Quick Tips on how to take the MRT to Chinatown and the Grand Palace
Starting from the end of July, you will be able to ride the MRT underground train to Chinatown, the Grand Palace and under the Chaophraya River to Thonburi. This will make life so much easier for tourists visiting both Chinatown and the old city. No longer do we have to face scamming tuk tuk drivers or taxi drivers who refuse to turn on their meter. Up to this point, I used to take the MRT to Hua Lamphong and then walk into Chinatown and then back again. Now there are two new stations in Chinatown which means we can have three choices of where to enter or exit. These are MRT Wat Mangkon and MRT Sam Yot. For Rattanakosin island, there is one station called MRT Sanam Chai. This is alongside Museum Siam and around the corner from Wat Pho, otherwise known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It is also a short walk to Pak Khlong flower market and the Grand Palace. The fourth station of interest is MRT Itsaraphap which is on the Thonburi side of the Chaophraya River. The new terminal station is MRT Tha Phra. In March 2020, this will connect to Tao Poon and Mo Chit forming a loop on the Blue Line (see map below).
You will be able to use the first five stations on the new extension of the Blue Line for free from Monday 29th July to Saturday 28th September 2019. The five stations that are free are between MRT Wat Mangkon and MRT Tha Phra. During this introductory period, they will only be open from 7:00am to 9:00pm (previously 10:00am-4:00pm). If you are travelling to this new extension from any station between Tao Poon and Hua Lamphong, you will have to change trains at Hua Lamphon station. If you start your journey at Hua Lamphong, you will have to pay 16 Baht. However, if you board the train at any of the five stations on the extension it will be free if you only travel between MRT Wat Mangkon and MRT Tha Phra. From 29th September 2019, all eleven stations of the Blue Line extension will be open for service. The remaining six stations are: Bang Phai, Bang Wa (interchange with BTS), Phetkasem 48, Phasi Charoen, Bang Khae, and Lak Song.
FOUR STATIONS OF INTEREST TO TOURISTS
There are four stations of interest on this new extension due to their unique artwork that reflects on the history and culture of the local communities. In addition, architecture of all of the buildings above ground help them blend in so that they look part of the community. The following are photo albums of these four train stations that are now open to the public.
(1) MRT WAT MANGKON
MRT Wat Mangkon Station will be the first stop after MRT Hua Lamphong (see map). This will make it more convenient for tourists to visit Chinatown as it is on Charoen Kreung Road. As you can see in the photo album below, the exterior of the station was designed to blend in with nearby architecture. Inside there is a Chinese theme. This includes the back of a dragon as you walk down the steps and a large golden dragon on the ceiling in the ticket hall.
(2) MRT SAM YOT
MRT Sam Yot Station is just south of Rommaninat Park on the Western outskirts of Chinatown (see map). Rommaninat Park used to be the site of Bangkok Remand Prison. There are still some remains of the prison to be seen. This station is certainly more beautiful on the outside than in. Like the other stations on the Blue Line extension, the station building has been designed to reflect local architecture. Sam Yot is a historical area of Bangkok and inside, it is like a museum with old photographs on display.
(3) MRT Sanam Chai
The most beautiful of the new underground stations on the Blue Line extension is at MRT Sanam Chai (see map). One of the entrances is at Museum Siam. Unlike other entrances on the Blue Line, this one is open so it doesn’t block the view towards Museum Siam. The escalator is apparently waterproof. This station is only a short walk from the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, the Grand Palace and Pak Khlong flower market. The decoration inside MRT Sanam Chai reflects its nearby royal heritage.
(4) MRT Itsaraphap
The fourth and final station of architectural interest on the Blue Line extension is MRT Itsaraphap on the Thonburi side of the river in Bangkok (see map). Unlike the other three stations, the outside of this one is ordinary. However, inside they have a special feature, a golden swan. The swans at MRT Itsaraphap are beautifully lit up. At first glance, they look a bit like the emblem for Liverpool Football Club. However, these swans are paying tribute to the nearby Wat Hongrattanaram temple which has ‘swan’ in its name.
That’s the end of this quick guide to the new stations on the Blue Line extension. Hopefully you will get a chance to visit these beautiful stations as well as use this extension to visit some of the nearby tourist attractions.
19 thoughts on “Quick Tips on how to take the MRT to Chinatown and the Grand Palace”
myself Dhanashree from India.
Wud be visiting bangkok on 26th oct.
Can you please guide me regarding d following queries…
1) since will be staying at tha phra how do i travel to see grand palace ..i.e by mrt is shortest route as i read…is dat correct? If yes which station should i board?
2) also was interested to see royal thai airforce museum. Plz guide how to travel by mrt/bts.
3) also would want fares for the same.
Thanx n regards.
Great article – thank you!
To go to the Bangkok National Museum to see the Terracotta Army, am I right in saying MRT Sam Yod is the closest?
Well, it was a great day out. You’re right. The new line is open from 7am. I started about 9am. It got a bit busy in the return direction by about 11am but there were seats.
Sanam Chai – took a nostalgic look at nearby Wat Rajabhophit temple ( 5 mins along the klong from behind the main school ) and a quick visit to Sanoram park. Then some zig-zagging to the Old Siam Centre and all the gun shops on the eastern side. Had a stroll in nearby Rommaninat park and jumped back on the train at Sam Yot.
Itsaraphap – First took a walk from exit 2 northbound to the junction of Wang Doom where there’s a 7-Eleven. Made a right turn down to Wat Arun on the riverside. Then backtracked, past Itsaraphap station in the other direction until soi 21, over the footbridge and left down a small soi to Wat Hong. Very pleasant.
Wat Mangkon – jumped off here on the return leg and explored Chinatown. Walked from there through a maze of interesting back streets to Silom. Several cold beers went down well…
That sounds great. Thanks for the trip report.
Fantastic info – thanks Richard.
I’m having a day out tomorrow to explore it.
Especially Sanam Chai. I once worked at the adjacent Wat Rajabhophit school, and we used to look out the windows of the school building at the great big holes in the road where they were laying the tunnels. That was 7 years ago! We dreamed of an easier commute.
Just so you know, from tomorrow onwards, it’s open from 7am-9pm
Seems like this will be an excellent connection from khaosan (Sam yot) area to Asok unless im mistaken .
It’s a fair hike. At least 30 minutes walk. I would have to test it one day.
I know the old jail on Maha Chai Road , near Pan Fa jetty, still convenient to Khaosan , or maybe the next stop near the Palace be closer. Il explore it soon myself.
Thanks for this update Richard. Can’t wait to make use of them on our trip next year. Like you we have always travelled to Hua Lamphong and walked the rest of the way as would never dream of trying to hire a taxi. This is a really great step.
Great news Riccardo…! In spite of all the daily negative news concerning Thailand , successful projects like this demonstrate why Thailand is far and away the best country in S.E. Asia…maybe all of Asia come to think about it.
Getting to and from Chinatown is suddenly “convenient”….it will totally change the Chinatown demographic I would guess…making the place the absolute center of “Hip and Trendy”…real estate prices will sky-rocket if they haven’t already….
Oh boo hoo. Get on with it and quite living in the past. I rarely visit that area due to a lack of parking. If I want to go by public transport, forget it as I’m not into fighting with the taxi mafia. I will be glad to visit the area more often using the new MRT lines. I’m sure the shop owners and street vendors will be happy too as I will now be spending my income there more regularly due to the convenience of the opening of the new line.
This is awesome…a new MRT station just down the street. Thanks for the heads-up!
How many years have I been waiting for this!
Excellent! I’ve been waiting for these stations to open. Thanks for the guide, Richard.
Wow Richard… thank you sharing this. Very thorough and informative. Will be going to visit soon.
This is really useful information!