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Thread: Airport Link Skytrain - Survarnbhumi

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    Foundation Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน G4orce's Avatar
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    Airport Link Skytrain - Survarnbhumi

    Recently in Bangkok I used the SkyTrain from the Survanbhumi Airport into the Tourist area in Bangkok. There are two lines, The City line, which stops at multiply stations on the way to Phaya Thai Station. There is also the Express Line which runs from the Airport to Makkasan Station whithout stopping in around 14 mins.

    As of June this year they now have a direct Train to Phaya Thai which only takes 17 mins. You can walk from the station directly to the BTS Train line and continue on the Sukhumvit Line. The price was very good IMO. It cost us 150B for a return ticket (which was valid for 2 weeks) and the Trains run every 30 mins from both start and end point (on the hours and half past the hour). The trains did not have many people on them so there was plenty of room for your bags (Overhead shelving) and very comfortable seating.

    I found this a very east system to use and due to the Floods there were a lot less Taxi's on the road.

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    Foundation Member Uber Star quiksilva's Avatar
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    You did a good job of getting us from the airporte to Soi 4 last time - will use that route again.

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    Foundation Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน G4orce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiksilva View Post
    You did a good job of getting us from the airporte to Soi 4 last time - will use that route again.
    and I think we took the City Line that time (so was not the Express Train). It is good to go on and just keep going through all the Stations

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    Uber Star Foundation member Uber Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน vanguy77's Avatar
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    Super-Fast, Super-Comfortable .... and completely empty ....

    On this past trip I wanted to try the Airport Rail Link Express Train, so Tung and I used it to go to BKK to catch our Bangkok Airways flight to Trat.

    The Express Train still runs between Makkasan Station and Suvarnabhumi, with a total trip time of aproximately 15 minutes, all for a paltry 90 baht one way. The key is finding Makkasan Station, and how to connect to it, as that is not a simple matter. Once you learn it tho, this is the ONLY way to go from Downtown Bangkok to BKK. It is much cheaper, safer and faster then getting a taxi, particularly if your hotel is close to either the MRT or BTS lines.

    So how do you get to Makkasan Station. It is easy. Depending on where you are, jump onto the MRT and go to Phetchaburi Station. For Tung and I, this was just one station from where we started. Once you reach Phetchaburi, get off the train and look for the sign that will tell you which exit to take. There will be one listing Makkasan on it, and just follow the arrows to that exit. Once you reach street level, you will see no signs at all, but turn to your left and you will see the elevated tracks about 200 meters distant. So turn left, and walk half a block to the corner. You will now be able to look left and see Makkasan Station still a fair ways away. Cross the side street, get to the entrance drive for Makkasan and just walk towards the front doors. Once inside, just follow the signs for the Express Train to the Airport. Easy to find and follow. From our hotel, we were out the door and inside Makkasan in about 20 minutes, and it cost us about 15 baht for the MRT.

    Here is where it gets wierd tho. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING at Makkasan. No shops, no vendors .... no people!! You walk into a huge terminal building that is larger then most medium sized airports. It has two-story high glass windows, it has gleaming tiled floors, it has all the infrastructure to handle thousands of people per hour, but there is noone there. Our heels clicked on the tiled floors as we walked halfway down the length of this empty terminal, until we saw a sign directing us off to the left. There, about another 50 meters infront of us, was a very lonely lady sitting inside a ticket booth, with a female train official standing just outfront wearing her full uniform.

    When they saw us, they seemed a bit startled, but the official quickly waved us towards the booth, where I paid for our two tickets, received our plastic tokens, and then were waved through the gate. Note that it is different then the MRT: you put your token in, but you do not get it back, as this is the only rapid transit system in Bangkok that does not require you to validate your fare when you leave.

    The official then waved us toward an escalator that appeared stationary. Both Tung and I turned to her with questioning looks ... did they really want us to walk up a broken elevator? .... but the official impatiently waved us on. We sighed, and started to walk up the very long elevator, when it started up automatically, gathering speed smoothly, and whisked us up to the departure floor. When we stepped off, it stopped. Pretty Cool.

    We then walked a short way to the waiting area, that looked like it had been built to accommodate hundreds. It too was completely empty at two in the afternoon. Not long after that (and check the schedules if you can find them, because the train departs hourly at certain times of the day now), our train zipped up and we got on.

    The train sits in the station for about 10 minutes before departure, and during that time I saw 3 other people come up the escalator and board the train, none in our car. After that, the doors closed automatically, and we zipped smoothly on our way. This is an electric train, and does not stop until it reaches its terminus at BKK.

    The cars in the Express train are first class. I have ridden the regular commuter train to Suvarnabhumi before, and it has the usual hard plastic bench seating. The Express Train, however, has comfortable, cloth covered, high-backed aircraft style seats, two per side. There is loads of room for storing luggage, altho this might not be the case if the train was full. That does not seem like a problem at the present time, however.

    True to its word, the train pulled into the lowest level of BKK almost exactly 15 minutes after leaving Makkasan, infact, my timing of the trip put it at 14 minutes. No traffic jams, no freeway tolls, no tipping the taxi driver, no nightmarish swerving through traffic, no careening down the freeway at breakneck speeds praying that the taxi has good rubber on the tires, no worries that the taxi driver won't be able to find your hotel and drive you around the block a few times. On MRT trip, a short hike to Makkasan, and stroll through an emply station, a short wait for the train, and zoom, you are there. From BKK, you can take the ramps up all the levels if you wish, but it is easier, if you are going to departures, to just walk over to the elevator, and take it up to the Floor 4 Departures.

    For me now, this is the only way I will ever take to and from BKK and my hotel.

    .................................................. ............................................

    So the question begs to be asked: Why is there noone using this amazing service?

    The problem is Makkasan itself, and the hatred of the taxi drivers for this system, which could put hundreds of them out of work if it ever became popular.

    Makkasan is built literally in the middle of nowhere. There is nothing of note anywhere close, and no Thai's use the station to get anywhere. So there is no local traffic whatsoever, but then it wasn't designed for local traffic, it was designed to take travellers efficiently to and front the airport. Seemingly no expense was spared to make this an efficient and comfortable experience, and was built to accommodate thousands of travellers per day.

    So where are the travellers? The problem there is that Makkasan is a bit confusing to get to, so most people just take taxi. There is no question that it is somewhat easier to walk out of your hotel and jump into the back seat of a taxi, then to try to find your way to the Express Train, pulling your luggage behind you. But for the previously stated reasons, I think the Express Train is a vastly more reliable, comfortable, cheaper and definitely safer experience. The difficulty is, that most travellers are not familiar with the MRT or Subway system, as it remains hidden below ground. For my first few trips, tho I knew it existed, I used the BTS (or Skytrain) exclusively, and the Express Train does not yet connect with the BTS, tho the slower commuter train does.

    For the Express Train to really become popular, it needs to have far better promotion and instructions on its ease of use, and this includes making the connection to the MRT, and exactly where the MRT will take you. For most travellers new to Bangkok, the thought of getting off the train at Makkasan, and trying to find the Phetchaburi MRT Station is simply too daunting. Even if you are a veteran Bangkok traveller, but do not know how to find the Phetchaburi MRT entrance, it would be a very frustrating experience. I am really fortunate that the first time I tried it, Tung and I were going TO BKK, not coming from it, otherwise I would probably have never used the service again.

    Altho you can see where hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars were spent in the contruction of Makkasan and the building of the Express Line, the great failure was not to connect Phetchaburi MRT Station with a relatively short underground tunnel, that did not require any walking outside at all. This is exactly the system used in Vancouver that connects its main Skytrain lines with the Canada Line that takes people from downtown Vancouver out to the airport. In that instance, travellers just follow the signs for about a 10 minute walk, and stay inside the entire time, as they go from one rapid transit line to the other. Makkasan is actually relatively close to Phetchaburi Station, but it is ridiculous that you need to go outside onto the street, and literally figure out how to find one terminal from the other. This one gap in planning has literally crippled the effectiveness of what should be a state-of-the art, world class link to the airport.

    Then there are the taxi drivers. They certainly do not want this Airport Link to increase in popularity. We found this out the hard way, when Tung suggested on my return trip to Canada that since I was hauling my big suitcase (which I did not take with me to Trat) that we take a taxi to Makkasan instead of the MRT. Just a short hop by taxi, it should have been easy, but the bugger of taxi driver drove us right by Makkasan, and kept going. He then drove us around Bangkok for a good 15 minutes, before dropping us off at Ratchaprarop Station, which is then next station to the west of Makkasan, and only services the slower commuter train to BKK. He did it deliberately, and when we tried to tell him that this was not Makkasan he just brushed us off and said, "Same" and drove off. He knew exactly where Makkasan was, but wanted us on the slower train, not the express train. This is probably extremely common for any traveller's asking taxis where the Express Train is.

    So I hope my little guide helps, and that you give this service a try at some point.
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    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    Excellent write-up VG ... especially the description of Makkasan - spot on! Gotta be the quietest, loneliest place in Bangkok yet ultra modern and squeaky clean.

    I've just booked a night at Bangkok Boutique Hotel which is an easy walk from Makkassan, about 300m south of Phetchaburi MRT Station. I say easy, provided your luggage has wheels, as to find a taxi when arriving at Makkasan is impossible.

    I'm be meeting ppl at BKK and will use the train service back into town ... the only way to travel during rush hour.
    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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    Uber Star Foundation member Uber Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน vanguy77's Avatar
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    Thanks Rob, I agree just so lonely. Tung, who is a graduate in accounting kept muttering under her breath, "So much money for nothing!" 555

    I just remembered I took a few pictures while on the train ....


    The car we sat in, which was, as you can see, completely deserted.


    The car next to ours was also completely devoid of passengers.


    The seating is so comfortable for just the short 15 minute ride. Even the floors are carpetted!! The whole thing is so world-class, giving real VIP treatment. It really is a shame it is being so under-utilized.
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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน RakThai's Avatar
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    I have used the airport link a couple of times and really like it..
    never stopped at Makkasan, seemd to much hassle to switch to MRT there to Asoke, and then BTS to Nana (in which area I usually stay in Bangkok).
    So just took it all the way to Phaya Thai, and take the MRT Sukhumvit line there.. Problem is, planes from Holland usually arrive at 7 in the morning, so the BTS ride is really packed!

    So next time (I will print out the VanGuy guide..55) I might try the Makkasan route..
    Great info VG!

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    Organic AI Quarky's Avatar
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    Is there a map of where this train stops?
    My only experience was in a pie making factory managing the gravy team


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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน RakThai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Distantpeak View Post
    Is there a map of where this train stops?
    There you go..


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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน RakThai's Avatar
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    Sorry, 2 seperate image files..55


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    Organic AI Quarky's Avatar
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    So can you get on at Asoke... and transfer at Makkasan? Looks like you can't in that graph?
    My only experience was in a pie making factory managing the gravy team


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    Makkasan is a short inexpensive taxi ride from Asoke, done it a couple of times, also there are a few very large massage parlours at Makkasan 555

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    Uber Star Foundation member Uber Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน vanguy77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Distantpeak View Post
    So can you get on at Asoke... and transfer at Makkasan? Looks like you can't in that graph?
    DP, Asoke Skytrain Station and Sukhumvit MRT Station are basically right in the same place, and is the actual transfer point for going from one line to another. The MRT entrance is very close to the entrance to Soi Cowboy, literally just around the corner. There is an underground walkway right underneath Asok Road that takes you from the Soi Cowboy side, to the Terminal 21 side.

    For instance, if Tung and I were travelling from her apartment to say MBK, we would just on the MRT at the Lat Phrao Station, take it south to Sukhumvit Station, follow the signs that to the exit that brings you right out by Terminal 21, and take the escalators up to Asok Skytrain Station, which we could take to Siam Station. (Where, just to confuse matters, if we really going to MBK, we would then walk across the platform onto the other BTS line and take it one stop to National Stadium Station, where you can walk directly into MBK!! 555) The point being, even if you are staying near Nana Station, you can still take BTS from Nana to Asok, walk down to the MRT entrance near Terminal 21, and right into Sukhumvit MRT Station. Take MRT one station to Phetchaburi Station, and you are basically right across the street from the entrance to Makkasan. Easy as pizza.
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    Uber Star Foundation member Uber Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน vanguy77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bawdy View Post
    Makkasan is a short inexpensive taxi ride from Asoke, done it a couple of times, also there are a few very large massage parlours at Makkasan 555
    Provided you don't get an a-hole taxi driver like Tung and I got, who screwed us over! 555 Interesting little insight into the massage parlors as a bonus! Thanks Bawdy!! 55555
    [SIZE="3"]"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."
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    Organic AI Quarky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bawdy View Post
    Makkasan is a short inexpensive taxi ride from Asoke, done it a couple of times, also there are a few very large massage parlours at Makkasan 555
    That's me sold... 555
    My only experience was in a pie making factory managing the gravy team


  16. #16
    Organic AI Quarky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanguy77 View Post
    DP, Asoke Skytrain Station and Sukhumvit MRT Station are basically right in the same place, and is the actual transfer point for going from one line to another. The MRT entrance is very close to the entrance to Soi Cowboy, literally just around the corner. There is an underground walkway right underneath Asok Road that takes you from the Soi Cowboy side, to the Terminal 21 side.

    For instance, if Tung and I were travelling from her apartment to say MBK, we would just on the MRT at the Lat Phrao Station, take it south to Sukhumvit Station, follow the signs that to the exit that brings you right out by Terminal 21, and take the escalators up to Asok Skytrain Station, which we could take to Siam Station. (Where, just to confuse matters, if we really going to MBK, we would then walk across the platform onto the other BTS line and take it one stop to National Stadium Station, where you can walk directly into MBK!! 555) The point being, even if you are staying near Nana Station, you can still take BTS from Nana to Asok, walk down to the MRT entrance near Terminal 21, and right into Sukhumvit MRT Station. Take MRT one station to Phetchaburi Station, and you are basically right across the street from the entrance to Makkasan. Easy as pizza.
    I'm sorry to say I have no idea what you said above... 555

    So taxi from Asoke to Airport link at Makkasan?
    kaptainrob likes this.
    My only experience was in a pie making factory managing the gravy team


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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน RakThai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Distantpeak View Post
    I'm sorry to say I have no idea what you said above... 555

    So taxi from Asoke to Airport link at Makkasan?
    hahaha.. Print out the map, easier to follow..

    As for your question before:
    Petchaburi MRT station and Makkasan train station are very close together.. Can walk..555

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน RakThai's Avatar
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    Maybe this map is clearer?


  19. #19
    Organic AI Quarky's Avatar
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    ^Great map above. Helps a lot...

    Quote Originally Posted by RakThai View Post
    hahaha.. Print out the map, easier to follow..

    As for your question before:
    Petchaburi MRT station and Makkasan train station are very close together.. Can walk..555
    Cheers RT. I wondered how close they were.... I might even try the rail link next time.... I tend to stay around Soi Cowboy area so...
    My only experience was in a pie making factory managing the gravy team


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    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Arliss Michaels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bawdy View Post
    Makkasan is a short inexpensive taxi ride from Asoke, done it a couple of times, also there are a few very large massage parlours at Makkasan 555
    Only you would know that 555
    The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese

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