Ratchadamri BTS: a grandstand view
If there’s one thing the planners for the Bangkok Transit System (BTS) seemed to get right in the years leading up to its official opening at the end of 1999, was that they needed to make sure there were a cluster of stations relatively close together.
Perhaps they realised the average person really is quite lazy when it comes to walking any distance, or maybe more concerned about going too far under a hot sun. What this does mean is that many of the central Bangkok attractions, especially those in the Sukhumvit and Siam areas are accessible from more than one station. That is, you don’t necessarily have to alight at one station only in order to access a particular sight or shopping mall.
That said, the Ratchadamri BTS station, which happens to be right in the middle of one of the capital’s most sought-after neighbourhoods, doesn’t really have any especial attractions that are close by. It does, however, possess a wonderful view of one of Bangkok’s oldest yet surprisingly almost ‘hidden’ attractions: the Royal Bangkok Sports Club (RBSC).
Although horse racing is hardly mentioned when talking of Bangkok, the Ratchadamri BTS station happens to offer a pretty good view of the back straight and sweeping home turn of the RBSC, one of the city’s two equine racetracks. It and the Royal Turf Club (RTC) race on alternate Sunday’s, so if you happen to be in Bangkok on a Sunday and fancy spending a day at the horse races and you have no idea which of the two tracks’ are racing that day, a simple trick is to get to Ratchadamri and look out. If there’s a flurry of activity at the RBSC then you can safely assume a race meeting will be under way. If not, then simply go downstairs and take a taxi to the nearby RTC, which will cost around 40 baht at most.
Mind you, if the racing is taking place at the RBSC then you still face the task of getting to the main entrance, which is on the opposite side to the Ratchadamri BTS. This means either a very long walk, or, if the heat is really oppressive, hiring a motorbike taxi or an ordinary taxi to drop you off at the entrance.
Nearby Hotels: Four Seasons Hotel, St Regis Hotel
Station Preceding: Siam
Station Following: Sala Daeng
Note: According to the main website for the BTS system, since the opening of the Skytrain on 5 December 1999 to 25 November 2013, there had been over 1.83 billion trips taken.