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The REAL Bangkok Airport Express Link Opens

The REAL Bangkok Airport Express Link Opens

Old Sep 1st, 2010, 08:58 PM
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"the whole are around silom/sathorn/new roads (centre point silom area) is to be avoided from 2-9PM imo.... there is no easy way out of there....foot is the fastest"

Hmmm. Great idea. But how does one avoid the area he's staying in? LOL
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Old Sep 2nd, 2010, 12:40 PM
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Given your proximity to the train (with transfer to subway) and boats, NeoPatrick, you shouldn't have any trouble avoiding taxis altogether. I stayed at Centre Point Silom in January and generally found taxis to be much less efficient than public transit. Fortunately that hotel is ideally situated for public transit. Are you enjoying it otherwise?
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Old Sep 2nd, 2010, 05:55 PM
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Oh, yes. Absolutely. The breakfasts here are amazing as well -- I don't seem to touch the typical breakfast foods like the omellette station, pancakes, or French toast -- and congee just isn't my thing. But fettucine alfredo with chicken, and crispy fish with sweet and sour sauce and beef in green curry for breakfast? Sure, bring it on. Each morning is another 8 or 10 such substantial dishes to choose from.

And it's a VERY short walk to the amazing "Sky Bar" now called Sirocco. I almost went again last night, but was glad I didn't as just after I was about to leave it started pouring rain. I'd have gotten rained out up there.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2010, 06:18 PM
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Patrick, so glad you went to Sky Bar. (Sirocco is the name of a restaurant up there... Sky Bar is the small round bar with all the fancy lights that change color, and the expensive drinks, but the view is to die for!!!) Did you get to meet Maeng yet?

Are you getting much rain? Brad had a real downpour either his last night or next-to-last night in the city. Soi 4 was flooded upto the sidewalk.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2010, 06:53 PM
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Ah, yes, breakfast at Centre Point Silom... Check out the soy milk (heated, in a pot near the coffee machine) and the mix-ins: basil seeds, tapioca bubbles, whatever. Pair with a fried dough stick (just one, don't want the blood sugar zooming around). Makes a nice dessert (because it's okay to have dessert at breakfast if you're on holiday) after green curry.
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Old Sep 19th, 2010, 02:52 AM
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OK, so today I flew from Chiang Mai back to Bangkok. My hotel (the beginning of my OAT Vietnam tour) is the Tawana on Surawongse Road and pretty close to the SamYan station on the MRT, so it seemed a good bet to take the new airport express and change at the Makkasan/Asok Station. OK. What was I missing. At BKK I could find no information or signs for an "Airport Express" only signs for Rail Link. When I got there there were signs that showed two routes -- clearly the blue one with numerous stops and a red one that was direct from BKK to Makkasan. But at the ticket window, the girl would only keep saying "15 baht". I asked "two lines? Express?" and still she just said "15 baht". So I gave her the 15 baht, got a ticket and entered the turnstile. Above the doors they still showed the two routes. I asked the guy directing people to the doors, "Express?" and he'd only point to the one set of doors. So I got on and yes it stopped 5 times between there and Makkasan, but it still only took about 16, maybe 17 minutes.

Then I got off and the fun started. The station is big and new and seemingly not even finished. At one point there were signs directing to "Express trains" but those areas were all taped off and deserted. I found a sign to MRT, but that direction also was taped off. I asked a series of guards "MRT?" and they each kept directing me in a series, out of the building, across a parking lot, through some construction, and then there were paper signs for MRT with arrows to follow. By this point I had joined up with three Swedish backpackers and we were all mystified by trying to walk following the single lane of traffic under the station with no sidewalks and taxis honking at us to get out of the way, but it was the only way to get through and follow the signs. At the next intersection, there was another sign directing us to the left and off we went, but after a couple blocks we were about to cross under the super highway and I just knew that wasn't right. A taxi driver asked us if we needed help and said the station was back the other way -- so much for the signs being any help. And eventually we did get to the station and were on our way. But the gal at the bag check going into the subway had me empty everything from my luggage and wasn't going to let me go through with my toiletries from my normally checked bag -- the can of deodorant, shaving cream, etc. Meanwhile she asked where I was coming from and when I said Chiang Mai she was happy to tell me that's where she's from and when I said I loved it, she would have let me go through with hand grenades, so off I went. Anyway, for the life of me I can't figure out if there was such a thing as an Express -- I sure never saw any signs of one at either end, nor can I understand the advantage of a 100 baht train over a 15 baht train if it only saves 1 minute or two. And while there is much work to be done on the station, I still don't see how you would connect from there to the subway.

But I did it in any case, so the whole trip cost me 41 baht and took just about an hour, almost half of that wandering lost looking for the MRT station.

The bottom line? When I leave the Tawanna again in a few weeks bound for the airport in the evening and my flight to London, looks like it will be a taxi for me.

My other question -- if some trains stop and some are express, how can there only be one set of tracks? How do the express trains pass the stopped ones? Or am I missing something here?
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Old Sep 19th, 2010, 07:57 AM
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Oh, Patrick.... lol lol lol (rothfmao!!)... welcome back to BKK! (it's in the third world, you know)

I loved the part about the security girl who would have let you thru with grenades after you said you loved CM. What a riot! Glad you made it to your destination. And the three Swedish backpackers? Did they stick with you, or go it alone?

I'm glad you have a good sense of humor (or so it would seem). It is sometimes needed in BKK.

Taking a TAXI is a great idea...!

Keep the report coming.

Carol
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Old Sep 19th, 2010, 08:10 AM
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It might have been extra security today, as there was a red shirt gathering again in the Siam area. I was at Siam Paragon about 4:30, and they announced that they were closing early at 6 and please start to leave the building. I could see the "gathering" at the same location as before. It was not a small gathering.
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Old Sep 19th, 2010, 08:18 AM
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carol is correct....this ain't florida, its bangkok where things walk to the beat of a different drummer..
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Old Sep 19th, 2010, 08:03 PM
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The signs at the airport station are horrible. To get the express train, you have to go to the ticket window behind the window you're most likely to see when arriving at the station.

The route out of Makassan station has been different every time I've been there. There was definitely some additional construction going on after the station opened. It looked like they 'forgot' to build emergency exits from the platforms.

The subway security is a real joke, and it does seem like they try to be extra strict at the Petchburi station. It all seems rather pointless, as a determined saboteur would have no problem getting a bomb on a train.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 02:20 AM
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"The signs at the airport station are horrible. To get the express train, you have to go to the ticket window behind the window you're most likely to see when arriving at the station."

I'm trying to understand that, but I can't. When I got to that entire "train" area at the airport, all "traffic" was funneled towards one set of windows and four ticket machines (all marked out of service) and then you had to go through turnstiles with a ticket -- there was nowhere else anywhere nearby where I can possibly imagine you could even get to, yet alone buy a ticket. There was certainly nowhere close by at all that you could get to without going through the turnstiles first.

And since the entire "express train" area at Makassan was completely roped off, I strongly suspect there couldn't have been any express trains there yesterday, unless they stopped at the same track instead of where the signs said they are. Maybe they weren't running yesterday for some reason?
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 05:38 AM
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Slightly off topic... did the red shirts go away?? I looked at BKK Post to see what I might find out about their latest demonstration. I am assuming they are not camping out at Siam once again...?
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 08:28 AM
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There was a big article in the paper today. The bigger demonstration was in Chiang Mai. But it seems it was just a one day demonstration to mark the anniversary of the 2006 coup.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 08:37 AM
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Thanks for that reply, Patrick. I was curious. I'm just hoping things don't look like they will get out of hand, once again, before the holiday travel season!! Thailand needs to regain the confidence of the int'l travellers again.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 07:54 PM
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It's possible, I suppose, that express trains weren't running, but on every occasion I've used link so far, everybody followed the crowd using the City Line. The ticket window and entrance to the Express Line is on the opposite side of the same kiosk where the City Line ticket window is.

The Express Line area at Makassan was roped off when I arrived last week as well. That was just to separate the two lines since they appeared to be using the entrance as an exit at the Makassan terminal.
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Old Sep 21st, 2010, 01:09 AM
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Carol, it's interesting that I'm now on my Inside Vietnam OAT tour which started and ended in Bangkok. This is the one that I thought for a while would be canceled for lack of participants. OAT has now changed all tours -- in the future the Vietnam tours start and end in Vietnam, and avoid Thailand all together. Our local "guide/contact" person in Bangkok mentioned she is losing her job as OAT will no longer have a presence in Thailand. That's a sad thing, I think -- but one can hardly blame them when people avoid tours simply because they are afraid to go to Bangkok.
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Old Sep 27th, 2010, 09:29 PM
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"What is the walk from Makkasan to Petchaburi MRT like?"

From Makkasan to the Phetchaburi MRT is not that close and there were no real signs. You are walking through an area that is still under construction. Not a long walk but not as handy as the Skytrain at Phaya Thai. Maybe in the future they will have a moving walkway or something. They could use more lighting late at night too.

I had a chance to ride this new Rail Link City Line several times both daytime and late at night. I like this new service!

When I was on this train the cars were almost all full. There were many people with bags and suitcases with them. There is a section of the car with standing room. Some of the passengers with bigger bags and boxes were in this open section.

One advantage of taking this Rail Link is to avoid the toll road and some of the traffic tie ups. By taxi from Makkasan to the Sukhumvit Road area (Soi 4, Nana Ibis Hotel area) came to just under 70 baht. Total fare from airport to hotel came to less than 85 baht. Even with the fares increasing to 40 or 45 baht in January this is still a good price.

I did take the Skytrain to Phaya Thai and found the connection easy to make. They have a bridge connection between the Skytrain ticket area and the Phaya Thai station.

If you have a hotel near Phaya Thai or Ratchaprarop stations you can simply just walk.

Getting off at the Makkasan station around midnight is a little strange. You are in a large empty area, I suppose they are planning on other things like stores or something at a later date. There were some taxis waiting there at midnight. But a better jumping off point for a taxi, my opinion, will be Phaya Thai or Ratchaprarop because you are right at a main road and can wave a moving taxi over. (The taxi at Makkasan didn't balk at using the meter.)

The first news articles on this Rail Link (City Line) had it running all night long but right now it is only running up to midnight. Skytrain stops running at midnight anyway.

http://airportraillink.railway.co.th...ityline_a.html

http://www.urbanrail.net/as/bang/bangkok.htm


Have fun.
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