The Skytrain has changed the face of travel in Bangkok. It used to be a nightmare of a city where one could easily spend two hours travelling a distance of about 5 km (3 mi) because the weight of traffic was bringing the whole place to a grinding halt. All this changed on 5 December 1999, King Bhumibol's birthday, when the Skytrain opened. Approached by stairs and escalators, the ultra-modern elevated stations are airy, spacious, clean and safe. The platforms are marked to show where the carriage doors will open and, at rush hour, passengers queue up behind one another at these entry points, rather than filling the whole space. Inside there is plenty of sitting and standing room, and air-conditioning ensures a pleasant temperatures even when it is sweltering outside.
After a slow start, the Skytrain has really taken off, carrying passengers throughout the day, from 6.00 am to midnight. Apart from the miracle of being able to get around speedly, the train is fun to be on. Passengers get a fascinating, bird's eye view of the city. Not only is one amazed by the vast quantity of skyscrappers, a symphony of chrome, steel, glass and concrete but, in amongst the hyper-modernity are glimpses of ancient temples, their sweeping roofs glittering red and gold in the sunlight, housing stock that varies from villas with flower-decked gardens to slums whose grimy windows are cheek by jowl with the track, advertising hoardings, monuments, traffic circulating and Thais going about their business.
Several of the stations are linked to "skywalks", elevated walkways leading to nearby shopping malls and other amenities such as the National Stadium, the Chao Phraya River and the wonderful Chatuchak Weekend Market. The Skytrain, due to be extended, will eventually cross the river to Thonburi, and run out to Bangkok's new airport.
WHEN TO GO
All year round, but best between October and April.
TIME IT TAKES
About one hour from end to end.
The views over Bangkok from the elevated trains.
The welcome respite of the heat.
Nipping up to Mo Chit station on the Sukhumvit line to visit Chatuchak Weekend Market.
Saphan Taksin Station where you can join an express boat and take a trip on the river.
Siam station, where you can change lines or jump out and walk to one of the many shopping malls for some retails therapy.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
Bangkok now has a super modern metro that covers different areas to the Skytrain. There are currently three interchanges with Skytrain, and the metro does go to Hua Lamphong, the metro does go to Hua Lamphong, the main train station.Hotels in Bangkok