The opening of new metro stations in Bangkok has made it easier than ever to access some of the Thai capital’s major tourist attractions. The new underground stations opened in August 2019 as part of the MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) Blue Line extension. The MRT metro line now extends west from Hua Lamphong station into Chinatown and the old city district of Rattanakosin. The extension then continues under the Chao Phraya River to the Thonburi area of the Thai capital. There are four MRT stations in particular which will be handy for the average tourist who is sightseeing in Bangkok: MRT Sanam Chai, MRT Wat Mangkon, MRT Sam Yot, and MRT Itsaraphap. All four of these stations have been beautifully designed to reflect the history and culture of the areas they serve.
MRT Sanam Chai
Of all the new metro stations, Sanam Chai is probably the most elaborate. Designed by National Artist Pinyo Suwankiri, Sanam Chai station is full of intricate details. From the chandeliers that hang from the ceilings to the lotus-inspired pillars, the station is a work of art where even the fire extinguisher cabinets are beautifully decorated. The station is located underneath Sanam Chai Road with the entrances cleverly designed not to block the view of the elegant Museum of Siam building.
Tourist attractions near MRT Sanam Chai:
- Grand Palace
- Museum of Siam
- Pak Klong Talad flower and vegetable market
- Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
MRT Wat Mangkon
The new station at Wat Mangkon is convenient for visitors to Chinatown. And the Chines heritage of the area is delightfully captured with ceilings and tunnels designed to look like a dragon and lucky red colours used liberally throughout the station. MRT Wat Mangkon is located underneath Charoen Krung Road and the eponymous Chinese temple of Wat Mangkon Kamalawat (Dragon Lotus Temple).
Tourist attractions near MRT Wat Mangkon:
- Wat Mangkon Kamalawat
MRT Sam Yot
The MRT station at Sam Yot is another metro stop which provides convenient access to Bangkok’s Chinatown area. The station is notable for its outside appearance which is designed to look like one of the traditional shophouses from the area. Tourists using MRT Sam Yot can make the short walk along Maha Chai Road to reach the Golden Mount and Loha Prasat.
Tourist attractions near MRT Sam Yot:
- Golden Mount and Wat Saket
- Rommaninat Park
- Wat Suthat and Sao Ching Cha (Giant Swing)
- Loha Prasat (Metal Castle)
MRT Itsaraphap is located across the Chao Phraya River in Thonburi. Unlike the other metro stations mentioned here, MRT Itsaraphap looks ordinary from the outside. You have to go into the station to appreciate the intricate designs which feature mythical swan-like animals from Thai culture known as ‘hong’. These pay homage to the nearby temple of Wat Hong Rattanaram (The Temple of the Jewelled Swan).
Tourist attractions near MRT Itsaraphap:
- Wat Hong Rattanaram
The new MRT stations are already extremely popular. Expect queues at ticket machines and be prepared too for lots of people taking selfies inside and outside the new metro stations. All of the four stations mentioned above feature lifts and ramps for wheelchair users. When the Blue Line extension is fully operational (at the end of September 2019), train services will run all the way through to Lak Song in Bangkok’s western suburbs.