Commuter Line (Dark Red Line)
This is where it starts getting confusing for newcomers to Bangkok. Next to the ticket machine is a map of all of the urban transit lines in Bangkok.
The rail network is operated by three different companies with three different ticketing systems. If your final destination requires three different trains, then you will need to buy a ticket for each train.
The Commuter Line is operated by the State Railways of Thailand. Tickets are in the form of a token.
Trains run every 15-20 minutes and it is 7 stops to Bang Sue.
Bang Sue Grand Station (Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal)
To add some extra confusion to your travels, Bang Sue Grand Station was renamed Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal when it was officially opened in 2023. Unfortunately, they didn’t think this through, so the Commuter and MRT stations still have signage as Bang Sue Grand Station.
[Sign at Bang Sue MRT to Bang Sue Grand Station.]
Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal to Bang Sue MRT
Once you arrive at Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal, there are signs at the Commuter Line exits that direct you to the MRT Blue Line under the station. This is the only metro line that connects to the station, so there is no chance of getting confused.
The most confusing thing at Bang Sue is the signs for the Airport Rail Link. This is not the same as the Commuter Line that goes to Don Muang. In the future there will be an Airport Rail Link that connects Don Muang to Suvarnabhumi via Bang Sue, so they have made these signs in preparation.
The only airport train is the Dark Red Line to Rangsit. This is clearly marked around the station, so look for the signs for the Commuter Rail to Rangsit if you are going to Don Muang.
The MRT has its own ticketing system, so once again you need another ticket. Tickets are either token (like the commuter line), or you can use a visa card to pay at the gate. There is also a stored value card you can buy at the ticket office, which is useful if you intend to use the MRT frequently.
MRT to BTS
The MRT crosses paths with the BTS (Skytrain) at four places, so check your map to see where is the best place to transfer. There are no integrated transfers between the MRT and BTS, so you have to leave the station, go outside, and enter the other station.
[“Interchange” from Mo Chit BTS to Chatuchak Park MRT.]
Getting the train to and from Don Muang is a cheap way to travel. I took the train from Phrom Phong on Sukhumvit Road to Don Muang in March 2023, and this was the cost breakdown:
BTS Phrom Phong to Mo Chit: 47 THB
MRT Mo Chit to Bang Sue: 19 THB
SRT Bang Sue to Don Muang: 33 THB
TOTAL: 99 THB
Here are the tickets I used. Bangkok is still waiting for a unified ticketed system that can be used on all trains.
[Three separate tickets to get the train from Don Muang to Sukhumvit Road.]
A bus or taxi from Don Muang
Depending on where you are going, a bus or taxi might be a better option. I know this is a sacrilegious thing for a train nerd to say, but that is the current reality of urban rail transit in Bangkok.
If you are going to Khao San Road, then there is no way you can get the train. There is an airport bus that goes direct to Khao San Road for 50 THB.
There are 4 different routes for the airport bus.
There is also the LimoBus that goes to Khao San Road, Phayathai (BTS) and Silom (MRT and BTS). On the one hand, you might get stuck in traffic, but on the other hand, there is no transferring between stations with baggage.
There is an official taxi area at the airport where you get a voucher to book a taxi. The last time I took a taxi from the airport to Sukhumvit Road, it cost about 500 THB (including tollway fees).
Read more about urban rail transit systems.