Airport Rail Link , Just like in many other big cities across the world, a train line from Suvarnabhumi international airport to the city center was launched in recent years. The train line facilitates the operation of two trains:
- The city line – a slower line with more than a few stops along the way
- The express line – a fast line with only two stops: Makassan and Phayathai
Although the idea was fitting and clearly stemmed from good intentions, the execution didn’t take several aspects into consideration, including the price of the taxi drive compared to the train, the structure of the Skytrain stops and the connection to Phaya Thai stop, the locations of the stops in jammed areas of Bangkok, the state of city sidewalks, the weather conditions etc. The result was very poor execution, and when it comes to tourists – the line has failed miserably!
The main problem with Airport Link is that is doesn’t benefit anyone, and so, very few actually use it. It doesn’t save you time, effort or even money…
The regular line which stops at all stations is very slow. The express line either stops at Makkasan (which borders with Pratunam) or by the Skytrain Phaya Thai stop. There is no real, convenient connection, but rather a bridge from one stop to another, followed by further walking distance. The drive will cost you 150 baht and the train frequency is once in 30 minutes, so you’ll probably have to wait at well.
Even if your hotel is located right below the Skytrain – you’ll still have to climb up and go down the stairs with your suitcases, move from one stop to another, climb up and then go down again. If your hotel is slightly farther (as it usually is) – you’ll have to make your way by foot, walking on Bangkok’s crooked sidewalks and making your way between all the stalls, in conditions of heavy heat, extreme humidity and pouring rain. The unpleasant experience (after a long flight) will cost a couple more than 350 baht!! For the same price you can take an air-conditioned taxi, which will conveniently pick you up at the airport and take you to the very doorstep of your hotel. As for those of you whose hotel is nowhere near a Skytrain stop – you’ll have to take a taxi from one of the jammed areas of Bangkok.
Most of the potential clients of the Airport Link are well aware of the above, and therefore simply refrain from using the line. In fact, the only ones who do take it are those who live right next to the stops, travel alone in short rides, and don’t carry suitcases with them. There are few who match the description and do use the Airport Rail Link, which means the line has definitely failed.
In conclusion: even if you travel alone, spend an extra $5, take a taxi and go directly from the airport to your hotel – you certainly deserve it after a long, exhausting flight. If you are more than 2 people, the taxi will be cheaper and the drive will probably be shorter.