Phaya Thai and Victory Monument BTS
This is the last in what has been a lengthy series covering the BTS in Bangkok. The Skytrain as it is colloquially known opened in December 1999 and has since proven to be one of the best public transport facilities in the Thai capital, gaining in popularity over the last 15 years to the point where it is busy all day, every day.
These last two stations are both on the Sukhumvit Line, with each occupying a special niche in the overall Bangkok public transport marketplace.
This is N2 on the Sukhumvit Line, between Ratchathewi and Victory Monument. The main attraction here is that this station is the link station for Suvarnabhumi International Airport. There are plenty of people who will drive or take a bus to Suvarnabhumi and park for the day, taking the train from the airport and into the city, alighting at Phaya Thai or taking another BTS line to elsewhere in the city. For example, an Australian heading towards their embassy on South Sathorn Road or an American going to the JUSMAG offices on the same road might alight at Phaya Thai, then take a BTS to Asok and change to the MRT and alight at Lumpini station and walk up to their destination.
Heading north from the Phaya Thai exit 4 is the Florida Hotel, one of the older and more established places which architecturally hark back to the halcyon days of the late 1960s and 1970s and give a glimpse of what it might have been like to have been in Bangkok that long ago as a visitor.
Apart from the airport link and the Florida Hotel, there’s not much else to keep a visitor interested, although the walk north towards the Victory Monument area is never boring.
This is N3 on the Sukhumvit Line, between Phaya Thai and Saphan Khwai and one of the busiest BTS stations. A major tourist attraction as well as a key point for locals, especially those looking to take minivans and buses to various destinations both within Bangkok and outside. The Victory Monument itself was erected in 1941 to celebrate the success of Thailand in its 1940-1941 border war with France. The brief conflict saw the Thais win on land and in the air against the French Indochinese administration in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. France had fallen to Germany in June 1940 and a government under German direction formed at Vichy. Thailand took advantage of French military weakness, although they were defeated at the naval battle of Koh Chang. Japan brokered the peace treaty and Thailand regained territory in Cambodia it had been forced to cede to France between 1893 and 1907.
Apart from the monument itself, on which is inscribed the names of all those who lost their lives in the conflict, the area has a shops and eateries and is always a hive of activity.