Transportation in Bangkok , Buying Tickets for Bangkok Skytrain (BTS)
Taking the Skytrain is very simple. Those of you who are visiting Bangkok and using the Skytrain for the first time, will hopefully benefit and save time after reading the following explanation. Those who took the Skytrain before can also use the information below and probably learn a thing or two.
Buying a Ticket
Once you get up to the first floor, the first thing you should do is buy a ticket (every passenger needs one – his/her own Skytrain ticket). There are several ticket types, but I will only refer to 2 of them, which are relevant for tourists.
- BTS Single Journey Ticket
- BTS SKY SmartPass (Stored Value SmartPass) – a plastic ticket which covers multiple trips (until the value on passes is exhausted and should be refilled). The ticked is designed for visitors who spend at least a few days in Bangkok and intend to use the Skytrain for more than 1 or 2 trips. I highly recommend purchasing it, as the SmartPass will save you a lot of time in every ride.
BTS Single Journey Ticket – can be purchased in one of the vending machines at the entrance to the Skytrain station. Most vending machines only receive coins, but some of them do receive paper bills.
According to what I’ve seen and heard, almost all tourists (who haven’t had the common sense to purchase a SmartPass) use coins – so I will refer to these ticket vending machines. On the machine’s side, you’ll find a map detailing all the stops and prices. Please note that your current location will be circled in yellow and all stations titles will appear on the map along with the prices (for a trip from your current whereabouts).
Buying a Single Journey Ticket
1st stage – On the machine’s side, you’ll find a map detailing all the stops and prices. You should tally the costs of all tickets and make sure you have the entire necessary sum in 5/10 baht coins. In case you don’t have such coins, simply go to the manned stall and cash the bill/s into coins. Please note that cashing means you might need to stand in line, and that the ticket vending machines also have lines – which is exactly why I recommended purchasing a refillable SmartPass!! At any event, once you made sure you have the necessary sum to buy all the tickets, you can start purchasing them from the ticket vending machine.
2nd stage – press the button with the required sum for a single journey ticket!! (now, it will be lit) and start dropping the coins through the designated slot. The screen will display the remaining sum after each coin you drop in, and once you’ll finish inserting all the necessary coins – the desired ticked will come out through the machine slot.
Please note: every card requires repeating the above sequence again, so make sure you have a sufficient amount of coins to purchase all the tickets, because otherwise, you’ll have to go cashing the bill/s into coins again, before you can resume purchasing the rest of the tickets.
3rd stage – once the ticket appears in the slot, just pull it out and start the process of buying another ticket (should you need it).
For further detail, check out the clip at the end of the article.
After finishing the process and purchasing all the necessary tickets, you can enter the BTS Skytrain area, which I have covered in a separate article.
Buying a BTS SKY SmartPass (value on passes may be refilled)
In order to avoid having to cash your bills into coins in one place and then standing (possibly in line) by the vending machine and dropping in coins to buy tickets – I highly recommend buying a rechargeable plastic card (Smart Pass), which you can do at the manned stall that also functions as an information service and allows you to cash bills into coins (as previously mentioned).
The Stored Value SmartPass can be charged and recharged as you wish (the minimum is 100 baht); it enables you to enter and exit the station. It saves you valuable time and prevents you from having to go back and forth from the vending machine to the information/cashing service. Moreover, if you have decided throughout the ride, to change your destination and get off at a different stop (than originally planned), you can do it since the card is charged at the exit according to where you got off the BTS.
* Once you finished using the card, if a certain value remains – you’ll get the money back at the same stall.
You can check the attached presentation and see the entire process in further detail.
Have a pleasant ride!!