Saphan Taksin BTS: set to close?
In our continuing series on the various BTS or Skytrain stations, there is one which is rumoured to be the first of the stations which will be made redundant. That station is Saphan Taksin, which is the last station on the Silom line before the Chao Phraya River on the Bangkok side, sited at the entry ramp of the Taksin Bridge.
According to a report in The Nation in June 2012, it was suggested the station would be closed in order to ease what was termed as a traffic bottleneck around its section near the Chao Phraya River. A second track is likely to be constructed to help ease the congestion, so this may mean it will eventually be re-opened.
As it stands, the station is still well and truly functional and is a perfect feeder station for those who want to get on a river boat and travel up the Chao Phraya.
As might be imagined, the station is very popular with tourists as a staging point for the various riverine ferries and tourist boats.
One of the more interesting sights nearby the station is Wat Yannawa, visible from the station platform and a very short walk away. It’s popularly called the ‘Boat Temple’ because its main chapel is built in the shape of a Chinese junk. Of course, being made of concrete if the temple happened to be inundated there’s no way it’s going to float.
Staying with the ‘religious’ theme, Assumption Cathedral, situated in Oriental Lane, off Charoenkrung Road, is the main Roman Cathedral in Thailand and can trace its beginnings back to 1662. The current building was erected during the early part of the 20th century but severely damaged during the Second World War. The best way to reach it is take a ferry to Oriental Pier.
If you’re into shopping and views, then a visit to the River City Shopping Complex, located next to the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel, is worth a look if you’re into antiques and collectibles. On the fifth floor is a rooftop bar and restaurant with good views of the river and skyline. There’s a free boat service from Sathorn Pier every day.
Of course, nearby is the Oriental Hotel, still one of the most exotic and recognisable names in Southeast Asia with its Le Normandie restaurant, arguably serving the finest French cuisine in the country.
Behind the Oriental Hotel is OP Place, a warren of shops selling antiques, Thai arts and crafts, although hardly at bargain prices, but then quality is never meant to especially cheap.
So, if and when Saphan Taksin BTS does close, it will make the effort of getting to many of the above just that much more difficult.