The Travelers Guide To Using The BTS in Bangkok

how to use bts skytrain bangkok

So you’re in Bangkok and you’re wondering how to use the BTS Skytrain system? You’re in the right place. After using the BTS daily for over 6 months during my stay in Thailand I’ll share with you some tips and tricks that will save you money, and time and help you navigate the city quickly during your stay.

How To Buy A BTS Ticket

You have 2 options when purchasing a ticket on the BTS in Bangkok:

  • Use the front desk, ask the customer assistant where you want to go, and pay the required amount
  • Use the machines

I’ll run you through both options below under the designated headings, however, it’s commonly best for tourists to go to the counter. All BTS staff speak great English and will be able to tell you the quickest route and where you need to change. They’ll also be able to answer any questions you have – the ticket machine can’t help you with this.

On the flip side, the ticket machine (if you know where you’re going first) is far quicker to get a ticket. However, if you’re opting for the day pass on the BTS, you won’t be able to purchase it using the machines.

Top Tip: you can save a lot of money purchasing a day pass. These cost 150 baht, and can be purchased directly from one of the members of staff. You can use this pass to go anywhere on both green lines – so you’ll be able to get around most of central Bangkok using just this ticket. Combine this with an MRT day pass for more locations, and to reduce your daily spend.

How To Buy a BTS Ticket At The Counter

When you walk into the BTS station, you will commonly find counters with members of staff to the left and right of the turnstiles, before entering the main station. Simply walk up to a booth, wait in line, and tell the staff where you want to go. Don’t worry, they speak English extremely well, and will be able to help you figure out where you need to purchase tickets to, and where you need to change stations.

This is the best option for travellers to use.

How To Buy A BTS Ticket Using The Machine

If you’re strapped for time, you can use the ticket machines. These are commonly located before the counters. To purchase your ticket here, simply touch the screen, change the language to English, tap the station you want to travel to, and then choose the number of passengers travelling.

Once you have done this, pay the required amount, and wait for the machine to present your ticket, then collect your change.

How To Get A BTS Rabbit Card & Is It Worth It?

The Rabbit card can be useful for some tourists who don’t want to wait in queues and use the BTS a lot. You can top it up with whatever amount of baht you like, and scan it each time you walk through the turnstiles. It will automatically deduct the required amount for the journey you have taken, and the turnstile when you exit.

To get a Rabbit card:

  • Head to the counter and ask the assistant for a Rabbit card.
  • You will need to pay 200 baht ($4-6) to get the card
  • Hand the staff your passport, your Thai phone number and email address
  • Then, tell them the desired amount you’d like to top up, and start using your card!

The Rabbit card is fairly useless for tourists, unless you don’t want to wait in line. It’s also far more expensive than getting a day pass if you use the BTS a lot as a tourist, and are only staying a little while in Bangkok. However, if you’re staying for longer than 30-60 days the Rabbit card can be useful as there are discounts on large amounts of trips used. You can additionally get discounts if you’re a senior or registered student in Thailand.

Despite all of these perks, my recommendation is to make use of the daily pass instead. You only have to pay once per day (150 baht), and you can use the BTS as much as you like. If you travel a lot during the day, this makes the one-day pass far better value for money. Realistically the best option is to use both the Rabbit card and the one-day pass. Rabbit card for the days you don’t travel so much and the one-day pass for those busier days.

Unfortunately, the Rabbit card has another drawback you can only use it on the light green line. This is because of the weird way the BTS is run. Part of it is run by the government, while the other part is a private company. You can use the Rabbit card hassle-free on the private company’s part, but you have to pay extra to use it on the government’s part.


  • No waiting in queues
  • Top up a large amount for longer stays
  • Topping up large amounts gives you a discount
  • Automatically deducts the trip amount from your card
  • You can use it to purchase goods at 7/11


  • Annoying to set up because you’ll need your passport
  • 200 baht cost for the card
  • Day pass works the far cheaper option
  • Can’t use on the Dark Green line

Where Does The BTS Go? (A BTS Interactive Map)

The BTS will take you around most of central Bangkok. For instance, the light green line goes from Samut Phrakan to Khu Khot station. The Dark green line goes from The National Stadium to Bang Wa. You then have the Airport rail link at Phaya Thai, going from Phaya Thai to Suvarnabhumi Airport.

However, some places are completely inaccessible using the BTS for now. You can use the MRT or the public bus services to reach these – it’s little annoying that there’s no link between the two services MRT & BTS, and you have to purchase two tickets, but with time we can hope they work together and offer an all inclusive day pass for both services. That would be amazing!

If you want to know more about getting around Bangkok cheaply, check out our guide.

How To Connect With The MRT

An MRT Token

There are 4 stations you can use to connect to the MRT Blue Line, from the BTS Green Line. These are:

  • Ha Yaek Lat Phrao Station -> Phanon Yothin
  • Asok -> Sukhumvit
  • Sala Daeng BTS -> Silom
  • Bang Wa BTS -> Bang Wa

You can only connect with the MRT Blue Line using the BTS. There is no way to use the MRT Purple Line from the BTS, you can only reach this using the Blue Line. Therefore, you would have to connect to the Blue Line from BTS, and then from the Blue Line to the Purple Line.

To see where the MRT connections are, you can check our interactive map (above).

How Much Does A BTS Ticket Cost? & How To Save Money

It depends on where you are stopping, but fares for the BTS can range from 20 baht – 60 baht maximum ($0.54 – $1.63). These are one-way trips, so if you need to return to the station you came from, you’ll have to pay the same amount coming back. There is currently no way to purchase a return ticket. So, if you’re travelling on a 60 baht ticket, you’ll have to pay 120 baht for a return.

In this case, it’s better to opt for a one-day pass to save money on your travelling. For an extra 30 baht (total 150 baht, $4.08), you can travel all day, as much as you like on the light green and dark green lines, from 6 am to 12 am (when the BTS lines close).

Discounts are available for the elderly and enrolled university students if using a Rabbit card, and children below 90cm travel free on the BTS. You can also make use of the 30-60 day top up options on the Rabbit card that discount trips. For instance, you can get 35 trips for 1153 baht ($31.33 USD), working out at 33 baht per trip ($0.9-1 USD).

Choose whichever option suits you best. If you travel a lot, the one-day pass is the clear winner.

Using The Airport Rail Link

Airport rail link BTS

If you’re going to Suvarnabhumi Airport, you can use the airport rail link, which can be accessed from Phaya Thai BTS station, and Phechaburi MRT Blue Line station.

To use the airport rail link, change at Phaya Thai BTS station, and purchase a ticket for the station you would like to exit at. The maximum this should cost you at the time of this video is 45 baht to Suvarnabhumi airport ($1USD).

If you want to explore the outskirts of Bangkok, you can also use the airport rail link to take you to Samut Phrakan and other areas, with tickets as low as 15 baht $0.41

Unfortunately there is no BTS service to Don Meuang Airport yet, but you can alternatively use the SRT, red-line trains to travel inbetween this airport that depart from Bang Sue Grand National Station.

Access For Disabled Travellers on The BTS

The BTS has limited disabled access, providing 11 stations with lifts for disabled, these are:

  1. Mo Chit
  2. Siam 
  3. Asoke 
  4. On Nut
  5. Chong Nonsi
  6. Krung Thonburi 
  7. Wong Wian Yai
  8. Pho Nimit 
  9. Talat Phlu 
  10. Wutthakat 
  11. Bang Wa

If you are disabled, you will have more accessibility using the MRT as all stations provide lifts, and have people on call to escort you to the train and help you with your journey.

This is the same on the BTS, but the access is more limited.

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