Bangkok Airport Rail Link
So you have just landed in Bangkok at Suvarnabhumi Airport (also referred to as Bangkok International Airport). Your business trip or exciting vacation is about to get underway. But before you can start working or exploring the wonderful sights and seeing what this great has to offer, you need to find your accommodation.
You’re tired after your flight and want to get to your Bangkok base in a flash. There are several options available to you at the airport, including taxis, buses and rental cars. But they could result in you being stuck in traffic or getting lost if the city is unfamiliar to you. If you want to travel fast and save money, use the Airport Rail Link from Suvarnbhumi Airport. It travels direct to the heart of Bangkok and is a cheap way of getting you to where you need to be.
The line, known as the SA City Line is approximately 28 kilometres in length, starting at the airport and extending to Phaya Thai Station in central Bangkok. The travel time from the beginning to the end of the line is around thirty minutes.
The rail link also connects with other modes of transport in the city, including the MRT underground system at Makkasan Station and the BTS Skytrain at Phaya Thai Station.
The Airport Rail Link operates every single day, from 06:00 am to midnight.
During weekday peak hours (from 06:00 am to 09:00 am and 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm) trains depart every 12 minutes. During weekends and off-peak hours the trains depart every 15 minutes.
Where to Catch the Airport Rail Link
After leaving your plane, you need to get to the station entrance, so just follow the signs. There are lots of them all over the airport directing you to the station. Therefore, it’s pretty unlikely that you won’t be able to find it. However, if you do get stuck, here’s a simple phrase you can use.
“Airport Link yuu tii nai” which translates as “where is the airport link?”
There are two types of fares:
1) Single-trip tokens, which are more suitable for those who are only in the city for a short while and are only planning to use the system once or twice.
You can pay at the ticket counters or at one of the ticket vending machines, which have an English language option so you can easily follow the instructions. Fares are priced according to the distance travelled, and they start at 15 baht. The maximum price you will pay for one person for one journey is 45 baht. Just select the station you wish to travel to and the machine will calculate the fare you have to pay. You can purchase tokens with notes and/or 1 baht, 5 baht and 10 baht coins. The machine will then issue you with a token, change and a receipt. There are at least two of these vending machines at each Airport Rail Link station.
Whether you use a machine or go to a counter, you will receive a small, circular token. Just tap it onto one of the access control gates to get to the platform. When you arrive at your destination, deposit the token in the token slot on the gates so you can exit the station.
2) Pre-paid smart passes. Passengers can load their cards with up to 1,000 baht worth of credit, while the minimum prepaid value is 50 baht. As with other prepaid cards on Bangkok’s travel networks, passengers just touch their card on the card reader and it will indicate the balance left and the station that is being travelled through. Note that these passes are not compatible with either the BTS or the MRT networks.
Airport Rail Link Stations
The SA City Line encompasses a total of eight stations including Suvarnabhumi. They are:
Ban Thap Chang – this station is in the Prawet District, close to the Bangkok-Chonburi Motorway. Among the well-known places within this district are Seacon Square, a large indoor shopping mall and Rama IX Park. This large green space was built in 1987 to celebrate the 60th birthday King Bhumibol. It features a botanical garden, lake and fields.
Ramkhamhaeng – this station is situated in the Suan Luang District. Nearby well-known locations are Ramkhamhaeng University, Assumption University and the Rajamangala National Stadium. This sporting arena is the national stadium of Bangkok and is the home of the country’s national football team. It is also used as a concert venue, and among the global superstars who have performed here are Lady Gaga and One Direction.
Lat Krabang – this station is situated in the Lat Krabang District in eastern Bangkok. Nearby is the King MongKut’s Institute of Technology Laskrabang.
Hua Mak – this station is situated in the Suan Luang District. The Bangkok-Chonburi motorway and Kasem Bundit University are nearby.
Ratchaprarop – this station is situated in Ratchathewi, a district in central Bangkok. Among the popular landmarks in this part of the capital city are the Victory Monument, built to honour fallen soldiers of the French-Thai War, Baiyoke Tower and the Suan Pakkad Palace.
Makkasan – this station is situated in the Makkasan sub district and is also known as the City Air Terminal. Until 2014 an express line operated from here to the airport, but it has been suspended indefinitely due to a shortage of rolling stock. Among the attractions within a 2-kilometre radius of Makkasan are the Lingam Shrine, the Platinum Fashion Mall and the Bangkok Doll Factory and Museum. Inside are several hundred Thai handmade dolls.
Phaya Thai – this station is the end of the line and is situated in downtown Bangkok. It is also on the BTS Sukhumvit Line. Among the popular destinations within easy reach of this station are the Victory Monument, Baiyoke Tower and Pantip Plaza, a large indoor IT mall. Here you can purchase computer hardware, software, accessories and games.
There are plans to one day extend the Airport Rail Link to include Don Mueang International Airport, Bangkok’s other major airport.